How to Update Your Social Media While Staying On-Brand

As the weather gets warmer, we take off our parkas, look for lighter fabrics and head out to beautiful blooming gardens, we may desire the same fresh and fierce feeling when we look at our social media accounts.

Coming from the cold winter, our visuals across our posts are often cool-toned with high contrast between the snow, dark trees and cozy thick sweaters. You might have also had a warm glow from the flicker of a nearby fireplace or candle appear in your photos. When the grass starts to grow again and there are colourful tulips popping up, how do you take this dark theme and brighten it without losing your signature theme and personal branding? Let me break it down for you into a few key components. I will be focusing on Instagram, but this can be connected to different aspects of websites and other media.

Step One: Define Your Social Media Goals.

Figuring out what you want to portray on social media is crucial in developing your theme. Is this a personal account? Is it a lifestyle or fashion blog? Are you running a business account?

When people view your Instagram feed, what would you like them to see? Social media is a curated collection of moments, so no matter how often you post or how little you actually edit the photos, you won’t ever have a representation of your life that has not been mediated and filtered. Every word, picture, hashtag and video posted was a decision.

Decide what your message is. Figure out a main topic, then break off into a few takeaways you wish for your page’s visitors. Define the things people should be able to understand about you/the business if they scanned for 30 seconds.

Here’s what I would say about my own personal account, @sarahelletyler.

My main idea would be myself: Sarah Tyler

The goal takeaways from my account are: positivity, community involvement, creative marketing, social butterfly, feminine style

This is the image I strive to promote in both my in-person and online lives.

Step Two: Transitioning

Once you’ve established the vibe you’re going for, you will then need to transition into either this new and improved theme, or carry on what you’ve been doing and ease in the seasonal elements to update your profile throughout the year.

Moving from a darker/higher contrast theme into newer pastel and grassier photos needs to happen over a short series of posts. The best way to transition is to start slow and add pops of the new elements in the transition.

Whether you use a photo editing application or the editing tools within Instagram itself, being consistent regardless of the content is crucial. If you have warm undertones or cool undertones, your “whites” will display differently. The cool toned photos will look crisp and fresh, while warm tones will be inviting and happy. This is where knowing that previously determined goal vibe for the account is important. Keeping the tones consistent will help blend your theme from season to season.

An important thing to consider is the filter or present levels used. These should be used across each photo to keep the illusion. If you break the theme, it can destroy the flow of your feed.

Step Three: Categorizing and Familiarization

Aside from the posts, many people now use the “highlight” feature on Instagram. This is a way to save the typical 24-hour stories and also showcase a few of your passions or, if it is for business, product/service categories. These might be sports, clubs, creative outlets, school-related, travel focused by location or just more specific information about you or the business.

I recommend two-toned icons with contrasting colours: but make sure they are all the same! White or black over a solid shade is great and legible. Keeping the same symbols, but changing the colours to a darker shade in the same colour family, can keep the recognizability at a high level, which retains followers.

Also, having a matching profile picture will keep you consistent. I recommend using your initials or brand name in the display picture. Changing your display picture to a different photo often can confuse people … not great for followers to keep up with you. You want to be consistent in your posting posts a couple of times per week and they should see your profile picture and recognize it as they are scrolling. Once on your account feed, the text should coincide with your goals too!

Cropping your photos and any white borders or sequencing should all be the same with each new post.

Those are some of my crucial considerations as I post on Instagram and social media as a whole. Ideally, it is best to keep your theme and colours consistent across all platforms, including websites. It takes a ton of work, but can pay off both personally and professionally.

Try it out and see where your priorities lie. Happy posting!