By Bob Dunn
Social media offers one of the most powerful opportunities to brand your business—if you do it right.
But it can also be complicated.
There is you, the owner/CEO, and there is you, the business.
Most businesses, especially solopreneurs, know that it’s important to be helpful on social media. It’s also important to let their true personality shine through and have a unique—and consistent—voice. Followers are interested in getting to know the person behind the business before they take that next step.
As I transitioned from my old business to my new WordPress-focused one, I gave the social media branding part a lot of thought. While my blog and website were still my home base—the piece of real estate I controlled—I knew that the spokes, those online satellite communities, were going to be the places where I would find people to engage with. These were the people interested in my sharable content and—eventually—my services.
Because my services spanned the tutorials on my BobWP membership site, my work designing blogs and websites, and my one-to-one coaching, I had to create a brand that not only encapsulated what I do, but was also memorable. This was important for the consumers of my content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and, of course, for the online search crowd.
The Path to Social Branding for BobWP: Choosing My Business Name
When I started looking at the social media branding piece, I spent a lot of time playing around with different concepts. Though I offered online training and was still doing design, I didn’t want the name to focus on either one of those, but, rather, on the WordPress community itself.
But because WordPress is a trademarked name, I was not allowed to use it in its long form in my URL or biz name. That limited my options to some kind of variation using WP, either at the beginning of my name or at the end.
I needed a business name that was generic enough to allow for additional services as the business grew, yet personal enough that my potential customers would immediately connect with me as the person behind the brand.
Because I had already built a strong social media presence with Bob Dunn, I decided to just add the WordPress part, WP, at the end. And when I discovered that BobWP.com was available, I quickly purchased it.
This decision turned out to be the best choice. It was simple – just five letters – and included three letters for my personal name and two letters for the business I was in.
Exclusive Branding: A Way to Find My Right Audience
I knew there were some people who wouldn’t understand “BobWP”—probably many people. That wasn’t a concern for me.
If they found me through a WordPress search or referral, they were already my ideal customer and it should be obvious what the “WP” stood for. If it it left them puzzled (even after I explained what WordPress was), they probably didn’t need my services anyway.
In a way, it became exclusive branding—a way to sort out the people who were not my target market.
A few years ago, I met with a representative from the IRS. I handed him a business card. He squinted at it, then looked at me, “And your company name is Bob-wup, right?” I smiled and nodded.
It was enough for him. I am sure that he had no idea what I did for a living and he didn’t seem to care what the heck WordPress was.
He was not my target market.
Branding BobWP Across Multiple Social Media Platforms
Once I had my website and blog up and running, the next step was to create my social media profiles. I immediately changed my Twitter handle and my Facebook page. I decided to keep my Google+ page under Bob Dunn, but I branded it with BobWP.
The amazing part of this was it took very little effort. I simply used the name over and over again until people became very comfortable with it.
Because my personal name was such a big part of this brand, the connection with my face was equally as important. To ensure consistency, I used the same headshot across all social media channels and updated them regularly, so people I met offline could instantly recognize me.
If people remembered nothing else, they could retain the five-letter name: BobWP.
Online and In-person Interactions
The BobWP brand is working well. People naturally connect what I do (WordPress training) with who I am (Bob). When I speak, or even chat with someone at an event, all I have to say is, “If you want to contact me, just Google BobWP.”
And it works.
On my business card, you see “BobWP” in very large letters, along with my website URL. I don’t have my last name anywhere (except for my about page).
On several podcasts I have guested on, the host has introduced me as BobWP. One podcaster admitted that the doesn’t even remember my last name anymore. And when people walk up to me at conferences or networking events, they often ask, “Are you BobWP?” They never say, “Are you Bob Dunn?”
I branded my butt off— both online and off. I didn’t try any fancy variations. I just stuck with the program. And in the end, it has paid off well.
Now, almost anywhere I go, especially in the WordPress community, all I have to say is that simple five-letter name.