New year or not, the time for kicking up your brand’s image a notch or two is always now. If you’re looking to make some changes, here are 13 ways you can freshen up your brand in 2013:
#1 Go Mobile Now
Too many brands are holding out on mobile technologies to “fully develop” before they jump on board. In the world of marketing and technology, by the time a strategy is “fully developed” the cutting edge brands have already shifted gears in the next trending direction. Don’t wait around for mobile to be a clear and obvious path. You don’t have to take my word for it; check out my fellow blogger Patrick’s write up on the future of mobile marketing in 2013.
#2 Cut Your Blanket Social Media Presence
Having an account on every social media platform is not a marketing strategy. Chances are, a return on investment is seen in just one or two platforms. Cut wasted time and money in platforms that aren’t working for you, and dive all in on the ones that do work.
#3 Pay Attention to Big Brands
Our team here at Content Equals Money holds a firm belief that content marketing ROI works on a sliding scale. You can do the same thing that the Fortune 500 companies are doing, but on a smaller level. See this idea unpacked (with plenty of stats to back it up) in our Fortune 500 guide.
#4 Make Your Brand Visible
I’m referring to a very literal form of visibility. Pinterest is exploding. So is Instagram. Brands who start sharing visual content will definitely have the upper hand in marketing by the end of this year.
(In case you have reservations about my first ‘going mobile’ tip, you should know that Pinterest soaked up nearly 721 million minutes of mobile users’ time in 2012 (see Pinterest link above).)
#5 Sign Up With Google+
I know, I know, you’ve been on the fence about this for months. Companies with a physical address (that should account for most of us here) especially need to get Google+ because it allows you to control of a lot of the information your customers will see when they search for your company: location, hours, reviews, etc.
Plus, with a Google+ account, you can start taking advantage of Google’s rel=author tag. Let our friend Jill Whalen explain why this is critical for SERP rankings and your brand’s overall image.
#6 Start Using Agencies
Because we’re a small business, we know how it is. Few companies have someone who can do graphic design, SEO, content creation, marketing, sales, video, social media, and perform the functions that make your business your business. You’ll save time and money in the long run when you let an agency handle the things you’re not skilled in doing.
#7 Explore Augmented Reality
Inc.com predicts augmented reality will be even bigger in 2013, citing examples of BMW’s online test-drive and Lands’ End’s virtual dressing room. This kind of technology, which is dropping in price, is a great business branding technique to help your company stand out.
#8 Keep Telling Stories
Your brand is your story. Whether you choose to work through a blog, video series, monthly webinar, or some other format is totally up to you. Just make sure that you’re letting people know what you’re up to, how things are developing, etc. This does not mean a barrage of Facebook updates. You can tell a surprisingly compelling story with just a weekly photo essay/blog post.
#9 Create eReader Content
The Kindle, iPad, iPad Mini, the Nexus… these things aren’t going away anytime soon. They provide a great opportunity for you to share long-form content that mobile and social platforms simply won’t allow for. Free guides, “how-to” style mini-books, and other forms of thought leadership are great ways to get started.
#10 Boutique Writing Services Are ‘In’
A few weeks ago, the Content Marketing Institute published 100 Social Media and Content Marketing Predictions for 2013. There are lots of interesting predictions in this PDF, but I’d like to highlight an included prediction from our founder, Amie Marse, who predicts more brands will move away from international services (because of Google SEO concerns) and toward boutique writing services for scalability and consistency.
#11 Allow Your Customers To Do the Selling
Okay, not 100% of the selling. But there’s something to this idea. The first prediction of the year from Social Media Examiner is that e-commerce and social media will see a happy marriage in 2013. Cutting edge brands are putting the consumer in the driver’s seat, almost letting the buyer sell to himself by voluntarily consuming your great content.
#12 Jump Into Gamification
2013 will see a big shift toward gamification, from Facebook contests to interactive, customer-rewarding website technologies. Even the Economist agrees. If you haven’t explored this marketing strategy, I would highly recommend giving this Social Media Examiner article a quick read.
#13 Be an Observer – Not a Follower
Lastly, these are my tips for how your business could be branding itself in 2013. You’re going to see even more “free advice” from bloggers in 2013. Soak it up, but run with your own instincts above all else. Only you know the risks you can afford to take with your brand’s image. Take some risks, but be smart: it will show in your brand!
Have some branding tips and predictions of your own for 2013? Share them in the comments section below.