The intricacy of social media and what we should and shouldn’t do, is always an interesting battle. But just when you thought, just getting your social media active, assuring your content is accurate and posting on a weekly basis was sufficient enough, in comes the custom social media page! For those of you that have wondered how feasible or effective it may be to design a custom page, fret not, it’s easier than you think and it will benefit your company greatly.
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is bypassing the custom social media page. Part of this bypassing is due to not really understanding how they are capable of doing this. Believe it or not, it’s not as hard as you may think and the end result is killer! There are a myriad of companies that will do this for you for a fee, but be careful, some charge you a setup fee, design fee and upload fee. Make sure to always inquire about all the fees not just the design fee. If you are a small business starting out, creating custom social media pages is largely beneficial to your company’s brand, and if you have half an idea of how to design something on Illustrator or Photoshop, you can design these pages fairly easy.
Every social media page has a specific design guideline, similar to designing an advertisement except you won’t have bleeds, but you will be making room for other things depending on that social media. A couple of years ago, Facebook changed everything when it gave individuals the opportunity to implement a large cover photo in addition to their profile photo. Google+ followed suite and recently trumped the entire thing by doubling your optional size for your cover photos and making the profile photo area smaller. Why the benefit? Well, because of that cover photo, you are able to bullet point and highlight the most important parts of your business, whether it be specials, phone number, website etc… Social media isn’t like a website in the sense that there are not several pages to comb through. Everything is right in your face, so be wise when choosing what you want to say!
Regardless of whether or not you decide to customize your social media sites, take note that you only have to customize the sites you use the most. My rule of thumb is, keep your logo consistent on every profile picture, use the cover photo to reiterate everything else. The idea behind these custom designs has more to do with fluidity and brand development. You can keep your brand consistent throughout all of your social media platforms, which is vital in developing your business. Consistency is and always will be king! In addition to consistent branding, you can also add more information on your custom pages as well. Your social media pages are your landing pages for many things, and people that are on your website, link in to your social media. Your social media has the capability to give quick bursts about what you do, what you offer, hours of operation, phone number, website in large bold text. If you are in the service industry and run specials, you can also highlight these on your custom page design as well. Obviously you should be posting these items in your feeds as well, but there is nothing more powerful than the power of big and bold!
Follow these guidelines for successful custom page implementation
1. Keep it consistent
2. Set up a template for the social media platforms you use (see dimension cheat sheet below). Keep this template for future changes to your custom page design
3. Keep your logo in the profile picture unless it requires a photo of you (ie. Yelp requires this)
4. Always keep your phone number bold and on the cover photo or side bar (depending on your the social media platform)
5. Use the cover photo to display a picture of your business and what you offer, if there is room, always make sure to have your phone number and website on this cover
6. Change the information that only changes regularly and keep the rest of the layout exactly the same
7. Keep your colors consistent with your logo and brand
8. Make sure to save your designs in RGB color (it’s the best for web image display)
Once you’ve set up your template for each of your social media platforms, then you are good to go. Uploading is as easy as uploading a personal photo, they are all saved with the same file extension and format. Some words of advice when creating your custom pages, keep this in mind, make sure that you are meticulously editing all of your copy if it helps have a second set of eyes proof your custom page before posting/uploading it. The last thing your business needs is scathing bold typo on your highly trafficked social media page. And ALWAYS keep the page the same! Which means, only change the copy that changes, ie. specials, new business information;consistency across the board don’t confuse your audience!
Something as simple as a custom, consistent social media page can assist you with the longevity and success of your business. My advice, if you can design it yourself, then do it, you will save yourself some cash. If you don’t know how to design a custom page, teaching yourself how to do it (there are many YouTube tutorials), will be the greatest investment in your business and yourself, especially if you are a small business starting out. Custom design isn’t as intimidating as it sounds and believe or not it is effective!
NOTE: Every social media site has their own dimension requirements for their custom pages. I put a cheat sheet below from a site I reference often! Mind you, as of March 2013 Google+ has just changed their dimensions for their cover photo and profile photos, they are now: 2120 X 1192 (coverphoto) | 250 X 250 (profile photo.)