Building your online brand is essential, however, if your company isn’t humanized, people will find you distant, cold and uninteresting. It may take some heavy lifting, but make it a priority to think about the following when it comes to developing your brand’s online and physical presence.

Warm-up and stretch: Evaluate your current image

Having a positive presence both online and in the community is essential for any organization, whether you’re just starting up or are an established business. However, building a reputation from scratch can be challenging. Most companies I’ve worked with have struggled with where to spend energy and money. Do we dabble in sponsorships, or sprinkle money into building our SEO/SEM? While these are both good ideas, without the proper outline and follow-through (e.g. a comprehensive, focused and detailed strategy), these efforts can become lost in the shuffle.

Before embarking on your Odyssean journey, evaluate your current marketing tools and consider introducing/improving the following:

  • Building SEO/SEM
  • Creating a social media strategy
  • Volunteering your time and resources for special causes related to your industry
  • Sponsoring networking events for local professional organizations
  • Word-of-mouth
  • Updating / redesigning your website
  • LinkedIn
  • Quid Pro Quo relationships

Build proper form: Establishing your SEO/SEM

Most of these things cost money, but there are more simple and free ways to enhance your presence online. Depending on your trade, certain keywords or phrases will bring your website to the forefront in Google, Yahoo or Bing searches. For example, if your specialty/service is biotechnology, some essential keywords to incorporate throughout your site might be “healthcare,” “medical devices,” “technology,” “your company name,” “company locations,” “biotechnology,” or other keyword important to your industry.

More often than not, books are judged by their covers, and the same goes with websites. It is often your customers’ first impression of your business, and if it isn’t informative, neatly organized or updated, you’ve just lost business. Most “surfers” won’t bother to look beyond the first or second page in their search results, so anything you can do to bump yourself into the first three pages is crucial.

Any time changes like the ones mentioned above are made, the better off your search engine results will be. Keeping your site up-to-date with upcoming events, news, press releases, product launches and even your copyright will bring your organization or business to the forefront of Google’s and therefore your potential customer’s minds.

Be a spotter: Make yourself available to help those in your community

The old phrase, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,” is still very applicable in today’s business world. I might even argue more so with a plethora of options online, word-of-mouth endorsements, in my opinion, are still the most valuable to potential consumers. Various professional organizations (e.g. MIMA, PRSA, Ad Fed,  MN AMA or YPOTC) list their upcoming networking events, and most have businesses sponsor a booth or part of the event, and in return are able to have company representatives present to promote their business or garner employment interest.

What did I miss? Is there anything else you’d add to my list about how to build your positive brand presence both on and offline?

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