10 Tips on How to Build a Strong Brand Online in 2023
Building a strong brand identity online is crucial to being seen and recognized in the modern digitalized world. At the same time, learning from the best has never been easier. Here are 10 tips on how to build a brand online and stand out from the competitors.
If you want to learn how to build a brand identity in the online world, you are in the right place. Today you will learn about the brand image, how your website should look like, what digital marketing tools you can use to boost brand awareness, and how to promote your online store.
Let’s find out how to create a successful online brand!
Table of contents:
- Define your brand
- Brand strategy
- Building social media
- Content marketing
- Engaging with your audience
- Influencer marketing
- Online reputation management
- Additional tips
01 Define your brand: identity, values, mission, etc.
Before you even start to dream about a strong online presence, you need to lay the groundwork. Ask yourself the vital questions: what is my brand going to be about? You won’t reach your goals if you don’t know what you are trying to sell and to whom.
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Defining the brand identity can be a hard task, but it will make further marketing work so much easier. The next step will be to set the brand values, your mission statement, and the unique selling proposition (USP). Finally, research the target audience to discover who your ideal customer is.
A brand value proposition is a concise statement that communicates the unique value and benefits your brand offers to the target audience. It outlines the reasons why customers should choose your company over the competition. The brand value proposition emphasizes the unique qualities, benefits, and distinguishing factors of your organization that make it attractive and significant.
The mission statement is a short and clear declaration that summarizes the purpose, values, and overall direction of the brand. For example, Nike’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)” Apple’s mission statement is “to bring the best user experience to customers through innovative hardware, software, and services.”
A unique selling proposition (USP), on the other hand, is a distinctive and compelling factor that sets your product or service apart from its competitors. It is a specific feature, attribute, or benefit that makes a product unique and valuable to the target audience. The USP is often used as a key marketing message to communicate the brand’s competitive advantage and persuade customers to choose it over alternatives.
Defining a target audience is usually done through extensive research, talking with your existing clients, and coming up with buyer personas. You should know who is the product made for and what are the key characteristics and pain points of your customers. Only after you prepare buyer personas you can start crafting the brand voice and communication strategy.
Now that you know how to define your online brand, it’s time to proceed to the next step!
02 Brand strategy: goals, messaging, and positioning
When you establish your brand identity so you know who you are (as an organization), what solutions you are selling, and who your target customers are, you can start crafting a go-to-market strategy.
Your brand strategy should include everything you need to do to grow. Set your goals – for example, to reach X number of sales in 5 years. Define your brand voice and how you will communicate with your audience. Finally – the brand positioning statement – a deliberate strategy of establishing a unique and favorable perception of a brand in the minds of its target audience relative to competitors.
Creating an online brand strategy is certainly not an easy task and should be an ongoing process. We’ll talk about the analytics later on, but (spoiler alert!) you should always be aware of how your online business is performing and tweak the strategy where it’s failing to deliver the desired outcome.
Your strategy should be ambitious but doable. If you set your goals too high and can’t reach them, it’ll have a negative impact on your general company mood and may affect your relations with investors.
03 Website: do’s & don’t’s
If you want to build a strong online brand presence, your own website should be top-notch. After all, it’s your business card in digital real estate, and very often, it will be the first time potential customers interact with your brand. Behind each successful brand, there’s a carefully designed website with a clearly visible USP.
Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t allow you to hire the best programming team to create a state-of-the-art website with the most advanced solutions. Sometimes less truly is more, and you still can provide a great customer experience with a simple one-pager.
Your website should include the following:
- the company name,
- a professional logo design,
- a slogan that will tell the customers what your solutions are,
- product descriptions,
- “about us” section,
- contact information.
This is a must.
Before building a website, it’s good to create a visual style guide as a reference for all future graphic content.
While working on a website, I strongly advise consulting with a UI/UX designer. You want your page to be accessible and easy to read. If the information is hard to reach, users will be discouraged from looking for it and abandon your site for the competitors.
