LESSON ONE: Brand Words
Today we're going to talk about what your brand represents. It's honestly SUPER simple, but will make such a huge difference in how you think about posting on Instagram.
Most people think about their brand in terms of visual ideas like "brand colors" and "brand fonts," but there is so much more to BRAND than those elements.
Because your brand is not "hot pink and teal." And your brand definitely isn't "Helvetica."
Your brand has EMOTION and FEELING and CONNECTION. And knowing what our brand truly represents can get us out of the cycle of perfection, styled photos (they're not bad all the time, I promise) and into the idea of being a real part of our brand.
Today I'm going to ask you to do one simple thing (this is your homework!):
Choose 3 words that describe your brand, business, or blog.
Some examples: fun, alive, thought-provoking, empowering, moody, glamorous, adventurous, trendy, professional, romantic, feminine, luxury, refreshing, community... the sky's the limit. YOU choose the words because YOU run the business.
If you're having trouble coming up with your 3 words, answer these 2 questions:
1. How do I want my brand to feel?
2. How do I want my audience (followers, community, tribe) to feel?
LESSON TWO: Your Style
Yesterday we talked about identifying those brand WORDS you believe define you and your business, and today we're going to talk about the ways in which you'll be able to translate those words visually.
Instagram is a VISUAL platform. It's a way to communicate your message with imagery.
There are TWO keys to Instagram.
1. Attracting your audience.
2. Retaining your audience.
Today, we're going to focus on a little bit of that visual stuff.
Now that you have your brand words (remember those?), it's important to think about what kind of visual cues you can use to make those words come to LIFE. We'll talk more about the actual images on day 4, but today I want you to think about:
- Your colors
- Your editing style
- Items you might use as props
- Places you might visit or use in your home
Don't overthink these things too much, okay?
Fill in the blanks below and then post them below:
1. Colors that I will use in my Instagram feed are ______________ (red and white) (pink, green, and teal) (wood tones and whites) with the understanding that perfection is boring and other colors exist in the world and will exist in my feed.
2. My editing style will be ________________ (light and bright) (overexposed with white borders) (bold and full of contrast) (moody) (washed out and editorial). I promise to be consistent with my photo edits to give my photos a sense of ME.
3. Some items that might make sense are props for me are ______________ (office supplies) (cameras) (jewelry and fashion accessories) (no props for my biz) (candy and snacks).
4. I can take photos at ______________ (downtown areas) (on a whiteboard in my office) (in my entire home) (in a corner of my bedroom where there is a lot of bright light) (out in nature) (wherever I go).
LESSON THREE: Time for a Selfie
Today is simple.
Take a selfie.
And remember your brand words and your visual cues while you do it.
You're probably thinking... whyyyyyyy?
Well, you already knew that this training was going to teach you how to be MORE YOU on Instagram, right?
Your face is a big part of that. Businesses and brands are about people. They are built by people for other people.
And guess what other people like?
... People. ;)
Now, you'll find dozens, maybe even hundreds of articles on the Internet talking about how selfies might be a narcissistic behavior and how selfies feed our need for attention, but there's something else selfies do that far outweighs any of that...
They help us communicate our messages.
They help us relate to other people.
They help other people understand that you're real human person (not a scam - super important).
They invite a larger conversation.
They cultivate personal empowerment and self-love.
You can take a selfie anywhere, making it a quick and easy form of content with a whole lot of power.
So... it's worth it.
A few quick tips:
- Take your photo near a bright window.
- Wear clothing or makeup that makes you feel comfortable and like yourself.
- Pay attention to your background (real life = good. messy and gross = not good.).
- Lastly, be gentle on yourself. You're beautiful just the way you are and your audience WANTS to see you for who you are.
Post your selfie in the Facebook group and on Instagram tagging #beyouigchallenge and @jaimieemyers
LESSON FOUR: Categories
Come up with 5 CATEGORIES or recurring THEMES that you can use as pieces of content on your Instagram feed. (Hint: one of them should probably be 'selfie' or photo of yourself)
It's important that you set realistic expectations for yourself when approaching today's homework. If you are a total homebody who never really goes out on adventurous trips and you choose "expensive lattes from cool new cafes" as one of your categories, you're going to run into some problems actually getting those photos. (Graphics are okay too, but I want to make sure that you're posting more photos than graphics)
A really simple way to figure out what you can post about is to think about what kind of stuff you do in your daily life, both in your business and outside of it. Remember, being relatable is important!
REMEMBER to think back to your brand words when doing this exercise. If a category or theme that you come up with doesn't directly relate to one of those brand words, it probably doesn't make sense as a piece of content for you.
For example, if one of your brand words is "professional," it probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense of post pictures of your messy desk. But if your brand word is "real or relatable," this kind of content might make a whole lot more sense for you.
Choosing these categories gives you a FRAMEWORK for what kind of content you can expect to make, but it also gives your AUDIENCE an idea of what they can expect from you too. *Super important*
LESSON FIVE: Make your plan
Today's assignment is pretty simple, but it does require that you make the commitment to follow through.
You're simply going to print out this calendar and fill in your content categories. Just rotate them. If you've got 5, simply write down 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If you've got something special launching or you have something you want to announce or celebrate on a certain day, make note of that and work your categories around it. Holidays might be a time when your content differs from "the norm" a bit.
Once you've filled out the calendar, write down how many of each category you'll need for the month and make a plan to make that content either on the spot or ahead of time.
If you need 5 selfies, make it your personal mission to take a selfie a day for the next week.
If you need 5 photos of your product, take those today.
If you need to, put in calendar reminders for days when you need something a little more candid.
If you need 4 quote graphics, today is the day you make those.
Make a plan and execute. No one can MAKE you make the content - only you can commit to doing that.
But with your categories, you have a plan now. And you don't have to think of 30 new and different things. You have parameters and boundaries - you can post these 5 things and they must have a certain editing style or colors and they must relate to your brand words.
That's it - done.