Wow, is the internet getting crowded? Creating a successful online brand today may seem like a massive challenge because of the noise in the space, but look at the bright side: you have people who've forged the path for you. I'm going to share some ways to make your online brand shine.
I recently had a conversation on Google+ with someone who was discouraged because he felt there was nothing he could do or say that would help him get noticed. I'll tell you a secret: this is the same thing that I thought when I was getting started!
I thought, why should I start a blog when there are so many great bloggers already in the space? Should I even bother to sign up for Twitter? Other people have more followers, and I'll never catch up!
Maybe you've thought these things as well?
In 2012, I wrote a guest chapter in What the Plus: Google+ for the Rest of Us by Guy Kawasaki called How to Be a Little Fish in a Big Pond. At the time, I had about 20,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Now it has 700,000 followers across all social media platforms.
I tell you this not to brag but to use my own growth as an example of the fact that you can grow your online brand and be successful. If I can do it, you can too!
1. Create your digital brand
Your digital brand is all the graphic elements that make up your online brand: your website, the photo that you use for your profiles, and maybe a logo if you are selling a product or service. You'll need to work with an expert if you're unsure of how to create branding for yourself.
Your online brand will also need refreshing from time to time. Even the most slick blog becomes outdated, so keep in mind that you'll need to re-do this every several years.
2. Be brave
“Be bold as you BOUND out of your comfort zone and into the blissful abyss of change!
It may be tough, at first, but most things WORTH IT don’t come easily. By the way, being brave also means letting go and making room for the change. Examine what you tolerate. Get ready to clear out old mindsets and shake them up!” from Debra Trappen
3. Find your niche
“Want to know a secret? Not everyone is your perfect client.
Whether you’re a small business owner or online marketer, knowing your niche and speaking to it will save you time, money and a whole lot of headaches. Why? Because speaking the language of your target audience means you tailor your message to a specific audience.
I challenge you to stop shouting to an audience of none and connect with an audience of one. ” from Rebekah Radice
4. Be original
I love this quote from Oscar Wilde: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” This simple reality seems to be lost on many folks in social media as they “borrow” content from others. As you are analyzing styles and observing, it's great to learn, but also develop your own original style. People can spot a copycat, and they won't respond to your content when they see its is not true to you.
This holds true for all created content: ideas, visuals, etc. To create something successful, use your own ideas or be sure to give credit when you are sharing others work with a h/t for hat tip and a +mention and/or a link to their content if it came from an online source.
From my chapter of What the Plus: grab a free download here.
5. Don't expect to be an overnight success
There's no shortcut to awesome in social media. Sorry.
6. Pay your dues
Social media takes time and effort. Be patient and keep at it. You'll need to create and curate great content to share as well as be consistent with all the social media platforms you choose.
It's much better to be awesome on one social media platform than to suck at four. Choose your favorites and focus your time, educational efforts, and content there. The grass is greener on the social platform that you water the most.
7. Be proud of who you are
Your goal should be that every person you meet offline should say “wow, you're exactly like you are online.” There's nothing worse than meeting someone who is a total different online.
If you're quiet and low-key, don't try to be something else online. It would be exhausting to try to keep up something that wasn't true to who you are. People will love you for who you are, just like they do in your offline world.
Give yourself time to work on these elements and create something that you'll be proud of – I think you'll see that it's not so tough to be a more polished version of yourself.
8. Consistency is key
You might not be a big brand like Coke or Nike, but take a few tips from their play book. Being consistent helps people see at a glance, “Hey, this post is from Peg, and I loved her last post.”(I hope!)
Your style may evolve a bit over time, but you'll know when you've nailed it and stick with it once you do!
9. Invest in yourself
Quality is paramount so if there are things you can't do yourself, hire someone to help you. Or find online resources to learn what you need to know to create your updated, sparkly online brand!
Don't be discouraged because people are more successful than you, learn from them and grow. Take time to build your own unique style and pop out with your own amazing brand. Don't be too hard on yourself while you're creating the digital version of you, there's a lot of steps but I know you can do it!
What challenges have you come across while learning the ropes with social media? How did you solve them? Any questions that I can help you with? Leave them in the questions below and I'll do my best to help you out!
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If you're looking for a deeper dive into social media, I've recently published The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Guy Kawasaki.