Unless you established your business 10 years ago, the only startup that can make any money based solely on physical marketing channels will be the DIY lemonade stand you help your kid niece or nephew setup. Any entrepreneur who thinks they can get by while breezing past the digital domain might as well expect to make 50 cents or so on the dollar.
Now entering its third decade, the 21st century has made it abundantly clear that the online world is the way of the future. Love it or hate it, you’re going to have to get behind it one way or another.
Sure, you can choose to join the Resistance and fight the New World Order—just don’t count on driving any profitable success while you’re at it.
It might not be as scary or complex to tap into the saturated world of social media as you might think; in fact, with a little ground work, you could set up an online presence that takes on a life of its own and sells without you even having to lift a finger or click a button.
Don’t believe us? Read our best tips on how you can create an online brand identity that influences social media users, simplifies customer acquisition, promotes customer retention, and expands profit margins. Let’s get started!
- Image is Everything
Okay, so here’s the worst part about social media influencing: it’s extremely superficial. You could offer a far better product, provide way better service, or outshine your competition in customer service excellency, but none of it will matter if you don’t look as polished and cutting-edge as the next account.
Your goal is to tap into the massive audience sitting there for the taking, but most of these users are Millennials or Gen Z’ers—and that’s a good thing! Baby Boomers are on the decline, heads of households have to worry about affording their children’s tuition and saving for retirement, so it’s the younger generations that hold the true purchasing power.
And to appeal to their interests, you need to present your brand as something they can relate to: young, vibrant, hip, socially-conscious, and fashionably trendy. Hey, you could be selling something as simple as kitchen sink hardware, but if you make your ad look like a page out of Pinterest, they’ll be drawn in before they even know what product they’re looking at.
Take this bit seriously and carefully consider the aesthetic color scheme of your account, which type of stock (or real) photography you post, and how you design your company logo. Even the smallest trend badge can make a significant difference when it comes to advertising and influencing purchasing decisions.
- Amp up Exclusivity
It’s human nature: we all want what we can’t have. Building an air of exclusivity around your brand can be a great way to pique interest and curiosity, but you need to do it sensitively, otherwise you might come off as elitist.
You can pose yourself as the next-best-thing that people have to get their hands on by dropping Easter eggs as you build up your brand identity. Host private podcasts about your sustainability movement or a similar cause that motivates your mission statement and send your followers an invite to listen. Write an eBook about your industry’s top secrets and trade it in exchange for an email address.
You can even host a guest-list-only event that enables attendees to take their RFID wristbands home and wear them as walking promo material. People who see them dotted around town might be bummed they missed your last event but will feel determined to attend the next!
The sky is the limit on creativity here—just be sure to engage and interact with your online community by replying to comments and liking photos to prevent yourself from appearing cold or closed off.
- Call in Recruitment
If you want to appeal to your audience without putting in a ton of work, you might consider enlisting the help of professional influencers who can nudge their following in your direction.
While it’s possible to buy likes on Instagram to make your company appear more popular, social selling with influencers feels more authentic (even though there is an exchange of money nonetheless).
This new career is unfolding before our eyes, changing near constantly in terms of industry standards, so you might have a ton of room for negotiation—or you may be able to get earn a testimonial just in exchange for a trial product.
Get creative and see what ways you can push the envelope in 2020 to connect with millions of potential customers online!