What exactly is Social Branding?
Social Branding, as an element of Personal Branding, is an online marketing activity related to building a brand as a person in social media. A small business owner has many opportunities to drive new business via his or her social brand, granted that person is proactive and dedicated to nurturing their brand. By building a strong, unique and engaging social brand online, a business owner can develop a strong industry reputation that can lead to business growth.
Let me share with you 3 ways you can start your own social brand as a small business owner.
How do you leverage a small business budget with social branding?
As a small business owner you are more likely to have a smaller marketing budget towards your growing business. This is where the personal brand online or a social brand is crucial for your business success.
How do you leverage your small biz budget for social branding? With a strong personally-branded website or customized blog and polished social profiles, you can get social media to start driving business for you.
First, assess your current online presence. Take into account what content you have out there. Monitor mentions of your name on the Internet. Run an SEO Audit of your personal website. Make sure you have a good and clean headshot of yourself.
The important, bottom-line implication here: these items cost you far less than an advertising budget needed by most businesses. And if these components of your social brand are designed and developed effectively, you can start to realize an ROI in both the short and long term.
Creating a goals-oriented social branding plan
Think of what is needed to meet your sales goals. Deciding upon your sales or lead generation plan, including your target profiles is an essential first step in deciding to build a social brand for sales. In your social branding plan, you will want to answer such questions as:
- How and when will I start in social branding?
- How much am I willing to invest?
- Where does my audience live online?
- What do I want to accomplish and in what realistic timeframe?
- What is the focus of my social or personal brand online?
- Where will I invest online? Design, advertising, outreach?
- Do I need a personal website?
- How and how often will I measure my social branding results?
Define a solid brand position to win market share
Your social branding success as a business owner has everything to do with the position you choose to commit to in the practice of personal branding online. This position, when supported well, can edge out your competition online and carve a niche for you where your target audience become viral marketers.
Further, with a solid brand position and development of yourself as a thought-leader, you can earn the interest of business media and related interviews. To do this, you must first determine that position.
- What do you want to be known for?
- Will you be the leader of the company and the main point of contact?
- Or are you more interested in being a supportive business owner, where your marketing efforts are more geared towards the development of your company brand?
In this way, if you choose, your personal brand can be utilized more for thought-leadership and marketing, rather than the extrovert sales voice. This is critical that you determine how and where you will play in representing your own company. If you are small and plan to stay small, a personal brand can replace a corporate brand. However, if your business goal is to expand your business, then you as a leader and your company brand first is the more appropriate way to go.
I hope you use these first steps to creating your personal brand. Remember it takes time and dedication to create a solid useful, business-driving social brand. Think of your personal brand online as a selling instrument for a small business owner that when developed and managed effectively, can replace other marketing expenses and sales personnel. By investing in your own strong social brand, you are one more confident step towards small business success.