Branding is networking…both in person and online. Sifting through the maze of online tools to communicate your brand can be a daunting task.
Where do you get started? The answer…..right where you are sitting at this moment. Stop, open your calendar and make an appointment with yourself for 30 minutes per day for brand building. Utilize this time to engage with your audience and position your brand.
Here are 5 essential tools that will make a powerful impact and help you create and manage your personal and/or organizational brand.
1. The Brand is You
Finally, use a consistent professional profile picture across all of your online networking sites. Just as a logo breads brand familiarity, so will your professional picture. Keep it consistent with LinkedIn, your Google profile, meetup.com, and any other sites you use to build your business.
2. Build Your Google Plus Profile
Google owns about 67% of the search market and more for mobile. Google Plus now has over 500 million users... I believe it's starting to catch on. The idea here is to build your circles, join communities and share valuable content. Don't forget to enable Google Authorship and link your profile to your website.
3. Get a WordPress Website
You are the industry expert and the best platform demonstrate this to your audience is a website that is easy to manage. Blogs are literally mainstream and one of the effective platforms is WordPress. Blogs should be entertaining and informative and provide value to your audience.
Where to Find Content – The Power of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) has quickly become the backbone of how people receive information online. View content at a central location from several sources online. I personally use Feedly to help gather my RSS subscriptions into magazine style format. Another great site is Alltop.com.
4. Engage Your Audience with Email Marketing
Email, the original social media, is at the core of all communication online. There are some negative connotations with email like spam, but the positive truth is that as long as you segment your audience so that your message is relevant and has value, your readers will welcome your message.
We can break email down to about three categories:
Newsletters - should be educational and fun and sent about once per month.
Announcements - are event driven. They include holiday greetings, thank you’s, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
Promotions, Invitations and Surveys - have limited content and should encourage click-through’s or calls to action.
Ace of Sales and MailChimp are my top two recommendations for simple and effective email programs. You can even try Ace of Sales Free for 30-days.
5. Craft Your LinkedIn Profile
Get a custom URL by editing the default URL with your full name. Include keywords relevant to your services and position your headline to include your top specialties.
Expand your network both online and in person. Use business cards you acquire to build your network. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your email signature, create buttons on your blog or website linking people to your profile.
The Brand is You
At the end of the day, most people will buy from you because they trust you and like you because of you. Jeffrey Gitomer wrote, “The more valuable you become, the more the marketplace will reward you”. In other words, become a resource for others and others will become a resource for you.