Many people spend a lot of their time trying to stay out of the spotlight with the express aim of not being noticed over and above somebody else. But surely in a business you would want to do the opposite? And of course the average individual has many tricks are at their disposal in order to attract the desired attention – making a bold statement with a change of hairstyle and colour, and streaking are merely a couple that spring to mind as guaranteeing the desired effect. But what can you have tucked up your sleeve for a rainy day that is both quick and effective if you are in business?
Just for the purpose of this blog we are going to pretend that neither a large budget nor time are at your disposal and that you have been tasked with raising and increasing awareness of your company and what it does in one working day…where do you begin?
One of the best places to start would be social media as it has such a wide reach and anyone who is someone uses it in one form or another. So if you haven’t already, set your business up with a Twitter and a Facebook page as these are most likely to be the most commonly used by your audience, then you can look into other platforms at a later date when you have got to grips with tweeting and posting.
Now you need to build up your following on these social media sites so that you have an audience to talk to and to share information about your business, product, promotions or advice and opinions with. In Twitter-land, it tends to be the case that if you follow someone they will follow you back in return. And whilst finding the right people to follow will involve an element of searching, Twitter is really clever when it comes to suggesting people to follow and is usually pretty spot on as it bases its proposals on information you provide. But of course it never looks good if you follow ten times more people than follow you so in order to engage people and encourage followers tweet interesting content, use images and talk about things relevant to your business and industry. I find that a good formula for tweets is to pose a question, then offer a solution to that question followed by a call to action with a link…something along these lines:
E.g. Want to grow awareness of your business overnight? We give you quick tips here (link to click)
Nowadays there are many plug-ins, ad-ons and platforms that take the trawling out of social media and that can be set up to alert you to any number of things. A good way to raise awareness of your business is to get involved with conversations and generally what is happening in your industry. Début Marketing use Hootsuite, a social media platform that tells us many things including when we have been mentioned on social media, had a tweet re-tweeted or received new followers. This platform also allows you to organise content which is a great way to see who is saying what giving you the chance to get involved and create a presence for yourself as an authority voice.
Another great way to create an authority voice for yourself in your specific industry is by doing a regular blog. Not only do search engines have a soft spot for blogs with original content but you can really show your audience that you know your stuff and are therefore worth buying from, recommending and going to for reliable service and advice. You should be linking your blogs to your social media sites and asking for comments as well as for your ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ to like and share the content. You can also do guest blogs on other sites which potentially opens up your name to a whole new audience.
Another way of using blogs to build your credibility and keep the search engine gods appeased is by commenting on other peoples’ blogs. This is also a good way to make connections and build potential business relationships.
This next point relates to both social media and your blog and is a favoured way of creating a positive image whilst building trust and loyalty amongst your customers. If someone, i.e. a customer or potential customer takes the time to leave feedback or comment on your post or status then you should be responding with the appropriate message. Be that a simple thank-you, an answer to a question or merely an input to a conversation, it is a great way to let your customers know that you care about their opinions and that they will get a result out of you – quickly!
Now, most, if not all, of the above points will be done with the objective of getting customers to find out more about you and I anticipate that this will likely be done by visiting your website. Therefore, your website needs to be up to date in its content and with its links. A good way to build relationships as well as raise awareness and your reach is by adding reciprocal links to other local businesses that may offer something of benefit or interest to your customers.
Another thing you can do with your website to show your credibility is to publish customer reviews and industry specific recognitions. If new visitors to your site see these straight away it will encourage them to spend more time on your site as they will see you as reputable.
I’m going to move away from the techy stuff a little now with some good, old-fashioned things that take minutes to do but that can have a lasting affect on your business. We have all heard the saying ‘first impressions count’, and whilst it may be difficult to secure meetings sometimes, an introduction to yourself and your business will never go a miss. Send out a personal email to local businesses you are keen to work with and let them know what you can do for them… just in case they don’t already know.
Get out and about and make new connections by going networking. This would be the advanced form of sending an email and is not everyone’s cup of tea as it involves talking to strangers for a few hours. Just remember that you are an extension of your business though and that this is a chance to show people your personality as well as your skills.
These last few brief points are perhaps budget willing but should definitely get you the results you want – increased awareness.
Sponsor a local charity or donate your product to a needy cause that will benefit from them
Do a giveaway when you reach a certain number of ‘likes’ on Facebook or followers on Twitter
Introduce a scheme that requires your existing customers to recommend a friend with them both receiving a gift when a purchase is made by the new customer
Place an advert in a publication, on radio or even on the gogglebox
If you want to know how to carry out any of these tips in more detail or need any help implementing them in a structured way we are more than happy to help – that’s what we’re here for. Next week I will look at how to compile a proposal.