It’s time to Make Your Brand Hustle! You’ve worked hard to come up with a useful business or blog that other people want to visit. You spent either a lot of time or a lot of money getting your brand up to your standards, getting your website perfect, and creating content that will mean something to someone. Now it’s time to put it all together and make it or break it.

Here are 7 tips to make your brand hustle a little extra this year.

1. Get Social Media Smart

Maybe you already use multiple social media platforms, but are you using them consistently? Proactively? Professionaly? Smartly? Do you cross-promote your social media accounts to bring FB followers to Instagram and vice versa? Do your profiles all have the same handle? Do they all have the same profile picture? These things are all important in order to look consistent, but also to get the most out of SEO tactics. Social Media Examiner is one of my favorite resources for learning more on the subject.

2. Stop fearing SEO

SEO works differently for different website platforms, as well as social media. Are you using hashtags the right way, putting the right keywords in the right places, and making the most of those alt tags? These things are key in getting your brand noticed in a world full of pins, tweets, and shares. If you need some help figuring it out, The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz gives you a great base to build on.

3. Take the picture already

Your headshot is incredibly important in branding, whether your goal is to land the job or sell your service. You may think it goes without saying, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people use inappropriate photos. There should NOT be alcohol, friends’ arms around you, sunglasses, or crazy expressions. There are some exceptions to the rule, but only for people trying to hit a specific brand message. If your message is ‘Hire Me’ or ‘Buy My Professional Service’, you should look…you guessed it, professional. Invest in the pictures. Or, you can find a good guide from Hubspot on How to Take Your Own Professional Headshot.

4. Collaboration is your Friend

While many people fear sharing their success with others, they fail to realize it’s a two-way street. Bring in that guest blogger who will bring a fresh perspective to your writing or partner up with a competitor to double your exposure. It’s also a good method of keeping your blog content fresh when your life is particularly crazy. Plus, your audience will enjoy the fresh perspective.

5. Be Mean to your Portfolio

If your portfolio has even one item in it that you don’t absolutely love, karate chop it. Seriously, if you go into an interview and showcase something you aren’t the proud mama of, people will take notice. It’s better to have a small selection of high-quality pieces or campaigns than a wide selection of inferior work. This applies whether you’re a designer, artist, writer, coach…anything that requires you show examples of previous success. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

6. Cut the Extras

Your business shouldn’t offer extra services that aren’t within your expertise. If you’re a writer, you should be offering writing services. If you’re a health coach, you offer health coaching services. It takes a specific form of branding to pull off multiple avenues of focus. If you have an idea for another business or service, start it under a new brand. Don’t add it to your existing brand and expect people to jump at it. They’ll probably be confused about your area of expertise instead.

7. Join the Conversation

Get your voice, and your brand, into the conversations where your target market are paying attention. Find the convos happening between influencers in your niche, and give your input or share an answer to the question. Just make sure that it’s a relevant answer or a thoughtful take, and that it’s consistent with your brand message.

Know any other great ways to make your brand hustle? Leave them in the comments!