Branding

This is the first topic I want to talk about, as it is the most important to me. I see the value of every single person becoming a brand that represents his/hers work qualities, duties, daily tasks, emotions, experience, etc. Most of us don’t feel comfortable to be in the position of becoming a brand, but with all the noise we have in today’s world, we have to differentiate, even if we all do the same thing — to develop brands around us.

But don’t forget, every person is an individual and will bring different value to the table. You cannot be liked by everyone and there is no need to chase that. Building a personal brand around you will help your work and/or your business. Don’t forget that.

Be yourself and enjoy the ride. 😉

Let’s focus on some practical stuff then.

Step 1: Personal Brand Vision

This is the part that focuses on the pre-work strategy you need to create before starting developing your personal brand.

Many people know that companies produce vision statements of the end goal of the campaign/task or overall destination. And this is what we are doing to create our personal vision statements.

According to The Highlands Company, “A clear personal vision is an integration of your abilities, interests, personality, values, goals, skills/experience, family of origin, and stage of adult development.”

To do your personal vision — write a paragraph or two, outline your values, natural abilities, your goals and anything else you think it’s relevant. Follow and update it throughout your journey.

This task might seem as a time waster or something not that exiting to do, but the time spend planning will save you from wandering and thinking how to approach your blog post, podcast, vlog or daily “voice” you project onto the world.

The main focus of this exercise is to align yourself with your core values. You need to be authentic and speaking from a place of truth. Don’t fall into the trap of being someone you are not for the benefit or the potential to be liked or admired.

You can start to define your personal values or further explore them. This is pretty straightforward for some, but hard for others.

Find yourself. Explore and do things you love in order to become the real you. Then the place you can speak from will be genuine and people will see, hear and read it. That’s the goal of defining your values and finding yourself.

But also remember why did you start this personal brand journey. Are you doing it because you want people to associate you with your company? Where do you want it to lead to? What is the goal you are aiming at? And how you can help people along the way?

Show people the different sides of you. I know it’s hard being more open than the professional business person you are, but show your deeper side of things — what you love doing in your free time, how you spend it, talk about the passion you have for things outside work, outside being a professional or a business owner. This will help develop your personality and you becoming a person that people can relate to. I think that is what it is — being 100% yourself, not caring about the opinions of others. Enjoying the journey. The right people will be attracted to you and you will be even happier than you are now.

And don’t let FEAR stop you.

“God placed the best things in life on the other side of fear.” Will Smith

Step 2: Niche and Audience

Again. Find that passion, find the thing you love doing and enjoy talking about. Or focus around what you currently do as a professional.

That’s what I’m doing right now — I started writing about one of my passions — marketing, which is closely related to phycology, which I also love. I can spend hours trying and testing new ideas for clients, improving and analysing the results. Bringing us closer to the pre-set targets.

All right, marketing it is, then what? I focus on helping small and medium-sized companies in London (audience) improve their digital marketing efforts (niche). And that is pretty much it.

The niche is the service you specialise in offering and the audience is the group of people you serve. Simple as that.

Now, go and figure out your niche and audience. But don’t only think about the monetary side of things. Create happiness for yourself and help people along the way — that’s more important.

Think long term, don’t get hung up on emotions or the next “hype”, because that will fade away. Imagine you are doing this every single day. That will help you define your niche and audience better.

Step 3: Differentiation

What is that unique trait or experience you bring to the market? How can you differentiate yourself from all the information we see from everyone?

There are influencers, marketing gurus, personal development coaches and so many other personal brand types that you see on a constant base.

This is where the real you shines. Don’t be shy and start pealing the layers of who you are to show the world.

The little nuances will be the differentiation. Like we said earlier — what makes you you is the difference. For example you might enjoy collecting Star Wars Legos — try to incorporate that into your daily work as a property manager, for example. Bring it into your videos, talk with people commenting on that. Show your passion, that’s what it boils down to. And people will begin to relate and resonate more of who you are and the message you are trying to conceive.

