Managing Your Brand in Social Media

brandingThere are multiple ways for your small business to use the internet; multiple ways for you to express, lure, sell, and otherwise profit from online interactions. In the process, how careful are you to preserve branding?

Seen from this angle, online selling and online branding may appear to be opposites. To sell, you address the wants and needs of your market. To brand, you adhere closely to your own choices and convictions. What your customers want (relief from problems or needs) and what you want (profits) are not always the same thing, right?

Well, keeping these wants separate from one another keeps you at a certain less-than-optimal level of commercial success. Lots of people profit to some extent from courting market desires that are in no way related to their own desires and values.

But we do well to remember the teaching that the best success lies in the intersection of the world’s great longing with the individual’s great passion.

So be holistic in your small business online branding. Always start from the firm foundation of your convictions, your passions, your sincere offering to world. Connect on that basis.

People need certain things. You can do/provide certain things. Where is the intersection? Where these two collide is your sweet spot. However, since it is likely that you have some competition, and you are not the only person offering these benefits to customers, what will distinguish you? One thing, and one thing only: your brand.

Your face, your tone, colors, voice, interactions. Your message, the way it’s worded, the images that go along with it. What you believe in, what you care about, what you understand. How you interact, your responsiveness, your being there.

In social media – your Twitter updates, Facebook posts, Google+ and LinkedIn communications, your YouTube and Pinterest uploads – in all these and other channels, the more pronounced your brand the more impact you’ll have.

Make it specific, unmistakable. Maybe it’s true that a brand can’t be overstated. You endlessly strive to capture and express the essence of your brand. Like heaven, it’s an unending pursuit. Think of the big brands you know; think of how they continuously hone their brand.

And your market adores every step. I’m not exaggerating! We love to witness character revealed. What else is the phenomenon of celebrity all about? Why are we crazy about Downton Abbey these days? Why do we adore SuperBowl commercials? The quest for absolute identity is captivating, make no mistake.

But far more to the point, defining brand and being true to it in social media and all online expressions lets us live and work authentically, without compromising our values and beliefs. Instead, it’s our core convictions that become the center of our expressions, finding and connecting with kindred spirits in the vastness of cyberspace.

You don’t have to fake it in social media. You can be yourself. Though of course, also required is a microscopically detailed understanding of who that self might be.

So the question is NOT, What is the personality I should project on social media? Rather it is, What is my personality?

And go from there.

Any questions?

About Mary Ruth

Mary H. Ruth is a virtual assistant, online marketing manager, copywriter and editor, and certified inbound marketing specialist. She has over 30 years' experience in administration and marketing in both non-profit and business sectors, having earned a degree in English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1975. Now living in Gainesville, Florida, she's been working online since late 2007.

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