Is Online Brand Management Viable For Small Businesses?

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Having a strong brand awareness is essential to the success of any business.  As a small business owner you may wonder how viable it is to employ an online brand management specialist. One of the upsides of the online world is that it’s a great equalizer. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation makes no difference to the opportunities available. What may be different is the way each individual business allocates their marketing dollars.

Return on investment (R.O.I.) is the only thing that an finance person is interested in. For the business owner, growth and profitability is the bottom line. For marketers, looking at the short,  medium and long term gain is equally important. This then becomes the clash between the finance department and the marketing department at some businesses. For Marketing managers, the R.O.I. is there and if undertaken successfully, the return can be much higher than other forms of online promotion.

There is a perception that online brand management is expensive. This may or may not be true depending on your strategy. For example, if you as a business owner shoot video footage, a brand management team can promote that video in all the right places. If you are part of a large business, you may use a professional team to create a video as well. However, and this is the great equalizer, the two videos are more often than not promoted in the same multimedia websites.

The opportunities for both are almost equal. What is different is how the video is promoted and whether or not the video has the content that others will recommend. Create a video that is different, a video that is funny  or in some way memorable and you’re well on the way. Video is just one example.

Small business not only can, but are, competing against larger business with a lot of success. Is online brand management a viable way to spend your budget? For most businesses it has to be. If you are considering spending any money on advertising or some form of promotion, speak to an online brand management specialist first. Your advertising budget stretches a lot further than you realize if a little time is spent promoting your brand online.

Video marketing. Not so different than article marketing.

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Article marketing involves writing informative articles that engage and inform your target audience, then distributing them out to the world over multiple media outlets including both print and online publishing. Online publishing alone offers a whole slew of article directories. Some of the top article directories are ezinearticles, Buzzle, and The Phantom Writers, but there are literally hundreds more. Getting your articles out to as many media outlets as possible means the chances of your articles being read are more likely and the chances of track backs to your site are also more likely.

So what do you do when you want to distribute a video? Well, there’s YouTube of course. But to get the most bang for your buck, you have lots of other options at your disposal. If you want to enhance Search Engine Optimization for your site or blog, consider more than just Youtube. Below is a list of video to use the next time you want to distribute your next videos online.

1. Blip.tv
In a recent blog post I discuss how blip.tv offers distribution across multiple channels, including TiVo. You’ll find a lot of indie-type entertainment and videos on this site and they like videos that come in a series bundle. So if you have a one-off, this may not be the best route to go.

2. Flikr
Everyone knows Flickr is a great way to share your photos with the people that matter to you. But did you know that you can do the same with videos? For more on Flckr, take the Flickr tour .

3. Hulu

I have posted about Hulu before. Hulu is well-known for professionally filmed content or content that already has a following. However, Hulu also caters to the little guy by offering widgets and player embeds. For more on  different Hulu distribution options, click here.

4. Photobucket
Photobucket is similar to Flickr. You can share both videos and photos here. What I like about Photobucket is you can search videos by most popular, newest, most viewed and most commented. The “Most popular right now” functionality keeps me coming back for more.

5. Trueveo
Truveo is one of the largest video search distribution networks, reaching roughly over 40 million unique visitors a month. If your video is already on the Internet, you can submit it via an RSS feed. If your video isn’t already on the Internet, you can upload it via AOL Video. Either way, Trueveo is one monster of a video portal.
6. Viddler
Viddler is both for the novice and for the savvy video marketer. Viddler offers powerful integration if you want to brand your video with your company voice. For example, you can add your logo to their player, change the player’s color to fit your company’s color scheme, and even have the player link back to your website when it’s embedded somewhere else on the web. You can also “time tag”    your videos with comments from other viewers.

7. Yahoo! Video
Y! Video offers both professional entertainment alongside user-created content. The cool thing about this is you get to share the stage with Television shows, movie clips, news segments and more. Pretty cool.

Remember, distribution is key if you plan on implementing a Brandcasting campaign. More than one video outlet is a good idea if you really want to get the word out on your video.