It was in 1996 that Steve Jobs was reinstated as the CEO of Apple which was on the brink of bankruptcy. The rest as they say is history. The man not only saved the company from bankruptcy but ensured that it is counted amongst the top 10 best companies around the world. What’s even fascinating to note in the saga of Steve Jobs is that brand Steve Jobs was stronger than brand Apple.
In fact, after his sad demise recently, many were seen talking in hushed tones about the fate of Apple now. Would the company be able to sustain itself or would it again crash in the absence of its captain. That’s the power of personal branding. Whether you are the CEO of a company or an employee in a large organization, if you have a powerful personal brand, it adds immense value to the business you are in.
In the globalized world of today, where almost everything is on the internet, personal branding is both an easy as well as difficult task. It easy because you have plenty of avenues to project yourself as an expert in your field; it is difficult because you can easily be found out there and even slightest of mistakes can ruin the brand called You. Talking of avenues online, here are some important mediums which can make or break your personal brand in this fiercely competitive world.
Importance of Facebook Branding
FaceBook is the new internet, quite literally. With 800 million users and growing, almost everybody with an internet connection is one FaceBook today. Recently, FaceBook has also launched the subscribe feature which lets users subscribe to interesting pages and people without being friends. That means if you are the CEO of a company or at the helm of things, people will definitely check out your page on FaceBook.
It is the leader of an organization which determines the value of brand in the eyes of the customers. Thus, you need to make sure that your FaceBook page projects a positive personal image.
Even if you are not the leader of an organization, your FaceBook page matters a lot. Recent study has suggested that social media is influencing the way HR personnel are hiring the world over. Here are some complete no-no’s when it comes to FaceBook as a medium for your personal branding:
- Keep the pics from that wild night out last night out personal. Make sure only your closest friends get to see such pics. You can always tweak the settings in your FaceBook account.
- Make meaningful updates. In order to come across as a serious individual, don’t just update your status for the heck of it. Keep it interesting and if possible, related to your skills and expertise. For example, if you are a copywriter, you can always post new slogans that you coin every now and then. If you are a techie, posting links to interesting bits of news in the world of technology is a good idea.
- Let the world know about important happenings. It is important to use FaceBook about important happenings in your professional life. It could be success in a project or simply thinking about new ideas to grow your business.
Importance of personal website
While FaceBook is about connecting with the world out there, a personal website is about blowing your own trumpet. A personal website not only ensures that people have a chance to know the real you, it also means better visibility on search engines. Unless you are a Steve Jobs whose life has been an open book, you do need good visibility to create a buzz around your personal brand. A personal website can help you do that.
Importance of Twitter
If you thought people only follow celebs on Twitter, you are wrong. Ever since twitter came on the horizon, the task of discovering new things has become that much easier for people. Twitter users follow all kinds of interesting people- bloggers, experts in various fields and even the sarcastically humorous ones out there. Twitter is the perfect example of what viral marketing is. If you have interesting enough content to share, you can quickly become popular on Twitter Sphere. And if you commit an embarrassing mistake, you can still become popular on Twitter, albeit the wrong way. Need I say more about the importance of Twitter for personal branding?
Twitter also holds fantastic importance for top business honchos out there. People love to know about brands they are part of. Twitter gives CEOs the opportunity to engage their consumers directly and ensure good branding for their organization. A perfect example of the above is the CEO of Mahindra and Mahindra Anand Mahindra. He makes it a point to answer his followers’ questions and keep them updated about the latest happenings. It definitely has had a positive impact on the branding of Mahindra and Mahindra.
Importance of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is social media for the professional world. Whether you are a freelancer, an executive or a top honcho, trust your business associates, partners and colleagues to glance at your LinkedIn profile at some point or the other. To use LinkedIn as an effective tool for personal branding, make sure you have spent enough time to make a professional looking profile on the site.
Highlight your strengths and make sure your LinkedIn profile is search engine optimized too. And avoid a very common mistake people commit with their LinkedIn profiles- linking it with their Twitter account and tweeting all kinds of stuff.
If you have linked your LinkedIn profile with twitter, make sure you tweet only important stuff which projects a positive image for yourself. If you use Twitter for personal interactions, linking your Twitter account with your LinkedIn profile is never a good idea. It can corrode your personal brand quicker than you think.
