How To Create A Consistent And Authentic Brand Story On Social
In our new series, Selfmade U, we’ll tackle the most common questions and pain points that come up for business owners with tips and tricks from Selfmade, a virtual business coaching program, led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and sponsored by Office Depot OfficeMax. We’ll hear from Selfmade alum, business coaches, and Brit herself on what it takes to run a successful business and make it as an entrepreneur.
Building a brand story that resonates with your audience takes patience, creativity, and authenticity. For Tashelle Darby, founder of IrieVeda, creator of organic and allergen-free spice blends, her brand story was personal. “My journey began nine years ago on Thanksgiving when my son had an allergic reaction,” she recalls. After a visit to the emergency room, she learned that her son was allergic to the top nine food allergens, which prompted her family to change their lifestyle. “With my Jamaican Indian heritage, spices are an essential part of meals,” she notes. “But spices are often produced in facilities that make allergen/gluten products.”
That set her on the path to learn more about the history of spices and the many health benefits of the Indian Ayurvedic system. “I began sourcing whole spices, hand roasting and blending them, as my grandmother did traditionally,” she says. She quickly realized how challenging it must be for the more than 32 million Americans who have food allergies and set out to launch a set of spice blends that are allergen-friendly, gluten-free, FODMAP-safe (onion/garlic free), salt-free, sugar-free and organic.
At the launch of IrieVeda last year, Darby applied for an Office Depot OfficeMax scholarship to Selfmade. “The Office Depot OfficeMax scholarship has allowed us to grow through finding an amazingly supportive community. The insight I have gained in this short time from pitch competitions and connecting with other entrepreneurs has been priceless.”
Selfmade and Office Depot OfficeMax services and products have helped Darby accomplish more in her business. “I have been able to print marketing documents to help spread awareness of my product and further extend my reach.” She has since reached nearly 30K followers on Instagram and appeared in local magazines and network TV in Westchester, PA where she lives.
In her Selfmade workshop, Gimmick-Free Social Media, Selfmade coach Fi Simler offers tips for building an audience online and establishing a content strategy:
WHO are you trying to connect to? Understanding your core target audience is critical. As you start to see your audience grow, you can learn more about who they are and tailor your messaging to them. “Our families are focused on their health and wellness or may be dealing with dietary restrictions. They are often well traveled and practice yoga as a means of being mentally, emotionally, and physically well,” says Darby.
WHAT do you want to talk about? Knowing that her customers were into wellness practices like yoga, Darby came up with a clear and creative message of what she’s offering. “We help you experience ‘Yoga in the Kitchen’ so you can enjoy good food without regrets or restrictions,” she says. “As we are rooted in the concepts of Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga), we bring mindfulness to how you prepare your meals and awareness to using all of your senses to truly enjoy your meals,” she adds.
WHY do you want to talk about it? You want to share your story and your product or service but you don’t want to oversell if you want to maintain and grow followers. Your social media presence should be your added value to your customers. Look at sharing relevant information and tips every few posts and then an informative call to action every fourth or so post. “Value, value, value, then sell,” says Selfmade coach Emily Merrell.
“What has worked for me is sharing content that is relevant to my core target audience and sharing behind the scenes content helps to show the love and care that goes into producing our blends from whole spices,” says Darby.
HOW can you work at your capacity? Knowing where your customers are can help you determine where you want to spend your energy, especially if you’re a one-woman show. Darby focuses on Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin. Consistency is key too. “I share posts or reels at least three times a week and stories daily.”
Finally, Simler says to avoid manipulative marketing, such as creating false urgency like, “I only have one spot left!” when you have more. Be aware of exaggerated statements too, such as “we are the best!” or “we are a cure-all!”
“Sales is about becoming the best communicator that you can be,” says Simler. “Leave room for your audience to ask questions and join in the conversation.” Communicate your unique perspective, build relationships with your customers, show your expertise, personality, and life experience. “Be clear and consistent in the stories you tell, vocabulary you use, style of content, and emotions you elicit from your content,” says Simler.
To learn more about growing your business, sign up for the !
Illustrated by Daniela Jordan-Villaveces
Getting the word out about your business and telling your brand story takes time but can be a rewarding creative journey. Office Depot OfficeMax can help you organize & save time with a suite of business services & solutions to help you accomplish more – from signs, posters & banners to get your business noticed to marketing materials to help bring your brand vision to life.