You know when you come across a new Instagram feed or Facebook page and you're drooling over their pictures? It instantly makes you want to know more, right? Maybe you stalk that person on social media for months before you even click to their website to see if you want what they're selling. I've done this SO many times, and I have businesses like this on secret Pinterest boards so that I can easily go back and find them when I'm ready to redecorate my house or buy gifts for my doTERRA team. And when I love something or think I want it, I'm also sharing it on my social media feeds and spreading the word for them! That's when you know you've hit the holy grail of marketing.
The way that most of us find out about new businesses now is generally through social media, and if those social media accounts are a hot mess, chances are that I'm not clicking through to purchase anything. Granted, I'm a very visually driven person, so if their feed or product isn't pretty, I'm not following them and I'm definitely not buying anything. Maybe you're not exactly like me, but I think we can all agree that beautiful branding pulls you in quickly, but a quality product that you actually need is what will make you purchase after you've already established trust with that company.
Because that's all that those beautiful social media feeds are: effective branding.
They know what they want to share, they know how they want it to look, and they're attracting people who feel the same.
That's all that branding is! It's just a feeling that someone gets when they interact with your business, which might be looking through your social media feeds, reading your website, or watching a webinar with slides that you've created.
Here's what you might be doing now when it comes to making an image for anything, which could be social media or a blog post:
- You find an amazing quote that you want to share that totally fits your ideals. Maybe it's about food, maybe it's about makeup, maybe it's about essential oils.
- You go over to Canva to make that quote into a picture to share on social media (you're going to go viral, bitches!).
- You click on the size of image you want to make (for Facebook/Instagram or Pinterest), and you're immediately shown dozens and dozens of templates to choose from.
- After scrolling for 15 minutes you find an image that you love. The font, the colours, it totally feels like you.
- You start tweaking the image and change one of the fonts, but oh no, now it doesn't look beautiful like it did before you changed anything! So it takes you 5 minutes to change everything back.
- The picture that felt so much like you that Canva had in the background? Oh, it costs $10 to remove the watermark. &@%* (I'm not the only one who swears under my breath while I'm working all day, am I?). You decide you don't want to pay $10 for one freaking image, so you go over to Unsplash for a free stock photo you can put in place of it.
- You scroll through Unsplash for another 15 minutes to find just the right photo (and download another 5 that you have other plans for), and insert into your existing Canva image.
- Success, you download your beautiful quote and share it on social media!
Fantastic, now you've got a beautiful image ... but it took you 30 to 45 minutes to make it. Not exactly a "quick" image for something that you're only going to use once and might not even find you any new clients.
The example above is probably something you do a regular basis, and I don't even have a hidden camera watching you! I know that this happens because I used to do it all the time. I wanted beautiful images for social media, but damn, 45 minutes every single day I wanted to create something original? Ain't nobody got time for that!
Now, here's my process:
- I come across a wonderful quote that I know will fit perfectly with my brand and the message I want to share with the world. I add it to my Trello board right on my phone. Time = 30 seconds.
- I move into Photoshop or Canva, and make a new, blank image from scratch. Time = 30 seconds.
- I pick one of my pre-set branded colours OR one of my high-end photos as the background. Time = 60 seconds.
- I add the quote and see if it looks best in 1 of my 2 main fonts choices. Time = 2 minutes.
- Add my watermark, full logo, or just my website name. Time = 30 seconds.
- Download my finished image! Time = 15 seconds.
Total time involved because I know what my brand colours, fonts, and pictures are? Less than 5 minutes. And those images get way more comments and shares because I know exactly what my audience wants and likes.
When you put time into curating an actual brand instead of scrolling through the thousands of choices of colours, fonts, and photos, you save so much time on the other side. It's more impactful for people who might want to pay you, leading to more profits down the road. A total win-win.
The bonus part is that you don't even need a website to design a beautiful brand. A website is the ultimate goal where you can build an email list from and grow your potential client or customer list everyday, but it's not totally necessary when you're first starting out.
