I once had a reel that went viral, it took off fast, but it was completely un-targeted and ended up doing nothing for my brand. All the people liking it were not my target audience. From the comments you could tell no one cared about my brand or who I was. I didn't get any followers from it.

It was made on a whim and to be honest was a bit silly. And while you could say 'oh wow that went viral, look at al the views' it was all meaningless for growing my business.

Now while short form video can be very beneficial for growth, it is also important to be careful you aren't falling into the trap of making mindless entertainment (that includes meme graphics too) that don't target the right people, just because you think it will reach a lot of people and go viral.

Simply chasing virality is chasing the wrong thing. You can chase virality strategically, but if there is no goal or strategy other then trying to get in front of as many people as possible it is just a waste of time.

Making mindless entertainment to gain a large un-targeted audience isn’t what matters when growing a brand. Of course, you can still have a laugh and entertain your audience, but consider your goals. Is it aimed at the right person and is it true to your brand?

What Really Matters for Healthy Brand Growth

Healthy brand growth requires strategy and small consistent efforts. Here are some things you should be aiming for for healthy brand growth.

1. Attracting and connecting with the right people.

That means being clear on who you want to attract and connect with, and considering them in every piece of content. Get super clear on who your ideal audience is and what you have to offer them. You need to be targeting the people that will be profitable to your business , those who want what you offer and can afford it.

Get clear on how they are, what their struggles and desires are, how their life looks, why they need your brand and their various demographic and psychographic profiles.

If you have an idea that you get all excited about because you think it will go viral, be sure to stop and think if it will actually attract the right people or simply give you vanity metrics.

Be wary of just talking about your business and then only attracting people in the same industry as you. Consider 'is this serving. my customer or my peers?'

2. Making a real impact by inspiring, educating and motivating.

A bit of entertainment content is fun and can create connection and relatability. But don't rely on only entertaining your audience for healthy brand growth. There needs to be more depth if you want to be able to really connect with and sell to your audience. If you want to build a meaningful impactful brand, you want to be considering more than just entertainment value. If you can combine value with entertainment then you have a real winner, but value should always be more important than being entertaining.

Take a moment to consider what your audience are actually looking to you for. Are you a comedian or actor? If not, then they are not looking to you just for a laugh, they want to get something out of what you share. It could be to teach them, inspire them, guide them, motivate them or solve a problem or desire.

When you tap into what your audience are wanting from you, you can then make that the main focus of your content, and they will be coming back again and again eager to see what you have to share.

3.  Making real sales not just growing in follower numbers.

If you are simply chasing the numbers, you eye is on the wrong metrics. For healthy brand growth the real end goal is a financially healthy business. So focus more on an engaged and ready to buy audience rather than a large disinterested one. Be sharing things that don't just stack up the follow numbers but attract and nurture people who will be interested in what you have to offer.

You also need to have times of selling to your audience. If you shy away from selling and only ever focus on follow numbers, your followers won't know what you have to offer. Yes you may lose some followers by making clear sales pitches, but the people that are your ideal follower will listen to what you have to offer, or eagerly snap it up. If someone leaves because they don't like you selling, they were not someone you needed as a follower anyway.

4. Providing valuable resources.

A brand needs to be helping people in some way whether through products or services and you should be supporting your customers and followers with relevant resources that help them make the best decisions about purchases as well as using your products/services. People turn to brands because they have problems they are looking to solve. So if you want healthy brand growth, become the brand they turn to to solve that customer pain point Show you really care and have a desire to help and make a difference. Show people what is possible, how to do and use things, provide them tips and guidance, give them inspiration and encouragment.

Consider what your audiences problems are and what would make them find your brand a valuable resource.

If you sell products, consider what your brand values are and how you can become a resource related to those values, and share inspiring and aspirational content on how they can use your product. For example if you sell a food product, share recipes and picnic or lunchbox ideas. Or a skincare brand can share routines and facts about ingredients.

If you have a service, think about how you can nurture your audience beyond the services. For example if you had a dog wash service, you could also share great dog tips that pet owners would find valuable. If you service other business owners you can share business tips.

5. Having Meaningful interactions.

If you only attract people who comment things like  'That's so pretty' 'you go girl!' (or worst of all 'first comment') and give you lots of likes.. well that isn't meaningful interaction. A sign of healthy growth is having conversations. People chatting with you in the DMs, making valuable connections, people telling you how helpful your content was. They are the kind of interactions you want.

Now sometimes it will take time to work people up to that level of interaction, but you want to start with interacting with people who are your ideal audience, not people who are just trying to get your attention in the hope you will follow them back. When you see the right people leave comments, comment back, work on building the relationship. As they feel they can trust you, the interactions will become more and more meaningful.

It starts with putting out content that attracts and nurtures those ideal people, and then slowly building up a relationship with them.

6. Growing sustainably in a way that’s true to your brand.

If you have to knock out 10 pieces of content a day to grow.. it isn't sustainable. If you are forgetting your brand's voice and values and jumping on every trend you see to try and go viral... you are letting go of your brand identity and losing trust. It is ok to grow slow, it's ok to have seasons of fast growth and slow seasons, and it's ok to try new things and not follow what everyone else is doing, if you don't feel it really suits your brand's voice and vibe. What matters is creating a system for growth that suits your brand and how you run your business.

Work out what you can handle and find a way to show up consistently in a way that works for you.

What are some ways you can use graphics for healthy brand growth?

Graphics are a great tool to use for steady meaningful growth. Here are a few ways you can use them to grow your brand.

You can:
- Promote content. Share graphics that promote your long form content, such as your blog posts, videos and podcasts to increase your traffic, provide more value and form deeper bonds with your followers.
- Share your expertise. Use info graphics and carousel graphics to share your knowledge and help your audience. Think of it like a visual blog post, use graphics to bring it to life.
- Provide value and insight. Even a simple quote graphic can be a way to share your own thoughts and insights and help inspire or motivate your audience or help shift their mindset.
- Create shareable content to gain more reach. Create graphics that your audience will want to share, and then you will get in front of new people who are similar.
- Share your values and take a stand on the things that matter to your brand. Create graphics that share your brands beliefs. This will help you connect with your audience and build a strong trustworthy brand.
- Promote your opt-ins and offers. Graphics can be used to promote opt-ins and offers so you can sell to your audience, and use visuals to make your offers feel tangible and exciting.
- Start conversations and build community. Use graphics as a fun conversation starter. Provide prompts or your thoughts and invite discussion.
- Give your audience a laugh and relate to them. Have fun. Be real and relatable and show your human side (it doesn't have to be all serious business).

Graphics are a great tool for growth as there are so many aspects of growth they can be used for and they can be put together quickly and easily. And you can work to your own strengths and create graphics that are unique to your brand.

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