You've brought your business idea to life, and you're ready to announce it to the world. Now what? Well, now you just need to cut through the noise and let the world know about your awesome startup.
What steps should you be taking to build and maintain brand awareness of your startup? Let's look at what we're dealing with here:
1. Consistently Create New Content
Let's just make this clear - you cannot simply create a profile and call it a day. With cutthroat competition all around you, the moment you become complacent and think that you can take it slow is the moment when your rivals overtake you.
Every day, users discover more pages that they find engaging, each page competing for attention on their newsfeed. To entice people into buying their ad space, many social networks tweaked the algorithm so that even the most loyal followers are less likely to see your content The two key factors at play here are: posting at a consistent schedule and posting consistent quality content.
The first ensures that users know when to expect updates from you. It does not matter if you post once or thrice a week, as long you do it on the same day and the same hour.
The second compels people to visit your page in the first place. If you create good content and not just force-feeding ads and promos to your audience, odds of churning decrease significantly.
2. You Don’t Need to Sound Like an Expert All the Time. Make Your Content Marketing Sound More Human
Humans connect to, relate to, and trust other humans - so brands need a personality and tone to go along with it. Creating an environment where your audience feels comfortable about starting a conversation gives you the chance to show your authority and knowledge. Use that to your advantage, and they’ll be more likely to respond to your emails or take action towards becoming a customer.
Your marketing material is not about you. You don’t have to be the most interesting person in the room. Think of your blogs, social media posts, downloadable guides, email, webinars, comments, and videos as your direct communication channel. It allows you to show your customers your company and what your brand represents. Instead of trying to pull new marketing content ideas out of a hat, put yourself in your customer's shoes; it will give you a new perspective.
There are numerous benefits of writing a company blog, so if you don’t already have one, I highly recommend that you create one as soon as possible. Not only is it an effective and low-cost way of marketing your startup, it also helps you rank better on search engines.
3. Get the Most Out of Your Influencer Marketing Campaign
It’s no secret that influencer marketing is among the most effective ways to capture the consumers' attention. According to recent influencer marketing stats, there are 106,104 TikTok influencers worldwide. And we got a whole new genre of content called “TikTok made me buy it.” I understand, and I have been a “victim” of this trend as well. Several times. And it happens for a reason.
Considering we all have the natural human tendency to imitate the behaviors of people around us (especially those we respect), we often respond well to marketing that comes in the form of a tool for our benefit. The same thing happens with your potential customers. Since many influencers have established themselves as experts in a particular area – whether fashion, beauty, travel, productivity life, technology, or fitness – partnering with the right one makes for a great opportunity for your startup to take a slice of their cake.
You could draw inspiration from Dunkin’ Donuts. They launched a fun influencer campaign encouraging people to visit their stores and enjoy their special holiday offer – a free donut with the purchase of any drink.
Brands like Adidas, Grey Goose, Dior, Starbucks, and others, saw massive growth riding the wave of authentic contributions to their cultural gatekeepers. So it isn’t surprising that you want to become a surfer, too.
4. Entertain your audience - give them a reason to listen
Captivating a contemporary audience isn’t about forcing people to listen to you on a specific platform. Nobody pays attention to boring things today. Dozens of blog posts, videos, or podcasts mean nothing if no one wants to see them. And your potential audience certainly won’t remember the brand that shares boring content. Association between a pain point and your brand as the solution can greatly contribute to your awareness-building activities.
Address the things your customers care about, speak their language, create infographics, pools about topics relevant to them, competitions, and videos packed full of entertaining insights to encourage community sharing. There’s a lot of noise out there on social media: make it a goal to break through it. After all, the goal of great marketing isn’t just to get more customers to arrive. It’s to get the right ones to stay.
5. Podcasts are the New Blogs
In a world where we perpetually seem to be busier and busier trying to balance career and personal time, we want something we can consume without much effort. Tons of listeners play a podcast while driving, eating, working out, and even while working. A recent study from Statista predicted that by 2024, there would be over 100 million podcast listeners in the US alone. That is why maintaining your podcast, or hosting guest interviews, might be a good way to garner some brand awareness for your startup. Not only that, when compared to vlogging or video marketing, all of this can be done with minimal financial investment.
Podcasting presents an incredible opportunity for your brand to demonstrate expertise and authority through context-rich stories. When you speak about your startup and its background with passion while providing valuable information and entertainment, people get a chance to connect with you and your brand. And they’re more likely to buy from someone they trust and like.
Long story short, start recording podcasts if you want to spread the news about your up-and-coming enterprise fast. And it's not a costly investment either, don't be alarmed. There are plenty of tools out there that make podcasting a walk in the park. For instance, you can use Podcastle.ai which allows you to record and edit high-quality, pro podcasts for free. Its user-friendly audio production software makes podcast production dead simple even for beginners.
