We send messages all the time. Everything from our clothing choices to facial expressions tell the world a variety of things about us, whether we want them to or not.
Online interactions are the same.
Have you asked, “What message is my business sending online?”
While it may seem like an unimportant question, it’s crucial that you know.
One of the greatest lessons I learned early in my social media career is to be purposeful about what I post and share. And that everything must be done with intention.
It’s not wise to throw things up just for the sake of having something new, every piece of content should be relating back to your brand’s goal or mantra.
Remember back in college when we had to write papers with a thesis? It was stated first, but everything after it related back to the original thought.
It’s the same with building a brand’s message online.
In the past several months I’ve been concerned about the messages that are being communicated from brands – big and small alike. Regardless of whether it’s a small businesses or a famous person, they all have a brand, a representation of who they are.
For example, let’s say there’s a graphic design business specializing in the health and wellness industry. Would it behoove them to design ads for alcohol and cigarettes? It would bring in additional revenue, but it would also be confusing to prospect clients who are passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.
The same principle applies to social media and the messages we share online. The same graphic design business would also confuse fans and followers by promoting alcohol and cigarettes on Facebook or Twitter. The online audience would say, “Wait – isn’t this a health and wellness company?”
It’s imperative for brands to be clear about who they are, what they stand for, and how they promote it.
Let me put it another way.
Who are you and what do you stand for? Is it confusing to the people around you to say you hate pinstripes, but wear them everyday? Of course it would be!
We can’t disconnect real life from our online reality. If we say we are for something, it should be evident in our actions.
So how can you be more intentional or decide what your business stands for?
To get a better idea or more clearly define what your business’s values are, answer these questions and follow the action steps.
Define your business
1. Why did you choose the name of your business?
2. What product or service do you sell?
3. Describe the product or service.
4. What is your mission statement or tagline?
5. Is the mission statement or tagline representative of the product or service?
6. What 5 adjectives best describe your business?
7. What 3 businesses do you want to emulate? (Must be in the same industry)
8. What 3 businesses do you NOT want to emulate? (Must be in the same industry)
9. Name 5 other products or services that are similar to yours?
10. Who is your target audience? (Be VERY specific)
1. Make a list of 3-5 ways to visually describe your product or service.
2. Research the businesses you want to emulate and name 3-5 ways they express their brand through social media
3. Research the businesses you do NOT want to emulate and name 3-5 ways they express the brand poorly
4. Using the adjectives that describe your business, create 5 sentences or statements that can be used across all social platforms
For example, Adjective: Helpful Sentence: I strive to help every person that reaches out to me.
5. Using your target audience model, find out what THEY want to hear from your brand. Talk to clients, friends or reach out to the online audience for feedback. Talk to a minimum of 3-5 people, listen closely, and take notes.
6. Enlist a coworker, friend or loyal customer to hold you accountable for what you share online. It must be someone who pays attention and feels comfortable being straightforward. Be sure to honor this person by giving them a safe environment to be honest.
7. Take the information and feedback gathered from these action steps, put them in a document, and refer back before posting online, writing a blog or engaging in conversation online.
8. Do a monthly survey of your content and ask for new feedback from new people. Objective feedback is an underrated gem that can make an enormous impact on your business.
Jump in today and be active about making sure your business is sending the right messages! Don’t allow anyone else but you to communicate what is most important about your brand.
Finally, be consistent. I often harp on the significance of consistency in ALL aspects of business because it will make or break our online representation, what our brand stands for, and how trustworthy our business is considered to be.