Looking at Branding yourself?
How to do it!
How not to do it!
Social media, in the years since its development and rise to popularity, has become a mass tool for anything from marketing your new business, to creating a personal page for your dog and their daily activities.
Don’t be fooled by the range of prospects that social media provides and immediately discount its power.
Social Networking Sites, such as Twitter or Instagram, are incredible tools for getting the message you’d like shared with the world, out to the world, and faster than ever before.
Creating a successful online brand for yourself is one of the first key steps in maintaining a simultaneously satisfying start to your personal goals when it comes to social media, as well as reaching and connecting with your target audience.
However, with all of the variety that is present online, and the constant shifting in preference for specific topics, products, and people, starting a successfully operated page for yourself may conflict with allowing yourself to maintain your own personality and beliefs while online. Observing the way that trends shift, people lose interest, and audiences wain, may make you desire to start fresh and parrot those brands that have suddenly obtained mass success from being ahead of audience trends.
In reality, jumping around from subject manner to subject manner, changing your entire brand appearance, and only sticking to trends without maintaining the message that your started your project with, will not lead to success; it will confuse your audience, making it more difficult for them to connect with you as a person or a product.
The key here, is balance.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BRAND YOURSELF
Imagine that yourself as an entrepreneur. You have a new product that you really want people to like and buy so that you can gain some recognition and potentially make a fair profit. When going about crafting a successful social media based brand and profile, you have to first establish a couple of foundational aspects in order to maintain character, consistency, and creativity (the wonderful three C’s). Without these three incredibly important aspects, you are never going to be able to keep clear what the message is that you’re trying to get across, what you want your audience to take from your work, and how you are able to connect with that audience by maintaining a certain level of relevance and trend in order to encourage more people to be enticed by what you’re trying to get across.
In order to properly execute this first step, you’re going to have to start with a bit of soul searching. Whether you’re looking to develop a new line of clothing, advertise for your new restaurant, or simply sell yourself as a marketable employee for a job prospect, you have to know your skills forwards and backwards, and what makes you different enough to get the followers you need to grow your brand.
You can start by asking yourself a variety of questions that could lead you down the right path to a solution on becoming socially savvy:
What am I primarily interested in?
Is your page for a social movement, business, or personal brand use?
What makes your page different from the millions of other pages that people stumble across in their newsfeeds on a daily basis?
What makes your page worthy of a follow, like, share, or comment?
What kinds of fresh content are you providing, that won’t just become the “digital junk” people scroll past in a quest for cute cat videos?
Once you’ve established an answer for these questions, you can establish the character you’re attempting to craft on this profile, get a niche you think will stand out, and start moving forward in your endeavor.
Great. You have a character that you’re trying to get your followers and potential followers to buy into. You’ve gained a solid footing in the community of, let’s say, deep fried oreos and donuts. Your quality photographs of beautifully decorated donuts is going completely viral, and celebrities across the country are re-posting and liking your stuff, urging everyone to get their hands on one of your products.
Everything is going great, so of course, you’re reveling in your success, and scrolling through your own Instagram explore page to see that the new rage is all about kale salads and detox smoothies. Immediately, you run a couple of quick searches to confirm your worst fears: donuts are out and detox is in.
Obviously, you panic.
Everything that you sell screams the opposite of what the new “trending” idea is, so your first thought is to buy a juicer, throw away all of your deep fryers, and compose a new method and branding for your store.
In this moment, stop yourself.
Yes, the trend of what people believe to be the next great thing is not currently in your favor, and your social page reflects something that may not be at the top of the charts right now, but that does not mean that you need to scrap every post, change all of your ideas, and become a brand new style of page.
The reason your initial success was gained was BECAUSE of your quality of donuts, and the specialization you’ve established in the deliciously non-nutritious fried food industry.
Scraping the brand you have and seeking out a new one will lead your original followers to potentially un-follow you and seek their fried food elsewhere.
Changing ideas and jumping around all the time makes your followers not want to follow you anymore, simply because they can’t keep up with what you’re trying to say. Stick with what you got, it will go better for you in the long run.
BE CREATIVE – But don’t be a dumb marketer!
Just about everyone recognizes these classic click-bait tactics
“CLICK HERE FOR INSTANT FOLLOWERS”
“YOU LIKE PUPPIES? CLICK HERE!”
