Branding is essential to keep a sustainable business operation but very few business owners have the time to work on branding efforts. With clients to meet, calls to follow-up with, and deliverables to actually work on, business owners are spread too thin to promote themselves following their own branding guidelines. Harnessing the power of the Internet, you can improve your branding and allow your potential customers to find you more easily.
Take a look at the top ten from list of top 500 sites from Alexa and you will find that search engines, including Google (#1), Baidu (#4), Yahoo (#6), and Google India (#7), and social media sites, including YouTube (#2), Facebook (#3), Reddit (#8), and Twitter (#12), dominate this list most of the time around the world. By spending time in branding efforts that make your business more visible on the web, your business becomes available to a broader audience.
Self-promotion on the Internet is 90% preparation and 10% execution.
Business owners are like teenage boys: they are desperate to talk to girls (customers), but when they finally get a chance, they don’t know what to say. The first step in self-promotion can be found in the book Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy. You need to be ready to deliver your message according to the format of the situation. Therefore, you need to establish your personal brand bio in 3 stages: 1) the one sentence (100 word or less pitch), 2) the short paragraph (250 word pitch), and 3) the two-paragraph story (two paragraphs that provide your full story). Once you have developed a consistent story, you are ready to take your message online. Regardless whether it has to be in under 140 characters or in 500-word blog post, you’ll be ready to know how to keep your brand consistent.
Establish a central online presence that will become your main online portal.
This can be either a blog or a website, depending on your tech skills, available budget, and available time to work on it. Here you can present the full two-paragraph story and make sure that people looking for financial advisors in your area can find you. If you choose for a blog format, make sure to write at least once a week and to keep posts between the 350 – 450 word range. As your main portal, you need to start including the URL of your site into your business card, your email signature, and any presentation material that potential clients will be exposed to.
According to Promo University, it’s important to select promotional products that are consistent with your online branding efforts. Promo products are great for making new connections at tradeshows, showing appreciation to your established customers, and generally building awareness of your company’s brand.
Focus on the social media channels that make sense for you and represent your self-brand consistently.
Even though every day an estimated 166 million individuals use Snapchat, 1,284 million use Facebook, and 100 million use Twitter, it doesn’t mean that you need to be present in every single social media outlet. Depending on your industry you may opt for a more formal social media channel, such as LinkedIn or Instagram, or a more informal one, such as Snapchat or Twitter.
Still, you should spend some time prospecting on LinkedIn. Out of all social media outlets Linkedin stands as the most professional one and appropriate one for spending your time connecting with people online. The key to LinkedIn is to spend time providing answers to questions from other users in your field of expertise. This way you can build your online stock as a reputable advisor and drive people to your main portal. Other two great social media sites for providing answers to queries from potential customers are Quora and Reddit. Through your online dialogue with potential clients, and when appropriate, you can start using your one sentence or one paragraph brand statement.
Through smart use of the Internet you can validate your brand, and create more potential client leads.
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