• Are you telling your brand story in social media?



As small business owners, we spend a lot of time and energy building our businesses and building our brands. When developing a persona for our business, we can get caught up in the process and overlook many of the reasons we started a company in the first place. Businesses forget to be authentic and true to their roots and mission. Customers buy from people they trust, not brick and mortar establishments. This is why authenticity is so essential as a branding strategy. Understanding this concept is not the same as putting it into action, so we’ve created a simply step-by-step process for building authentic messaging.
What Is Your Message?
This goes beyond a mission statement and a plague on the wall. In order to be trustworthy, you have to really understand your purpose and be able to share that with others. What is your reason for existence? If it’s only to make money – your clients will sense that and move on to another business with a greater purpose and reason for existence. This goes back to providing solutions to problems and resolving pain points instead of simply meeting a bottom line.
Understand Your Value
Where many solopreneurs go wrong is by not determining, and then focusing on, their own value. Stop pushing the product or service so hard that you forget to showcase what you really bring to the table. There is no way to convince a potential client of your worth if you do not own your own value. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.
Understand Your Competition
Get a feel for your competition, their online presence and what they are offering to your audience. More than just price or packages, what really motivates clients to work with them? What makes them stand out, makes them different? Then make sure, coming from a place of authenticity and being true to your purpose, that you are speaking to the same audience in a way that resonates for both you and for them. Mirroring the work of another isn’t genuine in any way and people will be more likely to respond to a fresh approach and story that resounds. Than a carbon copy of someone else’s ideas.
Draft Your Story
Got a handle on your purpose? Think you truly understand the value of what you offer? Found a way to stand out from your competitors? Then it’s time to draft the story of your work. Storytelling is an immensely powerful marketing technique. Without drifting away from who you are and what you stand for, create stories around your work, your brand and your leadership and then promote them as often as possible. Weave your story into your online presence and be prepared to share it over and over again with those willing to listen. Your clients buy into your story, not just your product or service. That story has to resonate with readers. Make it a compelling one (and don’t forget your calls to action)!
Build a Community
Those who hear your story and are drawn to your authenticity and messaging will want to find ways to work with you, and to share your message with the people they know. Make it easy for them to do so. Find a way to build a community around your tribe, your power partners, your clients and your cheerleaders.  Regardless of format, make sure to share your successes, and struggles, your calls to action and your stories so that they too can share your message with others.
Be Consistent
“Your words should match your actions and you should always endeavour to do what you say.”
Declan Mulkeen
Human beings have a variety of facets. Nothing is ever truly black and white. However, be very aware of remaining consistent with your message and your story. While there are many different aspects to your personality, straying too far from the path you have created could confuse your audience and drive them to other brands that have a clear, concise message to share.

Learn to wear the persona of your company in an authentic way and you have mastered the art of effectively sharing your message with the world.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
As a small business owner, you already understand the value of branding. If you’ve been following my blog, you’re also aware of the importance of personal branding. Now that you have the fundamentals, let’s talk about where many people go wrong with branding. We spend so much time putting together our strategy and our content that occasionally authenticity gets lost.
Have you ever come across any of the following?
  •      A brand that didn’t ring true to its own messaging?
  •      A business owner whose message felt forced?
  •      Content that didn’t seem to match up with the projected brand?
  •      Inconsistency or lack of clarity in a brand’s content?
  •      Drastic swings in message without a proper re-branding strategy?
I’m sure at some point, you’ve witnessed at least one of the above scenarios. It happens. Just because you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, doesn’t mean that you are a branding expert.
Authenticity
The path to authenticity lies in taking the time to discover who you really are. What does your company provide, what pain points does it solve, and how do you provide solutions to problems? What is your message? How do you want to present it to the world? These are the questions that have to be answered because, without this knowledge, you are not able to be authentic in your marketing.
“Authentic companies don’t try to be something they’re not, but instead recognize what they are, what they do best, and what customers value most about them.” 
Vision Critical

Consistency  
Where many businesses miss the boat is failing to remain consistent. Consistency is a vital aspect of branding. Your company, and your team, must live your brand story every day. It needs to be shared, in a variety of ways, as often as possible with your target audience. A clear, concise, consistent message will make a bigger impact than just throwing whatever out there and hoping for the best result. Understand your brand, understand your message and then develop a process where you are sharing high-quality, authentic contentwith your followers.
Brand Loyalty
Authenticity has a powerful return on investment. Honesty, integrity, and candor are highly sought after and valued. Opening up a window, allowing yourself to be a bit exposed and vulnerable, breeds trust within your audience. That trust converts into brand loyalty. Loyal brand ambassadors are the best, FREE, marketing strategy a company can have. Your tribe will not only follow and engage with you – those who trust your message will share it, whenever and wherever they can. This is the real return on being authentic in your marketing.

Don’t be afraid to shine. You have to put yourself out there. Toss aside the masks you tend to use for protection when you face the world and have faith that your authentic message will draw the right clients to your doorstep. This is a fundamental foundation to #BeAwesome with your branding.

