If you’re just starting out, or undergoing a re-brand in your business, one of the first questions you should ask is: Who do I want to attract?
Once you have the answer to that question, ask: What do they like and how can I communicate with them?
There’s a reason a different aesthetic comes to mind when you think of an auto parts company than when you think of a salon. We’ve collectively developed a stylistic language that gives different fonts, colors, and designs different meaning and feeling.
You might start by thinking of how to communicate what type of business you are. Look at the logos, websites, and marketing materials of similar companies (even competitors).
Then think of your ideal customer and brands they might like. Try to build a general idea of what resonates with them and what attracts them to one company over another.
Maybe they’re looking for a sleek, smooth feel that says: top-notch technology and savvy support. Maybe they’re looking for a natural, earthy feeling loook that says: healthy ingredients and a homemade touch.
Narrow down your aesthetic by coming up with some adjectives to describe your business. Fun? Sophisticated? Natural? Bold? And measure your potential designs against these terms.
I was very deliberate in designing my brand style. A lot of tech and social media companies have a similar look and tend to skew more masculine in aesthetic. I swung the other way to a slightly more feminine style that is still modern and slick.
Stand out among similar brands by thinking of small tweaks to the collectively understood “look.”
Put yourself in your audience's shoes. Run your new materials and themes by other sets of eyes, to see what associations they evoke.
This week’s post might be more of a personal opinion, but I’m sure there are others that feel the same as me. When I’m looking for accounts to follow on Pinterest and see a board like this...
...I immediately hit the back button.
I don’t care what Internet strangers find funny. And most of this kind of content is ugly and bad. Get on tumblr if you want to find and share funny content.
BUT DON’T DELETE THEM
Okay, maybe that was harsh. You can still use Pinterest to save funny stuff, but you might consider making these boards private. Maintain your outward image of cool, collected DIY goddess and hide your Minions meme secret shame.
I’m tempted to tell you to hide all your weird celebrity crush boards too, but when a sultry pic of Gael Garcia Bernal pops up in my feed, I’m not exactly mad about it. Fandom communities of all kinds are prominent on Pinterest (I still think they’re better suited for tumblr, but whatever) so you might get followers just by really loving those boys from Supernatural (what even happens on that show? They joust with their chiseled chins?).
But Pinterest is an aesthetics-driven platform, so always be mindful of how your boards look, and understand that it might affect how long people stay on your page (and if they ultimately choose to follow you). Appealing to niche interests may not be the way to go. If you want to upgrade your look on Pinterest, check out this previous entry about board covers.
Like I said, this week’s post is more of a personal take. It’s definitely possible that you’ll get followers looking to add to their own “humor” boards because of your collections of funny stuff, but a bunch of strangers swapping marriage jokes in Comic Sans sounds like my personal hell.
Your follower count is not the end all be all in social media. Having tons of followers does not benefit you if they’re not interacting with your brand.
Having a high follower count is great and acts almost like an endorsement from the internet at large. “Wow, so many people follow this brand. They must post cool, useful things. I’ll follow them too.” But you come across looking inauthentic if you have 100 thousand followers but your posts rarely get a like, share, or comment. People are going to assume most, or all, of your followers are bots.
PAY ATTENTION TO PERCENTAGES
Oftentimes percentages tell us a lot more than totals. (“30,000 voters supported this legislation,” vs. “25% of voters supported this legislation.”) You should be paying attention to ratios, not just your total number of followers.
The rule of thumb I have heard is that 2.5% engagement is good and above 5% is great. This means that you’d have a great engagement rate if you had 1,000 followers and averaged 50 likes/comments/shares per post.
While you should always be striving to expand your reach and gain followers, this metric levels the playing field a bit when comparing big and small brands/well known and lesser known individuals. Even if you only have 100 followers, you can still have great engagement by getting 5 likes per post.
It's generally understood in the Twitterverse that a very large replies to retweets/likes ratio is bad. This pattern is generally reflected in people saying inflammatory/incorrect/easily disprovable things, and being subsequently corrected en masse.
If you're already familiar with the term "getting ratioed" you're probably laughing/cringing at the dispassionate way I've just described it. But it just serves to illustrate the point that not all engagement is good engagement. You can make a bad splash. Not all press is good press.
Experiment with different kinds of posts and content to see what people respond to most. If you're posting interesting and useful things on a regular basis, you should have good engagement and an upward trend in followers.
Aspiring Dog Parent