lightIn today’s ever-changing social media-driven world it is more important than ever to have a plan to build your brand with customers, prospects, and vendors. Yellow page advertising is no longer the best way to generate customers. Small businesses that focus on creating awareness of products and services in the minds of potential customers become the most successful. Over time, a strong brand can become established and serve to sell your message for you.

Here is how many experts define “Brand”, “Your brand is your message to the world you want to reach. Your brand gives your target market a reason to care about your business, and if the reason is compelling enough, people will connect with you”.

Before you establish your brand, you need to answer a few questions:

  • How is our product or service defined?
  • Who is our target?
  • How can our target be reached most effectively?

Here are a few ideas to help get you thinking about building your brand:

Create a strong web page.

  • Include up to date images
  • Include social media links on each page
  • Include client testimonials
  • Include your vision and mission
  • Include an outline of services (not Pricing)
  • Include staff bios and professional images
  • Embrace social Media.

Every business needs some level of social media involvement. If you are connected to a social media site, be sure to keep it current. The worst thing you can do is have a Facebook page with 3-month-old posts. If you are not yet connected to social media, here are some options with which to begin:

  • Facebook – create a fan page, post two to three times per week, invite clients and friends to “like” you, and follow customers and vendors. Content needs to be short and fun.  Include links to other resources, provide “how to” tips, and don’t get to personal; no politics, religion, or sex. Don’t get into posting the local traffic report, weather or what you had for lunch.
  • LinkedIn – Is a good way to connect with other business owners. You can add content and link to your web page, other social media, and your blog.
  • Blogs – Blogs are short content driven articles on issues that are relevant to your business. A Blog is a great way to deliver solutions and information to your market.
  • Keep to your core mission and service.

Consistently strengthen your relationships with your core customer base, as they will be your biggest advocates.

  • Match your service and values to your logo.
  • Your logo should describe what you do.
  • Your logo should be professionally designed.
  • Keep your logo clean and simple, and do not complicate it with excessive words, size or colors.
  • Be careful using juvenile or elaborate fonts
  • Give great customer service.

Deliver goods and services as promised and ask for feedback. Having happy customers will reinforce your brand and deliver referrals.

Get involved in the community.

  • Industry associations
  • School boards
  • Local chambers

Building a brand requires a commitment from every employee regardless if you are a small or large business. The fact is everyone in the company is responsible for the brand. Make sure that everyone who works in your business knows this and works with you to grow it.