In this post, I’m going to show you two reasons why having a Gravatar can be really good for marketing, and can play an interesting role in helping you grow your business through social media. I’m also going to walk you through the steps of setting up a free Gravatar account, should you decide to get one. Finally, I’ll wrap this up with visual PROOF.
Before I talk to you about how a Gravatar can help you grow your business, let’s talk about what in the world it is.
What the heck is a Gravatar?
Gravatar.com’s definition: A Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?
The first time I heard about avatars was when it was pretty popular on Yahoo. People could create an image that was a computer generated representation of them. People could look however they wanted and it opened an interesting gateway for socializing online through the use of blogs, chat rooms, and even a discussion forums.
With that said, there are many who have chosen to show a real image of themselves instead of a computer generated image and I think that it’s simply a way of being more personable and transparent online.
Gravatar takes it to the next level by following you from site to site. There’s no longer a need to go to each and every site, find an image that’s the right size, and upload it to the website. Gravatar cuts down all those steps and simply displays your image as you comment or write a blog post.
So why does this even matter?
What does Gravatar have to do with growing a business?
In my opinion, it matters for a 2 primary reasons:
Who do you think of when you see these golden arches?
When you see this “swoosh”, who do you think of?
When you see the “R” separated down the middle, you know it means Realtor.
(Even though it says “Realtor” in the picture, I’m sure you’d still recognize the “R” symbol if it didn’t).
My point is that these are all recognizable brands that people probably see every day if not every other day. They can build a trust relationship in the mind of the consumer by benefiting them with their unique products and services. This is part of how their logos or Brands become recognizable on a local, national, or even global scale.
A business without a recognizable brand versus a business with a recognizable brand will most likely lose all day, unless the business without the brand can prove to the consumer that they can do a better job or they have produced a better product.
If people just see a default plain image of you and you contribute valuable information, they won’t really know who you are and you won’t be a recognizable face. Everywhere you comment, your Gravatar follows you and over time people will start getting used to seeing you. If you offer valuable comments/information, then people may want to check out what you have going on.
This gets even better because when you make a comment you can also link back to your website. The more they see your face popping up and offering value (especially on different sites), the more they’ll be inclined to check you out. It’s kind of like a company advertising a product. They don’t just advertise and disappear. They keep advertising more and more and everywhere you go, you see them. Eventually, you may actually check a company out because you recognize their brand and they may have exactly what you need. We touched on this the other week when we talked about “The Ubiquity Concept”. That is the power of Branding
2. Building Relationships:
By having a Gravatar, you’ll be able to show people who you are and your valuable comments/contribution can position you as someone people might want to listen to. The perception in people’s mind will be changed when they get to put a face with a comment. It’s kind of like putting a face with a voice. Think about how it makes you feel if you’ve been speaking to someone over the phone, but never had the opportunity to see them in person. Usually the first thing out of your mouth or their mouth when you finally get to meet is, “It’s FINALLY nice to put a face with a voice”. The reason for that is because when you talk on the phone or over the computer your mind subconsciously tries to create an image based upon their voice or how their writing tone might come across. Once you finally get to see them, you might be right on…or way off!
However, the point I’m trying to drive at is that people will be able to relate to you more rather than a default symbol.
They might seek you out and do business with you simply because you are putting yourself out there and have nothing to hide. From the value you offer in your commenting to the picture in your Gravatar, you can begin to see a difference! Building relationships is key in any business because typically people don’t do business with what you have to offer, they do business with you!
Give it a try and see the difference it makes.
How to get set up with a Free Gravatar Account:
Step 1: Go to Gravatar.com and click the Sign Up button
Step 2: Enter the SAME EXACT EMAIL ADDRESS that you will be using when posting on different blogs.
Step 3: Go to your Email Inbox and click the Account Activation link within the email from Gravatar.com (It will say something like, “Welcome to Gravatar” )
Step 4: After you activate your account, you’ll be taken back to Gravatar.com where you’ll need to complete the sign up process. All you need to do is enter your username and password.
Step 5: Finally, you’ll need to upload a picture of yourself to take full advantage of what Gravatar has to offer.
Uploading is simple and they give you a number of options to choose from:
- You can upload from your computer hard drive,
- You can grab an image of you from the internet (You’ll need the URL or web address of the actual image)
- You could Snap a quick photo of yourself using the Webcam option
- You can choose an image that was uploaded to Gravatar before. (If this is your first time signing up, then you won’t need this last option.)
Once your image is uploaded, just crop it (size it up and fit the image to how it should be displayed) and save it.
Next you need to Rate it. If it’s appropriate, which it should be, then give it a G Rating so it will appear on all sites you comment on for everyone to see.
That’s it! Your Gravatar should appear very soon after you complete the process
Now for the PROOF…
A couple of days ago, Julie Broad, a fellow BP Blog contributor, wrote an incredible post called, “Rent to Own: What Comes First, the Tenant or the Property?” She offered a lot of valuable content and touched on a very debatable topic that I’ve often pondered about myself. Now because of the value she offered, people left comments.
One comment that stood out was a comment by Rachel AKA Mobile Home Gurl. Rachel wrote a short comment about test marketing and Julie wanted her to elaborate on it a bit more. Rachel was kind enough to reply and provided a very in depth comment about how she uses test marketing to answer this debatable question. I couldn’t include the entire comment as it was a bit lengthy, but you can see by going to Julie’s post. Be sure to read her post first, so you can get the full picture.
Anyway, after Rachel posted this comment, Julie and Shae Bynes replied and thanked her for the value that she provided in her comment. Go ahead and see a snapshot of their conversation below. I highlighted Julie and Shae’s responses that mentioned the value Rachel provided.
Now I’m not going to say that if Rachel didn’t have an image that she wouldn’t have gotten any responses. I mean she gave some incredible value and I had to cut it off in the image above to keep it short as it was a pretty in depth comment.
With that said, if she didn’t have an image or at least a website, then it would have been simply a good comment. Because you can see her image and because she has a back link to her site along with her personal brand “Mobile Home Gurl”, people who actually benefited from what she had to say would be more inclined to check her out.
If you think that’s not marketing, then I’d like to introduce you to what is called, “Relationship Marketing”.
I don’t know if Rachel, Julie or Share are using Gravatar (I’m certain but not 100%), however the bottom line is that they all follow the principles necessary: An image to brand themselves and relate to others, valuable content through comments or blog posts, and a link back to their website if you wanted more information about what they’re up to.
All 3 principles combined can just add so much to what you’re doing now if you’re not using them.
It’s the small aspects of marketing that can produce huge results!
Test it out!
To Your Success,
J. Lamar Ferren
New Breed investor
Ps. Which is better for your business…an image of you or your logo and why?
Pps. Could I coin the term “Gravatar Marketing”? Maybe that’s going too far…