Times are, well…weird. I say that because for some individuals, you are busier than ever trying to keep your head above water with new and changing needs as the result of COVID-19. And for others, things have slowed or come to a halt with your business and now you’re left with excess time and worry of what the future will hold.
If you fall into the latter category, consider these tips for using your extra bandwidth to grow your brand and stay present. It’s the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for the re-opening of the economy, whatever that may look like. Take a look.
Give your website a face lift.
When things were “business as usual” for you, a website refresh likely wasn’t at the top of your to-do list. Even if you were aware of the need, these types of things easily fall by the wayside for business owners because we’re so busy addressing the needs of our clients that ours get pushed down the list. Now, with a little more time on your hands, make yourself a priority again and dig into your existing website, page-by-page. Consider its content, flow and navigation, and aesthetics.
Try to do as much as you can on your own, but then a time will come to engage a content writer and web developer to bring the project home and ensure it looks professional. This small investment now will pay off big down the road, and may even cost a little less during current times as web developers and content writers are looking for additional work as well.
Critique your Linkedin profile.
With your website now buttoned up, move on to your Linkedin profile. Don’t have one? This is a great time to dive head first into the Linkedin community and create one. And if you do have an existing Linkedin profile, chances are there are various things you can update. Even if your job hasn’t changed, your accomplishments and responsibilities likely have. You may also have joined a community organization, or have a publication (i.e. blog, white paper, case study) you can add to your profile to further build it out. This is also an ideal time to request reviews and referrals from your network. These look fantastic on a profile, especially if you can build an archive of 5 or 10+.
Redesign your business cards and email signature.
Do you absolutely love your current business card? If you’re like 99% of us, the honest answer is no. Pull that out of your bag or portfolio that’s likely been collecting dust the last few weeks and really look at your business card. Does this match the vision you have for your brand? Or does it fall short? Then get inspired on sites like Pinterest or Canva at new design possibilities. Particularly, consider how a card’s finish or special features like spot gloss, foil, or embossing can really add that “wow” factor. You can also jazz up your email signature (i.e. your electronic business card) by adding your logo, head shot, links to your social media accounts, website, or blog and more. WiseStamp has been my go-to tool over the years for creating great email signatures, but there are many other options if you simply Google it.
Stay present and relevant on social media.
The first two weeks or so of quarantine, I think many business owners took this time to pause and breathe. Now that we have a better vision for what the “new normal” will need to be, at least for the foreseeable future, it’s time to jump back into things. Even if your workload has slowed down or come to a halt, this doesn’t mean go hide under a rock. In fact, this a great opportunity to get in front of your target audience and grow your presence on social media. The key is to share thoughtful and relevant content. Better yet, share original content that you’ve created. Demonstrate to people that you are knowledgeable, useful, and ready to help others however you can. Share hope!
Organize your Instagram highlights.
Do you have a presence on Instagram? Now might be the right time to use your extra bandwidth to jump onto the social platform. Or if you have an existing account, dedicate some time to growing your following (and I stress organically), and building out your profile. One great way to do this is to organize your Instagram highlights. These are those little circles that appear on your profile where you can organize various posts from your Instagram stories and lump them into categories. If you search through any Instagram bloggers’ accounts, you’ll see this feature built out beautifully. Take inspiration from them and apply it to your own business! Most importantly, you’ll need to get comfortable with posting to Instagram stories regularly. What better to do during quarantine?
Create new profile pictures and header images on your social media accounts.
Much like your LinkedIn profile, be sure to check out any other social media accounts you have. What does your profile pictures look like? What about your header image? These require different dimensions for every social media platform, so take time to design out well-branded and professional looking images and resizing them as needed. This will create cohesive branding across all of your platforms. Won’t that feel good?
Seek guest blog or podcast opportunities.
Here’s another great use of time that will also help to grow your brand – explore the possibilities of guest blog or podcast opportunities. Many other businesses and influencers out there are looking for quality content to keep their communication channels full. This can be challenging with so many people impacted by COVID-19. Being proactive and reaching out to key individuals whose blog or podcast align with your area of expertise can yield excellent publicity for your brand. Be sure to return the favor by thoroughly promoting the blog or podcast on your own communication channels once it goes live.
Write a mini-series on your area of expertise.
Writing a book during quarantine is a lofty goal, but hey, maybe you’ll crush it! For most of us, maintaining a business, homeschooling children AND writing a book just isn’t in the cards. Instead, consider doing a mini-series of articles that speak to an important and useful topic right now. Are you a graphic designer? Teach people about the basics of professional-looking graphic design, the do’s and don’ts, and the best tools for beginners. Are you a restaurant? Share great cook-at-home recipes, or do a Facebook Live series of video tutorials you can post on a blog with the recipe. I could go down any industry and offer a similar approach – so get creative! Not only will this keep your brand top of mind and relevant, but it will create a really great mini-series of content you can look back on in the future and feel proud.
Do you find yourself with more time on your hands currently? Consider using some of these tips to remain productive and put the time to good use building our brand. You will look back and be so glad that you did!
Join in the conversation by sharing another tip or piece of advice for brand building opportunities amidst stay-at-home and work-from-home orders. Leave a comment below!