You are your brand, whether you own a business, or are an independent artist; you are the physical representation of your brand. How you present yourself in person, and online, will determine how people treat you, how much they trust your brand, and how much they are willing to pay for your services. It’s incredibly important for you to have a powerful, professional, and consistent brand image online, and in person. Something as simple as having up-to-date, professional pictures on your website and social media profiles, and looking like you do in your pictures, in person, is very important. Keep in mind that nowadays, most people meet you online before they meet you in person, so make sure the visual aspect of your online brand matches the physical you. Even if you have a logo for your brand, you are still the physical representation of your brand, and your photos should be prominent on your website, blog, and social media profiles.
How do your current and potential customers, clients, students, or employers find you online? Have you ever done a search in Google using typical phrases that people search for related to your niche, and looked at what comes up? You should definitely try it. If I were looking to hire someone like you, how would I find you online?
Tip: Use the same type of language on your website, and in your blog posts and description that people would use when searching for someone with your expertise. This helps tremendously with your search engine optimization. Make sure these words and terms are included in the meta data for your website, and also on your homepage description of your brand.
Call me crazy, but every so often, I like to Google myself just to see what comes up. I also signed up to receive a Google alert via e-mail anytime something new comes up in the search engines with my name in it. What comes up in my search changes from time to time based on any new videos, press releases, or press features that I may be in. Ideally, the first thing that you want to show up at the top of the search is your website and/or your blog. You want what shows up at the top of your search to be your own online real estate, not your Facebook page, Linkedin Profile, or Twitter account. You want something that will lead people directly to you, and provides them with all of the information you want them to know about your brand, and a direct way to get in contact with you and hire you.
Although the whole visibility thing can become very overwhelming, it’s still important for your brand to have a presence across several social media platforms, in order to have the best chance of reaching as much of your target audience as possible. Different people have different preferences. Some people love to spend all their social media downtime on Twitter, while others prefer to watch videos on YouTube, or look at photos and articles on Facebook or Tumblr.
The key is to research which platforms your target audience frequents the most, and concentrate on establishing a consistent presence on those sites. It’s so weird to me when I see a brand’s Twitter profile, and they haven’t tweeted in weeks or months. It makes it seem like that particular company or individual may not be around tomorrow, hence the lack of activity on social media. How can I trust a brand like that? Consistency is truly the key in all of this. That’s how relationships are built, and that’s how you ultimately get noticed by your potential clients, customers, employers, and the press; consistency over time.
Also, remember to be transparent, open, & honest. This does not mean that you should put all of your personal business on the streets, or on the web. However, it does mean that it’s ok, and actually a very good idea, for you to share your personal successes and failures, as this allows your brand to reflect who you truly are, personally and professionally. People connect with real people, not logos, and not people who appear to be perfect. No one can relate to that. People relate to your unique story, your struggles, what you went through to get to where you are today and what motivates and inspires you to keep going every day. That’s what people connect with and relate to: human experiences, and human emotions.
Google owns YouTube, and next to Google, YouTube is one of the top search engines online. Having a YouTube channel with videos relevant to your brand’s niche are a powerful way to establish your online presence, connect with potential clients, employers, and sponsors, and build trust very quickly. When a person can see you in action, hear you speak, see your mannerisms, etc., it makes them feel almost as if they know you personally. Case in point, me. I bet that if you’re reading this blog post, you’ve seen at least one of my online videos, whether from our tv show, “Inside NYC Dance”, our Let’s Talk Dance radio show, or one of my vlogs, or performance videos online. Seeing me in action, and hearing me speak, makes me real, and it helps you to feel more comfortable with me, although we may have never met. If you haven’t started to incorporate online videos into your brand’s marketing yet, you need to start now!
- What do I want people to feel, think, and see when they discover my brand online? Write down a few words to describe the emotions you want someone to feel when they visit your website (excitement, trust, impressed, etc.) and then write down a few adjectives that you would want someone to use when they describe your brand (funky, trendy, professional, chic, innovative, cutting edge, etc.)
- What types of imagery and photos of myself best represent the mission, vision, and purpose of my brand? Should you have photos with strictly a white background, or should you have photos with a city landscape in the background? Should you have photos of dancers in the dance studio, of children, or of people sitting down in a board room? Your images tell a story, so make sure they’re telling the story that you want them to tell. Take time to edit, remove, or update the photos on your website, blog, and social media profiles, to ensure that they represent your brand’s image and message in the best way possible.
- How can I incorporate videos into my brand to increase my online visibility, search engine optimization, build trust, and leave a lasting impression on my current and potential clients, students, or employers? If you want to create a reel, should your reel strictly have video footage of you performing, or should it also have you speaking and sharing a bit about yourself within the reel? Should you have a video with testimonials from your students or previous customers/employers? Should you create a series of videos with helpful tips and advice that would be valuable to your target audience?
Write down three ways that you can begin incorporating videos into your online brand, and when you will begin implementing this aspect of your online marketing strategy for your brand.
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