Busy building a niche brand, but wondering how to supercharge its growth? The answer could be in the power of social media. Sure, you could spend chunks of cash on hiring a team of marketing experts or outsourcing to a specialist group, but a smartly-plotted social media campaign can result in remarkable results for your fledgling brand.
If you’ve been running such a brand for a while but have yet to consider using social media to widen your reach, we’ve got one question: why? By ignoring these channels, you’re actively sabotaging your brand’s ability to grow. Left unused, the pages you’ve set up for your business won’t generate any engagement. It’s a common issue with massive impact.
Not to worry though — in this post, we’ll give you a rundown of how you can use social media to push your niche brand into a new level of success. There are no guarantees in marketing, particularly in the online world, but if you make a commitment to doing everything you can then you’ll have a great chance of making it.
Don’t waste the website traffic
Before you even begin your social media work, you need to look ahead to the result of your potential success. Let’s say you’ve done everything right and tempted a social media follower to visit your website (most likely a store). It’s a moment of triumph, no doubt — but also a moment of great terror, because you’ve built up a qualified lead and must now convert it. What if your store isn’t good enough? What if the new arrival is confused and frustrated by your layout and ends up leaving, never to return? All that effort could go to waste.
In short, your website needs to provide everything you’ve promised (and more). You don’t have to have the flashiest graphic design or complex animations, though. Instead, focus on the fundamentals to ensure your website is easy to navigate and is well designed. Style is great, but the goal is to sell, and that’s achieved through on-site actions.
That also means delivering excellent performance. Social media platforms run on massive cloud hosting platforms with vast resources behind them, which is how Twitter users can scroll indefinitely and always find new things without running into speed issues. Someone used to that won’t be willing to wait for your pages to load.
Put whatever resources you can muster into your online foundation. If you operate a WordPress site (very likely given its popularity), don’t settle for a basic-tier hosting package simply because it’s cheap. Consider migrating to a managed hosting solution for a huge uptick in performance and convenience. For example, Cloudways supports one-click rollouts of WordPress installations, and the included Cloudflare protection is a bonus.
Plenty of aspects of your site’s design can negatively impact its performance. Does your store’s design rely heavily on product images? This could be slowing you down. Consider compressing any images with a tool like Squoosh if you’re aiming to reduce load times.
Performance isn’t just about load speed, though. Your site should be a breeze to navigate, too. Simplicity is often your best option when getting to grips with the design of your store. If your site is looking a little labyrinthian, consider stripping it down and rebuilding — preferably placing your products front and center on the homepage.
Regardless, the objective is to ensure that visitors will not only convert but also have no reasons to badmouth your site when they return to social media (as they inevitably will). If you can start out with confidence in the quality of your website, you can invest much more heavily in your social efforts knowing that they’ll be well supported should they succeed.
Create a cohesive strategy
We’re going to assume that even if you’re not too social media savvy, you’ve still set your business up with a few social media accounts. If so, great — you’re in the majority. A recent study found that 92% of US businesses have done the same. Unfortunately though, this means you’ve got competition. Keep in mind that large, established brands dedicate huge chunks of their budget to social media strategy. Even the most basic post from Coca Cola or retweet from Pepsi is likely to have been part of an intricate plan of execution. Smaller brands are no different. If your brand is to succeed, you’ll need a plan, too.
Building a plan for social media is pretty similar to making one for a regular marketing campaign. It’s all about setting objectives and measuring metrics. Luckily, using tools like Facebook’s Ad Manager or Supermetrics for Youtube can help you track your progress with minimal effort (and there’s no shortage of relevant online guides, including this one).
For video content, analytic tools like Socialblade are a popular choice for platforms such as Twitch or Youtube. Socialblade’s biggest selling point is its ability to estimate how much revenue your channel is capable of generating. The final figure is calculated using various factors — your subscriber count, engagement levels and ad click-through rates. Sure, your social pages may just be a method of marketing your business now, but if you’re consistently creating great content then this could eventually develop into a separate source of income all of its own.
Ready to strategize? To begin, decide on exactly which metrics you’d like to track, and create goals. Simply aiming to post fresh content regularly might seem sensible, but this shouldn’t be your sole intention — zeroing in on what type of content your audience engages with most (and then reproducing it) should be your key focus.
If you’re struggling on a starting point for your strategy, begin by asking “what am I hoping to achieve”? Be realistic in your goals, though. If the aim is to reach a million subscribers in a month, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Every journey starts with a single step, so begin by putting your best foot forward, as opposed to leaping into the unknown. Setting broad aims like “increase our brand awareness” or “boost traffic to our website” will build a solid foundation for your future marketing decisions.
