Category Archives: Branding

Branding success

Lorrie Thomas
Branding for Success: What You Need To Know

Today’s digital world has altered the way we think about and approach branding. Here are some branding success points to mind to keep your company “on brand” and your content marketing “on purpose”.

No matter how new or old your brand is, it’s always a healthy branding exercise to identify your value and values then make sure your content marketing voices this to brand, build and boost business!

Branding for Success: What You Need To Know

NUMERO UNO: Branding today is still about the classics (offering value) but be sure to voice your values too!
Valued brands are clear about and are very comfortable communicating their values. Values can be philosophy, charity, approach to work and life interests. Voice your value and values though content -web, blog, and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and video) to create brand affinity.

NUMERO DOS: Embrace your AUTHORity status!
Anyone can be a an expert – the most successful brands are authorities. In the word authority is the word AUTHOR! Write, post great content and get into markeding®! markeding® is a mashup of the words marketing and education. Successful branding is not about pushing products and services, it’s about educating your market. You become an authority via authoring educational content.

NUMERO TRES: Do not stress!
When clients get on my marketing therapy couch, I advise them to stop letting people “should” on them. There are so many “you should…” comments made to folks personally and professionally as they build their brands. Don’t get caught up in the chaos. Listen within. Stop listening to the should’s and focus on the could’s that support voicing your value and values.

If marketing is stressful, overwhelming or gives you any “ick…yuck” feelings, then there is something very wrong with what you are doing.

Marketing (branding, social media, messaging, everything!) is about maximizing relationships…that is wonderful and lovely. Your brand needs to support your value and values…happy, healthy brands are gleeful in voicing this!

If you need marketing advice or support, feel free to reach out to us, I’m happy to get you on the fast-track to success!
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virtualwordspecialist
Therapy for LinkedIn Network Neglect

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I was doing a little self-help this week and completed an audit of my social media accounts. I was disappointed to see how badly I had neglected LinkedIn! As a social media marketing professional, I was ashamed! But I got over the negativity and moved to positive action. First, I admitted I had a problem and came clean to The Marketing Therapist®, Lorrie Thomas Ross (which I sent via LinkedIn’s email to start using it better! Then I devised a plan to become a more active and social member of LinkedIn.

My therapy was a recent Social Media Examiner article titled: “5 Tips to Build and Grow your LinkedIn Network”. I used these tips as a guide while I set up a solid LinkedIn foundation and implemented steps to better management of my account in the future.

Below are the five key strategies I used:

#1 Update your status frequently and consistently. Eeek! It turns out the last time I posted anything was more than a year ago, so I used a recent Web Marketing Therapy blog post I created about humor in the workplace to update my account.

According to Social Media Examiner, only one third of LinkedIn members visit the site every day and another one third visit the network several times a week. Considering those statistics, here are some suggested best practices to becoming an active LinkedIn member:

  • Update your status on the actual site itself at least three times a day, versus using third party tools. This allows for full control of your message and genuine engagement.
  • Share and comment on the updates of your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections at least once a day.
  • Send an invitation to connect to at least one new person per day.
  • Start and/or participate in LinkedIn Group Discussions three times a week.
  • Answer questions on “LinkedIn” answers three times a week.
  • Comment on profile updates from the companies you follow once a day.

#2 Build Connections Constantly. The easiest way to do this is to click on the “people you may know” link at the top right of the page. You can message these people directly and invite them to connect. You can also see how many shared connections you have with that person. Since making that request, I have doubled my network!

# 3 Be Strategic about When You are Active on LinkedIn. Studies show that LinkedIn members engage more in the afternoons and in the evenings when they are more apt to use the mobile site. It is important to test the best participation times unique to you for highest visibility. Also recommended is to mix it up and track the results of most communication.

#4 Join and Actively Participate in LinkedIn Groups. Social Media Examiner suggests the rule of thumb is to pick three to five groups to be active in and join in the conversation. I have never used this incredible connecting tool before and yet, groups are a vital part of the networking experience. Statistics show that 81% of LinkedIn users belong to at least one group. Of these people, 52% participate in group discussions. Connecting is “key.” I chose a few groups to join that I knew I would engage in professionally. To do this, I clicked on Interests at the top of the page and typed in a few keywords that best suited my expertise and interests.

