To grow your business, you need to be where your customers and prospects are: on the internet. In the ever-shifting landscape of our digital age, however, it’s a challenge to keep on top of how best to build your brand online. The importance of an online presence can’t be understated, since people are increasingly going online to conduct commerce and to seek reviews and recommendations for products and services. Certainly, you need a website, and you need to make yourself available to people across relevant online channels. More and more, though, interaction – and the quality of that interaction – is emerging as one of the most vital components to memorable brand-building.
Target Your Audience
Strive to target your audience. Thanks to technology, targeted marketing can work hand-in-hand with online interaction. Work to differentiate your brand from your competitors, and people whose interest is piqued by the distinctive qualities you bring to the table will want to learn what your business is all about. In that way, you’ll go a long way towards targeting an audience for your particular products and services. Social media and other online channels also give you opportunities to learn about the people who would be interested in what you have to offer. When you engage people online and learn about what interests them, you can better tailor your marketing messages to them. People then come to associate your brand with relevance to their day-to-day lives and their needs.
Take Part in Ongoing Conversations
To build your brand, take part in ongoing conversations across your online channels. Initiate conversations on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, and once those conversations are going, remain a part of them. Don’t get dialogue going, only to just walk away. When you keep contributing content of value to online conversations, your audience will likely keep coming back to take part along with you. By doing so, you can monitor conversations about your brand and understand how people experience your business. You can take what you learn and apply it toward improvement. When you take part in conversations, you show people that you care about their needs and what they have to say, and your audience will associate your brand with responsiveness, accountability and openness to feedback.
Build an Integrated Online Presence
Branding in the digital age means that you need to build an integrated online presence. And by “presence,” we mean a dynamic presence, not merely a static one. In the era of Web 2.0, online activity is about give and take, that is, relationships and dialogue. Your website needs to work seamlessly with social media channels, and vice versa. Social media, whether a blog, a presence on social networking sites, or all of the above, will help drive traffic to your website, but even more importantly than that, becoming a social business will open up multiple channels for communication with customers and prospects that they will certainly appreciate, whether to learn more about your business, to purchase products and services, or to avail themselves of customer service. When you maintain an active and dynamic online presence, people will associate your brand with accessibility and consistency.
Show People What You’re About
As a result of the digital age, never before have there been so many opportunities to show people what you’re about. An important part of building your brand online is letting people in on the multiple facets that make up the totality of your business, such as your products and services, the customer service you offer, and your ability to provide interesting and informative content. All of these things tie together in the minds of your customers, so be sure and leverage appropriate channels to keep people in the know. On the About page for your website, don’t be shy. Tell people the basics of your business, but don’t bore them with a lot of dry information. Focus on engaging them with what’s special about your company, and provide your contact information and links to your other online channels. You might also want to show people work you’re proud of, so that they can readily see what you do and for whom you’ve done it. That way, people will be inclined to associate your brand with excellence.
In seeking to build your brand online, remember that the key is connectivity. Branding your business involves a balance of connecting with customers and prospects and keeping channels open for them to connect with you. By leveraging technological tools and platforms, you can share and promote qualities that distinguish your business from others in your field. And by showing people that your business is ready, willing, and able to participate in dialogue, you’ll grow mutually beneficial relationships which serve to brand your company in people’s minds as an organization that’s worth their trust and patronage.
Photo by Marijke on Flickr.com.