Even casual depictions of your brand should be on-message.
Perhaps you once knew, or maybe still know, the actual people behind some of the local businesses you support. There's nothing unusual about this, but the concept of "personal branding" wasn't developed that much until the information age. Today, even huge corporations have attempted to put faces and personalities to their brands, creating a new dimension to their marketing.
As a small business, you are the face of your brand. That's great news, because the "personal brand" is a valuable business tool. You don't necessarily have to always be in public promoting your brand, however. If you show up late all the time that is your brand too. People want to connect names and faces to the brands they love, and by allowing customers to do that - whether through an in-person or through social media - you allow stronger customer bonds to develop. Here are some small business marketing tips on personal branding.
Give Your Fans a Look Behind the Scenes
Instagram is not only the fastest-growing social media site, it's also becoming a major force in social media advertising. Mobile users love it, both for posting and browsing, and brands have taken notice. Some brands that have used Instagram to their advantage most successfully are ones that have not only beautifully showcased their products on the site, but also have allowed customers behind-the-scenes glimpses into business operations. Naturally, those candid photos display outstanding quality too. Many brands that choose to share behind-the-scenes information with customers hire professional photographers with particular understanding of Instagram for the task.
Make Sure All Your Web Properties Tell the Right Story
Though you don't want all your web real estate to be identical, there should be consistency among all your web properties. Each page, site, and social media account should work toward capturing something essential about your brand and your team. Ask yourself if your web properties answer the following key questions:
- How did your company get start?
- Where is it headed?
- What were significant events in your company's history?
- What have you overcome to succeed?
People relate to narratives and personal stories. They want to know the human side of your business, whether you sell hardware or baby clothes. Think about communicating details of your business story that "humanize" your brand and make people feel like they know you.
Let Them Know You're an Expert and Thought Leader
As a successful small business owner, not only are you an expert on running your company, you are an expert in your field. Otherwise, you wouldn't have succeeded. Make use of this by sharing information that goes beyond products. For example, why do you insist on organic ingredients in your cosmetics? How do you source your products to ensure the highest quality every time? Don't be afraid of being interviewed, whether for print, a website, a podcast, or local media. (It's a good idea to ask ahead of time what questions will be asked so you can prepare and position your brand prominently as a shining representative of its industry.)
There's No Substitute for Integrity
You cannot be disingenuous and be the face of your brand. Small businesses that lack honesty and try to create a brand image that doesn't match their actual values are always eventually exposed and thrashed online. People don't necessarily want the face of your brand to be perfect, but they want it to be honest and authentic. Never give in to the temptation to portray your business as something it isn't, because this is a major branding mistake. Be real and honest, and do your best to ensure your media presence is in harmony with what actually goes on in your day-to-day operations.
You don't always have to seek media attention to be the face of your company. However, you do need to show customers what your company is about, who is behind it, and what it values most. Today, people develop stronger consumer ties when they feel like their favorite brands have a human face and strong narrative.
Don't miss the opportunity to draw attention to your business by putting forth a real face to go with your authentic brand. It's an essential part of maximizing small business success today.