There are tons of other ways to start sharing your message with the world, and here are my top 6 ways to brand your business without a website:
1. Facebook and Instagram images
Well duh, I think you already knew this. And if you didn't, you're maybe living under a rock? But there are TONS of creative ways to use images on Facebook and Instagram to grow your brand.
Of course, you can take beautiful pictures of your own, and you should, but your feeds don't have to be 100% pics, especially if you're trying to convert followers into clients or customers.
Social media is more about networking and connecting nowadays rather than selling. People are tired of being sold to day in and day out, but there's lots of ways to start to create trust in yourself, your products, or your services without putting up posts all the time to straight up buy.
Here are some more creative ideas for your regular Facebook and Instagram posts to grow your brand trust:
- Before and after pics: These are the best ever because they're built-in testimonials! With the ability to add multiple pictures to a post on Instagram, and the point is to get people to interact with your posts by liking or commenting, this is the perfect opportunity to share your before and afters of yourself AND your successful clients and customers. Make the prettier "after" picture the one that shows on your feed, and the less pretty "before" picture the second one. The caption will then read "Swipe to see the insane transformation of X" or "Swipe to see how X went from Y to Z in 30 days!". I don't know about you, but when I see a beautiful after post with a caption that says "Swipe to see the before", I'm swiping!
- Quotes: Who doesn't love those sarcastic, cheeky quotes that others share? If you like them, chances are that's what your audience will like them, too! So go ahead and share that quote from Oprah, Essential Oil Style, or Marie Forleo.
- Reposts of your clients and customers: What's better social proof than something amazing that someone else said about working with you? If you have a free challenge or focus for a particular month, work it into the challenge that they could be entered to win an extra prize if they share their experiences in public on social media using a branded hashtag so you can trace them. When someone shares and it's really good, re-share their content and tag them! They're audience will be more likely to be shown your content and follow you.
- Interaction posts: When you start following someone online, you start to feel like their friend. You hear things about them, but they very rarely hear it back from you! Interaction posts are fantastic for starting to build true community, which so many people are missing these days. So put up a post that says "My favourite essential oil is ______" or "My last meal would be ______" and get the conversation going in the comments! Double bonus is that when more people comment, more of your other followers will be organically shown your post.
- Turn your blog posts with step-by-step instructions into multiple images for the same social media post: This is a layered approach to providing education, but with more and more people providing so much value online, it's important for you to differentiate yourself even more without an extra step of clicking to your website. A fantastic example of this is GoLive HQ! I love their aesthetic so much that I purchased my new website template off of them, but their posts and tidbits that they share are so educational. Here's how they share their blog posts on Instagram:
So creative and value-packed, you can learn SO MUCH just from reading one Instagram post! But the caption still has a call out to read the rest on the blog. Genius! The more ways to get people to your website, the better, but this is a great way to start adding more value than anyone else in your niche.
- Mood boards: did you know that there's a hashtag on Instagram for #moodboardmonday with over 15,000 posts? Granted, this will get people who are into graphic design following you, but with Facebook and Instagram being so visually driven, your followers want to see beautiful visual posts! This is an idea that you can use as a theme for the week. Maybe you focus on one specific food each week that shares recipes from a blog post you've already written. Or maybe you want to share how to use one specific essential oil in many ways? Use a mood board to introduce your weekly (or monthly) theme!
Lots of great ways to turn a boring old Facebook or Instagram post into a branding machine!
And if you want to create these images even quicker, you can purchase pre-made templates that you can change out in just a few minutes with your brand colours and fonts. I just purchased this Social Media Bundle last week, and it's already saved me and my assistant hours of design time for less than $30.
2. Facebook groups, page, or personal timeline covers
Guess what happens when you change your timeline covers? People who follow you or your page might see a post that shows that you changed your cover! You can use your timeline covers for a new challenge every month, new opt-ins, promos, sales, or seasonal support you provide. SO MANY OPTIONS!
