Branding for social media use comes down to 3 points - the look, the tone and the feel. It's useful so that your content or your story can be instantly recognizable, Your "brand" is a visual shortcut. It enables you to SHOW your story and it requires you to be congruent with your target audience. Therefore, when you think of branding your business, you are also identifying who that target audience is!
The Look, Tone And Feel In Practical ApplicationIt is likely that you have heard the phrase: branding (or brand marketing, as it is often called by the folks who provide this service professionally) is all about the look, tone and feel. You may be wondering what that means in terms of a practical application:
The look is the color and the logo.The tone is the attitude: hip, snarky, authoritative, sophisticated, edgy, funny, etc.The feel is the texture of all the product: sleek and high tech (Apple), soft and maternal (Whole Foods), luxurious and elegant (Harrods, Neiman Marcus, the Four Seasons), clean and matter-of-fact, (Target).You want to create a branded image - usually a logo - that can be a visual shortcut for people passing by. It needs to be something that can sum up your story and visually remind people your product. It needs to have the same attitude, texture and colors as your product or service in action! Then everything flows from there.
An important point to keep in mind is that the branding - the look, tone and feel - needs to be congruent with your target audience. If you are mainly serving women in their middle years, there's no point using racing car colors, sports metaphors and references to trendy rap music. Similarly, if your most profitable clients tend to be younger folks just starting out, then references to Johnny Carson, Wang word processing and the advent of color TV is most likely to make them think you're a dinosaur.
Branding is as much about matching the message to the market as it is about staying consistent across all platforms. As every new social network emerges and takes root, it really is worth it, to quickly sign up and secure your name, or your brand's name before anyone else does. At least this way you can wait out the success of that network safe in the knowledge that your identity is locked down.
As you can see, knowing your target audience is a big part of getting your branding correct, useful and congruent.