For example, if you’re looking to inspire product evangelism among your customers, then it could be worth considering the use of influencer marketing. The trend of affordable ‘micro-influencers’ is steadily growing, too. These accounts have a smaller following but their fans are often more keen to engage too, so consider using a micro-influencer if you’re hoping to establish a community around your brand. However, if your main concern is driving conversions, you’ll want to focus on posts with CTA buttons and promotional offers instead. Always consider what the desired result is from a post, follow up by measuring whether the goal was reached, and conclude by optimizing your strategy for the future.
To underpin your strategy, you’ll need a schedule. When planning a content schedule, remember that you won’t need to be online at all hours so you can entertain overseas audiences. Scheduling software can queue up your content and post it at set times, allowing you to focus on creative ideation and content creation.
Once you’ve started to post, having a strong sense of your brand’s identity will help enormously, and it must inform the tone you use on your social channels. Think carefully about the kinds of content you’re going to post. Do you have a product popular with women in the 18-30 age range? Consider uploading video content to TikTok, as it’s a popular platform for that demographic.
Own a bespoke furniture company? You’ll want to hone a following on Pinterest with the aim of reaching interior-design aficionados. Just as every product has a target market, every social media platform has its own audience. Capitalize on this and plan accordingly.
Network with similar brands
If you’re just starting out, your first objective should be to acquire a decent following. The snowball effect gets a lot of attention in the marketing world: it’s easy to gather further pace once you pick up some momentum, but you need to get things moving first. How can you do this, though? How can you go from an unknown entity to a hot commodity?
Well, the fastest way to get things going is to take advantage of the popularity of other brands. And while it’s possible to get noticed through challenging competitors, it’s far safer to look for relevant businesses that align with your interests. If you can find companies with target audiences similar (but not identical) to yours, take advantage of their social currency.
Think of social media as one giant networking event. You’re here to sell your product, sure, but you’re also here to sell your brand’s identity. By commenting on other brand’s social posts, following their accounts, and generally being friendly, you can start to get seen — and if you can start some conversations, you can parlay those into informal negotiations concerning cross-promotion.
Perhaps you could write some content for their sites, and they could write some for yours. Niche content is hard to get right, after all, so they’ll likely be interested. Or, you could collaborate on some social media projects, teaming up to design and promote some interesting infographics. Provided you have relevant expertise to offer, the opportunities will be there, and impressing the followers of the brands you’re partnering with will inspire them to follow you as well and consider how you could help them.
Once you’ve gained traction, don’t be surprised if you’re called in to help out other brand’s accounts, too. Be wary of turning these offers down — even if your following dwarfs theirs, there’s still value here. The aim should always be to present your brand as friendly, open and willing to help. If you think there’s something for both parties to gain, grasp the opportunity with both hands.
Crucially, every comment or interaction on your social channels should be performed in character and on-brand. Every conversation is an opportunity. Building your brand’s identity while schmoozing with the businesses you admire and aspire to is all part of social media marketing. Don’t be afraid to network — it’s the best way to gather those initial snowflakes, ready to roll your first snowball!
Provide value before requesting it
‘Promotion’ is often regarded as a dirty word, but it’s important and healthy to promote your business. If you want people to be interested in your brand, you need to talk about it. But it can go too far, particularly on social media. People don’t use Twitter and Facebook to read about how excellent your services are. They use them for entertainment (and, to a much lesser extent, for education) — and if you relentlessly promote without providing value, you’ll see your followers fall away.
Dealing with your prospective customers via social media takes a unique approach, and you need to understand the expectations. Think about the underlying give and take. Only once you’ve provided value of some kind (you could talk to people, run a competition, tell a great joke, or do another of many viable things) can you ask for something in return: join your newsletter, promote you to others, visit your store, etc.
Everyone knows that brands are self-serving on social media, so you’ll never convince anyone that you’re only there to have a good time. Many brands have tried to do this, and the results are often cringeworthy. Your targets understand the hustle and know that you want something from them. They don’t object to that. They just want you to earn their interest and their custom. And if you dazzle them with personality, insight, or just comedy (per Forbes, some brands are superb at this), you can win their loyalty.
Leveraging the Power Of Social Media
Social media can blast your brand into orbit, but it takes work! Hopefully we’ve given you a few good pointers to get the ball rolling. Build your following, post regularly, and don’t forget to strategize! With a little time you should be well on your way to snowballing those sales.