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70 posts categorized "Online Brand Presence"

February 24, 2012



Manage online brand presence
We’ve stressed repeatedly what an important role social media plays in developing your business’s online brand presence. Part of accepting social media as an effective strategy is being open to new social media trends. The newest, hottest thing in social media is currently Pinterest, a social media site that allows its users to ‘pin’ pictures to their boards (the equivalent of a page) and then share those pins with all their followers and the rest of Pinterest. In short, it looks a little bit like a page of Post-It notes and it is spreading like wildfire and is the best way to build your online brand presence at the moment.

Using Pinterest to really increase your online brand presence isn’t as easy as just signing up however. You have to get and keep followers in order to spread word of your business. Although it’s a new website there are definitely some tips which have been quickly developed to help those struggling with Pinterest followers.

1) Just like with Facebook and Twitter you can add a “Pin It” button to your web content and blog post. This will remind people to share what they read just as it does with other social media sites which have proven to increase online brand presence.

2) Since Pinterest focuses on graphics you need to make sure your photographs are up to par. The more impressive your pics are, the more they will be ‘re-pinned’ (shared).

3) Pinterest offers a real opportunity to businesses to show their creativity. Instead of focusing on a small pool of customers try to expand with your boards to rope in more followers – even if they aren’t potential customers – because it will build online brand presence.

4) In order to get followers sometimes you’ll have to be a follower. Take the opportunity to follow are many people as possible with the hope that they will then follow you. Share your pins with other companies within the same industry to get exposure to more people, furthering your online brand presence.

5) Most people find pictures on Pinterest by searching. With that being the case all Pin captions and board titles must be searchable phrases. Pinterest is a wonderful opportunity to really cultivate and expand your business’s online brand presence and jumping on now, while it’s still in its youth, is the ideal time.

When adding social media strategies related to Pinterest to your overall social media campaign make sure to have fun and encourage creativity. Pinterest is an amazing chance to show your creative and quirky side while still building an impressive online brand presence.

February 23, 2012



Every smart business owner understand that social media is directly linked to online brand presence.  These days the two cannot be separated.  With this being the case many get disheartened when their well planned social media campaigned seemingly stall after a short time.  If goals aren’t being met, analytics are less than exemplary, the online brand presence is virtually nonexistent, and one has no idea what is not working, going back to the beginning is probably the best solution.

When going back to the drawing board with a social media campaign a re-examination of the social media marketing goals is the first step.  In many cases goals are lofty, ambiguous and not measurable. That is a recipe for disaster and will not bolster online brand presence. Unless there is a clear way to measure a goal’s success or failure it doesn’t belong in the campaign. When looking at goals every business should also take the opportunity to consider goals from non-tradition sources.  Sometimes thinking outside the box when dealing with social media and online brand presence gets the best results.

After clear and measurable goals have been established some type of metric must be created for each goal.  These can be simple like measuring hits on a webpage or blog or they might have the type of complexity that only a program devoted to social media analytics can handle.  No matter what the metric is it must be used to measure goal progression at all times.  Without accountability of one’s goals and their progress online brand presence will not grow.

Finally, in order to get a fresh start in a social media campaign a sense of humor must be adopted.  Too often businesses start a social media marketing blitz riding high on hopes and dreams and then crash when the results and online brand presence they believed would be forthcoming are not.  In order to combat this ‘blah’ attitude which most definitely seeps into social media and damages the already established online brand presence every business should diversify formatting (photos, videos, text, etc…), use different writers and remember to laugh.

The majority of social media users approach websites like Facebook and Twitter as well as blogs as a fun hobby and if a business is not a partner in that fun they hold no value.  Before giving up on social media marketing and the stellar online brand presence guaranteed to accompany, reviewing one’s entire social media marketing campaign is due. 

February 15, 2012



Online-reputation1
While a company may be utilizing social media, a blog and including fresh content in their campaign to create an online brand presence they many want a little extra something to improve their game.  For many small to mid-size businesses the little extra something that gives a great advantage is charity work.  Not only does it help a good cause and the local community, it is also a proven winner at building online brand presence.

Online Brand Presence – Community Involvement

Everyone likes to help with a good cause.  Whether it is walking to raise cancer awareness or raising money for a local family whose home burned down, people come together for charity events.  Smart businesses realize their target audience is most likely among those helping and advertise accordingly.  With the advances of online marketing businesses can take local causes to the masses via the internet. 

