When it comes to your business online, you want to put your best foot forward at all times. This means having an online brand management strategy that represents your company in the best light possible.
It’s not enough anymore to just have a website and social media profiles. You need to make sure your brand guidelines are consistent across all of your online channels. You also need to monitor what’s being said about you and to you in comments and other content.
In this blog post, we will discuss why it’s important to have a strong online branding strategy and reputation management plan.
What is business branding?
Business branding helps customers identify who you are, what you stand for, and what they can expect from your products or services. Branding also gives your company a unique identity that sets it apart from your competitors and increases the likelihood of gaining loyal customers.
Business brand guidelines consist of many elements, including your company name, logo, tagline, and other visuals. Brand guidelines also extend to the way you communicate with your target audience, both online and offline.
Strong brands have a unique opportunity with their online presence to control how they are perceived by the public. A cohesive and branded online presence will provide brand recognition and make your company look more professional, trustworthy, and credible.
What is online brand management?
Online brand management, or reputation management (ORM) is the practice of monitoring and managing a company’s online presence. This includes monitoring online reviews, comments, and blog posts about the company. ORM also includes taking steps to improve the company’s online reputation if necessary.
Businesses should practice online reputation management to protect their online reputation. A good online reputation can help a business attract new customers and build trust with existing customers. A bad online reputation can damage a business’s sales and reputation.
Where else is your brand online?
Besides a website there are many ways business owners can develop strong brand assets to benefit their online presence.
Social media channels, video platforms, and other professional online platforms allow business owners to customize their account banner, wording, or other details.
This allows businesses to better control the way their unique brand is seen by the public and creates a more professional image.
How to brand your online presence
Businesses should have cohesive visual branding across their social platforms, video, and other online channels. Online branding helps build trust with potential customers and makes your business appear more credible.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your online branding is consistent. If you don’t already have strong brand guidelines established for your business here are some business branding basics:
Brand colors – Choose one or two colors that will be prominent in all of your branding materials.
Brand fonts – Use the same font or family of fonts for all of your text.
Brand graphics – Use similar graphics and images across all of your channels.
Tips for staying on-brand across all channels
- Use the same or similar, profile picture or logo for all of your online brand management.
- Make sure your brand color palette, fonts, and graphics are consistent.
- Use your established company logo, avatar, or other identifiers. Now is not the time to be unique.
- Give a similar voice to your content, posts, and visual assets.
- Always consider the customer experience. Positive customer experiences when navigating or interacting on your website or social platforms will keep customers coming back!
- If you don’t have the time or talent to create your brand or you want the advice of a professional, consider hiring a marketing consultant or brand designer.
Good brand examples from existing brands
Bird is a micro-mobility company that offers shared electric scooters. Its main aim is to develop sustainable options for traveling distances.
Bird is an example of a company doing a great job with its online brand management. Bird takes advantage of brand equity from website to social media and video platforms, giving a consistently clean look with a strong brand logo, colors, and on-brand graphics.
Lemonade is another small business that knows what good branding means. They have cohesive branding across all online platforms, a clearly defined voice, and interactivity with their potential and loyal customers.
Which online platforms are most strong brands on?
Remember, you do not need to be on all of these platforms at first. It is smarter to develop only one platform to start, maybe two, then branch out from there if you need a broader presence.
Since not every platform is ideal for every business niche, make sure you’re investing your time and resources into the right ones for you. If you run an online store, Twitter may not be that important for you, whereas Instagram and Pinterest may be perfect.
If you’re not sure which social platform is best for your business do a little competitive research. See which platforms other brands in your niche are using, do their posts and other relevant content marketing seem appropriate for the audience? Try to get a clear idea of what online brand management tactics your competitors are using.
Size your images right for each platform
Each platform has its own set of sizing guidelines, so it’s important to take those into account when selecting images.
Once your image has been selected you can crop and modify it to work within the image guidelines for each platform. A handy tool for you online brand management is this social media size guide that helps you define what size your cover, profile, and other images should be.
Other things that affect your brand online
Your brand voice
Online branding strategy isn’t just imagery, of course, it’s also the role you play on the online stage. Is your brand image formal and professional, or looser and laid back?