6. Start a Referral Marketing Campaign
Picture yourself as a customer. When you want to buy a product, do you trust the ads or the recommendations of someone you trust? Referral marketing is one of the few strategies that might help your startup generate brand awareness. Not only that, it will result in acquiring new customers. This win-win situation is something most new startup owners tend to overlook. They focus more on attracting new customers (all over again) not realizing that it’s much more time- and cost-effective to spend their marketing money on a current customer who already tried product or service.
For example, Uber builds its referral program into its product. Smart, right? The company offers each customer a personalized referral code if you invite friends to use the app. Once they sign up using your invite code, they’ll get a free ride credit good for their first trip.
7. Run an Instagram Contest/Giveaway With a Specific Hashtag
Instagram is an excellent social media network to promote your startup and create a community. So if you’re looking to put together a campaign around gathering user-generated content (UGC), creating an Instagram contest or giveaway with a specific hashtag can be a great way to do it. Think of a creative hashtag that speaks to your startup and brand and encourage your followers to use it on their posts.
For example, if you're running a lifestyle brand (dietary supplements or makeup), you can ask users to share their best stories on how your product helped them achieve their goals. The best posts can then receive a gift package or a great discount on their next purchase.
No doubt, you will get more eyes on what you have to offer. Ultimately, who doesn't like to win and receive gifts? Not only does this reward your customers for engaging with your content, but it gives you an entire arsenal of user-generated content that you can use later to enhance your brand's Instagram presence.
8. Make Visual Content the Cornerstone of Your Marketing Strategy
This year, Facebook had shared some interesting stats about their userbase: the average attention span of a Facebook user is mere 2 seconds(!). That means that if your content cannot grab users' attention in that timespan, you might as well not have posted it.
Considering that we process visual information faster than text, it makes sense to draw attention to your brand with captivating imagery. Though many enjoy a good long read content, the fate of a text wall in the social media feed is to be mercilessly skipped.
That visual content needs to be of high quality and purposeful. What do I mean by "purposeful"? Well, to give you a trite example: everybody loving cats doesn't mean that you should post pictures of cats to promote your luxury jewelry brand. The content needs to resonate with your audience. Otherwise, it is a waste.
In other words, don't just publish a first idea that sprung into your mind: iterate upon it, talk, and share with professionals to see what they're saying. And if we're talking about a content schedule where you post at least twice a week, well, that means a lot of content and a lot more revisions and preliminary drafts.
To not get lost in the sea of would-be content, digital asset management solution, such as Pics.io, is something you might consider. Created specifically to facilitate management and sharing of digital assets, DAM allow you to focus on creative endeavors without having to worry about the maintenance of your vast catalogue.
One Asset - Multiple Uses
A commonplace in social media marketing, one asset often gets repurposed for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and any other social channel that you maintain. After all, if you have commissioned a great piece of content, why let it go to waste?
The catch is that majority of popular social media networks use different formats for the posts. You can differentiate respective versions of an asset with a filename, but that makes them look unwieldy and harder to search.
With Pics.io's keywording feature I can instead add a specific keyword to the relevant copy of an asset. So, if I need to find a Facebook copy of an asset, I can just use that keyword. Conversely, I can find all copies for all social media by just typing the asset's name, without having to use odd "asset_tw", "asset_fb", etc., naming convention.
Ditto with revisions. Instead of having a folder chock full of "revision," "revisionFinal," so on and so forth, you can access the asset's revision history through a single thumbnail. So you can see how, when, and by whom assets had been changed, which helps to keep the track of all the updates. You can even use direct comparison to see the differences between any two version of an asset.
And, if you find that the new version needs just a slight retouch, you can do it straight from Pics.io, without a need to boot up Photoshop.
Sharing Assets in a Single Click
You might be using an external agency to manage your social media presence, but you still prefer to maintain some level of curation or oversight by providing them specific assets that you like. For that, you don't have to invite outsiders to your team's workspace, as sharing assets is as simple as clicking one button:
You can even decide how much (or little) the others will see, so there is no need to erase history by cleaning up your revision and comments history:
If you've never launched a startup, the first time can feel a little scary - especially when you don't have a fan base yet. The good news is, things have changed with digital marketing on the scene.
The critical element of increasing your startup brand awareness is to be familiar with what your potential customers expect from you. Often, startup owners forget that their target audience is actually human beings, with feelings and opinions. Don’t be a sales robot. Devote the necessary time and resources to locate and alleviate your customer's pain points. Who are they? What do they care about? What challenges do they face? Even something simple like asking your followers what they are up to can go a long way.
Great branding results don't depend on big budgets. With creative thinking and technology, you might uncover a brilliant idea that was right under your nose.
Regardless of your next marketing move, always remember that competition never sleeps, and every marginal advantage promises a competitive edge and increase in outreach and revenue. Using digital asset management helps you spend as little time as possible fumbling through chaotic asset repositories and to focus on unleashing your creative potential.
AuthorDavid Morneau is the co-founder and CEO of inBeat, a hybrid micro-influencer marketing SAAS/agency that helps brands scale their marketing efforts. He has helped over 200 DTC brands to date.