brand

How to Define Your Brand in 6 Easy Steps

How to Define Your Brand in 6 Easy Steps

Brand = Minimalist You. Your brand is how your customers define you and that’s something you should be dictating and managing, not allowing to happen ad hoc. Whether you are looking to develop a brand from scratch or are looking for some basic ways to define it more effectively, consider the 6 steps outline below.

1. Personality: Character and Values

Start by outlining the essential values of your business. What core ideals are you built on? Who are you as a business? Once you have a list, revise it several times to find the best description of your business. Remember, your brand is a minimalist version of your business, so don’t expect to be able to cram a plethora of concepts into a small package. Keep it simple and focused.

2. Choose Your Words

From your value outline, write metaphors, slogans, taglines, and vocabulary that define and set your business apart from the competition. Creativity, clarity, and focus in the words of your business will drive the brand later. This is critical for helping guide the design and message. A brand tells a story – know your own story and how you want your customer to perceive it.

3. What Do You Offer?

Customers need to know what products/services your business offers. The clearer the description and promise of service—without vague terms such as quality, experienced, or trusted—the more likely customers will see how your business could fit into their lives. You only have a few seconds to make an impression and articulate your value and offerings. Make sure the customer knows exactly what you do in simple fashion. If they’re interested, they’ll research further.

4. Target Customers

After doing research and knowing your business, define your target customer. If you sell shovels and find out that men between the ages of 30-45 with an income below $60k/year will buy your shovels, build your brand to fit that perfect customer. Often you will have multiple customer groups and this is where sub-branding comes into play. You may need to position certain products and services a bit differently. The key is to understand that ideal customer so you know how to craft your brand message.

5. Customer Definition of Your Brand

In order to build up the credibility of your brand, let your customers speak for you. Use actual customer quotes about your business to evaluate and guide the branding process. How does customer opinion shape your brand? New customers are more likely to believe in your brand if the core customers convince them with their dedication and belief in your brand.

To know how customers perceive your brand, you have to have some conversations. This is where social media and surveying your customers is critical. Get feedback. It can be awkward to reach out to an unexpecting customer, but that’s what it takes. This feedback can be used to both fine-tune your efforts and also influence other customers.

6. Visual: Color, Fonts, etc.

Create a simple, meaningful, and consistent visual experience of your business for your customers. Think about the colors, shapes, and mood you want customers to see and feel in order to understand what your business represents. When you design a logo, consider that your logo represents the brand, but it does not define the brand, your business does. But your brand’s visual representation is critical for streamlining marketing efforts. The more consistent your brand is visually, the more likely they are to recognize it.

Social Media Is Revoloutionizing Customer Service

Social Media Is Revoloutionizing Customer Service

Are you among the 80 percent or the 20 percent? Eighty percent of brands reported they expected to be tapping into social media as a customer service tool by the end of 2012. If you’ve landed in the 20 percent, you could be missing out on millions of opportunities to connect with your consumers.

Take Comcast, for instance. By now nearly everyone’s heard about @comcastcares, which the company started in 2010 with the goal of providing easily accessible service and Q&A to consumers. Today, the @comcastcares Twitter handle has more than 45,000 followers. The picture doesn’t get much clearer than that: Consumers are increasingly expecting to have easy access to their brands, and they’re flocking to social media to do just that.

Despite Comcast’s success with Twitter, Facebook is actually leading the pack in terms of consumer-brand communications. Nearly half of respondents report being influenced most heavily in terms of buying decisions. And about one-third of consumers say they turn to Facebook brand pages when they have a product or service question. Are you missing out on millions of chances to connect with your audience? Learn more about why social is making such a huge impact on consumers. Check out our infographic below!

Social Media Customer Service

This infographic was made by ClickSoftware Field Workforce Management, the leading provider of field service and mobility workforce management.

The Brands You ‘Like’ on Facebook are Using You – Here’s How to Stop Them

How many hours a day do you spend on Facebook? The more time you spend, the more you’re interacting with your friends. While you’re there, you’re probably interacting with a few of your favorite brands and businesses, too. When you come across a good company, you might “like” it. Whatever purpose this serves for you – communicating with brand reps, getting special offers, showing off your interests to the world – it also serves a big purpose for the business itself. Now that you’ve liked them, you’ve officially become a brand rep yourself, whether you realize it or not.

Feeding Frenzy

When you like a business, your friends are notified in their newsfeeds. Hopefully you knew this already; if not, think about it the next time you want to show your support for the local strip club (“Hi, Mom!”). Businesses love getting your likes because it means their reach is automatically extended to your friends. Since your friends presumably trust you, they might be convinced to check out that business and come to like them, too. Every time you like one of their statuses or posts, they get the same benefit of their content appearing in your friends’ newsfeeds, too.

You’re the New Ad Rep

But it doesn’t stop there. You know the Facebook ads that come up on the right side of the page? Right underneath the ad, you can find out which of your friends likes that business already. When you like a business, your name is appearing underneath the ads that your friends see, too. It works like this: You like brand X. Your friend sees an ad for brand X. Facebook and brand X make sure your friend knows that you like brand X. Suddenly, you’ve become brand X’s newest advertising rep. They’re using you to get to your friends. They’re taking advantage of your like and using it to make you seem like a staunch advocate of their brand.

How to Sever Your Ties

Facebook’s privacy settings are notoriously lenient when it comes to the “privacy” part. Changing your settings is not easy or intuitive, but it can be done. You can change your settings so that your name does not appear on any Facebook ads, and your friends will no longer be continually reminded of which brands you like. Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Click on “Account Settings” in the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of your Facebook page.
  2. Click on “Facebook Ads” on the left side of the page.
  3. Underneath the heading “Ads and friends,” Click on “Edit social ads setting.”
  4. At the bottom of the page find the dropdown menu next to “Pair my social actions with ads for,” and Click on “No one.”
  5. Click “Save Changes.”

