Stefani Wilkens
Stefani Wilkens | Graphic Designer

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How to Get Started with Social Media

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Social Media – as much as we complain about its influence, it cannot be ignored. The reality is that social media is integral to building your brand. Without it, you're most likely not going to get very far. I've realized this in my own business, and you'll see me implementing some of the strategies I discuss here over the next few weeks. If you really want to see what I'm talking about, take a minute to follow along with my various channels here:

Now, on to the meat and potatoes of today's post. What tools do I need to start marketing my brand on social media?

The Profiles \\ Now, the first thing you need to get started with building your brand through social media is a profile – or ideally, all your profiles. I recommend AT MINIMUM having a business account on Instagram, a page on Facebook, and a dedicated Twitter profile. (Pinterest, Snapchat, and all the other platforms are also incredibly useful, but I'm not going to go into those today.)

When setting each of these up, fill out as much information as you possibly can in each of the About sections. Include your tagline, mission statement, hours of operation, contact info, etc. DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING BLANK. Now, that does not mean you repeat the same sentence over and over or that you make things up that really don't apply to you. Use your judgment, stick to your brand voice and guidelines (let me know in the comments if you'd like to see a post on this topic!), and make sure what you're communicating is as clear as possible. I'm personally a big fan of using the same profile picture, tagline, and bio across all my platforms. It creates a unity across all the profiles and keeps my brand message clear.

Your Objectives \\ Once you get all the basics set up, it's time for the fun part – figuring out what to share! For this, it helps to have specific goals. Some examples are: increasing brand awareness, celebrating achievements, showcasing brand personality, championing certain causes, increasing sales, etc. Your mission statement, brand pillars, and product/service offerings are great places to start when you're developing this list. Every item you post should tie back to this list of objectives.

Post Categories \\ Once you have your goals – ideally 3 to 5 of them - you'll actually start developing posts. It can help to define certain types of posts that you can fall back on when you find yourself in a creative rut.Some examples are: headshots of employees with the caption discussing their role in the company; portfolio photographs where you can tell your audience about your latest project's success; photos that demonstrate how to use your various products. The possibilities are endless! Depending on your business, it might also be helpful to decide that you're going to share a specific type of post on a specific day of the week. For example, say you're a weightloss company – you could break up your week into Motivation Monday quotes, Transformation Tuesday before and after photos, Workout Wednesdays with new move sequences, etc. This may or may not be helpful, it depends on your business. But it's definitely a useful tool in the right circumstances.

Content Calendar \\ When developing a content calendar (because planning things in advance is something I very much believe it) I recommend that you start with Instagram. The visual cadence of this platform is vitally important and poses the greatest potential for difficulty. (The number one question I get regarding social media is how to develop a profile that has a particular "look" to it.) In my opinion, it's best to tackle Instagram first and build the rest of your strategy off of it. I start my calendaring with an Illustrator file containing 36 artboards (I post daily) in 3 columns.

 Spoiler alert! You're getting a preview of my feed this month.

Spoiler alert! You're getting a preview of my feed this month.

This pretty much mimics what your feed will look like each month, beginning with a few posts from the previous month so that there are no jarring changes in your profile's appearance. I then lay in my various posts and arrange them to look pleasing in my feed. That means no two similar images will be next to or stacked on each other. This ensures an even distribution of post types and creates a feed that's easy for the viewer to absorb. Once I'm done with this I take my actual content calendar and write in any captions for images and determine how to maximize cross sharing between platforms and where posts that are appropriate for other platforms (i.e. sharing articles on twitter) fit into the schedule.

Hashtags \\ The second question I get regularly is how to decide what hashtags go with your posts. For this, I've developed what I like to call a Hashtag Bank. It's a note in my Notes app that contains lists of hashtags relating to my different types of posts. For example, I have various sets for Branding, Typography, Studio Environment, Quotes, Inspiration, etc. Having this set up in the Notes app makes it super easy to copy and paste these hashtags into a comment when I post an image. I can be running into the grocery and send out my Instagram posts without a ton of thought. For my busy lifestyle, the hashtag bank is essential!

Now you know my main tools and tricks for utilizing social media. Follow my various profiles to see these strategies in action!

I just launched them about a week ago, so you'll be able to see how things build from the very beginning! If there's anything else you'd like to know about social media strategies, leave me a comment, and I'll be sure to address it in a future post!


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