Having a presence on social media is not only necessary but in our digital age, it is perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to building your business online. The importance of social media is something we hear time and time again. And whether you have an established product or service, or are a brand new business, there are many ways you could be optimizing your business through the opportunities presented to you by social media.
If you are in the fortunate position of having a considerable social media following, then now is the time to start thinking about how you can monetize this. Be bold and smart when using the tools you have available to you, in this case, your online platform, so that you know exactly what to do when the time comes to start building your business.
Build your following
This is the number one thing on your list, before launching a successful business you need to have built a following. The good news is that you don’t need to huge numbers, you might be what is now called a ‘micro influencer’ generally smaller influencers that have a follower range of between two to fifty thousand followers. These are generally focused on one social media platform and tend to have a niche interest or focus. Micro-influencers can build trust within niche markets as people feel they are more accessible.
If you are in the optimal position of having a large social media following or are a micro-influencer, then now is the time to start thinking about what your brand is and what your following would be interested in.
Have a product that has a USP
Your USP (Unique selling point) is what will make the products or services that you offer, stand out from your competitors. It is essentially, that thing that only you can offer and that no one else can, or at least it would appear that no one else can. You need to know what your target audience is looking for, and what they are currently interested in. Looking at similar brands will help you find a niche within the market, and allow you to build a brand around something currently missing from the market. Similarly, conducting market research can help you further develop an understanding of what your brand should aim to deliver. Instead of outsourcing this, often expensive, market research, you can use your platform to do this. Instagram and Twitter have good features that allow you to interact and conduct polls directly to your followers.
If you are an influencer that has a big focus on clothing, beauty or fashion, it might make sense to consider starting a fashion business. Some of the most lucrative fashion businesses are online and can make use of drop-shipping in order to cut out the middleman and deliver straight to the consumer. Being aware of trends and reacting appropriately to them is crucial.
You’ll need to do your research as fashion, in particular, is a very competitive business, it’s worth checking out, for example, all the things that you might expect, and reading articles that discuss this topic in-depth, such as the 4 Things They Never Told You About Starting A Fashion Business, which will prepare you for some of the potential pitfalls of starting a fashion business.
If your USP is based around a service or a product that only you can offer, make sure that you incorporate this into your marketing plan. Let the customer know exactly what your brand stands for, and one creative way you can do this is by building a story around your brand.
Create a story around your brand.
Having a clear message about what your brand stands for is key to engaging audiences. This ties in closely with marketing and having a strategy in place that makes your target audience feel more in touch with your brand. The great thing about social media is that it allows you to talk more directly to your customer, allowing you to showcase your personality and build a rapport between your brand and your audience. Some of the most successful Instagram brands, have strong brand identities and use individuals that reflect the brand identity either as models or as ambassadors. You may have seen this with fashion or makeup brands that are responding to the increasing demand for diverse faces and bodies and using diverse models or influencers to represent them. So, have a good think about the kind of messaging that you want to put out there, and the story that might something personal, or more product-focused. Remember, many brands that successfully use social media
Have a marketing plan that includes…
A mixture of free and paid advertising. You may feel like you don’t need to use paid advertisements, and especially at the beginning, it can feel like an added cost that you can do without. However, using the advertising software available to you will bring about sales quickly and cover their cost if used correctly. Nonetheless, you can also collaborate with other influencers and brands as a way to get more exposure and free advertising for your brand. This may include having brand ambassadors that take a small percentage of the business that they produce for you, or even reaching out to models or micro-influencers who can represent or promote your brand in exchange for a feature on your platform. In a similar vein, collaborating with similar brands or individuals and having them work alongside you for a product or a service can be a great way to mutually benefit.
Focus on one or two platforms
Increasingly Instagram is becoming the platform of choice for entrepreneurial marketers. And while Instagram may not be the platform of choice for your brand, it might be worth considering focusing your marketing efforts on one or two platforms. Of course, having a presence on other platforms is also beneficial, even just so your brand identity (and name) doesn’t get taken by anybody else. As social media is overwhelmingly visual, your product should also focus on its visual appeal, and this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have a physical product, but it just means that you need to find a visual way of representing it online. For example, if your business is a fitness plan, then you can use fitness related content to show the kind of plan that you are offering.
Prioritize customer service.
The customer is always right, of course, that’s the first rule of good customer service. At least, it should be. Especially when it comes to social media, where one bad comment or negative review can snowball into something much bigger and damaging to your business. Good customer service means more than just having a functioning returns policy or replying promptly to queries, it’s regularly interacting with your audience and customer base, and building a good relationship. This could be rewarding your loyal base by hosting competitions and giveaways when launching a new product.
Launching your product
Once you have your plan in place, you know what your USP is, and you have tested the waters as it were, it’s time to launch a product. The build-up to launching a product is important, as you can use this time to build interest around your launch through giveaways, or collaborating with key influencers and giving them your product to review before the launch.
For the actual launch day itself, there are dozens of marketable ideas that you can utilize. For starters, it’s important to look as professional as possible, and the branding or imaging you use needs to reflect the quality of your product. Working with photographers and graphic designers doesn’t have to be expensive either, as there are many talented students that are looking to build their portfolio and would be happy to collaborate. Of course, having good branding and making your product visually appealing is crucial in the age of digital media, as people will see your product online before they decide to purchase it.
Getting content creators to use your product is also a great way to market your brand. If you think that your product could be useful to another content creator, feel free to send it over with a friendly message, nine times out of ten this will be well received and will be reciprocated.
Build for your future
In summary, the importance of social media for the business-minded man or woman of today cannot be underestimated. Whether you have an enormous following or have recently started to see an interest in the kind of content you are sharing on your socials, there really isn’t anything to stop you from creating and launching a successful brand. With careful planning, and using proven marketing strategies, you will be able to leverage your social media to build your business and create something that is professionally and financially rewarding.