How To Build Your Online Brand

In branding, whether it is for your company or for yourself, consistency is crucial. The idea of branding and brand is to engrain a certain image or idea into the minds of viewers. If you keep changing the words and images you use in your branding campaign, how can it succeed?

Hence, I have put together the following list of ways you can keep your brand identity consistent in any online marketing campaign using social networking and communication websites, social media websites, blogs, e-mail addresses, IM clients, and beyond.

Always Keep a Consistent Username

No matter what service you sign up for, keep the same username and stick with it. You should use the same name over every instant messaging client you use (Skype, AIM, Windows live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.), on any social networking sites where you create profiles or groups or fan pages (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Bebo, etc.), and on any social media websites you use (Digg, Stumble Upon, Reddit, del.icio.us, etc.). In addition, this name should also be the e-mail address you use when communicating with others and should be apparent on all company documents and marketing materials.

Pick a name and stick to it. Spell and structure it the same way every time (capitalization and spacing, ie. For my blog I use AM Beat , not ambeat or AMBeat, or Ambeat) and do your best to ensure that others do it the same way (without being pushy).

Always Keep a Consistent Image

Whenever you create an account on a web service, chances are you have the ability to upload a profile picture. Always make sure to use the same picture with every service you use. If you are branding your company, use your logo. If you are branding yourself, then use the same profile picture across all web services.

For a company, there are two main logos you can use, the actual logo itself and the symbol portion of your logo (or a certain smaller element which clearly resembles the full logo). This smaller portion should serve as your website’s favicon and can be used as profile pictures if the service only allows room for smaller pictures (Instant Messaging clients for example) where the full logo would not fit.

Maintain a Consistent Design

Some services such as Facebook won’t allow you to do this; however on other websites such as MySpace and Twitter it could be a worthy investment to create a custom template for additional branding. This means a background to your profile that features your logo and some other elements of your company. If possible use the same design templates that you have for your blog or website for templates on other websites.

Use E-Mail Signatures

This may not sound like much but e-mail is still the most popular way to communicate and get work done online. If you are going to be constantly e-mailing all day, you should take some steps towards being consistent in your e-mails. The easiest way to do this is by creating an e-mail signature that is automatically added to the end of every e-mail you send.

The same advice can hold true when participating on forums.

Widen Your Presence

In order for branding to be successful you need to become a prominent user on a number of different internet platforms and communication platforms. First ensure you have taken care of the basics from developing a website and creating an e-mail address. From there you can expand to creating profiles on social networking websites and social media websites. You should also ensure that you have at least one instant messaging account. After this point, you should search your industry for other relevant blogs and participate through the use of comments, again using the same image and username. Services like Gravatar can automate this.

Lastly, take time to browse your niche for smaller community oriented websites where anyone can join and create profiles. This can include forums, niche social networking websites, industry conference websites databases, etc. and get involved.

However, remember not to overdo it on the number of websites where you dedicate your branding efforts. While it is great to be present via a number of diverse platforms, it is also important that you are visible on these platforms. The only way to be visible is through becoming an active participant and kit is difficult to do this if you are on too many platforms.

Overall, while branding won’t send direct traffic to your blog and its success rate is hard to measure, history has proved that having a well branded company is essential for gaining recognition and traction in any industry. However, branding efforts are completely dependent on consistency and having one idea or message to brand. The web features a variety of vast and affordable platforms on which you can brand yourself and your company and the guidelines included above should help you with branding online.

This post was written by Aditya Mahesh, founder of AMBeat.com, a complete resource for entrepreneurs dedicated to “innovation entrepreneurship” and small business opportunities.


64 thoughts on “How To Build Your Online Brand”

  1. Chintan says:

    Thanks for pointing out AM Beat and Gravatar… On them now…

    1. What? Congratulation you’re the first to comment, I bet you didn’t even read the article.

      And you thought Gravatar is a person?

      1. Seems to me that now a days first comments are really funny one.

        They do not understand this kind of comments will bring negative impression to people.

  2. Holly Hopper says:

    Great post! Branding is such a key factor for any business! It can be a process though, especially if you’re like me and have trouble deciding on just one thing to stick with. I’ve finally gotten to using the same username everywhere, still trying to decide what I want my “image” to be. There’s so many choices! ;P

  3. ProBlogineer says:

    that’s an awesome article

    I am trying to do the same.. 🙂

  4. Doug Dillard says:

    Very good post John. I am trying my best to brand myself and my website, as I know it is one of many important steps to growing a successful on or offline business. Thanks!

