In the early 2000s, it was relatively easier to stand out online. With a handful of social platforms and significantly fewer people on the internet, many were able to execute and maintain a strong personal brand with relative ease. Fast forward to 2018; internet users hover around 3.2 billion people and new online platforms are being introduced at a very quick pace. The world of digital media has made a drastic shift in the past decade alone; so much so that e-commerce has the upper hand on brick and mortar and individuals are creating successful careers for themselves.
Building a brand for your business is imperative when it comes to separating yourself from competitors in your market and creating a sense of trust with your audience. Many businesses struggle to create a brand or neglect to do so which can cause them to go unnoticed. Having a brand in place for your business is a chance to explore the creative realms of who you are and what you have to offer. Of course, starting off can be difficult, especially when one has limited knowledge of branding and its impact on their business. Online marketing consultants, like ourselves, can help you create and execute a branding strategy that will better connect you with your audience.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a well-thought-out branding strategy. There are many steps to take when planning out how you want to brand your business as well as many steps to take along the way. It’s important to understand why you are creating a brand, who you are looking to target, what messages you want to convey, where you want to be, and what your end goal is. With these questions in mind, we can work with you to piece together a strong online brand for your business.
Identify your values
Value is a word so often used in marketing and for good reason. Value is something businesses must provide to their audience through what they do and what they have to offer. Before jumping on every social platform, it’s important to evaluate what message you want to convey and what you have to offer to your audience. For example, if your business sells handmade products, you want to convey to your audience what differentiates handmade from factory made and why that difference is so important. Once you have a clear understanding of the message you want to bring to your audience, you have to then find ways to interject value in what you do online. Finding, creating, and conveying value is important for long-term growth; this allows you to focus on what is important and what your audience can derive from your business.
Translate who you are into the digital world
Whether you are the CEO or your business or part of the team, you know who you are and what you do based on first-hand knowledge. When creating an online persona, this is valuable information you have to project. Anyone can slap their name and logo onto a social platform and call it a brand, but in order to stand out and be successful online, you have to dig deeper and go beyond the surface. Identify what approach your business is going to take online; will your persona be humorous and light-hearted? Will you tug on heartstrings constantly? Perhaps you want to take an authoritative role and project a more serious tone. Identifying who you want to be online is critical. Once you identify the vibe you want your business to give off, you have to then describe who you are, what you do, what you have to offer, and what makes your business unique. Once you have everything set in place and have identified your online persona, it is time to put it into play.
Build and they will come
You have identified what value you want to bring to your audience, what persona you want to go by, and what you have to offer, now it is time to put everything into action. Building a personal brand in the digital world typically requires a website for your business and social platforms. In regards to branding, social media tends to play a bigger role, however, your website is, more often than not, where you want your audience to end up. It’s important to be on a variety of platforms to increase your reach and voice, however, don’t be overzealous. You do not need to be on every single platform, in fact, it’s better to focus on a handful of relevant platforms than to spread yourself thin on platforms that are not optimal for your market. These platforms are what give your business a voice so it is imperative that you thoroughly understand them.
Like anything, you cannot build and forget. Imagine taking the time and money to have your dream house built and once it’s finally done, you disregard it. Building your brand doesn’t stop once you have created what you want to project. Branding is ongoing, meaning you must provide consistent value and engage with your audience when necessary. If you don’t have time to constantly check your social platforms for updates, trends, comments, etc, we as consultants can help!
Avoid the negative
Although it may seem obvious to avoid discussing anything that could damage the reputation of your business, it happens quite frequently online and many businesses have seen the direct ramifications of their online posts. Avoiding the negative does not just mean avoiding words derogatory words and phrases, it also means avoiding controversial issues out of your scope that could create a negative bias for your businesses online persona. For example, if you are a cake shop, politics is not a relevant topic in your market and bringing it up could cause trouble. With your personal brand, you want to remain neutral and eliminate any potential bias (unless of course, you are in a field such as politics). Before posting anything ask yourself a few questions: Is this relevant to my business? Is this providing value? Am I going to upset anyone? Am I creating a bias? Can this post be taken out of context? Your answers to these important questions will help you gauge whether or not something should be posted and could potentially get you out of hot water!
Building a brand for your business is essential when it comes to creating a voice and reaching a larger volume of people. Your online presence says a lot about your business as does a lack of. Branding allows you to be seen and heard on a larger scale and gives you the ability to share with your audience whilst simultaneously building trust and confidence in who you are as a business and what you have to offer.
Looking to start branding for your business but don’t know where to start? Contact us today and we will help you share your voice!