In the information age, everyone with an internet connection can make their mark. While this power is awesome, it comes with great responsibility. Everyone is a writer, journalist and critic online. Because of this, it is essential that you take control of your brand and ensure that it has the most appropriate presence online. Everything you post, from your Facebook page (whether you use privacy settings or not) to your Pinterest boards and Instagram photos, is part of your brand.
Anyone surfing the web may come across your posts, status updates and pages. And what you put out there will affect their perception of your brand. We are all entitled to privacy. But when it comes to the internet, our lives are open books. It is up to you to tell the story you want to convey.
Today’s consumers hold a deep-rooted cynicism and are fed-up with excessive advertising pitches. According to a market survey by Alterian, only 6% of consumers trusted advertising and what a company says about itself. Instead, consumers are turning to their own social networks for information they can trust. Connection and interactive engagement are strongly related to the development of trust and belief.
No longer does the power lie in the hands of a mere few, such as the traditional media and large corporate brands. Power is now in the hands of many. Because of this economic and cultural shift, you as an individual have a tremendous opportunity to position yourself. If you don’t take control of your brand, someone else will. You don’t want to become invisible or irrelevant.
Here’s how you can take advantage of this shift in power by building, growing and nurturing your personal brand:
- Be Authentic and Share Your Passion – There has never been a better time in history to be a passionate entrepreneur. Being real, transparent and sincere will draw your potential clients to you. Consumers are sick of hyped pitches, overzealous salespeople and mass broadcasts. Allow your personal brand to reflect who you truly are.
- Identify Your Target Market & Carve Out Your Niche – The clearer you are about exactly who you serve and the solutions you provide, the more clients you will attract. Consumers are becoming more and more selective about who they follow. They are focusing on narrow, curated channels of information and contacts that best suit their needs. Niche narrowly and wisely, and you will become the “go-to-gal” for your industry.
- Get In On the Conversation and Engage – We have moved away from mass broadcast to personal media. This means you must connect and engage to build relationships and establish your identity. Traditional advertising and marketing methods focusing on selling and pitching information are falling on deaf ears. You must build your “know, like and trust” factor through connection and interactivity.
- Provide Value and Give…and Then Give More! – Thanks to the noise and clutter online and beyond, it takes a lot more than a great product or service to sell your brand. You MUST establish a relationship first, authentically and emotionally, before someone sees you as the authority or trust agent that you are. A powerful brand establishes an emotional connection with its target market. One of the best ways to do this is to give away content and information that will help your potential clients. Blog posts, newsletters, white papers, tweets, special reports – these are all ways to help your tribe move forward in their quest for success. We live in an abundant universe, so don’t be afraid to give away great content. It will go a long way in establishing your position as an authority in your industry.
The people who humanize the web, connect and build relationships, provide valuable content and communicate with their potential clients in a real and thoughtful way, are the most likely to develop a community around their brand and cultivate success.
While the virtual world can be noisy and highly impersonal, it is essential to give your business a place in it. By using a clear and authentic voice to deliver your brand’s message, you can attract your right tribe and create ongoing value for the people you are meant to serve.
©Liz Dennery Sanders 2013