Quick, what’s your personal brand? What is your business brand? Attendance at a networking event has likely taught you how to share your elevator speech — the what your business is, what your business does, and how you can help someone with your expertise. For many business owners, though it is about their personal or business brand.
How can you position your business and its brand? Here are some suggestions:
- What makes you “you” and your business unique. Do you have colleagues that have said, “We come to you because of the XYZ you offer that we can’t find any where else?” If so, that is part of your brand!
- How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? Price? Service? Speed with which you deliver? Determine what it is that you want to use as your differentiator and promote that.
- How will you communicate your brand/reputation to your potential business clients? Advertising? Your social media profiles? Testimonials from clients?
They say first impressions count, but ongoing impressions matter when it comes to business. Don’t you agree?
If you sign up for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn you will automatically be found, build your friends, followers and likes and your business will take off, right? Stop. Take a breathe. Relax. Social media is more of a “slow and steady wins the race” marketing tool. You need to have a strategy in place. You need to know where your clients gather, ie. if your demographic would never be caught on Facebook, then that is not the social media platform for you even though “everyone else is there.”
How can you harness the power that social media can bring?
- Being social is key. Build friendships. Involve yourself in conversations. Don’t use social media as a “free” platform for advertising your goods or services.
- Find the social media platform that makes sense for your business. Perhaps LinkedIn makes more sense than being involved in Facebook — you need to know where your potential clients gather and go there to build relationships.
- Be patient. Rarely is anyone an overnight success. Building relationships on social media takes time, dedicated effort and persistence.
- Do you have any deals or free giveaways you can offer on social media to help spread the word about who you are and what you do? If so, offer it as part of your weekly social media posting.
What can you do to make the best use of your efforts on social media?
Once your business has a social media presence business will take off, clients will be knocking down your doors, you’ll have to move to a bigger location and hire more employees, right? Well, not so fast. Social media is more of a “slow and steady wins the race” type event. Social media is an effective tool in your marketing arsenal but it is only one tool and needs to be part of an overall strategy not a one-off proposition.
Here are my tips for leveraging social media to enhance your business marketing strategies:
- Build relationships. Social media is about starting and joining conversations. Don’t use your social media to simply try to sell your products. Let your clients and potential clients get to know you.
- Be patient. Social media takes time to build both a following and a reputation. Consistency also matters when it comes to posting your updates.
- What is the best social media platform for you and your business? While we realize that “everyone” is on Facebook, and perhaps you should be as well, there may be better avenues (ie where your ideal client gathers) such as LinkedIn or Google+
What have you tried as part of your social media strategy that has worked in your favor?
There are myriad marketing strategies you can employ to spread the word about your business, who you are and what you do. Did you know that blogging might be one of the most effective?
Whether you blog for yourself or hire a content marketing expert, having a blog presence tells the world that you and your website are “out there” and available and you can use your blogging to showcase your expertise.
How can you make your blog successful? Here are some tips:
- Be a subject matter expert. Your business operates in a particular niche and that is what you should be blogging about. Be the go-to expert in your field.
- Stay current on the trends in your market. If there is breaking news – be the one to break it to your readers. They will learn that you are the source for topical information.
- Put thought into your headlines/blog titles. Rather than writing: How to blog, write a title instead that reads: 7 tips to writing a killer blog post. Be active and specific and searchable in your title and key words.
- Post consistently. Get your readers accustomed to seeing a new blog post by you once, twice, or three times a week. Give them what they want and keep them coming back for more.
- Keep the conversation going. If your readers comment on a post, answer them. A blog is a two way conversational outlet, make the most of it.
What are your best tips for blogging your way to the top of your market area?
Are you, and is your business, the same as the one down the street? Do you essentially offer the same goods and services? Chances are, if you are both selling widgets, you will need to find a differentiator. What could you do that will set you apart from the competition? Be a Go-To Leader. How do you do that? Through careful positioning and targeting your audience and increasing your network.
Here are some steps I’ve taken to be a thought leader in my industry:
- You need to be visible. If your face isn’t seen at networking and industry events how will people know that you are the Go-To person? Your “face” should also be visible in your social media interactions as well.
- Are you an expert? How do you let people know that? Write/blog about it. Speak about it at networking events.
- Relationship building is key. True Go-To leaders have many connections — valuable connections, not simply numbers on a Twitter feed. Get out of your office, meet people face to face and expand your network.
- Share your knowledge. Being stingy with what you know doesn’t make you a Go-To leader. If you don’t share, how will others come to see you as the Go-To? They won’t.
What can you do to set yourself apart and become the Go-To leader in your industry?
Let’s face it, there are tasks that we undertake in our lives and in our businesses that we truly love and there are tasks that we dislike so much that we will procrastinate on them until all we are faced with are those tasks which sap our energy and our productivity.
As business owners, we need to know what our core competencies are and embrace those. We also need to admit there are tasks for which we are simply not suited (social media, marketing, bookkeeping, etc.) and we need to find a trusted partner with whom we can trust those activities so that we can focus on our core skills.
You likely got into business for yourself because you have a skill to offer, a problem that you can fix for your clients, and a need that your skills or products can fill, right? Savvy business owners know that they shouldn’t let the tasks that they simply don’t enjoy or at which they don’t excel get in the way of running the business that they love. To effect that, they have learned to outsource.
Outsourcing simply makes sense, especially if you look at the time and money you will be losing by struggling to complete payroll tasks or write press releases. Your expertise is what makes your business valued by your clients. Relying on the expertise of others to complete other tasks will enhance your productivity and your business’s bottom line.
Yes, there will be upfront costs to pay for outsourcing, but the benefits you reap will more than make up for that. Are you focusing on your core competencies or being bogged down by tasks for which you’re not suited?