by Kimberly Pangaro | Kimberly is a mom of four daughters and the owner of the lifestyle parenting media company Atomic Mommy. When she’s not running her company or momming all day, she’s writing about family life. UPDATED October 24, 2021
If you think your business is a brand, think again. Word of mouth just doesn’t get it done the way social media can.
If you want to build a brand, have your audience truly engage with you, come to you for advice, and only think of you as the expert in your niche, then it’s time to build your brand on social media.
But how can we create that amazing content that we see on those social media channels?
Simple. Using these remarkable 3 apps that I took the liberty of listing below! First, a few rules to follow as you go on this journey.
7 Rules to Follow While Branding Yourself
#1 Be Authentic
This means staying true to your personality. People want to see a life-like version of you and social media doesn’t always allow our awesome selves to pop through in an enigmatic light. So, think of how actors train themselves. They train and rehearse every day to be a character so their audience no longer sees them but only sees the character.
In essence, this is what you’ll need to. I’m not saying to go pay for acting classes. What I’m saying is, if you’re naturally goofy, play it up a bit on social media. If you’re super smart or tech savvy, then make your posts helpful with extremely targeted pieces of advice for others to use. This is what I mean by being authentic.
#2 Get Comfortable Feeling Uncomfortable
No one likes themselves in photos or videos. We all have a few flaws that we obsess over and psych ourselves out of being able to compete on social media. But confidence only grows if you practice it. So, get off the horse and walk in the shadow of the sun!
The next time you come up with a really good idea for a reel, video, post, or story…. do it! Don’t hesitate. Own your power.
#3 Know Your Audience
Okay, I know I say this all the time. It’s true! Know who you’re targeting. Who do you want to reach with your content?
Is it parents, teens, business owners, women business owners, a certain a culture? Figure out who it is exactly that you want to speak to with your content. Then, keep them in mind every time you create content. Don’t veer too far from your audience. It’s okay to get funky with your posts as long as it pertains somehow to your audience.
#4 Follow Micro Influencers and their Followers
Micro influencers are those with less than 50K followers although some micro influencers have high engagement with only 5K or 10K followers.
Why follow them? Because they have a niche audience that already engages with them. But don’t just pick any random micro influencer. Pick micro influencers that inspire you, that have the audience you want to engage with, that also have content you can learn from.
Now, why also follow their followers? That’s easy. That’s the audience you are looking for! Those are your people and to get to them you need to get to the micro influencers. You can gain as many as 50 followers in one day if you’re strategic about this.
#5 Follow, Like, Comment, Share, Repost, and Shout Out
I know, I know. It sounds like common sense but when you’re in the thick of posting, it can be hard to remember all the steps needed to get real engagement. Make comments on other people’s posts that have nothing to do with your business or brand. Why? Consider it a type of introduction into who you are.
Why should they follow you if all you wanna do is sell to them? That’s the ultimate question here and if you don’t know the answer then how the heck are they gonna!
Remember rule #1… well, it’s true here, too. Be authentic in your comments and likes. Yes, this is painstakingly time consuming. But the active engagement will be real and that’s what you’re looking for. If you just want a ton of fake engagement and followers, you can hire a bot app to do it for you. But you’d be missing out on a few key things: A) meeting new people to introduce your business to, B) the possibility of missing out on new business opportunities, and C) having the social media channels shut your account down.
#6 Be Persistent and Consistent
One of the most frequent sentences I hear is, “How come my post/video didn’t get any engagement or likes?” or my favorite, “Why didn’t I gain any followers?”. Look, if you’re not consistent in the posting or the quality of the content, then don’t expect to have people follow you or engage with your content.
Secondly, if you are not persistent in your efforts to grow your brand, then it’s going to show. You may have 100 posts and only a dozen videos. Would you call that persistence because I wouldn’t. Stick with a schedule. Post often and post great content. The followers and engagement will follow.
#7 Emulate the Brands that Inspire You
It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, you will have competitors. With that said, don’t think of them as competitors. Rather, consider them as a valuable teaching tool that you can look to for inspiration and motivation.
Their content is getting a ton of engagement and followers which is what you should be after. So, look at their posts and see what you aren’t doing and can be doing better to grow.
One rule about that and it’s kind of a big deal…. Do Not Copy other people’s or businesses’ content. There’s a reason why many brands copyright their posts. Instead, throw them a shout out on your page or story, tag them, and thank them for being motivational. Their followers will see it. Plus, if you’re lucky, you will get that brand or company to share your tag of them in their stories which equals a ton of additional exposure and possible followers.
Here are the Top 3 Apps to Brand Yourself
Words are important and always will be, but a photo or video speaks volumes!
To start, you can create a professional account. In the beginning, when you’re just starting out, it’s okay to start with a professional creator account. At that point, you’re building a brand. If you are starting with zero or a low amount of followers, then the creator account is perfect for you.
Aim to post 3-5 times per day, targeting your niche audience, and use those hashtags! As a newbie, don’t over think this; there is content in every area of your life to showcase. Then, when you gain some momentum, have a few hundred followers and the engagement has gone stale, go back to your most popular post and promote it. Instagram lets you promote a post for as little as $5 a day.
When you grow beyond the ability to post that often, switch to a business account. This will enable you to use another important app (listed below), that allows you to schedule your posts, creates captions for you, helps with hashtags, and if you purchase their premium subscription, also auto-posts on your Instagram account for you.
This is the scheduling app I mentioned above. This is truly an amazing app that is worth every penny. When I grew beyond 15K followers on my Instagram, I could not keep up with the content demand. So, I downloaded this app and switched my Instagram account to a business account.
Why? Because Preview doesn’t let you auto post if you are not a business account and also, if you don’t pay for their premium subscription. At just $14.99 per month, that’s a steal!
Preview is great. It lets you search for captions which takes the brain function out of having to do it. You can also search for hashtags so you’re not sitting there trying to come up with 30 hashtags in the middle of the day. That can be quite time consuming! The best part, you can really auto-post and schedule all your content including videos, as long as you purchase the premium subscription.
This app and site is amazing! They have a ton of pre-built templates for all of the different social media sites plus they have templates for print items and even clothing products, like T-Shirts. Another unbelievable feature is that you can create your logo and brand colors and save them. You can also add team members (if you have them) so the can create as well. With this app, you’ll have access to building logos, blog graphics, GIF’s, MP4’s, memes for social media, edit graphics, remove backgrounds of photos, change transparency, add links, and so very much more. This is a one-stop-shop when it comes to putting your brand together. Especially in the beginning, when you’re just starting out and have no money.
And that’s the other amazing part, it lets you do all of this and more for FREE! No subscription necessary. If you really decide that the free option doesn’t have enough of the bells and whistles, then you can purchase the Pro version for a small monthly fee. Be sure to visit Canva for their up-to-date pricing.
Branding is not an easy thing to do, but if I leave you with one bonus piece of advice to help you brand yourself, it would be that content is king!
If you have sub-par and sub-quality content then you won’t gain followers OR engagements. And isn’t that the whole point of using social media to gain exposure and build your business? Keep that thought in your head as you expand and venture into the social media sphere. Good Luck!