Online Brands | Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places
Online Brands | Where customers go, brands must follow, or get out of the way. Online presence has become key in reaching and connecting with existing and potential customers. If you are not using web tools to make sure the right information about your business is reaching your target audience, you may be leaving money on the table, and missing opportunities to turn potential customers into real ones.
Keeping brand consistency between your physical and online presence becomes even more challenging with the evolution of mobile devices and the growth of social media platforms. Customers can spot brand inconsistencies quickly, and easily develop mistrust with inconsistent branding across multiple platforms. If your small business is new, and you’re building a brand from scratch, or you are rebranding your business online, here are 5 ways to get a head start.
Create a strong home base: your business website | Online Brands
Your website will become your hub for every online branding activity, so it’s vital you make sure your website leaves a good impression and meets the needs of your potential and exisitng customers. A sturdy brand is all about trust and relationships. With that goal in mind, there’s no better way to build both than by posting customer testimonials, or listing big-name clients you’ve partnered with. Use your website to display your resume, portfolio items, case studies, accomplishments, recommendations and contact information. Also remember to include your website URL on your business cards, e-mail signature and other networking platforms to connect with potential customers.
Think of your website as a virtual storefront or office – a place that customers get to experience your brand from the inside, or a backstage pass to what makes your business unique. Create a business website that truly conveys your company’s personality and values – not just your products or service.
Get blogging | Online Brands
One of the best ways to build and communicate a strong brand is by creating a blog for your business. Blogging gives you a platform to build a community around, so it should be a place to show off your expertise, and provide real value for your visitors. You should publish content that helps solve problems for your potential customers. Your goal is to establish yourself as a resource for knowledge, humor, current events, or whatever else you can capitalize on. You should be willing to educate your customers, and readily give them the information they want.
Create social profiles | Online Brands
Regardless of the type of business you own, your potential customers, competition, and peers are active on social media platforms – which means you have a great opportunity to reach these people with little effort. Find out where your target audience already spend their time, and be active in responding to them. If your customers aren’t on Twitter, why would you spend precious resources there? Remember that social media is a conversation tool, not an advertisement opportunity. Engage with people, be yourself, and avoid sounding like a stuffy company representative!
Is your marketing message consistent across networks? | Online Brands
Many organizations don’t know who they want to be when they grow up. Because of that, employees all deliver different messages when they attend trade shows, when they meet someone on a train, when they blog, when they tweet, or when they go to networking events. Improve your brand consistency and social branding efforts by trying to convey your company’s unique voice and message wherever and whenever your business is.
If you create or manage profiles on any or all social networks, make sure that the use of imagery and messaging is consistent across them all. Always use the same logo and make sure it’s resized to comply with size restrictions used by each platform. Even if you aren’t active on a particular social website, at least make sure you have a current profile picture. No one wants to engage with a faceless Facebook page or an egghead on Twitter.
Listen to your customers | Online Brands
When was the last time you searched your company’s name on Google? How about Twitter? A recent study found that 72% of consumers trust online reviews. Any customer can review any business, whether the owner has claimed it or not, leaving your business vulnerable to false information or criticism. Negative information spreads like wildfire online and you cannot leave your business brand and reputation to chance.