Co-Founder of Y Not You Media, helping businesses and brands grow with content, strategy and attention.
Many people become known within their own communities. They establish a name for themselves and build an “offline brand,” something that benefits them and helps create local opportunity, influence, leverage and longevity. They may have built a successful and well-known brand offline, but times are changing, and it is important for every business and entrepreneur to build their brand online.
In today’s world, social media has become a platform for individuals and businesses to build a national or even international brand. There are no limitations to what you are able to build because of social media’s power and scope. You can connect with individuals all around the world with the click of a button and generate more leads and sales than ever before.
Although it sounds amazing and simple at first, it is not. Taking your offline brand online is one of the most difficult things you can do because it requires true authenticity, vulnerability and consistency. Many, if not all, are very comfortable with their offline brand because those around them know who they are and their story. When bringing it online, you are starting from the beginning because you are putting yourself out there to people who may not know anything about you at all. Therefore, you are completely leaving your comfort zone and putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
You must present your accolades you’ve achieved offline in your online presence. You should aim to showcase all of your reviews and testimonials to present your proven track record. Building an online brand requires you to be who you are offline. There is no changing your persona for the online public because if those who follow you meet you, they will be able to tell if you are the same person or not.
Trying to change who you are is one of the biggest things that can negatively impact your brand when taking it online — so much so that it could be a death sentence for your brand. You must be you always. Your audience is going to correlate who you are to your business, and authenticity is pivotal to the success of your online brand. Your goal should be that when people from online you meet you for the first time in person, they say, “You are exactly who you are online!” This confirms you are building a strong online brand that properly depicts your offline brand.
One major component to building that successful online brand is true vulnerability. This is something that most people and businesses struggle with. They are under the impression that they need to be closed off and keep it “strictly” business. Don’t be misinformed. The way you act with those around you, the things you like, your personality and the way you dress should all be portrayed on your online social media platforms. Talk about why you’re in business. Show why your company makes a difference. Detail what makes you different.
Think deeper, not wider. When you are your true self, you will build the audience you want and connect with those individuals deeper than if you put on a fake persona just to attract who you think you want to attract. Do not try to build an online brand by putting out content and information you think others will like. Put out content and information that is authentically you and your brand.
The best way a business can build their brand online is through consistency. Just as consistency in working out and eating healthy will get you the results you want on your fitness journey, the same applies when building a brand online: Businesses that stay consistent will win. In my experience, the Instagram algorithm also favors consistency on the platform and will reward you with more reach.
When building an online brand, it is paramount to consistently show up day in and day out. Business leaders need to show as much of their day-to-day as possible so consumers can feel part of the journey and process behind the brand’s products or services. Business leaders need to consistently put out content that is educational, shows the behind the scenes, tells a story, highlights the team, recognizes the customer and engages with their audience. You can create unique content, engage, grow your reach and audience, and have a strategy, but if you’re not consistent, you won’t build a brand.
Your offline brand must be the same as your online brand. No changes — strictly you.
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