Let’s face it: whether you own a business or whether you’re someone who dabbles in social media for fun, in today’s crazy world, we have all become our own brands. While it’s up to each of us to decide whether we want to grow our individual brands or whether we want to stay as private as possible, at the end of the day, many of us are living life out loud whether we like it or not. Over the past couple of months, I’ve received a bunch of messages from people asking me how to grow their brands on social media from the ground up. Since I’ve enjoyed connecting with them so much individually, I’ve decided to put together an article today honing in on the ‘Top 5 Ways To Build Your Brand’ this year too.
1) Glossy Photos Are More Important Than You Think
The #1 rule I would tell anyone looking to grow their brand and following this year would be that professional-looking photography is key.
Think about the feeds you love to follow outside of your family and friends’ feeds.
What makes you press ‘follow?’ What makes you double tap and engage? What do you gravitate towards in terms of aesthetics, color scheme, etc?
I personally gravitate towards beautiful, clean imagery and a distinct color scheme that really flows image-to-image.
I also love scoping out feeds that feature organic, relatable personalities who inspire me and have a lot of engagement.
If a particular feed does not have professional, glossy photos, chances are I won’t follow them or want to get to know their personality more because they simply aren’t visually appealing.
2) Get The Best Out Of Your Technology
We’re lucky that our phones today can take such gorgeous photos. Likewise, I’m all for using them to build our businesses and followings as much as we can!
However, some people take really blurry photos on their phones because they don’t clean off the lens, pay attention to light or know how to add a filter that will really amp the image up.
That said, if your iPhone photos do not look professional, as I shared above, clear, professional photos are key. If you’re one of these people, it’s time to pick another means of nailing the photo. Sharing some tips for you below:
Buying Your Own Camera Doesn’t Mean Breaking The Bank:
Depending on the type of business you’re looking to grow, I’d personally suggest saving up to buy a DSLR for as little as a few hundred bucks. That way, you can learn to take some great photos that will really start to measure up and you can experiment with composition, lighting, etc.
I wanted a 5D Mark III for years but could never afford it. Recently, I bit the bullet and scooped up a much less expensive Rebel. I’ve already learned so much and I’m loving it!
If I had waited for the camera I thought I needed, I never would have the skills I have now. Someday, I can always upgrade but for now, I’ve found a nice, inexpensive keeper.
Hire A Trustworthy Photographer:
If a new camera feels too pricey or completely out of your element, you can also hire a local photographer for $50.00 or less per look to snap some photos of you.
If you live in a smaller city or town, you can try finding one on Instagram through searching hashtags or your current location.
Wedding photographers tend to be excellent lifestyle photographers. You can also put an ad out on Facebook, Instagram or Craigslist and I’m sure you’ll get a bunch of interest.
3) Batch-Capture Your Content
Once you’ve honed in on your photographer, ask if they’re open to shooting 5-6 looks for you in different local locations.
From there, work with them to find some great, colorful walls or other backdrops that really fit you and your brand.
You’ll be surprised as to how much content you will be able to stretch 5-6 looks–especially because all of your backgrounds will help make it look like you’ve been shooting for a number of different days.
I personally love shooting all of my looks in natural light at golden hour because the light is so warm and beautiful. During the summer months in Los Angeles, 5:30pm is my sweet spot to start shooting and I’m usually done by 7:30pm. In the winter, it’s much earlier.
4) Pre-Plan Your Feed & Posts
I used to upload photos to my Instagram feed in the moment. I wouldn’t plan out the photos coming down the pipeline and instead, I’d spend way too much time trying to find the next perfect photo and caption. Now that I’m a mom, I simply don’t have that kind of time.
When I finally downloaded the app PLANN a few months back, it completely changed my social media life. Now, I almost always pre-plan my posts at least a week in advance and it’s so liberating. This allows me to pre-organize my feed so that I can pin-point photos that fit my color-scheme, aesthetic etc.
If something happens in the moment that I want to post, of course I can add it in too. That said, in using apps like Plann, I know exactly what will come before and after it and this is such a big time-saver.
I really do believe that the more strategic you are with your social media planning, the more you will be able to grow your following, find your niche and the more efficient you will be.
5) Instagram Stories Are Key
The Instagram algorithm has been harder than ever to catch up with this year. If our posts don’t garner engagement immediately, it’s so hard for our followers to even see our content that we work so hard on.
If you are running a business or are looking to grow yourself into your own brand, make sure you switch your Instagram over to a business account in your settings.
This will allow you to see some really helpful analytics regarding your followers, views, the best days to post, etc.
Swipe Up Feature:
From there, if you have over 10K followers on Instagram, you’re also able to enable the ‘swipe up’ feature in your Instagram Stories. This is incredibly helpful because you can add links to your photos and videos that can send your readers directly to a store to buy a look you’re loving, to your blog to buy a product from your company or anywhere else that is helpful for you and your business. Ultimately, the ‘swipe up’ feature can really help you to monetize your content.
If you do not have 10K followers, you can still engage by posting products and asking your followers to DM you for more information. This will allow you to connect with your followers and hopefully, it will also help you to garner more of a connection with them while you continue to grow your brand.
If you made it to the end of this incredibly long post, mazel! I have so many more tips where these came from that I look forward to collating into another post in the near future.
In the meantime, I hope the above will help you in some way as you continue to build your brand.
I’d love to hear from you about the challenges and/or successes you’re facing in growing your brand as I’m sure I can relate! Please feel free to comment below or shoot me a message if you have any further questions. More than happy to connect and help! Carpe Diem, #girlbosses!
Photography: Azusa Takano