#1. You Are Your Brand!
You have to represent your brand every single day; don’t try to make it something that you are not! Be proud of who you are and let that shine through your brand! Being you all the time is easy, but trying to be perceived as something else all the time will not only be difficult, it will get boring. You have to have a passion for what you are doing, and if you love yourself, you’ll love your brand. (If you don’t love yourself, maybe work on that before starting a company–it will help).
#2 Consistency, Consistency, Consistency!
I can’t emphasize this enough! Branding is all about the look, feel, and voice of your company, and it absolutely needs to translate across channels, both digital, print, and through your speech. Is your social cover photo the same on every platform? does your website reflect your social media accounts? Pick your colors, fonts, visual style, verbiage/language and stick to it! Best practice is to have a Brand Guidebook made that will lay it all out and it becomes your company’s bible!
#3. Don’t Be Shy!
Your brand is your baby, yet Facebook is only blowing up with pictures of your actual child. Be proud of your brand and flaunt it! Tell people about it both digitally and IRL. Don’t be passive about it “oh yeah, I kind of do some freelance on the side”, no, “Actually I have my own company! I do this and this and this and it is really exciting!” If you speak about your company with passion and excitement, it will show and others will get excited with you! That is also how word of mouth will begin to spread.
#4. Content Is Still King (and always will be)!
Never stop creating content! Whatever your company may be, you should have an endless amount of resources on hand to post on social media and on your website. If it is solo, I get it (I am too) Just do it whenever possible and keep it up. Update your social media whenever possible with GOOD content, not just something on a whim. Plan it, create templates, be consistent! Blog whenever possible and create free resources for your audience. That will lure people in and some will just take the free stuff but others will realize they need more help. Whenever you have a spare moment, be writing or designing and throw everything into a bucket that you can access on both your phone and computer so you can post from either. Not the best at copywriting or graphic design? Hire someone! (ME)
#5 Network (different than don’t be shy)
To grow your brand, and gain clients, you must put yourself out there. As much as creating content and being active on social media will do, it is nothing compared to referrals and word of mouth clients. look for events in your area within your industry or just for entrepreneurs and go to them! Even if you are shy, do it, push your boundaries. Reach out to people that inspire you via email, just putting that out in the universe, may bring something good back. Additionally, you can host an event! Talk to your chamber of commerce to set something up for small businesses, start one on meet-up.com, or just publicize through social and word of mouth. Growing your book of contacts will never be a bad thing, and hey, perhaps you can refer people to those new friends you made, they may want to return the favor…
#6. Be Active on Social Media
Yes, you must be posting often on all channels, but being active on social also means engaging with your audience! If someone comments on your post, comment back, or at least like it. Follow like-minded individuals and connect with them through DM’s and comments on their posts. Follow your potential clients or your dream clients and interact with them. Interested in paid social posts? Do it! You can target and reach those you desire. Comment, share, follow, like, DM a lot, and be genuine.
#7. ABU (Always Be Updating)
Update your website, update your posts, update your SEO, update your bio if it changes, update your social media cover photos (not profile photos – unless you update your logo), update your offerings, etc. Always be updating everything to make sure you are relevant and actually align with what your brand represents. Having something outdated on your website looks unprofessional, and your potential clients could rule you out of their options because of it. I know it can be difficult to be working, creating content, have a life, and be updating your channels, but you’re expected to stay up to date with the news, so you better stay up to date with your company’s presence. Truly don’t have the time? You know what to do.
#8. DON’T try to appeal to everyone
Your goal should not be to attract everyone to your brand. If your brand is being true to you, then you will attract the right clients, and repel the wrong ones. You don’t necessarily want to work for everyone right? and you are not right for everyone in return. You must stay true to you and your brand and know what you offer and what you don’t. If you keeping doing you, your customers will come.
#9. Contribute Elsewhere
Of course, it is most important to keep your website and social presence updated and fresh, but it is also a great idea to be present on other websites! Maybe you follow a really great blog that gives you a ton of your business inspiration. Reach out and see if you could guest write an article! In the same regard, reach out to a podcast that you listen to and see if they would be interested in having you as a guest. Additionally, head to forums or discussions of common questions in your industry that you can answer. Comment in a respectful and professional manner and sign with your name, title, and company (and probably a link to your website). It’s a great idea to get your name and company out there, especially in places other than your own website.
#10. Allow Room For Growth
You know how some actors and actresses get typecast into movies and shows and always play the same role? Don’t do that to your company. You are who you are and you have a set of skills that can help many others, but always be taking on projects that diversify your portfolio and show how versatile those skills are. Additionally, you never want to stop learning, so leaving the door open for growth will be very helpful. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into something super specific, soar like an eagle and take on the projects that scare you, they will only help.