Crafting Your Brand Online
It’s easy to find a wealth of information online and in textbooks around marketing a product or company online. However, newer on the minds of many marketers and business owners and the topics of actually branding yourself and branding your business as a whole online. How does this differ from traditional marketing? I like to look at ‘branding’ as creating and maintaining value associated with your name through the use of blogging and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
If you have just begun branding yourself in a professional capacity and you are unsure of what your potential brand or value might be, a great starting point is to look at areas that you are interested in, knowledgeable of or skilled in. If you can produce a list of potential focuses that meet at least 2 of these three criteria, you are set. You can then begin creating meaningful content, networking and participating in related groups for the purpose of making connections. In doing so you will learn more about your respective area of focus and begin working to boost yourself to the point of eventually becoming an authority that people look upon as a reliable and definitive source of information in your field area of focus.
On the other hand, if you already have an established small business or have been working within a given field for a number or years, you likely already have a wealth of knowledge and topics at your disposal to begin sharing and discussing. You could blog or create content around your operations or any other interesting aspect of your business. Giving an “inside view” builds a personal relationship that customers value very highly and builds trust and loyalty. You could speak from a potential wealth of past experiences or share lessons learned. You may also already have made connections in person or to some degree online that you can now leverage to make aware of your new branding efforts and already have a dedicated follower base more than willing to remark upon the content that you create – helping your brand grow and gain momentum all the more quickly.
If you are lucky enough to already have an established brand that you are just trying to move into the online and social media space, you will find the move quite easy and will likely be kicking yourself for not getting started earlier. If you do not have a personal or professional brand, it’s simply a matter of picking your focus and getting stared. The barriers of entry and learning curves with social media tools are so forgiving that you really have nothing to lose and an immense amount of value to gain.