Picture the scene: you’re interviewing for a new role in your organisation. Two candidates are waiting nervously in the hallway.
The first candidate shuffles in and sits down. They’re wearing a suit, shirt, tie and a pair of brogues. You notice the suit is frayed at the sleeves, the seams are coming apart, the tie has a permanent stain on it, and the shoes are scuffed. Their answers to your questions are rambling and long-winded. Sure, they’ve followed the smart dress code - in principle. They’re knowledgeable. However, their appearance is shabby and unprofessional.
The second candidate walks into the room. They greet you with a handshake and a smile. Their outfit is smart, tasteful, and well-looked after. Everything has been chosen deliberately. Their answers are insightful and concise.
Who do you go for? There’s not a huge amount between the two candidates in terms of their expertise, but the signals sent by the second candidate leave you in no doubt about who the right appointment will be.
This is, of course, a simplified illustration of effective branding. As with most things digital, what applies to the analogue world is mirrored in the online space. All too often organisations invest in a website, glossy video content, and social media, but the presentation is the equivalent of a disheveled suit. It’s disorganised, with no strategy or a broader view of how these components fit together to form a coherent picture of who you are, what difference you can make, and why it matters.
An increasing number of people research on the internet before making purchasing decisions, whether that’s for products, experiences, or services. You or someone close to you probably did the same recently. So, whenever someone interacts with you, no matter what medium, they should always be left with no doubt about the quality you can deliver.
The steps to achieving a smart online presence are actually relatively simple. They don’t need to be overthought. Here are some quick tasks you can do today:
Make sure your logo and branding are across your social media profiles (including YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn), so no empty profile pictures or banners.
Give all your content a clear title, keywords, and a concise meta description.
Upload thumbnails wherever possible; again, this applies to all content, including blog posts and videos.
In all your content, include a prominent link to your website and, where possible, to your other social media networks.
Finish with a clear call to action, whether it’s to subscribe, read another article, download an eBook, or to contact you.
These points are the bare minimum for basic online hygiene. A good starting point is to look at your digital presence: would you say it clearly communicates the value of your expertise and the integrity of your offering, like the second candidate? Or is it purely functional, a box ticked? If you’re in any doubt, the sooner it can be smartened up, the better.