When you think of branding, you think of your logo right? Wrong. Well you’re not totally wrong. Branding is more than hiring a graphic designer to think of marketing your business via a logo. In this article we want to show why the importance of online branding is a major factor for your business.

Your brand is the public face and personality of your business. In the offline world, your business’ presence is kept alive, say, as an estate agency on the local high street, 9-5. Whereas online you exist 24/7 via your website and social channels. How you represent yourself to the potential buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords is in the same way you need to appear online. How you pick up the phone and take enquiries is the same way you need to reply via your webchat and social media channels. Further, how you demonstrate your expertise in buying, selling and letting properties in your local area to those who walk through your door is the same way you need communicate through your blogs and email newsletter.

How do you demonstrate your brand online?

The short answer to this question is through two major elements in your business’ marketing strategy: consistency and content.The longer answer: Your branding online is a representation of your business, it is your present reputation and how you will be perceived going forward. So let’s start with your logo.

You want your  logo to be a visual representation of how you stand out from the crowd. There are numerous articles on colour psychology in marketing which are very helpful. A good graphic designer can discuss in depth with you your vision and core business values, and then translate that graphically.

Once your logo has been designed, it needs to be everywhere, consistently, online. Think wherever your name is, your logo will be there too. The same logo on your Twitter needs to be the same on your Facebook Page. This consistency will make your memorable to your audience. Also your logo needs to be equally prominent on your website, email newsletters and in any pdf downloads.

In tandem with consistency of display of your logo, is your business’ tone of voice. This needs to match online just how you would communicate offline. If you have a corporate, overly professional tone in your email newsletters, but you answer your phone calls as if you’re talking to a mate, you may confuse your audience. So remember these lines of communication need to marry. Your audience wants to relate on your email, just as you are when you speak or meet face-to-face. For example, if you’ve sent a newsletter mailshot to your leads and a potential new client decides to book in a home valuation, essentially they’ll want the same person on email as they want valuing their home.

In a digital age where consumer demand for transparency is so high, your branding online has to speak volumes. So the other important element in branding is your content output. Not necessarily the quantity, but definitely the quality of your content is of great significance. The content your create and promote online should demonstrate your expertise and the value your business offers to your audience. By devising and implementing your content strategy across all platforms and online material you will ensure the same, consistent, message is delivered on all outlets. Rebekah Radice says: “Good content can open doors to new conversations as well as boost engagement and awareness”.  If you’re passionate about property, what value can you offer to potential clients. Perhaps it’s by way of a pdf download on top tips to sell your home in Spring; or a video on how to prepare your home for viewings. What does your estate agency do that another agency doesn’t?

One of the forgotten elements in digital content and online branding is remembering to humanise the online, that is - make it real, authentic and emphatic. Just because you’re viewed through a computer or mobile screen, doesn’t make your business any less real. So put some soul into your social, create your content to ensure it sounds like you so your audience can relate with what you’re saying. With so many businesses offering similar services, it’s the difference you make that will will ensure you stand out.

Research has shown that businesses consider having a bad reputation online to be a primary concern. If you think how quickly bad news travels today - remember that United Airlines video, then the CEO speech that followed? Both were PR disasters for United, for which they were punished by the public furore with the slew of Twitter outrage. A bad reputation is hard to fix when a video (or any post for that matter) goes viral. We hope you and your business would never, ever, be subject to anything of the sort, however if there is a client complaint online, just as you would sort it out quickly (we hope) face-to-face, do it online too. Carry the same tone of voice as you would face-to-face. A lot of comments online are made publicly, therefore your response would also need to be public to ensure any ‘onlookers’ can see how you handle any on-going commentary. It may be a “please can you DM me your number so I can call you”, but at least you reply promptly.

Your reputation in business will precede you, so let your branding through consistent content creation lead the way for you. We hope you enjoyed this article, you may be interested to download our e-book on social media marketing.