It is widely known that social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can quickly become one of the main revenue streams of a business.
But what is often overlooked is the potential that social media offers for entrepreneurs, as a tool to provide a deeper insight into their company and build a network of highly engaged followers.
Using social media as an entrepreneur can be an excellent way to build a community of people who share the same values, aspirations and ideas as you and your company. With over 500 million users worldwide, Instagram is one of the most engaged platforms, and provides a huge opportunity to get closer to your target audience. Figuring out what content your potential customers resonate with and connecting with them on a more personal level can be especially beneficial. It may even give you valuable insights into the content or product development strategies of your business going forward.
Sequel works with entrepreneurs and businesses to uncover what their customers want to see, and build social media and content strategies that resonate and engage. They work with the aim of communicating a brand’s personality and values to their ideal consumer.
As the biggest advocate for your business, you should think of your personal social channels – whether that be LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter – as extensions of your business. Your followers could be potential new clients or customers. Most savvy consumers these days want to know what goes on behind the scenes, and be confident that a founder shares the same values as the business itself, before they invest.
Building a Personal Brand
As an entrepreneur, it’s fundamental that your social media platforms don’t become solely sales channels. People seek out and enjoy authenticity, and this is likely to be why they choose to follow your journey. Sequel has found that being relatable and creating a personality for our clients on their social channels gives them a human element, which people connect with. People also buy into genuine passion, and as an entrepreneur, this probably comes naturally to you. We help entrepreneurs choose how to communicate that passion through their content and marketing channels.
To build a personal brand, it’s important to have a compelling answer to the questions, “what do you do?” and “why?”. If the answers to these questions aren’t clearly communicated through your social media and content, it will be difficult to convince others to follow you.
Once that’s clear, it’s about making your audience feel involved. Ask for their opinions and make it known that their input is valued. Instagram has great features to involve your followers, such as Polls or Questions in Stories.
How to Grow your Brand
To grow your brand, you will need to consistently engage with others on social media in a similar community or on the same entrepreneurial journey as you. Whether you are running a start-up, SME or large business, there will always be people who share your values and are interested in your growth. Find them by searching relevant hashtags or tapping into entrepreneurial networks (being female founders, we love Allbright!) Make sure your engagement is authentic; it’s easy to see through otherwise! Finally, consider partnerships with like-minded entrepreneurs or brands and profile-building opportunities such as speaking at events to further raise your profile.
Making your Content Relevant
In the forever-changing digital and social world, brands have to adapt to change quickly and innovatively. Successful brands don’t get away with offering just a product anymore; instead, they put their customer’s aspirations, experiences and ideas at their core. This allows them to create relevant and engaging content and stay ahead of the curve online and on social media.
Creating relevant content means understanding the consumer and the daily problems that they face. How does your product or service fix those problems? What are your customers’ frequently asked questions? If you’re not sure whether the content you’re putting out is relevant, always look to your customers for inspiration first.
Whether it’s creating content from home or out on location, Sequel pride themselves on being able to “think like a consumer” and produce content that people want to see. We help our clients develop a voice that people can relate to, and translate their stories into educational yet engaging content. People often look to social media for inspiration, so it’s crucial to ensure your brand is portraying a lifestyle that your customer aspires to have.
Through relevant content, you can create a unique identity for yourself and your business. If a new customer discovers you on Instagram, the content is the first thing they see, and first impressions always count. Invest in good content and if you don’t have the time, have a look at an agency or a professional content creator to do it for you. At Sequel, we understand that good quality content can be timely and expensive, which is why we created our bespoke “Content Boosters” for businesses looking for a content ‘top-up’. We also offer monthly content solutions which cover all production elements and editing under one simple package rate, to ensure an easy and efficient way of keeping your content up to date.
With the average attention span of 3 seconds, users are consuming information quicker than we have ever seen. Videos have become the most engaged form of content, so it is essential brands are adapting their style of content to accommodate this. Your customers also want to see “real people” using your products in “real life”, and User Generated Content (or UGC) is the most engaging and relevant way to achieve this. To ensure our clients are consistently publishing relevant content, we offer Videography and Influencer Marketing as part of our monthly packages.
Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media (in relation to work, entrepreneurs etc)
Social media can be highly effective if used in the correct way, however, it can easily be detrimental to a brand should it be misused or not used to its full potential. We have listed out a few of our do’s and don’ts below:
- Have a content and growth strategy in place before you start posting. More often than not, it’s counterintuitive to begin posting and ‘figure it out later’!
- Be consistent. It takes time to get the hang of social media, find out what makes your customers tick and build an engaged community. Consistency is key!
- Develop a ‘brand voice’ and stick to it. It may seem strange, but it’s important to go into detail here to ensure consistency across platforms – right down to the emojis you do or don’t use.
- Make sure what you post is fitting with your brand values. Social media is a discovery channel for both potential employees and customers, and it should be obvious what you’re about as soon as someone finds you.
- If you choose to express support or voice an opinion about the news agenda or a political movement, carefully consider your response, even if it takes a little more time. Consumers generally respond positively to company initiatives which are followed through with actions and don’t just post to follow a trend. Research the political movement or news story in depth to make sure you are addressing the situation thoughtfully and with a sensitive tone of voice.
- Post engaging, relevant content that your followers want to see. If in doubt, ask your followers.
- Get your audience involved; encourage them to give their opinions and make it known that those opinions are genuinely valued.
- Don’t try and dominate every social media platform – it’s difficult to sustain the levels of engagement and consistency necessary to grow and you may end up getting average results across the board. Work out which social media platforms are likely to give you the best return on investment and stick to those. Different platforms are appropriate for different brands; if you aren’t sure where to start, reach out to an agency to steer you in the right direction.
- Don’t focus too heavily on “vanity metrics” such as followers and likes. Whilst these can be helpful, they can make you lose sight of what’s really important, like website traffic, conversions, email sign-ups and “real” engagement (such as comments and shares). Plus, it’s much better to build a small but loyal community and foster that, than divert all your attention to gaining a huge following that doesn’t care about what you have to offer.
- If you are looking to work with influencers, don’t offer your product to just anyone and don’t begin without a well-thought out content brief. If you’re stuck on whether influencer marketing is right for you, Sequel can advise and help to manage the process effectively.
- Don’t reply with emotion to any negative comments on your social media feeds. Instead, think before you react or reply and always remember that you are representing the brand as a whole. It’s always better to manage difficult conversations via Direct Message or provide an email address.
About the authors
Sequel was founded by two females, Chantelle Oriani and Martha Murray, who both left their corporate jobs in the City to explore their entrepreneurial ambitions. Sequel brings creative storytelling and a new way of creating content to businesses. Our bespoke content packages include creative direction, modelling, photography, videography, styling, hair and makeup under one competitive package rate. For businesses seeking further support, we also offer a tried and tested marketing solution including Social Media Management, Influencer Marketing and PR Consultancy.
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