Building Brand Awareness Online: Personalize Your Company Image through Social Networking

By Hart, Jane | Art Business News, October 2009 | Go to article overview

Building Brand Awareness Online: Personalize Your Company Image through Social Networking


Hart, Jane, Art Business News


Millions of savvy business owners are participating in social media to create a following and raise awareness of their brands. To get the facts on effective art branding with social media, ABN turned to Ruth-Ann Thorn, co-owner of Crown Thorn Publishing and Exclusive Collections Galleries, who's making serious headway in the world of social media.

Q. You've proven that social networking is one marketing tool a business can use to create a "tribe" or following. Tell us more about this concept.

Why does a person shop at one store over another or buy one product instead of another? At the end of the day, customers are interested in the culture of the businesses they buy from. For example, Starbucks has marketed itself as a green business that uses fair-trade coffee while creating a culture inside its stores with comfortable chairs and a casual Wi-Fi-accessible atmosphere. Starbucks is more than just a good cup of coffee; all of its marketing implies a message that makes people think, "Wow, that is what I want to be a part of." As a result, many people will seek out Starbucks above all other coffee shops, and that starts the tribe or following.

In a nutshell, you have a group of people who are loyal and dedicated to whatever it is you are branding, so it's important for art galleries and frameshops to brand the art they purvey, along with their locations and the ideas and cultures of their businesses.

You're plugged into all of the major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. How has social networking helped you build brand awareness?

We have a following of people who have aligned themselves with us not only because of the art and artists we represent, but also because of who we are as a business, and that is critical to building brand awareness and creating product loyalty.

We increased our following recently by participating in an event for Doctors Without Borders, hosted by the president of the San Diego Tweetup organization (an organization of avid Twitter participants, many of which are local entrepreneurs). We provided an artist, who painted the jazz band while it played, and then we auctioned the finished piece to those in attendance. We posted it on Facebook and sent out tweets during the event. The next day, people commented on Facebook about how happy they were to be involved with our gallery. We Facebooked/tweeted back with our appreciation. That's what branding with social media is really all about.

So, how do you start building a tribe?

You first have to ask yourself who you are trying to attract. Outline who your followers will be, address every part of your business from that point of view, and build from there. …

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