Creating a 'Gram-worthy Brand with @AMDBirmingham
Bringing you the very first #desIGnLIVE all the way from Bali, Indonesia! This episode’s guest: Adelaide Matte of AMD Birmingham. Adelaide is also a brand designer and instagram lover who helps brands with their visual communications.
Q: Tell us a bit more about yourself! What you do, who you help, and how you help them?
A: I grew up in Alabama, but i promise I am not a hillbilly… we are normal people here, too. I started my graphic design/branding agency a year and six months ago, so the semester before I graduated college, which I know you have a similar story. Basically I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do, so I found graphic design and I fell in love with it and I realized my love of communicating with people could be translated into a graphic design company. So I moved to Birmingham, got an office, got clients, got a bigger office and bigger clients and now I am working towards being a boutique agency.
Q: What were your first steps in deciding to start a business while still in college?
A: I started with a tutoring business before my actual business. I majored in business and took econ and accounting so I had a base, but trying to figure out what my major was never actually happened. I went to the new college where I could make my own major and minor, so I did PR, minor in marketing and graphics design with an emphasis in sales.
I really fell into graphic design. The first time I opened photoshop it took me 9 hours. There are so many ways to start a business, but you have to do what you like and then kind of learn the rest as you go. The tutoring business helped me master my business sense, and I used the money from the tutoring business to fund my graphic design business.
Q: So we actually don’t know each other outside of a facebook subgroup for The Morning Toast. How do you navigate social media for business?
A: Facebook, because of The Morning Toast, I am probably in about 39 different subgroups, with The Morning Brand as my favorite. I think it is really great to use facebook to meet others in your field. The best part about meeting other people that do what I do in other cities is that you’ll see that the trends are totally different depending on where you are.
But you also have to be careful because people can get a little feisty. Whenever there is a common interest, you have similar outlooks so you know there is an underlying understanding of one another. It is a bit hard to open up in groups with lots of people, because you definitely don’t know them and they will give you their opinion even if it doesn’t apply.
Q: What are the most common mistakes you see brands make when it comes to their Instagram?
A: TOO MANY GRAPHICS THAT DON’T GO TOGETHER is my biggest pet peeve. When their grid is all over the place because there are all different styles of graphics, with different colors, and fonts, and illustrations, it just looks like a hot mess.
*Tip from MKW: Make sure when you’re doing stories on instagram, you add some kind of caption overtop your video to remind people to turn up the sound or engage with the story somehow. Use the stickers, gifs, tags, locations, etc.
Also with stories, you know people are going to see them. The algorithm makes it hard to see your posts, but stories being at the top help with visibility.
Q: For someone who doesn’t know, how do you explain what the Instagram algorithm is?
A: So when you search someone, and you’re always going to see what they are posting, you searching and interacting with that account is going to push them to the top of your feed. Also, this is when you’ll start to see instagram ads. The more you search, like, comment, etc with that brand or account, the more likely you’ll see those posts regularly in your IG feed.
The algorithm is designed by instagram to show you the content that you want to see the most. It used to be chronological, but what happened was that everyone began posting at peak times and they got buried.
PRACTICE GOOD INSTAGRAM HYGIENE TO BEAT THE ALGORITHM:
Make sure that you’re responding to all comments, all DM’s, engaging with the accounts that engage with yours and being intentional.
Q: Most small biz’s struggle with content and consistency. What to post, when to post, etc. What are your tips?
A: I offer a service to run small business social media, and we will post to instagram and facebook posting.
I would tell them that you need to get a theme going. Stick to one to two dominant colors and get the filter game up. Use the same filter on everything (or a lighter one for darker photos, and a darker one for lighter photos) and then also create some templates graphics on Canva or something. I like to batch content by planning and scheduling them all in one sitting. I use Planoly and I love it.
You can also use UNUM for grid planning to lay things out so two of the same type of photo aren’t next to each other and you can create some visual repetition and interest.
Q: What do you think you do well in your biz, and what’s one thing you’d love to be better at?
A: I would love to be more organized with my finances. I went to the bank the other day, and they were telling me I could open up two accounts: one for profit and one for expense so I can more easily see what profit I am making and what my expenses are.
I think I am best at staying on brand. The other day I was searching for inspirational quotes and everything felt spiritual, but I feel like my brand is more sassy. A huge part of it, too, is working with the right clients. When it comes down to it, you can’t feature that work in your portfolio if it doesn’t fit your aesthetic. You look back at your first round of clients and you ask yourself ‘who was that’ and ‘what was I thinking?’
Q: Best tips for starting to establish a REAL personal brand?
A: I really narrowed in on colors and subject: for me it is the color gradient of the ocean and the sky. I love mixing the ocean with city scenes mixed in with graphics.
To have a personal brand, it has to really come from you. To find your personal brand, it has to be an iteration of yourself, because it will be clear when it isn’t authentic. It is much easier when you define your own niche so that people know what to come to you for, and then you’re saving time by talking to the people who want work with you for your aesthetic and for your brand.