In the age of digital, having a strong value proposition and good product or service isn’t enough. People expect to find you online. What’s more, they want to get to know you online. Yes, wooing customers and clients is a lot like attracting a love interest. You must appeal to them through personality and visual appeal, then offer something meaningful to get them to stick around. If someone has a good experience with your brand on social media, for instance, they are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. Here are seven tips for building a successful brand online.
1. Choose a Personality and Stick With It
Brands like MoonPie have seen public awareness of their brands skyrocket by crafting a memorable personality on social media. While you don’t have to be incredibly sarcastic or irreverent to stand out, knowing your brand voice is always important. Create a tone of voice guide that carefully outlines your brand’s online voice so it’s easy for all employees to remain consistent. When people associate a certain personality with a brand, it humanizes the company and can propel the relationship.
2. Remain Visible and Accessible
Make sure people can contact your brand online at all hours. Being visible online and easy to get in touch with helps you build a good online reputation. Creating visibility means having public social media profiles and doing outreach, like posting tutorials to YouTube or publishing thought leadership articles on LinkedIn. You can be accessible by opening your private messages on social media platforms and responding to inquiries within 24 hours. Brand accessibility and transparency often leads to trust.
3. Provide Good Content
Posting content sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s more complicated than that. The content you provide must be useful to your audience. Only share someone else’s content if it builds your reputation as an expert, and produce as much original, accurate content as possible. Readers get tired of the same format, so switch up your content to include infographics and memes as well as blogs and white papers. Aim to start a conversation instead of simply speaking at your audience.
4. Make a Point of Giving Back
Your brand can build a boatload of goodwill with the public by giving back to causes in your industry that help people. People are pretty good at sniffing out an online PR stunt, however, so contribute in a thoughtful way. You can start a scholarship for college kids, throw a fundraiser or offer free webinars to industry newbies. When you give back to the community, you build brand awareness and people will associate you with something positive — which is a great introduction.
5. Stay on Top of Trending Topics
Ultimately, a good online reputation comes down to whether or not people turn to you when they need good advice or to better understand something they care about. That could be how to care for their skin, what to look for in a new car or why they should care about interest rates. Even if you’re not in the news business, becoming the brand your target audience looks to when a new trend hits has real and immediate benefits. Go to industry conferences and partake in some online social listening to get ahead of the next thing people will want to talk about — and then create a campaign to lead the discussion.
6. Build Relationships With Other Brands
Leverage your relationships with other companies and social media influencers in your industry. You might associate social media influencers with celebrities selling tummy tea or cosmetics, but the growing practice can be applied to just about any product or service. And your influencer doesn’t need to be widely known outside your industry — niche influencers can be quite effective. Connect with a blogger who already has an audience and offer to be interviewed, or let someone try and review your product and share it with their audience. This strategy can work with influential corporate brands or individuals with reach.
7. Reassess Your Strategy Often
What worked last year in brand-building may not work this year. With the advent of new social media platforms and blogging trends, your strategy may need to shift. Sit down every quarter and see if your leads are up or down, evaluate how well you’re keeping up with responses to online inquiries, and check in with your competitors. Online brand building is not a set and forget practice. You must be proactive in monitoring how people are perceiving your brand and adjusting your strategy as necessary. Listening to feedback will only bolster your online brand and strengthen your relationships with customers.
Building an online brand is ever a more complicated practice, but once you figure out your intentions and brand voice, a solid strategy will start to come together. Give people you meet in person an easy way to stay in touch online and connect with new people in a meaningful way. Your brand identity online is the foundation of your reputation, and it deserves attention!
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