Interiorscape Branding: Image IS Everything
As Interiorscapers, we work in a visual industry and accordingly, image is everything.
Getting your company noticed isn’t an easy task, but it’s a necessary one. The more competition that you have in your market, the more necessary it is for your company to stand out.
Whether you’re just starting out in the business, or have been around for several years, marketing your company to your target prospect is an ongoing process that must evolve and develop as your company does.
You know what they say about image and first impressions. The image that your company projects is crucial to success and that first impression that you make with a prospect will only happen one time. Then, poof, it’s gone! Luckily, there are numerous marketing options available to us in today’s technologically advanced world and many of them are relatively inexpensive and available to us 24/7/365 because they are web based and that’s the world we live in.
Let’s begin at the beginning and examine your company’s logo. If you’ve been in business for five, ten or fifteen years and you haven’t updated your logo since you started out, well, it’s probably time for a logo makeover. That’s not to say that you must completely reinvent it if it was at least half decent to begin with. But in this day and age, the hand-drawn lettering with the vines crawling between the letters just won’t cut it!
If you have one of those, or some variant thereof, it’s time for an update to a more sleek and contemporary logo which will better portray the fact that your company is involved in design. Design. Yes, that’s what we do!
Your logo will be on everything. Letterhead, business cards, invoices, vehicles, brochures, shirts, caps, jackets and last but not least, your website and social network channels. If you’re not particularly good at creating something of this importance, and few of us are, hire a professional Graphic Designer to create a collateral package for you. There are also online options such as Fivver.com, Freelancer.com, VistaPrint.com and LogoWorks.com just to name a few. Plan on spending anywhere from $200.00 to upward of $500.00 depending on how much design work and how many variations you need. Alternatively, you could trade your services with a local designer. Be sure to have the logo created in both rectangular and square formats as you may need variations for different applications.
Once you have your new logo, it’s time to take a look at your website. Don’t have one? Eventually, you must in order to be competitive in today’s digital driven market. If you don’t have one yet and it’s just not in the budget right now, then start off by setting up your social network and search accounts. The good thing is that they are FREE and take only a few minutes to setup.
Homework: Before you get started with setting up your social network business pages, it’s important that you create profile images and banners using your new logo so that you are consistent across the various networks. To complicate things, just a bit, the image sizes are different for the various social networks so you’ll have to create images for each network that you intend to get going with. Here’s a handy resource listing the various image sizes.
LISTINGS & SOCIAL NETWORKS
- GOOGLE: The first network that you’ll want to setup is your free Google Places listing, which will play a big part in prospects being able to find you online, even if you don’t have that website up and running yet. To get started, just go to google.com/MyBusiness and enter all of the information about your business. If you are a home-based business and you don’t want people showing up at your front door, be sure to note that on your listing by perhaps showing your business hours as “by appointment only.”
- FACEBOOK: Next up will be your FREE Facebook business page. This one is crucial and more so if you don’t have a website up and running yet, as it can pretty much function as one in the interim. To get started, you’ll need to have a personal Facebook account. Next, you’ll log in to your account and on the left menu bar (about half way down) select “Pages” and then select “Create Page” at top right. Next, select “Local Business or Place” and then give your page a name. For consistency, you should name it the same as your business name, if available, or some variation of the business name if it’s not available.
- INSTAGRAM: Instagram was purchased by Facebook a few years ago and many of the functions work in collaboration with your Facebook account. It’s VERY important that you set up Instagram as a business account. A personal Instagram account won’t provide you with valuable tracking data that a business account will. If you already have a personal Instagram account you can convert it to a business one, but you may want to go through your photos and purge some of the less “professional” ones. To setup Instagram, download the app to your smartphone from the App Store, Google Play Sore or the Windows Phone Store and once installed, tap to open and follow the prompts. You can choose to sign up with an email address, or you can choose to connect with your Facebook account, which is recommended. Again, it’s suggested that you create your Instagram account in the name of your business, or some variation thereof. For example, our business page on Facebook is facebook.com/FosterPlants, but that was not available on Instagram or Twitter so we went with GetFosterPlants on those social networks. Next, from within the App, go to settings and scroll to “Switch to a Business Account.” From there, you can continue the setup process of inputting your business information. Once you’re all setup on both Facebook and Instagram, you can link your Facebook business page with Instagram so that when you post to Instagram you will have the option of also posting to your Facebook page. Quite a time-saver!
- TWITTER: You may or may not be keen on Twitter, regardless though, you’ll want to setup your Twitter account so that you can lock in the same name for Twitter as you have for Facebook and Instagram. Again, if your company name isn’t available, go with a variation of it and preferably the same one that you secured for Facebook and/or Instagram.
- LinkedIn: Just as with Facebook, with LinkedIn you’ll need to setup a personal account and profile to create a company page. To get going, from your LinkedIn home page go to “Interests,” select “Companies” and then select “Create” in the “Create a Company Page” section on the right hand side and enter all your company information.
Now that you have your new logo, you’ve begun the branding or re-branding of your company you’ll need to begin promoting your brand to grow it. We’ll be talking about growing your following and your brand on the social networks next time.
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