Your personal brand is your story. Similar to how corporate brands communicate value to the customer, a personal brand does the same for the individual. Businesses, influencers, coaches, actors and many others benefit from personal branding. This paints a picture for others of what your values are, what you stand for, how you communicate, your brand personality and more. It is the unique story that makes you…you! How you promote this is how people will perceive your brand and how they will relate to you. Developing a personal brand is now crucial for cultivating customer relationships and is integral in your online presence. Below are just some ways that you can evolve your personal brand whether you are a business owner, social media influencer or any other public entity.
WHO ARE YOU?
The first step in personal branding is to identify who you are. This can be done systematically by asking questions like:
- What things are important to me?
- Which core values apply to me?
- What motivates me every day?
- Which interests do I have passion for?
- What do I want people to know about you?
- How do I want people to see you?
- What do people compliment me on?
- What drains my energy?
Use these and other questions to develop a framework for who you are. This is going to be the foundation of how you will interact with others and how you wish to be seen. Answering some of these can be tough. A good trick is to ask those closest to you how they would answer. The answers to these are not set in stone. They may expand as you grow in your career. However, totally changing ideologies should be avoided. Do your best to be true to yourself in these answers.
WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?
Personal branding is ABOUT you, but it is FOR your audience. In order to reach the people you wish to reach, you must first identify who those people are. Your messaging, tactics and approach will need to cater to the people who you are looking for. A person who is an influencer may be looking for followers, while an entrepreneur may be looking for recruiters. One may leverage fun social media hashtags while the other may wish to focus on building LinkedIn connections. Reaching a follower on Facebook would require a much more casual approach than reaching a recruiter on LinkedIn. Once you’ve identified an audience, use a similar approach of asking questions to build an audience profile. What does your audience like? Which forms of social media do they use most? What are their interests? What do they want to hear? Where can you find them? This is useful to identify which techniques you can leverage to reach this audience.
CREATING & MANAGING CONTENT
Consistency in your content strategy is a great thing. However if you are spending a ton of time creating content that only gets 10 views or 2 shares then you are wasting time in your organic efforts. Create quality content with a purpose and make sure people are seeing it by utilizing a true content strategy, complete with a budget. Adding dollars to boost your post, video or article will allow your existing content to be seen by more, new people than posting to the same audience every day. This will be key in building and growing your following, and reaching the right people at the right time. If you’ve created content that is useful, relevant to your audience and true to your personal branding, invest in your message by adding a budget behind it!
How can you be sure you’re creating meaningful content? Working with an advertising agency like Strategic Marketing will help you hone in on your focus and your messaging. We specialize in creating content that reaches the right people and take the load of consistent creation off your hands by handling the process every month. The best part is that we can tell you how your content is doing and make adjustments that meet your needs.
Another important part of personal branding is networking. Make sure to develop, cultivate and maintain your professional circle. LinkedIn is an excellent resource to meet new people and create professional relationships. Not only will this open the door to new opportunities for you but will also be your chance to ask industry professionals about how they do what they do. The more people you can add to your social circle the more you can garner influence and grow a recognizable personal brand. Another effective way to network is to attend events and conferences that are relevant to your industry, values or product. Don’t be shy about going up and introducing yourself!
Ensure that your LinkedIn, website, Twitter or any other platform is complete and presented with sophistication. In personal branding, your online presence is just as important as a business’s website. Tailor your information to be comprehensive of what you want people to know about you and make sure it is always up to date. Choose excellent photos and pay close attention to detail. Incomplete profiles and subpar personal websites will give an unprofessional appearance to those who may come across your personal brand. Partnering with a marketing agency to handle your professional website will help you make sure that you make the best first impression.
Overall, your personal brand requires a lot of self-awareness and asking yourself the correct questions. Working with an agency like Strategic Marketing can help you with the process of identifying your personal brand, focus and elements. From there, an agency will help you achieve the level of sophistication and professionalism that your brand deserves and ensure that your message reaches the right people with carefully curated marketing tactics. Visit us for a marketing evaluation at thinkstrategic.com.
Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and pushy sales websites. Today’s consumers and the search engines they use are looking for relevance, content and value. It is imperative to engage your audience and develop a strong web presence to build trust with your users. These measures will hopefully convert them to customers. The main benefits of blogging support these core values, providing a boost to your business with minimal investment. Listed below are the six benefits of blogging for your business and how leveraging them can score more customers.
BLOGS DRIVE WEBSITE TRAFFIC
One of the most noteworthy benefits of blogging is the noticeable impact to search engine optimization (SEO). Think of your core website pages, how many there are and how often these are updated. The answer to both of these is likely – not a lot. Each blog added creates pages for search engines to index, fresh content for crawling and “gold stars” for your website’s presence. Additionally, each blog is an opportunity to leverage keywords that would otherwise be awkwardly included on your website’s front end.
