When you hear a phrase in the world of small business marketing like “personal branding,” your first instinct might be to object.
Hey, I’m not a brand! I’m a human being!
But personal branding isn’t about de-humanizing yourself into a brand. It’s about humanizing your small business.
You see, most small businesses are only run by one or two professionals – professionals with unique expertise and personal reputations. But when small business branding efforts are lacking, no one will know the very human side to your business if they only know your company through the web.
With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to adding a more personal touch to your company’s branding efforts.
Social Networking: The Golden Opportunity for Small Business Marketing
For most people with small businesses website, personal branding is not a major concern because they often have close relationships with important clients and customers. Reputation gets around town, and the personal brand behind a company is inextricably linked to the personality of its owner. Small business marketing in the offline world is sometimes that easy.
But in the online world, people can’t see you. So you try some new things: small business SEO, for example, as well as social media efforts. However, what they don’t tell you is that simply being on Twitter and Pinterest is not enough. You’ve got to use the social media accounts properly.
Tips for Social Networking
In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know about each social media outlet to start your new small business branding effort and make human connections:
- Twitter: Learn how to “re-tweet” popular Tweets as well as use the “@” symbol to get someone’s attention when you Tweet something relevant to them. Learn that Twitter these days is essentially a way to have short conversations.
- Pinterest: It’s all about “pinning” on Pinterest (go figure). Every time you upload an image to your site, make it “Pin-able” so users can share what you’ve uploaded.
- Google+: It’s all about the “+1” on Google Plus, but it’s also about expanding your social circle to achieve greater influence. Your impact begins when you create your “Circle” – and when your content is linked to by people in influential circles themselves.
- Facebook: Make sure your brand can be “Liked” on Facebook by not using your individual Facebook profile, but by creating a fan profile for your brand.
- LinkedIn: It’s all about networking on LinkedIn, but you can also use the “Resume-style” profile page creatively to distinguish your brand. The key here is often joining groups, as LinkedIn is very focused on meetups and in-person networking as well as online efforts.
The important thing with each site is to work within the framework you’re given. For example, on Twitter, you’re limited to a few nice tools and 140 characters. Once you can work within that framework and begin displaying what makes you unique through that medium, you’ll attract a lot more attention to your brand.
How? It all happens through interaction. By utilizing the “@” tag on Twitter, your tweets call the attention of specific users. By making your content Pin-able on Pinterest, you make it more likely that your users will share what you’re publishing. Keep trying your hand at these sites so you get a true “knack” for how they can best be utilized for your own brand.