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.
Are you on Twitter? How do you use it? How do you decide who to follow? I recently was in conversation with a potential client and we were talking about the value of building a fresh current website and featuring a blog. I was explaining how blogging is a great opportunity to build brand awareness and to drive traffic to his website. I then went on to explain how he could use social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with existing and potential clients and be seen as an authority in his field. His response to me was “Twitter is for Twits”.
Stalking is a pretty strong word to use here but it’s not a bad idea to get on someone’s radar screen. All of us have stumbled upon someone who is making an impact online. Maybe they have a healthy number of quality followers. Perhaps their tweets are retweeted so much it makes you envious. Wouldn’t you just love to get on their radar screen?
Want to drive more traffic to your blog/website? Want to reinforce your brand every time you leave a comment or ask a question? Want to link to other websites without driving your traffic elsewhere? Here are 4 simple steps that you can take. They won’t take much time and they’re all free. Most of these tips are covered in greater depth elsewhere on this blog but they’re all worth mentioning again.
Paul Colligan (someone you may want to follow if you’re serious about getting your blog/website found online) talks about the ISYOT (“I’ve Seen You Out There”) effect. The ISYOT effect is a lot like the marketing term top-of-mind-awareness but it applies to being seen online – to the point that you’re being recognized on the Internet. Somewhat the same way you would be recognized if you were networking face to face in the brick-and-mortar world. So how do you do that? How do you build confidence, trust and name/face-recognition online? Paul recommends being seen everywhere using social networking sites, podcasting and media channels like YouTube. Participating on Facebook and LinkedIn, Tweeting, posting videos on YouTube…. all things that we know we need to be doing but if you’re a one-person-shop (or even 1 and ½ or 2)…. How do you get started? How do you make the ISYOT effect work for you?
Ok… you’ve “opened the virtual doors” to your business/blog by telling your friends, family and anyone else who would listen. So what now? (Maybe you’re seeing flashbacks of Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams”… “if you build it, he will come”.) As reality sets in, and you’re not seeing an increase in the number of visitors (or commenters) or more importantly you’re not seeing the results that you’re looking for (sales, email addresses, attention…), you may start asking yourself what next? Well, there are lots of things you can do like using the Google Webmaster tools, submitting your URL to directories, commenting on blogs and optimizing for search engines but…
Let’s just get back to the basics here…
Looking for low-cost ways to drive traffic to your website? Establish an online presence, build awareness and make connections – basically the same methods that entrepreneurs and businesses have been using to promote their products and services for years. In addition to networking on the Internet by participating in forum groups, message boards and social networking sites, you can also comment on blogs. There are even online communities for people who are serious about commenting. One of the more popular ones (and the one that I’m a member of) is the ComLuv network. CommentLuv is a “plugin”/program that works with blogs. When a member of the ComLuv network comments on a blog that is running the CommentLuv plugin, in addition to their comment, a link to one of their blog posts will be included. This is a wonderful opportunity for a blogger to get a “backlink” (link back to your blog/website). Thousands of blogs have installed this simple plugin. In addition to building awareness, useful and constructive comments can help to build a reputation too.
In last week’s post, I talked about using RSS feeds to get updates on blogs and other websites such as news media. I specifically mentioned blogs and news websites because those are the two types of websites that are most likely to have RSS feeds. Of course, the reason for having an RSS feed is to easily give your readers access to your updates. And blogs need to be updated. Believe me when I say a successful blog is a commitment.