Whatever is going on in your world, keeping your brand visible is key to keeping you in the mind of your future customers. Here’s a secret, you don’t have to spend hours every day to keep your business active in the busy online world, a few well-spent minutes a day can be enough.
When life throws a curveball and you feel like a whirlwind of chaos has descended directly on to you, showing up online for your business is probably pushed further down your epic to do list than usual.
Whether that’s in the form of a personal change (moving house, having kids, a three-day hangover because you’re over thirty and now remember why you don’t drink red wine on a school night), or a global pandemic that no one could have guessed back in Q3 of 2019 when you’re setting your annual goals. Showing up for your business now, even a little and often, will help set you up for the opportunities that will be coming when all this blows over.
Because it will blow over. We are not forever stricken to these circumstances and even if we were, we would adapt. Now, whilst the benefits of maintaining a strong online presence are big, it’s also unrealistic to think that you can suddenly become a content producing machine with nothing to do but create witty and engaging blog posts, a fresh podcasts, a new YouTube channel and doing hourly lives on how fab it is to be locked up at home with a to-do list that grows every time you open a cupboard.
Instead, here are 10 small things you can do over the coming weeks that will take between 10 minutes and an hour and will keep your online presence in tippy top condition and that all important brand awareness front of mind of your future customers.
Having a suite of branded templates to use on your social media channels means all your posts will be consistent whilst also being a massive time saver. The key to brand recognition is to ensure everything a potential customer comes into contact with looks and feels like it came from your business, and templates allow you to do that with minimal effort.
You can use the stock templates in a program like Canva that you update to suit your brand colours and fonts, create your own templates if you feel confident that you can without them looking amateur or stressing you out, or you can hire a designer like myself to craft a full suite of custom designs you can then drop your text and images into as you need.
There is a time investment upfront, but this will give you freedom to post on a whim with a positive step towards building brand awareness through consistency.
Now, this isn’t for everyone and will depend on how strict you like to be with your visual content. However, when you’re pressed for time, having two or three styles that you use on your Instagram grid can help with decision fatigue because you know the style the post will take. Is it an image or a quote? Format what you want to say in that way and behold your glorious, intentionally designed grid.
By keeping the style of your posts consistent, anyone scrolling will learn that that is your style at the moment and will look out for your content or at least recognise it within their feed, showing you are still present and posting.
If you are taking this time to explore the wonderous world of video, such as IGTV or YouTube, having predesigned intro and outro slides that will show when you share the vid is a great opportunity for building brand awareness. Using a consistent layout, colours and feel will mean even the fastest of scrollers will recognise that frame as being from your business, again building the recognition and awareness that your business is active (even if it is just for 10 minutes at 9pm at night when you FINALLY got round to posting that thing you recorded a week ago).
Did you know you can create your own branded stickers that anyone can add to stories? You may have seen that larger companies have their bespoke animated gifs (hello Bombay Sapphire), but you can do this too if you have access to gif making software (such as Photoshop) and a GIPHY account.
If you don’t feel like you have the technical skills for this one, a designer like myself will be able to help. (Fun fact: I have a degree in Animation – this is my certified jam!)
Right now, it’s a little tricky to have a full-blown branding shoot. I have seen some wonderfully talented business folk conduct their own isolated photo shoots, or even discovering that their under 10s who are a dab hand with a camera. I saw a shot that was proclaimed as being taken by a four year old the other day that made me look with confusion at my Photography GCSE certificate.
If like me you don’t have the time/space/tidy house for this, or only have children of the furry disposition who selfishly never developed opposable thumbs, then stock imagery is your saviour.
When choosing your imagery, keep you branding in mind. Not just your colours, although we will talk about that, but also the feel of your brand. If you are a rustic, earthy and causal brand perhaps that clean, crisp white photo of a eucalyptus branch in a test tube isn’t right for you. It needs to be tonally suitable as well as contextually right, and wherever possible include at least one of your brand colours so it feels right for your business and brand overall.
This is a nice easy one. Update your cover images for a fresh look to your page and consider adding in your current service update right there in your image header. Reassure or inform your potential customers from the second they land on your page what your current business situation is. This takes away doubt and resolves any confusion from the start, making your services more appealing because you’ve given them answers before they even think of the question. Confusion costs sales, clarity welcomes them.
All of them, in one go if you can. If you’re short on time then copy and paste them all into one document and review when you can. Your bios ideally need to be consistent in tone of voice so they all sound like your business, but tailored to the type of customer you are looking to attract from that particular platform. This may mean your call to action is different, or you need to use bullet points or emojis. Think about how your audience typically interacts on that platform and talk to them in the same way, as long as it is aligned to your business.
This is also a great time to update your deets with any relevant freebies, blog posts or other content that your audience needs to hear right now, and of course, update your opening hours and contact methods now we are working in different ways.
If you haven’t had a chance to react or reply to reviews that have been left for your business recently, this is a great time to do just that. Not only does it give you a boost to hear all the wonderful things people have said about you, it also shows you are still active to both your potential customers and to the all powerful Google.
This would be a great time to take those reviews and add them to your content bank to whip out and show off when you are tapped out for ideas, or just want to showcase how epic you are. The world must know!
If you are your business, any interaction is going to increase the awareness of your brand. This is a wonderful time to leave a review for another small business you have bought from in the last six months. This will help them massively in these unusual times, it opens up the opportunity for conversation and will remind another business of YOUR business hence raising your brand awareness with a good deed that will be seen by other potential customers. It’s win-win for all involved.
Or sign up for it if you haven’t already. It doesn’t take long and it’s another way you can tell Google that your business is still alive and thriving. If you have a GMB account, update your opening hours, add photos, update your preferred contact method and regularly give it a bit of attention. Whilst it isn’t an interactive platform (other than reviews which we talked about in points 8 and 9), it does work wonders for your search engine ranking, and with most of the world stuck indoors and online, every opportunity to have your business more visible is a benefit.
There you have it.
Tackle a task a day or one a week and keep your brand active and centred in peoples minds. There is a massive amount of noise and advice out there right now and you can do what feels good to you, but do something.
When the world returns to it’s new normal and this is just another kooky thing that happened, how fab would it be to know you kept your business thriving throughout.
Whether you are currently trading or not, keeping your brand active, engaging and visible will save you from months of catch up and as you can see, it doesn’t have to take up all of your day. Maybe 10 minutes while you wait for the kettle to boil or the wine to chill.
What are you going to do this week to stay visible? Let me know in the comments!
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