Truth be told, I don't generally change out my timeline covers regularly EXCEPT for my doTERRA BOGO group. Two or three times a year, doTERRA offers a week of BOGO deals, and our team can sell upwards of $100,000 in that week alone. Insanity.
But in my BOGO group, I do a live video each day on the BOGO oils, educational posts, a daily draw, and a weekly draw. Is it a lot of work? Hells yes! But does it results in huge profits for me? Hells yes! My paycheques after BOGO months can be double what my average, with the November 2017 BOBO's helping me achieve my very first $20,000 month ever. That's pretty amazing!
While my BOGO group timeline cover obviously isn't the reason that we were so successful, it's just a teeny, tiny part of the overall experience.
That's the essence of branding. You might not feel like the teeny, tiny choices you make everyday for the public facing parts of your business helps you reach more potential clients and make more money, but I can't tell you how many new customers have purchased oils from me because they've following me for years, but they saw one particular image that finally got them to take action.
It takes me literally 1 minute to update my timeline cover now that the template is made (another huge shout-out to having ready-to-go templates!), but out of a group of under 400 people, 25 have liked that particular cover AND have tagged their friends in the group, too. Those 25 are likely our best BOGO customers, and you know what they say .... 80% of your profits can be generated by 20% of your customers.
3. Instagram Stories
In my last blog post I shared with you ALL my latest secrets for using Instagram in your business, and a big part of increasing your reach with Instagram Stories.
I have to be honest, I LOVE watching IG stories. I feel like I'm catching up with my closest friends ... and other people that I just stalk online. I feel like I'm getting a glimpse into their real life, not just their perfectly curated feed that feels totally unattainable and overwhelming to recreate.
I also explained how Instagram Stories are shown chronologically instead of using a complicated algorithm like IG or FB feeds do, where only the most popular content gets shared in any meaningful way. So IG stories is where it's AT!
There are so many creative ways to use IG stories, but my faves are done by people like Rhiannon Bosse (who I've been following online for over 10 years) and McKel Hill (Registered Dietician) of Nutrition Stripped.
What I love most about these two is that while their IG stories shares tidbits of their life behind the scenes, it's also a marketing machine!
When they both publish a new blog post, they share multiple images from that post and ask you to go and read it. They also take a beautiful image that's on the blog post and use that, but in the next story they draw little images overtop of them, which gets you looking at their blog content for another 15 seconds, upping the chances of you clicking through to actually read it.
Nutrition Stripped also takes old blog posts and draws attention to them through IG stories, which is genius! You already spent hours making that content in the past, so recycle it. If you have tons of recipes to share, this is a fantastic way to draw attention to them without spamming your feed.
Kind of like this (even though Rhiannon isn't in my industry, I still love seeing her content, it totally inspires me!):
Plus, you can see when they give credit to bigger brands and other collaborators. Just another invitation for a bigger audience to see your stuff and start following you!
Their images are consistent with fonts, colours and messaging, so I always know what to expect from them. And the minute they both come out with any online programs or offerings that fit what I need, I won't even have to think about it before purchasing. That's the power of branding.
4. Instagram highlights
The nature of Instagram stories is that they're only available for 24 hours ... so some of your favourite content that people MOST connect with could be gone in the blink of an eye. Enter: Instagram highlights.
You might have noticed that some people have stories below their profile description, like so 👉🏻👇🏻.
This section isn't just a replay of your IG stories, either! You can use this as a call to action to move to other social media sites, groups, podcasts, blog posts, and more.
Let's say you have a doTERRA business and want people to enroll themselves online? Make a series of how-to IG stories showing them exactly where to point, click, and purchase, and then turn it into a highlight!
Have an amazing Facebook group that converts really well for you to paying nutrition clients? Set up a highlight reel of your favourite testimonials, conversations, and giveaways inside the FB group, and then have every third or forth picture have a call out to join the group. Something like "click the link in the profile to join our community!".
Do you have a few really popular blog posts that you want to draw more attention to (especially if they have a content upgrade in them to convert said traffic to email subscribers)? Make a series of videos about that blog post, turn it into an Instagram story, then turn it into a highlight!