Importance of YouTube
Videos are one of the best mediums for viral marketing. The recent online rage Kolavei Di vindicates that point. If you really want your personal brand to go viral, there is no better platform than You Tube. People love to follow YouTube channels that are informative or those with interesting content. As an individual, you can tap the potential of You Tube to give your personal brand the extra mileage.
Importance of Personalized e-mails
Almost everyone either has a Yahoo account or a Gmail account these days. Branding, whether personal or otherwise, is about standing out from the rest out there. If you want to come across as a dedicated individual who has the required professionalism, a personalized e-mail address can leave that impact. Getting a personalized e-mail address is easy with Google Apps and it is available for free. A personalized e-mail address ensures you have a unique e-mail address and thus, a high recall value.
You have your flashy website ready, but the hits are very low. Have you thought why?
It is true that the colours, design, logo and photos make an impression on the visitors of your website, but what is most important is the content of your website. The quality of the content on your website is truly a deciding factor for the success of your business, as your website is the first face of your company that a customer sees. And therefore, it is imperative that your website should speak for your company.
Content Is the King
How to make your content interesting to read, increase the hits and make it successful? Here are the secrets
Know your customer
The secret to quality content is to know exactly who is reading it. It is important to know your target audience and your website having exactly what they are looking for. Instead of just plainly inserting the keywords in your pages, make the content an interesting read and also make sure it aesthetically includes the keywords for the SEO. Make it interactive as customers like to have an upper hand on what they choose, and giving the customers the upper hand lets YOU have the upper hand without the customer knowing it.
Keep it short
Remember the KISS formula – Keep it short and simple. When a customer is doing a search in Google, you have only few seconds to make that first impression. So the maximum information you could give in minimum number of words would do the magic. You might have a lot to talk about your company, but knowing what to keep and what to delete is very important. Knowing which sentences would directly end up making the visitor a customer is an important aspect. After all, nobody has the time to go through pages with tonnes of information. It’s a fast paced world, remember?
Next key is to regularly update your content. It is important to create fresh content regularly. Even if it is a small change, ensure you update the website weekly or even daily. Google loves a regularly updated website. Any content change would be helpful to bring it up in Google search.
Trust the experts
You have put all your time, effort and money in building up your business, but it is always good to leave the job to the people who do it best. There are several free websites available on the web offering free content, but there is nothing like creative and unique content which matches your business. Know that your content writers are experienced and would know exactly which words would boost your business. If good content could boost your business, bad content could kill it double fast. Therefore, choose the writers wisely. After all, a comma and a hyphen could change the whole meaning of a sentence.
A mantra for success- The content of your website is the primary tool you have to win customers, use it wisely.
Often, the resources available for a project are not enough to do justice to the client. Lack of time, resources and other commitments may make it impossible for you to do the job, no matter how much you may want to. Ethically, in such situations, it is in the client’s and well as your best interest to say ‘no’ and not accept the work.
Given the focus of businesses on building a bigger client base, usually they shy away from saying ‘no’ to the client. Often, they don’t even realize that they are overburdened. It is tempting for businesses to take on the client’s project and hope that it somehow gets done in time. They are blinded by money or the fear of losing valuable customers.
When it is essential to say ‘no’ to client, businesses need to do so in a diplomatic way to avoid jeopardizing long term business relations with the client. Here are some practical ways to do so:
- Do not respond immediately to a client’s request. Give it some thought, check your work schedule and then come up with a realistic work completion plan, before you take on the project.
- Respond clearly and politely, so that the client understands that you won’t be able to work on the project. Explain the reasons because of which you will not be able to work on the project. This will help the clients to better understand why you are refusing the project. For example, saying “I wish I could say yes. Unfortunately, because of the current work load, I can’t complete the project effectively and on time. So, I am forced to say no to your project.” sounds better than simply saying “I cannot take this project.” Avoid using negative or offensive expressions, such as ‘It is unreasonable …” or “It is impossible to …”. Use positive language when responding to a client. Saying “We’d love to do this project, however …” is a gentle way of declining the client’s project.
- Always give alternatives to the client – Keep a waiting list, and let your clients know when you will be free to work on their project. Give them a clear waiting time, such as one week or one month, and an approximate date on which you can begin work on their project.
- Provide recommendations – In case you do not have the expertise or resources to do the project, let the clients know that they have the wrong person. If possible, recommend other professionals who can do it. Sometimes, a client might be in a hurry or under pressure, and need the services immediately. A recommendation of alternative service providers will not only help the clients but in the long run, it will also strengthen your business relations with them.
