How to develop a style guide for social media

DSM Digital School of Marketing - style guide

The term ‘style guide’ refers to a guide which s a reference point which sets standards for writing documents within your organisation. The focal point of the style guide is not normally a matter of ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ grammar or style. However, it rater provides guidance for instances where a  number of possibilities exist for the presentation of written matter.

Style guides provide you with the opportunity to present your brand in a coherent way. These guides assist with ensuring that a number of different authors make use of one tone. In addition, style guides help save time as well as resources by providing an instant answer when questions arise about preferred style.

With social media often being the first point of contact that a customer has with your brand, you need to make sure that the communication that is put out on these platforms is consistent with the ethos of your company. Hence, a style guide is necessary in order to ensure consistency.

Contents of a style guide

Brand Identity

The first thing that a style guide for social media should contain is branding elements, such as the following:

  • Logo Guide – Guide for size, colourisation, and proper placement.
  • Colour Scheme – Specific primary and secondary colours and combinations.
  • Font Guide – What typestyles to use, and when they’re appropriate.
  • Company Template Design – Positioning of logo, address information on letterhead, business cards, press releases.
  • Web Guidelines

Image and design guidelines

The images as well as design assets that you use on social media should be carefully aligned with the visuals that your company uses everywhere else. This includes your branded profile pictures as well as header images in addition to any content that you publish such as photos, videos or, alternatively, GIFs.

In the style guide, include a list of optimal image sizes for each social platform that you use in addition to guidelines for the type of visual content that should be used on social.

Communication Tools

This section of the style guide should contain pointers on the following:

  • Voice and style guide – Guides the tone of your company. Formal, casual, approachable, technical? Describes how you call employees, how to write (or not) product names.
  • Advertising and Communications Guide – Provides templates and guidelines for creating advertising collateral.

Social Media Guide or Policy

Your social media style guide is a fantastic place to remind all players in your company why you’re on social media. Indicate the goals that you’re working towards as well as the link to your overall social media marketing plan and strategy.


There are a lot of words as well as phrases which are unique to your business or industry and that your brand might use on social media. Include a list of these as well as provide guidelines for how to deal with them.


This section of the social media style should cover any and all guidelines for the posts published by your brand. While a lot of these may seem like small in addition to unnecessary details, these paint a much larger picture. As with any other channel, how your business communicates on social media is a reflection of your brand. This means that you want to ensure the voice being used is as consistent as it is unique.


Put together a list of all of the relevant hashtags which your business makes use of. This includes hashtags you utilise for certain products or campaigns as well as ones that you join in on in order to ramp up conversation and engagement.


Making use of emojis on social media is a fabulous way in order to say more in but using fewer characters as well as having some fun with your social messaging. Using emojis has also been shown to increase engagement however this is only if these are used correctly. Outline the context for when (as well as how) your company should use emojis.


Plan when you would schedule a post as opposed to publishing it in the moment. Create the cadence that your scheduled posts should follow in addition to the number of posts which should be scheduled each day.

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