Your online branding is more important than ever. Australians are now spending more and more time on their computers, tablets (iPads) and smart phones. According to recent surveys, Australians spend an average of 1.5 hours per day on the internet.
If people feel that there are so many businesses to choose from that all offer the same basic products and services, how will they know which business to choose? How can they be sure that they are getting the best value for their money and time?
Aren’t they all the same?
If we assume that most businesses are reasonably competent at what they do, then how do we as consumers distinguish the good from bad, how do we make a choice?
It’s at this point that people turn to their digital technology to engage the free service of “word of mouth”. After all what better way is there to find out if a business is any good, than to ask others.
In the past it may have been quite difficult to find some reviews about a business. Now those answers can be found in a matter of minutes by simply searching online. Just do a simple Google search, or maybe a social search by asking the question on Facebook, Google+ or twitter.
In no time at all you can be reading about the pros and cons of a business. The biggest advantage of this instant review feedback is that it’s free, and it’s not just corporate propaganda. You aren’t just reading media hype but you can actually find answers from people who have had dealings with a company. You might find out that Bob from X company is the man with all the answers, he knows his products inside out and you’d be happy with him. Whereas Simon from Y company is just out to make a sale and would sell ice to the eskimos.
So if you want your business to continue to perform well in this age of instant information, you need to be paying attention to your online branding. If you don’t have any competition, and you’ve got a niche that you basically “own” then maybe you could afford to be blasé when it comes to managing your online profile.
Then again, maybe if you get too comfortable then, someone could come along and knock you off your pedestal, especially in this age of globalisation.
But if you’re like the majority of us, then you’re continuously trying to outperform, outplay and maybe outwit your competition. This is where online branding comes in. Start to see yourself as a “brand” not a business.
Brand or Business
Coca Cola isn’t a business, it’s a brand. People don’t think about Coca Cola and think about a business selling soft drink instead it’s the brand that we “enjoy” , and “life tastes good” and we “can’t beat the real thing”. Mars Bars helps us to “work rest and play” or Nike empowers us to “Just do it”, and Gillette is “the best a man can get”.
These companies offer a consistent brand image online and offline so people instantly recognise the brand. And each profile, each “face” of the business reinforces the others.
Just as a business needs to work on creating a consistent marketing image for their physical business presence and offline marketing, it is now just as important to work on their online presence.
Differentiate yourself from other businesses, by being consistent in your colours, logos, taglines or slogans, persona, “what you stand for” and the image that you want your brand to convey.
The concept of online branding is to create exposure for your brand on all levels of online marketing. This includes your website, Facebook page, twitter page, YouTube, blog etc. You want your brand to stand out from the crowd, and to do this you need to be actively networking every day. Your conversations that you have on all of your online profiles, come together to show people that you are actively living your brand, that you are interested in the people who support your business.
Stay tuned for next time when I’ll talk specifically about how to use your website and blog, Facebook and Google+, and Twitter to build your online brand.