• Sakina bint Erik

3 Steps to Establish your Brand Online

If I saw your logo, would I be able to recognize it? Could I say 'Oh, I know what that business is all about!'

Probably not! But that's okay. That is the perfect place to start if you're reading this.

The word 'brand' can be intimidating, can't it? It can bring images to mind of the greats like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Apple. But these are not in your range of competition, are they? So don't worry about them.

A brand is simply what your business looks like to others. If you're doing it right, your branding is consistent across all your media online, and sums up perfectly what you're about.

So let's get going!

It's all in a name

Because you don't have a recognizable color scheme like Coca-Cola, or a logo known around the world like Nike, you have to be VERY consistent about your names.

Your domain name, your Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter handles and your Pinterest page must all have the same name with the same spelling. Once you figure out what that is, open all your accounts (or edit them) to reflect that name.

Your logo colors are your brand colors. Make sure your logo reflects your brand personality. To dive deep into the concept of color for branding, check out this guide.

All your social media accounts that used to be personal need to be either changed to a business one, or a new one for business purposes needs to be opened up. This is important because when you have a business account, you can look into analytics for your posts. You can't do that when you are using a personal account.

When you're writing the 'about' or profile sections of your social media, consider your language. No, I don't mean grammar or avoiding expletives, I mean a brand voice. Are you going to be funny, perky and energetic? The voice of calm reason? What kind of language will you use when you write your blog posts or post on social media? Decide that now to make sure everything you create is consistent.

What is also important, to make sure you don't have to go back and edit the nonsense out of your work later on, is keywords. Use all the tools available to research the keywords your potential customers will use to find you online. Google, YouTube, and Pinterest suggestions in their own search bars are great places to find popular keywords associated with your brand.

So what, you have a website?

The way the internet works is that things are connected. So if you put up a website, that's great, but how are people going to find it, and you?

The more links you have from outside sources to your website, the better. This means that every social media profile you have should include the url of your website. The website should be the hub, the main part of your business that customers always come back to.

Social media is great, but you don't want people camping out on your business Facebook page. It's important they are led back to your website, but it's equally important that your website is someplace they want to stay, and make return visits to.

Imagine you're going to visit somebody that you just met. They've invited you to their home which is nice, but once there, all they do is walk around and show you their trophies, medals and certificates. All they talk about is them and their accomplishments. You begin to wonder why they've invited you in the first place.

Customers can feel like that when they come to a website. The ideal messaging on the website is like the ideal host that you just met. Welcoming, concerned with the visitor, making the whole stay revolve around making sure that the visitor is getting everything they need. More ice tea? Fresh-squeezed lemon with that?

The way you do that on your website is to phrase everything you write in line with the customer's problems you can solve. Express care for them, understanding of their problem, and an offer to solve it, without bragging.

The main photo should be of your ideal client, smiling into the camera. The headline is about the customer. Even your 'About' section, which you would figure is about you, should actually be about them!!

And once they feel all comfy and at peace with you taking their pains away, you need to make it really easy for them to contact you. Here is where your CTA buttons come in. Do not let your customers search around for email subscription forms or CTA buttons to contact you. They should be at every junction of your site, on every page.

Give more than you Take

What will get your customer to your website? Engaging content, of course. Now, you might post for a while before you get that all-important link click, but all the while you've been impressing people with the colors and messaging of your posts.

Whatever you post, make sure it's written looking through the customer's eyes. Written to endear the customer to you and your brand. You want to solve people's problems? You have to know and feel what it's like to have those problems in the first place. Obsess about your customer's problems.

After being sincere, make sure you create high-quality posts. Bring value to people. Post tips, advice, share's not bribing, it's community-building. Offer discounts, contests, anything that gets people to engage where they end up a winner!

Of utmost importance when you are establishing a brand is consistency. Even for the most punctual and organized business owner, consistency in social media is a challenge. You may feel like you're always collecting things and posting them. This is why scheduling is important.

Using the tools (which I will write about in its own post) for scheduling frees up the rest of your time to engage, post spontaneously, and work on other aspects of your business. You might think it's decadent, but it's simple enough to do and probably won't take up more than 2 hours a week. Your customers will see a consistent stream of awesomeness from you, and will be impressed.

When you've been posting for a while (at least 3 months), go into the data on your social media platforms to see

  • who is following, commenting and liking your posts

  • what time of day they are active on your page

  • what day of the week is best

  • what kind of content is working the best

Then, proceed to the next 3 months with a better version of what you've already been doing. You don't automatically know, so the analytics will tell you. If you need help figuring out how to do that, send me an email.

In with the Big Dogs

Sure, your brand is not YET instantly recognizable. It doesn't have to be. Forget what I said at the top: as a small business owner, you can compete with larger companies in your personal attention to your customers, valuing them and laser-focusing on their problems, and addressing them.

So go establish your brand, and take over the world! (Well, your part of it, anyway!)

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