Personal Branding Tips to Boost Business Success

Never Forget: You’re the Face of Your Business

If I asked you what you could do to be more successful as an entrepreneur or small business owner, you would probably list off things like advertise or network more, improve your website or marketing materials and close more sales, right?

Would your answer include personal branding? It should, because it absolutely impacts your success.

First, it’s important to clarify we aren’t just talking about big brands. It’s the personalities that represent them that help these companies create a brand.

Why Branding is Important

When you purposely create a brand representation for your business, you’re incorporating several factors, including:

• How others see you

• What sets you apart (your USP)

• Your values

• Your expertise

• Your personality

• How you represent yourself in person and online

If done correctly and consistently this builds trust, loyalty, leads and sales.

Why else should you care?

• Research from Nielsen shows that only 33% of buyers trust messages from a company while almost 90% of customers trust recommendations from someone they know.

• 53% percent of vendors have lost orders based on information found or not found about them online. (Source: Kredible)

• 77% of all discussions on social media are folks seeking advice, information or help. This is much easier to answer and interact as an individual as opposed to a company. (Source: Mention)

How to Incorporate Branding into Your Marketing

Firstly, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you need to know your target audience. These are the people you want to appeal to and have on your side.

Let’s say you’re a career coach who is trading the corporate world for entrepreneurship. Your target audience may be other professionals who are leaving corporations to fly solo. From your marketing materials to how you present yourself on social media, you always want to keep them in mind.

Here are 3 other ways to create a successful brand and stand out from the competition:

1. Share Your Expertise

You want to be an expert in your field. Stay on top of the latest news and trends, understand who your competitors are and attend events. Use what you know and learn to educate, inspire and mentor others whenever and however you can.

The more visible you are the more people will associate your face with your product or service and trust what you’re selling.

2. Choose the Right Platforms

First, having a website is important! With any of your online marketing efforts, your goal should be to drive traffic back to a website that represents your brand positioning well. If your website falls short of this, your target audience will not resonate with your business and will leave.

Next, find out where the people in your target audience spend their time.

Let’s say that career coach I mentioned earlier targets professional women between the ages of 35 and 55. If research shows her target audience uses Facebook much more than Instagram, she should focus a large chunk of her efforts on creating Live videos and stories as well as participate in targeted Groups on Facebook.

3. Be Yourself… to a Certain Extent

Don’t be afraid to show your personality and use your own voice when creating and sharing content or meeting people.

However, be cautious about sharing content that is political, religious or some other topic best avoided at dinner parties-unless it is part of your persona and/or mission and values.

It’s also important to always be honest as the face of your organization, as vegan influencer Yovana Mendoza Ayres is finding out. She was recently filmed eating fish in Bali, which caused a huge uproar among her plant-based fans and followers.

You can’t neglect your personal brand if you want to grow your leads, sales, loyalty and reputation.

It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. People no longer look to big businesses to tell them what to buy; they want to see a face and personality that represents the product or service.

If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to an effective strategy. From your logo to your website to your social media presence, find the expertise to help you market yourself and your organization today and in the future.

Sales Tips for Small Business Owners

Small businesses are a source of livelihood for many and they contribute to economic growth of every nation. Small business owners range from work at home moms to individuals running small shops and sales is key to the success of these small enterprises.

Typically every small business owner is a sales person and this is because they know their business and products better than anyone else. Here are some sales tips for small business owners.

• Use of social media networks

We live in a digital age and social media networks are the way to go. Social media as a platform has millions of active users across the world at any given time. This makes it the best platform for marketing your business or products. To add to this it is also cheap compared to the contemporary marketing or advertising ways. Social media allows a large number of people to interact with what you are selling and you can create a presence on social media by creating a fan page and posting business related articles that interest your audience.

