As small business owners, our daily tasks and responsibilities are at an all time high. As if serving our clients isn’t enough work on its own, we’re now tasked with the responsibility of showing people we’re working, while we’re actually working. (Helloooo, social media!) Let’s not forget all the usual internal affairs we tend to daily like answering emails, responding to inquiries, attending new client meetings, putting out fires (hey, it happens!), marketing, and the list continually goes on and on. Trust me, I’m right there with you. I’ll be the first one to admit that it can be flat out exhausting, and we haven’t even touched on what goes into taking care of your brand yet! You are tending to your brand on a daily (or at minimum, weekly) basis, right?
You are not alone if the word branding makes you shutter. Nearly everyone I interact with on a personal and business level tend to be overwhelmed at just the mere mention of it. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many small business owners do not tend to their brand on a regular basis. If you crave a memorable identity, want to build your empire, and find true joy and excitement in the people you work with, you must actively work on your brand. Branding doesn’t stop at the finished design—that’s actually where it begins.
Branding doesn’t stop at the finished design—that’s actually where it begins.
– Ribbons of Red
Let me simplify a little bit of your entrepreneurial life by giving you some areas to focus on regularly. (These are in no particular order, mind you!)
1. Your Blog
Blogging is not dead. I repeat, blogging is not dead. The majority of my clients here at Ribbons of Red are photographers and other super fun creative types. There’s a bad, bad, baaaad trend going around that blogging is dead and you really only need to tend to Instagram. I love you all, but you’ve lost your sweet little minds! Do you have any idea how powerful a blog is for a creative business? You might be saying, “Renee, my business is doing just fine using only Instagram!” You might be right (for now), but as a branding expert, this makes me cringe! Every quarter, like clockwork, when Instagram’s algorithms change and the social media game gets harder and harder to play, I hear your collective screams from miles away. Do not put your precious brand in the hands of a third-party who can jerk you around like a yo-yo. Worse yet, Instagram could get sold or canned tomorrow—regardless of it’s popularity. I’m not saying to ditch Instagram. I know it’s power, but you should not ignore your brand’s true home (your site) for a trendy social media platform either. You should tend to both.
There are people looking for someone like you right now on Google, Yahoo, and other popular search engines, and that’s where you blog plays a huge role.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you aren’t familiar with SEO already, it’s essentially how people find you online. Having good SEO means that when a potential client goes looking for someone like you, your site can be found via search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) using words and phrases relevant to what your site is offering. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer in Cincinnati, potential clients will likely search, “Cincinnati Wedding Photographer”. If you don’t have any content on your website that has those keywords, it’s very likely that person will never find you. That’s why it’s important to use words and phrases within your site that identify your business. Word of mouth and social media is wonderful for leads, but let’s not discount the power of your website. Your site’s job is to generate you a ton of business after all, as it’s supposed to be where people can get a big picture of who we are as a person and creative.
If you haven’t given SEO much attention, it’s not too late! In fact, I’m going to let you in on a trade secret that will make it easy for you to obtain great SEO on your site. If your site is powered by WordPress, download the Yoast SEO plugin immediately! This intuitive plugin is not only free but takes the technical guesswork out of SEO completely. Once installed, the plugin’s interface comes alive on every post and page (past and future) within your WordPress site and visually teaches you how to create better keyword-rich content to help you get more eyes on your brand and money in your pocket.
3. Social Media
By now, you already know that having a social media presence is no longer an option but a necessity. However, it’s worth mentioning that you do not need to be active on every single social media platform. If you’re trying to be everything to every platform, it’s time to work a little smarter. It’s impossible for a solopreneur (or even a small team) to be active on every platform, all the time. Your time (and sanity) is truly best spent where the majority of your clients are hanging out. Find those 1-2 popular platforms within your market and infuse your brand into them. If your clients aren’t hanging out on Twitter, don’t spend your time there, and don’t feel bad about it!
I hope this article gave you some new ways to care for your brand. This is obviously not everything you need to do, but it’s certainly a great place to focus your efforts! If you have any questions, please comment below. I’m always happy to help!