It’s one thing to get the logistics of your brand together, but it’s an entirely different struggle to raise brand awareness.
My priority when I take on new clients is to make sure we get all of your brand ducks in a row. This means analyzing your social media presence, your website, your logo, your marketing tactics— pretty much every faucet that comes with running a business. Once we have your business fine-tuned and collectively branded, it’s time to get people to know and recognize your business.
If you think that this is as easy as posting every day on social media, then I have some bad news for you. Social media and consistency is just one step towards increasing your business’ awareness. What you really need to do is find a creative way to get ahead.
Do you want to attract more clients and boost revenue?
Think about it: If you keep following the same strategic route as everyone else, you’re just going to get stuck in a traffic jam. Instead of taking the same lane as everyone else (posting consistently, SEO, etc) you need to pull out your business map and find another route. One that is more convenient and one that will get your brand there faster than everyone else waiting in line.
If you can get ahead of all those cars waiting in line to talk about their brand, then you’ve officially cut off the competition. You’re in the lead, which means your brand is going to get noticed first.
So how can you take my fancy metaphors and put them into action? I’m about to break it down for you with my 5 simple and ingenious ways to build brand awareness.
5. Brand Your Content
Do you want to hear something kind of crazy? According to BroadBand Search, “Every day, the number of social media users increases. Every second, 11 people use social media for the first time.”
They go on to layout even more inconceivable statistics, like the fact that 3.8 billion people use social media every day— which is about half of the world’s total population.
With that frightening statistic in mind, it’s a wonder that any one brand gets noticed on social media. While it’s definitely possible to use social media to boost your career, you need to be strategic about it.
For example, I like to use what I called “branded content” in my Instagram feed (see below). I post these every other day because they are great for engagement. Unless you’re a fashion blogger, most people aren’t going to save or share a picture of just you. Instead, they are going to save these bits of branded content because they provide value (i.e. tips) that people appreciate and might want to save for future reference.
The goal is to make sure people can link it to your brand. That’s why I include my logo on these posts. If someone decided to share one of my snippets of advice, then people will able to see where it originally came from (even if I’m not given proper credit which is a whole other issue). The white and purple color scheme also ties in with my YouTube videos and website. Now it’s instantly recognizable. People who come to my Instagram from my blog or videos will know this is my account because it’s branded.
Takeaway: Figure out a color scheme for social media and incorporate it into branded content. The branded content should be quick tips, quotes, or statistics relevant to your brand or industry.
4. Forecast Your Brand Awareness
Okay, what could I possibly mean by this? It’s not possible to plan for your brand to get noticed… is it?
It is if you know what you’re doing. The best way you can forecast your brand awareness is by planning ahead. One of my first steps for building your brand is to “niche your expertise.” Once you do that, you will know exactly the type of content you want to post. And if you know what you want to post, you can plan out a monthly content strategy and be well ahead of your competitors.
But it’s not enough to just have a content strategy. If you really want to forecast how your brand can get noticed, start looking ahead at the upcoming holidays. There are plenty of resources out there that let you know which “themed” days are coming up through national day calendars.
Journalists and podcasters will use these same resources to come up with topics to write about in 1, 2, even 3 months from now. So what can you do with this information?
Pitch yourself. Reach out to your favorite podcaster or journalist who writes for your industry beat and pitch an idea to them.
If your business is based around finance, you could pitch an idea around National 401K Day in September. It would be ideal to reach out to podcasts and journalists now to get your brand in there to cover the idea before anyone else does. Plus, you’re helping them pre-plan their content topics! It’s a win-win.
Takeaway: Plan out your content calendar months’ in advance to get an idea of topics you can cover. Then, reach out to journalists 2-3 months beforehand to raise awareness for your brand and to get a possible feature.
3. Pay Attention To Trends
Speaking of these themed days, staying on top of branding trends is especially important for increasing awareness around your brand.
