As part of our Small Business entrepeneur knowledge interview series, Ces Loftus of Creatively Minded Design explains why good brand design and social media is essential to improve your small business.
1. Tell us briefly what kind of business you do.
Having had a career in brand design I took the self-employed plunge and set up Creatively Minded with my husband in 2002. Many local businesses started to cut budgets for design and print so over the past 18 months we researched a niche market and adapted to provide cost effective and beneficial services online, positioning ourselves as thought leaders for SME’s who want to gain business by Branding to Stand Out on the social web.
2. By the looks of it, your advice doesn’t include brand image alone?
For many SME owners social web networking is a mystery, seen as a place for people with too much time on their hands. For others techno fear gets in the way of embracing what is in actual fact a global communication tool at their disposal for very little cost. We can talk the talk because we have walked the walk and continue to evolve with great passion for helping others benefit from Standing Out on the social web as we have.
3. What common mistakes do small businesses make with their brand image?
Common mistake number one is failing to recognise how much influence a social web presence can have in positioning themselves as the ‘go to’ business for their niche. For many who do ‘sign up’ to have a presence online, there is a lack of understanding of whether their brand image and social media strategy is actually helping or hindering their professional reputation.
4. What do you think should be the focus for small businesses concerning their brand image?
The way people are connected and decide who to do business with is changing. It is important for SME owners to gain knowledge of how to develop their own successful social media strategy. I enthusiastically provide insight and practical tips on the brand image aspect of this during workshops such as the training days run by Social Media Consultant and Web Brand Auditor Nick Tadd, which help both global brands and SME’s to get ahead online.
5. What role is social media taking into your business?
Social Networking is ‘social’ and involves engagement and conversation whether from a business or personal perspective. Being present on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Ecademy and independent blogs are a part of my day to day life. I actively contribute and add value online. Through engaging as a supportive business friend I have taken my business growth from struggling locally to flourishing globally gaining many friends, advocates and clients. This is exactly the thing any small business should do.