In Part 1 we began the process of getting acclimated to the internet for marketing purposes. Establishing a brand online isn’t quick or easy but if done right, it can be very effective.
The first two steps we discussed were to find your target market and build up your social or blog profiles. Here’s what to do next.
At the risk of making internet branding sound like a sci-fi movie, now that you’ve found your target: engage! A common internet marketing misconception is that it’s all about Sell! Sell! Sell! It isn’t. Lots of people online have something they want people to buy. The internet is akin to a midweek afternoon on Canal Street where people shout designer names at you from all directions hoping you’ll want a replication handbag. Take it slow, start by being a resource people can count on. Build up an audience on a social platform that is both comfortable to you and appeals to your target market. Offer original content; opinions on things happening in your industry, products you like, day-to-day anecdotes about running your own business. You don’t have to share a lot of information, but share what you can and share it often. Update your Facebook status or create a 140-character Tweet every few days.
When you find relevant blogs, leave comments and engage with like-minded folks. Both Twitter and Facebook use hashtags now, so you can find people easily. For example, if you own an acoustic music shop, search for #guitar #music #songwriter. Perhaps you’ll find some people in your area who are musicians and can be appealed to. Ask them what kind of equipment they use or who their biggest musical influence is. Engage. Don’t sell yet.
OK, Now Sell
Now that you have everything built up and are becoming an authoritative resource in your industry, connecting one-on-one with as many people as possible, you can start sharing your products and promotions with those who are listening. Don’t stop listening yourself, half the battle of social media is staying engaged and that includes hearing what the heartbeat of your customers and your industry are trying to tell you. But feel free to share links to products if you have a website or information on current sales happening in your store. If you’ve built up the right audience over time, those relevant targets could convert into real life customers.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get involved and start listening to your customers in this new way, you’ll get more comfortable with it. The internet can be a great tool for communicating with the right people and even draw in an audience you didn’t even know you could attract. Stay positive, be consistent, be patient and most of all, have fun.
If you’re a late-life entrepreneur seeking help with marketing strategies and management techniques, Prime Strategies can offer the necessary guidance and expertise to help you reach your goals.