You should be using these trending calendars every month to pre-plan potential topics for your blog, social media, or videos. I like to use these calendars to make notes of any pictures I want to take for the upcoming holidays. I’ve found that using these niche holiday topics in hashtags on my Instagram posts tend to increase my post impressions and my engagement. Those are the exact metrics you want to hit big on when it comes to social media because it means that people are noticing and enjoying your branded content.
Takeaway: Pay attention to upcoming holidays to stay on top of the trends. You can also do this by reading industry news and engaging with others. Check out my branding trends blog for more info on how to do this!
2. Develop a PR Strategy
Taking action to make sure your brand gets noticed is admirable. Many entrepreneurs feel like they don’t even have time to stay on top of their content and marketing strategies alongside their day-to-day work duties. However, it’s those who make time to spread brand awareness who will see results faster than those who put these important tasks on the back burner.
That being said, you cannot just post and go.
Let me repeat: you cannot just post your content and do nothing.
Your personal brand content acts as your “ice breaker.” They help you develop conversation starters which increases your engagement. Or, they act as helpful guides for your ideal client until your ideal fianlly reaches out to you for help.
But more importantly, it speaks to your credibility when you reach out to journalists.
Part of your brand awareness involves developing a PR strategy. This is a non-negotiable strategy if you’re looking to make waves with your business and your brand. It’s never too late to create a PR strategy. In fact, it worths coming up with a new plan every quarter!
RELATED: What is Personal Branding?
Who Should You Query?
Having a well-developed PR goal in your back pocket will come in handy when you’re ready for more people to know about your brand. Make a list of journalists and podcasters who cover topics in your industry. Engage with them on social media, read/listen to their content, and have an email script ready to send to them. In the email, you want to highlight your expertise, tell them a specific topic you can cover (that’s where those trending calendars will come in handy), and make a point to let them know what’s in it for them.
You can also use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to get a quote in high authority websites such as Forbes or Entrepreneur. Keep in mind that you have to act fast and have a clear, well-thought-out quote to send to them. When you sign up, you’ll be emailed industry topics that reporters or bloggers are looking to get quotes for. It will need to be clear based on your social accounts and your website that you are a reliable source or else they won’t consider you. If you have personal branded content, you’re ten times more likely to be chosen for these quotes because you already look credible.
It’s a numbers game when it comes to using HARO because these are usually timely subjects that need to be written fast. Take some time each week to respond to as many HARO requests as possible within your area of expertise.
Takeaway: Once you have your content strategy locked down, make a list of podcasts you want to appear on and make a list of journalists to contact for a possible quote or feature.
Make sure you try to form an organic relationship first (i.e. engaging with them on social media). Then, have a professional email you can use to pitch to them when the time is right.
You can also use HARO to spread your brand awareness.
1. Ask Your Clients
The one thing in business that never seems to fail is word-of-mouth.
Just like your personal brand will convert more clients because they like, know, and trust you, word-of-mouth brings in clients because people are 92% more likely to trust and buy from a brand that their friend recommends. Not to mention that this type of marketing accounts for “$6 trillion of annual consumer spending and is estimated to account for 13% of consumer sales.”
So, how can you get this going for your brand? It’s simple: ask for referrals.
Whether you are a service or product-based brand, referrals and reviews are going to be the backbone of your business. Not only does it generate brand awareness, but it builds your credibility. You know, that thing that journalists look out for when you’re pitching to them.
You’re going to want to ask for referrals from your previous or current customers. If you’re a service-based entrepreneur, offer a discount for their next month of service if they successfully convert a friend. If you’re product-based, you can create referral links with rewards (you can even start an ambassador program).
And, of course, you also want to promote reviews. Make sure you make it easy for your customers to leave reviews and consistently remind them to do it. If you’re looking for a client to leave you a review about your product or service, provide them with some sort of incentive (an extra service, a shout-out, a free thing, etc) for leaving a review that you can use in your marketing.
That’s all I’ve got for you today! Raising your brand awareness is a pro-active tactic that you need to work into your marketing strategy. Without it, you’re leaving it up to the algorithms to increase your brand’s footprint.
So, don’t get stuck in the slow lane. Use these alternative routes to fast track your brand for more business and more sales.