Voice | A Brand’s Personality

Voice | A Brand’s Personality

Voice vs. Tone

The easiest way for you to make a “name” for your brand online is to stand for something. Have a personality and a voice. The voice of your brand can be described as the personality of your brand. If you were to describe your brand as a person, what words would you use? What adjectives would you attribute to your brand? Is your brand funny, professional, sarcastic or friendly? These descriptors will help you to define the way you speak to your followers on your social media platforms.

Your tone is comprised of the audience, situation and channel you’re interacting on as your brand. This tone may change depending on the gravity of a situation or the intended purpose of the conversation. Your brand will have one voice, but the potential for many tones. Much like you would change the way you speak to your best friends versus the CEO of a fortune 500 company, so will your brand’s tone change.

Defining your voice

  1. Choose three words that embody your brand:
    ex: Professional, Educational and Relatable
  2. Limit those words to narrow your brand’s personality:
    Professional, but not cocky
    Educational, but not boring
    Relatable, but not dorky
  3. Read over your three words while looking at the visual branding for your business. Do the visuals of color, typeface and overall feeling align with the three words you’ve chosen for your brand?  If so, you’ve got it! If not, it’s time to revisit one or the other.

Mastering your tone

As a brand, you’ll want to be prepared to respond to followers in a variety of situations. A great way to hone your brand’s tone is to participate in real-time experiences online. This will help you to respond and converse with your brand in mind. Think about how you speak about your brand to potential clients and investors. That will help you to embody the brand as a personality online. The best way for this practice to become second nature is to continually practice speaking as your brand instead of about your brand.

Need help?

If you are finding difficulty in determining your brand’s voice or specific tones, please reach out! We at MOKup Media would be happy to sit down with you for a session to discuss and define your brand’s voice and the goals you have for conversing online. The digital space is a welcoming playground if you know the rules. We’ll happily be your guide! You can find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

Platform Perfection

Platform Perfection

It’s summer!
Welcome to camp, social media camp.
There are several tents: We have
“Every Platform, Every Day” for those who are on all.the.things.
“One and Done” for those who pick one tried and true place to post.
and
“I Can’t Even” for those who have created accounts but never, ever post.

Which tent do you stay in?

Let me introduce a new tent for you. It’s called “The Perfect Platform”. Welcome
The Perfect Platform or two are unique to you and your content. A place where you can reach your audience in the most engaging way possible

Let’s discuss.

Industry Specific

Though it may not seem this way, each industry and demographic does have a primary platform that they interact with most. While there is crossover depending on the user, most industries gravitate toward one or maybe two platforms for content sharing.

LinkedIn is great for professionals. Government Contractors, Consultants, Coaches and other B2Bs will all do well to share their content on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is NOT the place for highlighting family stories, sharing holiday photos or pictures of your lunch.

Pinterest is a good home for bloggers, vloggers or those who share how-to, actionable content. If your primary audience is the WAHM or SAHM, teacher or DIYer. Pinterest may be for you.

Instagram is ideal for visual businesses. The not-so-little sister of Facebook is a great place for those sharing travel information, fashion advice, product content, real estate, coaching information and more.

Facebook is the almost the original. Ideal for the fun stuff, Facebook is a great hub for event-based companies, those who have a demographic of remote workers, coaches, B2B and product options. Facebook is also a great resource for searching. Having a basic Facebook business page allows a business to appear in search.

Twitter is for those who are brands and businesses that have the ability to engage regularly. Twitter is a real-time conversation type platform that works well if it is interacted with often.

YouTube is clearly for video creators. Brands and businesses that have embraced video creation can utilize YouTube for sharing and engagement.

A variety of other platforms do exist apart from these but for our purposes, those listed above are the best for business use.

Pick Your Platform

Choosing a platform or two to interact with does not have to be a one-shot-wonder.

Here are a few things you can do to find your ideal platform.
-Give yourself 30-60 days to discover and learn your options
-Research your business peers and competition to see where they’re finding success
-Create content specific to each platform
-Test, test and test again. Once you gather enough information you’ll make a decision that saves you time in the long run.
-Pick something you enjoy. As you’ll be the one creating the content and engaging with your audience, do it in a place that brings you joy instead of frustration.
-Be ready to pivot.

