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Building Your First Online Brand

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Having an established brand is important, but how do you build your first brand? And how do you do that online? My name is Naomi Burgess and I’m going to tell you about online branding and how to build and establish your first online brand.

Key-Notes on Online Brand

The most important thing to keep in mind when creating an online brand is that like with everything on the web, content is the key here. Words, logo designs, and any other elements you wish to incorporate are what people see, and you need to make sure that the content in them is an accurate reflection of your company. For example, if you sell artisan organic hair products over the Internet, your online brand should reflect that you’re in the hair and beauty industry. Therefore, you probably shouldn’t put a drawing of a toothbrush anywhere, in your logo; scissors would be a closer match but there is a chance that people might believe that you’re running a barbershop rather than selling your own line of haircare products. Remember – content is what matters in the online brand. It should be reflective of who you are and what you do, and it should also be memorable – you don’t want your name and logo to be boring but you don’t want to scare people away either.

Social Media is very essential

After creating the perfect name and logo, the next thing you’d want to consider is a domain for your brand. A domain is going to help you be found by potential clients and perhaps even investors. You can’t go wrong with classic domains like .co.uk or .com, but you could also opt for more modern versions. Going with the above example of online sales of artisan organic hair products, you could go with .hair or .organic. If you operate on a regional basis, you could pick a domain like .WALES or .KENT in order to stand out in your local community. The latter domains would also be useful if one of your channels is social networking and you want to connect with the people in your area. Advertising in Facebook or Twitter has proven to be twice as effective with a location-based domain. Building an online brand involves connecting with your audience, and it’s up to you to determine who that audience would be and how you would connect with it.

Speaking of social media – today it’s absolutely vital that your brand maintains at least some social media presence. And I’m not just talking about advertising on social networks that I mentioned above; creating an official Facebook and/or a Twitter page for your brand is the first step towards staying connected with your customers. There are also many other social and blogging platforms you’d do well to take advantage of – Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest (especially if your company is anything like the one in our example and involved with artisan, organic, or hair/beauty-related things!) and Tumblr, to name a few. Publishing information about your current discounts, giveaways and the like on your page(s) would be a very good strategy, for example – people would be likely to click on them and if you’re lucky, they might just spend some time browsing your website and you might get new customers.

How to maintain Social Media sites

That’s not to say, however, that you should limit your social media interactions to sharing info about your ongoing promotions. There are reasons why positions like “Social Media Manager” (SMM) exist today – maintaining a presence is not as simple as posting a link that redirects to a cat video or a local industry event. Search Engine Optiminization, or SEO, can make your social media easier to find by certain keywords, and your SMM can help you with that. There are strategies applicable to social media management and SEO that require understanding of the role of content in digital marketing. I’ll make it easy for you – content is the most important thing you can have. That doesn’t only apply to creating a catchy company name and a pretty logo. Content plays the pivotal role in every aspect of online branding, from company name to product description to “tweets of the day”. Make sure that you take as much advantage of great content as you carry out your social media activities as possible.

Accept Suggestions

If you’ve ever been on the Internet, you probably know that reading comments is one of those things you shouldn’t spend too much doing. However, that changes when you become a business owner. The positive impact of a hundred glowing reviews might easily shatter by a single negative Facebook comment or a tweet. Don’t block people who leave negative reviews – it won’t help anybody. Fortunately, social media makes it easier to respond to dissatisfied customers quickly and these responses can do quite a bit of damage control, so don’t despair. And don’t just limit yourself to responding to negative feedback either – thank positive reviewers too. There’s always a higher chance of a customer returning if you reply to them personally – it makes them feel appreciated and valued.

Be Consistent

What increases your chances of customers returning to your site is keeping your content consistent across all channels and platforms. To give you an example, it’s a good idea to keep your Facebook, Twitter and webpage headers the same or at least in similar styles and colour schemes. Also, think about your writing style. Are your product descriptions written all over the place or do they follow a set structure? Clients are more likely to trust a website, the content of which is easy to read and follow. Make sure your content, both video and audio, is clear, concise and easy to perceive. After all, nobody wants to spend a lot of time figuring out what on earth your company does and how it can benefit them. Competition is tough across the Internet, and your online brand needs to stand out from the rest; making things difficult for clients is the opposite of that.

I’ve stressed several times in this post how important it is that your content reflects your and your company – your content IS, in essence, your online brand. It’s impossible to get everything perfect on your first try, but I hope that this post has been somewhat helpful and you know a little bit more about building an online brand now.

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