Sooooo many ways to use these highlights, but keep it to the 5 most high-converting topics for you that your ideal clients to-be need to know more about.
Maybe you're passionate about clean skincare? Your 5 highlights could be:
- Moisturizers: show them how to look up their current moisturizers on the EWG database or Think Dirty app, and highlight cleaner, more non-toxic versions that you sell. Send them to a blog post you wrote on your fave moisturizers.
- Makeup: same thing as above.
- Gut health: videos of you explaining why the gut is so important for amazing skin, and calls outs to join a free opt-in, challenge, or really affordable program or product.
- Sunscreen: if it's coming into summer, why not highlight clean sunscreens? They're SO DAMN TOXIC, and it's becoming much more mainstream for mom's to be aware of what they're putting on their kids' bodies. Send them to a free report on your top 5 fave clean sunscreens.
- Food: a highlight of foods specifically for the skin, such as gelatin and collagen, healthy fats, leafy greens, and fermented foods. Send them to a free meal plan that includes all these foods.
As you can see, all of the highlights includes a call-out for them to get something of high-value for free in exchange for them joining your email list. Your entire goal in social media should be to get their contact info!
5. Facebook live videos
Facebook live videos are one of the best ways to organically reach your audience and help them get to know the real you! Doing FB lives right from your phone or iPad is great, but if you use a third-party program you have the option to brand your FB lives, which you can then upload to YouTube to grow your audience there. You can also reuse FB lives in blog posts.
I use a $40 (one-time) program call Ecamm Live, which allows me to add logos, text overlays, and scenes in the background, along with inviting people on live to be interviewed. BeLive is a similar program, although in my experience it can be a little glitchy.
These programs also allow you to share your screens, so they're great for showing others how to do something on the computer, or sharing a free e-book or going over specific content in more details.
Potential customers just want to get to know the real you, and live video is a great way to do that! You are your brand! And there's no need for a whole fancy set-up, just place your recording device between you and a window with beautiful light, and you're good to go.
6. Pinterest pins
Pinterest is one of the highest referrers to my website, and the platform that I personally use to decorate my dream house and keep all my go-to recipes in one place. I love me some Pinterest (especially now that we're moving into a new house!).
The best part about Pinterest is that people usually go on there for a specific reason, whether to look up a new recipe or buy a new piece of furniture. Pinterest customers earn more than the users of any other platform and they're searching for solutions. It's a search engine JUST LIKE GOOGLE IS.
But Pinterest is a visual platform, so you gotta look good to stand out! Enter: your brand.
Now, I would normally share my personal Pinterest board for my business, but since I'm in the middle of re-branding, it doesn't look at consistent as I'd normally like it to, so I'll share someone else's who I adore!
Jenna Kutcher is not in my niche, but her content is so valuable and entertaining, even if she focuses on photographers! When you stumble across her boards, you can see that they're consistent in their feel and messaging, a perfect example of effective branding.
And you don't have to have just one pin per piece of content! I have my assistant working on creating an additional 2-3 pins for each blog post on my website so that I have more content to share on Pinterest. My main pin will be visible, but the rest will be hidden so that when someone want so pin from my website, it'll give them more pins to choose from.
I could go on and on and on about Pinterest, but I'll be saving that for my Brand, Build, Blog course update!
I know what you might be thinking and feeling ... probably overwhelmed and like you have to do ALL the things. That's not the intention of this post!
I want you to choose one thing you're already doing, preferably something that you already know is bringing you clients and customers. Is it a Facebook group? Your Instagram feed? YouTube? Whatever it is, figure out a way to inject some consistency with your brand into that!
Start by choosing a set number of colours, 2-3 fonts, and picking 3-5 words you want people to feel when they see your content. There, you just branded yourself!
Still feeling lost? Check out my free brand and blog checklist for more in-depth steps to take to define your brand and messaging!
I wanna know: what's your favourite ways to brand your business? Is it your website, certain social media accounts, or live videos? Share in the comments below!