Once you figure out your personal values, niche & audience and how you differentiate yourself in the market place, we can continue to the technical specifics of marketing.

Website

In this day and age, having a website is a no brainer. Whether it is for your company or your personal brand. This is a must.

Remember, you want to control the traffic. The social media platforms are amazing and we will talk about them further in the article, but your website is your staple. This is the place where you can be in control of all the decisions of how and when people will see your content.

Don’t be in the mercy of only being on social media and not having a website. Websites still work and convert people like crazy, so is email. Be in control of your audience.

Let’s get into the technical details that are need for your website to stand out:

SEO

“ Search engine optimisation ( SEO) is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results — often referred to as “natural”, “ organic”, or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a website appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers.”

SEO optimisation is important to ensure you can maximise ranking potential and drive traffic to your website from search engines. You can continue to build on your strong position through further application of SEO strategies like content generation and link building.

HTML Header

  • Title Tag (10–70 chars)

This is the single most important on-page factor that will help the search engines rank you higher. By the proper use of this tag, yo can express the main intent of the webpage. This information is shown in the search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, etc. By the inclusion of the correct text, you can influence the click-through rates and the people’s first brand impressions.

  • META Description Tag (70–320 chars)

This is the text, that is written by the webmasters, that explains the contents of a web document. This is also show in the search results on all search engines, but sometimes, let’s say Google, can overwrite the description you provide. It’s a free opportunity for everyone to create a good meta description in order to influence the best click-through rates. Note that the META descriptions do not directly influence rankings.

Body Content

The body content is the actual website content. Those are the main text blocks on you page. The opportunity to create new and unique content should be your main task as a business owner or content creator. Again focus on value building and follow these SEO rules:

The headers in a website break the information of a page into hierarchical order. This is so the website has a clear structure for all the people & search engines that come to it. In the header tags should be your main keywords. Header tags have little direct influence on rankings.

All the content on a specific page should be focused around particular keywords you would like to rank for. Ideally these keywords should also be distributed across title, meta and header tags.

Image Alt Text is the alternative text that is shown when images on your website cannot be viewed. Also this is used by search engine to figure out what is the meaning from the images.

Links

Consider this as a popularity measurement. The more reputable links you have pointing at your website, the better you rank on the search engines. Links from popular websites like Forbes & CNN are better for you than from the local radio. That doesn’t mean there is no value to the latter. You have to start building relationships with people and companies. You have to start from somewhere.

Keep in mind that the links used on your webpage need to be human & search engine friendly.

Usability

How does your page render on different devices? It is important that your page is optimised for mobile and tablet experiences as today the majority of web traffic comes from these sources.

Flash is not supported on Apple & Android devices. Mozilla blocked the Adobe technology on their Firefox web browser. Google does not like Flash as well. Basically, it’s not the best technology to be used on a website today.

iFrames are discouraged as they can complicate navigation of content in mobile and have historically been harder to index for search engines.

Performance

The performance of your website is important to ensure a good user experience, and reduced bounce rates, which can also affect your search engine rankings. Here come to play the number of files that the server has to load, i.e. the more requests, the longer it takes. Keep in mind Internet speed can differ country to country around the world.

Optimisation of image size is important as it impacts the on page load performance.

Minification of all your JavaScript and CSS files is need to decrease both page size and page loading time.

Social

The integration of social channels with your website. It is important for customer communication, brand awareness and as a marketing channel to bring more visitors to your website.

The more social media channels you use, the better position you have in front of your customers. Keep the social media icons on a visible place, once a person is on your webpage, so he/she can quickly follow you or get to know what are the latest news about your company. Keep all your social media channels regularly updated and engage with your customers. Answer messages, respond to comments and overall be helpful.

Make sure you don’t create any barriers between the customer and social media. That also means having share buttons around the articles or news on your website. Integration of social media comments is also a beneficial practice.

We will get into details of each specific social media platform, later in the article.

