A style guide is essential for every brand, publication, website, and publication. A great style guide is essential for any social marketer.

A style guide is a way to ensure consistency across all channels for your brand. It will ensure that everyone on your team uses the same terminology, tone, voice, and voice.

Let’s take a look at the reasons you need to have clear social media brand guidelines and some great style examples for you.

Bonus: Get a customizable social media style template for free to ensure consistency across all your social media channels.

A social media style guide (also known as brand guidelines) is essential.

A social-media style guide is a document that describes the style choices you make on social media for your brand.

This covers everything, from your logo and branding colors to the way you use emojis or hashtags. It’s a set of rules that determine how your brand is presented.

Why bother creating a style guide for social media? Because consistency on social media is essential. Your followers should be capable of recognizing your content no matter where it is seen.

Try this:

  • Do you use serial (aka Oxford) commas?
  • Is spelling American English or British English?
  • Do you say zee, zed, or something else completely?

This is not to mention the fact that small things like punctuation and grammar can have a huge impact on brand perception.

You must be consistent in how you present your brand if you want to build trust, loyalty, and recognition for it. A social media style guide is a great tool to help you do this.

What should your social media style guide include

A style guide for social media must be simple and clear. It should answer basic questions about the brand voice, target market, tone, and appearance across social media platforms.

Here’s a breakdown of the contents of your social media style guide.

A list of all your social networks accounts

Start by listing all social media accounts that your business uses. This is important as each platform has its own voice and tone.

LinkedIn, for example, is a more formal platform that Twitter, while Facebook is a mixture of both. You can create content that resonates well with your audience by knowing where your brand falls on this spectrum.

Also, be sure to include your social media handle(s), in the style guide. This will allow you to see the naming conventions that you have used for your accounts.

Are the names consistent across channels and platforms? If not, now is the time to select a style and make note of it in your style guide . This will ensure that your existing fans can easily find new accounts on new channels.

Voice and tone

A clearly defined brand voice is essential to connect with your audience. Some brands are very slick on social media. Others keep a more formal tone.

You can choose to take one or the other approach, but you must keep it consistent.

Your social media style guide will outline your voice and tone to ensure that all your content sounds the same.

It will also allow new team members to quickly get a feel of how your brand should be represented online.

These are some questions that you should ask when you decide on your brand voice.


Will you actually use it? Unless you are in a niche industry that is highly technical, it is unlikely that you will.

Use simple language that is easy to understand by your audience. Make a list of jargon-y terms to avoid.

Source The World According to Skype

Inclusive language

What guidelines should you use on social media to ensure that your language is inclusive, fair, and consistent? As you create your inclusive language guidelines, make sure to include team members in the discussion. If the group is too large to allow everyone to participate, ensure that you have diverse perspectives. To get feedback, circulate the guidelines.

Remember that accessibility is a key component to inclusivity.

Sentence, paragraph and caption length

In general, short is best. But how short? What about on Instagram? Will you use threaded tweets to go beyond 280 characters

This post was shared by Hootsuite (@hootsuite).


Are emojis used by your brand? Which ones? How many? What channels? How often? Have the same discussion about stickers and GIFs.

Where and how to use CTAs

How often will your readers be asked to take a specific action like clicking a link, making a purchase, etc. What action words should you use in your calls-to-action? What words should you avoid?

Post authorship

Do you post as a company? Do you attribute your social media posts to individuals? It’s common for customer support social accounts to use initials to indicate which member is responding to a public message. This is how you should approach customer comments. Make sure you outline it in your social media style guide.

Social media policy

Your social media style guide explains the details of your brand’s use of social media. Your social media policy explains the larger picture.

A social media policy sets out expectations for employees on social media. It usually includes guidance on content, disclosure and what to do when you get negative feedback.

We have a blog post that will help you create a social media policy if you don’t already have one.

These are the key points to include in

  • Team roles: Who creates and publishes content? Who decides what content is published?
  • Content: Which type of content (e.g. product photos, employee photographs, company news, memes, etc.) is appropriate? Is there anything that is off-limits?
  • Timing When content is published (e.g. during business hours or after hours)
  • Security protocols How to manage passwords, security risks.
  • Crisis plan How should your team deal with a crisis?
  • Compliance:How you can stay on the right side, especially in regulated sectors.
  • Employee guidelines For personal and professional use of social media.

Audience/customer personas

Now is the right time to define your target market and create personas for your audience. Know who you are speaking to before you can create a brand voice.

Consider the following when building audience personas:

  • Basic demographics (location and age, gender, occupation).
  • Hobbies and interests
  • What are their pain points?
  • How they use social media
  • What type of content they are interested in (e.g. blog posts, infographics or videos)

Your team will be better equipped to create content that appeals directly to your target market if you provide as much detail as possible from the beginning.