If you are planning on opening an online store, then it should be easily accessible from your homepage. If you don’t have any experience with e-commerce platforms, then I’d advise you to use one of the well-known and recommended solutions like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magneto. It’ll be easier to find someone who will implement the online shop on your website. It’ll also be more convenient should there be something to fix or update.
04 Building social media: identifying channels & strategy
While a website is surely a necessary step to building a brand with a strong online presence, nowadays, a lot of conversations are happening on social media. To generate online noise and buzz around your trademark, you need to get out there and be visible.
Most companies usually try to set up and maintain all major social media channels, so Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. More and more businesses endeavor on the TikTok journey, too. The truth is you probably don’t need to have all the channels covered, at least not at the beginning. The target audience research should give you an idea of which social media are mostly used by your potential customers.
Each social media channel should use a slightly different tactic. We’ve covered some of the platforms on our blog:
Be sure to check other articles, too. There are tons of tips about running social media accounts on our blog.
Use Brand24 to perform social media analytics. Free trial avaliable!
Let’s break down all the main social platforms here in short paragraphs.
Facebook / Meta
Although some people say Facebook is dying, it’s still at the top. It’s true the number of monthly active users is not growing as rapidly as a few years ago, but nevertheless is still growing.
Facebook is a great place to set retargeting ads. Organic posts are not as successful anymore. It’s still a good place to communicate with your audience, though. You can use your Facebook page as a source for vital information, such as the location, contact, and opening hours (if applicable).
Instagram is much more visual-oriented than Facebook. Use it to showcase high-quality photos of your product or company team. You can still run ads through Instagram, but bear in mind that the users come here for pictures, and your ads should be tailored for this user base.
Twitter is definitely more text-oriented than previously mentioned social channels. If you are building a brand and want to have a Twitter profile, too, then your strategy should also be more text-oriented.
Short and witty comments are the most viral content on Twitter.
Linkedin is “the professional” social media. Your online brand presence should not omit this channel if you want to be perceived as a reliable and trustworthy business partner.
Linkedin is good for the official communication channel, sharing new features, products, and solutions. It’s also a good place for job hunters, so if you want to expand your team then consider posting job offers directly via Linkedin.
You may think TikTok is only for teenagers, but the truth is it has grown significantly over the past few years and now includes a much broader audience. It’s still not the best social media channel to drive direct sales, but the reach you can get there is great for building brand awareness.
Some great examples of online brands making standing-out content on TikTok are Duolingo, ApplyBoard, and Lotus Cars.
Don’t fall into the YouTube trap and upload there any video you produce. A YouTube channel should be precise and with a clearly defined audience. People won’t be watching the videos just cause they like your brand identity. They need to gain something from the content.
Your YouTube videos should be engaging, informative and valuable.
05 Content marketing: blog posts, videos, or podcasts?
One of the most efficient marketing channels for online brands is content marketing. When rightly done, it drives a lot of organic traffic that converts well to your website. In your online brand-building strategy, you should think of what content you would like to produce to generate more engagement.
A lot of companies invest in blogs. Search engine-optimized articles bring a lot of valuable traffic and work over a long period of time. They do not require a huge spending budget and are a type of long-term investment, unlike ads. I’ll talk more about SEO content later.
Videos require more effort and technical knowledge, but with the advancement of AI, it’s much easier to create video content now. There are tools like Invideo, Synthesia, or Elai that can be a good alternatives if you lack video-making skills.
YouTube is still the most popular video platform (no, TikTok is not winning yet), so it’s only natural to start your video campaigns there. If you want to learn more, Katarzyna prepared a longer article about YouTube marketing strategy. Be sure to check it out!
Of course, TikTok is still a very relevant social media channel, so if you are serious about creating moving pictures, you still need to master short-form video content. They can be used to build brand awareness at the top of the marketing funnel or even to drive sales (if your brand is widely recognized).
The last thing I want to talk about in this section is podcasts. They, too, can work as a brand awareness-building tool. This is still one of the least ventured parts of marketing strategy. That means if you succeed – there won’t be as much competition as on, say, YouTube. A nice little trick Paul Boag once taught me is that you can turn any blog post into a short podcast. Just read what you wrote and add the recording to the article. Many people who cannot read for various reasons (from sight-impaired persons to drivers stuck in traffic) will benefit from the spoken word.
