As the founder of a startup, you are under a lot of pressure to build a noteworthy presence. To add to it, you are probably working on a shoestring budget. Fortunately, entrepreneurs these days live in a time when this is very doable – with the right strategy and creative prowess.
However, regardless of how intelligent or skilled you are at building a brand presence, this is no cakewalk. Bringing a business name to widespread recognition requires a great deal of critical thinking, time, persistence, and everything in between. Combining this with the state of “constant connectedness,” you are essentially going up against endless amounts of similar brands trying to do the same thing.
So how can you stand out and make your presence known to the world? Here are four ways you can get started on the right note.
Build a Personal Brand.
Thanks to social media, the concept of building a personal brand is easier than ever. With nearly one-third of the planet’s population being active users, getting your content in front of the right eyes isn’t overly complex.
It’s no secret that the majority of consumers prefer the messaging of a person over a brand. In fact, a survey on the relationship between CEOs, Social Media, and Brand Reputation conducted by Brandfog found that 93 percent customers are more likely to trust a company whose leadership has a personal presence on social media.
Keep in mind, when it comes to personal branding, most (if not all) of your messaging should be aimed to educate, not sell. Hopefully, you are an expert in the field you chose to start your business. Use that expertise to your advantage and let your unique personality shine while you share your insight, give advice, chime into trending issues, etc.
Neil Patel is a fantastic example of personal branding done right.
He regularly posts content on social media platforms like LinkedIn related to marketing. His personality and knowledge do a great job of establishing his name as an expert source of information. One might even argue his personal brand eclipses his companies.
Diversify Your Personal Brand.
Try to diversify your personal brand as much as possible. Be active on the networks your target customers hang out on. If you are a B2C startup, make it a point to be active on Facebook and Instagram. If you are B2B, keep up on LinkedIn and Twitter. In addition to the networks, get diverse with the content formats. Go beyond blog posts and quotes. Create videos, host live Q&As, run a podcast, etc.
Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a fortune on fancy production equipment to get the point across nowadays. In fact, you can record a mixed video where you explain something personally, as well as show a step-by-step tutorial of your product straight from the screen of your iPhone or iPad, per iGeeksBlog. (And I’ve rarely seen a startup founder who doesn’t carry one of those!)
Building a personal brand is now more doable than ever. But, it is far from easy. If you commit to a consistent schedule of providing expert value through captivating content, you will slowly but surely start to gain traction.
Be Active in Niche Social Groups.
One of the biggest takeaways from the big 2018 Facebook algorithm update was that group posts would be placed higher in the news feed.
Now, the reason behind this update was to promote friendly, healthy discourse. The theory is that people in Facebook Groups are brought together by a common interest, as opposed to random strangers on the internet. The result is that the interactions are more positive. While this algorithm change was essentially a nail in the coffin for the organic reach of brand pages, it’s a huge advantage for entrepreneurs.
Do You Have a Niche Group?
As a startup founder, getting involved in niche groups can do wonders to expand your reach, promote content to interested people, share insights, build partnerships, and much, much more. Fortunately, there is a group for just about everything on Facebook. Regardless of your niche, being active in Facebook Groups is one of the best things you can do to build your presence, not to mention it’s FREE!
Work with Micro-Influencers.
Influencer marketing has got to be one of the biggest buzzwords circulating the business world. When doing research, it’s easy to get inspired by some of the most successful campaigns with the biggest influencers. However, as you could imagine, running campaigns with superstars who have household names costs a pretty penny. For example, if you want to work with someone whose name ends with Kardashian or Jenner, you are looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post.
While working with big name influencers can certainly do a lot to help build your presence, you shouldn’t overlook micro-influencers. These are public figures who typically have a following of less than 100,000.
There are several key advantages to working with micro-influencers. For one, they are significantly less expensive. Two, you can work with multiple at once. And three, they normally have a very focused group of followers. According to a study by HelloSociety (reported by Adweek), engagement rates for micro-influencers are as much as 60 percent higher than the bigger names.
At the end of last year, Audible partnered with photographer and filmmaker Jesse Driftwood. In a heartfelt Instagram post, Driftwood spoke about how Audible helped him gain valuable knowledge to grow as an artist.
The post ended up having an engagement rate of 30 percent.
The power of influencer marketing cannot be overstated. As a startup founder, the relationships you form with micro-influencers are assets that will come in handy time and time again.
Make Use of Diverse (and Free) Content Outlets.
So, you are likely producing plenty of awesome content on your website. But as a fresh startup, chances are, not many people are seeing it. Simply gaining traffic is one of the biggest challenges young startups face.
Direct Users to Your Site.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can direct users to your site. Take advantage of major free content platforms like Medium or LinkedIn. Although these won’t get you much link juice (for you SEO minds), publishing content here is a great way to get your messaging in front of more eyes and gain some referral traffic. In terms of video, be sure you are posting your content on YouTube and Facebook. If you record podcasts, publish the segments on SoundCloud, iTunes, etc.
When it comes to building a presence, you need to get your name out across as many channels as possible. Luckily, there is no shortage of free options.
Since the beginning of business, startup founders have always been faced with an uphill battle. Truth be told, they almost always will be. The good news is the tedious task of establishing a presence is much, much more accessible these days.
Social media and its associated content outlets on the web have significantly leveled the playing field. Instead of a huge budget to market your startup, you need only a great strategy, commitment, and most of all, consistency.