Building a brand takes a bit of forethought. Your goal is to create an easily digestible and memorable image of you or your business. Once you have the image set, you need to have a dissemination or marketing strategy.
Knowing and understanding the playing field of the Internet is important. First, you are working in a 2-D world. You can only appear in 3-D in public. There are two primary elements you have to work with on the Internet or on social sites - your picture (or pictures) and your name.
If you have a company name that is hard to remember, you're lost. If you have a lousy picture, put a bag over your head.
Some examples of really bad pictures for networkers:
- Group shots - If someone does not know you. Don't make them guess who you are in the picture.
- Pictures with animals - Unless you run a cat farm, keep kitty and fido out of the shot.
- Long range shots - You in a full-size photo standing next to the Washington monument might be cool, but you'll look like an ant and no one will ever be able to pick you out of a line-up.
- Multiple pictures on multiple sites - You want to have ONE picture of either you (a nice close-up) or your logo. When you cross social platforms and utilize different pictures, you get lost. You might spot a new friend on another site and say hi. If your picture is different, they will mistake you for another Internet pest. The equity you built on one site won't transfer to the others unless you use the same picture.
Keep your company name and logo simple and to the point. If you have a logo, keep in mind that it will be greatly reduced in size on social sites. Does it "read" well? Can you make it out or is it distinctive enough to be recognized again and again?
If you have a long name that looks like a bad Scrabble pick, your picture becomes even more important. When people scan through social sites, they are looking at the pictures, not necessarily the names. That's why a good picture - and one you stick with is so critical. If you change your picture often, you are playing hide-and-seek with your prospects and customers.
Spend some time crafting the information you want to put on your profile. First, understand who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. If you have a Satanic band, you don't want your favorite book to be the Bible. If you're a polished business person, have info that reflects that.
Be careful not to go into TMI (Too Much Information). Put a few items in your profile, but don't list your entire personal CD collection or every movie you saw in the last decade. In reality, no one cares.
Keep it simple yet informative.
Before you dive in, figure out how you want to be perceived on social sites and on the Internet. If you are a personal trainer, bombarding Facebook with blonde jokes isn't a good strategy. So, think about what is unique, special and intrinsic to you. Do you like to cook? Share recipes. Do you like quotations? Share those. (Although, this is a strategy that a lot of people use.)
Your goal is not to attack people, but attract people.
Big draws are: Information that is useful to a broad audience, entertainment news, major world events, humor and music.
Find something each day that is interesting and share it. It's that simple.
But how do you get a large following? One way, on Facebook, is to play the games. Sure, they're dumb, but they can help build a lot of friends, quickly.
Two years ago, I was playing Mafia Wars on Facebook. I had a couple hundred friends. The first rule in life is to give people what they want and you'll get what you want. In Mafia Wars, every player is trying to build their mafia size. If you ask people to join someone's mafia, that is called pimping.
For several weeks, I hosted "Pimpfests" - where I'd share players on the News Feed and tell everyone to add that person and then comment on that post; then to add everyone on the post. I could take a player and increase their mafia by 100 or more in an hour. I was a Mafia Wars god.
As a result, my mafia and friends list grew to over 3,000 in just a few weeks.
I recently quit Mafia Wars. But it provided me with a global group of friends. For what I'm trying to do now - blogging - it has worked out perfectly. Now, my blog posts shared on Facebook get hits from all over the planet.
So, games could be part of your strategy.
Blogging is also a good way to build your Internet identity.
I met a doctor who regularly blogs about various physical conditions and tries to teach the public about prevention. His blog has greatly increased his practice. Again, he gave people what they wanted.
Blogging is simple. You don't have to write a lot. You just have to write something of interest.
I'm planning on doing a series on "How To Build A Blog" and include some of the tricks I've learned. That will be forthcoming. Right now, I'm busy enough.
Other ways to market are through email lists. On your site, have a place where visitors can give you an email address. These are people that have a sincere interest in what you are offering and want more. However, don't abuse them. If you start pounding them daily with updates, you'll find a lot of emails coming back with "REMOVE" in the subject line.
Have an informative plan. Maybe you have weekly specials or updates that would be beneficial to your audience. That info is what your followers want.
Only deliver what is promised. If the people who share their email with you are expecting a newsletter, don't start sending them Obama jokes. I know that sounds stupid, but I've seen everything and it's not a ridiculous notion.
- Have a good picture or logo
- Build a profile that supports your objectives
- Share interesting content on a regular basis across social nets
- Collect email addresses
- Give people more of what they have come to expect from you
Keep in mind, building your brand takes time. However, if you put in consistent effort, you can someday become an icon on the Internet.
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