Branding Your Social Media Channels

branding instagram social media
Photo by Ben Kolde on Unsplash

I’ve been fascinated by watching Gen Z grow up and learn to use the internet in a much different way than I did. As a millennial, in my teen years, I spent countless hours chatting on AIM, and watching Napster take days to download a Smash Mouth song over our dial-up internet. I remember my first Hotmail email address (which my dad set up for me) and Facebook when it required a .edu email to register.

What I’m getting at is that the internet changed a lot, and it changed quickly, forcing Gen Z’ers to understand at an early age what the rest of us barely thought about: personal branding via social media.

My teen AIM username died with the platform last year, but let’s be honest, no one is going to think “Natalie Saar” when they read “Missyk134.” But there wasn’t the same pressure back then to brand yourself, or even just to make sure you got your name as your username before anyone else did.

Not only does this cause personal and business users to think outside the box when it comes to their name, it also requires them to think about the content they’re putting out. Each social media platform has a different offering, which is why they can all (somewhat) coexist with each other.

Twitter offers quick takes and the ability to interact with people, many of whom are strangers, in real time. It’s demographics skew younger.

Facebook offers news and sharing largely between friends and family. Its demographics skew older.

Instagram offers the chance to express yourself through photos and captions, and in a way combines the best of Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn offers a professional environment to connect in. You typically won’t find people arguing about politics there, because it’s very clearly a networking tool, and you’ll find that users hold each other to that.

Snapchat and Tumblr each have their own styles of helping people engage with each other as well, though they’re harder for markters to hack for various reasons.

So, how do you decide the way you want to brand all of these free advertising tools you have at your fingertips? Here are some tips to get you started:

Keep Some Aspects the Same

While each social media channel can have its on “personality” there are a few things you should keep the same. Your profile photo, cover photo, and overall vibe. Especially if you’re planning on very different messaging on your channels, you’ll want to keep the logo or profile picture and the overall look and feel as well. This way you build subtle brand awareness and people know that your channels lead back to you.

Buffer does an amazing job with this. Their Instagram and Twitter couldn’t look more different in terms of imagery and messaging, but they feel the same, so you know they’re both Buffer.

You’ll also want to try your best to make sure the name is the same. This may go without saying, but that can be a tall order, and will only get harder as more and more people become social online. Get creative and try a few variations, but when possible, keep the names the same.

Continue reading “Branding Your Social Media Channels”

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Value of an Editorial Calendar

organized desk
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

Everyone starts the new year off with the best of intentions. We write down resolutions, we get into a positive mindset, we really do try to start off on a good foot.

If refining your content marketing strategy is on your list of improvements to make to your blog or business, then creating an editorial calendar is a key tool to make that happen. Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, from the Dominican University in California, conducted a study about writing down our goals. She found that people were 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they wrote them down. That’s how an editorial calendar can help you.

If you’re struggling to start one, here are some tips to make a helpful calendar for you, no matter what your KPIs are.

Pinpoint Your Goals

What’s the reason behind why you want to ramp up your content marketing strategy? Is it because everyone else is doing it so you feel like you should too? Or is it to gather leads? Maybe you want to provide your potential customers with information that will help lead them down your sales funnel?

Whatever the reason, write it down. This way, when you’re creating your content ideas, you can refer back to the goals and ask yourself if the content will help achieve them.

Create a Plan

Ask yourself question like how often do you want to publish articles? Do you only want text or do you want graphics too? What kind of a budget will that take, both in terms of time and money?

Once you’ve narrowed down any potential problems with publishing type and frequency, you can be more realistic with your overall strategy and expectation. For example, if you hope to gain five leads from each article, and 500 leads for the year overall, then you know you need to publish 100 articles, or roughly two per week. If your budget only accounted for half that many, then you need to reevaluate either the budget or your expectations.

Start Brainstorming

There are plenty of articles out there providing editorial calendar spreadsheets, telling you what you need to have in each one, and the list goes on. I’ve found that these are helpful to give you ideas of what you might want in your own calendar, but at the end of the day, you have to fiddle around and see what works for you.

Personally, I like to keep it simple and include: Continue reading “Value of an Editorial Calendar”

Snapchat’s Context Cards Simplify Our Lives a Little More

woman taking photo
ANGELA FRANKLIN @leafandlotus

We rely on our phones for so much these days. Texting, calling, taking pics, using as a flashlight to find your phone before realizing it’s in your hand. And with all of those things come apps.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get app overload. In fact, I’m so particular about streamlining how many apps I have that I try to limit the amount I use to only what will fit on my homescreen.

That’s what appealed to me about Snapchat’s new Context Cards. They’re like a Maps, Yelp, Uber/Lift, and of course, Snapchat all in one. Take a look at the cards in action:

TripAdvisor and OpenTable are more offerings too. Of course, you still need to Continue reading “Snapchat’s Context Cards Simplify Our Lives a Little More”

How to Be “Social” in Real Life and Online At Every Event

Sometimes I find that the hardest part of using social media channels is finding a way to be social in real life and incorporate social media without being “that friend” who snaps everything. I’ve come up with some tips to help you be able to do both without embarrassing yourself.

1. Check in before you walk in — if you already know you’re going to go somewhere, and you’re a person who checks in on Facebook, do it before you walk inside. You don’t want to sit down and have to spend your first few seconds not talking to the friend you’re there to meet with. Think of a witty caption on the drive there, park, turn your car off, and check in.

2. Take pictures for yourself, not for the gram — sure, we all know what performs well on Instagram, but another important aspect of posting is being genuine. If you’re snapping a pic of a wall of tequila at Pink Taco because everyone else is doing it, that’s going to be obvious and uninspired. But if you’re snapping a pic because tequila is the nectar of the gods, then that enthusiasm will shine through. Take pictures that are gram-worthy, but take them for yourself.

3. Double up on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook stories — life is already hard, don’t make it harder. While you should strive to be authentic and unique across all of your platforms, if you have a busy day ahead of you, double up on your stories. Take one video, save it without filters or graphics, then upload it to each platform, decorating as you see fit. Try to start with a Snapchat video, because they timestamp uploads and you don’t want to give up your game.

4. Don’t worry about being “that” person — I know, I said the whole point of this was to NOT be “that” person, but hear me out. We all tease that person in the group that’s always taking pictures and videos but this is not a new type of person. Since people have been able to carry around cameras, there’s always been “that” person, and we secretly love them for it. As a kid, I’d haaaate how many pictures my grandpa took of everything. “Say cheese!” But now, as an adult, I love that I have pictures of us playing board games or standing next to a sunflower we grew together. Historically, we love to see old images of what cities and people used to look like. Heck, it’s even fun to see what life was like at the beginning of the Facebook era.

So, if you happen to be “that” person, own it, and strategize. Someday, someone will thank you for making them pose at the end of a hike or for a Broadway play opening.

Are Logos That Important?

Logos. We see them all day, every day. In fact, we see them so often that despite seeing them constantly, we forget what they look like.

Think about your shampoo: what does the logo look like. Or how about something simple like your favorite fast food place. AdWeek brought this up recently by asking people to draw some familiar logos like Domino’s Pizza and Apple. Here were the results:

So, that begs the question, are logos really that important? Of course we notice them, because we’re visual people, but maybe it’s the overall “vibe” of the logo that’s more meaningful. Some ideas to back that up: Continue reading “Are Logos That Important?”