Whether you are a small business, large corporation, or a professional pursuing your career, you are the heart of your brand. Your business and its brand are a reflection of you and the people within your company. Clients will do their research before doing business with the company, so it all should mesh, delivering a consistent message. Asking these five vital questions will help you pull it all together.

Who am I speaking to?

Who is your target audience? Who are your customers? Who do you want your customers to be? Before you start talking to potential clients you need to identify them. By honing in on a target market you can make your brand stronger and more effective as well as strengthen your marketing efforts.

Identifying your audience will help find the appropriate avenues for you to market. It can also define your marketing strategies. For instance, LinkedIn is a great place for professionals but if your target audience is younger, Instagram may be a better option.

What am I saying?

What you are saying depends on the message you want to convey, as well as who you are saying it to. Once you determine your message you can move forward in developing your identity. This will also come into play as you create content and other material that support the brand you are building.

How am I saying it?

How you convey your message will depend on whom you are talking to. Branding relies strongly on relationships so you will need to take steps to firmly establish then foster those relationships. When posting on a social media profile, whether sharing an article, commenting, or offering advice, make it strong, substantial, and always professional. This is how you build credibility.

Where am I saying it?

While you may use several social media platforms, you still want to keep your selections within the scope of the audience you wish to reach. Choose them carefully and don’t try to manage more than two or three unless you have help. If you overburden yourself your content will suffer and your primary goal is to create substantial, informative, and high quality content on a regular basis.

As you post content, review past posting. You will see the more you post, the more you grow. Don’t be afraid to return to older posts and refine to reflect your maturity and growth. This also keeps your message consistent and fresh.

What do others think?

Reputation is crucial in branding. It is important to know what others think and how your peers and customers view you. It is recommended to take stock of your reputation regularly. Set Google alerts for key terms such as your name and your company’s name. Public opinion can shift overnight so branding is an ongoing process. If you are going to build your brand you have to tend to it every day.

In fact, you have a brand right now even if you have never thought about it or taken steps to tend to it. You and your company had a brand the day you had an online presence. What is your brand saying right now? What steps are you taking to build it?