The social landscape changes on every platform more often than we’d like. Stay engaged with your audience and your content and consistently seek out new people to follow. This will allow you to see how others are utilizing their skills for content. It may also serve as a space of inspiration for new content.

Finally, when in doubt, ask for help. Follow digital marketers and social media managers who are active. Many of them will gladly assist you with content ideas as well as sharing tips and tricks to improve your digital presence.

If you’re looking for somewhere to start or have specific questions regarding the platforms, check out MOKup Media and Meg Kerns on Twitter and Instagram. @MOKupMedia @Megokerns.

Branding Your Email Address Is as Important as Your Business Domain

Branding Your Email Address Is as Important as Your Business Domain

Branding Your Email Address Is as Important as Your Business Domain - Web and BeyondI’m likely preaching to the choir if you’ve ever heard me talk about email marketing. But, it’s worth stating again and again for every Small Business owner to hear this message loud and clear: if you have a Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, or any other free email address that’s not [email protected], you are missing out on an amazing marketing opportunity. And, you’re likely hurting your professional reputation. I’d like to unpack how branding your email address is as important as your business website’s domain, and ways in which you can take advantage of a branded email address by getting and using it.

Professional Reputation and Legitimacy

Think about the ubiquity of email in business today. And you’re telling people implicitly to visit AOL or Yahoo instead of your company’s website by not having a brand-enabled email address. As well, some people look down on your business or don’t see you as stable by using a free email service.

As an example, I get at least one email a week from a purported Small Business owner asking me if we can help them with their website and whether we “take credit cards.” It’s the strange way the senders write their email messages that make it a dead giveaway that it’s a scam, but their email addresses are always from generic email services. Identifying this kind of scam spam is important for everyone receiving email today. I see email from those I don’t know and I immediately don’t give them as much credibility because they so similar to those that aren’t legitimate. We all only have so much time in the day to manage our email and if you decrease your legitimacy factors to not only spam filters, but to the humans trying to identify you as a real business, having a professional email address is vital.

Furthermore, when you create a branded email account and their accompanied aliases, you can setup DMARC records for your email accounts (as well as DKIM and SPF), which is an email-validation system so that when mail exchange servers receive, they know it’s coming from you (or third-party services you’ve approved to send on your behalf, like your email marketing software). This increases chances you get into the inbox of your intended recipient in the first place.

Proper Email Boundaries

Turn off your email when you are away from the office, whether for just a few days or on a multi-week vacation. That’s simply a free bit of life-work balance for you as an entrepreneur.  However, setting good email boundaries and expectations is a form of customer service (which is, in my opinion, a part of the marketing department in small businesses). When you use your personal email account for business email, now you have conflated those two roles in your life. This makes it difficult when you wake the screen on your phone in the morning on vacation and you see an “important” email message from a client. Instead of that client getting a professional automated response noting that you’re away and when you’ll respond (logically), you react (emotionally). Responding to email messages when you’re in work mode is always going to be better than reacting when you’re trying to rest and rejuvenate.

I personally don’t check my personal email accounts that often, but when I’m on vacation I turn off my work email accounts and switch my personal email accounts to notify me as messages come in. I’m usually traveling and wanting higher engagement with my friends and family at those times, and having a separated business email account structure gives me the comfort in knowing those email messages coming in are the right context for me at any given time.

As well, using a branded email, I can add the appropriate persons in my company to contact in my absence via my autoresponder “away” message, or I can forward specific client emails to staff, should they be able to help in my stead.

Marketing Your Website

Your website is where sales happen. And, it takes time, energy and resources getting visitors to your business website. So, why would you squander the marketing opportunity to expose your website domain name to people with whom you share your email address? When someone meets you and receives your email address, this is the chance to get them to become curious in checking out your website. But, you most often than not won’t ask them directly to visit your website. By, giving them a branded email to stay in touch, say, at a networking event, you have planted some curiosity for them to check out your website when they see [email protected]

For different marketing campaigns you can set up forwarding email addresses (which are not real email accounts, but merely fronts for forwarding inbound email along to another email address of your choice). So, when leads and potential clients email you from a business card, flyer, postcard or brochure, you can identify from where they learned about you and/or your business.

