September 24, 2022

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How to build a strong social media brand with zero design skills

7 min read

Today, social media users want serendipitous shopping experiences — where new brands and ideas pop up on their feeds like wizened wizards in an RPG. In this world, your social media profile is your shop window. How you dress it up, counts.

If you’re a solopreneur or an influencer, social media will likely be one of the first touchpoints your audience will have with your brand and it will be the key to expanding your reach to new audiences in the future.

Of course, when you’re running a company of one, time is in short supply. If there’s a choice between client work and working on your business, I reckon you’ll choose the former. Growing a social following from zero can seem daunting, especially for people who don’t have design skills or social media know-how.

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So how do you build a social branding strategy that grabs the right attention, but doesn’t turn into a full-time job?

We spoke with one successful solopreneur and two design experts from Vista Create, a graphic design platform for small business owners.

Social media is your new CV — make time for it

Used to playing at intimate gatherings with friends and cozy little cafes, singer songwriter Samuel Andryk was always told he had the talent to make it big in the music industry. But, even with an amazing voice and setlist of soulful songs, how could he break into a scene where contacts and networking are everything?

Whether you’re a musician with the pipes, future startup founder, a fitness guru, or an extremely talented custom piñata maker, you need an audience to finally quit your day job and pursue your passion.

“I put a lot of effort into making my branding cohesive. Because of that, I’ve had people reach out to me on Instagram, asking me for advice,” says Andryk. He now works part time as a branding coach helping other solopreneurs get their business off the ground.

Your audience isn’t going to wait for you to send them your CV before deciding if they like you. They’re going to snoop around your socials. So you better make it worth their while.

“I even use my Instagram profile when I meet people in person. It’s like a digital business card,” Andryk says.

You don’t have to be a design whiz

Perhaps my biggest surprise when speaking with Andryk was that he had almost NO design skills and little experience with social media (aside from his personal accounts) when he started out. Instead, he turned to the free design programs that have popped up aimed at helping solopreneurs, influencers, and young startups create high-quality visuals.

Reflecting on how social media design has changed, Kateryna Larina a design expert at VistaCreate, a free graphic design software for design newbies, pointed out, “today, visuals are much more complex with trends like maximalism, 3D shapes, and more recently — the popularity of animation.”

Know how you want to make people feel.

But, thanks to easy-to-use software and a plethora of ready made templates to choose from, it’s become much easier to create a compelling social brand. This gives solopreneurs room to play around, experiment, and develop their own unique brand identity. With so much space for creativity, the key things Larina wants you to keep in mind are:

Having a well-thought-out, balanced composition, a color palette that reflects your main idea, quality photos and videos, and interesting typography that stands out. That’s the magic sauce.

Be authentic

When asked about the biggest design trends, Larina said:

There’s one trend that has been gaining momentum and it’s the Y2K aesthetics. However, if you’re looking for a trend to hop on, this isn’t the best go-to. The Y2K design trend is huge, and it’s here to stay, which is why it’s worth looking into, but redesigning your visuals to fit the early ‘00s aesthetic might be out of place for your brand.

Example of Y2K trend design