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.
Web marketing is the cornerstone of successful business marketing. One key component of web marketing is the search engine ranking and internet presence of the business’ website. This realization urges businesses to hire professional SEO consultants to manage the internet marketing of their website. However, simply hiring a SEO consultant is not enough. You need to ensure that the firm is capable of providing world class services as well. To do that, look for business practices that are the mark of an excellent SEO service provider. Some of these qualities are:
Extensive Knowledge: A SEO guru should have knowledge of SEO consulting, keyword analysis, content development and copywriting skills, link building and directory submission guidelines. Along with these technical skills, a SEO consultant needs to have a good idea about marketing and the latest developments in the SEO domain. Marketing skills also include research orientation, which will enable the consultant to gain valuable insight which can be translated into optimization tools.
Ability to take hard decisions: The top priority of a SEO consultant is marketing of the website. So the client has to be informed of changes in the website, which might not be very welcome. In such situations, the SEO consultant needs to get the changes done in a determined way. For example, informing a client that expensive Flash designs on the website have no use from a SEO point of view.
Good SEO Consultant
Customized services: It is rightly said ‘different strokes for different folks’, and this age old proverb holds true for internet marketing as well. No two websites are exactly the same, and so the SEO strategies used for them will also vary. A good SEO consultant will not use the same set of strategies for each client. Rather, the consultant should be able to analyze the unique requirements of the client and provide suitable, customized SEO solutions.
Business understanding: To be able to provide customized services, a SEO consultant must be curious about the client’s business and marketing goals. This drive to know and understand the client’s business shows that the SEO consultant is passionate about the uniqueness and challenges of each project. And the more the consultant understands your niche market; the superior will be his SEO solutions.
Prioritization: In SEO optimization, there is often a need to prioritize content over web aesthetics and long term goals over quick gains. An SEO consultant needs to be able to look at the client’s web pages and logically analyze the level of optimization of the content to come up with strategies. He needs to identify natural integration of keywords, keyword density and remove duplicate content from the text. The tone, choice of words and writing style should be geared towards relevant content, which can then be optimized, before putting the final strategies into action.
Transparency: There are SEO firms which use illegal black hat practices to promote websites and get quick results. SEO firms which use legal and credible practices are willing to share their plan of action with the client. They communicate the basic method and its intended results honestly and professionally to the client. Only those consultants who have something to hide remain furtive.
Have you ever thought how important customization is in all parts of our lives? From food(pizza chains) to automobiles, entertainment (television, i-pods) to sports (cricket, gaming) and retail, today’s successful business models are all tied to this central tenet- customization. So what really is customization and how relevant is it in web designing and development?
Whenever a client decides to elevate its customer experience, the first focal point is the website, which serves, both, as a significant touch point for the customer and as a continuing image of the business at large.
Ready-to-use web templates could cause more harm to your business than the short-lived advantage of cost-saving. In today’s dynamic business world, it becomes very important that you align your business goals with the existing practices. Any website which does not offer a rich interface which substitutes for actually ‘being there’ with the customer, will not be able to build any long-term credibility.
Features: A custom web development company works on a client’s needs and provides a rich platter of services to suit the ever-changing business environment. Call-to-action features like ‘Buy Now’, ‘Click here to talk with our agent NOW’, ‘Subscribe to our monthly newsletter’, are all examples of features which can be offered in this web model, contrary to the plethora of readymade web templates available out there.
Adaptability: When you identify an urgent need to change your website interface or add any new feature/alert to it, you would not want to let your other commitments suffer. Custom web development offers you a fast rate of change while you continue to focus on your primary area of work. This is how a trustworthy backend makes you an ace player in the market.
Compatibility: The client does not want to withstand the long ‘learning curve’ by itself. That is where a steady backend provides an effective business solution, which is compatible for a multi-server/multi-platform environment.
Online Presence: Once you have a strong and loyal customer base, you make them a part of your business, and they feel at home with your product or service. A significant contributor to this is an attractive website, which adapts according to the customer’s needs.
A professional custom web development company will give you the added advantage of creating a unique customer experience. It takes care of the backend while you put your money where the mouth is. SEO optimization, dynamic content, enhanced user-friendly features, online marketing and offsite product promotion are some of the key attractions of any respectable custom web offering. And if any time should you feel any feature is redundant or not working for your business, you let the developer know and he makes the quick change that puts you right back into the commanding seat – towards a wiser business solution and a sustainable market advantage.
Today people live in two worlds, the real world and the virtual world. They can do most things online, ranging from banking, shopping, socializing to entertainment. The following statistics show the reach of Internet user avenues (approximate):
- 82.9% of active Internet users watch video clips.
- About 1.2 lakh blogs are created every day.
