#LoveYourBrand – The Difference Between a Personal and a Corporate Brand

Branding is a popular topic in the marketing arena and for good reason. A brand can make or break a business. To make matters more complicated, most small businesses don’t even really understand the concept of branding. They’ve heard the lingo, and they know it’s important, but the nuances of branding strategy are often still a distant consideration.
A Branding Lesson
What is branding anyway? Is it a logo or a set of specific colors? Maybe it’s a tagline or a slogan? Perhaps it is all of that combined?
Actually, no. Branding is nothing that a company or individual specifically does or presents to the public.  This is where it gets tricky.
Now go back and read that again. Yes, that’s right. The audienceis in control of your brand. Does that mean you should pack it up and stop fighting the good fight? Absolutely not! The more you can implement and showcase in terms of what you want your audience to believe about you, the better.  This investment in time and resources tells a story to your clients or customers about what you want your business to be. 
Corporate Branding
Corporate branding is very conceptual. Most companies take a concept or an idea – a company vision – and build their branding around it. Once a business has an idea about their brand, they can then mold each and every touchpoint to reflect that brand image. Touchpoints happen whenever an individual comes into contact with your company – whether that be at the receptionist desk, through the mail, reading a magazine, or talking to an employee. Taking the time to really incorporate a corporate brand into all of the available touchpoints helps to ensure a company is consistent with their messaging.
Personal Branding
A fairly new idea on the branding horizon is the notion of personal branding. How is a personal brand different from a corporate one? The answer is simple. A personal brand is all about people. It’s about you! How do you come off in a room full of people? What impression do you give your co-workers, employees, clients, or while networking? These different perceptions are all facets of your personal brand.
This means that spending time developing a brand image for yourself is just as important as developing a brand for your business. What impression are you trying to make in person and online when it comes to your work? How can you implement those ideas into what you do as a career?
Of course, personal and corporate branding do not need to be mutually exclusive. The best of both worlds involves taken your personal branding and seamlessly incorporating that into the brand for your business. One type of branding is not more powerful than another. The sweet spot is the intersection where both personal and corporate meet and blend together.

Love the idea of branding but having a difficult time figuring out where to start or how to combine your personal brand into what your business is already doing? Our team loves helping businesses create a personal narrative and brand so that they can continue to follow their purpose and #BeAwesome!
~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don’t get left behind ~ 

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, FacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them. 

Click here for her 
Social Media Workshops, Classes and Seminars.

New Year, New Habits – Getting Into a Blog Routine

Even if you don’t understand why, you know you need to blog. Everyone is doing it and you keep hearing about the values of blogging. In today’s age of digital socializing, just having a website often isn’t enough. When potential clients and power partners are seeking more information about you and what you do – they turn to the Internet. Larger companies and corporations have a digital footprint of online reviews, press releases, and branding information. However, smaller businesses lack information and personality. There is often only a single webpage with contact information to use for research. The lack of a blog, or the presence of a blog that hasn’t been updated in awhile, is a turn off.
A blog is a great way for people to discover you and determine whether or not they want to work with you. It’s a way to encourage an online following of brand advocates and individuals passionate about you and your work. It will also dissuade the people that won’t make good clients and partners from contacting you. Once people have a better feelfor your work, they will be more inclined to talk and do business with you.
Developing a New Habit
The common misconception is that it only takes two weeks to form a new habit. Turns out that information isn’t entirely accurate. This studyover the course of 12 weeks showcased that the time differed, depending on the person and the complexity of the habit. On average, it took around 66 days for a new habit to be formed. For some people, it took much longer. The point is that you have to make a commitment and stick to it. Don’t give up on the habit and one day you will wake up and realize it no longer needs to be forced but is an automatic part of your routine.
Scheduling Time to Blog
The first, and probably most important, part of developing a new blog routine is scheduling a set time to do it. It needs to be a time where there are no excuses. Also taken into consideration should be the time of day you feel most inspired and productive. If late at night sounds like a regular time that would work but every time you sit down you are too tired to write – then that schedule will never be successful.
  •        When do you feel most productive?
  •        When do you feel most creative?
  •        When are there fewer distractions?
  •        What time of day could you be most consistent?