In years past, SEO practices involved inserting every desired keyword search into one page, so your website would show up for searches, relevant or not. Algorithms have since evolved to penalize this technique and recognize pages utilizing keywords in a more natural, relevant manner. Now that best practices call for one keyword per page, where to put the additional keywords you’d like to use? The blog, of course! The benefits of blogging include new website real estate with necessary content for ranking in relevant searches, as well as driving new traffic to your website.
If you’ve decided to create a blog, or add an existing one to your site, working with an ad agency like Strategic Marketing can help you maximize website traffic in its execution. Unfortunately, because algorithms only recognize content of a certain length, adding a monthly paragraph to your blog will do little for your SEO. Similarly, there are rules on keyword usage, best practices for posts and other nuances affecting blog ranking. An ad agency partner can evaluate your current needs, develop maximum-impact strategies and execute this time-consuming tactic.
CULTIVATE A BRAND IDENTITY
The long form content of a blog provides you with ample room to showcase your business’ identity. Consumers want to connect with the businesses they shop from or work with. Blog posting communicates a vision, opinion and personality usually not able to be portrayed through outbound advertising and marketing. Blogs are your opportunity to engage new and existing customers in a more traditional and conversational manner to build trust and rapport. You can expand this even further by maintaining an active comment section for your blog where customers can communicate openly with you and others regarding the content that you are publishing.
BECOME AN INDUSTRY LEADER
By establishing your business as an authority on a specific product, service or innovation, you will be able to capture both, people who are ready for purchase and people who are researching before purchase. You can leverage your blog to provide resources, information and necessary guidance to users regarding your industry topic. Users who find your information useful or who see you as a trustworthy source on the subject will be more likely to purchase from you versus a competitor. This is an easy way to build trust with people who are actively or inactively searching online for the products or services you offer.
LEVERAGE BLOGS FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Although your blog should be more about relating to your audience and utilizing important search keywords, the secondary benefits of blogging include the ability to communicate public relations (PR)-type information. From product releases to event information, your blog is a platform to capture the eyes of your own audience who is interested in your product or service, instead of pitching ideas to journalists who may or may not pick up the information. It is a quick way to disseminate important information in an efficient way. We would not suggest using the blog as a method of providing administrative information on a regular basis; However, in a pinch and if it is relevant, the blog can be a great tool to get information out to the masses.
Who doesn’t like free marketing? Each blog presents an opportunity for people to share the content with others, link to it within their own content or share it on their social media. Each share becomes an opportunity for your blog to engage a whole new audience of people and drive new customers to your website. You can add “calls-to-action” within your blogs to make it easier for people to share or reach out to you directly, which can help to funnel people to your business as well.
BENEFITS OF BLOGGING: LONG TERM
The great thing about a blog is that you can “set it and forget it.” Once you publish a piece of content, it will continue to get views and traffic for weeks and months to come, especially when people stumble across it in their searches. If you combine this across several regularly posted blogs, all with their own keywords and messages, then you really have a comprehensive tool to generate traffic for your website and build a trusted brand that resonates with people.
Although it is simple to start blogging on your own, managing a blog page can be tedious work. Researching fresh content with regularity, copywriting meaningful long-form posts on a consistent basis, managing comment responses and monitoring traffic is an extensive undertaking. An ad agency like Strategic Marketing can help you with these tedious tasks and create a cohesive strategy for your blog. Being a strategic partner, we can even help you leverage the blog on your website, social media and other areas where you will be able to pick up even more website traffic for your business. Increased website traffic typically converts into more sales. Visit thinkstrategic.com for a free marketing evaluation and see how we can help you grow your business.
Social engagement is going to be the key to cultivating a true following on your business social media profiles. Many businesses have finally come around to establishing a social media presence online but are failing to engage with their followers, or other social media users, in a meaningful way. Social engagement is any kind of interaction that someone may have with your brand on social media – such as posting on your pages or ads, “liking” your posts, direct messaging and more. By being proactive in your responses, facilitating conversations and encouraging engagement, your users come to know, recognize and interact with your brand.
Not only is this good from a customer loyalty perspective and generally translates into more sales, but it is how you stay fresh within the social network’s algorithms. Just posting content (even if it’s really good) is no longer enough. The less people engage with your posts, the less you will show up in their feed. This means that over time, you could systematically become invisible to your entire following – even if you continue to post regularly. If you want to increase social engagement on your social media efforts, here are 10 ways to make an impact and to stay in your customer’s feed.