06 Engaging with your audience: tips & tricks
Making viral content is the Holy Grail of every marketer, I’m sure you can agree on that one with me. Unfortunately, there are no 100% working tips on how to create viral campaigns. If it were that easy, everybody would be doing it!
That being said, some brands have more success with engaging content than others. The secret lies in expertise and emotions. You must learn about triggers that encourage people to engage with online content. The triggers can be positive or negative. My advice is to limit the negative triggers to a minimum if you want to keep a positive sentiment around your brand online.
On the other hand, you can pursue social selling techniques. Whenever someone talks about your brand or product niche online, you can jump into the conversation and recommend your solutions. Of course, you have to do that in a skillful manner, not to sound too pushy. Read the linked article for some tips.
How to find people talking about your brand online, you ask? Use social listening tools like Brand24! You can set up the project to get notified every time someone mentions your brand or selected keyword on social media. Then, use your social selling skills to recommend your solutions or boost brand awareness.
Brand24 notifies you each time someone talks about your brand online. Don’t miss out!
07 SEO: website structure, keywords, meta tags, etc.
SEO is a great passive source of traffic to your website. Once you write an article and promote it via social media, newsletter, or other channels, there’s not much else to do but wait for the visitors. Of course, you should always check how your articles are performing, and if they have poor results in organic search, perhaps they need to be optimized or completely rewritten.
When your landing page reaches the top 10, the fluctuation in SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) is rather low. Compare it to other competing results and see if you missed something in your piece.
Let’s start from the beginning, though. SEO is a vast knowledge, and it’s hard to squeeze all information into just a few paragraphs. I’ll be mentioning the basics only in this article.
What is an SEO-friendly website?
Back in the day, SEOs just had to stuff as many keywords as possible on one site, and it usually was enough for it to rank on the first page of Google results. It’s not that easy anymore. And it’s a good thing because we got rid of spammy, low-effort websites with zero valuable information.
Today optimizing for search means optimizing for humans. Your website should be easy to navigate, accessible, and informative. Avoid heavy-weight code that would slow down loading times, make the information readable and easy to reach, and don’t hide who you are. Three letters – EAT – in SEO mean “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” It’s a part of one of Google Core Updates that raised the standards for web developers and content creators. These three words should be in your mind every time you try to optimize something on your page.
As a part of the online brand-building strategy, you should also have a keyword campaign prepared. These would be all the keywords you want to rank for. Keep them to a minimum. 10 to 50 keywords are enough. Use apps like Ahrefs or Semrush to define the monthly volume of searches and the difficulty of ranking.
Meta titles and descriptions are what is shown in SERPs, so be sure to name your landing pages as you want them to be seen by Google or Bing (or any other search engine) users.
08 Influencer marketing: turning influencers into your brand ambassadors
Although influencer marketing strategies have changed throughout the years, their principles stay the same – brands look for popular Internet personas and hire them to promote products or services. Well, sort of. Because nowadays, it’s much easier to spot who’s been paid for the cheap advertisement and who’s genuinely interested in the promoted product. Internet users have gotten more conscious over the years.
So how to stand out in the abundance of fake influencers and low-effort content creators?
Do thorough research before you contact the influencer of your choice. See if they do not have a suspicious followers base (for example, followed mainly by accounts with zero activity, no profile picture, and usernames with random numbers) or weirdly large likes numbers under their posts.
If you’ve found an influencer that seems to have their profile alright in terms of organic followers and doesn’t seem to buy likes, read their posts and see if they match your brand voice. After all, you want your brand ambassadors to speak the same language as your target audience.
Additionally, you can use social media monitoring tools like Brand24 and use their features to find the most influential profiles in your niche. This way, you can find people that often mention your brand, product, or keywords related to your market niche.
See also: How to find influencers?
09 Online reputation management: leveraging social listening and media monitoring tools
I’ve already mentioned Brand24 as a social listening tool that can help you reach potential customers. There’s also the fact that more than 90% of customers read online reviews before they make a purchase. That’s why you should take time to make sure the general sentiment around your brand remains positive.
