Establishing Brand Identity on Social Media

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends creating their own brands and launching online shops and services. If you’re working to build a new company, you need a presence on social media. When my friends talk to me about their plans, I’ve been asking them:

“What’s your social media strategy?”

person holding white smartphone showing Instagram feed

One of the fundamental steps for developing a social media strategy is deciding on your brand’s identity, since this will shape aaaall of the content that you post relating to your business. The visual aesthetic, the tone of your writing, and the content that you offer to your followers are all part of your brand identity.

Let’s put it this way: Have you ever found a small business where you love their products or services, but won’t give them a follow because their content just isn’t all that? It’s probably because they don’t have a strong brand identity.

So how do you establish your brand identity?

Determine the message that you want your brand to convey

I’ve watched enough Mad Men to know that marketing is all about story-telling. What story are you telling through your content? What does your brand “say”? When someone scrolls through your Insta-feed, what will they understand about your brand?

Let’s pretend we have a skincare company: the primary content of our posts will be the products that we sell. It’s the secondary content that tells the story of who our brand is. We could use plants and nature imagery to show that our brand is focused on natural ingredients, sustainable products, and clean living. We could use close-ups of manicured nails holding our products, flatlays with gold accessories, and emphaizing the packaging to show that our brand is luxurious.
The images below are pulled from a stock photo website, but show how the same product can be represented in varying ways to establish different brands.

Our company can convey different messages depending on the way we choose to market our product. The message that we choose to convey becomes our brand.

Outline your target audience

Part of determining your brand is deciding who you want to buy your product. The best thing about social media marketing is that you don’t have to have wide marketing appeal – you can target a particular niche and make that your brand.
Imagine the type of person that would follow your brand on social media, and the type of person that would buy your product. Create a profile for them. Are they more male or female? What age range? What professional field are they likely to be in? Where do they live? What are their hobbies and interests?

Let’s go back to our skincare company. Brand A will be our nature-based brand, and Brand B will be our luxurious brand. With skincare, we can assume that our primary buyer demographic will be women. Brand A might appeal more to an older demographic, who are concerned with what ingredients are used, and have more interest in sustainability and clean living. Brand B’s luxury marketing could appeal more to teens who are interested in aspirational lifestyle and social media trends. While these are generalizations, they still give us an idea for our target demographic. You be as broad or as specific as you want. Brand A’s buyer probably owns house plants, and is likely to be vegetarian or vegan. Brand B’s buyer might have a skincare Instagram, and does face masks while watching teen dramas on Netflix for #SelfcareSunday. You get the idea.

The more you know your target demographic, the better you can establish your brand within their niche.

Use the info you’ve gathered to outline a style guide

Once you’ve got an outline of your brand’s message and target demographic, you can start developing a style guide. I’ll be sharing a post soon about what a Social Media Style Guide is, but here’s the Cliffnotes version: It’s your visual and written “aesthetic”.

iPhone 7 and brown case
Each image on this Instagram feed matches the others: White/aqua/orange colour scheme. Washed out/high exposure images. Content based on a healthy lifestyle.

Visually, it’s the subject matter of your content, both what‘s being pictured and how it’s pictured (colour scheme, photo composition, filter). It also includes fonts, colours, logos, and graphic style. All the content needs to feel like it is part of a cohesive unit, contributing to the same “story” that your brand is telling (as mentioned at the beginning of this post).
In writing, it’s the way that your brand “speaks” to its audience. Tone of voice is a big part of this – are you peppy, sarcastic, informative, conversational…? Also consider what language is acceptable for your brand (do you swear?), how you use punctuation and emojis, and any other elements of text that you find relevant.


Once more, let’s look at our skincare company: Brand A uses lots of nature imagery, and a dominant colour scheme of greens, blues, and brown. Maybe they use a filter to saturate their pictures with rich colour. Their captions are informative and approachable, and they don’t often use emojis (remember the older target demographic?). Brand B’s luxury visual branding is emphasized by a dominant colour scheme of white, gold, and beige, which we often see in branding for luxury goods. Their pictures havev the exposure hightened, and maybe a trendy filter added. Their captions are also informative, but maybe a bit more detached. Maybe they throw a “bitch” into the caption every now and then, but never in a derogatory way. They use emojis, especially the crown.

person holding Android smartphone

There are a lot of elements that go into creating a brand. The accessibility of social media marketing means that, for small businesses, it’s likely to be the only form of marketing used. We’ve seen how social media has allowed businesses to boom purely from online word of mouth. Glossier has achieved cult status purely from tapping into digital communities, and The Ordinary has harnessed Tik Tok and Instagram trends to become a staple in skincare routines. By establishing your business on social media with a strong, cohesive brand, you will be better equipped to build the online following that your business needs to grow and succeed.

How to Make a DIY Face Mask

We all know that Covid-19 isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and a lot of governments are recommending that people wear face masks when they go out. While non-medical grade face masks are not proven to offer protection from virus transmission, they do inhibit the spread of germs from the wearer, which still helps flatten the curve by preventing the spread of coronavirus by asymptomatic carriers. This means that you should be wearing a face mask when you go out, particularly if you will be around lots of other people (such as at the grocery store).

