In his book Tweet Naked, online marketing expert and Social Media Firm CEO Scott Levy provides the critical information entrepreneurs need to craft a social media strategy that will boost their brand and their business. In this edited excerpt, the author offers tips that can help you figure out how you want the world to view your brand.
Word-of-mouth is the biggest marketing tool you could possibly ask for (and one of the cheapest). Tweets, posts, emails, texts and other means of sharing are the primary way numerous brands evolve today and remain leaders in their industries. And people get excited about your brand if you're excited about your brand. At its core, brand building comes down to two key factors: enthusiasm and likability.
Unlike the fast-talking, late-night TV salespeople of years ago who could sell anything they were handed, today, if you don't show genuine enthusiasm and passion, and truly believe that what you're selling is the best product or best service available, nobody else will either. You can't just think it's okay; you can't think it's just better than others. You need to believe that what you have to offer is the best thing since sliced bread!
Steve Jobs once said of Apple's core values, "We believe people with passion can change the world for the better ... and that those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do."
Along with that innate confidence in your product or service comes the likability factor. Whether they realize it or not, people talk about and promote brands that they like every day. Whether it's Heineken or Budweiser, Ford cars or Chevy trucks, people talk about, recommend, share or suggest a brand because they like the company, what they stand for, how they treat their customers, and the products and services they offer. If people don't like you, trust you as a brand or can't connect with you, they won't be spreading the word about your brand.
Before you can build a brand today, particularly in social media, you need to understand that you're not there to sell or promote. The people you're reaching out to aren't just people with money or those you want to sucker into buying your products or using your services. They're people whom you want to identify with your brand and like what you do and what you stand for. So if you've been indoctrinated to simply sell, sell, sell anything to anyone at any cost, you need to change your mind-set before trying to build a brand via social media.
At the core of brand building is having an understanding of who you are. This will be your identity in the world. If done correctly, your identity will positively influence people.
To figure out who you are, start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What does your business have to offer? You may be offering products, services, or even wisdom and knowledge abouta particular topic. Your business needs something that people can like,which can be anything from designer apparel to home remodeling tips.
- What does your brand stand for? This encompasses your beliefs and your passions other than your productsor services. For example, are you passionate about being green? About technology? About supporting a particular cause or charity? Aboutgovernment reform?
- What makes your products, services or business as a whole different from your competitors? What can you offer that sets you apart from everyone else? Perhaps you offeunsurpassed technical support; faster, more reliable service; unique,one-of-a kind handcrafted items; or a return policy unmatched in your industry.
- Why are you doing this? If every entrepreneur were strictly in business to make money, everyone would look at most lucrative industries and launch a business in thosefields. Clearly people are in different industries for different reasons.My passion for computers, technology, the web and helping people led me to launch Fuel Online. Florists had a dream of working with flowers, dancestudios are run by people who love dance, actors have a passion forperforming, retailers believe their products are the best, and financialadvisors love the world of investments. Think about the big picture and why you're passionate about your business and what mark you can leave bydoing what you do.
These are all-important questions to answer when you try to brand yourself and your business, especially online and in social media where everything is completely transparent, or should be.
Scott Levy is the founder and CEO of Fuel Online, an online marketing agency that focuses on social media and SEO. He has been specializing in online marketing for more than 15 years and is a respected speaker, writer and consultant. Scott was nominated for a 2014 Shorty Award for "social media's best business influencer" as well as recognized as a 2014 Hubbies finalist for "Influencer of the Year". Scott is based in Nashville. Follow him on Twitter at @FuelOnline or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FuelInternetMarketing