Following on from my previous post (Brand: History Lesson 2), brands now need to be thinking first about creating a brand presence online. Although this is the final post in my brand history series, this post is going to explore the ‘not-so-distant past’ events ie: more of the current and future aspects of brand.
BUILDING A BRAND ONLINE
These days your audience’s first experience and impression of your brand will usually happen online. This means that your brand needs to be portraying itself in the best light through all digital channels.
Building a strong brand online essentially requires the same steps as building a strong brand in general (see my post 7 Steps To Building a Brand), however, you also need to take advantage of as many different digital avenues as you can. Apart from having a great, responsive website, you should also have an up-to-date blog, business pages and a range of relevant social media accounts. Everything needs to be consistent, both visually and through the tone of voice.
There must be a clear strategy in place in how you want to be perceived by others. Whatever you do needs to drive engagement and make your audience want to connect positively with your brand online (whether this be by following you, writing a good review or sharing your content).
Starting off with a strong strategy should result in growing a community of people who are aware of and love your brand and essentially can naturally do a lot of the marketing for you. To get to this stage you need to know who your customers are and somehow find a way to get them to return.
Digital marketing can provide a great framework and support in building your brand online. This type of marketing includes content creation (written or visual), updating social media accounts, creating an attractive, user-friendly website, and having a focus on quality SEO amongst many other things. Your brand is at the heart of all of this and the stronger your brand, the more likely your digital marketing strategy is to succeed.
When it comes to content creation, the key is to create something which is highly shareable. There are two avenues to take here: extremely humorous or extremely useful (or both!) A great way to encourage engagement is by involving influencers in your work. Whether this be by interviewing them directly or including and expanding on a quote from them. You can then share your piece of content with them and hopefully they’ll want to share this with their own large audience too. If your brand is strong enough, you may even be featured in other people’s content – another way to get engagement and possibly links back to you.
When it comes to SEO and Google, no one is ever entirely sure what the next Google update/algorithm may bring, but there are always some pretty good predictions.
Past updates have seen websites penalised for having spammy links and overusing keywords. It is becoming more and more obvious just how much Google loves brands (and good content)! The best way to get to the top is organically and this can be achieved by others linking back to you. People are more likely to do this when they know and love your brand and share your content without any hesitation. As Rand Fishkin, of Moz.com, said, “The long-awaited dominance and bias of search results toward brands is here.”
Naturally, strong brands get a lot more engagement and have built up a feeling of trust with their audience. These brands know what they’re all about and create content accordingly. Everything is consistent and Google will likely start to place more emphasis on this. My advice would be to make sure that you have a strong brand and ensure that you are doing all that you can to communicate this to the world of digital.