Many entrepreneurs get so wrapped up in the practical (physical and financial) aspects of starting a business that they don’t stop to consider what branding can do for them, much less how to go about building a successful brand. But when you stop to consider that even widely recognizable brands like Coke, McDonald’s, Nike, Ford, and hundreds of others started out in exactly the same place you’re at today, you’ll see that it is possible to take a small local company or online operation to a higher level through branding efforts. It’s not enough to simply float along on the goodwill of a few patrons and hope that others find you; you’ve got to be proactive about expanding your own brand. And while plenty of social media sites can help to spread your message at light-speed, Google+ offers some fantastic benefits to help you build your brand.
#1 Identify Goals
Create a mission statement. Okay, so this is not actually an aspect of Google+; it’s something you must do on your own before you begin your foray into online branding. And if you have not already created a mission statement to specify the overarching goals and ideals of your enterprise, now is the time. By opting to create a brand rather than simply slogging along as a generic vendor, you’ve taken a step towards transforming your operation into a highly visible business entity, one that will be more likely to enjoy success and longevity. And you need a mission statement that you and your fans can refer back to in order to keep your original vision alive. This is really the first step to brand creation (after opening your business, of course).
#2 Build a Profile
Create and update your profile. You might not think that the profile feature is terribly important, but considering it can provide consumers new to your brand with a snapshot of what makes you…well…YOU, it is imperative that you put some thought into creating a well-rounded profile that offers pertinent information about your company and links out to your website, blog, or other social accounts.
#3 Engage your Audience
Start threads, use sparks. Engaging with your visitors is one of the best ways to encourage them to have a relationship with your company, which is essentially the essence of branding. You want to approach potential customers on a personal level so that they come to see you as a trusted friend rather than a soulless corporation. By starting interesting conversation and then carrying on communications, you can work to build bonds and create a community that centers on your business. And the sparks feature can help you to use current events and other news to stimulate discussions. This is a fantastic strategy for drawing people in and helping them to become invested in your company.
#4 Build your Brand
Create brand ambassadors. Although internet marketing is an excellent and often affordable tool for businesses seeking to expand a brand, having trusted sources recommending you to friends and family is even better. By providing excellent customer service and really making the effort to connect with people in your network, you can create an army of brand ambassadors that give you access to their inner circle. And this is one area in which Google+ has other social media outlets beat thanks to their easy-to-use “circles” feature.
#5 Cross Promote
Cross promote. It is said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you want to build your brand with Google+ you need every link to be solid. So be careful about who you let into your own circles if you want to remain attractive to prospective patrons.
About the author:
Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for 522 Digital, a digital marketing agency that helps companies reach their target audience.