We have a confession to make. About two years ago, There was a term coined in our office that, at the time, seemed acceptable; however, over the past few months we’ve become aware of how toxic this phrase really is. Let’s give a little background.

Oftentimes, when clients would hire our agency, the “immediate needs” list hit on day one. We found ourselves trying to schedule an initial photo shoot to meet fast-approaching deadlines without the proper time to strategically plan for the photo shoot, much less build in an appropriate turnaround time to ensure the images were of the highest quality. We understand that in many cases this is unavoidable; however, it led to a photo shoot day conundrum where our creative team needed quality images for print and digital collateral, and our social team needed quality images for engaging content. It seemed like there just wasn’t enough time for both. During these shoots, we began to use the phrase “social images”, meaning that we would have our photographers focus on 15-20 excellent photos for primary “branding” use in print collateral and the website, and would focus less on images that were “just for social media”.

After the photo shoot, our team would take the hundreds of images that we captured, send the best 15-20 to our creative team for further editing, and ship the leftover images to our social team. Admittedly, some of this separation could be blamed on the turnaround time pressure that both our branding and social team felt, but honestly, a lot of it came from a lack of focus on the impact of branding through social media.

I would like to officially go on record to say that there should be ZERO separation of quality between a brand’s visual voice via their print collateral, website, billboards, etc. and their social media channels. In all reality, over the course of a year, more people will see, interact and engage with your brand on social media than the majority of other marketing platforms. If this is the case, then why place less of an emphasis on social media branding?

Our consumers are the ones that ultimately control the reviews they leave and the stories they tell, but it is our job is to help guide and confirm their experiences, perceptions, and expectations through positive brand touch points along their decision journey. That’s why it is so vital to produce and place top quality images and content where these consumers will be interacting with your brand the most… social media.

Separating social media from branding is not only creating an identity crisis for how a healthy brand should operate, but will eventually plague a company’s long-term success. It’s time we close the gap and begin to put our best foot forward where it matters the most!