When you are a solopreneur or a small-business owner, especially in a B2B environment, most likely YOU are the brand. Customers come for YOUR expertise and think of YOU when they hear the name of your business. That’s why it’s particularly important for you to create a positive online image of yourself.
Translating your unique character, background, and knowledge into digital ones and zeros is not always easy. But as long as you take time and effort to work on your image, you should be good. Here are a couple of points to consider before you venture into the cyberspace:
How You Look
Looks are always important, because that’s what people base their first impressions on. Online, the looks come to play when your clients visit your social media profiles and your website. If you are the brand, you probably have a picture of yourself featured in the “about” section or even more prominently – on the banner. Here are a few tips on how to score credibility points with your photo:
- Invest in a professional photo shoot. I bet at least once you came across someone’s profile/bio picture that was grainy, low-contrast, and had a bed, a couch, or some other clutter in the background. This doesn’t communicate professionalism, does it? And the saddest part is that the person with a grainy picture could be talented and highly knowledgeable at what he or she does. Yes, everyone knows not to judge the book by its cover, but in our fast-paced world not everyone has the time to read the book, especially when there are audiobooks that eliminate the effort. Do you see what I mean? Be the audiobook!
- Go for a natural look. This doesn’t mean displaying a photo of you wearing pajama pants. The point is not to overdo the editing. You want to look good, but also recognizable, so stay away from extreme airbrushing. Minimal touch-ups and color/contrast correction are fine, but don’t distance yourself from your audience by looking too perfect.
- Be consistent. Use the same image for your website and social media, so it sticks with your audience. You don’t want them to get confused whether it’s you or another person with the same name. Online Marketing Expert Mari Smith does a good job keeping things consistent:
What You Say
Addressing and engaging your audience, whether through social media or a landing page, should be a part of your marketing strategy. I’ve covered in one of my posts what kind of communication can get you in trouble, but don’t forget that topic is only a part of the equation. The other part is the wording (think grammar and punctuation). I’m not a stickler, but things like “with out” and “repeated customers” are a huge turn-off for me.
It’s OK to make mistakes, but they need to be caught during double- and, if necessary, triple-checking. The fact that poorly written text is out there for everyone to see communicates that quality and attention to detail are not the top priorities for a particular business.
What You Do
Actions speak louder than words. Remember that everything you do online leaves a footprint in a form of cookies, posts, records, etc. This is particularly true for social media, and with Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” it’s hardly possible to keep anything a secret. Just be careful who you follow, what links you click, and what apps you use, because all this information could be available to your online connections and, sometimes, even strangers.