The 5 Most Important Tips for an Awesome Visual Strategy

What is a Visual Strategy?

A Visual Strategy is the way that your blog, website, or business is portrayed through the eyes of your readers and clients. You cannot have one without the other and they are infinitely complementary.

Your branding is your logo, color scheme, font scheme, mission, mood and goals - all set up together to create the entity of your brand. Your branding encompasses everything from what your brand is and offers, to the way your site and products look.

Your Visual Strategy uses your branding as a launching pad to extend your reach on Social Media, Newsletters, Videos, Business cards and even public speaking or presentations.

Now that you know how important it is - here are the 5 most important tips to follow to achieve an awesome Visual Strategy.

The 5 Most Important Tips for an Awesome Visual Strategy

1. Rock your Brand

Your Visual Strategy and Brand are tied together, so it is safe to say that tip #1 is to tackle, sort out and perfect your branding. In practical terms, your brand includes the creation of a mood board, color scheme, font scheme and the design of a logo. The story of your brand should play into the creation of these visual elements.

Think of your Visual Strategy as the illustration that accompanies the narrative of your brand story. For example; your bio photo must at the same time fit your brand and express who you are as a professional. The photography that you choose for your blog posts and social media graphics must be chosen carefully and then edited with an editing software to have unified look so that they will help tell your story.

Your story and your branding assets make up your Brand, the backbone of your entire Visual Strategy.

2. Link your Site to Social Media

Once your site or blog has gone through the creative process of telling your story and practical branding, it is time to make the jump to Social Media.

Imagine your site or blog as your Brand’s home and Social Media is the rest of the world outside the front door.

When your brand leaves home, it must keep its personality in order for whoever it meets along the way to want to know more and come over for a visit.

Your Brand’s face on Social Media consists of headers and profile photos. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin all give you the possibility of uploading customized headers that not only follow your brand but can promote it through a periodic updating according to what is happening inside your site. Some people prefer to keep their Headers static while others use it as a billboard of sorts to promote new blog posts, products or freebies.

The profile photo is a constant topic of discussion between Social Media Marketers - should it be your photo or should it be your logo? Some say that a logo looks more professional and others say that a photo makes your business more relatable.

Which you use depends on you and your story. For example; any kind of coach would be better off using their portrait (one that fits the brand of course, not just a laptop camera shot in their pj's). A service-based brand might want to use their logo because they are not a “one person” brand but rather a team. The choice really depends on what your mission is. 

For both Headers and Profile photos, they should follow the brand and create a very obvious visual link to your site. Meaning when someone clicks from Social Media to your site and vice versa, they have a seamless user experience.

Bonus: On Pinterest, you can customize your board covers to match your brand!

3. Brand your Social Media shares

Now your Brand’s uniform has been selected and it’s ready to accessorize! Social Media needs constant attention, meaning you have to post things consistently to keep your readers entertained and coming back for more. The things you post, be them your own content or reposts (with credit always!) need to fit the style of your brand, no matter what.

If your Instagram is a beautiful feed of desaturated food photos, a bright colorful photo of your kids in the playground will stick out like a sore thumb no matter how cute your kids are.

What are your Brand’s Social Media accessories? They are your Blog Post Title graphics and Featured Images, your Pinterest graphics, Instagram posts, and any other social media platform you might use for your business.

Every single time you promote your blog, site or brand on Social Media your readers and followers should be able to recognize you at first glance.

When you create graphics to promote your Blog Posts, they should include the following things; The Title of your Blog Post, the URL of your site, your logo, and the use of your fonts and color scheme. When you post a photo taken by you that is part of a blog post you should include a watermarked logo or even create a graphic with a little quote from the post. Think of your graphics as digital business cards, brochures and pamphlets. Would you give out subpar and unbranded printed material to promote your brand?

4. Brand your Freebies, Opt-ins and E-Books

One of the best marketing tips for bloggers and brands is to “grow your email list”. An effective way of growing your email list is to offer your readers things in exchange for their email - it can be ebooks, printables, checklists, toolkits, etc.

No matter what you chose to create as an opt-in for your email list, you need to design it following your Brand and Visual Strategy.

