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Using Social Media to Build Your Brand--You!
YOU are the Brand!
Let me start by asking a simple question: What is your BRAND?
Now, I didn’t ask, what brand you like—or even what brand you recognize.
I asked, what is your BRAND? If you answered it is YOU—you are correct.
If you have never thought of yourself as a brand, then you need an attitude adjustment. You are your brand. Why?
When someone comes to YOU for a service, they are buying YOUR time, energy, creativity, insight, wisdom, talent, education, signature. They are buying YOU.
So how does this impact your business?
So let’s talk about what exactly constitutes how a BRAND is perceived and how it becomes great. Any ideas?
First, it must Tangible. Are you tangible? Is the service or product you provide something people can grasp? (Either mentally or physically...)
Second, it must be Valuable. Now this definitely applies because if you didn't think what you have is valuable, then you wouldn't be selling it. But will the value transfer to other people so they can see the value of what you are offering?
Third, it must be Memorable. That means when someone hears your name, sees your logo, recognizes your face—they have a reason to remember you.
Fourth, it must be Available to the Public. Ahhh…that means YOU must be readily available for people to find you. Are you? Do you have a Facebook page? Do you have a Facebook page for your BUSINESS? There is a huge difference in the two. Do you have a web site? A Twitter Account? Are you on Linked-In? Tumbler? Pinterest? All social media where YOU need to be so people can find YOU and you are Available.
Tools of the Trade
Do you have business cards? A logo? A catch phrase? These are simply Tools to help you get noticed.
We hear the term "Social Media" over and over again. But what does it mean? Does it mean only On-Line interactions? The definition for Social, according to the Webster Dictionary, is Relating to the Interaction of People. That means in person, on-line or in print. How are YOU relating to the people to get your message out?
Because it seems that everyone is on the internet search, tweeting, Face booking, pinning, IM, it sees that it would be a great place to get your message out. In fact, according to a recent survey, 87% of all people looking for a new service provider, new service, or a new product go to the internet first. So if you are not on the internet with your message and product, you are left with only 13% of the people looking for your service. Yikes!
What makes social media successful? If I could put it in a word: Consistency. You must be consistent with your content. Now I am not one to post when I am flossing my teeth or heading out to the grocery store, but if I have something tangible, valuable, memorable to share, I want to make it available. Your consistency can be as often as weekly; it can be daily or twice a week. But be consistent with your message.
Here is an excerpt from the book Habits Die Hard by Mac Anderson and John J. Murphy.
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest asset or heaviest burden.
I will push you up to success or down to disappointment.
I am at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me.
For I can do them quickly, correctly, and profitably.
I am easily managed; just be firm with me.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with the precision of a
machine and the intelligence of a person.
You can run me for profit, or you can run me for ruin.
Show me how you want it done. Educate me. Train me.
Lead me. Reward me.
And I will then...do it automatically.
I am your servant.
Who am I?
I am a habit.
Until you are ready to build your consistency into a habit, your chance of success is limited.
Ten Tips to Tackle Social Media
Here are 10 important tips about social media. These are a compilation of ideas that I have collected from various Social Media experts. I regularly take webinars, attend workshops and download any information I can find about Social Media to make me successful at what I do—Running Public Relations Campaigns for my accounts.
1) Learn all you can about Social Media and keep up with what is happening, what is hot, what people are using, doing, going and where they are posting.
2) Build an on-line presence with Facebook, Twitter, Blog Sites, Hub Pages, Press Releases, and of course a web site (if you aren’t a writer, hire someone who is!)
3) Monitor the activity of your accounts and find out who is in your core base of contacts. (Google analytics is one way)
4) Build your audience by connecting with more groups, like-minded individuals, community pages, etc. How do you connect with people? Have you told them YOUR Story? Now connecting with people who are just like you, in the same profession, are not going to bring you business. You need to go outside your circle of influence and make some new connections.
Your ‘ABOUT ME’ tab on any of your sites is very important. It lets people see who you are; what you stand for; why you do what you do. It is much easier to connect emotionally with someone when you know their story. Think of Hallmark Cards—Folgers Coffee—Emotional Marketing is the number one way to make a connection to your audience. Are you wondering if you even have a story? Talk to your mother, brother, sister, best friend, partner...they can probably tell you your story! Make sure you find out what it is and create it.
5) Engage your audience with ideas, suggestions, tips. When they come back with a question, you know you have a potential client. When they stay connected, basically listening to your words, you know you might be able to close a sale with them IF you have what they need.
6) Create a blog. This is one way that you can attract the core customer and keep them coming back for more. If you don’t feel comfortable blogging about your craft—then find and paste articles, info, ideas from other sites—just make sure you give the others credit for the work. Blogging is one way that you can keep in touch, and people can stay connected to the real brand—YOU.
7) Publish a press release. Press releases are THE most effective way of getting your name out—no exceptions. Bill Gates once said, “if I had two dollars, I would give one of them to PR Web to publish my news.”
This is HOW a press release works:
· Write the press release with ONE topic of information in the correct form and format
· Post the press release on-line at PRWEB (my choice of news distributors)
· PRWEB distributes the release to their available news collection agencies
· The search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing and lots more) sort the data contained in your release and add it to their categories: Health, hobbies, grand openings, promotions, designers, new products
· Your info is then picked up and used as news content to numerous other web sites
· When someone is searching for you specifically, (company, organization, etc) the information from PRWEB will pop up.
8) Go local. Even though a press release and social media are nationwide, (you need that national exposure to push you to the top of the search engines) there are a lot of reasons to find someone locally to help you out. There are a lot of business who say they can put you at the top of the search engines in a day or a week, but the key is keeping you there—which is why you need the Consistency factor. Then look for a local hook, a reporter for your local paper, a blogger who is local, and find something that will make you valuable to them. The old adage What’s In It For Me? Still applies. Become valuable to your contacts.
9) Monitor your results in every area and put your efforts there. But remember it takes time—Rome was not built in a day, neither was McDonalds, Nike or Hyde Park Lumber. Give your campaign six months of consistency. Then re-evaluate and move towards the things that are getting the most results.
10) Find others who will testify for you. One happy customers tells another (in fact the average is that they tell three others.) One unhappy customer tells nine others. Make sure you do whatever you need to make your customers happy and then ask them to share the success. A perfect example is the success of Angie’s List. It is made up of happy customers telling others about their service providers.
I know everyone talks about networking—but how many actually do it. Join a business group, a club, a church, hobby group, anything where there are people who are not in the same business with you. I belong to the Pro Group of Cincinnati which has yielded me many business connections over the years. There is BNI (which may be too expensive for a start up company), but you can go as a guest for two or three meetings and see how they work and make the decision if it is a valuable investment at this time. When a networking event opportunity happens, take advantage of it, take your card and make connections. It is all about the SOCIAL in Social Marketing. Remember, you are building a BRAND--and the brand is YOU!
And Good Luck!