How to Power Up Your Small Business Brand

Personal Branding

Kelly Paull is a social marketing ninja and the self-proclaimed “geek” behind Directly Successful, a company that helps small businesses use technology to increase brand awareness and online presence. With clear, straightforward guidance rooted in years of first-hand experience, Kelly helps drive site traffic, power up Facebook pages and increase fan engagement.

As an early technology adopter, she has the ability to recommend tools are proven to work and share her experiences with those that don’t. I had the opportunity to interview Kelly to gain some insight into how she empowers small business owners with the tools they need to brand themselves online and increase revenue.

Wendy Brache: What is Directly Successful all about?

Kelly Paull: Directly Successful is all about taking the fear out of learning new technologies. My goal is to teach small business owners–especially women–how to use the internet, apps and programs to make their businesses run smoothly. More importantly I wanted to create a place where consultants from a multitude of direct sales and small businesses could come together to support one another and learn techniques that will make each of them successful.

WB: You started Directly Successful as an offshoot of a very successful small business in direct sales. What led you to make the transition?

KP: My position as a leader, and ultimately as a board member of the company, led me to teach training classes at both a local and national level. It was during those events that I realized that so many women had a desire to learn more about marketing, social networking and technology in a non-threatening and simple way. I came across a quote that said, “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should do for the rest of your life.” It struck me that I love to learn about and teach others about technology, internet marketing and how to make the most of Facebook. When I combined my passions–empowering women and small business owners, marketing, and technology–Directly Successful was born.

WB: What are some key takeaways from everything you learned about personal branding over the course of your years in direct sales?

KP: In direct sales, personal branding is a must! I learned early on that most direct sales consultants don’t do enough to be remarkable. There is nothing worse than putting your all into a demonstration only to have no one remember your name. Future business is just as important as bringing immediate opportunities to close. The key lessons for me were:

  1. Make sure they remember your name.
  2. Stand out from other consultants, be remarkable, be silly, be fun, be a consummate professional.
  3. Each consultant is as much a brand as the company she is representing. There are ways to stay within corporate policy and branding limitations while also branding yourself.

WB: As it relates to personal and small business branding, what are the most important things to consider when building your Facebook business page?

KP: The 3 most important aspects to Facebook fan page branding are:

  1. Allow your fans to see a personal side of you, a picture, not a logo in the sidebar. Communicate and interact on your page.
  2. Stop with the marketing messages! If they came to your page they don’t want to be sold to–they want compelling content, fun contests, and interaction. They will remember your business when it comes time. Use your page as a way to provide value to your fans.
  3. You can be authentic, fun and interesting and still optimize your page with keywords.

WB: What is the coolest new technology tool you’re using that you can’t live without?

KP: Although it isn’t a new tool, right now my tech crush is Evernote. I use it when I am doing niche marketing research, I take pictures of my business receipts, save screen shots, organize projects, blog post ideas…you name it, Evernote can do it.

WB: In your experience, what represents the most direct correlation between how you present yourself and your brand online and the success that follows?

KP: The most important thing is being real. “Authentic” is the catch phrase right now. It’s so much easier to run a business, develop a brand and stand out when you are simply being who you really are. The second you step out of that place things get hard, awkward and difficult. Stick with what you know, what you are passionate about and the rest falls into place. Plus, people can tell! For example, I love motivational quotes as much as the next person, but I get a little creeped out when a business page or person only uses the words of others to express themselves. Step out from behind the quotes and be quotable!

WB: What branding advice do you have for someone starting a small business from scratch?

KP: Build your page with content that is relevant to your target market, do your research or hire someone to do it for you. Make sure your target market is a group you are excited about, when you have the wrong target market it begins to feel like work. Don’t go at ’em with your marketing messages–have a social media marketing strategy and plan. If you don’t know what that is your money will be well spent to get assistance with it. Be you, allow the business to have a voice and a personality and make sure you are branding you. And of course, most importantly, have fun!

WB: What branding advice do you have for someone who currently runs a small business, but wants to put it in overdrive?

KP: First I would ask, “Do you know your target market?” It’s more than just who you want your market to be–it’s about knowing who really is your market. What are their interests, their hobbies, their joys? Put your business in overdrive by really getting to the heart of what your market is interested in (beyond your product or service), then tweak your branding to reflect that you indeed hear and understand them. Provide free, useful content on your page. Be an expert in your field and a resource and inspiration to others. Participate in networking events with a new mission: to figure out how you can help, rather than who you can pitch.