The last year and a half has been difficult for all of us, but it’s been especially hard for female small-business owners. Some had to close their brick-and-mortar stores for good while others had to follow social media tips and ramp up their digital media strategies to compete with big-name retailers. No matter the circumstance, the changing economy required these hardworking women to think outside the box.
But what sounds like a tale of woe doesn’t have to be. According to a survey conducted by Adobe and Wakefield Research, 61 percent of female small-business owners say their business’s online presence is more important than their physical location—56 percent of solopreneurs rate their business’s digital and social media marketing as either fair or poor. In addition, 83 percent of solopreneurs noted that creative design will stand out and drive their business to be more successful, but they just lack the time, tools, and training to get it done.
If you’re trying to improve your digital footprint to help your business thrive, we have a few simple-to-follow tips that will drive you to success. And thanks to Adobe Spark, one of our favorite social media and marketing tools, you can navigate today’s complicated market—whether you’re rebuilding your following, trying to get more creative, or fighting to stand out amid a sea of competition.
1. Develop a Cohesive Brand Image
It doesn’t matter what type of company you run. The way your social media content looks can make or break your business. Even if your photos are top-of-the-line or you’re a connoisseur with copy, a brand without any continuity can leave consumers feeling lost and uninterested. That’s why it’s essential to create a streamlined look to help people identify (and get sucked into) your content from the moment they discover it on social media.
Australian craft-based designer Kitiya Palaskas built her small business around helping clients develop a brand image. Thanks to a massive collection of graphics, logos, fonts, and colors available on Adobe Spark, Palaskas finds her day-to-day branding tasks easier. On the platform, she can create tailored social graphics, videos, presentations, and more based on her client’s needs.
2. Streamline Your Workflow
You know that cohesive look we were talking about? A lot of what goes into that sort of linearity is repetitiveness. I’m not talking about repeating the same post day after day. I’m referring to using the same colors, formatting, and text to showcase a smooth look throughout your feed, blog posts, and website.
In terms of social media, one of the easiest ways to do this is by creating templates that you can use over and over again. It cuts down on the time you spend meticulously formatting your graphics and creates consistency from one post to the next.
When creating templates, small-business owners can turn to Adobe Spark’s resource library that houses thousands of curated blueprints from designers and other content creators. The great thing about these templates is that you can customize them by swapping out the original colors with your brand colors, or you can change up the font to match your logo, the text on your website, and more. You can also shift and maneuver things around to make them look exactly how you want them.
After you create a template, you can save it for future posts and edit it when needed. Just make sure you have your go-to brand colors, graphics, and fonts on hand to make changing your template quick and easy.
3. Create Eye-Catching Graphics
A few years back, posting photos of your products was enough to grab some attention on social media. Today, it’s the vibrant graphics and compelling videos that stop people from scrolling past your post.
Before you start messing around with shapes and images, remember that social media is an extension of your business, so you want your graphics to reflect your brand. Trying to evoke a lighthearted feel? Opt for pastels or bright colors. Catering to a professional audience? Neutrals might be better. Whatever you choose, come up with five or fewer colors to use from one graphic to the next.
If you’re using imagery in your posts, only use high-quality photos (because even the most creative design will be overshadowed by a blurry image). You also want to make sure that your graphics aren’t too busy or distracting. Contrast is key if you’re adding text, and it’s OK to have some white space on your designs.
4. Improve Clarity and Collaboration
Nothing is worse than nearing the end of a big campaign only to realize everyone is on a different page. It’s frustrating, time-consuming, and it can completely derail your brand goals. So if you’re adding a few helping hands to your small business, it’s imperative to prioritize effective collaboration and communication.
Start by getting everyone on the same page with a clear goal. You can follow the SMART format—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This will allow you to clearly track your progress from start to finish. Communicate the goal to your team and ensure everyone understands it clearly. This is also a good time to address anyone’s questions or concerns.
When you’re ready to dive into the busy work, make sure everything you need for your project is in one location. With Adobe Spark’s collaboration feature, you can create a project on the platform and easily invite people to join. When the invitation is accepted via email, everyone will be able to edit the project in the same place (and see the changes made when the project is updated).
This tool is a major time-saver and key to efficiency. One person may be incredible at writing copy while another is more design-savvy. Project sharing allows you to pass the same graphic, presentation, or document back and forth while utilizing everyone’s strengths and keeping everyone on the same page.
It’s normal to run into roadblocks when running a small business, but when obstacles keep getting in the way of your goals, it’s easy to get down on yourself. The good news is that you’re not alone—even if it feels that way.
As soon as you conjure up the idea for your small business, find a group of individuals in the same boat. If you browse social media, you’ll discover dozens of support groups dedicated to improving social media efforts, running an online business, or even coming up with creative brand marketing ideas. You can also create your own community via social outreach.
CEO of Girl Gang Craft Phoebe Sherman consistently creates templates and graphics for other content creators and small-business owners to use for free. This strategy not only helps her build her own following but also helps her build a group of women who can rely on one another for their creative needs.
According to the study conducted by Adobe Spark and Wakefield Research, over 53 percent of female small-business owners use social media as a way to find creative inspiration. So if you’re needing a little more support from your community, you can turn to your favorite apps and lean on other hardworking women to keep your small business thriving for years to come.
This post is sponsored by Adobe Spark, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.
This content was originally published here.