4 Simple Steps to Building Your Brand Online

by Sherryl Perry on February 8, 2012

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Building your brand online can help you be one of the first people/businesses that comes to mind when someone is looking for your product or service. In the small town that I live in, there’s a woman who drives a truck around selling fresh produce. She’s known as the “fruit lady”. She is a walking/driving advertisement for her family owned business. Whenever conversation turns to where to buy the freshest fruits and vegetables, someone will mention her. She is a living example of someone who has done an excellent job of building their brand and creating top-of-mind awareness.

So, how do you build awareness of your brand online? I don’t know about you but there are definitely people online who I know, recognize and respect for being the go-to person in a particular niche. How did they do it? How do you do it? (I guarantee that several of you who read my blog and comment are some of the people who I immediately think of.)

#1 Make it Personal

I just took a quick look at my spam folder and about one out of every ten spam comments is from someone who has used keywords as their name (including “manufacturers of bed linen”, “mlm business software”, “fitness tips” and “how to talk dirty”). Seriously? People like to do business with people they like and trust. If you won’t even share your name with us, how am I supposed to get to know who you are? You are your brand. So, please let me get to know you. Keep it personal while keeping it professional.

#2 Be Your Brand

The user name that you choose (for Twitter and other social media sites) is a key part of your brand. Whether you choose to use your name, your business name or an acronym, it does send us a message. Finding a user name can be challenging. It should be easy to spell and memorable. Twitter only allows 15 characters, so, you may need to get a little creative. Go to KnowEm to see if the username you want to reserve is available on most of the common social networking sites.

While looking at the comments in my spam folder, I noticed that the person who called themselves “Logo design” had not even set up a Gravatar (a globally recognized avatar) confirming my suspicions that the comment was left by a spambot. A real graphic designer would either use their personal picture or a killer graphic to impress us. They certainly would not want to be associated with a generic icon (like the grey box with the white outline of a person that you sometimes see next to comments).

#3 Know Your Target Audience

Who are you writing your blog for? Are you using it to communicate with existing and potential customers or clients? Are you writing to build brand awareness and authority? Are you writing to engage with your peers in hopes of cultivating referrals and developing mutually beneficial business relationships? (I answer yes to all of these questions.)

Whatever your reasons are for blogging, it’s important to understand who you are writing for. Quality content is of upmost importance but if no one is interested in reading what you have to say, it will be a futile effort. Ask yourself, why do people read your blog? Ask your readers. What do they like or not like about your posts? By engaging in conversation in your comment section, you can find out whether or not you’re giving your readers what they want and expect from you.

#4 Promote Your Brand

One of the most important decisions that you can make when you’re building your online presence is choosing and registering your own domain name. Your domain name is part of your brand. Even if you’ve decided to blog using a free blogging site (such as WordPress.com or Blogger.com), you should consider using your own domain name to help build awareness of your own brand. Google and WordPress.com don’t need any help build awareness of their brand. (Personally, I strongly recommend self-hosting if you can possibly afford it but that’s a topic for another article.)

Your email address should also be part of your brand. Whenever I receive an email from a business person and I see that it has come from gmail, hotmail, Comcast, AOL or another big business, I silently sigh to myself and think “missed opportunity”. Why build awareness of another brand when you can be building awareness of your website? I certainly have other email accounts but whenever I’m acting on behalf of this blog, I use an email account associated with this domain name.

What are your thoughts and suggestions for building your brand online? As always, thanks for making my blog better by sharing your opinions and experiences in the comment section. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. We can all learn something from each other.

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Satrap
Twitter:
November 5, 2012 at 12:44 am

Hi Sherryl,
Another great thing about building your brand from SEO perspective is that after all the recent Google updates, it seems like having your brand name associated with your site makes it a bit easier to rank in the serps as well.
Satrap recently posted..Get Paid To Test Products – Becoming A Product TesterMy Profile

mike
Twitter:
May 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Getting a domain name, facebook page and twitter ID that match your business name is hard work these days! I find having a google + profile helps build relationships as my image gets returned with my blog posts in the serps as does registering with gravitar so my photo gets shown on blog comments.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I agree with you Mike. It can be very difficult selecting your username. Thanks for the reminder about Google+. I have my profile set up and I post there a bit but I really need to dedicate more time to it. After all, it is Google. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do you Brand Yourself, Your Company, or Your Product on Social Media Sites?My Profile

Rick April 25, 2012 at 5:04 am

Hi SHERRYL PERRY,

I love this stuff! I like how you offer direct applications after each point. Personal branding is always a struggle for me; I’ve got so many interests that it feels like multiple personalities sometimes. I read like a bagillion blogs a day and this is one that I might actually take its recommendations and do exactly what it says. Thanks for the advice..

