How to Create a Brand Presence Online
Have you ever been followed on Instagram by a random business that has nothing to do with your interests or location? For the company, it’s an effort to get the word out. But to you, it’s totally unwanted communication from a company you don’t care about. It’s a business that completely clings to the straw, hoping to grab attention but ultimately fails. And unfortunately, that’s the situation many companies find themselves in today.
To an outside observer, Internet marketing seems relatively simple and straightforward. And yet, very many companies are unable to gain traction online. Building a brand presence online isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it’s about more than just saying clever things on social media or creating fancy videos. To really build your brand online, you need to be able to get the word out in a way that gets people really invested in what you have to say. Here’s how to start.
find your voice
While there’s an endless list of ways to generate positive attention for your business, there’s one universal rule: No one likes a brand that tries too hard. We see this a lot in the modern era, where marketers think snark is the way to create buzz. Of course, that’s not true. For some companies, however, sarcasm can be a powerful tool, and these companies are able to use it to their advantage.
It all comes down to knowing what you’re talking about and what you want to tell your audience (when you have one). Do you want to be bossy or laid back? Do you want to be funny or serious? There is no “best” option here. It entirely depends on who you are as a business, what marketing message you are trying to send, and what industry you reside in. If you’re a bank, you might not want to launch your online presence by cracking jokes and undermining your own credibility. But if it helps you paint a good picture of your bank by pointing out all the faults of other banks in a somewhat light-hearted way, and then showing why your bank does those things better, then that’s definitely the approach you you should adopt. .
Many businesses are in a rush to get started on social media, and for good reason. But entering the social media landscape without the necessary hardware is short-sighted at best. People don’t want to follow a business account without saying anything. So it’s wise to create top-notch content before you get started on social media. You want to make a splash when you launch your social media presence, not a small ripple.
With that in mind – and with your voice and overall social media strategy as well – it’s time to develop the content you’ll share on social media. Consider your target market for these materials, as well as their end use. Again, flash is not always the best solution. Your ultimate goal should be to educate your audience, both about your industry and why you’re the best option. The more people understand why they are attracted to your business, the more likely they will be to recommend you to others.
Your medium of choice is essential when preparing content for social media and beyond. Video content is the current flavor of the month, but nothing establishes a business owner as a thought leader like a well-written white paper and blogs. Infographics are eye-catching and can easily be shared on any social media platform, while podcasts allow for a more personal type of knowledge exploration and dissemination. There are many options available to you. And while you can’t tell in advance what the biggest hit will be, you can at least consider your desired audience and the types of content they’re most likely to consume.
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Now that you have some quality material to show the world, you’re ready to take the first step towards truly establishing your brand’s online presence. Social media not only helps you get the word out about your business, but it also makes it easier to share and recommend your content to others. That’s why getting off to a good start on social media is so important. If you can establish early on why your followers should care about your content, they’ll be more likely to pay attention — and therefore more likely to share your content.
Although you may feel pressure to sign up for all social media platforms at once, this is a strategy that can work against you. Why scatter and struggle to follow one platform when you can focus on just one and make it the best you can? Look at your marketing materials and your target audience, then decide which platform best suits your needs.
Despite privacy concerns and shifting audiences, Facebook remains the platform with the most followers and the greatest reach. Many businesses will find it a good platform to learn the basics of social media, especially since most of Facebook’s features are replicated on other platforms. However, due to its growing popularity among young consumers, Instagram is quickly becoming a destination for marketers. Whichever platform you choose, commit to posting daily and staying in touch with your audience. After all, social media – and marketing in general – is a two-way street. If customers are willing to take the time to leave you notes on social media, be sure to respond immediately.
Next Steps – Moving Down the Funnel
It’s one thing to have a brand presence online. Convincing consumers to take the next step, however, can be a bit tricky. Social media is a great tool for generating interest, but you’ll never earn a dime from Instagram likes. Turns out the real money comes from your mailing list.
While you obviously want to get as much attention as possible on social media, your ultimate goal should be to strengthen the relationship between business and consumer. And the best way to do that is to convince people to go to your site and sign up for your mailing list. Not only does this indicate a high level of interest from an individual consumer, but it gives you a direct one-on-one conversation with that person. By using digital marketing to its full potential, you can focus on what each customer is looking to acquire from your business simply by tracking their website and email activities.
Your goal should be to figure out who you want to be online, and then create the content needed to build an audience. From there, it’s as simple as sharing it through the right channels — and more importantly, letting others speak well of your business to others.
When done correctly, a well-developed online brand presence alone can take an average business to the next level.