What is it that a customer sees in your brand that makes you a dependable source for their needs? While there are numerous legitimate brands that utilize the online world to develop their authenticity, there are just as many that could be defined as fake. Some may be fly-by-night brands that come and go while others use various methods to trick the audience into making purchases.
As a result, customers are becoming more vigilant and cautious about whom they engage with in the online world. This means that it is your task to create a brand image that is genuine. Can people rely on you? Or, could you just be taking advantage of them? This is the question that many members of the audience will ask themselves when they encounter your brand. The answer you provide lies in how you present your brand and engage with the online world around you.
Your Brand, Your Image: Creating a Good Impression
One of the first things that audience members spot is your human element. A real brand is defined by you as an individual. The story which drives you, the goals you have, and the characteristics that make you unique are what make you real.
- Link Profile Diversity – Only Way to Survive with Google
- How to Generate Conversion From your old Customers
Sharing your inspiration with others allows them to relate to you because your audience members also have their own inspiration. While the details aren’t necessarily the same, they understand that you share this basic, but essential, quality.
Valuable information is what develops your brand personality and should be appropriately shared through your content, be it on social networks, blogs, newsletters or web content. The value you put into your brand proves that your goal is not just to make a sale but to develop your brand, as well. When the audience sees that you’re serious about your brand, they will be one step closer to trusting your expertise.
Make sure your endorsements and endorsers are authentic
What types of connections do you make? Are your “experts” and endorsements backed by their own authority in the field? In today’s online world, it is easy enough to generate an endorsement by a made-up character or even take content out of context to prove a point. But, it is just as easy for the audience to search for and find out just how authentic your endorsements are.
This means that it’s up to you to only use connections that are solid, authentic, and relatable to the audience. Keep in mind that experts aren’t the only source of a good endorsement – especially since it is the audience members themselves that will ultimately determine your brand’s credibility.
Do real people talk about your brand? Are they willing to share your brand within their own networks? Word of mouth marketing is an essential ingredient in developing a brand that can be regarded as the real deal. It can provide the necessary proof that your brand is here to help and here to stay.
Always remember that honesty is the best policy. Trust is something that develops over time, and will define authenticity and generate sharing.
Use customer-friendly structure
One of the most obvious things that demonstrate authenticity is the nature of your brand’s online presence. Perhaps to understand this better, we should first consider what a fake brand might do in this situation. Fake sites are generally “tossed” together, making it difficult to navigate (such as finding contact information) and basically serve one purpose only – to make a quick sale.
But when endeavoring to define a brand as the real thing, your website and online networks should be designed to be user friendly and provide helpful information, serving the audience as best as they can.
Maintain an active online presence
This leads to the importance of having an ongoing presence within all the networks or sites that you use. How often do you update information? Do you pay attention to comments? Do you generate conversation and engage the audience regularly? A tell-tale sign that the brand is real occurs by simply being present and available. This is why it’s so important to manage your social networks and generate regular blogs with fresh material if you’re going to prove to the audience that you are the real deal.
As the audience becomes more aware of how to distinguish quality from fly-by-night brands, it becomes more important to reinforce the characteristics that affirm that you are authentic. And ultimately, it is your goal to sell your brand (not the product or service) because that is what is real to the customer.
Maria Elena Duron, is CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm. She helps create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand. Maria Duron is co-founder and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.