  5. send bloggers a bunch of free stuff. that seems to work for affiliate networks trying to build their brands. then usually the bloggers blog about the free stuff.

    1. Free t-shirts is a great way to brand yourself. People love to wear free shirts.

      1. Yes this one is good … but this will involve cost and money factors as well.

    2. The next question is…. How do you get the free stuff to start giving away and get a blog rolling.

      Sure you can attract readers with giveaways, and will get more things to give away as your provide more exposure. The problem is… How do you get the initial items to give away?

  6. Very important and perhaps often overlooked concept with online marketing! I know I personally struggle with my consistency because I fear being pigeonholed..thus, I hesitate to commit to any one username, tagline, pic, message, etc…because I don’t want to limit my audience.

    However, now I’m discovering it’s actually beneficial to “niche-down” and not aim to please everyone.

    PS- John…I just discovered you recently (I must have been living under a rock) and feel so fortunate to have found your blog. I’m digging into your killer ebook today and can’t wait to take action!

    Thank you for the invaluable content and inspiration…I’ll be passing this along to friends and colleagues.

    I look forward to future posts!

  7. Good article. I just ended a logo design competition for my blog and now I have a unique logo for my blog. I am planning on sticking to it. This would be my first step to creating an identity.

    Its true about using the gravatar, always use 1 picture, even though different picture is still ur face, its really different when viewer sees it, they won’t recognize.

  8. Shaun says:

    Great tips!

    Any suggestions for when your brand name is too long? For example, one of mine is Major League Wiffleball. That’s too many characters for Twitter. I originally used MajorLeagueWiff, (as many characters as I could) but it wasn’t showing up in searches for wiffleball, so I changed it (early on) to Wiffleballs (the best available name I could find). It’s not my brand name, but that seemed like a better fit. Was that a good idea in this case?

  9. Karl Foxley says:

    This was a good article by your ‘guest blogger’. I think Gravatar is an awesome service and certainly helps people connect your name and comments to your photo on those sites that have Gravatars enabled.

    Online branding is certainly important and maintaining a consistent theme / look is important.

    Regards,

    Karl

    1. Yes with Gravatar you can make yourself or your logo popular within few days.

      Awesome service …

  10. I will take this into consideration and I have different names for my Social Medias.

  11. Hi John,

    Found this post to be very useful – thank you.

    I’ve set up my own blog in the last month or so and will soon be seeting up other social media accounts.

    The information you’ve posted here will really help.

    Andrew.

    1. Lee Ka Hoong says:

      Great! Andrew, you need to get into the blogosphere and get to know everyone, it helps in branding yourself at least someone knows your exist and knows who are you.

      Welcome to the blogosphere and John Chow’s blog is a good start blog for you to learn more about making money online. 😀

      Regards,
      Lee

  12. This looks like another post that will take advantage of your new found luck with Google. I wonder how many people are searching on the term “How To Build Your Online Brand”?

  13. Donny Gamble says:

    If you use Internet Marketing to help brand your company online, it could create a mass viral effect that could help build upon your company’s brand

  14. Nice piece of advice there. I never thought things through on that level before…

  15. Debo Hobo says:

    I definitely need to focus on branding and staying consistent with it and my message.

  16. Derrick says:

    Thanks for the insider updates, is going to be useful..

    Branding is indeed an very important factor to be able to success in any business and you have lists out afew. .

  17. Quite agree with you Aaditya. This kind of thing needs time but once this one is established you do not have to look again. Because in this way you seized your presence in the internet world.

  18. Ghostwriter says:

    I like this post. Branding is very important. Although Aditya mentioned several things which are common sense, looking at my own business, I’m not implementing them. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. I think first thing which you should do is to put your photo or logo in gravatar so that people will be familar with you and will recognise you in other blogs as well.

  19. poorblogger says:

    Yes.. Use the same user to our brand online..
    It is good to get touch to others online people..
    Very good and useful tips.

  20. Murali Kumar says:

    I have different names in different services. It really makes life miserable. I am trying to change usernames in all of the services now.
    Its really very important. else users will get confused about u.

  21. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Branding is really important when it comes to online business, we really need our own brand to expand our business to make more money online. But branding ourselves needs a lot of time and it’s not 1-2 days task but 1-2years or even longer task. Once you’ve built up, then nothing is impossible.

