A couple of months ago, I attended the final Texas Style Council blogging and small business "conference", which was referred to as CAMP (Create A Meaningful Presence). In my recap, I mentioned the sessions I attended, one of them being the session on branding with the ladies of Maiedae. It was one of the early morning sessions, and even though I am not an early riser at ALL, I could not miss out on the opportunity to learn more about branding and everything that is involved with that! (It doesn't seem like it would be much, but there really was so much to learn!) I was asked if I would consider writing a post about what I learned about branding, so, here it is--and I have a big announcement to share, too (scroll down to the bottom of this post if you're only interested in the announcement!). ;)
Branding is made up of your logo, photos, and content, and more generally, it's the overall look of your site/social media pages and the feeling they give your readers/followers. It is recommended to have a cohesive brand so your readers know what to expect when they come to your site. Traditionally successful bloggers have strong brands that stretch across their blog as well as their social media accounts.
You have three seconds to capture a viewer's interest. That's it! Isn't that crazy?! I was kind of shocked when I heard that, but now I totally believe it. When I visit a new blog, I know immediately whether or not it's a blog I want to peruse a little more. You want you and your site to be unique and relatable and your site to be visually interesting/"pretty". Hone what makes you different while still capturing an audience!
We learned a lot about the impact of what can be seen above the fold on your site. "Above the fold" simply refers to the area of your site that a reader sees before they have to scroll. This obviously varies from computer to computer and depends on resolution and such, but it's still important to consider what people who come to your site see first thing. You want three things to be clearly visible above the fold: your logo, a couple of sentences about you, and a nice profile picture. Having that immediate connection with a new viewer is really important because they realize there is in fact a real person behind your site and that you are relatable!
Having a mobile-friendly website is very important in this day-and-age when we spend so much time on our phones. If a new viewer cannot clearly see what's going on because your site isn't mobile-friendly, you can bet they won't be staying around for long! Also, Google is now penalizing sites that aren't mobile-friendly, so if you want that SEO...make it mobile!
On all of your social media accounts, use the same profile picture so your readers can easily find you--OR, if someone is browsing, they might recognize you from your blog or a different social media and decide to check you out.
As far as tips for individual social medias go, we discussed those briefly and I didn't take notes because what worked for some people didn't work for others and it all depends on what your readers/followers respond to. It was suggested to do one social media well and maybe have other social media accounts just to post links to your content if people want to follow you there. Here's more on individual social medias (what I can remember from the discussion, at least):
- FACEBOOK: Decide whether or not to have one. Most bloggers do not see their biggest traffic from Facebook because of the way FB handles who sees your posts. I have one mostly for friends and family who don't follow other blogs at all, and I generally only post links to blog posts with random Instagram photos or sales every once in a while. I kind of want to experiment and see what else they might want to see. A great way to do this is to ask questions and see what response you get; some bloggers I follow do this often!
- TWITTER: Post links to your content and utilize hashtags. It was also suggested to post links to content you love by other bloggers you follow, because if they retweet or recognize you in some way, that's great exposure! I use it to post random tidbits of my life in that moment as well as blog content, so whoever decides to follow me there gets something different than what I post on FB or Instagram. I don't want to post only the same content on all of my social media because then there is no incentive for people to follow me on all of them. You do need to be mindful of strong opinions on Twitter, though. If it's not something you want your followers to see, don't tweet it!
- INSTAGRAM: The big one here was to stick to a cohesive photo size (whether you want all squares or horizontal images or vertical images) because when people check out your account, it is calming to see a page with a single photo size. It's not a lot for the brain to process. Also, stick to a similar kind of editing, whether your have a favorite filter you like to use or like to have colorful, bright images. Use those hashtags to your advantage (but not TOO many or you'll likely annoy your followers). Some bloggers make up personal hashtags so their followers can see all the photos from a single event or trip.
- PINTEREST: Pin cohesive content to your boards and keep boards streamlined, i.e. make different boards for specific things you're interested in (like cocktails, skirt outfits, beaches, etc.) to encourage people to at least follow one board that strikes their fancy. Pin high-quality and visually interesting photos that people want to see in their feeds.
I hope this was somewhat interesting and/or helpful for those of you new to the whole aspect of branding your blog! :)
And now, time for my announcement...!
It's true! I mentioned in my TxSC recap that I was working on a rebrand, and I'm so excited to say that I'm ready to launch on Monday! :) Over the weekend, I'll be copying all of the content from this blog to the new blog. The new blog will have a totally new look and a new name (!). I'm hoping my Bloglovin will be updated on Monday, but I can't guarantee that since they take a while to respond to emails. For all of you subscribed via email, unfortunately I can't move you over myself so you'll have to resubscribe on the new site. Also, to Wordpress subscribers: My new site is on Squarespace so you'll also have to follow via a new method (email or Bloglovin) if you want to stay updated!
It will be really weird leaving twenty-something simple behind, but I'm really excited for this new adventure in a brand new space. :) I hope you guys love it as much as I do! I'll be publishing a final post here on Monday with a link to the new blog and to say a more formal farewell. (This blog will stay up though, and eventually I'll likely set up a redirect from here to the new site.) Thank you all SO much for following along and being my friends in this crazy world we call the blogosphere! xoxo