But what’s harder to define is your company’s online branding. Merely being a “presence” isn’t enough to really get your company’s name out to the people who need your products and services.
Online branding is, in essence, your cross-platform strategy which presents your company (or you, if that’s the goal) as an expert in the field. Simply starting a website and filling in the log-in details for a bunch of social media accounts will create a presence. It won’t create a brand. Good branding reflects the quality of your company, not just how easy it is to search for it on the Internet.
It’s helpful, when you’re devising your online brand, to fully answer these questions:
1. Who are your customers?
2. When your customers contact you online, what services will they need?
3. What kind of things will they wish to provide feedback on?
4. What value can you offer them?
5. How much time do you have to provide customer service on your social media outlets?
The last question is important to answer before you embark on a mission to sign up for every last social media platform on the Internet–it’s no good having a Twitter account, say, if you don’t have someone assigned to updating it and making it into a useful tool for your company. If all of your staff are fully booked on other projects, you may consider outsourcing part or all of your online brand management.
Once you know what your company’s brand is, and who will be responsible for maintaining it, put your critical thinking cap on and go over your website carefully. Your company’s website should be the hub for all the rest of your online activity, for content and for design elements. After analyzing your site, go to your platforms and check for consistency.
If you are inconsistent across platforms your customers may not know who they’re dealing with. For example, if you’re “Joe’s Widget Factory” on Facebook but “Sally Widget” on Twitter, your customers may be confused.The same is true for your logos and the other design elements that represent your company.
After these matters are sorted out, it’s time to focus all your energy on creating great content. Content on your social media and website is what will really push you in front of your competition and make you stand out in the minds of prospective customers.
If you have any questions or comments about developing your company's online brand, I'd love to hear from you in the comments below or feel free to contact me directly. If you have found this article to be helpful, please use my social sharing option to share with your friends and fans.