The way you build your brand online will shape not only the perception of your business but also how you make money. Having a strong personal brand is vital for a business leader, and when connecting with your community online, you need to be front and centre. Trust and authority come hand in hand, and a faceless brand has neither.
Your brand will be determined by your character traits, knowledge, capabilities and how you express yourself online. Having a strong brand matters – and without sending a single tweet or Facebook post, you are still out there, just by being visible. How you are seen online affects your reputation and potential customers make purchasing decisions with this in mind.
So, how can you build a successful brand? Keep reading for my 10 top tips.
1. Understand Your Brand
To be successful, you need to make sure there isn’t a misunderstanding between how YOU perceive your brand, and how others perceive it. The best way to eliminate this happening, is to ask yourself what three words YOU would associate with your brand. Once you have your three words, ask someone you trust, that knows your business the same question. If the three words do not match up (or almost alike) ask yourself why this is, and whether this reflects a gap between your brand and reputation online.
2. Understand Your Customer
After understanding your own brand, you then need to understand what your customer wants, and needs. The message you are sharing online must be in line with your business and suitable for your target customer. First, understand who your target customer is, where they hang out and how they want to communicate with you.
3. Don’t Be A Faceless Brand
I mentioned this briefly earlier in this article, but it is so important that your brand has a face. I don’t mean you have to physically let people see your face on social media. I mean adopting a personality and captivating your audience through communicating online.
4. Show Up
As well as being a brand that has a face, you also need to make sure you are approachable online. Part of having a successful brand is treating your social networks as a customer service outlet. 80% of success is just showing up, so make sure your brand shows up for your target audience.
5. Stereotypes? Use Them To Your Advantage
We have all been there. Identifying with a stereotype does not have the negative impact you think it does. Making your business relatable is important, and the best way to do this is to identify a stereotype – as chances are, this is what your customer is thinking anyway.
For those who follow me online, you might have already “stereotyped me” and that’s OK. Once you know how others are perceiving you, you can then identify the assumption that goes with the stereotype. While I may drive a BMW, have two chihuahuas and wear nice clothes (I can hear you stereotyping me already) I am also hardworking, focused and career driven.
6. Mean What You Say
Transparency is essential to building a strong brand. To ensure you are perceived online the way you should be, always think before you post. As soon as you send out a message to your audience, there is no turning back. You must always mean what you say and stand by it, otherwise having an authentic brand is going to be even harder to achieve.
7. Work In Real-Time
While I may schedule some of the information I share online, I also make it an important task every day to communicate in real time with those who communicate with me. This is crucial to building your brand, as when someone asks you a question, they want an answer almost immediately.
8. Long-Term Relationships
Building long-term relationships is important to long-term brand success. I have great relationships with many event and trade show organisers; some of which I have spoken at for 5-6 years, twice a year. It is important that you keep your relationships strong as this is what helps increase your exposure.
9. Your Branding
Does your branding reflect your business? If there is a mismatch between the way you communicate online and your branding, you need to make a change.
10. Make A Change
After finding out how your brand is being perceived online, you may need to make some adjustments to ensure the right message is being portrayed. Don’t be afraid to make a change – your brand is at stake and you must do what is necessary.
Building a successful brand is difficult and will take time – but be patient, and follow my top 10 tips to help you along the way!