Boosting brand awareness in the digital era

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No matter how great your products and services are, no one will be purchasing them unless they can find your business online! This is just as true for local businesses as it is for digital ones - research indicates that 94% of US smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 90% take action a consequence. Brand awareness is extremely important, not only for bringing in new customers but for ensuring the sustainability of your business in the long-run. A highly successful business knows how to build a community around its brand - this is achieved providing huge value to people, often in the form of free, digital content. Here are 5 easy ways to increase the exposure of your brand.

1. Blog regularly

By posting insightful, high-quality content on a regular basis, businesses can position themselves as industry thought leaders and establish loyal readerships of people who may go on to become paying customers. Because Google’s search engine algorithm loves fresh content (so long as it’s well-written and engaging), blogging can be used as an effective SEO tool for  improving your website’s ranking. Producing fresh content is a long-term commitment that requires time and energy, but for those willing to put in the hours and maintain a high standard of writing, the rewards are more than worth the investment. One of the best ways to create good content is to solve common problems, as argued by digital entrepreneur and outsourcing expert Chris Ducker in his book Virtual Freedom. He states: 

“These days, the first stop for anyone looking to solve a problem is the internet. As providers of products and services, problem-solving is exactly what we should be focussing on.”

While guest blogging for SEO purposes is effectively dead, there are still benefits to be had by getting industry bloggers to feature your content on their sites. In the same way that musicians collaborate in order to extend the outreach of a song and appeal to one another’s fanbase, the same is possible by guest blogging. So long as your post is tailored to the blogger’s audience and provides genuine value, securing guest blog opportunities is highly recommended. By creating a thriving blog and featuring content on other site’s within your niche, you can dramatically improve the awareness of your brand. Astonishingly, research indicates that B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than companies without a blog!

2. Utilize different types of content

In addition to blog posts, content can come in the form of infographics, videos, presentations, white papers and podcasts. One or more of these mediums can combine to form a comprehensive content marketing strategy which appeals to a broad spectrum of people. The main reason that businesses neglect to produce content on a regular basis is because there are always more pressing tasks to deal with. While it’s important to follow up your inquiries and ensure that no leads go to waste, if you don’t focus on improving the visibility of your brand, then your competitors will surely reap the benefits! Neglecting to provide your followers with regular, high-quality content (in whatever form) is heinously short-sighted and will ultimately cause your business to fade into obscurity.

3. Behave like a human on social media

Have you seen those Twitter accounts that strictly self-promote and make absolutely no effort to engage with their followers? Yeah, don’t do that. Because we’re living in the digital era where sales can be conducted from behind a computer screen, many marketers seem to have forgotten the following principle: humans have and always will purchase from other humans, not faceless corporations! Thus, being considerate and treating people with respect is essential if you want to ensure the long-term success for your business - the aforementioned Chris Ducker refers to this marketing philosophy as P2P (People to People). Cultivate discussions, ask for feedback and most importantly, respond to queries with immediacy. Remember, people want to be valued for their personalities, not just for what’s in their wallets!

4. Run a contest

Running a social media contest can generate huge publicity for one simple reason: people love free stuff! In addition to the lure of a big prize, people enter such contests to feel a part of something larger than themselves. Competitions which require photo submissions often cultivate the most engagement, since entrants feel personally invested and accountable (even when it comes to creating the world’s best garden shed). As we can tell by the ubiquitousness of singing and talent shows - the lure of a moment of fame (however brief) can be a great incentive for people to enter. By running a contest, you are eliciting positive emotions and anchoring them to your brand - this is a winning strategy because people tend to purchase from brands that make them feel good! Social media marketer Aaron Lee has the following choice words regarding contests:

“With social media contests the way it is today, contestants are often urged to voice out and tell their friends and family about it. It almost feels like businesses today are not building their own communities, but simply getting accepted by their audience’s respective communities. And that’s important, unintrusive and extremely valuable.”

5. Highjack popular trends

Every day the world’s media covers a multitude of events, some of which receive enormous amounts of attention. Wouldn’t it be great if you could vicariously benefit from this coverage? Well, actually you can. In 2010, a group of Chilean miners spent a substantial amount of time in darkness trapped in a collapsed mine. When they were finally rescued, Oakley provided each miner with a $450 pair of sunglasses to help them adjust to the natural light - of course, this was covered extensively in the media. By thinking and acting fast, Oakley generated approximately 41$ million in exposure! When a hot story hits the media, people will be searching for information online - by releasing an infographic at the right moment, you can help people to expand their knowledge of the subject and also generate exposure for your brand at the same time. That’s what I call a win-win scenario!