Start & Strategy
Are you aware of what your social engagement currently looks like? It’s important to do an introductory evaluation of what is happening across your social media profiles using your profile insights. Are people commenting? What portion of your audience is seeing your posts? Once you have a starting position, you can better assess which tactics are working and which ones are not moving forward. From here, identify a voice and a strategy for your brand. You can choose to be funny, professional, casual, informational and much more. Your tone will speak to the kind of brand you own and should be carried through all your communications. Get used to communicating in this tone in all of your responses, comments and messages that your business may have with other users.
Ensure that you are posting content that is relatable to your audience. Remember that your social feed is not meant to double as your paid advertising platform. Posting only sales-focused content usually has a negative impact on social engagement. Find content that is connected with your business but is also read-worthy to a follower. For example, a coffee shop may want to post an article about different uses for coffee grounds. This would be something that a follower may be interested in, while still staying away from sales pitches. Memes, funny stories, internal news, feel-good stories, informational articles and promotions are all great examples of different content to utilize on your social media pages. Working with a marketing agency like Strategic Marketing will allow you to have fresh, dynamic content to share every month. Since content creation is a time-consuming and tricky initiative, an agency partner can help concept and develop material regularly.
Start a Conversation
Followers are not likely to engage your post or product if you don’t give them a reason to! Use call-to-actions to pull people into commenting, sharing or liking your post. Two great ways to do this are to ask people to share their photos related to your post, or to pose a question you’d like them to answer. In our coffee shop example, a question like “When is your favorite time to have coffee?” is an effective way to drive social engagement. Get your followers to start talking to you or with each other through relatable and meaningful messaging.
Responding to Your Social Engagement
This might be the key to truly unlocking a successful social engagement strategy. All too often, comments and messages to a business’ page go unanswered. No one likes to be ignored! Even if they post a simple thumbs-up, make sure to acknowledge users who are interacting with your brand. If you are one of the lucky ones that receives a ton of comments, then make sure to come up with a follow-up strategy that makes sense for your business. Perhaps you choose to focus on answering questions only or you make sure to respond to every 5th comment. However you choose to proceed, your participation in the engagement is what will make users feel like you are listening.
Hashtags are keywords or phrases written with no spaces following the “#” sign. In social media, these hashtags are used to group things together. Users can search for a keyword and get results based on this hashtag. For example, our coffee shop owner can use #coffee so when a user searches for coffee they will see the hashtagged post along with other posts that utilize the same hashtag. Some businesses create their own hashtags so that followers can use them too. Remember that anything can be a hashtag but staying relevant to your business and services is the more appropriate approach.
Giveaways & Other Incentives
This one is fairly simple. Sharing giveaways, contests or coupons that are only available through your social profile provides an incentive for users to share and follow your page. Even small giveaways encourage participation from your followers and are effective at driving social engagement on your page.
Social Engagement Polls & Surveys
Polls are an excellent way to engage your following. They are quick and show up right in the feed so your followers have easy access to answer the question. On top of increasing your engagement, you can get valuable feedback and audience information by leveraging the correct questions. By learning more about your following, you can better tailor your content to resonate with your social media followers. An agency like Strategic Marketing can help you develop a dynamic content calendar for your social media profiles that is both, tailored to your audience and drives engagement on your pages.
A great way of getting followers to pay attention to your brand is by actually mentioning them in your posts. Do you have a superfan? Give them a shoutout! Perhaps a follower shared a related article – share it! Creating a personal rapport is a great way of retaining loyal followers and showing new followers that you’re actively listening to them. Don’t be afraid of mentioning other companies and engaging their audience too. Our coffee shop owner may wish to share an article from the distributor or from a company that sells thermoses. Some business owners fear that sharing other company’s content is taking sales away from themselves. However, this is actually quite untrue. By sharing non-competitor brands, you are opening up your post’s reach and complementary brands will not impede on your market share. The more relevant and helpful your posts can be to the user, the more they will continue to interact with your company.
Be aware of trending topics, ideas and news! A lot of content on social media is relevant one day and gone the next. Staying current will ensure that people are going to be interested in what you have to say. The last thing you want to be – is yesterday’s news. Most platforms feature a “trending” section where you can see what is most relevant that week. Make sure to keep your audience in mind. What’s trending for YOUR audience will be the key to boosting your social engagement.
Everyone likes a feel-good story. If your company is participating in community events, giving back, celebrating staff anniversaries, going green or taking a stance on social events, then share that with your followers. People want to feel connected to the community and see the companies they do business with do the same. Earn some goodwill while also increasing your social engagement with posts that “hit home” with your audience.
This list is by no means the only set of tactics that you can use to drive social engagement and there are tons of creative ways you can enhance the way you interact with your audience. One important thing to note is that improving social engagement takes time and consistency. A trusted marketing agency like Strategic Marketing can help carry the load of this time-consuming endeavor while aiding in custom content and creative development. To get your free marketing evaluation today, visit thinkstrategic.com.