A helping hand in managing your online brand - top tips

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fi les       Online Brand
             Management
              – top tips!
                      A Helping Hand in Managing
                     your Online Brand – Top Tips!


With the huge surge in social media adoption, there has never been a more
important time to think about how this could affect your business’s online brand.

A new report by Microsoft states that 64% of HR managers think it is appropriate to
look at online profiles of candidates and 41% have rejected people as a result. This
tells us that your online presence is slowly becoming the first thing people learn
about you. It’s where first impressions occur before handshakes are made, so you
have to make sure you are managing your brand online, before someone else does
it for you.

To give you a helping hand, The Centre for eBusiness has pulled together five top
tips for better online brand management.



1. Don’t Ignore Brand Mentions

Statistics show that 58% of Americans don’t Google themselves
(www.marketingpilgrim.com Jan 2010), but employers and potential customers
certainly will. It’s safe to say that people are already talking about you, either
online or offline.

As you develop your business brand online, using a variety of platforms, your
organisation will start popping up in search engines and on social networks. This
can be both beneficial and harmful to your online brand, depending on the context.

The viral nature of social networks, as well as the fact that they are an integral part
of daily life, demonstrates why you should start to listen to what people are saying
about you on the web.

The Centre for eBusiness recommends...
  • Setting up a Google Alert – this allows you to keep track of when your
     business is mentioned, whether it’s good or bad, so that you can deal with it
     appropriately. You could also set one up for your competitors’ company
     name or even your industry buzz words – they will all help to keep you up to
     speed with current news that may affect you and your business.
  • You can also try Social Mention for a more complete solution to brand
     mentions on social networks. Social Mention is very similar to Google Alerts,
     but it’s been created specifically for monitoring social media sites.
  • Looking into other free tools, like those we have mentioned, that you can
     sign up to. These tools can help you monitor and manage tweets, blogs,
     discussion boards and much more.
2. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

A future problem, which some might say is already a current problem, is the
volume of social networks and the amount of status updates and messages you
receive every single day.

If you’re active on each and every social network that launches, you will start to
spread yourself too thin, which can really hurt your brand. It will be difficult to
update all of your social profiles, as well as keep track of pictures, profile
information or groups. This means that information could become out of date very
quickly, giving a poor impression of your brand, and more so, your services.

As a rule, you should assess each platform carefully before you sign up to help you
decide whether it will work for your business. Just because everyone else is doing
it, doesn’t mean you have to.

The Centre for eBusiness recommends...
  • Carefully assessing how social media platforms can work for you and your
     business before you rush into signing up for them. The Centre for eBusiness
     can provide you with a free specialist tool to help you do so, email
     info@centreforebusiness.eu inserting ‘Social Media Assessment Tool’ as the
     subject line, or call us on 0191 487 2002 for further information.

   •   Looking into ‘scaling’ your status updates, so that each platform you’re
       signed up to can be updated with the same message in one go. You could
       use services such as those provided by hellotxt.com or ping.fm, to spread
       your status message to many social networks at once.

3. Know Your Audience

It’s easy to forget who you’re connected with on social networks as they grow and
multiply. There will be a point where you’re going to have to make a strategic
decision about who you accept and who you don’t.

When you’ve decided who to connect with, it might be useful, if you’re using a
social media site with a Groups function, to split your connections into specific
groups so that you can tailor your messages – people like to receive information
that’s relevant to them and their business.

Likewise, when you’re linking with other brands online, make sure you position
yourself as an authority within your specialist area and align yourself strategically
with partners who are relevant in your field. Don’t just link your business name
with any old blog, tweet or status update.

The Centre for eBusiness recommends...
  • Considering separate work and personal accounts on social media sites.
     Don’t mix business with pleasure - it can be confusing for your followers.

   •   Spending time looking at your online connections and segmenting them
       according to your products - relevance is the key to connecting with your
       audience on a deeper level.
4. Limit Self-Promotion

Certainly, self-promotion is an extremely important part of building your brand
because if no one knows of your achievements or the company you work for, then
how are they going to do business with you?

There is, however, online etiquette to consider - the danger is that you end up
over-promoting your business. Many people will tire of this and you may find that
your online connections will block your profile.

The Centre for eBusiness recommends...
  • Promoting other experts in your field – this will create an air of goodwill and
     strong connections with other specialists in your business area. You might
     also start to notice that other people will promote you — and their
     endorsement is even stronger than your own proclamations.

   •   Providing snippets of ‘teaser’ information, i.e. useful hints and tips or pieces
       of information that will interest your customers. This should help draw
       customers in, and help you earn their trust.


5. Be Consistent

Consistency is extremely important when it comes to branding.

Having a clear and stable brand, and communicating this clearly across your
various ‘online channels’ i.e. your website, your blog, your online presentations etc,
will build a credible online brand and contribute to recognition of your brand in the
mind of your audience.

You know you’re really getting somewhere with your target audience when your
customers start to recognise your brand, whether this is font, colour scheme, a
strapline – or all of these things!

The Centre for eBusiness recommends...
  • Using tools like:
        o Google Analytics to help you manage a brand that is strong, relevant
           to your line of work and that can be scaled for use on your website,
           blog and even good old fashioned business cards. This video will walk
           you through the product tour so that you can learn more about how
           this application can help you build your brand.
        o Google Insights for Search to compare search volume patterns across
           specific regions, categories, time frames and properties – we found
           this overview video to help you come to terms with Insights for
           Search.
        o Google Trends to identify the search preferences of your customers
           which could help you reach your target market more effectively – this
           video might help you understand a bit more about this fascinating tool.
Conclusion

There is no question that you’ll already have some level of branding for your
business - whether you spent time building it yourself or whether it has developed
through the impression you’ve given people about your business – it’s there.

The way to differentiate it from everyone else is through brand management. By
paying attention to mentions of your business name online, not spreading yourself
too thin, knowing your audience, offering more value than self-promotion, and
being consistent, your brand can have a successful online presence. Even if/when
the online conversation about your business turns negative, you can deal with it in
such a way that it can work in your favour.



The Centre for eBusiness recommends..…

    •   Protecting your brand online - a new marketing imperative – a Mark Monitor
        paper
    •   Presenting: 10 of the Smartest Big Brands in Social Media – a Mashable
        article
    •   Social Medias Bad and Ugly Side – a You Tube video

Please feel free to email the Centre for eBusiness at info@centreforebusiness.eu or
call us on 0191 487 2002 to get your hands on any of these papers.



Webliography

Mashable
http://mashable.com/2010/02/11/avoid-sabotage-personal-brand/
http://mashable.com/2008/12/24/free-brand-monitoring-tools/

Social Mention
http://socialmention.com/

Google
http://www.google.com/alerts

Marketing Pilgrim
http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2010/01/42-of-americans-have-googled-themsleves-
none-have-gone-blind.html




The listing of a person or organisation in this publication does not imply any form of endorsement by The Centre for
eBusiness, this document is for educational purposes only. Links to other websites have been inserted for your
convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisations,
products or services. The Centre for eBusiness cannot be held responsible for actions arising from the use of these
materials.


Copyright The Centre for eBusiness 2010
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Description: These tips are just the ticket if you’re thinking about marketing your business online – or even if you already are! We’ve summarised what we think are the 5 best tips for managing your online brand, and provided some of our recommendations to help you make sure your brand is strong and protected in the online environment