Do you spend the first 30 minutes of your day checking your email and/or social media profiles? Put that off until later in the day – when you are tired and drained and distracted. Is 10 am the time of day you find yourself whizzing through projects or client calls? Then schedule a 10 am meeting once a week or month and dedicate it to developing your next blog post.
Developing Your Voice
This is the tricky part. This is true for every type of writer just starting out. Finding and developing your writing voice is essential. However, it’s important to understand that you won’t know what it is at first – and that’s ok. The only way to truly discover your writing voice is simple – you have to write. Write every day, if you can.
Why do you need your own voice? Without it, you come off as boring or unattached. Your voice is your personality on paper. Your audience will become curious and dedicated to you only once they begin to feel like they know you. It shouldn’t feel like they are reading a textbook. Knowledge is important but personalityis the hook.
You will find, that with time, your voice will sort of naturally develop. However, if you are having issues with it there are some things you can do to help locate it.
  •  Aim to write the same way you would talk to people.
  • Also a good branding exercise, come up with a handful of adjectives that describe you.
  • Examine blogs you enjoy reading and write down WHY you enjoy them.
  • Imagine that you are your perfect reader. What are you looking for in a blog?
  • Ask trusted advisors what they think about your writing voice.
  •  Join some blogging groups for advice and support.

Finding Inspiration
We all have moments where we can’t access new ideas. We get stumped and blocked and frustrated. It’s important to make finding inspiration a regular practice. This means examining when you feel the most creative. What time of day do you usually find the creativity flowing? What activities do you engage in that motivate you? Do you finding listening to music inspiring? Do you get your best ideas during exercise or in the shower? Starting paying attention to when you feel creative and see if you notice any patterns. Then develop a techniqueto jot down ideas during these peak times.
It’s often possible to force creativity into action as well. This will vary based on the individual. Perhaps it means taking time to read a book, or go to a museum, or watch inspirational videos online. Does the sunrise motivate you? Then wake up early from time to time and spend a few moments enjoying it. Create a playlist that you can listen to over and over again as needed. Spend some time reading blogs you enjoy or finding new blogs and voices. Grab a book and learn something. Whatever works for you, make it a part of your regular routine. Do this even when you aren’t stumped for ideas because then you will have a list of concepts already developed for moments when inspiration eludes you.
As with any new habit or activity, only the investment of time and energy will yield results. No one should expect to come out of the gate as an expert on something they have no experience doing.
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers
It’s necessary to continue to dive in there and just do it. You’ll find that, after time, you will get better and that will encourage better results from your blogging efforts. Stop procrastinatingand make a commitment TODAY to develop your new blogging habit. It’s just one more way that I’m encouraging you to #BeAwesome in your business! #NewHabits
~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don’t get left behind ~ 

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,FacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+ , YouTube,Pinterest, Instagram  and the tools to manage them. 

Click here for her 
Social Media Workshops, Classes and Seminars.

The Scoop on Canva

Social Seven – Social Media Podcast
With Erin Cell of Socially Powered and Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor

The Scoop on Canva!

Canva is a social media management tool. It allows you to create images for your website, social media, business cards, presentations and other branding needs. There is a free version and an upgraded version. There is also the option to select from premium images and pay for different templates and designs.
The crisp colors, cool fonts and other options in Canva are very nice. Plus, you can import your own images and edit them within the site. This helps to really brand. It takes it from a corporate brand to something a bit more personal. Social media users should be using a lot of images.
Canva is now coming out with Canva for work, which will allow social media managers to better organize design elements for their clients. That will enable this group to separate logos, images, fonts and colors by clients and keep everything separate but still accessible on the site.
When you play with different photo editing tools there can be a bit of a learning curve. This takes advanced graphic design knowledge out of the equation. No need to learn Photoshop or be a graphic designer to create something in Canva. When you use this tool, you feel like you are paying for top-notch design elements. Even the templates are affordably priced. You could make 100 different designs or images and store them within the tool for future use.
Also, Canva has all the major social media platform dimensions. It’s automatically formatted whether you want to make a Facebook ad or a Twitter cover image. Users can also create images using custom dimensions as well.
Canva at work does have an affiliate program for early access to this site feature.
Canva also provides learning tools including a design school. These will teach you how to use the tool. For those with writer’s block, there is a stream of designs from other users to help inspire you to make something new.
Those of you who haven’t used Canva before, check it out. Play with the templates. Go through some of the tutorials and try some different things. It’s an awesome tool. It will change your branding and put yourself into your brand for a change.
Think Canva has a place in your toolbox to design on the fly and spread your message? Follow us on social media to find out when our Social Seven podcast is streaming live!

