Social media is potentially one of the most powerful branding tools for marketing your business. Entire brands like Gary Vaynerchuck ‘s Wine Library and “$#*! My Dad Says,” both multi-million dollar businesses, have been built entirely on social media branding.
As an employedpreneur – make social media your best friend. Why? Social media can address two of the biggest challenges we face: time and money. Being tied to a day job limits our opportunity to connect at local events on a consistent basis. And as we save money as part of our exist strategy, we need to stretch our marketing dollars as far as they can go.
While it can’t completely replace face-to-face networking, building a strong brand through social media can open great doors allows. The right branding, content, and strategy enables you to build a strong online presence and connect with peers, clients, and industry influencers on a schedule that works when you can.
This is exactly how I built the Career Makeover Coach brand. As a single mom, with limited time available during the day and evening, I needed a way to get out in front of people and position myself as a resource. I was able to do that through blogging, an online radio show and creating a strong Facebook presence. When I finally was able to step out into live networking events, it was great to hear people say that they had read my blog or respond to me with one of my signature phrases, “ready to go from bright to brilliant?”
To use social media the right way does require an investment in learning the tools, platforms and opportunities. But if you follow the Employedpreneur Blueprint - marketing is one of the things that you’ll spend time on. I would prioritize learning how to use social media and more specifically branding through social media. Especially if you are trying to expand into a new niche or market that differs from your current day job or known area of expertise.
How can you use social media to increase or improve your online presence? Here’s how:
Start with a Clearly Defined Brand
Before you set up a blog or have business cards created, define your brand. Everything else moving forward needs to fall in line with the brand you define. Your brand will ultimately define your profile photos, the color of your pages, the content you post and everything else should all match up to the brand you want to create.
You’ll want to answer these questions to help you define your brand:
- What does your brand stand for?
- What’s the style or image of your brand?
- What are your primary spoken and unspoken messages?
- Who are you targeting?
Choosing the Right Social Networks
Everybody knows about Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But there are dozens of social networks you can join, many of them specific to your industry or topic. It just doesn’t make sense to join them all. Depending on your time and resources, you’ll usually only want to establish a presence in three to five social networks that you can actually participate in on a consistent basis.
Choose the social networks that make the most sense for your audience. If you’re in a corporate setting, you might choose Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’re in a tech-savvy industry, you might choose Twitter and Facebook. If you’re primarily targeting music fans, you might choose just MySpace.
Here’s a video on how to evaluate social networks:
The network you choose depends entirely on where your audience is. Figure out what networks your audience uses the most and be on those networks.
Consistently Post Relevant and Valuable Content
Have you heard of the saying, “out of sight out of mind”? If you don’t stay in contact with people regularly, they’ll forget you exist pretty quickly. Make sure they’re continually aware of your brand by posting regularly. Build up brand loyalty by posting content that your audience will really love (stuff they can use). And remember that value is determined by your audience.
- A corporate or professional audience might love a daily three-minute video giving powerful tips on public speaking.
- A college-age crowd may be more interested in shocking or humorous pictures and/or videos.
- A small business audience with limited time might appreciate links to business news stories in their local area.
The key here is to know your audience. Post the type of content that your specific audience will love. Focus on offering value rather than trying to get people to buy something or like your page. Build up real loyalty rather than going for the quick sale.
Done Right a Strong Brand Leads to Strong Profits
Building a strong brand using social media involves first clearly defining your brand, then choosing the right social networks to be on and finally posting content that your audience loves. If you do this right your brand will become stronger and stronger both in your customer’s mind and in your market in general, which ultimately leads to referrals, opportunities and profits.
Bonus link: Not sure how to get started with social media? I’ve got a free checklist you can download: Social Networking Checklist
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