The Social Media Starting Kit (Part 1): Establishing Your Brand

Businesses, the best businesses, are the response to a problem. And, the entrepreneur’s encounter with this problem and creative response is the story.

Problem: Children without shoes
Response: Tom’s 
Problem: Unhealthy hair
Response: Monat
Problem: Children with a lacking education after public school term
Response: Classical Conversations
Your business tells a story. Its formation, website, branding, and sales style are all a part of that story. But, in a world of billions, how do you ensure that story is being heard? The answer is social media. And, when a story is spread on social media, you have magnified your audience and increased the likelihood of your business’ success. 
But, how do you engage in social media? A business owner does not have time for rabbit holes, education in social media best practices (which are constantly changing), or endless likes, follows and unfollows, tweets and moments. 

Entrepreneur’s Social Media Starting Kit

This guide assumes you have nothing other than an idea, maybe a product and a company name. Where do you go from here? 
  1. Establish your brand
  2. Choose your social network
  3. Choose your focus
  4. Create a plan
  5. Get going! 
All the recommended tools are free and in a WYSIWYG format.

Establish Your Brand

Your brand is important. A brand is to a company what a reputation is to a person–it tells others about you before an actual interaction. The logo, the colors, the voice and language, and the positioning of your brand all contribute to this. 
To begin building your brand, you’ll need a few free tools. 
Blogger or WordPress

Once you’ve got your brand name…
Acquire a logo.

Canva is my go-to tool for design, and I recommend it for all my clients. Not only does it contain pre-set sizes for all social media networks and many free templates for each, it also allows you to set your brand colors for free. 
If you are a design-minded person, you can create your own logo here. They do have simple logo options, all free, for you to experiment. If this doesn’t interest you, you can submit your logo idea to fiverr and have a design within a day. Don’t worry too much about the logo (or the company name) at this point. Most companies change their logos and names several times within the first few years. Just get started. 

Now that you’ve got your brand name and logo…
Find a color palette. 

Design is a very real part of social media marketing and storytelling. We’ll talk more about design aesthetic when we get to Instagram, but for now, know that a brand with a set color palette, or three, looks more professional and polished on social media and business cards. My favorite website for this is Coolors.co. Enter your logo colors (which can be found using ginfab.com), and the website will produce many, many possible color combinations that can be downloaded as PDFs for future use. You can save one of these color palettes in the free version of Canva.  

Now that you’ve got your brand name, logo and color palette…
Set up a simple site. 

Blogger is absolutely free and a great place to start. You can capture a basic domain and a repository for information and sign ups here. There are several templates to choose from, and you can customize with your brand colors (which you already have). Add a initial post about the why behind your business, connect to your Google+ profile, and you’re ready to begin. 
Should you want a more formal site, or online selling functionality, WordPress is the best option for beginners. There are many templates which can be customized, and no coding knowledge is required for the basic site. You will be able to change the site at any time, and the publishing privileges reside with you, not a designer. WordPress sites start at around $20/month. If you do want more complex design, you can hire a coder from Fiverr to do just about anything. Again, you, not the designer, own the site. 
Now you have a brand name, logo, color palette, and basic site. You’re ready for social media!

Choose your social network is up next! Happy branding.

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