Building Your Brand – Customers Desire Two Way Communication

build-brands-on-the-webBuilding Your Brand

It’s what every business wants really.  No matter what business, product, or service you sell, the most important thing you can do is generate new customers.

However, in today’s economy, with incomes and unemployment at all time lows, your business needs a strong brand in order to make customers comfortable enough to do business with you.

So how do you grow your business in today’s tough economy?

Whether you’re a small business in a small town, or an international firm, your brand is your reputation.  And what people are saying about you, and how customers perceive you – whether it’s right, wrong, or otherwise – will most certainly determine your bottom line.

Using The Web To Build Your Brand

According to a new survey from Lightspeed Research, “The top characteristic US consumers want from brands they like is to improve their knowledge—and the least desirable one is for a brand to “only be visible in store.”

What this means is, customers in the US want an open line of communication with their favorite brands.  They (the US customer) wants a two way conversation taking place, or at least the opportunity for conversation to take, with their favorite brands.

And I would go as far as to say that the US consumer would be willing to change brands – buy from a different company than they normal would – if a competing brand had an open door of communication, and their previous brand did not.

How do you create a two way conversation with your customer?

There are 3 easy ways for any organization to leverage the web, and open the doors of communication with their customers and prospects.

1)  Start a blog

Having a business blog is, in my opinion, the best starting place for any business to build their online presence, and open the door to that two way conversation customers desire.

A blog for your business is also the best way to educate your customers and prospects about your products and services.  Generating high quality blog posts by using photos, videos, and “how to” articles, will show your customer base that your truly in leader in your market place.

Plus, having a business blog, and writing strategically for the web, will dramatically increase your presence and exposure in Google search results.  This will allow you to quickly connect to high quality customers that are actively searching for what you offer.

Read more about effective blogging for online exposure in our SEO Tips For WordPress Blogging.

2)  Facebook Fan Page

A Facebook Fan Page is a critical component to leveraging the power of the web for building your brand.

Your Facebook Fan Page can be about your entire business, or any of your specialty products and services.

First, a Facebook Fan Page allows people to become “fans” of your page and meets the criteria of “permission based marketing”.

Permission based marketing is a huge opportunity for you because fans of your page are basically saying that “I want to hear from you!”

It’s not very often that your business has an opportunity to communicate, on a continual basis, with a growing audience of people that actually want to hear from you.

A Facebook Fan Page achieves that!

And with your Facebook Fan Page, the two way conversation is wide open.  You’ll know instantly when someone makes a comment on your page, and you’re able to respond to those comments in real time.

Plus, your conversations are viewable by all of the other fans of your Facebook Fan Page.  This allows your reputation (your brand) to build indirectly with a growing audience of prospects!

3)  Twitter

Creating a Twitter profile is the third way that your business can build your brand and reputation by leverage the web.

Twitter is not a social network!

So unlike a Facebook Fan Page where you are able to easily communicate back and forth with people, Twitter is not built for that.

Twitter allows you, however, to build an audience of followers who want to receive broadcast messages from you.

This again meets the criteria of “permission based marketing” because your followers on Twitter have voluntarily followed you.

But on Twitter, your followers are typically just wanting to receive your information, not necessarily get into long discussions.

This helps you build your brand and reputation because the people following you on Twitter are able to be kept informed, and educated about your business.

Dell is a perfect example of how Twitter can be used by business.

Dell has a bargain outlet on Twitter where they promote second hand, recycled, or otherwise bottom inventory type computers and products.

Using Twitter as a broadcast messaging service has allowed Dell to gain over 1.3 million followers on Twitter, and do over $2 million in sales via Twitter.

Check out Dell’s outlet on Twitter > @DellOutlet

Graphs & A Slide Show

Here are a couple of graphs to illustrate how the US consumer thinks regarding brand and reputation:

us-consumer-graph-1

us-consumer-graph-2
Future Web, Global Web Index 23rd September 2009. The New Role For Brands
View more documents from Tom Smith.

The Take A Way

In today’s world, customers are able to get information faster than ever before via the web.  And with the economy tight, people are online looking for the absolute best deals they can find.

One of the most important ways that US consumers find great deals is by referencing their favorite brands on the Internet.

And when the US consumer is online, they want to be able to communicate directly with their brands.  If they can’t do that, then the brand could possibly lose that customer.

Today, it’s possible for business of any size, and from any location, to build a strong brand via the web with tools like blogging, Facebook Fan Pages, and Twitter.