Brand language rules

Your brand may have many words, phrases, acronyms, or names. It is important to clearly define how you will use them.

Take, for example:


A list of all your trademarks should be included in your style guide for social media. Your list should not be in all caps, as it makes it difficult to distinguish between HootSuite (wrong), and Hootsuite.

Give guidelines on how to use your trademarks. Are you using product names as verbs or adjectives? Or plurals? Or possessives? Fragments of sentences? Get specific.

SourceGoogle Trends Brand Guides

Abbreviations and acronyms

If your brand is very acronym-heavy, you might want to include a section about how to use them.

For example, NATO is always written as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the first reference. NATO is then placed in parentheses. As such:

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

If you are using an acronym that isn’t well-known, make sure to spell it out on your first reference.

Also, list all the acronyms that your company uses internally and what they stand for. Indicate if it’s appropriate for each social channel to use the acronyms, or if you want to use the full term.


Is there a correct way to pronounce your brand name? If so, ensure that you include the correct pronunciation in any style guide. Is it “Nikey” instead of “Nikee?”

A pronunciation key can be created if your brand name is difficult to pronounce. This could be as simple as adding the phonetic spelling of difficult words to the word.

As social media shifts towards video content, pronunciation is becoming more important.

Additional language that is specific to your brand

Include any other words or phrases that are unique to your brand in your style guide. This could include company slogans or product names.

Hootsuite employees are, for example, affectionately called “owls” both internally as well as on social media.

Starbucks refers to its employees as “partners.

Write down specific terms such as these if you use them. Any non-trademarked language that you use to refer to any aspect of your business. Do you have clients, customers, or guests? This information will help you to clarify your social media style guide.

Consistency guidelines

Let’s get back to the linguistic issues that we discussed at the beginning. Consistency guidelines ensure that everyone who posts on behalf of your brand uses the same language every time.

Picking a dictionary is the first step to establishing consistency guidelines. They all have their own unique meanings. It should be listed in your style guide. Make sure that all team members have access to either an online file or a paper copy .

You might also consider using an existing style guide such as the Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook.

This will allow you to make your own decisions about grammar and punctuation.

Here are some consistency issues you should consider.

US English

Depending on the country where your company is located, you may want to use US in your social-media style guide. You may need to use both if you have a global audience.

This is not only important for spelling (e.g. color vs color), but also for vocabulary, grammar, and vocabulary. In the US, month/year is the standard way to write dates. In the UK, however, the order is day/month/year.

You risk alienating or confusing your audience if you don’t use the same language across all channels.

Punctuation and abbreviations

You should use proper punctuation when posting to social media. This includes using apostrophes correctly, and avoiding text speak (e.g., lol or ur).

There are always exceptions to this rule. hashtags do not use punctuation. It’s also generally accepted to use abbreviations (e.g. TIL, IMO) on Twitter.

Make sure you clearly outline where and when abbreviations or slang are appropriate in your social media style guide.

Serial commas

Serial commas can be a bit of a divisionary subject. There is no right answer to whether or not to use them. They are not recommended by the Associated Press, but they are recommended by the Chicago Manual of Style. Use it consistently.

Headline capitalization

Your social media style guide should clearly specify how your headlines will be formatted . The AP Stylebook suggests using sentence case for headlines, while the Chicago Manual of Style recommends using title case. Pick your style and stick with it.

Dash style

True story: I won a Dale Carnegie Pen once for a speech on the differences between a (-), and an (-), em-dash (–).hyphen.

You might not be as keen on punctuation as me, but you must determine your dash style in order to maintain consistency.


Are you saying 4pm, 4 p.m., or 16:00? Do you write the days of the week out or do you abbreviate them. What date format do your use? Make sure you include all these details in your social media style guides to ensure everyone is on the same page.


Do you spell out numbers or use numerals? When did you first start using numerals. These are important questions that you should answer in your style guide to ensure everyone is on the same page.


How often will links be included in your posts? Will you use UTM parameters Will you use a URL shorterener These details should be included in your social media style guide.

Bonus: Get a customizable social media style template for free to ensure consistency across all your social media channels.

Get the template now!

Curation guidelines

Every idea shared on social media may not be unique. Curated content can add great value to your social media feed without having to create new content.

But from which sources should you share? What sources will you notshare from? You will likely avoid sharing posts from competitors.

Also, define your guidelines for how to cite and source third-party images.

Hashtag use

This article will show you how to use hashtags in different blog posts. Your goal is to create a hashtag strategy that keeps all your social media channels consistent and on-brand.

Branded hashtags

Are you using branded hashtags to encourage followers and fans to tag you in their posts or to collect user-generated material? You can list any branded #hashtags in your styleguide, along with guidelines for when to use them.

