Building and maintaining your online profile in 2018

Building your reputation online is a great place to start if you’re looking into growing your business. As the online world becomes more integrated with the way we run our businesses, how we manage our personal brand becomes critical to attracting and keeping customers. It’s a whole new world, but with this comes great opportunity. Managing the online world and increasing reach to potential customers can ensure you and your business reap the rewards.

I am lucky enough to work with small businesses on a daily basis; here are a few insights I have gathered and can share with Australians who work for themselves to help them achieve their goals in 2018.

How to build a personal brand

At a basic level, a brand is the images (and associations) in people’s minds that enable them to remember and think of a business, product or service in relevant situations. A personal brand simply means those images and associations that will relate to your business, and keep them thinking about you.  No business exists without its people, and forming a relationship with your customer can fuel your success – so making sure those images and associations are appropriate and positive is key!

Building your personal brand

The most effective way to build your personal brand is by engaging with your customer on a personal level, with a clear idea of how you want to be seen. Your audience always wants stories, experiences, insights, self-help, motivation and inspiration – communicating your brand with stories that keep this in mind will exponentially increase your impact on your audience.

Lauretta Finis, Principal and Director at Quick Bizness Bookkeeping Solutions (QBBS), says this idea of your own brand is important, and should sum up why your online brand is so important to you.

“With years of experience working with my own business and those who work for themselves, I believe the most important thing about building your personal brand is knowing what you want to take away from it,” she says. “Is it growing your network? Is it building your influence in the industry? Is it attracting more customers? Once you have your target, the path forward becomes much clearer!”

Define your audience

Your audience is defined by four major qualifiers: demographic, location, thought process, and behaviours. These can be further defined to completely identify your target audience.

“Just like knowing your goal, it’s important to know your audience”, Lauretta says. “Understanding who you’re speaking to – things like their age, industry, location, what they’re passionate about and how they behave makes all the difference. By putting yourself in the shoes of your audience, you can most effectively market yourself, and build a brand that really matters to them.”

By answering these qualifiers, you can easily define your target audience, know exactly how to market yourself to them and build your brand value. This can make a great difference to how you appear online, and take your outreach to the next level!

Marketing yourself and make sure your content works

Marketing yourself and leveraging your content to your target audience is the final step in making sure you have a visible, effective and positive brand. This is why content marketing has become a necessity to business operations and is no longer the ‘fad’ that a lot of us thought it may have been years ago.

The start of the year is a great time to consider the image you want to present to the world. I look forward to helping small businesses prosper and achieve financial success in 2018.

Nicolette Maury, Vice President and Country Manager, Intuit Australia