Online Brand Presence – Online Fundraising

Small businesses with even a modest online audience have the capacity to do a lot of good when working with charities.  There are online auctions, prizes given away to all who donate and a myriad of other online fundraising opportunities.  People almost always share positive social media and blogging comments with their friends making online charity work a great way to spread word of a small business.

Online Brand Presence – Reputation Management

Most small business owners understand that reputation means everything in a competitive marketplace.  One bad comment on a blog or social media site and a lot of time and effort must go into correcting it.  Working with charities and local non-profits is a great way to strengthen a good reputation, a task that does a lot for increasing online brand presence.

There are many local charities in every community that anxiously wait for small and mid-size businesses to show interest in helping.  By focusing on only one cause and putting all one’s effort into advancing that cause through fundraising, awareness campaigns and donations a business’s name can become attached to the charity which will create awareness and ultimately bolster online brand presence.

February 14, 2012



GuestBlogging
Anyone who blogs on a regular basis understands how maintaining one’s focus on building an enhanced online visibility can become overwhelming and demanding.  For those whose sole responsibility it is to maintain the company blog scheduling regular breaks from writing is vital to keeping the intensity strong and meeting the challenging goal of creating a vibrant enhanced online visibility.  The best way to schedule regular breaks for oneself is to invite guest bloggers to write. 

Enhanced Online Visibility – Guest Bloggers Add Diversity

There is no better way to break up the monotony of a blog then to invite someone else to write.  A post or two from a new voice in a different situation will refresh the blog and catch readers’ interest.  Enhanced online visibility only works if someone (and lots of them) is reading what is written.  Even if the guest writer is has a similar view on the industry as the primary writer for the guest blog the diversity seen within the posts will still be huge.

Enhanced Online Visibility – Guest Bloggers Challenge Ideas

The best type of guest writer one can get to build an enhanced online visibility is a writer who will challenge the primary writer’s opinions.  This, of course, can’t be a mean and spiteful confrontation, but rather a well-written rebuttal of beliefs.  If done well many new post topics will be created, a series of back-and-forth ‘debate style’ posts can be developed and, best of all, a conversation among commenters will begin.

Enhanced Online Visibility – Guest Bloggers Have an Entourage

Perhaps the best reason to invite a guest blogger to write for the company blog is to increase numbers.  When choosing a guest writer it is important to find one who already has a successful online brand presence with plenty of followers to prove it.  Where they write their crowd will follow.  Even a simple link on the guest’s website or blog leading their followers to the guest post can open many doors for one’s company.  This is one of the best ways to increase enhanced online visibility.

Rather than become a devastating blow to the company website and blog, one should look at a case of writer’s block as an opportunity to help build enhanced online presence. Not only will the primary writer of the blog get a much needed break to recharge their batteries, readers will get a fresh, new perspective and new readers will be drawn to the blog. 

February 13, 2012



Reputation
Many small business owners put so much effort into creating their online brand presence that once an acceptable level is achieved they begin to slack off, failing to maintain that precious online brand presence they worked so hard to build.  In order to keep that from happening to your business you must work tirelessly to maintain your online reputation. The best way to do that is to perform regular maintenance on all web content and blog entries.  An out of date or irrelevant post is all it takes to begin to crack the façade of a strong and dominant online brand presence.

Online Brand Presence Maintenance – Search Engine Monitoring

If you own a small business you should be checking your business’s name on all major search engines on a regular basis.  All it takes is one bad comment or review to seriously endanger your online brand presence.  By not only checking search engines, but also having a plan in place should the worst occur, you are protecting yourself against damages that could cost thousands to repair.  You might consider hiring a professional reputation management company to assist you in keeping tabs on your online brand presence.

Online Brand Presence Maintenance – Blog Comments

It’s easy to forget to read every single comment posted on your blog.  We understand.  Unfortunately, this is one of the ways your online brand presence can seriously be hurt.  Either spammers post nonsense comments promoting their product or someone blasts you in a hate-filled comment and suddenly your online brand presence is suffering life-threatening wounds.  Constant monitoring of your blog is essential not only for maintaining online brand presence but for creating an environment of open and positive community which hopefully will detract spammers and other negative comment.

Online Brand Presence Maintenance – Web Content

Web content is easy to forget about in the world of a busy small business owner.  You work hard to produce quality content and then are expected to update it regularly.  It’s easy to see how the updates might become fewer and fewer as the months pass by.  Unfortunately, keeping web content fresh is one of the best ways to maintain online brand presence.  If you find yourself to busy with the day to day tasks involved with running a business you might consider hiring a company specializing in web content and search engine optimization.