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!
Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Are you educating your clients on all of your services? You can’t assume a person will know everything your company offers based on a quick description on your social media pages (if they even read that). You also shouldn’t assume your clients know everything about you. It’s just not realistic.
Don’t rush out and flood your mailing list and social media platforms with a flood of updates, or one long unending message about what you do. That will likely frustrate your clients and make your reputation suffer. So how do you educate your clients without being spammy about it?
Here are some suggestions that will help you educate your clients AND get them intrigued about your services. You don’t have to do all of them, but consider one or two.
  • Update your site. Consolidate all your services into one informative page. Make sure it’s easy to read and understand. Break down each service into a three sentence (or less) description. ProTip: It’s also a good idea to develop a FAQ that covers common regular questions and any you receive about services. If you have one, make sure you link the FAQ on this information page.
  • Each service you provide should have a more detailed explanation. Whether you do this by individual web pages or as expanded tabs on your information page is completely up to you, but it needs to be there.
  • Create a blog postabout your services. Be informative, and explain how you help the client with each service. It can be as detailed as you like, but you can easily keep it as brief as the site update suggestion from above. Then, post your blog post link on all your social media sites. Make sure your title is eye-catching and the first three sentences are intriguing. Future questions can be directed at either this blog post or the information page you make.
  • Do you have two or more services that are normally purchased together? If so, why not combine them into a package that clients can purchase at a discount? This promotion can also be a great way to mention other services you provide. This one is excellent for mailing lists, by the way.
  • Choose a day of the week to inform your clients on all social media accounts about your business. Then, select one aspect of your business and talk about that. It helps to have an image to go with your post. That image should be easy to read and understand. One of my clients uses a definition image where they list a service they provide and then write out that two to three sentence description. Make the background eye catching. You should know that white text with a black outline can go on any background, so you should use that for consistency and viewing ease from mobile devices.
These are just some ways to inform your clients of your services. One thing to keep in mind: your audience for Twitter isn’t the same as Facebook. Nor is your mailing list the same as your Instagram. Expect that your clients aren’t all aware of the same information. Repurpose your content instead of setting up an information page on one social media site (like Facebook) and using that link to give your clients information.
One other thing, and this is important. Don’t just share your own stuff. Talk about other things, places, events, ideas, and more. If you are constantly trying to sell your services, you’ll come off looking cheap and shady. To #BeAwesome in social media you will need to take into consideration the type of content your audience wants and provide that regularly.

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!
Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.


It’s 5 p.m. after a long work day and you sit in front of your computer or mobile device primed and ready to write a promotional post for your company, product, service, etc. for your favorite social media platform. And yet you stare, unable to come up with content. Or worse yet, you can’t remember if there was a meme, challenge, hashtag, or event you were supposed to mention or use today. Does this seem familiar?
How about this? As you’re going through your social media accounts you realize you haven’t posted on your blog or Instagram in days or even weeks. Now you know, based on several studies, that you should have at least two blog posts a week and consistent posts on Instagram to keep people engaged. Worse yet, when you go to your Facebook page, you realize you posted four or five of the same kind of content or pitch in a row.
Wait, there’s more. What if your twitter account is lively, but there are messages you haven’t responded to just sitting there?!?
While social media can be fun, it can also be mentally draining. You’ve made decisions all day long, sometimes into the weekend, and there are thousands more coming. Trying to keep track of it all may seem like an impossible dream.
It’s not.
You, my friend, need an editorial calendar.
What is an editorial calendar and how is this different from a regular calendar? I’m so glad you asked. An editorial calendar is a visual layout of your future social media posts. It gives you a single snapshot of upcoming content, tracks your previous posts, and best of all, becomes an anchor in the sea of social media analytics. Did you have a theme that did particularly well? How about a heartfelt post that drove interaction up? What triggered your sudden spike in Facebook likes?
As it is typical for your team to have access to the editorial calendar, you’ll want it keep it social media focused. Does your blog count as social media? Some say yes, others say no. If you end up sharing it or pressing it to social media upon publishing the post, then I say it definitely counts and should be included.
So how do you set up a social media calendar?
Whether you hand write it on a paper calendar, planner, use Google calendar, Evernote, a word processing document, or spreadsheet, there are many ways to get your calendar started.
First, you want to set up a regular posting schedule. It can be as intense or laid back as you like. Some prefer to set up daily posts and others prefer to make a list at the beginning of the week or month. It makes no difference how you set it up. Try a few things out and see what works best for you. Pay attention to your peak times – those times of day where followers or viewers tend to visit your pages the most. That’s when you are going to want to schedule your posts.
Second, make sure your schedule is doable and not full of wishes. Time is money. You’ve heard that phrase. How long does it take you to write a blog post? Hunt down quotes? Build images for your twitter feed? Keep a mental picture of the time involved in your mind as this may be a talking point later on if you discover your time is worth more elsewhere and want to bring in help.
Third, schedule your content. Prescheduling is your friend in this case. Facebook and most blogging platforms allow it, but others, like Twitter and Instagram, require a third party software for scheduling. If you’d rather post daily, set up your posts ahead of time either in a document or excel sheet. Prep your hashtags ahead of time and make sure your links are properly shortened for twitter. That way, on the day of your post, you can copy and paste it straight to your preferred platform. It cuts down on decision fatigue and keeps you focused on what really matters: providing the best experience for your potential clients, customers, and associates.
And before we forget, here’s the fourth: keep track of how you do and be willing to adjust what isn’t working. Each of the social platforms has their own analyticstools. Schedule half an hour once a month to look into what is or isn’t working with your social media so that you can adapt, edit and get better traction.
Want some extra insight into building your calendar? Here are some links that might help:

Know you need a great editorial calendar but simply don’t have time to sit down and plot out the strategy on your own? Contact the Social Media Advisor for an audit of your current social platforms and help developing your own content calendar. We love helping businesses #BeAwesome with your presence online!

Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!
Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

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