5 Tips and Tricks for Personal Branding on Social Media

personal branding

Not that long ago you probably were sitting at your desktop computer on a website called MySpace.com, creating an account with the handle @iloveponi3s with a friend request from some guy named Tom. Fast forward to the year 2018. You probably have a variety of accounts on several different platforms, with more professional usernames and are still trying to figure out who Tom is. Much like you and I, social media has evolved tremendously since 2004. Facebook alone has seen a jump from 1 million to 2.2 billion monthly users. Because of this astronomical number, companies have gotten smarter and started funding marketing and advertising campaigns solely for social media.

While companies are using social media to market themselves, so are individuals. Your social media accounts can be considered an extension of your resume or profile. Here are some tips and tricks to successfully building your personal brand:

1. Pick Your Top 3 Platforms

With new social media networks emerging every day, trying to join all of them can be overwhelming and time-consuming. A good rule of thumb is to choose three platforms to focus your efforts on based on a few criteria:

1) A platform on which people you want to connect with are engaging.

2) A platform geared toward your particular brand (more visual, writing-heavy, etc.).

3) A platform that helps you accomplish your social media goal. 

Once you have decided which social media platforms best suit your needs, update them with current information and delete the others you have chosen not to work with.

Make this decision based off who you are trying to reach. If it is future employers, then ask yourself: what are they most active on or who is their target market? Using this tip will allow you to easily convey your message using the platforms that best suits your needs

2. Delete the Red Solo Cups

Consider all of your accounts extensions of your resume. I know partying is fun, but when making a post you should ask yourself questions similar to this: “Would I want my grandmother seeing this?” If the answer is no, then your potential boss probably doesn’t want to either. This does not mean refrain from posting pictures from social gatherings; it just means alcohol or other explicit activities should not be the focal point of the post or picture. On Facebook, if you are really wanting to show a group of friends a picture that may not be appropriate for your boss, create a Facebook group between you and your friends. There, you can share all types of pictures, memes, and videos without having to worry.  If you are curious as to what classifies as “inappropriate for work” check out this article on CNN about 10 people who found that out.

3. Share Posts About Your Interests

If we continue with the extension of your resume theme, future employers will be interested in knowing who you are as a person. They will want to know how they can relate to you or how your interests align with their company. So, for example, if you are a huge Game of Thrones fan, share occasional posts or articles about it – your boss could also be a fan, and it could be a bonding moment for the two of you to talk about.

4. Share Updates Regularly

Keeping your content current is very important. On a site like LinkedIn, potential employers look for information such as a college degree, previous employment, skills, etc. If you switched your major after Sophomore year from Biomechanical Engineering to Business Analytics, potential employers need to know this information. If it isn’t up to date, you could be getting messages from NASA versus Walmart. Keeping the content current will only increase your chances of being attractive to all potential employers. This article gives you four steps to follow when updating your LinkedIn profile based off where you have been and where you want your career to take you.

personal branding

4. Curate Your Own Content  

Yes, while sharing posts made by others is important, creating your own content is just as, if not more important. You must show that you are an expert in the areas you are claiming. For example, if you had an Instagram account that was intended to show off you as an interior designer, posting pictures of inspiration houses in which you had no part in helping decorate does not build credibility for YOUR design skills.

Finding the perfect balance between the two is key. Sharing personal photos is still very important. If you are trying to brand yourself as an interior designer don’t just post pictures of homes, show people that you have a life outside of your career. People like to feel connected to the accounts they follow and this will only help to increase your following with the interest in you and your design.

Here are just a few examples of content you should be sharing to really increase user engagement

– Practical Ideas: posts related to what you are trying to brand/promote. Depending on what you’re trying to do, this would include… ideas/tips on how to brighten up your fashion style, home decor, travel, etc.

personal branding

– Motivational: These types of posts are to get your followers more engaged in your page, to get them to “like” you. Spreading a little motivation or inspiration is sure to put a smile on their face. You could even start a weekly trend “#MotivationMonday” to start your followers week off positively. A great way to implement these types of posts is through the use of “stories” on Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram. Stories allow for a quick 10-second view of a post, this way you don’t have to mess up the aesthetic of your page.

– Moments in Your Personal Life: Brag about yourself, share a tender family moment, or just a photo of something you think your followers would enjoy seeing that is more personal.

personal branding

– Content: Lastly, content to help build your credibility. This should be the majority of your posts. This is where you show off to your followers what you do best. If you ’re an interior decorator you show off that house you designed, a real estate agent share your listings, fashion influencer your cute new outfit, whatever shows you doing your best you.

