Branding 101: First Impressions Matter

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What is your brand?

Whether you are a business or not, you are a brand.  It is the personal representation of you long before people see you face to face.  If first impressions are everything, trust me, in this new age of Social Media you have made your first impression long before you walk into a room.

Your brand describes:

1) Who you are.

2) What you do.

3) Why people should be interested in you.

When who you are closely resembles what you do, it becomes easier to promote your brand.

Here are a few best practices to ensure that your online brand is the best representation of you in person:

Identity

What is your brand’s identity?  Your logo and brand name are often the first thing people notice about your online presence.

When choosing a brand for your business, some names are cute but not necessarily a good pick for your brand.  Run the idea past several people who have successful brands, which may mean you need to network with more professionals in your field.

Try to keep your name to three words or less.  People like quick and easy.  Think of major brands:  Kodak, Kraft, General Motors.

Make sure you have a professional create your logo.  If your name is descriptive enough, a text logo may suffice.

If you are a business, your email address should be @yourbusinessname.com  Otherwise, you run the risk of not being taking seriously.

Make sure that you keep your personal distinct from your private, while keeping it professional.  For example, if you are John Smith applying for job, I’d much rather receive an email from “JohnSmith@youremail.com” than “prettyboyindaclub@youremail.com”. Personally, I’m more apt to read email with @gmail.com than yahoo.com or yourcableprovider.com or .net.  I HATE .net.  Google Apps for Business makes it easier than ever to have an @yourbusinessname email address.

Consistency

Your online brand should be easy to find.  When conducting a random Google Search using your name, I’d like to be able to find you and if there are several people with a similar name or brand, I’d like to be able to easily distinguish you from others.

One way to do that is to be consistent in building your identity.  For example:  ALL of your Social Media profiles should share the SAME user name.  If you come across one that is not available, make it as CLOSE as possible to your brand name.  I have made it a practice to secure the Social Media accounts and domain names of brands I plan to bring to fruition in the future.  The cost is minimal and can save you a lot of money down the line on SEO to make sure your name is clear of clutter when people search for you.

Linkage

By now, most people recognize the value of a domain name. GoDaddy is my registrar of choice but no matter your preference, secure your domain name immediately.  Even if you are familiar with web design, make sure at some point to hire a professional.  I have designed most of my own websites for years, but now I need to perform some major functionality that I don’t have time to learn or implement.  Look at websites of others in your field and scroll down to the bottom to find out who the site designer is and reach out to them. It will be a significant yet worthy investment into the success of your brand.

Once you have a website, you need to add the link to each of your online profiles.  Yesterday, while on Facebook I noticed that a friend offered three services, one of which I will need in the near future.  In addition, they offered website development.  But there was not a link listed on the Facebook page.  I would have liked to be able to see samples of their work.  No one should have to ask you for samples of your work if you are a web designer.  The link should be in your bio.

Always make sure your links work.  Nothing bothers me more than when I decide to check out a new blogger and getting directed to an error message when I click on the link.  If you make changes to your site or have decided to change your brand, it needs to be follow you everywhere online.

Include your links in your email signature.  You never know who might click through to your website or want to recommend you to someone in their email contacts list.  The easiest way for them to see the representation of you is to click through the link in your signature.

Would you like a free brand assessment?

Share your brand name and website below.

If you want personal coaching with your online brand or are interested in having me host a Digital Strategy workshop for your business or small group, drop a line at thatwritingchic@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Branding 101: First Impressions Matter

    • Thanks for your interest Nilsa. In order to make an assessment, I need to see a visual of your brand. I understand that your website is under construction. Can you please provide a link to your social media profiles (other than personal FB page)? Do you have a logo?

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