“SHE DID WHAT? YOU’LL NEVER GUESS!”
These pages may win some people in with their foolishly ambiguous titles and language.
But these tactics quickly get found out!
By all means, you want people to notice your well written article – but what ever you do, don’t use Click Bait to do it!
If you are looking for the perfect way to drive your audience nuts and can’t think of anything, look no further than an annoying click bait title. It’s not creative, and it won’t bring you the brand success that you think it will. Sure, you may get a lot of original clicks, but nothing drives someone more angry than clicking on a click bait title and finding a post that has relatively nothing to do with the title and that they’ve been tricked into wasting moments of their life on a page they really didn’t actually care about.
If we return back to the donuts example, and you have your heart set on selling the best donuts in the world, cultivate posts that show your audience that you have the ability to do it.
Learn about photography and editing software to make your photos the best that they can be, show people your brand, your specializations, and where your heart is.
A lot of really good photos can be taken on recent smartphone cameras, and edited with fairly cheap applications you can download onto those phones. Check out these Apps!
These days, there’s no excuse for your feed not to be creative and specialized and crafted with an artistic level of care.
People get tired of being bombarded with ad after ad, and seeing photos that lack a certain depth or creative quality. Do your donuts justice, and take good pictures of them. Artsy pictures. Pictures even the donuts themselves would be proud of.
WHAT IT MEANS TO STAY UNBRANDED
You’re probably thinking that the title of this section appears as if it is going to undo everything that was mentioned in the previous section, simply because it sounds like it would be counter-intuitive to move backwards after establishing a foundation for a brand. If you know your product, your audience, your goals, and you’re maintain the creativity that you need in order to keep all of them interested, this should be all wrapped up neatly and tied together; all this new knowledge pack safely away for your journey into being a successful social media star. But in all this talk about making sure that you cater to your audience, while maintaining your brand and your ideas, you cannot forget to also maintain yourself.
Sure, social media is a massive concept when it comes to keeping it updated frequently and making the best content, but all of this can become overwhelming. Not only do we as brands, because yes, you yourself are a brand that you are maintaining on a daily basis, in the real world, but we also have to keep up with an online persona that may be starkingly different from the one that we choose to maintain offline. Sure, you may love making galaxy painted donuts, but that is not the only thing in your life that you put value on. There is so much more to a person than just one idea, passion, or hobby.
Believe it or not, your audience knows and wants to see that too.
So while branding yourself for the public is wonderful, there’s a couple of things to remember about staying rather UNBRANDED, and quite human in the process.
You are always going to be your most important advocate. If you need to take a break from being online or caught up in the digital world of branding, marketing, and likes and comments, you are allowed to do so. As soon as you close your computer or shut your phone off, the digital world fades for a little while. Your audience of followers will thank you for it when you come back revitalized and ready to get back into the swing of things.
Offer your audience glimpses into your life that make you a human being. Yes, you’ve established an online persona that contains features and elements that you are trying to get your audience to enjoy, but remember that they know that you are a human being just as you do, and that’s something they want to see too.
It makes you relatable, flesh behind a glowing screen. If you can connect with your audience on the most fundamental level humans can connect, through compassion and relatability, your brand will be twice as successful too.
Understand that not everyone will love what you are posting, commenting, or trying to put out there. Do not get caught up in the idea that you have to please everyone in order to be a success, simply, you have to be yourself, and nothing more, nothing less.
Social media is becoming more and more of a daily part of our lives, intricately winding itself into our portfolios for work, resumes, and general livelihood. In the end, as important as it’s become, we cannot forget that underneath that digital persona is a real person who is striving to thrive and be successful just like anyone else. The tools we use and the legacies we leave in trying to be successful in our attempts to make something worthwhile are only matched by the notion that we are individually unique in our brands and in our brains.
The key is balancing them both.
Author Bio: Vanessa Frances has spent the last two years of her life in charge of the Instagram account @ProjectHeal, a nonprofit dedicated to providing treatment grants to those suffering with eating disorders, which she has helped to obtain a massively successful audience. She is the author of the book “laundry”, an active blogger for a variety of digital news organizations, and a junior ambassador for ProjectHeal.