It’s an understatement to say this year has been an eye-opening and different challenge than many of us ever imagined when it comes to growing our business online. Now more than ever, it’s become clear how important it is to have a strong online presence versus the traditional brick and mortar method. Now more than ever is when you truly need to focus on building an online community of loyal fans to grow your business during one of the most uncertain times in history. But what is certain, is how even more engaged fans and customers have become while being stuck at home and why it’s an exciting and crucial time to learn how to grow your business faster on social media in 2020.
If you’ve been following for a while, you know that my experience in brand building has not only come from helping other startups and small businesses grow, but also from the hard earned lessons of starting my own brand. This year, while taking into consideration the advice of top influencers who although have an entirely different business model than I do because my brand is physical products (you can check it out at The 16th Bar). I decided to test things out on my own, and test what my personal audience engaged with more, and what caught their attention faster, longer, and what inspired them to pre-order.
HOW TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS FASTER ON SOCIAL MEDIA IN 2020Although each of these strategies I’m sharing with you were tested only on Instagram as that is my main social media channel at the moment for my brand, these strategies can be tested and used for any social platform that works best for your specific business depending on where your audience is most and what specifically they’re looking for.
1.INTRODUCE YOURSELF: This simple post I have learned encourages a lot of engagement especially for new followers and potential customers. What I’ve learned is the more you show your actual face and create a human to human connection of who you are and why you began your business with your followers and customers, the more they develop an emotional connection to you and your brand because they see you, they see your face, and they begin to develop almost an online friendship with someone they can talk to. This is a social platform first and foremost, not a platform to make every post about “buy this, buy this, buy this”. That’s what your website is for. If two different companies are selling a similar product but one of them is made by your friend (whether you’ve met them in person or not), who are you more likely to purchase from? The one you have developed a friendship and stronger connection to.
2. BE SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT YOU DO: This is the second most important thing I’ve learned over the years. What exactly do you do and what is your thing? What products do you offer and what does your product offer to your customers that no one else can? [Want to learn how to be more specific about what you offer and what your customer really wants from you? Check out What Business Are You Really In? It’s Not What You Think.]
3. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: I say this over and over and I can’t stress it enough. Knowing exactly who your target customer is, is what’s going to tell you what product they want and need, the aesthetic that will catch their eye over everyone else’s product, and just as importantly, the tone of voice and vocabulary you’ll use that your specific audience connects with. The way you speak in your videos or how you write your captions will vary immensely from one brand to another. You wouldn’t speak the same way about a product to a mom concerned about the health and safety of her firstborn child’s baby toys, versus a woman looking for a luxury product that’s bold and one of a kind to wear on the weekend to show her independent personality. You need to know what matters most to your customer when looking for your type of product and speak to them the way they speak. If you want to make a true and lasting connection with them, you need to meet them on their level. [Need to figure out exactly who your target customer is? Read How to Identify Your Ideal Customer In 4 Simple Steps]
4. TEACH SOMETHING: This may not feel as important or may not have been something you thought of for a post idea to promote your brand. After all, the end goal is to sell, right? But this is where creating a social connection with your audience gets a solid boost. People love free info. And when it has to do with something they are passionate about and matches their aesthetic and values, they become instant fans (aka they click the follow button). Depending on your product, this can be anything from how to style your product, how to care for the product or different ways to use it. This type of post is so powerful. It builds an authentic connection and offers your customers real value that makes them want to come back for more but also makes the content more shareable. And word of mouth is proven to be the strongest form of advertising your brand you could ever ask for.
5. SHOW YOUR PROCESS: Nothing makes a person appreciate a product more than seeing the long process of how it’s made and the hard work and craftsmanship it takes to design and create. With so many products in this mass-produced world being made somewhere overseas with quality dropping substantially each year, watching you create your product incites an immediate impression of higher quality and durability, meaning you can feel confident for charging a higher price for a higher-end beautiful product your customer will be happy to pay for.
6. SHOW MORE YOU: We’ve already touched on introducing yourself in the first strategy on this list, but showing more “you” goes even deeper than that. The reason many top influencers and brands have such a strong following is that you know instantly when scrolling through your feed when you come across a post from them. You see their face or their product, or the style/aesthetic they consistently show in their photos. There’s no confusing their post for someone else’s meaning their fans will stop scrolling to “like” and read the caption because they know exactly who the post is from.
7. TALK TO NEW PEOPLE: Remember that old adage “If you build it they will come”? Biggest scam ever. It’s honestly no wonder why so many businesses get stuck. You may have the greatest product ever made, but if no one knows about it, guess what, no one’s buying. So instead of waiting for people to find you, find your people yourself. Search for accounts that your target customers are already following. Then, head to their accounts and like and comment on a few of their photos. But don’t get lazy. I’m not talking about leaving a “heart” emoji and dipping out. I mean really leave a thoughtful comment or question that creates a mini conversation and real engagement. If you want real fans and customers, you need to give them a reason to believe you really care about them and what matters most to them. Giving others the impression all you care about is another “follow” or “like” for clout is a surefire way to lose followers instead of gaining new loyal customers.
8. WRITE YOUR CAPTIONS BEFORE YOU TAKE YOUR PHOTO: This may sound odd especially since Instagram for example is such a visual platform. But guess what, people actually read the captions. And personally, some of my most favorite accounts I follow were strictly because I loved the humor and inspiration in the captions they wrote and I find myself checking their feed daily to see what they posted next. Yes, the photo is absolutely important as it’s the first thing that will catch your customer’s eye when scrolling, but it’s the caption that seals the deal. Plan out what you want to say first, then plan your photo and see the difference it makes in the engagement and response you receive.
9. ASK FOR ACTION: Remember you’re not asking for a sale, this is social media not the product page of your website. What I mean is, have an actionable goal for each post. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. It can be as simple as asking “Where would you wear this to? Tell us in the comments” or, “Tag a friend who would love this!”. Remember, simple asks like these influence new people to take a simple action that doesn’t require much from them, and if they “like” your photo, the odds that they choose to “follow” you or share your post with a friend who would love your content increases tremendously.
10. SPEAK AS IF YOU’RE TALKING TO ONE PERSON: This simple shift has made a remarkable difference that I never expected to see. When we write a caption or speak while filming a story on IG, we’re imagining speaking to hundreds if not thousands of different individuals. But what we’re not thinking of, is each of those individuals is watching separately on their own devices. And nothing creates a more personal connection than hearing someone say the words “you” in the caption or video instead of a generic “Hey guys”. Your fans want to feel like your product and your message was created specifically and entirely for them. Continue on that upward positive trajectory and connection by being consistent in your message and speak to them as if you’re speaking to one person in specific, (your one perfect target customer).
Have you found any strategies that have dramatically increased your social following during these times that I didn’t list? Share them below in the comments and let’s help each other grow!
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