    Well said Aditya!

    Regards,
    Lee

    1. Even though it may be a long term project you can start out by doing things correctly from day one. That way it’s not really a chore but just something that you do naturally.

      1. Yes this is the thing which you should plan very carefully and this starts from the day when you got the name which you want to use in your online marketing.

  22. hospitalera says:

    Good tips, I have a bit a problem with the image bit, it changes depending on the site I am on, i.e. my forum avatar is not the same as my gravatar. Again, thanks for the reminder. One additional point, you also shouldn’t change your “personality” I mean if you are one day all sweet and sugar and the next you swear at your readers. Could confuse them. SY

  23. EarningStep says:

    i am 100% agree with you , i try to brand my own name earningstep which teach people to make money from making money program and blogging . i am sure you already success build you johnchow as a famous name

    1. Your name and your gravatar will give you recognition … Just like people knows Darren as problogger more than Darren.

  24. Hello John,

    I was listening to my internet coach, Alex Jeffreys, and he mentioned you in his webinar talking about successful blogs. He was right. Great post for newbies, you have a new follower in myself. Thanks.

    Richard

    1. Hey Richard …

      This is the blog from one of the followers of John … His name is Aaditya. You can see more details at the bottom of this post.

  25. fas says:

    Wait a second, what if the username is not available?

  26. Great Post. Nice tips. Branding is most important.

  27. Steve Katyal says:

    Very true. It’s important to maintain consistency to avoid confusion.

  28. Dror Zaifman says:

    Thanks for the great post full of valuable information. I tend to firmly believe in what you said about “Always Keep a Consistent Username”
    That is how people recognize you on the web and it also makes it easy for people to find your brand.
    This was thought to me a few years back and I have been doing this ever since.
    One of the things that I will start doing is “Use E-Mail Signatures”
    Haven’t really done that in the past but after reading your post, I will try to start doing it to see the results.

  29. Funny Fidos says:

    John,
    I have started to use some of the ideas you mention in your post. Although, I wish I would of thought about using the same name for every social media account. 🙁 I’ve also started to brand locally by using Business cards.

  30. Benjamin Cip says:

    I have nothing to add to this great post, except the fact it is so true. Branding yourself is a key for your online success.

  31. iLiJi says:

    a great post, please allow me to adopt your ideas on my site.

  32. Thaks for all the positive comments guys

    I think a brand becomes too long when it is more than one or two short words…the easier it is to remember the better…also watch out for spelling issues, words which can be spelt more than one way when pronounced outloud

    1. But Aditya when we are clicking on your above name we land on john chow page and message – file not found … ?

      What is the matter ?

  33. A worthy post and one area I think most overlook.

    When you see a username full of numbers and abbreviations, you kinda of wonder who exactly they are 🙂

    I’m working hard to stay consistent with this, mybrand is my name so easy to remember……or maybe not some days 🙂

    Sean

  34. I never realized that using the same username across different platforms would be a good way to brand yourself. Maybe I will go back and create some new accounts now, especially YouTube, to help me with this.

    Branding is important to me because it’s as much about me as what I sell because my knowledge is my product.
    Great post.

    1. First step should be to make a profile in gravatar. That is must …

  35. ismabera says:

    thx, John
    I always learn something new reading your site

  36. Yikes! Quite a bit more to online branding than I thought. I try to use the same username on ALL accounts I make (if it is available). Pictures — try to use the same one.

    As for the others, completely new to me. Thanks for enlightening me. You learn something new everyday, eh?

  37. yudz says:

    thanks for ur advice

  38. videostar says:

    First you work for your brand,then your brand works for you.But it is difficult to concentrate on that every day.Thank you for reminding it.

  39. This is a great post. I am currently branding my site. Branding is important no doubt about it. It is even more important when your URL does not have the keywords of your niche in it. This post clearly gets your started in the right direction.

  40. Awesome post, it act as a guideline for most of us.. As branding is the key factor to maintain a consistency in business. Thanks John.

  41. chris says:

    Well a Gravatar is helpful just as long as you don’t say the wrong thing.As for Branding I am still not thinking about it too much.Anyway do people read comments this far down ?

  42. Gamers says:

    Weird cause i have been doing some of this stuff for over a year now. I’m glad to know that i have been doing some right all along.

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