Pay attention to the words and tone you use for your posts, announcements, and even comment interactions. Have a clear “voice” or persona in mind for your social communications and keep it consistent even if more than one person is speaking as admin on the account.
Your company story
In today’s competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever for companies to develop and tell their brand story.
A brand story represents who your business is and what it stands for and is an important aspect of online brand management. Your story is the mission-driven narrative that sets your company apart from the competition and tells customers why they should care about your products or services.
A well-crafted brand story can build trust and loyalty, inspire customer advocacy, and generate new leads. In short, a brand story is one of the most powerful marketing tools at a company’s disposal.
Your online business reputation
It’s never too early to pay attention to your online reputation. In fact, your successful online brand management strategy depends on it!
If there is unflattering or in some other way unappealing data online about you or your company that you want to be removed, there are companies that specialize in this.
More and more we are living in an online landscape. The facts people gather and the opinions they form about you and your company will largely be a result of an online search. The sooner you clean up your online presence the better—you don’t want a negative item already online to spread any further!
Build and shape your online presence
Decide early on how and where you want your business to be represented online. Choose social media platforms that make sense for your niche, formally establish your business brand identity if you haven’t done so already, and make plans for what you want to post and publish.
Choose your social channels
Small businesses don’t need to be on every social media channel. What works well for one niche may not be effective for another. A good practice is to choose no more than 2 or 3 channels to start, be active on them consistently, then expand your online brand management to other platforms later if you see a benefit.
Write a blog
A blog is a great way to share your company’s story, insights, and expertise with the world. Not only will it help you attract new business customers and clients, but it will also help you build trust and credibility with your target audience. You can build a WordPress blog, or use whatever blogging tools your website hosting service provides.
Platforms like LinkedIn offer a great opportunity to share information and advice with a wider audience. Writing articles for publication on these platforms can help build your brand identity and establish you as an expert in your field. If you are not a prolific writer try to blog using AI writing software to speed things up.
Join social media groups
Social groups are a great way to connect with your target audience. By participating in these groups, you’ll be able to build relationships, share your company’s story, and stay top-of-mind with your audience.
Be aware of what's being said about you
With a few clicks, your target audience can find out everything they need to know about your business, including reviews and comments. As a result, it’s essential to take a proactive approach to your online brand management.
Take action: monitor, promote, and suppress
- First set up Google Alerts for your business name and key phrases. This will help you to stay on top of any new mentions of your business online.
- Next, make sure you are regularly monitoring your social accounts and responding to any comments or reviews professionally.
- Finally, if you do spot any negative reviews or comments, reach out to the customer directly and try to resolve the issue.
- If all else fails, there are online reputation management tools you can use and companies you can hire for help.
By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your business has a positive online reputation.
Reputation management and branding tips
- For smaller companies, remember you, too, are a brand extension. Keep your personal branding and online interactions congruent with how you’d want your new and existing customers to perceive you.
- Online brand management is fluid. It’s not a one-and-done kind of thing. Be sure to stay tuned in to what’s being said about you online and how your brand is perceived.
- Stay tuned in to emerging technologies like AI design tools that can help you build and manage your brand.
- Your online communications should be the same as other marketing communications— friendly, on point, and professional.
- Retain customers, gain a competitive advantage, and better your customer experience by being readily available and attentive to online inquiries and other communications.
- If you are a new brand or simply defining new branding guidelines for your established business, keep in mind your brand’s values and mission. This will help guide your company’s online brand management.
- Re-purpose new materials and other visual assets across platforms. For example, a video can be posted to your YouTube channel, other social channels, embedded in a blog, or posted on your website.
- Maintain visual assets and other content in an asset library for future marketing efforts, posts, and campaigns.
It’s interesting to note that in the past decade many brands have opted out of traditional marketing and are marketing online exclusively making online brand management more important than ever!
Your online brand management and identity is important to help people form a favorable opinion of you and your business. In this article, we’ve talked about some key ways to stay branded across all of your online channels. These include having a consistent voice, paying attention to your online reputation, and being purposeful in the way you build your online presence.