On this blog I have often discussed the topic of marketing & branding, particularly as it applies to self publishing and social media (sites like Facebook and YouTube, etc.). In fact, in some specific posts in the past, I displayed graphics presenting the way in which Outskirts Press brands itself on multiple social media channels in an effort to market our brand consistently. Previously, these graphics featured the tagline: Write Anything, Publish Everything, Market Everywhere along with three individuals in the act of writing, publishing, and marketing, respectively.
As is so often the case, Facebook and YouTube then decided to change their “look” once again. And at roughly the same time, Outskirts Press added Pinterest to our list of active social media channels. Plus, we wanted to concentrate more specifically on the monthly promotions and discounts we offer. Self Publishing is becoming more competitive than ever before, and even though Top Consumer Reviews has rated Outskirts Press the #1 self-publishing company (more on that in the near future), we still have to compete aggressively for those authors who shop based solely on price (rather than high quality and service).
So our promotions became the focal point of our branding considerations. And we wanted to continue to carry that branding & marketing across our growing family of social media sites which now includes Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube, various blogs, Google Plus, and Pinterest.
Like everything, branding and promotion begins on our own website, where we hold the most control over look and functionality. So here is an example of how a monthly promotion appears on our home page:
Facebook was next. We wanted to utilize the “Cover” graphic Facebook allocates for branding purposes to visually connect the same promotion, while still simultaneously mentioning other monthly events occurring on our Facebook page AND continuing to remind new visitors to “Like” us:
Since Facebook superimposes a square Avatar graphic in the lower left-hand corner of the Cover Graphic, our Facebook graphic also attempts to incorporate that into the overall design aesthetic by using a “lifestyle” image of people engaged in the act of reading and/or writing (typically with large smiles on their faces). Facebook Terms of Service prevent us from placing our actual URL in this cover graphic (although if you look around at other Facebook pages, there are plenty of companies doing it anyway), so we simply say “Visit our website for details” and then include a link to our site in the “About” box directly below the Avatar graphic.
This “Visit our Website” wording is also helpful on YouTube, which also superimposes a URL over whatever Cover Graphic you upload. YouTube’s Channel lay-out changed recently by “borrowing” the same “Cover Graphic” concept from Facebook. In their case, however, the cover graphic specifications are more demanding because YouTube accounts for various platforms, resolutions, and even high-retina displays like the iPad 2+. All of this falls under the realm of “Responsive Website Design” which, if I find time, I will begin to blog about more in the future as Outskirts Press begins to make that design transition for all our online properties. But, in the meantime, just know that creating the cover graphic for YouTube requires an initially HUGE graphic that is then dynamically cropped to appear correctly on multiple devices. Easier said than done, but we ultimately end up with this.
You can see that the actual “content” of the graphic is respectively small in this sample due to the requirements of the Responsive Website Design specifications for this graphic. In other words, this graphic has to look just as good on an iPhone being held vertically, which decreases the width of this graphic substantially.
Next comes Linked-In, which fortunately, doesn’t yet concern itself with Responsive Website Design specifications for its uploads (although I imagine that is simply a matter of time), so we’re safe uploading a fairly cut-n-dry image of a set height and width:
Pinterest is next, and given the constraints set out by their “Boards” we’re unable to use optimal graphics for the Board page, leaving us with this:
That leaves three other self publishing social media channels for Outskirts Press: Twitter, Self-Publishing News, and Google +. They don’t fall so easily into the above branding category, so I’ll discuss them next time…