Building your online brand can Branding With Social Media
For businesses to truly thrive, they need to achieve "brand identity". Examples of large companies with brand identity are Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Coca Cola, Sears, Jiffy Lube, Kinko's, and Starbucks. When you hear those names, you immediately know what kind of product or service you're getting. Having that kind of brand recognition implies trustworthiness, reliability, and consistency.
Smaller businesses clearly don't have the advertising budget to achieve that level of brand recognition. The good news is, though, with the internet and social media, it's now very easy for small companies with minimal budgets to get widespread branding of their business online. Here are the steps that you need to take to achieve online branding with social media:
Five Brand Building Steps - Using Social Media
What are you selling? What are you best at? Don't try to be all things to all people. The Dog Whisperer, for instance, isn't selling make money online schemes and exercise videos. He is very good at dog training, and that's what he's known for. If you need to, go through your website/blog/social media accounts to make sure that you clearly communicate what it is that you have to offer and how potential customers can benefit from it. Whether you sell high quality handmade jewelry, exercise videos for wheelchair-bound people, organic gardening advice, coaching for married couples...people who visit your social media home page or website or blog should be able to tell at a glance what you do.
2. Pick Your Pictures
Come up with a logo and color scheme for your website, blog, and Twitter page, and stick with it. Look for ways to repeat it.
3 Plan to Participate
Regularly participate on social media sites, and talk about your specific field so that you become perceived as the authority. Give away free advice at least a few times a week. If you are an organic gardening expert, you could give a tip a day on organic gardening, for instance.
4. Communicate : Chat, Comment
Communicate with the leaders in your field. Comment on their blogs, with a link back to their site. Talk to them on Linkedin and Twitter and Facebook. This helps people associate you with the leaders, and start to see you as a leader as well. It's also helpful to have links on your website to people in the industry.
5. Prize Factor To Build Your Brand
Hold contests with prizes - contests that are relevant to your field. If you can afford a fairly expensive prize, that's even better. For instance, you could hold an essay contest and give away a netbook, or ipod.
If you're a dog trainer, you could have people write an essay about their first pet, or their favorite pet. Holding a contest gives the impression of being a large, well established business. Keeping the theme of the contest related to your brand helps reinforce that brand identity. Why is an expensive prize better? Because people tend to retweet it/send messages to their friends on Facebook, and because again, it gives the impression of a successful business.
Bonus Tip - follow the social media accounts of successful people in your field and observe how they build THEIR brand identity. There's nothing like learning from the successful social media pros.
One of my favorite facets of Social Media brand building is the fact that leaders are likely to tell you (in articles, videos, posts) the steps they took. They tend to pay it forward.
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Margaret Ross, speaker and writer, grows and encourages people in business and in their lives. Ross is CEO of the Kamaron Institute, a leading management consulting, training, and market research communications firm. Margaret is the editor of Kamaron PI, the Positive Impact blog, host of Telly award winning Success Class and is a regularly featured guest on America’s top radio shows.