Science, technology and psychology have come together to create the concept of a brand. Branding is essential to any successful business and without this fundamental element, a company or artist will not be able to create the devout loyalty, integrity, continuity, trust, and profit that is necessary to move from a surviving business to a thriving one. Seeing that branding is so integral your success, you must maintain all efforts to protect it online - the largest medium for public exposure. Here are the nails in your brand's coffin that you want to avoid.
1. You don’t have a website, and if you do - it’s no good
You can’t have a business without a website. Having a well-maintained website is one of the most valuable tools that your business can possess. Not only must you have one set up, it has to be presented in a way that will attract the clientele that you desire. A website is equivalent to the Powerpoint/Keynote presentation that determined your final grade in high school. You want an “A”? Put forth an A+ effort, because just as much as your presentation determined the grade you got, how you present your website will have a direct correlation with the clients you attract.
As best-selling author and Marketing Guru Gary Vaynerchuk put it, “How you project your image dictates how people receive your brand, not the other way around.” First impressions are everything, and being in the era that we are in it is very likely that your prospective clients will visit your website before they even speak to you. Keep your bounce rate low by hiring a professional, or by building your website on platforms such as Squarespace that make website creation easy through customizable templates. Make sure you have the right eye for information placement and aesthetic if you decide to go solo on the web design, though!
2. You don’t have a plan
What is the purpose for your business? Who is your target market? How will the demographic you seek to reach consume the message that you put out? All of these factors and more have to be considered in your branding strategy. Without these key determinants, there is no point moving forward with posting content online. You won’t have an established brand voice, and you might as well just be shooting water out of a firehose hoping that someone will have a mouth wide enough to receive it all. Post with intent. Develop a plan with key metrics and information on your demographic so that you can create a brand strategy that properly structures your online efforts, allowing you to create benchmarks and measure your success.
3. You don’t have social media accounts, and if you do - you’re not using them right
Social media integration is key to your branding and marketing efforts. It is the most cost effective marketing strategy a company can use to promote their business, engage with their customers directly, and hopefully secure brand loyalty and recognition online. Content is key however, and your quality has to be top notch. Content creation must play a major role in the development of any social media plan and involves a lot of listening and studying. Once you’ve developed your brand voice using key metrics and brand strategy, start putting out content and determine what your audience’s interests are by using analytical tools such as Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, or 3rd party platforms like Simply Measured. See what content has the best results, and replicate it. Be sure to consider that every Social Media platform may not be for your intended customer. Own a barbershop? Then you may want to focus your efforts on Instagram and put platforms like Pinterest on the backburner due to its high female demographic. Don’t spread yourself so thin by trying to be everywhere. Instead of being mediocre across 8 platforms, rock the 4 that you know have the highest return for your business.
4. You’re selfish in your product or service promotion
You know that person you follow who posts more selfies than anything else, and only talks about themselves on Social Media? Don’t be that business. The worst thing you can do is be a blow horn online because nobody likes a narcissist. Consider a healthy ratio that allows for 80% of your content to be informational and catered to audience engagement, while the remaining 20% is promotional. Too many brands fail here because they use Social Media purely for promotion, pushing their marketing message on to people who are already exposed to upwards of 20,000 ads per day. Social selling starts by building relationships with your audience that can eventually lead to sales through the curation of content, which encourages them to follow and engage with you based on your brand voice. Once they trust you, buying from you will be as easy as making a purchase based on the suggestion of a friend.
5. You're not consistent
We may sound like a broken record so we’ll keep this short - be consistent! We can’t emphasize this enough. Why have companies like Airbnb, Apple, and Coca-Cola all found such success? Because they stay true to their brand. You know the experience, visuals and voice to expect from these companies, and that’s because they are relentless in their allegiance to consistency. It is critical that you comprehend your business values and objectives, and create a plan from brand voice to style guides that are unwavering. Do you know the hex codes of your colour palettes? Do you know your standardized fonts? If not, that’s a problem. Consistency means trust, and your brand doesn’t stand a chance if your market doesn’t trust you.
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