Social Media is Bringing Sexy Back to Branding

by: Paula
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Some tips and tricks from the BlogHer ’10 session with Susan Getgood http://getgood.com/roadmaps, Beth Blecherman http://www.techmamas.com/ and Kimberly Blaine http://www.thegotomom.tv/

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When using social media tools to build your brand (also known as your reputation), consider your objectives. What do you want people to think about you and know about you?

Once you have a brand name, it’s time to let the world know. Broadcast your brand via online sites (such as the sites listed below), realizing that these are tools, and you need to decide which of these will work for you so you can create a strategy:

* Blogs/websites

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* Facebook/LinkedIn

* Twitter

* Social curation tools such as Delicious, Tumblr

* e-newsletters

* Video

* Location based tools such as Foursquare

There’s also the issue of whether you should use your real name or a brand name. Although using real names has become more common, there’s nothing wrong with a brand name. Beth is techmama – she talks about technology and parenting and the name clearly represents what she’s about.

You can use http://checkusernames.com/ to see if the name is available across all the online services. Meanwhile http://whois.domaintools.com/ is good for choosing a name for your website or blog.

To monitor your online reputation, you can use Google Alerts and Tweet Alarm.

To manage your brand, you can use http://claimid.com/.

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Twitter

Good Twitter strategy includes posting useful information, sharing relevant links, answering questions, finding people and responding to people.

Social curation tools

There are a range of tools depending on what you want to achieve:

* Content & Media Curation – Posterous, Tumblr, Pearltrees

* Rss: Bloglines, MyYahoo, Google Reader

* Updates: Twitterfeed, Ping.fm, Atomkeeper, FriendFeed

* Bookmarking: Delicious, Shareaholic

Using video

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Video is an effective tool because when people can see you and hear you they feel a lot closer to you. Google also loves video, so it’s great for building your online presence. The “Google juice” from video will give your blog or website a higher ranking in Google search results, making it easier for people to find you. These days the way to build your presence online is via distribution, so put your video on as many channels as possible. You can also syndicate video to get the content out there online where others can find it, try: Howcast, fivemin.com, YouTube, Blip and Vimeo. Video content producers love Twitter for video sharing because Twitter users are excellent sifters who spend a lot of time watching videos – more than anyone else online.

Work across social platforms

Once you’ve created your brand, use it across all platforms; you want a mix of community, sharing and connection. The question to ask before you jump in is: what are the people you’re trying to reach doing? You can find them via sites such as postrank.com, which is great for identifying bloggers in your niche. Howsociable.com is good for searching brands. Topsy.com lets you see who retweets you first and then who picks up those tweets. You want to be wherever these people are, but don’t be afraid to start small – you don’t have to join every social network at once. Pick a couple, build up your brand and grow. Also remember that with Twitter and Facebook you can run the feed of one through the other – which means you only have to update one of the sites and those updates will then appear on the other site. Social networking sites to consider:

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* Blogs/websites – create a community

* Facebook/LinkedIn – share ideas, thoughts and connectivity. Facebook fan pages have metrics built in so you can see how your page is growing, what people like and so forth. Facebook also has 500 million users so it’s where you can cast the widest net.

* Twitter – do you want a personal or professional account? If you want to keep them separate then create different accounts. If your personal and professional lives are intertwined then you can mix them.

* Social curation toolsTumblr allows you to grab those things online and put them together in one place. Pearltrees lets you choose things of interest on a particular topic – such as video, photos and Twitter conversations that you can share around the Web, then people share it with others.

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* Video – incorporate video into your blog. Offer video content to other bloggers and offer them video interviews on your site. Try vlogging – do a video blog post instead of a written post.

* E-newsletters – you can use these to build relationships and to stay on people’s radar. Educate, entertain and entice them – it’s not about you, but what you can offer your readers. There are programs such as iContact and Constant Contact that will allow you to track users.

* Location-based toolsFoursquare is still developing from a branding standpoint, but it’s hot right now. You do need to know who you’re connecting with on the site. Play with it but be careful – you don’t want to advertise that your house is empty, for instance.

If you want to be a brand, to monetize, then you need to have a niche, be consistent and build your presence. Things that go viral don’t go viral by themselves, and you can put in work ahead of time to build contacts and engage participants – who will then help you spread the word once your message is ready to broadcast.

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