As a company, you have a website, you spent time writing the “About Us” and “Services” section and you’ve displayed your goals to the world. What’s next?
As an individual, you put your career life story on LinkedIn, uploaded your most flattering headshot and completed the section titled, “Summary.” Now what?
Building an online brand – for a company, product, service, idea or individual – goes well beyond placing content and waiting. Building an effective online reputation involves fully engaging in targeted social media and social networking. Being credible online means you understand the relationship-building tools available, demonstrate an authentic interest in the global conversation, and bring value, awareness and uniqueness. Then, the online community will even let you sell a little too.
Tips for Building a Brand Online:
1. It’s not all about you. Show interest in others – ask questions, share valuable content, don’t hold back. You’ll get more in return than you give.
2. Target an audience. New tools available through Twitter, Google Alerts, LinkedIn and even Facebook allow you to target messaging to specific audiences for increased message stickiness.
3. Be consistent. If I visit your website, LinkedIn page, YouTube site, Squidoo Lens and Facebook profile, do I see the same person? Are you more fun loving and outgoing on Facebook but professional and “buttoned-up” on LinkedIn? Does your company represent passion and vision on your website but talk product sales on your Facebook Fan page?
4. Make Google your best friend. Search for information about your clients (and prospects) and your competitors. They’re searching you!
Landmines to Avoid:
5. Protect your reputation. Be careful letting conversations slide by where your product or service is misrepresented. If information is circulating that is not true, and your customers’ brand loyalty is at risk, have a set protocol to address the misleading information assertively.
6. Don’t oversell. Please. Your engaged and loyal following will permit a bit of selling if you’ve built credibility and interest. There’s a fine line between awareness and sales – skate it carefully.
7. Don’t forget to regularly update your online content. Show fresh, relevant and timely content on blogs, websites, social networking sites to keep your audience interested and engaged.
Opportunities to Grab:
8. Collaborate. Share insight, information, tips, and helpful resources. In the words of my good friend at Brainzooming, “Can you see your positive influence on these people?”
9. Pay attention to feedback. Learn from it, grow from it. What are your customers or key audiences saying about you or your product/company? Many great business opportunities have grown from organic conversations engaged in online.
10. Google yourself. Know how your listings appear when Google retrieves information on you or your company/product. Is there a convicted felon with the same name as you showing up in your search results? Could be an indicator of why clients aren’t calling you back.