When your readers download a free product in exchange for their email, you don’t want it to get lost in the realm of messy files and folders in their computer. You want them to remember your product, so as soon as they see it they will feel connected to you and what you are about. The design of the pdf or whatever format it’s in should be reminiscent of your blog and website visually.

Use your logo on each page in the corner or as a watermark, use your fonts and colors and choose your photographs wisely, just like you would do for your site, your blog posts and your social media shares.

5. Get on Video

The last tip might actually be THE most important due to the popularity and proven success that it brings to any blog or business. Yes, I am talking about video in all its forms. From the classic edited video uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo to the recent addition of Instagram Stories and FB Live.

I'm not exaggerating - video is the thing to do if you want to really pump up your Visual Strategy. Try out different ways of doing video, maybe you can record yourself talking about something, or go Live on Facebook. Both are great for exposure and your readers will feel connected to you.

If you are creating videos to post on YouTube or Vimeo you should be branding it just like your other Social Media posts. Video is just one more type of social media content.

Give your video a branded thumbnail, use a logo watermark on your video that doesn’t go away during the duration of the content.

If you are a bit scared of video, like a lot of us are; start small with Instagram stories or Instagram Live (it disappears after you’re done talking). There are lots of options to choose from so why not try?

Over to You

What are you going to optimize on your site to reach your ideal Visual Strategy? Tell us in the comments!

**Thank you so much to Orana Creative for this guest post!!

5 Tips for an awesome visual strategy

Top 3 Awesome Social Media Campaigns + How They Did It

Every once in awhile there comes along a social media campaign that makes you stop, take notice, and say to yourself, “Damn.!”

While regular, interesting, and consistent content is the foundation of a social media strategy - creating a campaign that builds excitement, your email list, and brand loyalty is the next level of using social media as a method to attract your tribe.

Any big brand with a huge budget and a large team can come up with a social media campaign and put big advertising dollars behind it. That’s great and can inspire your own creativity for sure.

But the real test is coming up with a campaign that gets noticed by your target audience when you have a small team (or just you) and a little budget. Those ideas are what truly inspire the creative entrepreneur who is trying to do social media marketing better.

I’ve come across two campaigns in the last year that were well-executed, creative - and above all - inspiring. They inspired me to be better and to think differently. I’m also going to outline a third campaign that was created by me back in my Megadeth days and show you why it was successful.

I have a complete video and workbook training available to walk you through the 5 Steps to Creating a Powerful Campaign on Social Media

In the meantime, let me introduce you to three incredible examples to inspire your own ideas.

top 3 awesome social media campaigns cara chace

Hashtag Campaign

#TheImperfectBoss came onto the scene over a year ago and immediately struck a chord with online entrepreneurs. In this digital world of perceived perfection, it encouraged people to post a picture to Instagram using the hashtag to reveal what made them not so perfect.

theimperfectboss cara chace

To date, this hashtag has been used more than 6800 times and they are getting ready to launch another round in May.

The campaign creator, Ashley Beaudin, tapped into a controversial subject that was going against the tide of the Instagram perfection we so often see. She dared to say what everyone else was thinking. She made it ok for people to admit their imperfections.

Their mission is to “...pull back the curtains on what it really looks like to be your own boss and inspire women to build brave businesses that light them up.”

She gathered a large group of like-minded entrepreneurs and influencers (I was flattered to be featured in that first round) to be partners and sow the seeds of the conversation - everyone from the work at home solopreneur to the big names like Denise Duffield Thomas. These women kicked off the conversation and kept it going.

She created a landing page (now a full website) detailing the campaign and featuring the involved partners with links to their Instagram profiles (win-win for everyone!).

They make it easy! The first round involved a detailed explanation of what and how to post on Instagram. For this latest round about to kick off, we are getting backgrounds, Instagram templates, a campaign guidebook, and a couple of audios - easy peasy!

Most of all, she created a community. It’s difficult and scary to be vulnerable and admit you aren’t perfect. By pulling back that curtain, Ashley has let us all find each other and support one another on this crazy entrepreneur journey.

Challenge Campaign

I first heard of Amber McCue when I saw a Facebook Ad for her course How To Clone Yourself.