As well, your email is more memorable when it’s [email protected] When you give someone a generic email address, like [email protected] or [email protected], it’s harder to remember why they were going to email you or what your name or your business name is.

A good rule of thumb: whenever you have an appropriate chance to share your website domain name, do so.

Present Yourself (as Bigger or Smaller) Depending on your Business Situation

With branded email, you can create accounts such as [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and s[email protected] These represent departmental emails that go to the correct person for handling inbound messages. In a Small Business, all these hats may be centralized to a few people, if not one person–you. But, your clients don’t need to know that!

Also, as I do, I have separate public and private email addresses. I use my public email address for all public-facing marketing materials, such as when I present to audiences at workshops and seminars. However, I have a private email address that’s only used between my staff and me so that those messages can be segmented and focused on our client needs, and not distract me from all the other email I get every day. This public-facing email is also a shared account with my assistant so email I don’t need to deal with can be processed and organized while I’m in meetings, presenting seminars, or teaching workshops. The remaining, non-time sensitive email messages from the public email address will then we be waiting for me when I get to it.

Branded Email Is Low-Cost and High-Value

I think a big concern for most business owners, established and startup alike, is that branded email is going to cost a fortune. And, the reality is, that most branded email today is very cost effective.

By hosting with a proper email hosting service provider, you get technical support. Email is important for your business and free email services don’t have any guarantees about their uptime. But, your email hosting provider will be able to give you 99.9% uptime guarantees.

As you might imagine as the Google Small Business Advisor for Productivity, I’m a huge fan of G Suite, Google’s business productivity suite. It includes almost every type of software a business owner needs today to get started and grow their business over time; what’s not available in G Suite proper is possible through an integration partner in the G Suite Marketplace. But, to our topic at hand, every G Suite license comes with branded email powered by Gmail. This is substantially and substantively different than consumer-grade Gmail as G Suite email is your business data, owned by you, private, no advertising, and secure. Yet, it has all the features you have come to love about Gmail; it does have the ability to turn off features you don’t like. As well, for those who are in a Microsoft-preferred ecosystem, you can get business email through Office 365 Business Premium or Exchange.

Also, W3 Consulting’s Web Services provides 100 free email forwarding aliases for departmental email addresses (as I indicated above, such as [email protected], [email protected], etc.) with the purchase of any domain registration or Managed WordPress hosting purchase. These will forward to one or several email addresses in your company that cover the appropriate roles. If you’re using G Suite, you can create these within the Admin Console as Groups.

Protecting your Brand with Employee Emails

When you hire new employees, you want them to use your company’s email address when corresponding with clients. This not only positions them professionally and legitimately as acting on behalf of your company, but it also gives some protections for you and your employee.

When an employee leaves, you don’t lose control over that email account. You can change the email alias (which is the yourname in [email protected]) and direct it to your email or another employee’s email account when an employee resigns or the business terminates an employee. This continuity with your client communications is very important in marketing and other operations management areas of the business.

How to Create a Branded Email Account for your Business

It’s increasingly easier to get your branded email account set up for your business today.

If you didn’t know, you can have branded email without having a business website yet. I recommend that you have your business’ branded email account set up as soon as possible when you are starting out. You can plan and launch your website thereafter, but it’s never too early to get your audience aware of your business website’s domain.

So, here are the basic steps to getting your branded email account for your business.

  1. Register a business domain name, which you want to use for your business and email.
  2. Decide on your business email hosting provider, whether that’s G Suite or another email hosting provider.
  3. Set your domain’s MX (mail exchange) records in your Domain Manager to direct to your email hosting provider.
  4. Now, choose an email program that you want to handle your email management on desktop and mobile. From your email hosting provider, get the email setup information so you can establish control over the branded email within your software on both desktop and mobile.
  5. Create a professional email signature for your email account, and you’re ready to go!

Do you have any questions about branding your email address? How about creating a branded email address? Feel free to contact us, or comment below, and we’ll be happy to answer questions or direct you to a resource that can help!

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