So you want to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig, eh? Welcome to 2019, where the influencer economy is in full swing, e-commerce is on the rise and more and more small businesses are popping up every day.
All this commercial activity crowding nearly every industry creates a high-risk, high-reward situation for new businesses seeking to develop something unique and find a gap in the space. It comes down to starting your business the right way. That means first focusing on the basics - figuring out your why, telling your brand story, providing valuable content and optimizing for consistent growth.
So often at Hawke Media, we have clients that come to us without knowing where to start. We tell them to ask themselves the following questions: What is my brand all about? What is my mission?
Without defining a purpose, your brand will suffer from an identity crisis. Before going out and getting an LLC, sit down and carefully outline your business-to-be, including brand guidelines and overall purpose. You'll need these elements in place when you start building out your brand story and content.
Once you’ve ironed out the overarching themes of your business, you’re ready to start building. One of the first things we recommend for brand-building is having a presence on social media. Your online persona is one of the most significant touchpoints for current and future customers to cultivate a relationship with your company.
Before starting, do some research on which platforms may be best for you. You don't necessarily need to be on the platforms with the most users to have success - go where your target customers are. For instance, Instagram may work best for fashion and lifestyle industries, while a tech or B2B company should focus its activity on LinkedIn.
Once you’ve identified the best platforms for your industry and audience, it’s time to begin to tell your story. For any social launch, we recommend building a social media strategy paired with influencer marketing (more on that in a minute) to jumpstart growth. We would advise posting five to seven times a week on your social channels with a mix of content that highlights your brand’s products or services and non-product-focused content to keep your audience engaged.
Alongside your own social activity, develop a community of influencers and have them post for you to spread brand awareness. Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which means, without these partnerships, you're missing marketing opportunities.
Marketing 101 tells us that the best thing you can offer to your potential customers is something of value. And you should provide value at the cost of $0 (that’s right, absolutely free) in the form of entertainment and education. Organic content (in the form of blog posts and articles) is a great way to provide helpful information that garners trust and loyalty between your audience and your brand. Ultimately, this should lead to sales and cultivate loyal customers.
When it comes to content production, you can do it yourself or outsource your key topics to an agency or freelancers. Use marketing tools such as Ahrefs and SEM Rush to find the best bang-for-your-buck keywords to use to make sure you’re popping up on those front page Google searches. By regularly publishing high-quality blog posts on topics within your industry, you can establish yourself as a thought leader and let your new customers find you organically.
Once all of your social media and content marketing efforts are humming along: optimize the heck out of it. By now, you have probably heard of search engine optimization (SEO) in some form or another. SEO is the process of increasing your site’s visibility in Google searches. Take a deep dive into your website's pages, content and URL structure to see how it's performing and if it's aligned with SEO best practices. Use a content marketing tool like Brightedge diagnose errors and prescribe the exact improvements needed to make sure your website is operating at its highest level.
If your content isn’t optimized for organic search, there’s a good chance nobody will ever see it!
By defining your purpose, sharing a cultivated story, becoming a thought leader and enhancing your overall content, you can successfully grow your business. Once you have these bases covered, strengthen your strategy even more by incorporating these other valuable facets of digital marketing.
Tell us about yourself and one of our growth strategists will be intouch within one business day.
Sara is a Social Media & Influencer Manager at Hawke. When she’s not strategizing content for brands, she runs a fashion and lifestyle blog in her spare time - check out her website www.lovesarafaye.com