Security

Security is important to ensure your website protects user data, doesn’t become compromised, experience downtime or data loss. I recommend ongoing patching and the continuous use of protective monitoring tools.

Here can be included things like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) that encrypts links between the web server and the browser. Using SSL technology ensures all data remains encrypted between the web server and the browser.

Email privacy is another thing to keep in mind when building or optimising your website. Having email address found in plain text can be susceptible to scrapers and email spammers. You can get subscribed to lists you don’t want, so be careful. Use images that contain the email address or contact forms for people to get in touch.

Social Media

Let’s dig in into the exciting world of Social Media. You might be reading this, in order to get a quick glimpse of the different social media platform trends or you want to know where to start developing your own personal brand or your own business. Let’s start with some stats.

3.2 billion people are on social media — that is 42% of the world population. And the active mobile social users are 2.9 billion, i.e. 39% of the world. So no matter what you do for a living, what you sell — you have to be on social media. This is where the attention is.

This is the social media penetration in Northern America — 70%, Northern Europe — 66%, Eastern Asia — 64%, South America — 63%, Central America — 59%, Southern Europe — 56%, Western Europe — 54%. The figures are staggering and they are growing each year. The world is getting more and more developed, people have better access to internet & mobile phones and everyone is on social media.

Let’s get into each platform specifics, combined with some numbers:

Facebook (2.2 billion monthly users)

The biggest social media platform out there. Everyone is familiar with Facebook. Everyone is there for one reason or another. 88% of Facebook users are accessing the platform via mobile. Around 58 min are spend on Facebook by US Android users daily.

This is a must platform — you can target everyone there. All your customers, fans, friends, family is on Facebook.

Create a Facebook Page — whether it is for your brand or your personal page. Post all your news, talk to people in the comments section, engage on a continual basis.

Create a Facebook group that can be connected to the page and build a community around the business you are building.

This is the most potent ad platform — here you can target Facebook, Instagram, Messenger. You can specify your audience by their interests, zip codes or their employers. One of the cheapest and most effective places for advertising. 70% of all pre-roll video ads on Facebook are watched until the end.

Videos rank better on Facebook at the moment. Live video is here to stay on the platform, no matter how annoying it can be at times. But there is also a sense of urgency that your favourite vlogger or the company you adore is live right now. It’s a hit or miss thing, but it’s worth experimenting with that medium.

Facebook is the best place to start your journey on personal branding and also a must for any business out there. You can have a quick communication with every fan or customer you have in a matter of seconds and it is super convenient for them to find you as well. Marketing, sales and branding can all be done on Facebook.

YouTube (1.9 billion monthly users)

As we all know video is big nowadays. Many people prefer watching a video or listening to a podcast than reading a long article (I know). YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, after Google. This shows how important it is in today’s marketing mix.

Creating video content is more demanding than sitting behind a keyboard and writing an article. You have to think about video quality, light, sound. And you also have to be confident while doing it. But keep in mind, that this is the platform that is here to replace the TV shows and TV networks as we know it.

YouTube is the place to build a personal brand. The birthplace of a huge amount of vloggers — Casey Neistat, Jon Olsson, Fun For Louis and probably everyone in between. Nothing is better, in terms of building personal brand than creating video content. And on YouTube everyone is used of watching 10+ min of video clips. It’s a huge opportunity. Be confident and go for it!

Remember that using the Google Ad Words Platform, you can also target videos in specific niches to create pre-roll video ads, text ads — you’ve watched YouTube, you know what I am talking about.

Instagram (1 billion monthly users)

Hands down the hottest platform to build a personal brand or a business. Here we’ve seen some of the most flashiest, set up pictures ever. This our fairy tale life into one place, our perfect moments, edited, filtered and emphasised.

But it works. People love it. A bite of a perfect looks, perfect vacations, perfect places. The perfect life.

Please, please, be genuine. Don’t front and don’t portray your life as being super interesting if it isn’t. Please don’t spend money or get in debt for a picture. Enjoy the experience and don’t “live” on Instagram.

