To communicate a consistent brand message online, you need to do more than have a website and post on social media. You need to create a plan to ensure that each online outlet you use offers communication that builds consumer confidence in your organization.

Check out the Competition

Look at brands that are similar to yours and evaluate them both as competition and as you think a consumer might evaluate them.

Imagine Your Ideal Consumer

To create a profile of your ideal consumer, start with the basic facts (age, gender, location, income range, and level of education) and then move onto information about who this person is and how this person thinks. To expand further, consider that person’s goals, interests, and challenges they face that your organization can address. You can even think about who that person would follow on social media (besides your organization) or if your ideal consumer would even use social media. (It can be easy to forget that social media is not the only way people use the internet. There are some folks who just visit websites and you don’t want to forget those people.)

Set the Tone

The tone of your website and social media messages should be in line with the overall tone of your business communications and your mission. There are some organizations that are known for being funny and snarky online and if that fits in with your mission, go for it. Other companies prefer to strike a friendly or informative tone. You want to be consistent across the board: for example, having a friendly, upbeat website and a snarky Twitter feed might confuse your customers.

Remember that Branding Starts Within

Before you can convince your customers of the quality of your brand, you need to make sure that people within the company are aware. If your marketing or public relations department concentrates outward and only works to bring awareness to customers, you are missing out on having employees as ambassadors. People within your company need to be educated on the mission and tone you expect them to use. You should make brand awareness a part of new employee training and update all employees as things change. The newest logo should be available in a shared folder in the organization database for all to use. And employees should have their e-mail signature include the logo and your tagline so that every e-mail communication has your brand messaging included.

Even if certain employees are the only ones tasked with creating text for the website, online ads, and the company social media accounts, all employees can be encouraged to make positive mention of the company, its public events, or company-created hashtags using their own social media pages.

Your logo, mission statement, and tagline can all serve to guide online communication if you have a communication plan that you share with employees. Periodically review the plan with employee input to make sure it is still relevant. Also, review consumer-facing online communication to ensure that the messaging aligns with the tone you’ve outlined.