While building a brand, business and social media presence takes repeated effort, dedication and continued online engagement. This is a skill every entrepreneur needs to know and take advantage of because it’s a free marketing tool that opens the doors to new opportunities.

As you kick off your new brand, there are a few things to remember:

  • Stay consistent in the voice of your company. For example, are your Tweets funny and quirky or full of valuable content? Whatever the approach you take, it’s important to stay consistent with your tone and message.
  • What will make you stand out? What can you bring to your brand that will make it different from other ones? For example, Zappos is known for their superior customer service; it’s the core of their brand. What will be the differentiating factor for your brand?
  • Study Your Audience. Where are your Twitter and Facebook fans spending time? What other sites do they like? How can you serve them better than competitors? Study their habits, what they talk about online, and you’ll understand how you can better market your start-up brand towards them before you launch it.
  • Fast Track to Engagement. Hand out freebies! Run a contest or competition to get people liking and sharing your brand. Get your fans involved by offering them a chance to join the conversation for a prize.

Not sure what else you need to create a successful brand? Check out some advice from the top social media experts who’ve been able to cultivate massive followings and build successful brands from scratch:

Steal and Camouflage

“Your job as an artist, producer, creator and author is to shamelessly start stealing. Many people of perceived genius and as front runners in their industry have perfected the art of stealing. All creative work stands on what has gone before. The art of creativity is a mash-up and remix. You collect ideas (steal) and then curate them in lists or compositions that speak to your soul.” —Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is a social media consultant, coach, mentor and speaker. He was listed in the “Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers” on at #14 and was recognized as one of the Top 10 Social Media Blogs in 2012. 

Show Your Character

“Show personality in your posts – people don’t just want a story, they want a perspective. Social media must not just enhance what you do on your blog but be integrated with it. Everything you say and everything you do becomes your ‘brand’ over time.”– Renée Blodgett

Renee Blodgett is the founder of Magic Sauce Media, a social media, marketing and PR consultancy based in San Francisco.  She is also the founder of We Blog the World, an online culture and travel magazine and blog network.

Listen to Your Customers

“Your customers and prospects want to know that you’re listening, that they are important to you, and that you are striving to improve your brand, products and services as a result of their feedback. You can’t afford to be a one-way broadcast channel. Strive to integrate customer feedback as much as possible in order to improve our products and service while staying on the cutting edge by evolving, adapting and integrating new technologies.” —Mari Smith

Mari Smith is a Facebook Marketing Expert, Author  and Relationship Marketing Specialist. 

Give Them What They Want

“Targets a specific audience. Content curation like other forms of content marketing requires understanding your readers’ marketing persona. Additionally, follows ‘the less is more’ theory. Instead of overloading your readers with useless information, you select the most important things they need to know on your topic.” —Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is a columnist and marketing expert who provides insights grounded in digital and direct marketing. 

If you’re looking for more great ideas on how to build your brand and social media presence check out Social Mouths, Likeable Media and Social Media Examiner.