February 09, 2012



Computer_plus_magnifying
One of the proven ways to build one’s online brand presence is to be active in industry forums, social media and other’s blogs.  This activity usually takes the form of making thoughtful and compelling comments – not blatant advertising of one’s product or service.  Best practice recommends that to really build online brand presence one must always include a link back to the company blog or website when posting said comments. 

Understandably, after a few dozen comments it becomes difficult to keep track of all the blogs, forums and social media pages upon which one commented in an effort to monitor the ongoing conversations so that online brand presence can continue to be built.  Since this is a universal problem several new programs are available online to do that job exactly.  Below are a few programs that will make monitoring one’s online brand presence incredibly easy so that time and energy can be spent on more important components of creating and maintaining a business’s online brand presence.

Backtype – This is great for monitoring blog comments across the web.  Once one comments on a blog and includes a link to their blog or website Backtype will update any new activity on the blog saving time and energy.  This service can also be used to monitor trends and discussion in one’s industry which comes in useful for the company blog.

Google Alerts – One can now tame the search engine giant by setting up Google Alerts which notify one when a pre-entered phrase or business name is mentioned any where on the internet whether that be in a blog, forum or article.  This is great for monitoring a business’s online brand presence.

Twitter Search – For those small business’s investing their online marketing time on Twitter keeping up with all the Tweets can be exhausting.  Enter Twitter Search.  One can search for all the instances a company’s name is mentioned in a tweet and then choose to respond or not respond.  One of the keys to maintaining online brand presence is constant communication.  Tools like Twitter Search help keep one on top of social media.

Friend Feed – Similar to Twitter Search this tool helps businesses keep an eye on all social media activity that mentions the business name.  An ongoing log is presented that pulls from all the major social media sites. The temptation with a tool such as this is to spend as much time monitoring Friend Feed as one would the individual sites which doesn’t really save time or increase online brand presence.

February 07, 2012



IStock_000004010049Small
It is understandable how managing several social media sites, a company blog, website content and forum reading and posting in an effort to create and maintain an online brand presence quickly becomes overwhelming for a small business owner.  In an effort to do it all some small business owners may assign tasks to other employees.  There is nothing wrong with multiple people within a business handling the various online marketing strategies as long as there is a consistency of voice.  If the voice of one’s brand wavers online brand presence is actually hindered rather than helped.

To avoid hurting one’s delicate and new online brand presence there are a few consistency tips any small business owner can adopt to help avoid costly mistakes.

Online Brand Presence – Consistence User Name

This seems too easy but it can be a problem for small businesses.  When joining forums and other online communities a small business must always have the same user name no matter who is doing the writing.  If multiple user names are created customers and fans of the business may become confused, or worse, not realize that one business is behind all of the posting which is the opposite of one’s online brand presence goals.

Online Brand Presence – All Writers Understand Goals

Behind every great online marketing strategy should be even better goals.  These should be decided upon before a single Facebook or blog strategy is even discussed.  Once the goals are clearly defined any employee managing a specific strategy can stay on course since the goals are set in place and understood.

Online Brand Presence – Monitor the Brand

Even the best laid plans, clear goals and consistent writing will do no good if one’s online brand presence isn’t established.  To ensure this top priority is being met every small business owner should search their brand regularly.  For some this will mean weekly, for others almost every day.  Sometimes a search (on several search engines) will allow a clear and unbiased look at how the strategies are working.  If consistency is an issue a good search should expose it.

Regardless of how a small business goes about establishing their online brand presence consistency must be kept in the forefront of all writers.  Although this is an issue primarily when there is more than one writer a lack of consistency can still pop up with one writer if the writer doesn’t stick to the previously established goals and not let mood or emotions interfere with the job at hand. 

February 02, 2012



Online-reputation-management
As the world continues to rely more and more on the online community many businesses are desperate to try anything to bolster their own online brand presence.  While a passion for moving forward has never hurt anyone, too many small business owners forget the power of networking.  Just like in the real world online brand presence relies heavily on networking and gaining a superior online reputation to match a real world reputation.

Online Brand Presence – Tell Everyone

Most people are used to passing out business cards when meeting customers, peers in one’s chosen industry and even friends and family.  This practice should not be ignored when trying to build an online brand presence.  A simple change to a business card can reflect the growing online presence one is trying to create and encourage people to maintain contact online. 

