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Find your online persona

How to properly establish your virtual brand

by Tara Nehme
Online persona

If people in the Middle East did not have the faintest clue what creating the perfect résumé entailed, then I was one lucky girl. Because if they didn’t know, and I figured out how, all I had to do was create something that allowed me to exchange my soon-to-be-learned skill for their money. Soon I would be living the life of Scrooge McDuck. Safe to say, the story didn’t pan out that way. Following an intense period of learning about everything related to web design and that horrible language called code, I finally had a website to call my own.

In a matter of months I launched ticklemybrain (TMB) and even though I was utilizing what I assumed were effective online advertisements, the requests did not flow in at the rate I had initially hypothesized. In my search for answers, Steve Jobs came to my rescue. When asked whether he did market research for the iPad he responded, “None, it’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” The reality was that my future customers had no idea their résumés needed ‘tickling’ in the first place. That would be one of the many valuable lessons I learned on how to properly establish my brand.

Creating a company brand that is full of life and building an online persona that will perpetuate that life is unbelievably important. Knowing you have something amazing to offer your audience isn’t enough. Customers have too many choices and the competition is simply too strong for you to be floating in a sea of fast fish.

Here are eight tips to help you get there:

1. Research it. We can avoid common branding pitfalls by scoping out the competition. I googled every single business that offered a service similar to TMB. Most companies had a very professional look, as that is the general sentiment associated with anything related to the corporate world. I didn’t want my clients to dread accessing my website because it reminded them of their troubles finding a job so I built a website, though professional, that utilized fun animations.

2. Pick a look. I spent hours deciding between fifty shades of yellow back when I was making choices about my logo. You want things nice but there should be a balance between a minimum viable product and pure obsession (where I usually hang out). So choose a logo, tagline and the colors that make your heart smile. Then move on.

3. Good lingo. If you arrive to your job each morning and speak with a different accent, your colleagues will most likely find you weird. Same goes with your business. You need to decide on a tone, and stick to a method of communicating with your audience that is consistent. If you decide to be funny once a week when using social media, then always be funny once a week.

4. Be social. When it comes to social media, recruit someone who speaks the language of your business really well. The last thing you want is a spelling error on your Facebook page. Consistency of posts and style should be applied across social media platforms, and don’t create a Twitter account if you’re not planning to tweet.

5. Know your audience. Rather than selling the writing service itself, TMB changed to promoting posts that related to résumé facts in order to make potential customers realize they needed help. We ensured, for example, that every person who landed on our Facebook page knew that recruiters only spent 10 seconds looking at a résumé so logically, what a reviewer sees in these 10 seconds was worth investing in.

6. Set up a solid platform. Technology is your arsenal so make sure to have a proper website equipped with search engine optimization (SEO) tools and any other tools pertinent to your business.

7. Reel them in. Provide people with reasons to visit your website. One obvious approach is a blog that you can use to generate free, powerful content that adds to your credibility as a company. WordPress or Tumblr are good sites to generate blogs.

8. Tracking. If you don’t monitor your online presence with a tool like Google Analytics, how will you know what works and what doesn’t? Don’t ignore the numbers.

Your brand’s personality, and more so your online presence, brings you closer to achieving your business goals, whatever they may be.

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Tara Nehme

Tara Nehme is the founder of ticklemybrain.com and partner at www.presella.com

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