Develop Your Virtual Brand for Real-Life Business

Why do you log on to Facebook? It might be to find out what is going on with family and friends. You may want to a play Farmville or post pictures of your last vacation. Being marketed to is nowhere on that list. All day we’re bombarded with marketing messages on TV, on radio and even on the highway. Social media is our respite, where we can virtually relax with friends.
Does that mean people aren’t succeeding in selling on Facebook and Twitter? No, it just means that it takes a tailored approach. Yelling at the top of your lungs for someone to buy your product simply doesn’t work — in real life or online.
So, how do you promote your brand on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites? It is easier than you might think. Follow these simple steps to take your online marketing efforts to the next level.

Develop Relationships
Consumers do business with people they know, like and trust. What reasons have you given them to like you? Start by being a human being and sharing your nonbusiness side. Talk about your children, your favorite sports team or the weather. People will naturally be drawn to you if you share common interests and life experiences.
Balance is Key
Follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of your online content should be about some topic other than selling. The other 20% of the time, talk about your business and what you can offer. What advice can you provide for free that your customers (or prospective customers) will find valuable? News articles, videos or infographics related to your industry or products make great posts. What other valuable information can you share?
Pull Back the Curtain
Give your social media friends and fans the inside scoop. Do you have a new product to offer? Post a picture of it or link to an announcement. Are you going to a conference or special event? Share your experiences live via your smartphone or laptop. Use the designated hashtag to tweet particularly powerful quotes from onstage. Better yet, post a video of you as the host. People love getting an exclusive peek inside your business.
It’s Not All About You
Do you know other small business owners that need help promoting their products and services? Highlight their business on your Facebook page. This creates goodwill and makes them more likely to talk about you in return.
Remember, social media is not about constantly yelling, “BUY NOW!” Consumers are smart and tune those messages out. Take the time to get to know your customers and provide additional value and you will be on your way to becoming a social media marketing pro.

A Closer Look: Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the perfect place to network with other professionals and develop connections. A well-maintained LinkedIn profile adds credibility and helps establish you as a legitimate business person. Here are the top three tips to make the most out of LinkedIn.
Say Cheese. Photo shoots aren’t just for actors and models. Hire someone to take a professional photo of you — money well spent. At minimum, have a friend take a photo of you in business attire, or apparel that represents your brand.
Sum It Up. How do you introduce yourself to someone you just met? Type this description and post it as your summary on your LinkedIn profile.
Don’t Worry, Be Appy. LinkedIn has apps just like Facebook or your smartphone. Use applications such as to post your brochure or sales tools.



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