After you follow those steps, the businesses you like will no longer be able to pimp you out in their ads on your friends’ pages, and your brand allegiances will be kept (a little) more private.

Lisa Hann writes articles addressing current marketing trends for www.seomap.com. Lisa has over ten years of experience in the field and loves to hear from her readers.

1-1000 Facebook Fans in 35 Days

One of my favorite blogs, Freelance Folder, created a Facebook fan page on October 6th, 2009. On November 10th,approximately 35 days later, they reached the one thousand fan milestone. How did they do it? I’ll show you how they accomplished it and how you can to!

First things first, we’ll run through a quick guide to creating fan pages. From there we’ll move into some of the fan growth strategies.

Getting Started With a Facebook Fan Page

To create a Facebook fan page you can simply visit the public page that allows you to create ads and pages. Click on Create a Page. You will be given three options:

  1. Local
  2. Brand
  3. Artist, Band, or Public Figure

Creating a Facebook Fangpage

Simply choose the category that suits your business the most and follow the instructions. As you can see, creating a fan page on Facebook takes about five minutes max. That said, building it and growing a community within that page can take months.

Now that you’ve created a fan page for your business or site, let’s start growing it.

Get Your Friends Involved

The first thing you want to do to grow your fan page is utilize close friends on Facebook. Let your friends know that you have created a fan page and ask them to be a fan. It’s almost guaranteed that they will become a fan without hesitating.

Save the first few days for the close-knit group and then extend invites to a larger group.

Now it’s Time to Send Some Invitations

Suggest your fanpage to friendsNow that you have asked your close friends to become fans, it’s time to send out invites to your acquaintances.

If you have a few hundred friends, do not send out invites all at once. You don’t want a spike of fans one day and be dead in the water the next day. A great ‘rule’ to follow is to send out invites in sets by first letter.

 For example, you can send out invites to those folks with names thta begin with the letters A, B and C on day 1. On the second day, send out invites to people whose name begin with the letters D, E, F and G and so on.

This way you don’t end up getting fifty fans one day and nothing the rest of the days. The Suggest to Friends feature is on the left right under your fan page profile picture as seen in the image above.

Now that you’ve sent out your invites, you need to decide whether to run an ad campaign to promote your fan page.

Run a Facebook Ad Campaign (optional)

Being a freelancer myself I know that budget are extremely tight. That said, if you can spare $5.00 to $20.00 I highly recommend running an ad campaign. Facebook allows you to target your ads and gives you the option to pinpoint who sees the ad. You can target ads based on age, gender, location, profession, etc.

Facebook ad campaign

You can either pay for impressions or for clicks. I recommend the impressions model because the main goal is to get the page seen by as many people as possible. Even if they don’t click and sign up when they see the ad, there is a possibility that they might come back later.

To create an ad, go to public page that allows you to create ads and pages.

At this point, you can start promoting your fan page through your website.

Cross-Promote Your Fan Page

Now that you are done asking for help from your close group of friends and sending out invites, it’s time to start promoting on your web properties.

Talk about your fan page on your blog or your site – and don’t forget about Twitter! Grab a fan page box and embed it on your blog.

Promote with a Fanpage box

After you are done implementing the above tips, be sure you are engaging with your fans. Above all, make sure your fans are interacting. There is no point in having a fan page with thousands of fans where no one really interacts. So let’s see some of the ways to pull in people without really having to ask them to become fans.

You should follow the tips outlined below as soon as you get your fan page up and running.

Your Updates Should “Call For Action”

Ask questions to draw participation

One of the best ways to “call for action” through your updates is by asking a question – something that Freelance Folder does extremely well. People love to voice their opinion and share their expertise. Make sure your updates ask them to do that. Simply linking to each article you publish on your blog won’t help you much as far as growing your fan page goes.

Two of the best ways for your fans to interact are through the Like and Comment features.

Like and Comment Are Your Best Friends

Facebook "like" feature

These Like and Comment features are extremely important to growing your fan page. Every time someone comments on your update or clicks the like button it shows on their feeds. Your fans’ friends see their profile or feed on the main page. They also see that one of your fans have been commenting on or using the like feature on your fan page. This can creates a viral effect.

If the update is good enough and really thought-provoking, those users who didn’t know about your fan page might join because they saw someone they knew on Facebook actively using it.

The key is to make sure your fans are participating and using those Like and Comment features so that it shows on their feeds. This is one of the best ways to get your fan page exposed to as many people as possible.

Now onto third party apps…

Utilize Third Party Apps

Blog and Twitter Tab on Facebook page

One of the reason Facebook is so popular is because of all the third party Facebook apps that are out there. I am talking about the apps that actually add value to your fan page.

If you look at Freelance Folder’s fan page, you will notice two tabs at the top that are not default tabs for fan pages — News and Twitter. If you click on the News tab you will see our recent posts. If you click on the Twitter tab you will see our Twitter updates.

These apps allow for a single stop information source for their fan base. (you can find these apps at involver.com for free). Now fans can quickly check Facebook updates, see what’s new on the blog, and even see what is being tweeted.

I personally think one of the best Facebook apps is the FBML application, also known as FaceBook Markup Language. You can use this app to create customized tabs, etc.

Here is a good example of a custom welcome page created by AllFacebook for their fan page using FBML.

Using FBML app to create a custom page for your fanpage

We’d love to hear your experience growing your Facebook fan page! Do you have any additional tips to share?