In the first part of this three-part series, I talked about the purpose of branding and where to begin. In this part, I am going to dig into some of the resources you can use to develop and maintain your brand. If you missed the first post, I recommend you check that one out first before you continue.
People respond to visually appealing things. That being said, you should know what your audience wants to see—which means first and foremost, understanding them, and second, being able to create said visually appealing content.
A common misconception is that you need to spend big bucks with a graphic designer coming up with some spectacular logo. While that is always an option, it isn’t really necessary these days. Grab a friend who is on trend and cue Canva now. If you are not utilizing the magic that is Canva, you should be. Canva is au courant (fancy, huh?), user-friendly, and best of all – free. While there are certain graphics you have to pay for, there is plenty of free content you can utilize as well.
One of the things I love about Canva is that there are workarounds that can help you avoid paying for anything. You can take a photo of something on your phone or camera and upload that, then create a graphic from there. Or you can even download free stock images from a site like Pexels or Shutterstock and use those too. Generally speaking, Pexels has free photos and Shutterstock has photos available for a small fee.
What I am about to say is really important. Do not download images from Google, Facebook, etc. and use them in your branding. This is illegal and no good comes from it. That’s a whole other blog topic focused on copyright infringement, so for now, I am leaving it right here with just don’t do it.
Watch Your Language
In a former life as a journalist, I did A LOT of reporting on food deserts. A food desert is when a grocery store or main fresh food supply shuts down, leaving no other access to fresh foods nearby. It typically occurs in low-income areas where people don’t have regular access to convenient transportation. Imagine how embarrassed I was when someone pointed out the fact that I had made a social media post about my reporting and had typed “food dessert”. Yeah, let that sink in. These people have no access to sweet treats? That’s not nearly as sad as people not having to access to fresh food. My editor caught the typo in my story, but unfortunately, I don’t have an editor for my social media accounts.
Typos and grammar malfunctions may possibly be the cause of death for all writers. For some reason, people think that because we are writers we should know it all, but let’s be real – that is not always the case. Social media and personal websites are where we really build up our personal brand. It is direct, relatively transparent, and handed out for the world to see, typically without much vetting. Do everything in your power to ensure your posts, tweets, and whatever else you share on social is typo-free.
The best tool I know of to keep up with typos and grammar mistakes is Grammarly. This nifty little application is free and installs as a plug-in in your browser. A little green circle hangs out in the corner and lights up red whenever you have made a mistake. It doesn’t catch everything of course, but it is super handy for the most part.
The secret to a good sauce – consistency
You know the old saying “curiosity killed the cat”, if that’s true, then consistency would’ve been what kept the cat alive. Keeping your posts consistent is so important in the branding process. It’s what ensures people come back. The tone of voice, the style of writing, and most importantly, the timing.
Social media is a habit for most people. Many of us wake up to the sound of an alarm, promptly pick up our cell phones, and then scroll around haphazardly to see what we missed while we were ‘away’. The next chance we get to scroll through our gadgets is around lunchtime. And then finally, the evening, which depending on your audience – is generally a free for all.
Think of your audience, imagine what they do throughout their day. That sounds a little weird, but you have to manage your social media accounts with intention in order to gain followers and expand your audience.
Say you write recipes for busy moms. You wouldn’t want to post a new recipe at 8 a.m. because realistically, no mom is going to be cooking up a brand new recipe at 8 a.m. Unless it was a planned thing. Share that at night time, when they can plan it into their schedule for the next day or the weekend.
Now, whether you are a full-time blogger and influencer, or a full-time writer and part-time social media guru, you will likely need help keeping up with all the posting. For that, I recommend using something like HootSuite or Buffer. These websites allow you to develop, schedule and share content on multiple platforms. Something like this you ensures you are posting with intention instead of blasting out your book release date while driving. While there are other resources for this that I recommend over these two, these both have free options and get the job done.
I could talk about the importance of these three factors all day long. For now, I am going to call it right here. Comment below with any questions you may have!