5. Study Influencers

YES! PEOPLE ARE GETTING PAID TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA! PAIIIIDDD!!! Wouldn’t you like that to be you? Study the popular page, it won’t take long until you stumble upon a user that has over ten 10K followers. Look at what they are doing and use it as an inspiration. If you like certain aspects of the account that you see, you can integrate them into your own page while still being original. For example, on the platform Tumblr, accounts will use consistent filters. By that I mean all of their photographs will have the same kind of color schemes or noticeable gradients to them. Or, if it is a more textual based platform like Twitter, their posts will have a consistent tone of voice.

Check out multiple accounts and gather ideas about things you like and even things you don’t. Find what works for you and what will make you feel like you are accurately representing yourself and your brand. Here are some influencers I follow:

Instagram:

@doyoutravel is a great account for the wannabe adventurer.

Love interior design? Check out @beckiowens  

Want a combination of fashion and travel? Check out @isabellath this girl might live the coolest life ever.

Twitter:

Brooke Hammerling, @brooke, is a PR maven who’s account is a perfect example of a balance between professional and personal content on Twitter.

Big on business? @fredwilson is a businessman, venture capitalist, and blogger who actively uses Twitter.

Facebook:

@galmeetsglam is a great Facebook fashionista to check out.

One of the 1984 Apple marketers @guy is the person to follow if you’re fascinated by the tech world.

Creating a personal brand on social media is not a cake walk. It requires a lot of thought, attention to detail, and research. It is not about what you look like, it is about who you are, and what your beliefs, goals, interests, and aspirations are. People will be drawn to you on social media the way they are drawn to you in person if you have accurately represented yourself. With time and dedication, you will have your pages up and running successfully before you know it. Just remember to keep this advice in mind along the way.

Have any first-hand tips for building up your personal brand online? Let us know in the comments below!

Artists We’re Crushing On: Designer Appreciation Part 7

amazing designers to follow

We have the utmost respect for the crafters, letter-makers, and inspiration shakers out there. In this ongoing visual series, we wanted to give due props to the artists, creators, and designers we’ve taken note of lately. Thanks for making stuff beautiful!

Natalia Maca

Instagram: @natalia.maca

Natalia Maca is a UK-based digital “illustrator, designer, and explorer.” With an Instagram channel that’s super easy on the eyes, we’ve been visiting over and over to get a glimpse of the cool and muted palette of her work. Natalia specializes in editorial illustration, publishing, advertising and T-shirt design, and she tends to have a slightly surreal look to her many amazing projects.

Andrea (Mky)

Instagram: @i.am.mky

We’re big fans of anyone that can take simple words and turn them into a work of art – for wordsmiths, it’s like the perfect two-fer. Romanian designer Mky’s specialty is in crafting incredibly stunning logo design and lettering. With cute fonts, design accents, and color choices, she’s got a great style that really has a voice of its own.

José Parlá

Instagram: @joseparla

José Parlá is a fairly well-known graffiti artist, street artist, and muralist that we’ve been keeping up with. His use of cotton candy color schemes, fluffy paint swatches, minimalistic detail and dreamlike style, we wish we could hire him to paint up our office walls. For now, we’ll just visit his Instagram page to get daily motivation that inspires a deep breath.

Katie Daisy

Instagram: @katiedaisy_artist

Katie Daisy’s name is perhaps the most perfect name matchup in history. With her passion for painting large, vibrant wildflowers and other bits and pieces of nature, she certainly lives up to the name. With beautiful detail and often large-scale works, Katie’s paintings make you feel as though you’re in a crisp and clean meadow.

Juliana Horner

Instagram: @claropsyche / @vesperucca

Who said makeup art wasn’t inspirational? Juliana Horner’s bright, color-popping makeup looks are the refreshing boost we need in the morning. While never able to replace the energy burst that coffee brings, her innovative and creative makeup looks are bold, daring, and absolutely beautiful. Also, how does she do those seamless lines?!

 

What artists, designers, or creatives are you into right now? Let us know in the comments below. You can also see all of our other designer shout-outs here!

7 Brand Voice Exercises to Keep Your Business Healthy

Brand Voice exercises

Every time your company puts something out into the world, it’s using its voice; every social media post, every video clip, every press release, every website tweak. What you do with that brand voice, and especially what its voice sounds like, is one of the biggest things you can do for the prolonged health of your brand.