• Good relations with customers

In every business you will have some top buyers, those who buy your products or services from time to time and you cannot afford to lose such customers. The only way to keep them is by maintain a good customer relationship with them. Maintaining a good relationship with customers is one of the top sales tips used by many small business owners. You can maintain a good relationship with your clients by giving them after sale support. There are many businesses that sell their products and forget about the customers who bought from them. Most of such businesses are never there to listen to complaints from customers. When you give after sales support to your customers, you stand out and increase your chances of making more sales from return customers.

You can also improve customer relations by giving discount coupons. The world economy is not so good and many people are looking for discounts as a way of minimizing their expenditures. Discount coupons attract many customers to buy products or services from your business. You may opt to give discounts to return customers of customers who purchase in bulk.

• Confidence and product knowledge

Clients want to know about your product before they commit to buying it. This means that as a small business owner you need to have good knowledge about your product. You should be able to answer all the questions asked by your customers confidently.

Consistency is very important in sales and with the above tips you are assured of improved sales and growth of your small business.

4 Brand-Building Tips on Using Instagram for Your Business

How to Create a Powerful Instagram Social Media Marketing Strategy

One of the most powerful marketing tools marketers have today is social media. From Facebook posts to tweets on Twitter, sharing your products or services on social media platforms is a great way to increase brand awareness, engagement, sales and leads.

However, many people are left scratching their heads when it comes to marketing with Instagram.

Many of us use Instagram as a personal account to post photos of our family, friends, vacations and food – but how can it tie into business? And should it?

With the speed of which Instagram is growing, don’t underestimate its value to boost your brand and marketing efforts.

It has grown into an incredibly valuable marketing platform and even though the 18-29 year old’s are still prevalent users, the higher age groups are catching on and catching up fast.

Some 2018 Instagram stats from Sprout Social are telling:

• 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded

• 80% of users follow a business on Instagram

• 65% of top-performing Instagram posts feature products

If you feel the tug to explore Instagram as part of your social media marketing strategy, check out these initial pointers to help you get started:

1. Use Hashtags Wisely

You don’t need to cram every hashtag you can think of in one post, but you do need at least a few.

A hashtag is the # sign followed by descriptive words about your image as in this example, I used #marketing and #ctaconf, which was the conference I was attending at the time.

When a user clicks/taps on a hashtag or types a hashtag into the search box, it brings up all images that use that hashtag. The user can even subscribe to continue to follow that hashtag.

The hope is the user will see your photo, head to your profile and best-case scenario, follow you and get engaged with more of your posts!

However, when hashtags are extremely popular, the competition to show up in the results is fierce. Similar to SEO keywords, the more popular a term is, the harder it is to stay at the top of the search results. Thus, my example of using #marketing really was futile if I wanted to get any traction from that post.

You want to make your hashtags relevant to your business and location, but also engaging enough that a user would type them into Instagram’s search box.

For instance:

• Say you have a pizza joint in Vancouver. You post a pic of your Pepperoni pizza with the hashtags #VancouversBestPizza #NicolosRestaurant #DeliciousDeepDish

• Or you’re a Toronto wedding planner. You post an image of a bride and groom’s first dance with the hashtags #TorontoWeddingPlanner #LoveWins #WinterWedding

Holidays and special events are an excellent time to promote your business and gain Instagram followers. Whether it’s a sale on Black Friday, a Thanksgiving-related use for your product or a product shout-out on National Dog Day, they are all ideal opportunities to showcase your business brand in a non-salesy way.

2. Thank Your Audience for Showing Up

You don’t just post a bunch of photos and hashtags and wait for the likes to roll in.

To gain Instagram followers, engage with your audience and grow sales or leads, you need to put in the time.

See an example here from video expert Michele Moreno where she responds back to each of the comments left on her video post.

So if someone leaves a comment or question on one of your posts, take the time to reply and thank them/answer their question.

Take a look at their profile, and if you like what you see, follow them.

Businesses often follow commenters first, in the hopes that they might return the favour.

You can also look for people who might be interested in your product, then comment on their photos and/or follow them, but don’t spam them with an ask to follow you right away.

