“Self-branding is an ancient art. Once the province of political and social leaders, it’s now critical to success for people in all types of careers.” Catherine Kaputa, You Are A Brand!
We are now firmly in the digital age and whether you like it or not, this is the future of marketing. Gone are the days of the yellow pages and in its place is google, yahoo and a slew of other search engines. In a matter of minutes someone can search for anything they need or want. Or, for that matter, any type of business needs they desire. This new realm of marketing for the entrepreneur is known effectively as “cyberbranding” (Kaputa)
“Don’t be scared to present the real you to the world, authenticity is at the heart of success.”
Steps to success can be daunting in this new cyber world. But lets break down the first steps to branding yourself online.
Step 1 – determine the social media sites that best fit your business and your ideal client. Not every site is best for your business.
Step 2 – setup business accounts totally separate from your personal accounts. Your online brand is your reputation and your business. Your online brand should be valued by you and treated accordingly. Used correctly, online branding can definitely set you apart from your competition.
Step 3 Own your name or your business name. Try to pick the same social media site names that reflect you and your brand. Don’t try out different names. Establish a connection name-wise and brand-wise between all your social media sites.
“People want to know about you, and they’re going to use the Internet to find out about you.” – Catherine Kaputa, You Are A Brand!
Step 4 Invest in a great profile image or images. Keep your image consistent across all your social media sites and your website. And keep it classy as this image is the first thing a potential client sees. We all know that we love those fun pool-side party pics, but that is not the right image you want a potential client to see unless you are in the party business.
“A page with a profile picture is seven-times more likely to be viewed than a page without one.” – Catherine Kaputa, You Are A Brand!
Recently I photographed two ladies who are longtime real estate agents in the commercial industry with their own realty company. We discussed the message that they wanted to emit when clients find them online. Since they are in the commercial real estate arena, we determined a more business-like look to their images was crucial. We wanted them to be approachable, but at the same time seen on equal footing as their male counterparts.
Pictured above (left to right) Kelly Hutchinson – Broker; Marcia Davenport – Sr. Vice President (Commercial Houston Real Estate Advisors)
When looking at your online visual brand, everything is important. Your clothes, the background color, your pose, even the font used on your website and/or blog. All of this comes together to give your client a sense of what you and your company are all about.
The main points to take with you from this post…
- Setup the correct social media sites for you and your business – keep your business identity separate from your personal identity
- Review all your online sites and make sure that the name and look are consistent with your overall brand and consistent on all platforms.
- Decide what image you want to represent your online brand then invest in that image creation.