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Branding Tools for Your Business, Part II

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Last week's post stressed the importance of a strong logo and the marketing benefits of business cards. In this post, the discussion turns toward social media and its roll in your company's branding process.

Perhaps the social media site with the most professional orientation is LinkedIn. Business networking is common and encouraged. One simple way to increase your brand's reach is to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances who may not know about your business. Particularly if you operate in a small-to-medium sized town, merely reaching out in this way can have a solidifying effect on your brand. Besides that, though, other LinkedIn members can "follow" your company and stay informed about potential job openings and more.

Aside from LinkedIn, important branding can be achieved through less business-oriented sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. A word of caution must precede marketing attempts through these channels, however. The voice for your business on these sites must be loose, casual and (hopefully) entertaining. People are excited to connect and keep up with their favorite businesses as long as they feel like real people are behind the businesses and interesting content and offers are being discussed.

In other words, this is not an opportunity to clog news feeds with your traditional ad copy; instead, this is a chance to give people a look behind the counter, so to speak. Is there an interesting special this week? Have you had a recent encounter with a customer that was particularly meaningful or unique? And finally, don't forget to open up a dialogue for feedback from those who friend or follow your business. This is an opportunity to gather information that can help you run your business.