So this post is mainly for people who own their own business, freelancers and anyone who use social media for their work in general. Before I start, let me explain my background in business marketing:
About 2 years ago, my Instagram follower count was nearly 1,000.
I had a Facebook account with hundreds of Facebook "friends", a growing YouTube channel and was very active with my work. Mainly this was because I worked with an amazing company, LimeLight by Alcone (now called LimeLife by Alcone). While working with this company, I learned a lot of tricks for marketing on social media. Everything from how to make Facebook LIVES to interacting with clients, was what we learned with the company. A HUGE part of that marketing training was BRANDING. We actually had to abide by strict rules on how we branded our business, especially since we were using the company's name, who's father company, Alcone Co. was a GIGANTIC granddaddy in the Professional world of makeup & catered to makeup artists, actors, dancers and big name buyers in the film industry.
A lot has changed since then, but as with every learning experience, I want share what I learned so your business can thrive as did mine.
These tips are basics that apply to all businesses, that everyone should know, and these basics will help your business grow, ONLY if you are consistent! Let's go!
1) Know Your Brand
How familiar are you with the term "branding"?
Branding is your brand. It's your style, your colors, your fonts, your photography, and really what you're known for. It's a consistent theme of your product or business. For an example, look at the contrasting differences below from Urban Decay Cosmetics to 100% Pure Cosmetics. What do you notice?
Urban Decay is more edgy, a little darker, Lisa Frank feeling.
100% Pure is a clean, polished & clean brand.
In this post, we are going to keep referring back to these photos, so study them carefully.
2) Choose a Professional Profile Photo
What do both brands have in common?
Notice both for their profile photo have their business logo, very professional and easily recognizable by clients rather that having their CEO's photo or a huge staff of employees photo as their profile. For big businesses this makes sense, but if you're a small freelancer and don't have a logo yet, there's nothing wrong with having a professional, (no selfie vibe at all!!) photo for your profile photo.
One of my profile photos I keep going back to on my Instagram page, is a nice black and white one that a Professional photographer took while collaborating with them on a photoshoot. It's been a staple for my brand. Nothing beats getting a photographer to photograph some nice shots of you working or a nice headshot that best represents your brand.
Dark, sloppy pixelated selfies are not professional, they may give the impression you're lazy and don't care, on top of giving the impression you aren't hard working and may not care about cleanliness. Not attractive, unacceptable and it's not going to attract the clients you want to do business with.
#3) Color Theme
This is a fun one! Notice the examples above again as a reference:
The colors for each brand are consistent.
Urban Decay has as their main theme, a dark purple, black, and white thing going on. 100% Pure chose a nice rose petal pink and white. And we see that theme all through their photos and website.
So colors are a HUGE part of your brand. What main colors have you chosen for your brand? 4 or less is perfect! The most professional shades are black, white, gray and perhaps a gold or nice pastel color depending on your brand. Black and white are classic and you can never go wrong with them. This is probably going to be the most difficult of decisions to make. You want your business to stand out while still being updated and trendy. You want to look professional and organized, but with so many beautiful colors to choose from, what do you do? Pinterest may help as well as Google Images. It may take time for you to know what you like, and that's okay. Your business is growing, so be patient.
How important are fonts and lettering?
Again, look at the reference brands above.
Fonts and lettering tell a big story about you and your brand. It's all up to you.
A few rules of the thumb are to NEVER USE BOLD CAPPED LETTERING, WHY IS THAT?
Bold lettering could give a very negative impression, pushing perspective clients away and that's a no-no. Bold lettering may only be used when announcing a SALE or something IMPORTANT.
That way, when something big is happening, clients are more likely to stop and read the post and act on it.
So lettering is your choice, it's your style, your brand, you make the call. And play with it, see what you like and have fun!
#5) Know What Kind of Audience You Want to Attract
What kind of people do you think the above brands are attracting?
Perhaps makeup artists, makeup junkies, beauty lovers, hair stylists, teens, tweens, and all women of different ages. True, but both brands are still attracting different types, let's look at them closely:
Mainly geared toward the edgy, the risk takers, the lovers of dramatic makeup. Their brand originated in the 1990's and has climbed the marketing quite well since then.
Mainly attracting vegan, plant-based lovers of the earth and environment. The women who love this brand may not wear a lot of makeup, but believe in the best ingredients that feed their skin and isn't harmful for the environment. The contrasting brand above, would perhaps be distasteful and they wouldn't purchase from them.
So how do you attract a certain kind of group of people? Simple, USE HASHTAGS
Hashtags, my good old little buddies who got me to nearly 1,000 followers at one time in history. These little guys are awesome! And they are so many times overlooked by small businesses! You guys, start using them! Please! Hashtags will be discussed in part 2 of this branding series on my blog. Stay tuned!
Have a lovely day and thanks for reading,
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