Are you guilty of neglecting your personal brand Imagery? When you set up your business you were more focused on the obvious, your website, logo, copy. Your personal brand visuals? Some selfies or stock images seemed to do the trick.
What I notice is that the images you chose are often irrelevant to your content, off-brand or too generic. These pictures have no story to tell and are not helping you connect with your ideal client.
Don't just post images for the sake of posting. Your pictures can do a much better job for you!
Using images for your personal brand is vital. Did you know that, according to Hubspot, if a “relevant image is paired with information, people retained 65% of the information three days later, compared to 10% for text with no photos”.
In the age of information overload, our attention span gets shorter and shorter. The average person gets distracted in eight seconds, though some people will only pay attention for a mere 2.8 seconds.
So you want to make sure your visuals are engaging enough to stop your audience from scrolling through your feed and website. How can you do that? By telling a story with your images, creating or curating relevant visual content for your personal brand.
In this post I will hopefully convince you to invest in a personal branding photoshoot or if you DIY it, to follow some guidelines for you to make the most of your visual content. To create not only images that serve your personal brand but also help you connect and engage with your ideal audience.
Think like a creative director and art direct your brand
Before you start creating your content with your photographer or on your own, you need to have clarity on:
- What you want your business to be known for. What authority you want to be.
- Work from your brand. What are the values that define your business? How do you want to make a difference, your message, your mission?
- Your brand personality, is it quirky, modern, elegant, funky?
- Your ideal client. Who will give you money, and why? Understanding who they are will help your communication strategy.
How to tell your brand story with visuals
Before you start with your images, you want to have a clear vision of your brand style. Everything in your brand has to align to create a consistent message, and this is valid for your brand's images as well.
Let's start with your brand keywords. If I ask you to define your personal brand with three keywords, what are the words? My keywords are elegant, joyful and lifestyle. What are yours?
Keywords are a great way to imply what you want in the images, their mood, vibe, emotion. For example, “joyful” will have a very different vibe from a cutting edge contemporary brand with sleek images.
When you developed your brand styling, what did you have in mind? How did you choose your brand colours, fonts, tone of voice, message? What is your brand story, why did you set up your business, what is your mission, the WHY behind it? If you haven't done this exercise yet, I invite you to refer to this blog post or get help from a graphic designer or creative director.
After working on all the branding elements start to tackle your visuals. Your aim is to build trust and develop a tribe around your brand. Your images will help you do that.
Plan your visual content
Have you ever thought about the number of images you need for your website, your social media, business profiles, brochures, media kits, cover page, about us page, product/services, portfolio? That's a valuable exercise for you to go through.
Where to start?
Consider where you need images and the purpose of these images? I will ask you to list all your brand touch points and then calculate the number of images you need. How do you do that?
List all the brand touchpoints where you either share or posts images. We can start with a list like: on your website, your ‘must-have” pages, i.e. your home page, your “About page”. Ideally, you want an image of yourself that is inviting and engaging. This is your 8 seconds to make a lasting first impression and invite your visitors to learn more about you. Do not hide behind a selfie, show your “colours” personality.
- Social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.)
- Blogs posts
- Products / services features
Then calculate the number of images you need. How many images do you need on your website, your home page, about page, contact page, product page etc.
How many times do you post on social media, three times a week or more?
Did you think the number of images you need is so many? Doing this exercise will help you stay consistent with your brand imagery by working ahead. Once you're clear about the number of images, you can start working on the content.
Figure out the purpose of your images.
Is it to inform, entertain, connect, create product differentiation? To tell more of your story, sell, engage, share, solve a problem? You want your audience to identify with what you're sharing. From today I want you to be more consistent and select your images with a real purpose.
Work for your brand story
- Use your brand story and narrow it down to the main themes in the story.
- What's in your story? Is It about education, friendship, community, giving back these themes will help direct your visual content.
- Put yourself in the pictures
- Put yourself in a situation, e.g. a workshop, chatting with clients, sharing how to guides.
- Don't be afraid to be adventurous; move away from the traditional, polished image.
- Show more of yourself and your unique style.
- Show the behind the scenes.
- Show what's unique about YOU, showing emotions in a photo makes you more approachable, think about telling a story rather than standing still, show yourself in action.
- Feature the locations your work from
- Client experience and the benefit of working with you, you can develop an entire story focused on the experience of working with you.The most important, we want to see YOU! No selfie, small profile image, show yourself!
Distribute Your Content
With 500 million+ blogs online, very few people will find your blog post via your website. You need to spread the word, sharing it, posting it, on social media, Pinterest, and Medium. Make your visual content work for you!
Schedule your Instagram post with a tool like Planoly. One way to make the most of your visual content is remixing, once you have a collection of images from your photoshoot you can rework them for Instagram and Pinterest with a tool like Canva and if you have the paid version, you can automatically resize them all social media.
Remix your images by adding graphics, use them for blog posts, in a brochure, newsletters. Re-share your Instagram images on Facebook, share and re-share your blog post, Instagram images on Pinterest.
You will quickly realise the benefits of having a thought through strategy for your visuals that will help you create a consistent brand and have an aligned message that will make you look like a real pro!
A quick summary to make your brand’s visuals work harder for you
- Tell a story with your images
- Be consistent, create/curate images in line with your brand
- Plan with a list of recurrent themes/topics
- Use Instagram stories and Pinterest
- Think about your visual content as a way to connect and engage. Not just pretty pictures, say something with it, be your creative director and art direct your brand.
Rachel is a photographer, creative director and visual content expert for personal brands. She shares her insight and creative expertise to help you create a consistent and personal brand that builds on your uniqueness to create a successful business.