Let me preface this by saying: I am not expert on branding by any means. Over the course of the last six months though, I've received so many messages from women asking about how to brand themselves on social media. This is why branding is important and this is what I teach them:
First, why? Why did I start to focus on branding? I am a Consultant for a direct sales company that has beautiful social media graphics that are easily accessible to me. I can take pictures and videos of my life on my phone and upload them to social media in .2 seconds. Why would I go out of my way and create more work for myself? Well, friends--I don't want to create more noise on social media. If it's not aesthetically pleasing, if it's not original, and if it doesn't come from a place of impacting me emotionally, why is it there taking up space? Also, I had a hard time reconciling the fact that most of my direct sales business came from social media, and I didn't want to feel like I was simply regurgitating the company's brand, but rather the brand of the company was a part of ME and MY lifestyle.
The process of personal branding for me was an evolution of sorts, with lots of mistakes and learning curves along the way. I'll teach you all of my tricks and tips so that you can avoid the frustration and time spent, and get straight to work to get a clean, polished, super-unique presence that is all yours on social media.
Step 1: Pick an aesthetic. I started with my favorite color--pink. In most of my photos, pink will hit you in the face, or at least be incorporated in some way. Go to Pinterest and type any color you want with the keyword "aesthetic" after it. Countless beautiful, artistic photos will pop up that will get your create juices flowing. See what catches your eye and feels like YOU.
Step 2: Think of 5 aspects of your lifestyle that you want to incorporate. Here are mine: my family (#girlmom), my business (#bossbabe), all things girly (rose all day, unicorns, lip gloss), spirituality and self development, and pop culture fandom (Bravo=life). Go ahead and think of your five aspects or bubbles and right them down. From here on out, if something doesn't fit into that bubble somehow, don't post it.
Step 3: Learn to take aesthetically-pleasing photos. You don't have to be a pro. You can use an iPhone and take breathtaking photos. Just be cognizant of your surroundings, and follow these tips:
a. Make sure you have good natural lighting. When in doubt, face the sunshine.
b. Set your camera to the square setting feature. This just makes it easy for IG uploads and keeps all of your photos uniform
c. Be cognizant of your backgrounds. Look what gorgeous textures you have around you to utilize: maybe a pillow, a fuzzy blanket, a brick wall, a pot of beautiful flowers.
d. Get up close! The best way to avoid a messy background is to never have it to begin with. Get close to the object you want to present
Step 4: Plan. I stockpile a lot of my photos and ideas, so that I have them for a rainy day. Ask yourself, how many posts am I willing to do a day? My minimum is two for Instagram and three for Facebook. They are two totally different platforms, with two totally different networks, so my content is not the same. ***Side note for people who just read that last sentence, and were like, "What the what? They are different! How?!" Well, IG is not where I will blatantly promote my business. It is for gorgeous photos, with short, fun text to accompany. It's to promote your lifestyle, not necessarily the products you hustle. Now, IG stories? Super fair game for all the product hustling! I don't know if this is true to for everyone, but I have seen that my IG network doesn't really respond to my business posts, but I get a ton of likes when I post my own actual face (I know, selfies...ugghhh), my sweet babes, or my dogs. IG is to see people's faces is what I've learned. Maybe a fun quote, here and there! Facebook is where I actively post and explain the products I sell, post pics and videos of my friends and family, and share articles or pop culture tidbits that I find funny or interesting.****. Okay, so back to my original thought--you have to plan. If you plan on posting twice a day, you are going to need to have content, right?! The most organic way to do this is to look in the beauty of the mess of your everyday life. I have my phone glued to me at all times, and if something pops up that catches my eye, I just take the dang photo or video. I'll go back through my camera roll in the evening and see if anything is a winner!
Step 5: Edit your photos. So, now you have a camera full of images you've captured, and you have some winners! Here is my step by step guide on how to edit using your iPhone:
1. Make sure you crop your picture into a square (this is just my personal preference and it fits for IG)
2. Crop out any background that doesn't need to be there
3. Use an app to adjust the filter. You can use IG, but there are a ton of other filter apps that are amazing. I'm almost embarrassed to tell you what I edit 95% of my photos with, but here goes: it's called YouCam Perfect and it's the filter called Candy. It's one of those apps where you can put makeup on yourself and all that other silly stuff! I just love the pink hue it offers, as one of my major branding aspects is using the color pink.
Walaaaaa! Easy peasy! Some other editing apps that I love to use are:
--Crop Pic (to get a white border)
---Word Swag (to add text to photos)
---Spark Post (to add text to photos, to create invites)
---Photo Mirror (if you ever want that mirror image selfie)
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to trust your gut and know that if what you are creating is coming from a authentic and inspirational place, you can't go wrong. Ask yourself, "Is this noise, or does this add value?" before you post. Make sure that your content always stays within those five bubbles of your lifestyle. It certainly takes more time to run your social media accounts through the lens of having your own personal brand, but if you are running a business that is social media driven, it is well worth the effort. YOU get to shine through, and people will definitely notice.