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. [Read more…]

How to Be Yourself in Business

bonkedproducerOne of the many challenges entrepreneurs and small businesses face is figuring out how to balance the personal and impersonal.

Your small business depends on your personal self-confidence and on sharing your individual talents, skills, and personality. People do business with you because you are you; you have earned their Like for whatever reason. Look around at the successful entrepreneurs you know: most have noticeable personalities; at least, they are not shrinking wallflowers. To work independently, you need a good measure of chutzpah and style.

On the other hand, too much personality can work against your best efforts in business relations. Management and customer service always require a certain equanimity, an easygoing attitude in terms of relationships. And if you want to find customers, you’re careful to be as unoffensive as possible. Most of us have had that desire to be all things to all people, even though we know it’s impossible. We want everyone to like us, and that often translates into stifling our personality more than sharing it. [Read more…]

How to Establish an Effective Online Brand for Your Small Business

ctj71081The web is enormous and methods for getting found online are new to most people. There are countless gurus who promise to transport you to quick millions via various online schemes, but so far there is no perfect way to guarantee the traffic and success you seek through your internet involvements. You just have to try things out until you find a winning combination. But in the process, you can learn to make smarter choices.

Helping people learn and make smarter choices is a large part of our mission with Small Business Online Branding.

With this post, we introduce the company and launch our new website. We’re dedicated to micro-enterprises: our definition of small business is no more than ten employees. We believe that small is beautiful, and we want to help you brave itty-biz owners to claim your rightful share of the web’s abundance.

We present a process for building and growing your internet presence with focus on your business goals. It’s a process highly influenced by teachings from HubSpot, Copyblogger, and Seth Godin. It’s a holistic system, with all parts relating to all other parts, and all revolving around content creation strategies.

Content establishes brand

If content is your original work and brand is what people think of you, the latter – your reputation – will be largely shaped by your expressions, your output, your content.

Large or small, all business operates through branding. No purchase will be made unless the buyer believes you, believes the promise that you make. Your original content as well as every other thing you do online builds your brand. How can you configure your activities so they result in measureable success for your business?

Planning for success

You may find it hard to gain a foothold online unless you make a very specific plan. Your business goals, your products and services, your personalities and propensities, your customers and cheerleaders and a host of other details may contribute to a custom plan for your internet marketing. Your definition of an effective strategy will differ greatly from that of another business.

The web is a tool, not a dictator! We like to remind clients that their creativity is always paramount.

The formula that works best balances your truly unique ‘voice’ with market demands, so that neither holds constant sway but rather the two forces stay in healthy tension.

Establishing long term growth

There’s a curious truth about online and social media managers: we should be working to put ourselves out of a job eventually. That’s because we know the best solution is for digital and social media to become second nature for everyone. But until that day comes, the best we can do is make training available.

SBOB is happy to do 90 percent of the work for you, to offer easy package deals, or to provide a quick fix wherever necessary. We love building sites and social media strategies, producing newsletters and freemiums and managing your communities. But we’re also thrilled to teach you how we do any of these things.

This website, for instance, provides a step-by-step guide through the inbound marketing process, from creating your plan to measuring your results and everything in-between. Just follow the arrows at the bottom of each of the services pages, starting here.

So ‘establish,’ for us, means to set up a firm foundation, and create systems that you can comfortably make a part of your daily routine. But it also means that we keep an eye on the long term. Our tactics are formed based on current goals as well as long term objectives. It’s important that what we do for you continues to serve long past any formal arrangement between us.

I promise that all future posts will be much shorter and less about us. Having made our intro here, we intend for all the rest to be about You!

– And in that light, how about sharing your comments about small business online branding? What’s your experience with it? Any resources, tips’n’tricks, opinions you’d like to share?

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