Defining your brand isn’t an easy task – neither is developing the brand voice around it. Truthfully, it’s best come at from an all-hands-on-deck perspective in a lot of cases. Those who are closest to the core values and mission of the company will have a genuine interest in creating a brand voice that’s powerful, positive, and productive.

There’s a lot you can do to help identify your brand voice or take another look if things are feeling stale. Here are just some of the best exercises we’ve used and recommended over the years of consulting to develop and maximize the reach of your brand voice.

1. Build marketing personas

This should be a no-brainer, but we’re mentioning it for all of the kids in the back of the class. Before you can figure out what your brand voice should be, you have to have a foundation for understanding who you are trying to talk to – your customers. We’re talking doing the research and assigning a personality to each major audience segment; make illustrations of each one if you need to better visualize. The more you can personify each “type” of consumer that wants what you’re selling, the easier it is to develop the type of voice and messaging that resonates with them.

2. Hold a descriptor brainstorm

Hear us out, these types of brainstorms are actually really fun – think of it like a really specific improv session in your conference room. For this exercise, everyone participating should have something to write with/on, and a timer should be set to about 10-15 minutes. The object here is to come up with as many adjectives you can that accurately describe your brand. Then, everyone can compare to see where descriptors and ideas overlap.

Go through the list and stop on each word, asking yourselves questions such as:

  • Is this the most suitable word for the idea we want to convey?
  • Is there another word which better describes this idea?
  • Does our audience perceive us this way?

Set aside a solid afternoon for this activity, and make sure your whiteboard markers are all ready to go.

3. Make a list of words that should NEVER describe your brand

Somewhat complementary to the exercise above, once you identify the words that you want to be associated with your brand, you should also identify words that you don’t… and then never, ever use them. As a good rule of thumb, we like to consider using this Mad-Libs-style sentence to help weed out the bad descriptors:

[Your brand] is always ______ and [your brand] is never _______.

4. Talk about core values (again and again and again)

Not trying to beat a dead horse if identifying your core values is something that’s already been handled as a company, but going back to that conversation never hurts. If anything, talking altogether as a company or leadership team about the brand’s core values can help to figure out how your brand voice should be structured.

Beyond adjectives and descriptors like the brand voice exercises above, discussing as a team what the values are of your company is critical to defining (and refining) a voice. For each question, give your team up to 5 minutes to write down thoughts and answers. Then, have everyone share their responses and discuss them.

5. Fill in the blanks on some key questions

Having prompts during brand voice exercises is a great way to get your creative juices and strategic caps moving. Spend some time filling in the blanks on sentences such as…

  • I want my brand to make people feel _______.
  • I want people to think ” _______” when they come into contact with my brand.
  • I want to try to follow the steps of the brand voice of _______.
  • I don’t like brand voices that sound _______.
  • Interacting with customers makes me feel _______.

6. Develop tone and language

This cheat sheet from the friends at Brandfolder is also a handy way to start figuring out what you want your brand voice to be, according to personality, language, tone, and overall purpose. Here’s an example of a filled out version that defines every section in 4-5 different words, descriptors or phrases.

7. Go deep in social media

When you’re feeling stuck, another great brand voice exercise is to go straight to the source on the places where you have access to your customers – social media channels. Using social listening and social analytics tools, go and locate the people in your audience (or potential audience) on social media to monitor what and how they are engaging with things. Also, take the opportunity to find brands that you resonate with or that you want to emulate in some way on social – gathering up this list and spending some time figuring out WHY they resonate with you and your brand will make all the difference.

Do you have any brand voice exercises that you’ve tried out in the past? Let us know on Twitter, we’d love to chat!

How Effective Are Case Studies for B2B Marketing?

Case Studies for B2B Marketing

In the vast expanse that is content marketing, B2B is a particular kind of beast to wrangle. Between newsletters, on-site articles, informative videos, eBooks, and other types of content, some businesses struggle to figure out which are their most valuable efforts. Case studies for B2B marketing combine equal parts storytelling, data, and design, to convey how products/services have benefitted a particular customer. When done well, they can be so engaging you’ll forget you’re reading a traditionally “dense” piece of content.

New Research: The Most Effective Content Tool is B2B Case Studies

We’re not just making this stuff up. Case studies have been proven to be an incredible marketing tool for many, many companies operating in a B2B space. Some recent research helps put things into perspective a bit more:

  1. The LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 B2B marketing professionals about the current state of content marketing, with results showing that case studies dominate the #1 spot as the most effective format.
  2. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 71% of B2B content marketers use case studies as a content tool for driving engagement and sales.

