When you think about some of your favorite businesses and independent shops, what comes to mind first?
Is it their branding, their products, or the type of customer service you can expect to receive from them? All of those things are definitely important to pay attention to as a business owner – they should, of course, all be based on how you’d like your customers or clients to perceive you and your business as an entire entity. But once you figure that out, you then need to decide how you’re going to communicate with your potential customers in a way that will get them to see you as you want to be seen.
Social media is one of the best ways to give your brand a voice and get the word out about all that you do in a more personal way. On top of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and now Pinterest, many business owners these days have blogs where they talk about little snippets of their life and announce updates for their business all in the same week. It can be a great tool for your business because it helps people begin to put a face to the person behind it all and allows them get to know more about the products or services offered in a more casual and personal way than if they were advertised by other means – it’s kind of like a friend telling another friend about something awesome they made.
It’s the same reason why people tend to skim through advertisements in a magazine, but will read a long article about a successful so-and-so’s business. We’ve actually been conditioned to ignore flashy ads because they’re being catapulted at us from every direction, at every turn.
Once you realize that people want substance and they also want to be inspired, you can really go a lot farther with your brand’s message, and chances are it will be a lot more effective, too.
Likewise, as soon as I started to realize that my favorite blogs were written by people that talked about their personal lives and who told you the story of who they were in each post, I decided it was time for me to make a change. It took three years of blogging for me to finally put together a proper “About” page that actually referred to me as the curator and writer of my daily creative arts blog, The Flood, and said a thing or two about who I really was. I changed my blog settings so my posts would say they were written by my name instead of the blog’s name, I referred to myself in the posts more often, and I started replying back to comments left on my posts and signing my name.
It was such a small shift, but I really believe that it made a big difference in how my readers perceived all that my blog was. Now people can see that I’m a fellow art lover sharing my discoveries and it’s no longer just some faceless organization. It made me feel better, too, because I could finally get credit for my effort and I could get to know my readers on a more meaningful level which in turns helps me to make sure that what I blog about continues to interest them.
Of course, when you have a blog that combines both your life and your business, you do need to be careful sometimes. You have to be able to set boundaries on just how personal you want to get. That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about anything bad at all or that you have to lie on your off days, but you do have to remember that just about anyone could find your blog and in reality you are writing for complete strangers as well as potential customers. If you wouldn’t walk up to a new client and tell them something, then you should probably save it for your journal or your close friends.
All of that being said, if you don’t have a blog yet, I would highly recommend starting one up!
Not only is it a great way to communicate with potential customers and keep your business on their mind, but it also helps you keep track of your memories and your business’ milestones. If you get out there and shake hands with the internet, you never know who might shake back! There are great opportunities out there that you may never discover if you don’t make your presence known.