Written by Brenda Della Casa – Founder of BDC Digital Media
Here’s a lesson many business owners learn the hard way: Building an online brand isn’t as easy as posting pretty pictures and getting hundreds of friends to follow you. While both are nice-to-haves, many a frustrated business owner will tell you they are not going to take your business to the next level.
When it comes to building your online brand, you can’t just design a nice gallery and ask for support, you need to earn it. You do this by committing to the behind-the-scenes work that will enable you to post intentional, informative, and thoughtful material that will benefit and intrigue those you want to attract. But how do you do this?
Building a powerful presence that will inform and engage your current clientele while attracting new customers, requires that you work to create a solid strategy and get serious about things like consistency, collaboration and an annual collateral refresh. Today, I am sharing seven no-fail ways to do all of the above to help you boost your brand and build a more engaging online business. Read below to get started.
Get To Know Your Who, What and Why
The biggest mistake you can make as a brand owner is posting without thinking. If you don’t know who you are posting for, what your purpose is, what your voice sounds like, or why your content is valuable to your desired customer, you’ll be floating in the wind. This will not only add stress to your strategy, but unintentional posts can come off as inauthentic which, in this day and age, is poison for a brand.
Get Started: Take some time to do the work to pinpoint your who, what and why by thinking about your three top customers and what their lives, personalities, and pains are. Write out a case study for each and find common links. Once you have this information you’ll easily find your groove and you’ll find space to focus on storytelling that is compelling, inspiring, informative, and valuable.
Focus on Building a Community
Everyone wants thousands of followers and likes, but the reality is that it takes time to build an organic and loyal following. That is why putting out great content consistently is so important. You want your followers to have a positive emotive response to your content and like it so much they want to share it with those in their community, either by reposting or word-of-mouth.
Get Started: When you post intentionally and thoughtfully, you will slowly build a community that is engaged and truly connected to your brand. Instead of becoming obsessed with your follower rate, focus making an impact by adding value in your space. Use platform analytics to your advantage (you’ll need to ensure you have an Instagram business account to do this on that specific platform). Track your growth followers, reach, impressions, likes and engagement) for three months to get a true sense of what content your followers appreciate most.
Don’t Just Post “Fluff”
We all love a bit of motivation and pretty photos, but high-quality accounts go beyond good design layouts and pumped up captions
Get Started: Think about the 5 pain points you want to address each month and focus on one in your stories and one each week in your posts. Do your research on the technical aspects of your area of expertise a few hours a month so that you can offer fresh and up-to-date tips and advice on what’s happening in your industry.
Collaborate With Care
Partnerships and collaborations are an excellent way to meet acquisition goals, but it’s important to ensure those you align with share your vision and values. You also want to partner with people who offer different but complementary services to a shared audience. Example: A web developer might want to partner with a content creator and/or graphic designer, not another developer or competing agency.
Get Started: Write out your mission statement, your company and cultural values and create a style guide that lays out your tone of voice and design elements. When considering partnerships, ensure compatibility by asking about everything from their stance on inclusion and use of imagery to what they expect and will give at each touchpoint in the partnership.
Use The Tools Available To You
Platforms offer larger rewards to those who showcase their latest tools and features so whether on Snapchat, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram, use what is available to you as early as you can to make the most of your content and have those testy algorithms working for and not against you. Find some of the latest tools for Instagram here.
Get Started: It’s OK to start small. Instead of trying to do it all at once, commit to posting a certain number of videos and polls on your Instagram stories over the next 30 days. You can then work up to a Facebook or Instagram Live session while you put together your first teaser video.
Don’t Be Afraid To Evolve
One of the things I always tell my clients is to stay open and flexible with their brand. Consistency is a lot different than stagnancy. When you are so attached to what you “have always done” that you begin to look dated, repetitive or out-of-touch, you are in trouble.
Get Started: Commit to a yearly collateral review and update and upgrade as necessary. Think of this as you would a hair trim as opposed to a dramatic hair chop. Small tweaks won’t seem like huge overhauls but they will keep your brand looking fresh.
Embrace Transparency and Vulnerability
We live in a world inundated with smoke and mirrors and the world of social media leads the way when it comes to illusion. While so many are scrolling through filtered images, seeing inflated (read: paid for) follower numbers and only reading about the “wins”, a brand that shares lessons from mistakes and focus on building an organic following and is transparent about struggles stands out. A mix of transparency and vulnerability makes you relatable, and that is how you build connections, online and off.
Get Started: Consider sharing video-based case studies where you share challenges you have faced or offer tips you have learned from past missteps on your platforms. What some people label “failure” is a lesson learned. Embrace all aspects of your growth and you’ll come across confident and experienced if done correctly.