If you’re going to set up shop online and try to market anything, you are most definitely going to need an online identity. In fact, even if you don’t plan to use the Internet to make any money, you might want to set up an online identity.
But, what do I mean when I say “online identity”? Essentially, I mean an easily identified brand on the Internet. A brand which is consistent. Get in the habit of looking at yourself as a brand, even if you’re not marketing it.
Here are a few things to do to get going with your online identity:
- Set up profiles with the leading social networking sites. This includes MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn as bare minimums.
- Use the same name on all your social network profiles. You need to keep things consistent.
- Participate on Twitter and FriendFeed and start sharing news and findings that are relevant to your target market.
- Use an avatar or icon to represent yourself. And, if possible, use the same avatar regardless of the website. That avatar will then become representative of your online identity.
- Start a blog. A well written blog targeting your market can do more for your online identity than anything else you do.
- Be helpful and active. If you’re interested in building a recognizable presence, you have to be out there in front of people. That means participating on the Internet. Posting blog entries. Actively networking on sites like Twitter, FriendFeed and the social networks. This puts your name out in front of people and repetition builds to recognition builds to trust.
Smart internet businesspeople are realizing that the age of anonymous retailers is ending. People would rather shop with a small person they know and trust than a big non-personal corporate presence. Social media and using it properly can built you up into that person they know.
Think of your blog and your website as the hub of a wheel, and your social media profiles across the Internet as multiple spokes to the wheel. Keep all of them as active as you can and you can use all the spokes to drive traffic right to the hub: your website.
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