PPE needs to be prioritized for healthcare and other essential service workers, but it’s easy to DIY a face mask at home! I’m providing the steps that I followed to make my mask, which hopefully aren’t too confusing to follow. I know my way around sewing projects and patterns, but have never written one before. Fingers crossed that it’s easy enough to follow at home, and that my ridiculous diagrams make enough sense!

What You Will Need

-Tightly woven fabric, such as cotton (I used a cheap cotton t-shirt from ASDA)

-Needle + thread

-Scissors

-Coffee filter (optional)

Step 1.

Measure and cut the pieces you will need for your mask:
-A rectangle of fabric with a width that is [twice the distance from ear to ear allowing for facial contour + 2″] and a height that is [tall enough to easily cover from nose to chin allowing for facial contour]. This will be the facial covering.
-Two (2) 1/2″ wide strips equal in length to your fabric rectangle

Does it make more sense if I draw it out?

Step 2.

Fold the fabric rectangle in half to create two layers of facial coverage. Sew along the open edge to make a seam. Recommendations for home-made face masks emphasize two layers of fabric to cover the nose and mouth! Leave the top and bottom of the rectangle open, so you end up with a tube.

Step 3.

Measure 1″ in from each closed side of the tube, and sew from top to bottom to make narrow tubes on either side of the mask.

Step 4.

Take one of the narrow strips of fabric and feed it through the tube you’ve made on one side of the mask. Tie a knot at each end of the strip.

Repeat on the other side.

Step 5.

Tie the ends of the fabric strips together, top to top/bottom to bottom. These will fit around the back of your head (over your ears and around the nape of the neck) when you wear it. Tie the ends with bows so they are easy to readjust.

That’s it!

Adjust the tightness of the bands around your head so that the mask fits snuggly on your face. Make sure the mask covers from over your nose to under your chin. For increased air filtration, slide a coffee filter between the layers of your mask.

Stay safe everyone!

Voting Abroad: A Guide

I’m a Canadian living in the UK, and later this month Canada has a federal election. I am so glad that the voting process is so accessible for foreign nationals. I submitted my vote by mail yesterday, and am going to walk you through the process so you can learn how it works, or do it yourself!

1. Get Online

To get all the information you’ll need, as well as your mail-in ballot, you’ll need to head to the Elections page at travel.gc.ca. Here you can apply to vote by mail (which I did), or you can apply for the International Register of Electors. The former is for those who usually live in Canada but will be out of their riding on election day, particularly those travelling or studying abroad. If you are settled internationally as an expatriot who still have Canadian citizenship, that’s when you can register with the IRE.

2. Choose Your Method of Application

There are a few ways you can do this. You can visit a Canadian embassy, high commission, or consulate to get a special ballot voting kit. You can also call 1-800-463-6868, but I’ve struggled to reach 1-800 numbers from overseas, and there are no Canadian government buildings near me, so I chose everyone’s favourite option: registering online.

3. Apply to Vote

You will be redirected to this website. You have to provide the address you want your mail-in ballot delivered to, as well as either

  • 1 form of government-issued ID [driver’s license] or [provincial or territorial ID card]
    or
  • 2 pieces of ID [healthcard and phone bill] or [debit card and bank statement]
    or
  • An affidavit signed before a person authorized to receive oaths in your province or territory of residence

You can mail in copies of these documents as well as an application form, or you can apply online by sending digital images of your proof of ID and address.

3. Fill Out Your Ballot

My voting kit took about 3 days to get here, which is pretty standard for letters between Canada and the UK. Once you receive your ballot, you can fill it in. To do so, you’ll need to know the riding of your home address and the candidates running in this electoral district. You can find that information here. Write your chosen candidate on the ballot, then follow the instructions with the three envelopes included in your voting kit. Basically the ballot goes in the small one, then the small one goes in the medium one, and so on. Sign and date the final envelope, and you’re ready to send it back to Canada.

4. Go to the Post Office

Because it is an international letter, you will need to go to a post office and get it weighed and acquire correct postage. It’s a pretty sturdy envelope, so mine came out to about 80p, or 1.35$ CAD per stamp. The pre-provided envelope has the address of Elections Canada in Ottawa, so all you need is that stamp, and your “return to sender” address. Once you’ve paid for postage, your ballot is ready to be submitted!

That’s it!

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

It’s so important to me that I can vote, and it feels vital to do so in the 2019 election in particular. I was always told as a kid that you don’t talk about who you are going to vote for. Maybe this applied more when there was not as much of a global crisis of abhorrent political leaders, but in the current political climate, people need to speak out about the good and the bad in politics. The Conservative party is bad for Canada.

It’s really important to me to keep Canadian politics reflective of Canadian values, particularly those of equality and respect. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer does not represent Canadian values, nor do his environmental policies reflect the pressing need for change in the face of crisis. As much as I urge you to vote for who you think best represents your needs, I also urge you to vote ABC in 2019 (Anything But Conservative)!