Because they are, in essence, a nice summary of your achievements, direct testimonials, and endorsements, case studies can be an easy-to-digest way to convey how awesome your business is. Potential customers definitely take notice, too.

Your average B2B buyer is no dummy – they are educated, self-sufficient, and like to do their research on what kind of value they’ll get from a service before putting down the company credit card. If they see your well-designed case studies (especially if you have a case study for each industry segment that you cater to), it can sway a decision in the right direction much better than other types of content marketing, like social media.

Our Best Tips for Creating B2B Case Studies

We’re big into doing content marketing well, case studies included – and have created a variety of client case studies in B2B spaces over the years, earning us some first-hand knowledge on what makes one great. Here are some best practices and tips for building effective, engaging, value-driven B2B case studies:

  • Send your customer a Q&A in survey form, so they can fill out their responses at their own convenience, and you’ll have their direct quotes already in the bag.
  • High-resolution logos and images ALWAYS matter.
  • Real testimonials are good as gold – show them off well!
  • Don’t use it as an opportunity to brag about yourself; you should be bragging about your customer.
  • Use numbers, but tell a story – in the end, it’s about connecting humans to your business.
  • Provide real, quantifiable results and metrics that can show (in numbers) how effective your company is.
  • Keep things as concise as you can, and remember that you’re not writing out a full eBook on the matter.
  • Use stunning visuals, graphs, and charts to help convey data in an eye-catching way.
  • Boil it all down to a one-page PDF if you can – they are more easy to read and share around.
  • Use as much real language as you can, avoiding over-promotional copy that screams “marketing!”
  • Make them easy to find, and link to them where you can in your other on-site content pieces to increase the SEO value.
  • DON’T FORGET YOUR CALL TO ACTION. What’s this all for, anyway?

We’ve put together dozens of effective case studies in our days. If you have any questions or want any help getting one started, give us a shout!

Artists We’re Crushing On: Designer Appreciation Part 6

We have the utmost respect for the crafters, letter-makers, and inspiration shakers out there. In this ongoing visual series, we wanted to give due props to the artists, creators, and designers we’ve taken note of lately. Thanks for making stuff beautiful!

1. Julian Charrière

Julian Charrière is an artist that doesn’t shy away from sensitive subjects. Over the last few years, he has developed quite the reputation for taking on deep, environmental themes in his artwork; highlighting climate change and global warming in particular. For many projects, travel is necessary. Charrière journeyed as far as an iceberg in the Arctic Ocean to get the perfect photograph.

 

Check out his full website here: http://julian-charriere.net

We Are All Astronauts РJulian Charrière РCentre culturel suisse

2. Andrew Fairclough

Andrew Fairclough‘s illustration work is positively mesmerizing. With artistic beginnings in skate and snowboard graphic design, he has since worked with huge brands and continued to create incredibly detailed illustration pieces. Andrew has described his own work as being “inspired by mid-century spot illustrations and design as well as vintage sci-fi, comics, surrealism, DIY art culture, and the textural wonders of degraded print.”

 

Check out his full website here: https://www.behance.net/kindredstudio

3. Claire Newton

We stumbled upon Claire Newton‘s work while just dipping into #designer on Instagram. In a sea of mislabeled posts, her stunning watercolors stood out like an oasis. We’ve zeroed in on the beautifully vibrant palms, flowers, and other foliage in Newton’s watercolor repertoire, and equally enjoy her work with detailed patterns and geometric abstracts.

Check out her Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/clairenewtondesign/

4. Kelsey Amy

Okay, so custom kicks haven’t really been on our mind for quite some time, BUT, we might make an exception for these beauties. Kelsey Amy founded Shme Custom Kicks, a personalized shoe business that’s run completely online. Not only do we have respect for this entrepreneurial female power, we genuinely think the shoe designs are incredibly well done.

Check out their Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/kelshmeamy/


5. Mikey Burton

We’re a little obsessed with the 50’s inspired illustration style of Mikey Burton. Currently sporting the position of a part-time designer and illustrator at Designy Illustrator, Burton has been creating, winning awards, and generally killing the corporate art game. While we’re happy he’s making the big bucks working with big brands, we’ll never stop loving the monochromatic sketches and breakfast pins.

Check out his full website here: https://www.mikeyburton.com

What artists, designers, or creatives are you into right now? Let us know in the comments below. You can also see all of our other designer shout-outs here!