3. ASK YOUR CLIENTS OR COLLEAGUES WHY THEY LIKE WORKING WITH YOU
This is vital 360-degree feedback on your brand. You’re often so close to your own work or appearance that you can’t see how you’re being perceived.
Ask your clients why they keep coming back. You can do this casually or formally: over the phone, at the end of a meeting... wherever. The beauty is that the sheer exercise of asking them to do this will also help your clients remind themselves why they keep coming back to you.
You can also reread your referrals and testimonials. There will undoubtedly be words and phrases that keep coming up again and again. Highlight the words that reinforce your brand and, more importantly, the benefits it brings to your clients.
4. LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA TO AMPLIFY YOUR BRAND
If you’re not already using social media to leverage your brand, I highly recommend you do so. But, as with any branding, you’re better off going deep into two or three channels than diluting your efforts across multiple networks and not gaining any real traction in any. My personal top three for service professionals are LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
TOP THREE SOCIAL NETWORKS
LinkedIn is a powerful search engine that connects you to a global community of professionals and has ever-increasing functions. One function we’ve begun using more and more in one of our businesses, Presentability, is a private (closed) forum. Just like hosting your own mastermind group can be good for your reputation as a serious player who’s also a seriously good connector, the same impression can be made in an online forum, as long as you give value. If you have a blog, post it to the forum, or simply contribute articles and questions for your audience, further establishing your ‘go-to’ value, with the added benefit of being a connector.
Twitter is more than just about tweeting about the incidental moments in your life, or self-promotion. One of the most underutilised aspects of Twitter is its use for research. By staying focused on who you follow and how ‘on brand’ you are with what you post, you gain much more credibility here too. Always leave enough room for your followers to have an opinion when they retweet (say 10–20 characters). If you’re retweeting an article yourself, have an opinion of your own. That way you strengthen your status as a trusted adviser.
YouTube is owned by Google. That means it’s powered by the most powerful search engine in the world. If you’re not already getting video content up, consider it. As a service professional we want to know about you. Personally, I’m a professional speaker, so for me it’s vital. However, even clients who don’t speak for a living gain so much more traction by allowing people in to see who they are and the passion behind what they do, not to mention their own personal style.
5. STAY ON BRAND WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Where many people fail to gain momentum in their social media is in failing to have an authentic voice in the channels they choose. If you’re new to social media, then play with it, keeping an eye on who follows you and the impact you have on the market. Follow people in your industry who have many followers or connections, and observe what they do, then infuse those practices with your own style and – most importantly – your own opinions.
Michael Neaylon is a speaker, author, and consultant specializing in sales, marketing, and branding for service professionals who want more business, greater profits, working with more of their better clients. He is the author of True Brand Toolkit: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.