Whether you create as a side hobby, hustle or full-time gig, building a strong brand is extremely important for fostering continued growth and loyalty from clients and customers! It can be a frustrating journey at times, trying to narrow down your focus and really get a grip on WHO YOU ARE as a person or brand, but it’s definitely something worth spending the time and effort on! More and more, people are looking to support people and brands that they feel a connection with, so how do you help create this connection?? Here are three things to ask yourself as you build your brand!

What are you GOOD at?

This might feel like a tough question to answer as it takes quite a bit of introspection and it also means walking a fine line between being confident and being humble. You want to be honest with yourself about what you’re good at, what you’re passionate about and what things you may do better than others–and how you can share these skills and this passion to bring value to other people!

This also takes time, trial and error, and exploration to really find out where your creativity lies and HOW to use your strengths to bring joy to yourself and others (BOTH are important here!!!). It is also helpful to start by asking “what can I give” instead “what can I get”? You might truly be surprised by what happens if you do!

By focusing more on what you are good at–and what you enjoy– it becomes easier to be authentic, open and honest with your followers and your customers. This will then allow you to build a more engaged audience and client base. People will see the joy and passion you have for your craft and will really feel connected with who YOU are and what you do!

Who are YOUR people?

“You can’t please everyone” … I know you have heard this before but it needs to be ENGRAINED in every single one of us! We have to stop worrying so much about the people that DON’T like us or our work and start focusing more on the people that DO! Fostering relationships with the people that show up, support us and appreciate us for who we are is SO much more worthwhile than worrying about the negative Nancy trolling our instagram posts. Not all people are YOUR people and that is completely normal. In order for you to have some semblance of mental health we need to all come to terms with this truth.

Identifying the people that you connect with–your target audience–makes all the difference when you are just starting out or building your brand. Knowing who it is that feels so connected with you allows you to speak TO them instead of speaking to what can sometimes feel like an endless black hole (and wondering if anyone is listening anyway…). As a creative and an entrepreneur you are on a journey, and you should be focusing on the people that want to take that journey with you and connect with you on a deeper level! This approach also helps you build a sense of trust with your audience as they get to know more about you, what you are passionate about (even outside of your craft), and what makes you tick.

How do you CONNECT with them?

Thanks to social media, it has become easier for brands (and people) to find and connect with their target audiences. Social media has made it easier and easier for anyone who’s good at, or passionate about, something to share it with others and build creative new small businesses from the ground up. 

When it comes to creating connections, it is all about showing up and being consistent! Don’t feel bad if you only have 100 followers. FOCUS on those 100 followers to find out what makes them tick. What are their likes, dislikes, values, etc. Do a little social sleuthing and then focus on talking TO those followers and sharing with directly with them rather than posting random captions. Building a brand in this way makes it a lot like building your own little community or family! I have been on Instagram for 5 or 6 years now and it wasn’t until this past year that I truly feel that I found my stride. I know what I want my brand to represent and I am learning more and more each day about my followers and what makes them tick. In 2020 I went from just over 3,000 followers to almost 11,000 followers and I have to say that it really all came down to finding my voice, showing up, being consistent, doing more of the things that bring me joy and less of the things that don’t (which meant learning to say “no” more often–which was very difficult for me at first), and sharing this journey with my audience.

In the end, just be yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with what you share, we are all on our own creative journeys and social media has no magic pill or one-size-fits all plan. Keep being the amazing YOU that you are, strengthen the relationships you’ve already built and your community will only continue to grow!

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