As a startup advisor, I’m a huge advocate for saving as much money as possible. We all hear the nightmare stories of new entrepreneurs, investing all their money into products, people, offices etc., and ultimately not creating a viable business. One way to avoid this mistake is to build a community around your brand before spending a dime on anything. At a minimum, you might spend a bit on influencer marketing or Instagram/Facebook advertisements to get your name out there. However, my philosophy is that sales are much easier when you have a highly engaged base of people around a brand. With social media, it has never been easier to grow a following and create a deep relationship with your followers.
How Do I Start Growing A Following?
Growing a following is about bringing value to your target demographic. You do that by creating content that is both engaging and resourceful to your target demographic. The content also needs to be relevant to your product or service. You want it to be a natural transition from just putting out content to selling products or services.
For example, let’s say you want to come out with a line of baby clothes. Going out and buying inventory could be costly. Spending money on marketing will be costly because now you have to move product. If you took the approach of creating content related to maternal care, that would engage new mothers. Or maybe post coupons/sales of various baby stores on social media or a website, that would be a great way to bring value to new mothers who are shopping. Let’s say taking this approach for a month or two with some influencer marketing got you to 5,000 followers on Instagram, you can now easily roll out a product to your base of highly engaged moms who are shopping. Of course, long-term success is going to depend upon the quality of the product, but you will get some guaranteed sales just because people have been following you this whole time and are really engaged with your brand.
On the flipside, if you can’t gain some traction with your target demographic before selling the product, you probably won’t even be able to market it successfully online. Even more of a reason to not go out and make that investment. This approach is a way to get market validation for your brand. Granted if you really believe in the product you can always go out and do hand to hand sales or try to get it into a store. But you will have to take the risk of investing in inventory.
At the core of this approach is content strategy. You need to be able to create content that brings value to your target audience and is relevant to your business. You need to figure out which platforms are best to engage your target demographic, as well as the best way to produce that content. A good way to figure this out is researching what other people are doing successfully on social media. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just make a better one! So to recap here are the steps,
- Figure out your content strategy
- Start executing on your content strategy
- Set a threshold you want to reach before you start selling
- Crush your goals and MAKE THOSE SALES!!!