GUEST BLOG: How to Develop Your Personal Brand

Making the choice to start your own business will likely be the best decision of your life. The freedom and flexibility of working on your own, combined with the earning potential and sense of self-satisfaction, make entrepreneurship very attractive to many people.

But things are a little easier said than done. Competition is fierce, especially online. Every minute of every day, people are exposed to countless emails, advertisements and social media posts. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Your best defense is your brand.

Your brand is your identity, and a strong one will help you stand out. It also facilitates a connection between you and your customers that can improve loyalty and engagement. And it makes your company more valuable, which will become relevant if you ever decide to sell your business. Developing a brand, though, requires a focused, dedicated approach. Here’s how you can build yours.

Highlight What Makes You Unique

The first step is to determine what kind of brand you want to be. And one of the keys to a strong brand is authenticity. If you try to be something you are not, your customers will see right through you. This can have a really negative effect on the image of you and your company. You’ll come off as phony or insincere, which will really damage people’s perceptions of you.

So, to begin building your brand, start focusing on what you do that’s unique to you. What makes your company different or special? If you’re not sure, then you likely haven’t thought about it hard enough. Everyone is unique. It’s just a matter of figuring out how and highlighting it.

To help give you some ideas, research your competition. Successful businesses in your field will likely have already done this exercise, so it should be easy to figure out what they consider to be their competitive edge. Go through each one and figure out what makes you different from them. And after you’ve done this, you should be able to devise a list of the different things that separate you from your completion.

Know Your Audience

Whether their conscious of it or not, people expect things from the companies with which they do business. It’s important you be sensitive to these expectations so that you can develop a brand strategy that will resonate with your target audience.

There’s no one way to do this, though. The best strategy is to conduct surveys and focus groups about your target audience. But these can be costly, and if you’re not careful about how you design your studies, then they can produce unreliable results.

Ideal Customer exercises and Customer Journey maps are useful ways of understanding what your audience is looking for in the brands with which they engage. These activities involve you creating fictitious audience members and thinking through how they live their lives to determine their values, beliefs, pain points and expectations. Here’s a great resource for helping you do this exercise effectively.

Another option is to simply test things out. Try out some branding messages and see what happens to engagement. If you’re not getting the response you want, then try something new. While this will take a little longer, it will help you hone your messaging to meet audience expectations, enhancing its effectiveness.

Concise Communication

Once you determine the essence of your brand—that which makes you unique—it’s time to start crafting your messaging. The key here is to be as clear as possible. The more words you have to use to describe your brand, the harder it will be for people to understand you, and this will hurt your chances at making a connection with them.

Think about some of the world’s most successful brands. For example, Nike, which uses the slogan, “Just Do It.” They have been using these words to describe their brand for as long as any of us can remember, and they’re perfect because they quickly and clearly communicate Nike’s brand identity. When we hear these words, we think of perseverance, drive and dedication, as well as hard work. And this is exactly how Nike wants us to perceive the company.

You won’t be able to catch-up with Nike right away—they spend other-worldly amounts of money on branding—but you can certainly mimic their approach. Work to determine a slogan or description that captures the essence of your brand, using as few words as possible. Images are also helpful, and make sure the colors you use on your site and other communications also reflect your brand identity. Remember, the slogan alone isn’t going to establish your brand, but confusing your audience can have disastrous effects.

Be Consistent

As you start to market your brand, consistency will be key. You can never know for sure when or where someone will come into contact with your brand. As such, ensure every piece of content you create accurately reflects the brand you want to promote.

And this goes for social media, too. You can’t be posting about things that are completely irrelevant to your brand, even if they’re attracting shares and likes. The exposure is enticing, but you’ll be sending mixed messages about your brand identity, making it harder to build the so-desired connection with your target audience.

Consider drawing up some brand guidelines to help you stay on message across your different platforms. These will outline the types of content you will publish, and they will also help you stay consistent with how you present your messages, something that is also very important for effective brand management. This will also be helpful should you decide to outsource some of your content creation.

Start Building Your Brand Today

A strong brand will give your company a significant competitive edge. It’ll work like a magnet that draws your target market towards you, and it’s also something people can connect to, which will help develop loyalty to your brand. Follow the steps outlined here so that you can start building a strong personal brand today.

 

About the Author: Jock is a busy entrepreneur and the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on entrepreneurship and business and offering advice to others. Find Jock on Twitter here or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Be responsible!!

I have to admit, that I feel frustrated with this whole Facebook issue and how far it has escalated.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not siding with anyone on this, BUT seeing posts in Facebook by the users and those complaining about “how dare Facebook”, has hit a sore spot with me.

Some of you may have read a previous blog I wrote about us having to take some responsibility too and I really can’t stress this enough.  Read BLOG HERE

If you are angry with what has happened, then REMOVE your Facebook account and stop complaining.

  • Did you know that everything you do on the Internet is tracked?
  • Have you read the policies and procedures of every single social site you have joined?
  • Have you checked the settings as to what you are releasing everytime you download an App?

Check these policies out:

LinkedIn

Twitter

SnapChat

Instagram

Google

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These are just a few examples of sites that most people use and the reality is that very few actually read the Policies.

We gave up our rights to complete privacy and the information that we willing share, the minute we started using the Internet.

Everything you type, every message you send, every game you play, is all tracked.

You have hidden settings on your phone, have you gone through them to see what information you are releasing?

What do you think is happening with every single email you are sending?