3. Interact with the Right Influencers

Influencers are Instagram users who can influence your target audience because of their popularity and/or social media following.

Danielle Bernstein is a good example of an influencer who worked with a brand. You may not recognize her name, but the 1.8 million followers of her Instagram account WeWoreWhat do.

Bernstein and FIJI Water worked together to create BodyWoreWhat, a marketing campaign offering 8-minute workout videos with her and her personal trainer.

That may be an extreme example, and unless you have deep pockets you probably won’t be able to attract an influencer with almost two million followers.

But don’t despair. From mommy bloggers to local foodies, you can always find someone who your target audience follows, likes or admires. Maybe they’d be willing to review your product or take a photo using it – use your imagination!

4. Don’t Just Shill Your Products

Instagram is not the place to simply share product shots all the time. Think of the experience people have using what you’re offering, or the benefits it gives people.

Even better, show real-examples. Asking for user-generated content from your audience is one way to do this. That means that users share their photos using a hashtag you provide.

The online furniture store Wayfair.com does user-generated content very well. They have a user-generated campaign that lets customers share photos of their stylish Wayfair-filled homes using the hashtag #WayfairAtHome.

Be sure to let people know that their images might be featured on your page and you can increase your Instagram content big time – for free!

No matter how you use Instagram for your business, be authentic and true to your brand. It’s what the platform is all about, and it’s going to help you grow your business, gain Instagram followers and attract sales or leads.

Social Media for Business (1) – Top 3 SMM Time Management Tips

I don’t need to tell you how effective involvement in social media is essential for your business growth but effective here is a keyword. Social websites are not called social for no reason: they are friendly in nature. To succeed in SMM, you need to focus on building relationships and avoid the sales pitch or at least make it subtle.

It goes without saying that the process can be time-consuming especially with the avalanche of social media options out there. So, how can you leverage SMM without investing too much time into it? Here are some tips to help you out.

Tip 1: Go for cost effective delegation that yields proven results

I often feel that doubling or tripling the number of my page fans/friends on Facebook is both time-consuming and boring until I was browsing a freelancing site and found this interesting job post:” I am looking for someone to add friends to my Facebook account from a certain city. I’m looking to have 3000 friends added from certain area.”

Guess what, the employer offered $15 for this job and there many candidates were lined up. The beauty of hiring freelancers to do the “donkey work” on your behalf is that you save your precious time for what really matters plus there is no risk involved here since you only pay for results. In fact, I would recommend that you browse job postings in some freelancing sites to get more ideas for time-saving tasks that you can delegate. A good place to check is oDesk because they have category for SMM jobs.

In addition, if writing is not your cup of tea, it is worthwhile to hire a SEO copywriter to take care of your blog content because if your blog didn’t standout to your niche market, others will and you certainly don’t want that.

Also, hiring a professional to do few short yet excellent video presentations about your business to be published on YouTube and your own site is definitely an investment in place.

Time is money. Sometimes”buying” some of your precious time for few bucks can be a sound decision. And if you take the freelancing sites route, you will always end up with a good deal.

Tip 2: Be Selective

You need to be very selective and choose the best social media sites that are in line with your business goals. In doing so, think quality versus quantity. In other words, it is better to have quality profiles in 3 social sites and take the time to create a powerful presence there than just creating profiles in 1000 sites that you probably wouldn’t visit again! As a minimum, you need to go for Twitter, Facebook plus your own blog. And hey, YouTube is a fantastic visibility magnet so keep it in mind! Later on, you may also add LinkedIn to the mix.

Tip 3: Leverage Technology

There are so many free tools available online that helps you preschedule your social media posts, the most popular of which is ping.fm. You can dedicate 2 hours per week for prescheduling your posts and that’s it!

Having said that, it is important to realize that these automatic tools only take care of the “broadcasting” side of social media on your behalf. You still need to be effectively present in some carefully selected social media sites in order to answer questions, interact, and build relationships with your niche market. Good luck!