Happy New Year everyone!! Well, it’s a new year and just like me you probably have a lot of plans for yourself, your business, or your career (or all of the above!) that you want to make happen during this blank slate of a new year.
Maybe you work for a great company but you have your eye on a bigger role in the company. You really want to make an impression that you’re someone who’s up to the challenge of leading your team or running a division. You want to position yourself as someone who’s ready for more.
Maybe you just started your own business and you’re trying to get known and get the word out about who you are and what you offer. You want to come across as qualified and capable and put your best foot forward so you can attract your ideal client and build an audience who can’t live without your product or service. (I feel ya; I went through this same thing when I started The Brand Teacher!)
Presenting a clear, consistent, and authentic brand online is a great way to move toward your goals, whether you own a business or work for someone else.
We all spend so much time online these days that it only makes sense to create an online brand presence that tells the world who you are and connects with your audience to build trust.But there are a so many online tools available now that it can really be tough to know where to even begin. Don’t worry. I’m here to help.
I’ve narrowed down my top 7 online tools to help you create a rockstar business or personal brand, including a link to each one and my take on what makes each one so great. Let’s jump in! (I’d like to clarify here that I am in no way connected to these companies nor do I earn any affiliate income from them.)
Wix (www.wix.com) - This is a website building platform for business or personal websites and blogs. If you want to create a rockstar brand, then having an online presence is a must. And Wix makes that an easy task. It’s super user friendly, has a ton of features, and the paid version is reasonably priced. Now, I know it’s not Wordpress. But in the interest of honesty here I’ve tried to use Wordpress several times and for me it’s cumbersome, has a steep learning curve (maybe it’s just not my wheelhouse!), and ends up taking far too much time to get things to look the way I want them to look. If you find Wordpress simple, then go for it. But for me and probably a lot of other people Wix offers a great option for getting your business or personal website live quickly, and at a reasonable cost. The Brand Teacher website is created on Wix! Once you begin using it you’ll learn how to make some customizations to the available templates to make them your own and showcase your brand. And Wix is adding new features and improvements all the time. So in my opinion it just keeps getting better. Try the free version, see if you like it, and then you can always upgrade to the paid version.
Canva (www.canva.com) - Great brands need great creative content, whether it’s a business card, an Instagram post, or even a Facebook page header. A consistent look across all of your brand touchpoints will build trust with your audience. And people do business with people whom they trust. You might be an amazingly talented designer, but I’m certainly not. And Canva makes it really easy for non-designers to create eye catching, branded content, with no tech or design skills needed. There is a paid version of this tool, but I use the basic free option and it’s all I’ve ever needed to create great looking content for my personal and business brands. I used it to create my business card design, handouts for my programs and services, social media posts, and a host of other purposes. If you’ve never used Canva give it a try and let me know what you think.
Google (www.google.com) - I know what you’re thinking - I use Google all the time to search for things online. Well, there’s a lot more to Google than internet searches. Sign up for a Google account and aside from their email tool, Gmail, you’ll also have access to a wide variety of other tools that can help you build a successful brand. There’s Google Drive, where you can store documents, photos, presentations, and more so you can stay organized. There’s Google Forms where you can create customized forms for your business that include your logo and colors (remember that consistency across touchpoints?!). There’s Google Slides where you can build presentations to brand yourself or your business. And there’s Google Calendar to keep you organized, set up meetings, invite others to them so you look professional, and get notifications about upcoming meetings so you never miss an appointment or deadline, which can reflect negatively on your personal brand and your business, by the way! You can even share your Google creations with another Google user and collaborate on the same document. There are so many other Google tools that it’s impossible for me to discuss all of them here. So sign up for a free account and see what tools will support your brand.
Hubspot Email Signature Generator (https://www.hubspot.com/email-signature-generator) - The key to having a brand that gets noticed and remembered is consistency. So making sure all of your touchpoints, including your emails, brand you or your business is really helpful to creating that consistency. And this tool is truly the easiest way I’ve found to create a great looking email signature. Just go to the link, start filling in the details, and customize it with your brand colors, logo, headshot, or whatever you need to make it your own. You can even add clickable social media buttons and a clickable call to action button. It’s a great way to deliver consistent brand messaging and to look like a pro every time you communicate by email. Once you create the custom signature you just copy and paste it as your signature within your email settings.
LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com) - Despite the fact that many people think they don’t need a LinkedIn profile because they are already in a job and don’t plan to leave or they’re an entrepreneur and it’s not important to their business, take it from me when I tell you that they’re looking at it all wrong. LinkedIn is what I like to call a legitimizer. Whenever I meet someone new, whether I plan to do business with them, collaborate with them on a project, recommend them to someone for a job or project or as a connection, or support them by promoting their brand, I look them up on LinkedIn. If I either don’t find their profile or their profile is not complete or looks haphazard, that says something to me about their brand (everything you do says something about your brand!). So do yourself a favor and enhance your online brand presence - personal and business - and create or complete your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t have to be flashy. But the more complete it is the better. Once again, you want to give your audience consistent details that support your brand promise (what you say you can deliver). Are you looking to move up to a leadership position in the company you work for? Then build a LinkedIn profile that portrays you as someone who is a leader. I’m not saying to make things up, but instead to highlight your past skills, experience, education, and extracurriculars that demonstrate that you are a leader.
Are you an entrepreneur who is trying to build a business? Then building your network, both in person and online can help with that. Create a solid LinkedIn profile that highlights you as an entrepreneur and features your business offerings, and then connect on LinkedIn with everyone you meet at luncheons, networking functions, client meetings, etc. Soon you’ll begin to get connection requests from your connections connections. That’s how you can grow your following and even find potential clients and customers. Unsure of where to start with your LinkedIn profile? Check out my blog post for 5 Quick Tips for Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile.
Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/) - I know I know, Facebook can be a huge time suck. I get it. But, it can also be a wealth of brand growing opportunities for your personal and business brands. As always you’ll want to be sure there’s consistency with your other brand touchpoints. So use a consistent profile image and consistent background photo that portray you in a way that you want to come across to any of your connections. Then really explore all of the ways that Facebook can help you to build your personal or business brand. One very underused feature of Facebook that I believe can be beneficial to both personal and business brands is the Groups feature. Let me give you an example. When I started The Brand Teacher one of the first things I did on Facebook was to join some of the entrepreneur groups I became aware of through some of my Facebook friends. Once in these groups I was able to, following the group’s rules of course, share about me and my company, offer feedback to other group members when it related to my area of expertise, ask questions of other entrepreneurs and get really great guidance, and expand my network further by Facebook friending people I met in these groups. You can search for groups by whatever topic or subject matter you are interested in. Just go to the search bar in the top left and start typing. You’ll be able to see if there are groups that are a good fit and then request to join. Be sure to read and follow each group’s rules. You don’t want to violate them or you risk getting removed from the group. I’ve received great business advice, expanded my network immensely, spread my brand message, established myself as a thought leader in branding, and made some new virtual friends all through the use of Facebook groups.
Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/) - Are you looking for images for your blog, social media posts, presentations, or other uses to really make an impression with your brand? Have you searched the various paid image options but don’t really want to invest the money yet to purchase images? Pixabay is a great option for images that are downloadable free of charge and free of copyrights that can be used in a variety of applications to make a stronger impression with your brand. I use Pixabay to supplement images that I do purchase from other paid sites. So it’s a nice way to get the best of both worlds. In fact, the image in this blog post came from Pixabay! I recommend reading the usage guidelines on the Pixabay site to be sure you fully understand the parameters of the use of their images. But all in all it’s a great way to get started adding visual pizzazz to your brand presence.
So there you have it; some great and easy-to-use tools for building and conveying your brand to the world. So, what are you waiting for? It’s a new year and there’s no better time to get started presenting a clear, consistent, and authentic brand that unleashes your inner rockstar.
Jump in now and let me know if you have any thoughts or questions!
The Brand Teacher
Want to make sure your personal brand is working for you to attract your dream job or clients? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's schedule a chat about how we can work together or book a Personal Brand Boost Strategy Session today!