Provide guidelines on how to respond to people who use your branded hashtags. Will you like their posts Retweet? Comment?

Campaign hashtags

Make a list of hashtags that are specific to any ongoing or one-off campaign.

Don’t delete a hashtag from this list after a campaign has ended. Instead, take notes about the dates that the hashtag was used. You will have a permanent record for all the hashtags you’ve used. This can help spark ideas for future tags.

Destination BC launched a campaign using the hashtag #explorebclater to raise awareness about travel’s closure in March. They changed to #explorebclocal as local travel opened up in the early summer.

This post is on Instagram. It was shared by Destination British Columbia (@hellobc).

How many hashtags are there?

There is much debate about the optimal number of hashtags that should be used. To determine the right number for your business, you will need to test them. This number may also vary between channels. To learn more, check out our guide to hashtags for each network.

Make sure your social media style guide includes best practices for hashtag usage on each channel.

Hashtag case

It is important to clearly define hashtag case usage. There are three options for hashtag case:

  1. Lowercase: #hootsuitelife
  2. Uppercase#HOOTSUITELIFE (best used for very short hashtags)
  3. Camel case: #HootsuiteLife

User-generated content

User-generated content can provide a significant boost to a brand’s image, but ensure your team is able to properly curate it and credit it.

Guidelines for Use

Are you unsure where to begin with your UGC guidelines? Our post on how to use user generated content provides some basic guidelines.

  • Always ask permission
  • Credit to the original creator
  • Give something of value in exchange
  • Search streams can be used to locate UGC that you may have missed

How do I credit

Specify how and when you will credit users whose posts are shared. Always tag them. But what format will you use to credit them?

Camera icons, for example, are a common way to attribute photos on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Daily Hive Vancouver (@dailyhivevancouver)

Design guidelines

We’ve spoken a lot about words but you must also define the visual look and feel of your brand for social media. These are some design guidelines that will help you get started.


These colors will be used in your social media accounts if you have already defined your brand colors. You might want to specify which colors should be used in different contexts.

You might choose to use a lighter version of your brand’s primary colors for backgrounds and a more saturated version in text and call-to action buttons.

Logo use

When and where will you use your Logo on Social Media It is often a good idea for your logo to be used as your profile picture on social media.

If your logo is too small to be used as a circle or square image, you might need to create a modified version for social media.

Source:Medium brand guidelines


What kind of images will you use for social media? Stock photos or photos you have taken? Where will you find stock photos if you do use them?

Will you watermark images? If yes, how do you watermark your images?

Include all this information in your style guide for social networks.

Filters and their effects

It is important to establish a brand’s visual identity. Consistency is important, regardless of whether you use #nofilter to create your images or the latest design tools to edit them.

Your social media style guide must include information on which effects and filters can be used (or not).

Hootsuite is the all-in-one social networking toolkit that makes it easier. Keep up with the latest developments, grow and outperform your competition.

Social media style guide examples

Are you ready to create your own social media style guide for yourself? These examples can be used as a starting point for your guide.

New York University’s social media style guide

The New York University (NYU), social media style guide includes

  • All active NYU accounts
  • How to attribute specific sources with content
  • More information about style and punctuation .

They also contain platform-specific information like how many Twitter Retweets you should use each day. How to use line breaks in Facebook.

Indigenous Tourism BC social media style guide

Indigenous Tourism BC uses its style guide for social media to improve public understanding of Indigenous culture across digital channels.

This section of the Indigenous Tourism BC style guide for social media has a strong focus on language. Language is an integral part of decolonizing narratives about Indigenous peoples. They promote the correct use of Indigenous Style across media and help to better understand between Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous ones.

Starbucks social media style guide

Starbucks’ social media style guides offer a culture first guide for discussing and promoting Starbucks online.

They give Starbucks partners a better understanding of the brand’s purpose by explaining the “why”.

Social media style guide template

Are you feeling overwhelmed? This guide covers a lot of information. We have created a free social media style guide template that you can use to create your own social media brand guidelines.

Bonus: Get an customizable style guide template for social media to ensure consistency across all your channels.

To use the template click the Tab in the top left corner. Next, select From the drop-down menu. Once you’ve done this, you will have your own copy that you can edit and share. You can delete any sections that don’t apply to your business or that you are not ready to tackle at the moment.

Hootsuite makes it easy to save time on social media. Hootsuite gives you one dashboard that allows you to manage all your profiles, schedule posts and measure results.

Get Started

Hootsuite is the all-in-one social networking toolkit that makes it easier. Keep up with the latest developments, grow and outperform your competition.

No-risk 30-Day Trial

The post The Perfect Social Media Style Guide to Your Brand in 2022 appeared originally on Social Media Marketing & Management dashboard.