By Petra Smith
Having a great personal presence online is just as important as having a high-quality brand for your business, and as you are the key representative of your business, it’s essential that the two are aligned.
When it comes to marketing your business, it’s all about the communication associated with your business. The principles are similar to any personal communication: You will be judged on your appearance and actions.
Just like with face-to-face communication, you can’t make people like you; however, you can present yourself at your best and let them decide if they want to work with you.
Your marketing communication is directly linked to how your audience sees you, and it has the ability to inform opinions about your business—both positive and negative—even before you directly engage with your clients.
With online marketing channels, the volume of users you can reach is really high, but because of the size of your audience and the competition, both your personal and corporate brands need to stand out to be noticed.
The key aspects of online marketing are your website, social media profiles and content you create and share, and the principles are exactly the same as having a physical shop to attract and sell to new customers.
Imagine your online business presence as a cake shop: Your website represents your store; social media is your window; and content represents all your cakes on display, to show your customers what you can do. To maximize your success, you need all 3 to work together.
People won’t come in to your shop without liking your window display, and they won’t know how good you are without having a look at the cakes that you produced. They won’t necessarily want to buy the cake you already made, but it gives them the confidence that you’re good at what you do and will come to you when they need or want one.
And most importantly, you are the face of that shop—the person they associate with the shop, the quality of the products and services, and the overall customer experience.
In other words, aligning your personal and brand identity can create a competitive advantage for your business and provide extra exposure, as well as build new client relationships. Here are a few benefits to consider:
Being yourself and showing a real human face is what differentiates a business. There are lots of businesses out there, but their unique story and the people behind them are what make them stand out.
Keeping your online presence in line with your business brand brings you closer to your clients and helps to build trust with your target audience.
Give your business a human face by sharing your personal stories and regularly connecting with people. People buy from people, and they want to buy and work with people they like. Associating a familiar face with the business is an effective way to create and build long-term relationships.
Having a clear, presentable photo across all your online profiles can help to build a consistent personal brand. Using your logo and a cover photo that represents you and your business gives your visitors a better feel for your brand, and helps you differentiate yourself and the business.
When you focus on brand imagery that makes your brand easily recognizable and relevant to you on a personal and professional level, you are consistently remind your target audience about your business and creating connections with potential and existing customers.
The first thing people see when searching for a person on social media is their tagline. This could be your role’s description, a short bio or a business description.
As taglines are so visible, they give you the opportunity to highlight your business’s news and achievements. It’s important to keep it as accurate as possible, with keywords you want people to use to find you and with a link to your website, so you are driving website traffic and improving SEO by linking your site to social media.
Implementing a strategy that will make your site easily searchable with all the relevant words your visitors would be searching for will give your website extra exposure while building your own brand.
Talking about your achievements and showing results is a powerful marketing tool. Telling people about your success, asking for recommendations and testimonials are a compelling way to highlight how great your business is and how good you are at what you do.
In addition, sharing real life stories is an effective way to present your style and quality of work and will also help to educate others. If you prove that you can do the job and you can do it well, it will help to build trust with potential and existing customers and create more new business opportunities.
To keep your audience interested and engaged, it’s important to communicate with them on regular basis—not just on a formal level, but also a personal level. People would want to hear from you personally as well as about your business, so balancing both can bring you double the benefits.
Be active, and share relevant updates and content that your audience can relate to and learn from. Interact with others online, join discussions, and be present at the right places to build up a credible brand and online presence; after all, social media is all about interaction and engagement—not self-promotion.
Petra Smith is the Founder and Managing Director of marketing consultancy Squirrels&Bears in London, helping growing businesses to turn their story into a competitive advantage. Petra has over 10 years of experience in designing, implementing and delivering successful marketing communication strategies, working with global and local businesses in the B2B and B2C environment.