Today, social media users want: serendipitous shopping experiences – where new brands and ideas pop up in their feeds like wizened wizards in an RPG. In this world, your social media profile is your shop window. How you dress it matters.
If you are a solopreneur or an influencer, social media will likely be one of the first points of contact your audience will have with your brand and will be the key to expanding your reach to new audiences in the future.
Of course, if you’re running a business of one, there’s little time. If there’s a choice between client work and working on your business, I think you’ll choose the former. Growing a social following from scratch can seem daunting, especially for people who lack design skills or social media knowledge.
So how do you build a social branding strategy that grabs the right attention, but doesn’t turn into a full-time job?
We spoke to a successful solopreneur and two design experts from Create Vistaa graphic design platform for small business owners.
Social media is your new resume — make time for it
Used to play at intimate gatherings with friends and cozy little cafes, singer-songwriter Samuel Andryko was always told he had the talent to make it big in the music industry. But, even with a great voice and a set list of soulful songs, how could he break through in a scene where contacts and networking is everything?
Whether you’re a pipe musician, a future startup founder, a fitness guru, or an extraordinarily talented custom piñata maker, you need an audience to finally quit your job and pursue your passion.
“I put a lot of effort into making my branding cohesive. That’s why people on Instagram have reached out to me and asked for my advice,” says Andryk. He now works part-time as a branding coach, helping other solopreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
Your audience won’t wait for you to send them your resume before deciding if they like you. They’re going to poke around on your socials. So you better make it worth it.
“I even use my Instagram profile when I meet people in person. It’s like a digital business card,” says Andryk.
You don’t have to be a design whiz kid
Perhaps my biggest surprise when I spoke to Andryk was that he had almost NO design skills and little experience with social media (aside from his personal accounts) when he started out. Instead, he turned to the free design programs that have emerged to help solopreneurs, influencers, and young startups create high-quality visuals.
Kateryna Larina, design expert at VistaCreatea free graphic design software for design novices, noted, “Today visuals are much more complex with trends such as maximalism, 3D shapes and more recently – the popularity of animation.”
Know how you want people to feel.
But thanks to easy-to-use software and a plethora of ready-made templates to choose from, it has become much easier to create an attractive social brand. This gives solopreneurs the space to play, experiment and develop their own unique brand identity. With so much room for creativity, the main things Larina wants you to keep in mind are:
A well-thought-out, balanced composition, a color palette that reflects your main idea, quality photos and videos, and interesting typography that stands out. That’s the magic sauce.
When asked about the biggest design trends, Larina said:
There is one trend that is gaining traction and that is the Y2K aesthetic. However, if you are looking for a trend to jump on, this is not the best choice. The Y2K design trend is huge, and it’s here to stay, which is why it’s worth checking out, but redesigning your visuals to match the early ’00s aesthetic may not be on its way. place for your brand.
A similar trend worth mentioning is the ‘Trendy Zine’. It’s a much more versatile trend that is likely to grow and develop over time. It gives you more space to express yourself and stay on-brand all the time stick to a popular trend. You can also opt for a wide variety of different elements inherent in this trend, such as neon or pastel colors, funky shapes, playful fonts, a combination of objects and stickers and contrasting shades.
While the Instagram face is giving way to the clean girl aesthetic, so are Gen Z users demand more authenticity from social media.
“Know how you want people to feel. For me, I want my Instagram to make people feel at home in themselves. So everything I share is meant to create those feelings of warmth, comfort and connection,” Andryk says.
For him, that means neutral and earthy colors, and soft fabrics, lines and lighting (sunset works great). High-quality, intimate images, made at home or in nature with candles, friends and cups of tea, help to evoke this atmosphere.
While this aesthetic has helped Andryk attract the right audience for his genre, if you’re a punk musician or an extreme sports influencer, you might want to consider very different design choices. andryk says:
I think it’s important to recognize that there is a superficial component to Instagram. The first thing you see when you scroll is the visual aspect, so make sure you have images that are visually appealing to the audience you want to attract. It’s all about finding a way to be authentic while still playing by the rules of the platform.
Using design to grab the attention of scrollers
It is important to get noticed on social media. Remember, you only have a matter of seconds to make an impression before your message is sucked back into the void of content.
Consistency goes beyond design.
“One trend that really stands out among leading brands and accounts is experimental typography. You only have one chance to get someone to stop scrolling through a feed, and unusual, contrasting fonts really help grab attention,” said Sandra Iakovleva, Head of Content at VistaCreate.
“Knowing how to work with typography and how to combine different fonts is an art in itself. If visuals aren’t enough, bold fonts and experimental typography are the way to get more interest in your designs.”
While it may not be a flashy design trick, believe it or not, staying consistent is what will really help you stand out from the crowd. Iakovleva explained:
To best explain this, imagine the opposite counter – a social media feed that is pretty random at first glance. If it’s a business, a potential customer won’t remember a particular post in a feed trying to play the catch-all strategy. Incoherence leads to confusion about the messaging and aesthetics, so that customers don’t know who you are or what you stand for.
Now when we talk about a coherent, consistent profile on social media (with your own branding), you stand out in a potential consumer’s mind as someone with your own branding, personality and your own tone of voice. All of these elements are critical to the success of your social media when trying to target a specific audience.
Consistency goes beyond design. It’s what you post, what you say and how you represent your brand using visuals. Your unique aesthetic then becomes memorable, which can be a deciding factor for someone trying to decide if they want to follow you and check out your product and/or services.
Create a strategy you can manage
Have you set your sights on an influencer future? You may need to have your eyes tested.
“When I first started, I thought it would be super easy to become an influencer,” admits Andryk.
I thought you had to be one to be successful, but in reality all you need to do is publish content that is consistent with your brand.
Coming up with appealing content ideas takes quite a bit of effort. Andryk recommends narrowing your scope so you don’t get overwhelmed.
“One of the things I do with new Solopreneurs is to help them come up with some content pillars. If you’re stuck and don’t know what to post, try this formula here:”
• 20% promotional messages – what do you offer
• 20% Lifestyle posts – how you live your life
• 20% Behind the Scenes posts – things you do to run your own business and/or take care of yourself that people don’t normally see
• 40% messages about your core values, beliefs, vision and mission
Just remember: it’s not quantity, it’s quality. It’s better to have one weekly post that encapsulates your brand than thoughtless daily posts.