Online Brand Presence – Conduct More Business Online

It may easiest to pick up the phone and call a customer or client but to really propel one’s online brand presence one must also reach out via the internet.  By no means should someone forego a friendly phone call or face-to-face meeting but add to it a follow up email with one’s company’s website prominently mentioned as well as links to all social media sites and blogs.  Many people prefer to communicate via email and will be happy to make the switch from phone to computer.

Online Brand Presence – Keep an Eye on Reputation

One’s online reputation is just as important as their real-world reputation.  By doing frequent search engine checks of one’s name and business name a good start can be made at catching damaging online content.  One can increase their online reputation by writing articles for other companies within the industry, making frequent and thought-provoking comments on forums and industry blogs and making essential allies of competitors. 

There are many ways an online brand presence can be successfully created and just as many ways it can be restored.  By remembering that what happens on the internet lives on forever and treating every comment and every post as if it were broadcasted to the masses one can begin to build an impressive online brand presence.

Managing one’s online reputation will go far not only with one’s business goals but also for a personal reputation.  No one anticipates slander or demeaning comments but it happens frequently and one must be prepared to battle it when it does.  Keeping tabs on one’s online reputation and doing damage control when necessary will go a long way toward maintaining a powerful online brand presence.

 

February 01, 2012



Orange_man_shaking_hands
Any good politician knows to really get votes they must go out and meet the people; the same is true with creating an online brand presence.  While online chat rooms, webinars and social media sites are great they do not substitute for real face-to-face meetings.  For those with a small business that brings customers into a physical store this online brand presence building strategy is easy.  They have been doing it all along.  For those, though, without the luxury of customers walking into a physical store finding ways to interact in reality can be more challenging.

Online Brand Presence Face-to-Face – Host a Speaker

Hosting an industry leader at a local conference center is a great way to meet one’s customer base and open channels of communication.  Industry leaders often have lecture series and, depending on the industry, can be relatively inexpensive to book.  By offering a reservations-only luncheon with guest speaker any small business can begin to meet their customers and potential customers away from the computer screen yet still build the powerful online brand presence.

Online Brand Presence Face-to-Face – Discussion Groups 

This is, by far, the most inexpensive way to meet customers and others in one’s industry community.  Every industry has news and issues confronting the industry.  Libraries, churches and community centers often are home to industry discussion groups that meet monthly or even bi-weekly.  By engaging customers with discussion face-to-face it is easier to transfer the communication to the online arena which is exactly what one must do to build a strong online brand presence.

Online Brand Presence Face-to-Face – Trade Shows and Booths

For those small businesses unable to bring in a speaker or host a discussion group the booth can become their best friend.  By having booths at all expos and trade shows which remotely relate or appeal to their industry and target customers they can begin to meet customers and answer questions in person.  Especially for those small businesses with a handful of employees getting out and meeting customers and showing them the business is committed to their satisfaction is crucial for getting ahead.  Once a physical connection is made it will be easier to entice them to engage online which in turn builds online brand presence.

These are just a few ideas of how to create and bolster an online brand presence for small businesses.  With many of us confined to computers most of the day it is easy to forget how important human contact is for making great impressions and capturing customers.  Online brand presence is only possible if the customers are interested in one’s business.  Often times building that interest takes work only face-to-face can accomplish.

January 31, 2012



Scheduling
Most small businesses now understand the value of social media, blogs and website content when creating and maintaining their online brand presence.  Once all of those components are up and running, however, it is easy to become overwhelmed and begin to fall behind in updates.  Before ever committing to various online strategies an online marketing plan must be created including goals and strategies.  Most important in the plan should be schedules. 

Each individual piece of the online marketing plan runs on a different schedule to maximize online brand presence.  Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter should be updated at least once a day. Blogs should have at least one post per week, preferably three to five.  Websites should be updated as information chances and at least once a month to keep content fresh.  Industry forums should be visited on a regular basis with comments added.

With all these different schedules anyone can see how a small business can quickly lose track and inadvertently lose online brand presence.  That is why setting up concrete schedules for each arm of one’s online marketing campaign is absolutely necessary to meet goals.  As goals are met or are changed schedules must also be reevaluated.

 Businesses should pay close attention to analytics in order to revise schedules as needed.  For instance to keep engagement at its peak and online brand presence at a maximum a business might discover that posting comments on social media three times a day is ideal.  Any more posts and the numbers remain the same; any fewer posts and the numbers drop.  In that case the social media scheduling should be changed to reflect the analytics.