#5 What You Share Matters. This is most important with LinkedIn. To be successful, you need to consider what would be useful, relevant and informative to the audience you want to attract. Then tailor the content such as news, articles and insights to meet that need. Consider the goals of sharing to be the following:

  • To become a thought leader whose content gets read.
  • To become a great resource for your audience.
  • To engage with your audience and create a dialog.
  • To share content others want to share to their own network.
  • To help increase visibility through the use of “share worthy” content.
  • To use LinkedIn Today to gather popular, trending relevant content.

After implementing the 5 Steps, I did a little self-diagnosis and self-prescribed the following: log in three times per week and engage each time with connections and groups. After coming clean, it’s time for me to stay on the straight and narrow path of quality, consistency and frequency. Whether it be a business or personal account, if your LinkedIn story sounds similar to mine, we can help with a little intervention session. You may be surprised how fun the healing process is.

Ah, I feel better already!

Sources:
Social Media Examiner post: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-tips-to-build-and-grow-your-linkedin-network/

Another Social Media Examiner resource: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/optimize-your-linkedin-profile-for-more-exposure/

LinkedIn Today: http://blog.linkedin.com/2011/03/10/linkedin-today/

virtualwordspecialist
Ten Reasons for More Humor at Work

lol-706869_640 copyA sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.– Dwight D. Eisenhower

It’s way more fun to work in a culture and environment that encourages humor. It’s also a useful and productive marketing strategy. An article by Forbes “10 Reasons Why Humor is a Key to Success at Work” shares why allowing people to be more open with tasteful humor in the workplace can help a business flourish.

The ideal workspace involves balancing the art of allowing respectful humor, taking yourself too seriously and just plain having fun.

Below are Forbes’ 10 reasons why humor is a key to success at work:

  • People will enjoy working with you. This is especially true when you are enjoy what you do.
  • Humor is a potent stress buster. According to Forbes, laughing creates a cognitive shift of stressors in the body.
  • It is humanizing. All sides can seek common ground using humor (properly).
  • It puts others at ease. Humor is a great tool for easing tension especially when conflicts arise.
  • It encourages creative thinking. Studies show that humor is a major factor in creative thinking.
  • It helps build trust. Effective use of humor lets your authentic-self shine through.
  • It boosts morale. Humor can lower retention at work if employees are laughing and having fun!
  • People who use humor tend to be more approachable. Honest and open people are often surrounded by the same people.
  • Humor can allow your company to stand out. Using humor as a strategy, businesses can leverage brand loyalty.
  • It can increase productivity. Humor creates an upbeat culture that can increase “out of the box” thinking, camaraderie and the sharing of ideas.

At Web Marketing Therapy, we knows how to get the humor flowing – heck, we have to!  Web work involves tech challenges, difficult clients (we love our clients, but sometimes we deal with behavioral issues!)

It’s not uncommon for the entire team to chuckle through email (we joke in hashtags and send a lot of videos and photos amongst each other) and via social media (especially on Funny Friday)! Laughing helps us relax, have a good belly laugh and get on with our day with a smile.

Please share any humor at work stories here. We would love to hear them.

Sources:

Forbes article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/05/03/10-reasons-why-humor-is-a-key-to-success-at-work/

virtualwordspecialist
Business Leaders Share Career Development Tips

Sheryl Sandberg opened up a flurry of opinions and enthusiasm when she discussed women and their careers in her book “Lean In.” Continuing the “lean in” discussion, online learning company, lynda.com selected five video course instructors (including WMT’s Lorrie Thomas Ross) and shared their helpful career development tips in a Slideshare presentation titled: “Five Ways for Women to “Lean In” to Their Careers in 2014.”  The advice ranges from getting out of your comfort zone, the importance of personal branding and managing your career to negotiating your worth to values and vision leadership.

Business News Daily staff writer, Nicole Fallon also highlighted the best five quotes from the “Five Ways Women Can “Lean In” to their Careers” presentation in her article: “5 Changes That Will Take Your Career to the Next Level.”  Tips follow.

