It is probably the most exciting advancement for us as business owners in the last ten years. You now have a digital resume whether you like it or not, and your very own digital footprint. Not sure? Google yourself, then your competitors.
Carrying out a digital search on who is out there doing what you do is an eye opener for any leader or brand chief. There is plenty of room for healthy competition, but can your target audiences find you?
Whether accidental and social or driven and professional, your digital presence (or lack of it) is there for your customers, staff and prospects to see. If your digital brand is lacking or not clearly visible, your competitors will notice and fill the gap.
Why? Because YOU are a brand, I AM a brand. And whatever the product or service we want to buy, we have certain expectations that are often set by individuals as brands – from Dick Smith and Harvey Norman to my accountant and hairdresser. We buy people and ask other people what they think. The digital world along with social media enables us to publicise what we think online and influence others in a way we have never been able to before. The key is to ensure your digital presence reflects your offline presence and the brand is a 360 degree holistic representation of who you are and what you do. It is about being yourself with purpose in the digital age.
On a macro scale, digital branding, particularly personal branding, is there from B2C, B2B and the Top ASX500 to create influence. From Richard Branson positioning the Virgin brand to Nelson Mandela with a cause; if CEO’s aren’t choosing to head their own companies (or causes) in the digital arena, they may use the following of others. If you haven’t got the budget for a digital celebrity, become the expert in your field. After all, you know your stuff. Your customers buy you and what you stand for. If you are successful, they will continue to buy ‘’brand you’’ long after you have gone (think Steve Jobs, Versace), because your digital brand impression will remain in the form of expert content, speeches, video, referrals, testimonials, photos and infographics, all stored on the internet.
So where is your PR in the digital world and how are you influencing others with your skills and your business digitally?
Knowing no-one when I landed in Australia 20 years ago, developing my own brand to grow my business was the most critical thing that enabled me to start a new business in a new country. The success I have with my clients, Australian and Global entrepreneur CEO’s even led me to trademark a service offering to build the brand of individuals.
Back then we only had the phone, mail, print and broadcast. The internet was emerging. Now with social media, we get to play with a far wider and more affordable digital PR toolkit. This has put PR right back at the forefront as a must have brand promoting tool.
You are captain of your digital footprint
So why leave your own digital resume of you and your company to accident? I spent an hour with Cliff Rosenberg, CEO of LinkedIn, last week and it was extraordinary to hear the power of LinkedIn on our digital presence. Cliff recommended maximising your company LinkedIn profile to create easy, top of mind SEO. There are simple ‘’quick fix’’ steps you can take to improve things overnight.
Top 5 PR tips to build your personal and company brand in the digital world
- Set KPIs before you start to identify why you are doing this. Know what success looks like before you start so you can celebrate it
- Audit first – google yourself and review what you have now – what do you have to create, fix or improve
- Do LinkedIn first – get 100% optimised on your company and personal LinkedIn page. Invite your management and team to do the same
- Consistency – review your presence on each social media platform. Understand the real pros and cons of each as they change in relevance to your own networks
- 360 integrated approach– your offline and online presence needs to be integrated and working together to ensure complementary messages appear across every medium
The great thing for a business owner about PR in the digital world is its kind on effort. The content can be re-purposed and used across multiple sources. You can create one piece of content (eg. an article) and re-purpose it into presentations, on the website, in newsletters, email to prospects or pop into a blog post. Constant uploading is the key to good search engine optimisation.
Invest more in PR and social media with a new hire
The best thing about being a Founder CEO and commentator on all things comms is I get new marketing and brand building ‘’tools’’ to play with every year – this year Instagram is becoming the must-have for business not just consumers. Snapchat is sure to follow. Years ago, the new comms tools were about hardware – telex, then fax – then the internet and the iPhone. But no doubt the single biggest impact and change for small business owners is the use of PR in the digital and social media world as a cost effective option.
If PR is not large enough in your play kit bag at this start of the new financial year, it should be. Time to take another look! I am upping my PR and social media budget this year with a brand new hire. It’s focussed, effective and if you are not good at it, there are bright people around you who are. Time to get clocked in to how you can really use online PR. If you are not there, you can be sure your competitors will be.
About the Author:
Written by Sharon Williams, Founder CEO of integrated marketing, PR, social media agency Taurus Marketing.
Sharon is a pioneer in the Australian marketing and public relations agency industry. She is a CEO, Fellow of the PRIA, international speaker, personal brand expert, entrepreneur, mentor, marketer, media commentator and frequent mainstream editorial contributor.
Under Sharon’s leadership and entrepreneurial flair, Taurus is now recognized as one of Australia’s highest profile agencies, offering unparalleled levels of service to global corporations including Advance, UTS:INSEARCH, Appster, Napoleon Perdis and Clean Up Australia.