While keeping up with scheduling is crucial to the success of online marketing and building an online brand presence small businesses must not forget their goals.  Social media, blogging and a business website are all great tools at gaining a great online brand presence but are not the same as sales.  The focus of any online marketing plan should always be to gain and retain customers – not get as many ‘subscribers’ on Facebook as possible.

With so much at stake in today’s company and more and more small to mid-size businesses focusing their marketing online all businesses, regardless of their industry, must bring their A-game to truly build an online brand presence.  By starting with the basics of developing a solid marketing plan and realistic schedules reflecting the goals of that plan a true online brand presence can be attained.

January 27, 2012



Blogging
We talk a lot about the importance of blogging to create online brand presence and while that is true there is a component of the blog that is often times overlooked.  In short, a blog is a social experience which builds community around one’s service or product.  If a business views their blog this was online brand presence is greatly enhanced.  If they see their blog as a way to increase search engine rank or make a sale online brand presence will be slow in attaining.

A blog might seem like a lonely task, information only going in one direction, from the writer to the audience, but in fact it is an online conversation.  A recent article explained just how important the social aspect of blogging really is to building an online brand presence.  Within the article several tips were given for small businesses to keep in mind when writing blog posts.

Online Brand Presence through Blogging – Communicate

The audience is every bit as important as the writer as a blogpost is a conversation not a lecture.  A post should pose questions to the audience and expect answers in the form of comments.  One relatively new way to engage readers and promote comments is to add social media buttons to each post.  These are small Facebook ‘like’ and Twitter ‘tweet’ buttons that allow readers to send a link to the blog post to their respective social media account.  This is one of the best ways to create and maintain online brand presence available today.

Online Brand Presence through Blogging – Content

While the content will be ultimately determined by one’s industry there are certain topics that readers do not want to see in a post. Small businesses should refrain from technically complicated (above their average audience’s knowledge) information, bland industry news and vulgarity.  Controversial topics are great if they are not too divisive.  Controversy can be a great conversation starter or it can be damaging.  Topics should be part of the overall social media plan with controversial topics one possible strategy to increase online brand presence.

Once a small business gets the hang of writing a blog and is beginning to see involvement from their target audience it is time to take their writing to the next level and seriously begin working on their online brand presence.  By becoming aware of subtle manipulations to one’s company’s blog can make the time invested writing and maintaining it well worth it. Building and creating online brand presence is a job all in itself and when a business works smarter they reach their goals quicker.

January 25, 2012



Avoid-grammar-police-there-theyre-800X800
Everyone, by now, understands the importance of online brand presence and the various vehicles to help build and maintain it.  The most popular routes to boost one’s online brand presence where it needs to be are social media, blogs, and website content.  All three rely heavily on the written word yet companies are more and more often neglecting the English language.  There is no quicker way to lose respect from one’s audience and actually hurt online brand presence than by getting lazy with grammar and spelling.

Social media has been quite a blessing in terms of improving online brand presence.  All of the wonderful aspects of social media that make it so appealing are what make it so easy to lose control of proper grammar and spelling.  First of all, misuse of language is rampant on sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Even the most devoted English grammar-abiders can’t help but fall victim to the ‘everyone else is doing it…’ mentality.  While one’s audience may misuse homonyms and misspell common words frequently companies must take the high road and stick to writing good copy all the time to increase online brand presence.

The casual tone of blogs and social media also lends itself to the misuse of grammar.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with dropping the formality, something which is a great tool for building an online brand presence, when posting on the company blog certain rules must still be strictly enforced. There should always be a distinction between conversational tone and bad writing.  Fragments should be avoided at all costs.  Misplaced modifiers should not exist and all words should be spelled correctly.  Tone has nothing to do with these issues.

Errors found in website content are perhaps the most disturbing. The website is the company’s online clothing.  It should display the best the company has to offer.  When customers and potential customers see misspelled words and grammatical errors within the website it damages online brand presence and sends the message that the company is not professional.  No matter what the company sales or offers in services correct grammar and spelling must be used on all web pages.

The trend to let grammar, spelling and punctuation slide is upsetting. The entire profession of editing exists to catch such errors and is now being disregarded in lieu of fast and easy.  While it might be fast to throw a Facebook post up without review it’s a company’s online brand presence that suffers if it isn’t up to par.  By taking just a little bit of time to review and edit all writing, even a simple Tweet, companies can guarantee they present a professional image and, in turn, maintain their online brand presence they worked so hard to attain.

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