  • Disrupt yourself to get to the next level. Speaker Whitney Johnson inspires people to shake things by using the power “disruptive innovation” to their own careers. She encourages people to actively take the right risks, play to their distinctive strengths, all the while understanding and recognizing constraints. Johnson admits this will not be easy and that you may step back, sideways or even fail in the process but that eventually, your strategy will emerge.  Quote: “Learn how you can disrupt yourself.”
  • Tend your personal brand. Personal branding expert (and our company CEO), Lorrie Thomas Ross points out that people need to be aware of the personal brand they are building every day, through their actions, ideas and their online presence. Quote: “Be intentional about the brand called you.”
  • Proactively manage your career. Valerie Sutton recommends people seeking their dream job create a gap analysis to map a path to it. First, they will need to determine through research the requirements needed for the ideal position. Then, they will need to identify which requirements are missing from their skill set (gaps) and come up with a plan to fill them in. Quote: “You can shadow others through informational interviewing to think through how you might fill some of those gaps.”
  • Claim your worth. Lisa Gates contends that learning how to successfully negotiate your salary and career opportunities is critical to career success. Lisa also affirms that every savvy leader is also a strong negotiator who knows their worth and is not afraid to claim it. Quote: “To be successful in negotiation, it’s best to walk in prepared.”
  • Lead with vision and values. Britt Andreatta contends that people want vision and values from their leaders. Leaders who clearly articulate their values and vision for the future, will build a healthy and positive culture. Quote: Having a clearly articulated set of values and a vision for the future, both contribute to a healthy, positive culture.”

For additional information on Lorrie’s personal branding video course, check out Lorrie Thomas Personal Branding Basics course on lynda.com.

Free Personal Branding Webinar

We talk a lot on the WMT Healthy Marketing Advice blog about the power of an organization’s online presence.  More and more, YOUR online presence is becoming a critical marketing asset to help you grow your career and/or to help you support work at your organization.

Personal Branding Webinar

Click here to register for the free personal branding webinar on 2-19-14 at 2:30pm EST!

On February 19th at 12:30pm EST, I will be leading a FREE Wednesday Webinar on Personal Branding for InternetMarketingClub.org.

It’s important to align your online efforts toward a common goal (site, blog, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, G+, Facebook and more).

 

In my upcoming webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Manage relationships between yourself and the professional world
  • Optimize your personal branding portfolio across web and social media channels
  • Build credibility and visibility through careful posting

Secure your place for the free Personal Branding Webinar on 2-19-14 at 12:30p, EST!

Your Biggest Marketing Asset – YOU!

Having a clear personal brand elevates your online presence, boosts your credibility and will certainly have a very positive impact on they way you are perceived.  In marketing, there is so much buzz about branding for organizations, but in today’s social/web world, one of the best things you can do for your career (and that companies can do for their overall brand) is to get momentum moving on the brand called YOU!

In my recent blog post on lynda.com called Building Your Personal Brand in 2014, I highlight tips from my course to build and improve your personal brand in a few effective and easy steps.

The three main components to a personal brand are:

1). Authority

2). Online Identity

3). Personal Style

**The three are interconnected, so let’s break them up and go step by step.

First we need to develop an online authority. Take your expertise and move it into authority status. What’s the difference between being and expert vs. an authority?  While an expert has expertise in a certain field, an authority has more personal brand power and is therefore seen as more credible. You become an authority by sharing relevant information with your followers through social media outlets. It’s basically authoring content (note: in the work authority is the word author!!!)  Post interesting facts and offer your opinion about other social content; the mixture of sharing great facts and valuable opinion can help increase your number of followers, and may also boost your online visibility…all while sharing your credibility as an authority in your field.

The next step is to optimize your online identity. Your online identity gives visibility to your credibility. After all, people need to know you if they want to follow you. Having a professional web presence helps to build your online identity over time. Updating and optimizing your social media presence helps others to know you and to trust your expertise. Updating content on your social media outlets or maintaining a personal domain are easy and fun steps that optimize your online identity.  I suggest everyone start by optimizing their LinkedIn profile.  It’s the largest professional network, it’s search visible and it’s credible.  A great LinkedIn presence can become a great tool in your personal branding toolbox!

The third (and my most favorite!!!!) of the personal branding areas is to define your personal style. This includes your physical appearance, as well as your online presence. Your personal style is your tone, the way you communicate and the way you conduct yourself online. Having a clear personality online defines who you are and helps your followers to put a face to your work. A good way to improve your personal style online is to have a clear and consistent tone over all your outlets and to optimize your appearance in published photographs.

Watching my sample personal branding course video will get you further ideas on how to apply these three steps to optimize your personal brand.