Shine Bright Like a Diamond on Social Media

Photo Credit: VanillaInSocial Facebook Page

Photo Credit: VanillaInSocial Facebook Page

A Personal Stylist and Fashion Blogger, a Social Media Strategist, and the Marketing Director for a green energy company -this woman knows a thing or two about personal branding for yourself and a business. Marisa Lather did not always start out in the social media realm, but with perseverance and taking the time to learn, she has become a master at the skill. She graduated with a degree in English and was working at company when the marketing department was looking for someone to run the social media. While classes were not available while she was in school, Lather took online classes (Hubspot’s Inbound University and LinkedIn Certifications) and most importantly, she devoted a lot of time and hands-on work which eventually lead to her passion for social media. Whether it is through her two personal online profiles (VanillaInVogue for fashion, or VanillaInSocial for business), or Microgrid Solar’s social media, you can find this lady on every platform of the social media universe. Don’t let the name fool you, “Vanilla” is just a nickname, but she is the the farthest description of boring. Bringing flair to all of media pages she runs, she specializes in building the perfect online presence from scratch and allowing you to bring that to the professional side of things for yourself or a business client.

Creating Content For Your Audience

“In order to be effective and produce good conent, you need to know what’s resonating with your audience,” -Lather.
According to Lather, one of the best ways to know what is working and what is not working is by simply looking at the analytics. For her fashion Instagram, she looks at how many likes each of her pictures get. When she first began posting, she noticed that whenever she posted an outfit, she got a lot of feedback. “It taught me how to start listening to my audience and through that, the fashion thing kind of came in. It was a way for me to express myself,” Lather said. To get the best reaction from your audience, some other tips from Lather you could use to be the best at content is to stay on top of trends, pick a handful of blogs you really like and admire and study them (one of her favorites is Mashable), and most importantly, dedicate time. Sometimes you can create something good, something people want to see, but even the time of day can effect what happens. Lather says you just have to play around until you find what works best. If you post at night, people are either asleep, or looking at their phone before they go to sleep. To really make sure she is reaching all platforms, she checks her analytics weekly on her Instagram pages, blogs for her unsubscribe rate, Facebook pages, websites, and even on her Twitter accounts where she checks how many she’s follow versus how many are following her. “Things are just changing all the time, you never know if it’s just a glitch in the system, or if they’ve done a new rollout,” Lather said.

Photo Credit: Microgrid Solar Facebook Page

Photo Credit: Microgrid Solar Facebook Page

It’s Just the Business of Things

“I don’t think just joining a company is the right time to do social media because you really have to be trained on the values of the company and the voice and culture of the company,” Lather advised.
Part of personal branding can be used to show a business profile of yourself that shows companies you have experience in not only social media, but the business profession. Her own profile, VanillainSocial is what she uses to show companies that they can trust her to know how to create a strong positive online presence that they may be lacking. Ultimately, Lather hopes to create a hub where people who want her to speak, or use her services for social media, go find out who she is and that she’s a legitimate person in business. Currently, Tumblr is her platform of choice. Through her fashion profile, she has been able to create business there as well. Lather was up for social media awards given out by ALIVE Magazine during the St. Louis Fashion Week. She was found by local social media guru Jen Cloud on Twitter who tweeted to ALIVE Magazine’s Marketing Manager and Digital Strategist Lindsay Patton, telling her about Lather’s fashion blog. Through that tweet she was not only nominated, but was asked to be the official social media manager for St. Louis Fashion Week and a fashion stylist backstage. Lather is proof that with a well strategic presence, you can find a job for social media.

Times Are Changing, and So Shall We

“There are people out there watching what you do and you don’t even think about it,” Lather stressed.
While Lather was sharing all of her knowledge, she was explaining how kids these days are growing up in social media. Everything that you post is a representation of you, and you should really be careful about what goes on the web. To separate her personal life and her business life, Lather created two different Facebook accounts. Her personal one is where she was post pictures of dinner, her dog, and vacation pictures. The business page is filled with the content she wants people to see that could potentially hire her. One of her favorite stats to share is that 90% of children have an online footprint before they are even born. Although social media is her passion, Lather did say, “I gave up all my privacy rights when I signed up for social media.” However, she is proof that hard at work figuring it out and taking the time to organize content can eventually bring you to all the right places.

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