So. There’s this thing that you’ve been thinking about sharing.
Photos. Art. Thoughts. What. Ever.
But, you don’t just want to push it into the void, have it fall on deaf ears, and lie at the bottom of the proverbial internet well. You want it to be seen.
Maybe you have a small business, or you have aspirations to be in entertainment… or you just want to be a force on the internet. No matter the reason, social media is a resource you can’t afford to ignore. But, it can be difficult to begin.
I once had a wonderful music teacher who said, “The first note you sing is the hardest, everything after that, is easy.”
True, Mr. Cotter, very true. I have trouble singing that first note all the time.
Worrying about making mistakes is normal, but don’t let that keep you from doing anything at all.
Trust me. I’ve made that mistake, so you don’t have to.
Starting a social media account that has a purpose is daunting. What about analytics? What about photo quality? What if no one takes me seriously?
That stuff will get better over time and you shouldn’t worry about it. What you should worry about is making a simple plan and sticking to it. That is how you build your audience.
Don’t know where to start? You know what they say: everything you ever needed to know you learned in Kindergarten. And what did we learn on the first day of kindergarten? The ABCs.
A is for Artistry: All social media that makes an impact has one, specific thing in common–there is some kind of artistry involved. This does not mean you have to be an actual artist! It’s more about perspective. It’s about style.
Think about what you want to share and why you want to share it. Artistry is about bringing perspective and focus to your content. Maybe all your photos on Instagram are super close-ups. Maybe you wear funny tee shirts in all your YouTube videos. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just think about why you want to share and who you want to share with. And then do the thing.
(Hot tip: For photo-heavy sites, like Instagram, try to limit yourself to one, maybe two filters. This is a super simple way to focus the look of your feed without needing much professional art or photography background).
B is for Branding: Branding is everywhere in our lives. We wear it, we eat it, we gravitate toward it. And, when it is done really well… we know it without even having to read a brand name. We just know.
Red dot with a red circle around it. We all know that symbol. They don’t even have to print “Target” on the bag anymore. Two golden arches. An apple with a bite taken out of it. A white bird in a blue box. I could go on.
This doesn’t have to be complicated at first, because, like all brands, yours can grow stronger over time. Here is a very short checklist:
- Choose a style. Bold and Graphic. Clean and Simple. Futuristic. Pop Art. Vintage. No choice is inherently wrong. Think about your content and think about your audience. What expresses you and draws them in?
- Choose a few colors (limit three!) that compliment each other and speak to who you are and who your audience is. Your colors should compliment your style choice. (Don’t forget to note the hexadecimal value of each of your colors – that is the little row of numbers/letters that show up when you choose colors in almost all digital design software – including MS Paint. You can use this number across most programs – including WordPress, Wix, and Canva – to make sure your colors stay consistent).
- Make some simple rules about font usage. For example: I use only sans-serif fonts. I stick to plain, clean fonts with only one or two, very specific, cursive fonts thrown in for interest. This lends a focus to the visual elements of my content without being too specific. In time, I will probably purchase one or two fonts and begin just using those consistently. But, I am using free resources at the moment, and I will grow this part of my brand later.
C is for Consistency: Basically, make an appointment with your audience – and then show up. Don’t ghost your followers one week and then inundate them with content the next.
This is, honestly, the part of the ABC’s I struggle with the most… and it is probably most important thing when first starting out. But, I’ve been getting better. How?
- Get a Google calendar and schedule your posts.
- Schedule in time to prep for your posts.
- Decide way ahead of time what content you want to share. (And write it down when it comes to you!)
- Create templates for each platform that conform to your brand vision.
- Batch task (i.e. write more than one blog post at a time, take more than one set of photos, or shoot multiple videos in one afternoon.)
You might also consider finding a fellow social media friend who is willing to partner up so you can keep each other accountable. It’s super motivating to see a “Hey, you usually post on Wednesdays, right? I didn’t see your thing today!” in your text messages.
When it comes down to it, you just have to start. Make your plan. Create your content. Brand your content. Schedule your content. Post your content.
Do. The. Thing. You’re welcome.