It’s 2016 and if your business can’t be found on the internet, one can almost ask how serious you are about your business?
While some long serving businesses have found ways to still hold on to their core customers via traditional means of marketing, the millennials are pushing the boundaries of what technology can do to help grow their businesses.
From creating an online presence that helps communicate the look and feel of your business to being accessible through constant feedback with your customers, which helps build customer loyalty, the opportunities are endless.
Here are a few tips to help build your brand online, curated of course from my experience as a publicist, as well as a consumer with expectations.
- Define your brand: By defining clearly what your services are online, this helps attract the right customers to your brand, i.e. if you are a food company that delivers; specify this in your bio or about page with adequate contact numbers that work.
- Use Google for business: Capitalize on the free google listing to not only help your business be found online but to also help people find the physical location of your business. Google for business allows your business to get listed on the map for free!
- Have a website or a blog: Think of your website as a window to your business on the internet that allows you to create a persona that mirrors your physical business. With your website you can list your products and services, describe your brand in details while also sharing the inspiration behind your business. This allows you to connect with your customers on a personal level.
- Utilize social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow you to constantly communicate the changes and updates of your brand using engaging texts and visuals with your target audience. You can build a following with regular content based on what your target audience responds to the most. You build brand loyalty and create mind share among your existing customers while opening yourself to potential customers. With social media, you want to listen to what your audience is saying, asking and looking for. Allowing you to tailor your content so when they find you, they’ll be hooked! You can also use social media as a form of customer service by constantly responding to questions and showing your customers love by re-sharing their content that relates to your brand.
- Publish constant relevant content: As a brand, you want to be identified as a thought leader in your industry: meaning being very knowledgeable in your industry. By sharing authentic on brand content that adds value to your audience, your brand starts to grow as the go-to for information relevant to your industry.
- Be yourself: In a crowded space like the internet, getting lost in the noise is very easy especially for small brands. By ensuring that you create a unique personality that is true to your brand ethos, you can easily be identified because your brand stands out. Is your brand friendly and fun, or professional and mature? You want to communicate clearly what your brand is without coming off as a copy cat. Be inspired by other brands like yourself but uniquely position your brand to also inspire others.
- Give Value: Now your brand is growing, your followers are engaged and your audience is building. Reward your followers occasionally by either sponsoring relevant giveaways or creating offline free events for followers to have one on one interaction with your brand, which drives further brand engagement.
- Join relevant communities: The internet is a community on its own with sub communities, as your brand grows you find there are relevant communities you want to be a part of. If your brand is about fashion, you want to be in touch with the relevant fashion conversations/communities to further create brand impressions. Research relevant communities in your industry and contribute to the conversation.
- Put your best foot forward: Don’t cut cost on your content. Push high quality visuals and relevant content to your brand. Post nice clean images that reflect positively on your brand. Utilize #ServiceSwap if you’re on a budget. It is very important to ensure the content you put out reflects your brand as one to trust. From your language to your images always make sure to put the best foot forward.
- Follow up on conversation: Don’t leave questions in your comments unanswered. Social media is personal and has a voice so it is usually surprising when businesses ignore their comments. As a business, your online presence is the most direct form of communication with your customer in the digital space. The snobby attitude definitely doesn’t pay you!
Of course there’s more to building your brand presence online, like being consistent and most importantly, not pestering people with your content. These are just basics to start you off as a small business, of course as your brand grows, you’ll need more professional help. Remember that with brand building online, presentation is everything. You definitely want your brand to be well represented when you aren’t there to do the talking yourself and the internet gives you the best opportunity to do just that.