One of the most common misconceptions today is that a blog is meant for personal use. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A blog is so much more than a personal diary or a daily dose of someone’s personal opinions and ideas. A blog provides an opportunity for outsiders to become engaged and active. Let me put it this way. You are missing out on a huge opportunity if your company does not have a blog. Let’s start out with the consumer’s perception of companies.
Consumers have changed the way they view companies. In the past, consumers had a limited number of choices when purchasing goods and services. Before the web, consumers purchased goods and services from a local company or possibly through a catalog. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that total e-commerce sales for 2009 were $134.9 billion. More and more people are signing on to the web to make purchases. This has provided a significant opportunity for businesses, especially small to medium size businesses. Think about it. If I wanted to buy a bicycle ten years ago I would have went to my local Wal-Mart to make the purchase. That’s not the case today. I can get online and search specifically for the bike I want. It could be that I end up making the purchase from a small bike shop in Minnesota and have it shipped to me. The web has increased the purchasing power of consumers. We now have more choices and are not limited to what our local companies can offer. You are probably thinking what does this have to do with whether or not my company should have a blog? Everything.
It is your responsibility to differentiate yourself from your competition. It is much more difficult to do this today. Not only do you have to compete with your local competition, but you also have to compete with businesses in other cities, states, and even other countries. One way you can differentiate yourself from your competitors is with a blog. Consumers want to feel good about their purchases. I will gladly pay $10, $25, or $50 extra to a business that I feel understands my circumstances and reaches me on a personal level. That is exactly what a blog is…personal. It could be that I chose to purchase my bike from the online company in Minnesota rather than my local Wal-Mart because the company in Minnesota spoke to me in a different way through a blog.
A blog creates a feeling with consumers that they are getting inside knowledge. It helps companies establish relationships with their customers, which by default leads to trust. Do you want to see an increase in online sales or see your website become a tool rather than an expense? Get on a personal level with your consumers.
Another reason you should have a blog is because it keeps your website updated with fresh content. Common sense tells us that people are not going to visit your website repeatedly if they see the same thing each time they visit. However, if your content is changing consistently they will continue to visit your website in order to remain informed. The opportunity to sale your products and services increases greatly with the more visits you have to your website and the longer people remain on your website.
Having a blog opens up so many avenues for companies. Think about the numerous ways you can keep your website visitors engaged through a blog.
- Inform them of new products and services, or changes to existing products and services.
- Offer online discounts and promotions to your blog readers.
- Inform your readers of how your company is doing in relation to its’ goals and objectives.
- Post articles regarding your company’s involvement in charity (consumers love this).
- Post information about your employees.
These are just a few of the ways you can utilize a blog to reach out to your website visitors and customers. Do not use a blog to bash your competition. This is one of the cardinal sins of blogging. We, consumers, get really tired of negative publicity. So, keep it positive and be consistent.
If you are still unsure if your company needs a blog you apparently skipped this entire article and went straight to the bottom hoping to find a summary. Well, here is your summary. Yes, you need a blog. If you are on board and are ready to implement a blog then we recommend using WordPress.
About the Author:
Ray Goins is an author and owner of www.stopdev.com. StopDev provides web design and online marketing tips.
Are you amazed? after writing positive posts i am posting an odd article. You must be curious to know reason behind this post.
you are interested to read this post due to this odd title. this reason of odd title is surprise factor, whenever you got unusual topic you obviously go through and read till the end of the post.
I am giving a practical example: you are visiting an e-commerce website where all the product listed there with best offers. if you got any odd offer like get 1000$ item in xx$ . you will go and find the details of offer. that offer is meant to surprise the visitor with strange offer.
You can also track open rate of emails with odd title. so you can get more response by sending odd titles in mails.
This surprise factor is major part of online viral marketing. this is a medium to distribute information to other.
if you want to surprise you visitor you need to do something odd. you can notice what viral campaign have odd stuff.
so following are some odd behaviors which you can try and see what response you will get. (note: do at your risk)
- Send mail to friends with title “ignore this mail not worth reading”
- Tell your friend that you started drinking coconut water instead of beer and you feel amazing etc..
You can adopt similar viral feature to gain your customer attention.
After my blog post like, how to get success online, how to get customer through website traffic. . :). Now i am tracking this odd title post hits and i will update my report soon.
image copyright: corbis