Do you have big business plans for the new year?

With the previous year in the rearview mirror, I’ve been putting a ton of thought into revamping my business plan. I’m a firm believer in coming up with a new business plan every January (And then of course, I revisit it quarterly to see if I need to tweak it). In this year’s plan, I’ve been specifically focusing on ways I can grow my brand through digital marketing. 

Branding encompasses everything in a business, including your personality. Your personality, goals, business sense, beliefs, everything goes directly into your brand. And that’s important because people buy from people. 

There are two problems. First, many small business owners have a hard time coming out from behind their computer screens, so their customers never get any real sense of WHO they are. The second mistake is that they might take it too far, getting so “in your face” about their personal lives that customers never really get a sense of the brand’s professional side.

In other words, defining your brand means walking the fine line between your personality and your business. So, here are some tips on how to do that in the upcoming year! 

Show More of Your Personality

To get customers flocking to your business, you need to differentiate it from your competitors. While you can do this by offering unique products and unparalleled customer service, your brand itself should be doing the heavy lifting. 

So, to better define your brand, you need to show off more of your personality! After all, you are the founder of your small business, and your personality impacts every aspect of it. By showing more of your character in social media posts, webinars, YouTube videos, newsletters, and other outreach methods, you’re going to be giving your brand a voice.

Here is a great example, one of the biggest brands in the world: Disney.

Disney was founded in 1923 by Walt Disney and his brother Roy. Obviously, you know they made cartoons starring some of the most identifiable characters in history, but Walt wanted more. Movies, merchandising, theme parks, and, most important, he wanted a connection with his audience. How to do it? Well, he worked himself into the product!

To raise money and awareness for his new California park, Walt created a TV show on ABC called Walt Disney’s Disneyland. On it, he would directly address his audience, giving them a look into the man and his dreams for his park. Walt Disney soon became inseparable from his business, his personality reflecting Walt Disney Productions’ values and beliefs. 

Funny enough, he was apparently painfully shy in real life, but that certainly wasn’t the public persona he broadcast to the world. By showing that side of his personality on TV, he was able to define a brand that would become one of the world’s largest entertainment companies. And I hear that “theme park” thing he kept talking about turned out pretty well too!  

Grab Onto Connection Points

If you asked your friends to describe you in one sentence, what would they say?

It’s tricky to boil down everything about a person into just a few words, but the most successful brands have made it into an art form. How? By giving their customer base connection points.

A connection point is simply something that you are known for. For example, I personally hear, “Hey, you’re the girl with the cute dogs” a lot. Since I’ve launched my podcast a few months ago, I’ve been getting a lot more recognition as well. They say, “Oh, you’re everywhere!”

My point is that those small connection points that people latch onto should be a significant component in your marketing. Am I recognized for my dogs? Well, here is a picture of them! (You can find it in the show notes). 

What are you known for? What are your connection points? You should ask some of your current clients, friends, and family. Then, once you figure them out, start to put them into your marketing. You will be surprised at how often people will recognize you and your brand once you’re posting about them daily! 

Work on Visibility Methods

One of the most exhausting parts about building a brand is to maintain visibility on a variety of platforms.

For example, you can find JLVAS on my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (my followers are growing quickly), and much more. I have this podcast. My videos are posting on YouTube. I do guest posts for other websites. In other words, I want me and my brand to be everywhere!

That’s easy to say, of course, but it can require a ton of footwork. Being visible on a platform like Instagram requires daily posts, and that can get exhausting if you’re trying to write blurbs and come up with graphics every day. 

The best way to handle this problem is to batch your content. Rather than prepare posts on the same day (or week), I do it at the beginning of the month. That way, it’s done, I can schedule it, and I don’t need to think about it anymore. Not only does this turn into a huge timesaver, but it’s also a major load off my brain (and to-do list).

So, make a list of all of the places your brand is visible online. Are there any prominent platforms missing? Has it been a while since you’ve updated Twitter or your other social media? If so, it might be time to do a social media audit to get back up to date!

My point is that you want to be on multiple platforms for the win. Do that, and your brand will be growing in no time! 

Build Connections into Relationships

Please think back to the very beginning of a very important relationship. What drew you to them? What was it like when you first met? There obviously wasn’t a relationship yet, but there must have been some kind of connection. Maybe you can’t even put it into words. But it’s that little spark that grew into one of the most important things in your life.

It’s the same when it comes to building a relationship with your audience and customer base. When first exposed to your brand, the chances are that they aren’t immediately heading to your website to purchase your products. At best, you’ve formed the first connection with them. Now is the time to slowly build that connection into a relationship.

I’ve been doing this on Instagram and my other social media lately, and it really works! Here’s how:

You should write your social media posts to create a connection between you and your followers. If you notice someone commenting on one of your posts, that’s a great excuse to start building that connection into a relationship. So, I might send that person a personal message and introduce myself. Even if the conversation is short, they will still remember that I personally reached out. Don’t do this with the intent to “sell” them something. Instead, keep it light and likable. You want a relationship here, remember?

Other ways to do this are to randomly check in with my followers on various platforms, collaborating with other professionals in related fields (this is a great way to expand both of your audiences), and always reply to any comments in your posts. Outreach can be difficult and time-consuming, but I’ve found it’s also one of the most effective ways to grow your relationships with your audience and customers. 

So, What Did We Learn? 

Let’s review what we learned:

  1. Growing your brand should be part of your yearly business plan.
  2. Branding encompasses everything in your business, including your personality. 
  3. There should be a balance between the personality you put into your brand and your professional side.
  4. Showing more of your personality is a great way to define what your brand stands for.
  5. Connection points are things that your customers latch onto when developing a brand relationship.
  6. How would your customers describe you? Find out, then lean into that! 
  7. You should be on every platform where your audience is hanging out! 
  8. This can be exhausting, so I would recommend batching your content.
  9. Once you’ve established a connection with your customers, build it into a relationship.
  10. Do this through replying to comments, collaborating with others, and sending private messages to some of your most passionate followers. 

Way back in the day, small businesses were limited in how they could grow their brands. It was all local. You had the radio station, the newspaper, and that was about it. Nowadays, small businesses can use digital marketing platforms to grow their brands to a state-wide (or even nation-wide) audience. If you want to dig deep into how to grow your brand using digital marketing, you can check out my upcoming masterclass 7 Powerful Ways to Kickstart Your Digital Marketing.

7 Powerful Ways To Kickstart Your Marketing

And if you’re ready to jump into growing your brand in the new year, but you could use some help, feel free to contact me here for a free consultation. You want to become a brand that doesn’t only offer your customers products and services, but much more! I can teach you the methods I use to build my brand and audience, making your 2021 into the best year yet for your business! 

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About Jennie Lyon

Jennie Lyon is the founder of Jennie Lyon Virtual Assistant Services. Jennie specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs organize, manage, develop and promote their brand! She is devoted to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with social media, content creation, email marketing, client relations, website management, and administration services. If you are a small business owner, coach or self-employed entrepreneur struggling to find enough time in your day to focus on what you really love - schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Jennie. www.JennieLyon.com

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