Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Building an Online Brand

Building an online brand doesn’t happen overnight – be it a company/product or your personal brand. I dedicate a minimum of 5-8 hours per week working my online network be it reading interesting articles to stay current and relevant, monitoring or contributing to my LinkedIn Group or participating in other’s group discussions, tweeting, or reading/researching/writing blog posts. It takes time and strategy.

Here are my tips for building up your brand:
1.   Know your Positioning/Vision –What’s your purpose? Why do you want to be online? What do you want to share?
2.   Know your Audience – understand who you are targeting and then design content that is relevant to them. This will keep them coming back for more!
3.   Have a Strategy & Set Goals – I go on and on about the importance of having a social media policy. Don’t just jump in and be a split personality online with spastic messaging and no relational content or consistency. Decide why you are online (related to knowing your vision) and understand what tactics will help you meet your goals. You should visit this vision, tactics & goals often.
4.   Balance Mediums – don’t limit yourself to one online platform. Spread the wealth with multiple audiences; however, don’t go crazy and spread yourself too thin at the same time. Pick the sites that make the most sense for your message and understand where your target audiences spends time online & then spend time in the same place. Creating a listening campaign where you seek to understand where people in your space exist will help you know the spaces you should be playing in.
5.   Use your Offline Network to Build your Online Network – extend your real life relationships into an online space. Connect with friends and colleagues on LinkedIn, ask them to follow you on Twitter and to follow your blog. Friend’s are a great support to help you build up your online reputation. Additionally, seek out others who are similar to you in online spaces, engage with them and build new online relationships. Encourage their online efforts and in turn, hopefully, they will support yours! Don’t be afraid to ask for this support. When I write a blog post that I know someone will enjoy, I’m not afraid to send them a tweet or an email asking them to comment & spread the word. Balance these reach outs as they will fail to have impact if you inundate your friends or network.
6.   Create conversations – Remember that having an online brand is not about pushing out your messaging it’s about engaging with your followers or fellow group members and creating conversations about your product or about your opinion. Ask questions, participate with others and engage versus just pushing out PR based messages.

Good luck & let me know what your key strategies or techniques or for building up your company bran/product or personal brand online. Cheers!

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