With social listening and media monitoring tools like Brand24 you gain access to:
- monitoring your brand reputation,
- tracking online conversations about your product or service,
- possibility to monitor online reviews about your brand,
- quickly respond to customers’ problems and avoid extensive criticism,
- spot a potential brand crisis,
- and many more!
Katarzyna already wrote an article about brand reputation management. Be sure to check it out to take care of your own business name.
A lot of companies are completely clueless about what people say online about them. If you want your brand’s personality to stand out in the crowd, you need to get out there and be proactive. Talk with your customers, respond to their criticism, and help them achieve success with your solutions.
Manage your online reputation with Brand24. Click the button to get a free trial.
10 Analytics: is your strategy successful?
After you’ve created the online business following my suggestions, it’s time to see how it’s working and if the target market has picked you up. To do so, you can use various analytics tools, but you can also hire a professional (or agency) to do a brand audit.
Let’s start with some analytics tools that you can use on your own right away.
Google Analytics or any other alternative is a must if you are serious about tracking your business goals. GA will let you track traffic, user demographics, conversions, and more.
It’s a free resource, so even if you are not a master of analytics, it’s good to have it and collect the data. It will help you a lot to see if you make progress.
Brand24’s advanced analytics tools will provide you with valuable brand insights. It’s a great tool for business owners, marketers, and PR professionals to check what people really think about your brand and how popular it is.
The tool is AI-powered and offers advanced reports on your brand health. As I’ve already mentioned in this article, Brand24 offers many features that are helpful in building an online brand.
BuzzSumo is a content analytics tool that will help you produce more valuable marketing materials, assist with competitor research, and provide social media data.
If you want to produce a lot of content, BuzzSumo is a great example of a tool that will help to generate ideas tailored to your brand.
For SEO and advanced analytics – check out Ahrefs. The tool will provide you with priceless information about your visibility in search engines, an impressive keyword research feature, and simplified analytics about traffic.
Now that you know the basics of how to build a brand online, let’s quickly go through some additional tips. They are not essential at the beginning, but they will really help you stand out and build a brand personality that potential buyers will remember.
Google your name every once in a while
If you are carefully planning your strategy to have a distinctive brand identity Google yourself once in a while to see what the first impression of your business looks like. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and check how your own brand looks through the eyes of someone else.
Use opportunities to connect with your audience offline
Even if you are planning to have a strictly online brand, you need to remember that people spend a lot of their time offline. You can use various events to show off your business stand and meet your customers in the real world. Your brand will seem more genuine and approachable, and it’ll allow you to really listen to the fans of your work.
Be consistent in your strategy
You need to remain consistent in your brand’s messaging strategy. Even with slight changes across different platforms in your social media campaigns, you want your brand image to remain the same. So if you are aiming for an informal and casual look, you don’t have to be too formal on Linkedin. And vice versa – if you want your brand to be associated with the utmost professionalism, don’t make silly TikTok videos.
Build an e-mail list
Even if you don’t have time to produce a regular newsletter, it’s always a good idea to collect contact information. If somebody gives you their e-mail address and consents to receiving marketing materials, then they are genuinely interested in your product. Stick to the ethical and transparent methods of collecting data, and you’ll have great open and click rates in your future e-mail campaigns.
Produce original content
Although a lot of marketers recommend copying others, you can be perceived as a copycat without your own brand identity. Yes, it’s great to learn from the best, and sometimes borrowing working solutions will do wonders for you, but you should still focus on producing original content that will differentiate you from the competitors. If you are creating graphic materials, try to come up with your own photos instead of using free stocks. If you are making TikTok videos, try to make an original scenario instead of blindly copying the trend every other company already did.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to decide there’s nothing left to learn and your brand is perfect. Constant A/B testing, focus group research, even asking your close friends – they are all great source of feedback about your online image.
Become an expert in your niche
It will be much easier to trust your brand when the potential customers know they are connecting with an expert. If you want to become a great brand with huge online recognition, you need to position yourself as an expert in the field and show everyone you know exactly what you are doing.