For businesses trying to build a brand – especially an upstart – they should bear witness to a large sign at the entry gates of the web that states boldly “No Loitering”. Not because it isn’t permitted, but because it’s ineffective.

When it comes to branding a business online, there’s simply no room for spectating. It’s ineffective, it wastes time and it is essentially you stepping to the site to let a competitor brand themselves and cast a shadow on your business.

Going Social with Professional Branding
The web continues to grow as a vast resource of info – it’s a living database of knowledge. At the heart of it however is the social world where people join, converse and network. If you want to grow your brand, and you want to be involved in the conversations that take part within the social sphere then you have to take action and actively promote your brand.

Promotion goes well and beyond common advertising – this isn’t about hype. Promoting your brand means reaching out to your target audience with a clear and consistent message so that they fully understand who you are and what it is that you offer.

Your outreach into the community is meant to attract your target audience; to build credibility and trust and to impress the image of your brand into their minds.

You can’t do that sitting on the couch, or in your office, or drumming your fingers as you watch a Twitter feed tick by without taking action.

Getting to Know “You”
People want to know your process, your strengths, and your game-changers. People want to hear you promoting yourself because within the self-promotion of your professional brand you will (at least you should) be leveraging your USP – what sets you apart from the competitors.

Branding offline is important, and personal face-to-face networking is the foundation of building a strong brand but it’s also important to recognize that your target audience spends a great deal of time within online communities that relate to their interests. In order to effectively brand yourself and make yourself known, you have to actively engage them on their grounds.

Only then will you start to see the real engagement and the meat that comes from a well-branded hunt.

Once they know they can interact with you, you’ll start seeing the good with the bad. They’ll praise you, ask you questions, draw on your knowledge and experience, examine your skills and what you offer – they’ll even chastise you for screwing up or being different. It’s all good, because your social branding is you. You’re authentic, you’re transparent and you’re real.

That’s what branding is all about, and it requires a certain social interaction for it to take place. You don’t network with people by standing in a corner watching the conference tick by – you shake hands. It stands to reason that in order to build your brand, to give it legs (even wings) and to make your brand visible you need to be active in the social communities where your target audience lives.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Matthew E. Alleyne, A.K.A The “Toot" Guy founder of WikiToot.com. I have been a serial entrepreneur my entire life, starting when I was in my nappies – it’s just in my blood!

For the last 20 years I’ve launched one successful business after another and have fallen in with the crowd of best-selling authors and public speakers in the branding circuit.

When I’m not involved in hands-on interaction with my businesses, I’m mentoring others. I’ve led hundreds to personal and professional success and look forward to continuing that trend.