Digital marketing has made is easier than ever before to establish a brand presence and further brand awareness. Get your marketing strategy right and you can even leverage online channels to create brand evangelists. Your best bet to boost your brand online is to work with a PR company and digital marketing specialist, failing that you can follow these eight top online branding tips.
1. Start with a website. In the online world all roads lead back to your website, which is where you provide all the essential information about what you do, who you are and how you can benefit consumers. It also needs to have calls to action so people know what you want them to do and are enticed to do it. Spend time and money developing your website because if it looks cheap and nasty and is not easy to use people will click close faster than you can say ‘bounce rate’.
2. Don’t sign up for every social network you can find. Think about where your audience is more likely to be and target those networks. Having said that, you’d be a fool not to create a Facebook page; access to 800 million active users is not to be sniffed at.
3. Settle on one avatar and stick with it. Your identity needs to be consistent over all your platforms. You don’t necessarily have to use your company logo, but it is strongly recommended that you do. You want to be instantly recognisable whether you’re online or offline and the best way to achieve this is with your logo. Alternatively, you can use an image that represents your brand. For instance, if you own a surf shop then a picture of a surf board stuck in the sand would work well, or an unbelievable photo of a barrel wave.
4. Don’t make it all about you. This may seem counter-intuitive but online marketing is as much about give as take, not to mention dialogue. Share links, retweet others and interact with your fans and followers. Getting back to the surf shop example, if you follow scuba diving sites (and you should because they are related to your industry) and one of them publishes an interesting and informative blog, tweet it, share it on Facebook, Digg it, Stumble it, basically share the love. It’ll earn you thanks and create an unspoken sense of obligation. Also, if you show that you have interests beyond your company people are more likely to pay attention to what you have to say.
5. Be generous with your expertise. Share top tips and give practical advice. Helping consumers will win them over to your side.
6. Make it easy for people to find you online. Include links to your website and social media accounts in your email stationary. Have links to your social media accounts on your website and link between your social media accounts. Include your email address and website URL in all your print ads (including pamphlets and brochures) and let people know that you’re on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, etc.
7. Arrange to write guest posts for related blogs. You can have mutually beneficial arrangements whereby you exchange guest posts with other businesses in and around your industry. This will help you reach a wider audience and add some novelty to your blog.
Always be genuine and transparent. You don’t want to be caught in a lie or scam and end up in an online PR nightmare.
How are you using online branding to make your business stand out?