July 29, 2016 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
In a highly competitive and noisy marketplace, it’s crucial that you distinguish yourself and your business with solid branding. This corporate buzz word sounds catchy and reassuringly precise, but there’s no one-step process you can use to define the essence of a company or a business person. Branding execution requires a multi-channel, “full-court press” strategy and the ability to see things from a birds-eye-view. Successful branding requires that you create and consistently maintain many different social media, online, and offline channels for maximum impact.
The self-discovery process inherent in creating a branding and marketing strategy can even help you to streamline your professional services and goals. Given an investment of time and effort, a strategically positioned personal brand will boost your professional exposure, influence, and opportunities.
The first step towards establishing brand consistency is to sit down and ask yourself key questions pertaining both to the black and white aspects of your business, as well as to the more abstract – your mission. Don’t be tempted to skip over this step. Defining all of these elements in an organized manner before you ever post online will provide clear communication direction in the long run.
Once you have established all of these answers, use this content reference document. This invaluable document will help you to stay focused and on message as you develop and launch your professional persona.
Armed with this reference material, it’s now time to take inventory of other existing assets to identify whether they are still relevant, require an update, or should be archived.
Image via Flickr by Sean MacEntee
In our graphically oriented culture, visuals count. Global house-name brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, or UPS can trace their longevity to their consistency. You always know that a Coca-Cola ad will include red and the same logo design; it’s never distorted. Make sure that your logo always appears the same way (legible, crisp, and professional) on all social channels and websites.
Consistency in visual and written messaging reinforces your business’ integrity, assuring clients you are trustworthy and here to stay. Here’s where your brand outline makes setting up your online channels and maintaining consistency a breeze. You’ve already established the key messaging in short, punchy phrases. Now, copy and paste this content into the bio profiles on every social channel and “About Us” section online.
Make sure that wording, job titles, product descriptions, and work samples are the same across the board, wherever they appear. Of course, you may need to adapt content by channel, shortening copy for Twitter, adapting phrasing for Pinterest, or lengthening text for your website, but make sure that the spirit and integrity of the content remain the same.
Now it’s time to dive in and tell the world who you are and what you have to offer. Use your brand persona to guide you as you post on social media and write content, every time.
Imagine your brand as a person – is that person luxurious, friendly, approachable, instructional, or helpful? When you define a brand voice, post wording comes naturally. Now, aim for consistency in scheduling.
It pays to get to know (and to nurture) your audience. When you know who’s following you, you get a better idea of what to post and what they like. It’s best to be conversational and relatable, sharing things that are natural to the social platform, like:
Follow influencers in your space and interact with them naturally by tagging, mentioning, and liking as appropriate. You can occasionally drop in an appropriate call to action, such as a link to your website, portfolio, or mailing list once you’ve established a steady stream of valuable content.
Just like at a networking event, it’s important to remember the “social” in social media. Don’t simply broadcast blindly. Meaningful, natural interactions and brand integrity speak for themselves. Consistency builds your network over time, and you’ll soon develop a loyal, engaged audience, and hopefully more prospects than ever before.
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