Branding in today’s digital age is way more than just having a nice logo, a catchy tag line and a pretty website. I’ve been doing Internet marketing since 1995 and I’ve seen lots of “brands” come and go — some do well — and some fail miserably. Whether you’re just starting out, your business needs a new look or you’re “pivoting”, this is the place to start.
In this video, I show all aspects of online branding covering:
- social media graphics – updated!
- psychology of color
- reputation management
- online image
What Makes a Strong Brand?
Why do people purchase brand-name products? They know what they’ll get. Consistency.
- A Good Brand – product, company or person — helps to add or retain perceived value
- Builds trust through identity and reputation
- Promotes ideas to inspire people
- Helps consumers make buying decisions
- Helps make you a leader and influencer in your field
- Has a consistent message through every medium – digital and print
Branding is about building trust. Establish a reputation as an authority in your field or industry. Branding goes back to 3200 B.C. when potters put their mark on their ceramics. Later on during the Roman Empire, trademarks were commonly used so that shoppers could make a buying decision based on the reputation of the maker.
You have 7 seconds to grasp a visitor’s attention – on social media or your website. (A goldfish has an 8 second attention span.) Moreover, people need to see and recognize what it is that you do or have to offer in an instant.
Here are the elements of a good website:
- A domain name that’s easy to type & tells people what you do – keyword-centric & if you’re local, should have your city or state.
- Make sure all links work! No “404 page not found”!
- Have an email address @yourcompany.com – looks more professional than using Gmail or Yahoo.
- It should be easy on the eyes – no offensive colors – best is a light background with black text. Readable. Legible. It should be easy to navigate – visitors know where to go
- Easily seen calls-to-action (CTA) – what do you want people to do when they get to your site?
- Complete & valuable content – keyword-centric for SEO – both static pages and blog articles. Again, people should be able to see what it is that you have to offer at first glance. Write for the human reader with the search engine in mind.
- Your site should have two sets of social media buttons: both follow and share. You want to make it easy for people to follow you on social media and make it easy for people to share your content with their friends. Basically, don’t make people hunt and work for what you want them to do.
“What’s In It For Me?”
Your potential customer is thinking, “What’s in it for me?” How can you solve my problem? What makes you different? Unique? What are the benefits of your product or service compared to the other choices people have out there. Voicing these will grab your target’s attention. Furthermore, it’s about them – NOT about You!
When someone lands on your social media business page, they shouldn’t have to wonder what you do. Remember, you have 7 seconds to catch someone’s attention. Think of your social media profiles as an extension of your website. If you look at the cover graphic by itself, do you immediately know what the business is?
- Branding should be consistent throughout the social networks.
- Cover graphics – Free billboards – all different sizes – make sure they are quality graphics.
- Profile Graphic – the largest square graphic is Twitter at 400 x 400 pixels. You can use it for the others.
- It’s your online image and reputation
- Fill out about sections and bios completely using relevant keywords.
Do not upload a rectangular logo into the social media square. Use a free graphics tool like canva.com to create a blank square 400 x 400 pixels (that’s the size of the Twitter square- the largest one.) Then put your rectangular logo in the middle of it. You can always take a large graphic and make it smaller. You can’t take a small graphic and stretch it to fit a larger space. It will look fuzzy.
Having an incomplete social media profile page is like having a sloppy lobby.
Here’s a branding tip: Prepare all your graphics and descriptions BEFORE you start setting up accounts!
What’s Your Visual Brand?
- Who represents your brand?
- Office or Store
These are all things that you need to think about. Everything from t-shirts and uniforms to your front door and parking lot. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Any people that you use in your marketing should reflect your target audience. People feel comfortable seeing folks that look like them.
Branding and Reputation
A brand is synonymous with a company’s reputation. A good reputation can be lost overnight.
Can you think of certain “brands” – companies or people – that were on top, then something went wrong — or they did something stupid — or something they did in the past came to the surface — and they fell off the top shelf? We won’t mention names.
Consumers are no longer “Brand Loyal”
Brand loyalty must be earned by consistently providing quality products and services. Such reputations are earned one customer at a time. When building your brand, quality and providing the best service possible, can never be compromised, not on the smallest job, not for your most unassuming customer. Also, try, as much as possible to stay neutral when it comes to divisive subjects.
Think before you post!
Could your message be misconstrued? In today’s social world, you’re more than likely going to offend someone at some point. Let’s just hope it’s not someone with a lot of followers. Many times I stop myself before replying or commenting thinking, “No, I’d better stay out of this.” Keep business and personal separate! But be careful as your personal brand starts to be connected with your business brand.
Define Your Voice
How do you want your brand to be perceived? This must be consistent throughout. It must be balanced – don’t over do it – don’t under do it.
It’s your brand’s personality. What do you want your image to be? Fun, carefree, cheerful or bold, strong and reliable? Defining this will help you define the way you communicate. Once you decide, it must be consistent throughout your website, collateral material, social media, videos and blogging.
Clearly define your target markets(s) and create persona(s). Watch what they post on social media so you get to know how they communicate. You want to get their attention without offending them. Over 90% of people make buying decisions based on social media. Who does your target market trust? Give them that type of content. If you do this correctly, you’ll become a follower magnet.
Your fans, followers, peers and happy camper customers soon become brand advocates and ambassadors. They help spread your message. Your following should always be increasing. If it’s not, then you need to see how often you’re posting, what you’re posting and the responses that you’re getting. That’s where analytics and insights become a crucial asset.
If you’ve been established for a while and this class has you thinking of rebranding, here are some things to think about…..Rebranding can get expensive. Think of everything that right now has your logo on it – all that has to change. Why do you think you need to rebrand? Is your look outdated? Do you want to appeal to a younger crowd? Are you making a major change in what you offer – like pivoting your business because of COVID-19? Does your color scheme reflect the wrong mood? Are you going from local to national? Test different logos and colors with friends and customers first. Out of the logo changes pictured here. I like Google’s the best. What do you think? Please comment below…
The key to online marketing success is to fully understand how all this newfangled media and social networking works.
The more you learn, the more effective your marketing will be.
I can teach you how to properly and effectively use the tools with 1:1 training and coaching sessions via Skype.