3 Steps to Make Your Blogs Standout


With over 2 million Blogs posted each day on the Internet, your visibility can be widely reached if you format your Blogs properly.  Have you struggled with posting Blogs and never getting traction from them? Here are a few tried and true tips that will help your Blogs get better visibility on the web.

  1. Develop a Sexy Title

The title of your Blog is what will entice your viewer to want to open your Blog.  It should provide specific meat as to what you will be discussing, while clearly letting your viewer know what they will learn from it.

Define your topic
You know what you want to tell your audience, so write out your format, your key points and put your heart and experience into your words.  Try to avoid straying from your topic, because goodness … that could be your NEXT Blog! Your title should specifically site what you plan to discuss in your Blog.
Include Something Edgie
What words would be compelling enough to cause your Blog to standout from another?  Consider using words such as “Brilliant”, “Standout” or “Beyond Measure” or something that uses a fun play on words such as “Fill Your Business Belly” (an example used for a Thanksgiving themed post), “Banking on Bucks”, “Mustering Management” or “Linking Logically”.  Having fun with wording can theme your Blog Post or strike an interest from your viewer.

Be Specific and Brief
There is no need to write a Paragraph for your title, be brief and specific and you will gain more traction.  Additionally, search engines and social media platforms will limit the characters for your title and you really don’t want to exceed that length.  I know that as a user, I am less inclined to click on a link in social media if the title is too long or doesn’t provide a compelling reason to click on it.

  1. Provide Value

Give tangible tips, stories or facts your viewer can walk away with
Tips, facts, adding images and relatable stories provide more value than just a rant about a topic that a larger audience may not be interested.  An example of this is a Blog written about a product or service you are selling, if you are just speaking technically about why someone should buy, without providing meat as to a problem that is solved or a use for the item, then the purpose of the Blog will get lost in translation.

Provide detail but don’t write a book
Try to limit your characters (or words) to about a page in Word.  If you exceed that greatly, you will want to consider carving the blog into multiple Blogs.

Give your viewer the opportunity to dive deeper should they want to
Share the problem you want to solve, provide ways to do so and your viewer will feel they have been empowered with tools to navigate that problem and may likely visit again.

  1. Brand Your Blog Appropriately

Your Blog is endorsed by your brand right?
If you aren’t including images from your brand, backlinks (an incoming hyperlink from one web page to another website – as found in Google definitions) within the post, your user will have less opportunity to learn more and less opportunity to direct traffic back to a page on your website or someone else’s site.

Have you provided a signature for your viewer to connect with you deeper?
People like knowing who wrote the post even within a Corporate Brand.  I recommend including an image of the person writing it, their slogan or tagline and ways to contact that person, which could include links to their social media profiles.

Include a Call to Action
What would you like your audience to do now that they took the time to read your Blog?  Give them some sort of an action to take should they want to learn more.  “Visit xyz for more information”, “Connect with us at …”, even suggest another Blog for them to visit.

In all things, be authentic, provide knowledge and remember, if you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong.  #BeAwesome!

Want to learn specific techniques that dive deeper in the techniques of Blog Development?  Want to learn how Social Media can expand your brand to a new level?  Join us at one of our Webinars about Social Media strategies, tools and techniques at: http://www.thesocialpro.eventbrite.com

~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don’t get left behind ~ 

Hollie Clere, of The Social Media Advisor is a “Be Awesome” Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Conent Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ , YouTube, Pinterest and the tools to manage them. Click here for her Social Media Workshops, Classes and Seminars


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