Studio Cotton has been a little quiet for a couple of weeks whilst I’ve been improving my crop of freckles on the Costa del Sol. But now, it’s back to work and sharing awesome advice for creative indie businesses – starting with one of the absolute basics for brands on social media.
Mission: Very possible.
We’re gonna dive right into it now. You want to give people a reason to follow your brand in as many places as possible, so that you have plenty of opportunities to grow a loving (and profitable) relationship.
Reposting content is probably not the way to do this. After all, why should I follow your business on Facebook, if all I see are your Instagram posts? It’s not logical, and it’s not providing your audience with something valuable.
Sure, thinking of unique content for each network is harder than reposting, but here’s a way to make things a little easier: set yourself a mission for each social network.
This idea is nothing new, and definitely not mine
For years, I’ve been describing to clients large and small the need for focused objectives for social networks, and then Olsy Sorokina at Hootsuite put it better than I ever could, by introducing the simple concept of missions.
A mission is an ultra simple statement that defines how you will use a social network. It should fit the audience and format of each medium, and be unique for each medium you use.
For example, Instagram is incredibly hard for generating direct sales, and so is much more useful as an awareness tool.
Most of my clients’ Instagram missions start with some variant on “We use Instagram to celebrate our culture and our community” – and to be honest – most of them could end there too.
Here’s how Studio Cotton uses social media
You probably want some more examples, and you should – so here’s how we at Studio Cotton (should*) use our social media accounts.
I’m outy. It’s the end of the week y’all and it’s been a really good one.⠀ ⠀ From enjoying #topdraweraw17 with @m.calvin, @skysiouki and the fabulous women from @ldnfashionagcy …⠀ ⠀ To eating too much meat at @dirtyboneslondon with @woodlandqueer and @yetanothermike …⠀ ⠀ And meeting my fav London Architecture clients @primearchitecture …⠀ ⠀ Hanging with @hhb_nutrition in the office…⠀ ⠀ Holding our first ever workshop in collab with @bristol_girl_bosses …⠀ ⠀ … to having possible the best food of my life at @casamiabristol to celebrate my first wedding anniversary.⠀ ⠀ Yep, this week has been pretty ballin’ indeed. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #bristolgirl #bristolgirlboss #bristol #smallbusiness #femtrepreneur #femaleforever #ladyboss #girlboss #workshops #workshop #entrepreneur #studiocotton #shoplocal #shopsmall #womeninbusiness #bossbabe #bosslady #shopsmall #smallbiz #mycreativebiz #femaleentrepreneur #supportsmallbusiness #goaldigger #creativelifehappylife #womensupportingwomen #girlpower #bossbabes
Instagram / @studio.cotton
We use Instagram to celebrate small business, Bristol life, and to show off our best visual work.
Our Instagram account is currently a little muddled. We’re still playing with how to best execute our mission, but hopefully you’ll see hints of our culture as well as a positive progression in the type of content we’re sharing.
In practical terms, our posts are always pictures we find to be beautiful, and full of personality. We stay away from the hard sale at all times, and only share product messages on special occasions (e.g. a sale or coupon code).
We’ve also recently settled on an aesthetic tone for our pics, under-saturated and dusty pinks a plenty, just like our brand moodboard which is currently sat on the mantelpiece in front of me (yep, our office has a fireplace. Jealous?).
We want to be relatable, as we – like our clients – are a small, indie business. By adding personal touches and in-depth captions, we create a personal, approachable presence in-line with the people we want to work with.
We use Facebook to educate our audience on small business ownership and marketing, and demonstrate that we are the experts in our field
Our Facebook content is totally different to Instagram, because the medium, format, and audience are different.
The vast majority of Facebook content is us sharing our awesome blog posts, just like this one that you are reading right now. We want to show off just how passionate we are about small business marketing, and we also want to help small business owners get to the stage where they want to employ our services.
By showing off our expertise, our clients know that we’re not just approachable, friendly and just a little odd – but we’re damn smart and great at what we do too. Again, we’re quite light on the sales messaging but at this stage, that’s because our focus is on growing the audience – we’ll work on conversion when we have more followers.
Pinterest / studiocotton
We use Pinterest as a practical branding tool, and to seed our prettiest content. Any social benefit is a lovely bonus.
That’s right, we use Pinterest without aiming for a social benefit – because it’s a bloomin’ handy tool for us and our clients. At the actual bones of Pinterest is the ability to create mood boards – great for weddings, home decor, craft projects, and yep – branding.
We have a few boards set up to collect examples of different brand identity styles to use as a point of reference. It can help our clients to put into words the styles that they like, and makes it super easy for us to share examples in a format that is familiar.
We also seed our Instagram posts on Pinterest, using the free tool IFTTT, just because. It helps our search engine presence a little and who knows, one of our posts might get picked up by someone much more Pinterest-famous. Fingers crossed 😉
I hate Twitter, so Studio Cotton isn’t actively on it. There’s definitely a business reason why it would be good to have an active presence, but I don’t wanna. I’m more than happy sharing our brand on Facebook and Instagram, two networks with audiences much more aligned with people we like talking to.
If you want to know more Twitter for indie businesses, speak to or follow our friends down the hall at If Not Now Digital. They’re small and lovely, just like us, but much better at Twitter, crowdfunding, and spreadsheets.
An argument for lazy social reposting
Ok, so there are a few reasons why every now and then, it might be good to do a cheeky lazy repost. Like us with Pinterest, you could be seeding content on networks without a social mission in order to test the waters, or give you another chance to rank on Google.
A better argument for un-lazy social reposting
If you must, must, must share the same message across different social media platforms, the least you can do is fine-tune for each specific network.
You might want to promote a free delivery weekend. Create bespoke images for each network you use, cropped to the best size so that they appear nice and clear, and write captions that fit your missions.
A simple ‘free delivery this weekend’ message will usually suffice on Facebook, but Instagram demands beauty and subtlety. I recommend seeking inspiration from Bristol-based Amanda Taylor / Pouss Design – you really can’t beat her p&p shots!
Gift wrap | stuck for a swift present? Did you know that my pretty printed packaging doubles up as gift box? I made some free gift labels to help you make it extra special too. Find them on the blog (link in profile 👆🏼) -Amanda x #packagingdesign #freegiftwrapping #freeprintables #graphicdesigner #abmcrafty #etsyuk #handsinframe #meetthemaker #craftsposure #instacraft #dreamjobmakers #handmadewithlove #giftinspo #perfectpresent #giftguide #ootdinspo #jewellerylover
So that’s how we use social media missions to guide how we use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and never ever Twitter. If you’re a creative small business owner, now’s the time to grab your notebook and pen, take a seat in your comfiest chair, and sketch out what you want – what you really, really want – to say on social media.