- 72.8% of active Internet users read blogs.
- Technorati currently tracks 111 million blogs.
- 63.2% of active internet users visit a photo sharing site.
- 38.5% of active Internet users upload a clip to a video sharing website.
- There are more than 90 million users on facebook.
And that’s why companies are now striving to create a strong Internet presence for wider marketing of their products and services. However, content on the Internet can be created by anyone, including the users of business services and products.
Multiple avenues of publishing product reviews, and sharing experiences on the web, have led to the rise of user generated content (UGC) on the web. All companies have online user generated content about their business’ products and services, and these are crucial to their web reputation. Users can converge at various points on the web to share information, some of them being –
- Social networking sites such as Myspace, Facebook, and Orkut
- Media sharing platforms such as YouTube, iShare, Vimeo, and Flickr to upload photographs, audio files, and video clips.
- Knowledge sharing platforms such as Yahoo, eHow, and Wikipedia
- Specialized Online Consumer Forums and discussion boards.
- Product Review Websites like Ripoffreport and Mouthshut.
The impact of negative and unfavorable user generated content is made exponentially larger through high levels of visibility, discoverability, and networking of these online points. There are many cases where negative online publicity has caused extensive damage to businesses. For example, Tata Consultancy Services has been accused of tax frauds, at a blog tcstaxfraud.blogspot.com/, which turns up in search engines and taints the name of the entire business. Similarly, Times of India, an Indian national daily, was criticized through a blog using the slogan ‘Slimes of India’. Reviews on Ripoff Reports such as “Helen Foundation took me for 4722.00 and said my insurance would pay it, but didn’t give me the bills” also affect the brand image of a business. As user generated content is unregulated, taking legal action against it can be unproductive. Such content is fragmented in nature, making it difficult to identify the author of the information.
A professional web reputation management consultant can counter negative publicity by using new approaches and strategies, such as peer friendly language, user controlled messages, SEO content creation, and dialogue. So, web reputation management services have become a business necessity to survive and succeed in the world of ecommerce. Only a professional firm can handle the negative publicity that your business may get and make sure that it has the minimum possible impact on the image of your brand.
All stats is collected from various source from Internet. I am not responsible for authenticity of stats.
Internet has changed the face of commerce drastically. Gone are the days, when customers would call up to enquire about the services of a company. Internet has brought the world to the fingertips of the customers, and all they have to do is Google the name of a company to gather information about it! There are also numerous blogs, social media sites and online consumer forums, for consumer reviews. Business owners are severely affected by such reviews, which can make or break their brand image.
Web reputation management(WRM) is gaining importance, as indicated by the World Economic Forum’s recognition of web reputation firms as an important entity in today’s scenario. A bad review by an irate customer, internet slandering campaigns by competitors, and negative feedback indicating consumer dissatisfaction could cause considerable damage to your business reputation. In such a situation, you need to act fast by hiring professional search engine reputation management (SERM) consultants.
Web reputation management firms use a variety of strategies to prevent potentially harmful content about your business from showing up in the first pages of search engine results. Here are some of the benefits of using professional web reputation management services:
- Building Positive Brand Image: During difficult times, a web reputation management firm can build positive blogs and websites for your company. By reducing the visibility of negative comments, creating a positive PR, and pushing positive information about you in the top search engine results, they promote a positive brand image. Their reputation management services will ensure that when potential clients do a background search of you and your company, they will find positive results.
- Effective Monitoring – A professional web reputation management firm will monitor the information about your company in search engine result pages, social networking sites, and other web sphere content. They can track consumer opinion using search engine alerts, RSS feeders to track keywords, and conduct extensive research about the company’s internet presence. Through monitoring and extensive market research, they can quickly identify sites with negative user comments and deal with them effectively, so that they don’t turn up in the first few pages of search engine results.
- Creating Content – The basic tenet of SEO is content creation. To combat negative feedback, web reputation management firms create positive content which are seen by search engines as more relevant and push down the other negative comments about your firm. SEO and web reputation management usually go hand in hand, so it is essential to hire a firm that has both the skills.
- Other remedial measures – User generated content on the web impact the brand image of any business, be it an online company or a brick and mortar company. Brand management strategies cannot be limited to a few mechanical steps. Good web reputation management includes diverse measures such as social network profiling; blog, article and press release; and promotion of existing positive content. Formal take down requests and negotiations can also be used to remove negative content from the web.
Web reputation is a part of SEO itself but not all SEO firms have the expertise in this field. Only an experienced and competent firm can handle your web reputation effectively. And thus, selecting the right SEO firm gains paramount importance.
Don’t wait for a crisis to turn to web reputation management professionals. Do it right now. After all, as the saying goes, “the early bird catches the worm.”