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Anyone Can Build A Brand Online | 5 Steps

1. Marketing Strategy
Think about what you're trying to accomplish by building a brand online - e.g. develop a very short and high-level marketing strategy. It should include the following elements:
  • Summary of the situation
  • High-level goal and 2-3 sub-objectives
  • Challenges getting in the way of achieving the goal
  • Things you're already doing to achieve the goal (includes available resources - money, people, etc.)
  • Things you need to be doing to achieve the goal - the activities will be different - this is the online-brand building activity in the context of broader marketing activities
  • A rough timetable for the next 6 months-1 year (e.g. calendar events you can take advantage of)
  • The people who will fulfill key roles in implementing your plan
2. Name & Visual Icon
With respect to online brand-building specifically, you can't do much of anything without an identifier.
  • For the name: You need a) catchy 2) relevant to the user (somewhat descriptive or evocative of what you sell) 3) unique
  • For the visual icon: It can be a photo, it doesn't have to be a logo and it should be consistent across all social media.
3. Social Media Accounts
  • I'm in favor of taking as many as you can, even if you don't use them.
  • Don't forget a LinkedIn company page - they will give you a custom URL if you contact the help desk.
  • You can use an automator, like Hootsuite, TweetDeck or IFTT to help you post 2-3 times a week across channels.
  • No matter what you're selling, I completely love Instagram because it gets the word out in a way that is visually immediate, and enjoyable and the hashtag works to get the word out just like Twitter.
4. Content Strategy: You need one of these, too. "Content" simply refers to what you are saying.
  • Remember that social media isn't something you can force people to read or pay attention to. So you want to give people something interesting, enjoyable, entertaining, useful - etc. Your content should leave them richer than before they read it.
  • Focus your message - don't be like all the other voices out there - there are probably many others saying similar things as you.
5. Consistency and Repetition: This is the "boring" part, the hard work of getting the word out.
  • Keep at it, even when you don't feel like it, but don't publish stuff you wouldn't want to read.
  • You don't have to "go crazy" with metrics, but you should take notice of what people respond to, and what they don't. For some online brands it will be photo and/or video; for others, blogs; for others it may be as simple as a marketing email that gets shared on Facebook.
There are other aspects to building a brand online, of course, but this is the basic idea.
Copyright 2015 Dannielle Blumenthal, Ph.D. Photo by Toujours Passages via Flickr (Creative Commons). Dr. Blumenthal is founder and president of BrandSuccess, a corporate content provider, and co-founder of All Things Brand. The opinions expressed are her own and not those of any government agency or entity or the federal government as a whole. Contact her if you would like to request support.

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