There are numerous benefits of having an online presence for companies and business professionals. Some companies have actually managed to build up their entire brand using social media. From LinkedIn to company Facebook pages, blog networks, and content sharing sites, there are many free to use tools available for those who are looking to get the message out about their personal or corporate brand. Apart from the obvious benefits of gaining insight into their audience, users will be able to connect with their brand’s followers 24 hours a day. Sending out the right messages that are funny, captivating, and engaging, however, requires skills. Posting images of your dog, every day of the year, will not make you appear the right fit for a company that wants to hire a marketing professional, for example. Below you will find some tips on building a personal or commercial brand using the power of social media.
1. Create a Clear Mission Statement
The best approach to building up your image or brand online is to create a clear mission or purpose statement before you get started. Try to answer the following question: "How do I want others to see me?". Once you have established your purpose, you have to set a clear mission that will be related to what you want to promote. It might be the case that you want to sell your skills to customers, and highlight your professional approach. If you are the marketing executive of a firm, you could find aspects of the product that people on social media can relate to. There is a reason why companies have a mission statement. They can align their marketing and branding strategies around one theme, and make sure that their messages are clear, focused, and relevant to the audience.
2. Draw an Image
Once you have established your brand image (personal or corporate), it is time to paint it using social media. Create a LinkedIn account for personal branding and to engage with potential employers. A business Facebook page is essential for all entrepreneurs for various reasons. First of all, you will have the ability to influence your market players, understand them better, and introduce yourself in a polite way. Secondly, you can create promotions that will drive people to your main page, encourage them to engage in conversations, recommend your posts, and share them on other social media platforms. Some professionals (e.g. extreme sports personalities) use videos to brand themselves. It is hard to explain in an article how thrilling it is to race through a mud track on a sports bike, but sharing a video of the experience will help visitors understand the experience better
3. Stay Relevant
The reason all entrepreneurs and company leaders need a business account is to stay relevant. A separate personal account will guarantee that those interested in your brand will not have to look at your holiday pictures if they simply want to find out more about what you have to offer. If you have done something that is relevant to your brand, of course, you can post the image or video. Videos, tutorials, and comments that involve expressing your values and principles work.
Politics and personal attacks, however, should be avoided. Going off topic more than ten percent of the time will make the brand weaker. Simply put by Ted Rubin, "the more precisely your message matches an audience interests/needs, the more value each consumer will perceive from your brand".
4. Stay Interesting
A yoga teacher, Sadie Nardini, who founded her own brand, Core Strength Vinyasa yoga, for example, swears by "branding your weird". This involves funny moves, music, and cats walking across the screen in the videos. Sadie tells us: "Branding your weird doesn’t mean go out and try to be different for the sake of being different, but really think about what you love, what ignites your passions and share it with the world". One of her signature "techniques" is "lion breath, involving you sticking your tongue out, and roaring. She also teaches "face yoga" that can look pretty strange to observers, but yogis actually enjoy it. Posting the same videos and offers will do more harm than good. It will make followers look elsewhere, and you are certainly going to lose your mojo online.
5. Become Involved
Connecting with followers and answering questions is a good start for branding yourself on social media. However, according to the Entrepreneur, you have to connect with like-minded people: "As you search for your target audience, you should identify online influencers in those communities and get on their respective radars". You can build on their popularity, without anyone considering this move "piggybacking". Get involved in discussions on their blog, share their insightful tutorials, compliment them on their achievements, and ask questions. Connecting with other people in your industry will not only help you understand your target audience better, but can also teach you some methods for online branding that works for other individuals.
6. Solve Problems
Before a potential employer or customer decides whether or not they will follow your Facebook page or Twitter account, they will ask themselves one important question: "What is in it for me?". Your account has to have the answer to this question, in order to make a good first impression. You have to provide solutions to people’s problems. If you are branding a product, you have to tell the audience why it will make their life healthier, easier, or more enjoyable. For example, if you are promoting a meditation program, you have to provide not only the features of the audio or video, but the benefits, as well. Getting endorsement through testimonials will help. You can also help followers solving their problems by holding online Q&A sessions or webinars hosted on a social media account.
7. Seek Feedback
Hubspot’s article by Corey Eridon tells us that social media accounts can be used as free tools for market research and feedback gathering. It is an extremely useful feature when it comes to startup brands and people who are just establishing a freelance business. Seeking feedback on the content provided through Facebook, video and image sharing sites can be inexpensive, and could help the account’s owner further develop their online "personas".
As the Hubspot article summarizes: "If you’ve already developed personas but would like to refine them as questions about your target audience’s characteristics arise, ask for responses from fans and followers that meet specific criteria". Positive feedback, on the other hand, will help brands grow, increase their credibility and overall value. It can help determine what type of posts visitors are more likely to engage with, share, and comment on. Apart from seeking feedback in the form of surveys, many social media sites offer statistics, such as Facebook’s Page Insights, and Twitter’s statistics tool. Jobseekers will also be notified of their LinkedIn profile visitors and clicks automatically.
See Also: Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media
Social media can be used for personal and corporate branding very effectively. The key is to clearly define the message and build up the image you want your audience to see. So posting drunk pictures is certainly not the best approach. As using social media for branding is mostly free, and can result in a large amount of people following you or your brand, it is one of the most cost effective marketing tools, as well. A word or warning, though: a social media fail can become viral, just as easily as a well timed Twitter update.
Do you use Social Media for branding? Are there any tips that you think we have missed out? Your thoughts and comments below please...