Five Small Steps You Can Take Right Now to Better Your Brand
Need a brand boost?
You've come to the right place.
Now, first I'm going to stress that branding takes time, effort, blood and tears. (Okay maybe not always blood, but tears aren't out of the question.) It isn't something that can be built overnight. It's an active ingredient that should be worked on and used in every single move your business makes.
That being said, here are a few easy and quick steps you can do on your own TODAY that can help you look more like a well-oiled branded machine, even if you're definitely not. Having your brand defined before you delve into websites, logos, and social media will make staying consistent so much easier. So if you have yet to do that, these steps won't solve all your problems, but hey, it's a start!
1. Consistent bios/profile photos
The key component to branding is consistency, and one sure fire way to confuse your audience and customers is to have inconsistency in your web platforms. Make sure your profile photos are the same if not extremely similar on all of your social media pages. The moment a potential client goes from your Facebook to your Instagram and sees a different profile photo, they are going to be unsure they are in the right place and you can lose them just like that. Same goes for your bios. You can tweak the bios to match your platforms a little, but try and keep the key messages the same.
For example, I'm on your website and it's got your logo super big and your about section says "We are creative content providers whose mission is to generate eye-catching visuals for our clients."
Then I go to type in your Instagram, only now it's just a photo of a person as the profile photo and the bio says "Colorado native, coffee lover, I take photos ;)." Now I'm really confused about what you do and if this is the same business and I will probably just leave your page.
This small change can make a big difference on keeping your audience's attention.
2. Use the same presets/filters
If you're wondering how your favorite brands have seamless Instagram feeds that just look, PRETTY, it's more than likely because they use professional images and use the same editing for all of their photos.
When building your branding platform, **which should be your FIRST step before building a website, designing a logo, and posting on social media***, you should have decided on a general color scheme you plan to use for your business. These colors will be present in your visuals, logo, website, advertisements, EVERYWHERE. The point of this is to create an overarching look that your audience can immediately recognize and remember without having to read anything. It also is a huge part of creating a cohesive visually appealing grid on Instagram.
If you haven't chosen a color palette yet, take your time to research colors and what they mean. These need to align with your branding values. For example, if you're in finance, you might choose green to be in your palette to trigger the brain to think of money. There's TONS of reasons to pick certain colors, and the reason why isn't as important as picking some and sticking to them!
If you do have a color scheme, great! I shall get back on track here with the point.... :)
One change you can make today is to pick either a preset package or filter set to use on all of your photos. This can be done through apps such as VSCO and Snapseed. Or if you use Lightroom to edit your photos, you can download presets from photographers online, or create your own! These presets and filters should be selected by figuring out which ones bring out your brand colors from your photos. They should also fit the vibe of your business. If your branding is based on being bright and cheery, your filters should also enhance your photos in a way that brings out the light and color! If your brand is more moody and dark, then you can choose a filter that darkens shadows and dulls bright colors.
Play around and choose some that feel right for you! You'll start to see a huge difference on your Instagram feed, and others will notice that you're keeping a more consistent look.
3. Decide on a voice.
There are multiple levels to choosing a brand voice. And I won't go into all of them because well, we'd be here a while.
The type of brand voice I am going to discuss right now is one that you can change right now: deciding if you are a we or me. In other words, you can't talk in third person one minute and switch it to first the next. If your business is YOU and will never be anyone else, then obviously you're not going to talk in third person. (please don't)
If you are a small business that either has at least one other employee other than yourself, or you plan to add employees in the future, or if you use contractors, volunteers, and have other people that help you at all, it may be a good idea to start talking like it. Starting with third person helps you set yourself up for the future. It separates you from the business.
Now I'm not saying that you can't come into the conversation and start talking, you just need to make an introduction when you do. Being personable is huge, and everyone loves to hear from the owner, just make sure to separate the two in a way that isn't confusing to your audience.
4. Quit being absent.
How many social media apps are you on?
How many are you actually posting and interacting with your audience with on a regular basis?
I'm going to make this simple, not being on Twitter is better than being on Twitter and not showing up to the party.
If you think you can balance three different social media platforms gracefully enough that your followers don't feel ignored or forgotten, then by all means please be on all apps that you can.
But if you don't have the time, then focus on one app at a time. You love Instagram and that's where you target customer is? Then get really really good at Instagram first, then move to other social media apps when you can give them the proper attention.
Also, this should be obvious, but REPLY TO COMMENTS AND MESSAGES. Interact with your customers and followers. Not only does it increase engagement which helps you in the algorithm, but it makes your customers feel heard.
5. Stop using Instagram as a storefront.
Lastly, another step you can take today to better your brand is to stop using Instagram as another store or place to "market." Is the end goal to sell your product or service? Absolutely, but think about the people YOU follow on social media. What makes you hit the follow button instead of just hopping on and off their page? It's normally because they produce content that you want to see everyday, and that generally doesn't consist of ads. Use your branding platform to showcase your services and products in unique ways that will benefit your followers. Create a community, or post content that educates or inspires. Just try to keep from constantly pushing product with the caption "These are $40 on the site now!" Get creative, have fun, and communicate your brand as well as the values your business consists of.
These small changes will get you on the right path towards a consistent looking brand. If you are still struggling to make these changes, that may be because your brand has yet to be defined in a way that you know how to communicate it. You'll be amazed how easy it gets to create content and communicate with your audiences once you've gotten brand messages down. Need help with this? Let's chat.
Still not sure where you stand in your branding? I've got just the quiz for you, I created it myself. It only takes one minute!
Thank you all so much for reading, and if you decided to take on these changes, reach out to me and let me know how it went! I'm always available if you have any questions as well.