• Emma Venables

Branding and social media


Guest post by Laura Bailey at Serious about Social


Don’t think branding is important on social media? Think again. Take some time to think of businesses who spend thousands if not millions of pounds on their logo so that they can promote their product. For example, supermarkets, drinks companies or hair products. The next time you go to the shops, look at the items you see as you browse the aisles. Note the colours that are used for each product and check out the fonts they use.


You may know all this but not think it is that important for smaller businesses. As small business owners we have to make every penny count.


That is what I thought too but I quickly realised if I wanted to grow my business I needed a brand. Let me share my story…


When I began my business I felt clueless. I didn’t understand the importance of having a logo. In my head there was no way that I could afford to hire somebody to design me a logo and help me choose my colours. I understood the importance of social media (of course I did, that’s my job) 😂 but I thought I was clever enough to not need any paid help. My social media posts were random. I didn’t have a strategy. I most definitely didn’t have a logo and I had no idea of what colours to use.


I wish I knew then what I knew now.



Before my brand was created


Old, self designed business cards
Old, self designed business cards

Business Cards

The first thing I knew I needed when I began my business was a set of business cards. I decided to save myself the cost of having a business card designed because I could design my own. Here is the result and yes, art was not my best subject in school.



Logo

After designing my business cards I thought I could use the image to have as my logo. But again, that image did nothing for me. It didn’t match my personality. It was bland and boring.


Within twelve months I knew I had to bite the bullet and have a logo professionally designed. I would 100% recommend this. Yes you can create logos using images in software applications such as Canva, but they aren’t designed to fit your spec. Another consideration is that the logo is not bespoke to you. Another person can use the same logo, which is not ideal if you are serious about growing your business.

Website

I have had several websites over the years. I have spent hundreds of pounds investing in training to work out how to create an appealing website. For a while I did have a website which was live. But I was never happy with it. I knew I needed to update it and give it an overhaul. The reality hit when I had a session with a business coach who said and I quote “Your website is shocking. It is doing you no favours at all”.


Tone of voice

What even is tone of voice? Surely a social media or blog post can be about anything as long as it is roughly related to your business?


The reality hit when I wasn’t growing my business as much as I thought I would.



The reality was I needed to create and develop my brand. Slowly I began to take slow steps at a pace that I could afford.



Logo

Before I could tackle my business cards I knew I needed a logo and to create my brand colours. Designers are worth their weight in gold. Mine asked me questions which made me think about my business. Using the information I gave her she created a variety of logos and I was able to choose one. To this day I still love my lady (who is basically me with my sunglasses on my head). In addition to my logo I was also given colours which I could use to build my brand.


Business Card

Moving forward I was able to hire the lovely Emma to design and produce my business cards. Everybody who sees my business cards comments on how lovely they are. The design of the cards suits my brand perfectly. The quality of the cards are fabulous. I am no longer shrinking and dreading hearing those words “Have you got a business card?” I can now proudly produce a card and hand it over with pride.



New, on-brand business card designs
New, on-brand business card designs by Emma jayne creative

Website

Once I could afford it I hired a website designer. I asked for the website to reflect my brand colours. When it was finished I was worried people wouldn’t like it because it was so on brand but I was wrong. I receive so many compliments because my website is me through and through. The people that I like to work with are attracted to it and they contact me asking for help.

Tone of voice

I left this for the last point. In my opinion it takes time to develop your tone of voice. But there are things that will help you when you are thinking about the way you would like to be perceived. Start by identifying your ideal customer. Identify what their struggles are think about how you can help them when those struggles. Once you develop your tone of voice it will be much easier to write social media and blog posts, your website and any literature you may want to print.


I regularly receive feedback such as this from my social media posts and newsletters:


Thank you for your email, it’s lovely to hear how you are doing. Love the way you write it, just like having a conversation.”


I found myself nodding at how 121’s can negatively impact on getting things done and hours can be lost on social media. A silver lining from the last 14 months.”


In conclusion

Building your brand is essential to the growth of your business. It takes time so don’t give up. When you can afford it hire a graphic designer. It took me a long time to realise there are times when it pays to outsource to an expert. Not only will it pay dividends in your business but you are supporting another small business too.


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