Do you believe that the Government isn’t tracking absolutely everything you are doing on the internet?

Your Internet Service Provider, do you not realize they are tracking everything you are doing?

I agree, we shouldn’t have to give up our rights however, the reality is that we don’t have that choice IF we want to continue using the Internet.

IF we want to continue using FREE sites/Apps, then we have to accept the risk, otherwise don’t use it.

This is my only personal thoughts and I acknowledge that I am giving up my rights with everything I choose to do on the Internet and within Apps.  However, I will continue to check settings, policies, so I am aware of the risk I am taking.

 

 

 

Do you take responsibility?

I feel there is a need to write this blog BUT I know that some may be offended by what I have to say.

The day the internet was created, we were ALL opening up ourselves to releasing any privacy we thought we could keep.  There is much scandal going on right now with the world of Facebook in regards to the Russians having a hand in the Trump election and people are upset that Facebook would have it set up that people could get access to our information.

HERE IS THE REALITY!!  We ALL need to take some responsibility for this as well.  WE all need to understand that when you sign up for any social media platforms, when we play games, when we do quizzes, when we use Google (this is just a very small portion of what I am talking about, this goes so much bigger), WE open ourselves up to releasing our information.

YES, you need to read the terms, the policies!  YES, you need to check in the background settings of Apps and see what you have allowed them to take from you!  YES, you need to take responsibility for what YOU are doing in the internet world.

Did you know that if you use Google Maps on your phone, you accept the option for them to access your location?  Once you have done this, did you know that if you go to Google Maps on the computer, you will see a list of all the places you have visited?  Most people don’t realize this BUT you have to take the responsibility and find out.  For me, I do Google Reviews, so I have my location turned on BUT I do this for more visibility to my Google Account for my business.

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For the games and quizzes you do on Facebook, do you check the information that you are releasing to that specific App?

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When you get a Friend request on Facebook, are you taking the time to go through their profile and determine if it is a real person or a fake account?

Have you gone through your privacy settings on each of your Social Media platforms and made sure to set it up for what works for you?  P.S.  Get my FREE Privacy Settings for Facebook HERE

Do you believe those contests that are giving away something that is too good to be true?  Entering those contests are opening you up to hackers, spyware, releasing of your information to a 3rd party.

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Are you falling for the “click bait” type posts that shock you when you see the headline?  Read this article to understand fake news, HERE.

I think you are getting my message here.  Even though platforms, like Facebook, need to take responsibility for the information they are gathering about us, WE also need to take ownership.  WE need to check everything, read all the terms, understand what information we are releasing.

For me, personally, I am aware of what I am releasing and accept it.  I know that there are elements that are not in my control BUT that is a risk I have to take if I choose to use the internet, to turn on my locations, to use platforms like Facebook.  I accept that I have opened myself up to a world that I ultimately can’t control BUT use because I choose to use it.

GUEST BLOGGER: How Technology Will Change Digital Marketing In 2018

Digital marketing – pay-per-click, effective landing pages; These are not new anymore. However, as technology develops, it is taking more and more for users to feel engaged with products being advertised. Loading speed and engagement rates are more important than ever with the current consumer base. Below, we review some of the more recent technologies to aid with digital marketing which are gaining popularity, slowly but surely.

  • Video Walls

Featuring a group of monitors on a wall to play a large video advertisement or display several images to form one large cohesive image at once, video walls are the new frontiers of billboard advertising. You can view an example of the video wall in action in Las Vegas, when it was first featured in 2013. While the cost may be sky high as it is still a relatively new technology, you can be sure that your advertisement will be more attention-grabbing than any other advertising methods you have seen in your entire lifetime. By placing these video walls in a strategic high-traffic location and drawing users to engage with your display in high-end video walls, you are advertising your products with a very high engagement rate, welcoming more visitors to your brand and product as this new technology in action gets shared on social media worldwide.

  • Chatbot Instant Replies

Can’t be replying messages all the time? Facebook has an instant replies feature which allows you to set up some simple pre-set replies to help you answer your potential clients’ frequently asked questions. You can use this feature to set a welcome greeting, and inform them that their inquiries have been received. The chat bots can also be programmed to help you engage with your clients without actually doing so – one of the best examples would be the chatbot set up by RedBull. All you have to do to try this feature is to go to their Facebook page and click message. The bot has been programmed to provide you with their newest events and news so that you feel more connected to their products.

  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

With the majority of business users being on mobile nowadays instead using their personal computers these days, loading time becomes extremely important to market your products digitally. A 3-second delay can cause up to 60% of users abandoning the page, which is where these AMPs come in. By converting your current business website to an AMP, you will be accelerating the loading speed of your page while still maintaining the aesthetic values and high performance that your website has be it for e-commerce, product pages, date-booking or just a simple blog. An e-commerce site built on this platform will help you to market your products more efficiently while increasing your customer base!

There is still plenty of new technology on the way in 2018, and we can’t wait to unmask them all. While AMPs, as an example, have already been used by several high-ranking websites such as Huffington Post and the chatbot instant replies utilized by various big businesses nowadays, there are still space for improvement for these features and they are continuously adding more and more benefits to help you market your products effectively. Meanwhile, just hang on to these three features and see if you can find a way to integrate them into your business!

Mia Clarke is part of the content and community team at Userful.com, experts in all things video wall and display solutions. When Mia is not spreading the word about video walls she is often found discovering the great outdoors, walking or cycling.

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