Social media is an amazing free marketing tool that didn't exist 15 years ago. Particularly with Instagram, you can use a few images and words to tell followers who you are in an instant. While we can't share *all* the things we covered in this week's Selfmade master session on social media and brand voice, as part of our collaboration with Office Depot we're sharing a few key takeaways.
Finding Your Social Media Voice
A great exercise to try before digging into your brand's DNA is to think about the six images you would share with someone to tell them who YOU are. Then you can extend this to your brand.
Once you start to think about your brand as a living, breathing entity influenced by its surrounding environment, personal histories, cultural happenings, and more, your brand's voice will come more into focus. And just like a person, the way you express your brand's voice will change depending on the audience, the objective, the time of year, and your subject matter.
Your brand isn't simply you, or your co-founder, your manager, or your customer, it's a dynamic combo of all of these things, with the brand's mission at the forefront of her mind and voice.
Put It to Practice
Create a moodboard, be it digital or physical (Pinterest even works!), to explore and define your voice. You can print stuff out, gather postcards, magazine cuttings, construction paper in colors you like, and anything else that you might be drawn to. Using words, images, colors, and patterns are all fair game. Once you've assembled everything, you can pick out trends to discover what's on-brand and what's clearly off-brand. For instance, your imagery might be positive, empowering, authentic, informative, playful, inclusive, etc. and you'll notice your brand isn't snarky, cheesy, exclusive, and more.
The Art Of Content Creation
Your followers want to feel like they're in the world your brand's created. Your social platform's job is to portray your brand's POV and story. Here are content best practices when you're thinking about your brand's social media presence:
Photo: Traditional portraits can feel stiff and inauthentic, so it's best to capture candid moments with movement, especially if your photography is subject-based. Fill the frame but leave room to breathe. Negative space is a key part of any composition. Adjust the cropping until you get the perfect frame. And remember that light and bright is always best. Sunlight is the best flash you could ever hope for, so set up flatlays outside on the sidewalk or over a piece of fabric to take advantage of natural light. Also be mindful of the color palette you've chosen for your brand so that there's consistency across your posts.
Captions: Speak to your followers like you're texting with a close friend. This will help humanize your brand and remind your audience there's a human behind each post. Liven up your copy by choosing 10-20 emojis you plan to use regularly and stick with those.
Regrams and Takeovers: One of the best ways to double your content is by regramming customers, fans, local businesses, and so on. You can also do takeovers with influencers on the feed and in stories. Fold these into your content calendar so you don't rely too heavily on them and make sure they contribute to cultivating your community — not just bring you the likes.
Color palettes, copywriting, and content calendars -- this week definitely covered A LOT. But don't fret, Office Depot OfficeMax is all about helping you organize & save time with suite of business services to help you accomplish more - from signs, posters & banners to get your business noticed to marketing materials to help your brand vision to life. With Office Depot OfficeMax by your side, we know you can tackle it all.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last.
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Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.