Often overlooked, social media is a vital element of your brand identity – which is why consistency is so important. With all the channels out there (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest, to name a few) the concept of maintaining a consistent online presence seems nearly impossible.

But social media branding is necessary for you to achieve engagement and drive visitors to your website. Before your online presence can reach its full potential, you need to create consistency on all social media channels.

Here are a few steps you can take to maintain a consistent brand identity:

1. Build your brand voice.

The first stop on the path to consistent branding is determining your brand’s voice. Ask yourself how you want your business to interact across every channel. Do you think your company is all business, or will a more lighthearted tone be appropriate?

Social media is simply an extension of your brand that enables you to connect with your audience on an emotional level. Use this opportunity to be creative with your brand tone, developing a voice that is uniquely yours – with consistency, of course.

2. Cultivate a consistent image.

You don’t get a free pass just because every social channel is slightly different from the other. You need to present yourself to each platform in a consistent manner to build brand recognition. Use your brand color palettes across all channels to make your content easily identifiable. Visuals significantly drive engagement and reach on social media, so don’t discount the value of consistent imagery.

3. Don’t neglect your channels.

After a while, you may be tempted to ignore certain accounts in favor of platforms that have higher engagement. While you certainly don’t need to use every social network out there, you should still maintain an active presence on the channels you’ve chosen. With scheduling tools and a monthly content calendar, you never have to run out of content ideas.

If you start to get in a rut of creating fresh content, remember you can always repurpose old content if it’s relevant to your audience. That article you shared on Twitter a few months ago might be the perfect read for your Facebook audience this month – don’t be afraid to share it!

4. Engage with your audience.

Whether through a mention on Twitter or a Facebook comment, it’s a fact that consumers use social media to voice brand feedback. No matter which channel they contact you through, customers expect an acknowledgment of their concerns. Use social monitoring to observe any mentions of your brand, and be sure to respond consistently across all platforms.

As you strive to maintain social media brand consistency, keep in mind that each channel has a unique set of features that enable you to reach your audience in a new and different manner. When you have clear messaging and a consistent brand identity on social media, you can begin to interact with your consumers in various ways.