This is a guest blog post written by Louise Sinnerton, social media marketing specialist with PeerIndex .
Personal brands and commercial brands have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. For well-known figures such as Steven Fry, Margaret Thatcher and Arnold Schwarzenegger there isn’t much of a distinction between the two. In the online sphere, there are thousands of opportunities to tap into people that may be able to help define your brand, strengthen it or broaden its reach. On a personal level that can be very helpful – knowing who will recommend something of top quality – but where brands are concerned it can be extremely lucrative.
Whether they are one and the same or not, personal and commercial brands can make great use of each other. Jacquelyn Martino and Patrick Wagstrom, researchers from IBM, have been looking at personal branding using social network data and influence scores. Their experiment uses this data to identify the core focus of personal brands, something that can be applied to all brands. Once the core focus has been identified along with the brand networks, brands are able to see how they might be able to extend their reach online.
Within a network, the individuals that are identified as sharing information about a given topic are the people crucial to expanding or solidifying a brand.
3 Ways to Strengthen Your Online Brand
1. Identity - Have a strong brand identity and don’t be afraid of it. Be very specific about who the brand is and what it does, this will engage the right kind of people, who in turn will have the right kind of contacts.
2. Quality Not Quantity - Remember that its not about the number of people that are interested, it is the quality of those people that matter. If you have 1,200 people following you on twitter but none of them retweet you or interact with you online, then they are not valuable to you. It is far better to have a smaller but more valuable reach. This is particularly true when it comes to niche communities and niche markets.
3. You are only as good as those who buy into you - Be aware of who is following you and the things they are saying – as the paper suggests, a brand is made up of the tastes and quirks of the people that buy into it. The people communicating and interacting with the brand are part of the brand identity itself. Some of the people who aren’t part of the brand already - or aren’t buying into it - are potential customers - people who haven’t been targeted yet but could become very involved with the brand.
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