Use it to show the real you, to “sell” a real dream.

Talk to people, be extra kind and compassionate. Provide value. Be thankful for all the likes and comments. Make sure to tell that to the people that have made the effort. Reach out to people you admire. Remember that one person can possibly change your life.

Or just use it a portfolio. Instagram can be a great place to showcase your art, clothing line, architectural studio and many more. Make an effort to create beautiful imagery and you will stand out from the rest.

LinkedIn (500 million monthly users)

This is the professional network. The best platform for B2B sales.

I see a lot of people not actively using LinkedIn, so I see the opportunity at hand for the rest. I also see a lot of spammy type profiles, so beware of the super sales-y and pushy people. You can spot them pretty quickly.

Focus on being super social. Meet people, go through many profiles. Introduce yourself. Break the barriers. It’s a numbers game. The more you put in, the more you get get out.

Make sure you create a professional representation of yourself:

  • Have a high quality profile picture
  • Create an amazing header image that captures the attention of every visitor
  • Use the headline as a space to add the keywords and the benefits of your work
  • Summary — Create a compelling piece of information, presenting your work in detail, focusing on the results and benefits of your customers.

Don’t just use the generic summary that LinkedIn creates for yourself. Put some effort and people will notice. The results will soon come.

Twitter (330 million monthly users)

As Gary Vee puts it “Twitter is the water cooler of society, that place where everyone goes to get the latest update on whatever news or pop-culture event is occurring.”

Everything is fast pace on Twitter and you have a limited amount of characters to share to the world based on a subject. (280 chars) The perfect interaction tool.

Join topics of interest and give your opinion. Be social. Engage, show yourself and don’t get too emotional in heated discussions. This is the place where people can find out about what you do, based on your interaction of the space you are interested in.

Snapchat (186 million monthly users)

One of the most famous teen social media platforms. The birthplace of face filters and tags all over videos and pictures. It is used to share photos, videos, text and drawings.

Messages “self-destruct” in 10 seconds. This can be used to send messages to friends or contacts. You specify the longevity of the message — only up to 10 seconds.

The idea of Snapchat is to break the fancy boundaries that people have set on Facebook and Instagram. It’s the exact opposite — you create something raw and send it to someone that might enjoy it.

It’s a great place to do raw cuts or behind the scenes of your daily work, podcast or vlog. Or just something totally random that people might enjoy. This is the place to be silly and super creative, without the need to polish everything to perfection. Be creative and experiment with different ideas. And most of all enjoy it, be a child for a minute or ten seconds.

Podcasts (60 million monthly users)

Become a radio host without the restrictions. This is quite the medium. It captures the attention on the listener and he/she can focus on doing something else — driving to work, cooking, washing the dishes, running, whatever it might be.

Yes, attention is not on 100%. But the podcast medium is more conversational. Mostly between two people having a conversation on a subject or around a guest.

Experiment with doing a podcast. It could be a short format on a hot topic in the news, let’s say. Or something that have happened on that day and you want to share your thoughts to the world.

It won’t be easy to cut through the noise of the podcast world, but give it a go. It might be more comfortable to you than doing a vlog. I mean you can be in your pyjamas and record a podcast episode. Enjoy the process and everything will fall into place.

Google+

Specific for the businesses that have physical location — shops, restaurants, barbers, dentists, real estate agents. This is a must for all those types of businesses. On Google+ you can rate the business, add images, navigate to your website and overall get a quick glimpse of what people think about your business.

It’s a good tactic to keep all your information up to date, fill as much as you can and read the reviews. They are a great and invaluable information that you can use for your business, and people give it away for free. Thank them for the kind words and perhaps they might love your business even more. Reply to negative comments and mend the relationships. Remember that the negative people can become your most raving fans.

This was a “quick” overview of the state of Digital Marketing in 2019. I am eager to find out what you think of the article. Let me know in the comments. Like and share it if you enjoyed it.

Thank you all and hope this has been of value.

Kal



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