Thanks,
Rick @ Berlin.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm

You’re welcome Rick Thanks for letting me know that you found my article helpful. I appreciate your feedback.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Commenting On Blogs – What Strategy Works for You?My Profile

Leonard Evenson April 23, 2012 at 9:57 am

I agree, branding is a crucial step in establishing an online presence, especially for a business, but even if you are creating a blog with your own name, selling your own tips and some affiliate products on the side, people should be able to look at 1 page or just the header and know, instantly, what you are about, what your message is to the world. People like buying from those with a similar attitude and world view as them, and a brand is all about that. The point you made about being personal goes hand-in-hand with this approach, it is almost like the “Avon Lady” method: you feel like you have a personal consultant who you can develop a trusting relationship. Thanks for clearing this up and organizing it into bullet-points!
Best regards,
Leonard

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Thanks Leonard. I’m glad we’re in agreement. I always call it the 3-second rule because that’s about how long some people stay on your site before they’ve decided that they’re “in the right place”. What you say about trust and keeping it personal is right on. The “Avon Lady” . . . that’s such a recognizable brand.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Commenting On Blogs – What Strategy Works for You?My Profile

Audrey Farrar April 2, 2012 at 1:33 am

My Twitter and Instagram are already same profile pic and same handle. That’s one step closer to having everything streamlined and related. Such simple tips but it’s always the simple things that can carry the most weight!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 2, 2012 at 11:52 am

Hi Audrey,
Thanks for taking the time to share where you are on social media. It would be great if your profile pic showed up when you leave comments too. In step #2, I mention Gravatar.com. It’s free and it should only take you a few minutes to set one up.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?My Profile

Pete Goumas April 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Hi Sherryl,
You focused on 4 key points on how to build brand online and I think promotion of our brand and right strategies to grow our business online is very essential.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Hi Pete,
I’ve written several posts about promoting our brand. One of the simple things that can be done is to create a Gravatar. I see you’ve done that. I already recognize both your name and your profile pic. I always remind people that most of us prefer to do business with someone who we like and trust. Commenting on blogs and engaging with people online is an excellent way to do this.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Are Your Website Visitors Sticking Around Or Bailing Out?My Profile

Pete Goumas March 26, 2012 at 9:10 am

Hi Sherryl ,
Its a tough task to build brand online but your article is really helpful and make this process easier.Thanks for sharing!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 26, 2012 at 11:33 am

Thanks for letting me know that you found my article helpful Pete.

Aman Kashyap March 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Thankfully, there are a number of ways i can promote my brand and create the image i want for it. By adding a short video about the brand and slogan; slogan should be the statement that i want others to make when they think of my brand. I should make it unique and memorable. All of these features are necessary for promoting any brand.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Great tips Aman. Branding should be included in all of our marketing efforts. I think slogans (or taglines) are often neglected but they really go a long way in creating a brand. Three slogans that immediately pop into my mind are “Just Do It”, “Good to the Last Drop” and the “Quicker Picker-Upper”. Most people will immediately think of the brand names the second they hear those phrases.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..The Rise of the Cyber Cold WarMy Profile

Aman Kashyap March 22, 2012 at 9:17 am

The idea to promote a brand is too easy but making it actually happen is equally difficult.
The basic step to do so is by providing the all information in the most interesting way.One needs to be professional but at the same time he/she must allow the people to know them completely or in other way ”BE PATIENT”.Most importantly one should have all the bullets about the product and be ready for any quarry of the audience!
🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 22, 2012 at 11:42 am

Being patient is good advice Aman. Success is not built overnight. As far as bullet points, it’s always a good idea to promote benefits and not necessarily features. Both are important but it’s the benefits to our customers and clients that results in the sales

Thanks for adding to the conversation!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..WordPress OpenHook 3 Plugin Broke my Thesis ThemeMy Profile

Danica Green
Twitter:
March 22, 2012 at 7:29 am

One simple way of building your brand online is by giving your brand a character that will give itself an identity. This way, people will easily connect with you.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
March 22, 2012 at 11:40 am

That sounds like good advice Danica. I’m linking to Dennis Salvatier’s guest post on logos and branding. You may find it interesting if you haven’t had a chance to read it.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Have to Be Starbucks to Need a Logo?My Profile

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