She was running a free webinar, which I attended and found super valuable, but I didn’t sign up for the course because I wasn’t in a place with budget or mindset to move forward with my business. Regardless, I stayed on her list because I found her perspective interesting and I liked what she had to say.

She gave me hope that there is a better way to do business.

In late fall of last year, I started getting emails announcing the kickoff for her “Planathon” challenge/event. I was intrigued by the idea of finally planning out the next year of my business and getting clear on my priorities and goals.

Although the essence of the event was about learning, planning, and actionable steps - it was wrapped up as a challenge in a Facebook Group. If you know me, you know that my #1 strength according to Stengths Finder is “competition”. If you are looking to attract entrepreneurs that get excited and competitive when it comes to performing - a challenge is your best bet for campaigns.

The challenge/event took place over 5 days within the Facebook Group. Each day from 10am-2pm, there were a series of training videos from both Amber and other entrepreneurs like Jenna Sourd and James Wedmore.

Each participant received a daily schedule as well as daily prompts within the group to take action on the subjects we were learning about (everything from Instagram to goal setting). Members were encouraged to tag accountability partners in the group when they had completed their daily challenge. 

Plus, Amber and her team were present and responding to every post and comment by participants (to a level I’ve never seen before). The result was that even though it’s a large group and there were lots of moving parts during Planathon week, the event felt intimate and personal.

The event was obviously well-organized and took a ton of preparation and planning (Amber’s forte). Amber also provided a low-cost (optional) workbook to follow along and get the most out of all the presentations and learnings for the week.

The Planathon provided so much crazy good value it was a no-brainer for me to sign up for Freshly Implemented - her mastermind group that has changed the way I do business forever and for the better.

The Contest Campaign

Back in the day, when I was the social media manager for Megadeth, I needed to come up with a way to grow our email list. Why? Because as every musician knows, you don’t make money on the music anymore - all your profits come from ticket sales and merchandise.

The webmaster and I knew that if we could send a newsletter that linked to new merch, the online store, and tour dates, we’d see a bump in revenue.

And as every online entrepreneur knows, in order to get someone’s email address, you have to give them something of value.

Back then (circa 2012-ish), there were limited options for running contests within Facebook and mobile-optimized sites were still not the norm. I was able to find a contest app that worked within the Facebook fan page and would automatically collect emails and randomly pick a winner.

We launched the contest, created a few posts across social media, and garnered about 1,500 emails in one week.

Here’s why it worked:

We knew what the fans wanted. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more devoted bunch than metal fans. They covet expensive and hard to find items from a band like Megadeth with a long history. We gave away the 25th Anniversary Edition of Peace Sells... But Who's Buying (Deluxe 5 Disc + 3 LP Box Set). This set included unreleased and rare mixes of album tracks, plus photos and a booklet. A gem in any fan’s collection.

We gave away something of value. The prize retails for over $100, and the nostalgia/collection factor is priceless to some. You’d better believe if we gave away a t-shirt the contest would have fallen flat, even with that kind of warm audience.

We called out to fans. Over the course of the week, we tagged fans (as Megadeth), encouraged sharing and participation, and got in some posts from Dave himself (meaning me with approval;) ) Any fan loses their lovin’ mind when their favorite band tags them on social media. We knew this even back then and took every opportunity to do so.

We built up short-term excitement, building up to a winner announcement, and gained more loyal followers by engagement.

Even if you aren’t a worldwide band with a 30-year history and millions of fans, there are key takeaways for running a contest.

  1. Keep it short-term - the key is excitement, which can wane quickly in the online world.
  2. Give away a valuable prize - no Starbucks gift cards or iPads please. It has to have a real and/or perceived value that’s enough of a passerby (or scroller-by) to stop and think, “Oh damn, that’d be awesome to win.” If you really want a big ticket prize, consider partnering with the manufacturer/store to sponsor your contest!
  3. Know what your fans want - if you don’t know already what your fans value, ask! Come up with 3-4 options and poll them.

I hope outlining these three types of social media campaign has inspired you to think about how you can go beyond the foundation of your social media strategy and start gaining momentum.

Make sure you find out how you can put together a campaign for your business: 5 Steps to Creating a Powerful Campaign on Social Media - so you can learn the steps to making a successful campaign happen for your business - and grow your brand loyalty and income.