How to Build A Values-Based Social Media Presence For Your Brand

How To Build A Values-Based Social Media Presence For Your Brand

In today’s fast-paced digital world, maintaining a clear and consistent voice in the crowded field of social media can be challenging. A solid social media presence keeps people informed about the latest news concerning your brand while also advertising your products or services. Additionally, it helps you engage with customers by responding to feedback and answering questions.

Perhaps the most pivotal element of our interconnected online world is how easily messages are spread, analyzed, and potentially misconstrued. Dealing with online backlash or criticism is a position that no brand wants to be in. Thankfully, there are methods for addressing these issues that can ultimately create a healthier and more effective dialogue between your brand and your audience.

Being aware of the personal values of your customers is critical in building a lasting following, though effective communication strategies are equally important. Using correct context, tone, and even timing can help you avoid controversies that could potentially harm your brand. By examining the latest engagement trends that lead to success on social media, you can learn how to grow an active and empathetic audience.

Identify & Understand Your Audience

The first step towards building an effective and engaging social media strategy involves taking the time to identify your intended audience and its unique perspectives. Investigate what your audience looks for in a brand. Are quality and excellent customer service all they need, or are things like shared values more important?

While demographics vary from business to business and platform to platform, social media users tend to skew younger. Studies have also shown that people who are regularly active in online communities gravitate towards progressive concepts like diversity, inclusion, and social justice.

Monitor your social media channels to gauge how your existing audience esteems these values. If they respond positively to other like-minded brands and prominent individuals, it may be wise to consider adopting a brand voice that appeals to similar perspectives.

Build Your Strategy

Determining what your priorities are when it comes to social media is essential. Do you favor a utilitarian approach, where the account’s main purpose is announcing company news and addressing direct feedback from users and followers? Or do you prefer giving a more human face to your brand, where it feels like real people are actively running your social media? Either way, find what works best for you and stick with it.

This step in the process also requires you to take a good look at the makeup of your marketing and social media teams. Try to find a strategy that plays to the unique strengths of your staff, and be sure to seek continuous input from them. Those with experience in digital communication and internet trends can help optimize your brand’s online presence.

Building Goodwill

Once you’ve devised a social media strategy that reflects the values of your intended audience, it’s time to start engaging in a way that builds trust and goodwill with your customers. You want to come across as open to the same values as your audience without pandering directly to them in a way that comes across as insincere. Follow these guidelines to find the proper balance you’ll need to succeed:

1)  The New Brand Loyalty

The old concept of brand loyalty is rapidly being redefined by the digital landscape. Consumers no longer feel like they must stick with a company or its products simply out of loyalty. Instead, you should make an effort to sell your brand’s values. People are more inclined to support a company that they feel shares their beliefs. Expressing interest in these values is an easy way to cultivate brand loyalty.

2)  Genuine Messaging

Authenticity can be a difficult concept to pin down for a branded social media page. You’ll have to experiment to find the right balance between your main priority of serving as the mouthpiece of your brand and the secondary goal of building an engaged following. It’s important for your messaging to come across as sincere, and the easiest way to accomplish that is to actually mean what you say.

Before launching a social media campaign centered around values like diversity, consult with different voices within your marketing team. Find out what sort of message appears authentic, and what seems like a forced attempt to cash in on social trends. A discerning audience of social media users will be able to parse this out fairly quickly, so be sure that you’ve done your due diligence before you post.

3)  Embrace Positivity

Use your social media channels to tell a story. Connecting with your audience on an emotional level involves leaning into the human element that drives us as individuals and community members. Focus on the people that make your brand stand out, whether that’s your employees or your most dedicated customers.

If you’ve recently made strides towards a more inclusive atmosphere, such as by redesigning your stores or manufacturing centers to be more accessible through universal design, post about it. Humanizing your brand shows that you care about more than turning a profit and appeals to the empathetic nature of your audience.

Prove It! ~ Emily Mean GIF by Film Riot (GIPHY)

4)  Actions Speak Louder Than Words

The simplest way to market any product, brand, or service is to do nothing at all and let the results speak for themselves. This is an age-old marketing strategy, but the same principles can be applied to digital communication and social media. If your audience sees that your online presence is reflected in your real-world actions, they will be more inclined to believe in and support you.

Don’t let your posts about diversity, wellness, and inclusion just be posts. Rather than resort to the same industry-standard platitudes every Pride Month or Black History Month, demonstrate that your brand is taking an active role in the community. Start conversations, spearhead initiatives, and raise awareness on the issues that matter to you and your customers.

5)  Avoid Overcommitting

Social media is a virtually endless source of new content. Whether it’s from other brands, active power users, or infrequent commenters, it’s easy to find yourself bogged down by the sheer number of posts, replies, comments, and other forms of engagement. You might be tempted to try to respond to as much of this feedback as you can, but it’s important not to promise more than you can deliver.

When it comes to a values-based approach to social media, overcommitting can include things as simple as publicly liking or commenting on posts about popular social causes that your company cannot fully commit to. This can lead to false expectations from your customers that, when left unfulfilled, may damage your company’s reputation.

Addressing Controversies

While embracing similar values to that of your primary audience is a highly effective engagement strategy, there is an inverse effect to this approach that can cause harmful pushback. Social media controversies are a serious issue for your brand, and while you should avoid conflicts like this at all costs, there are a few easy steps you can take to mitigate the harm:

1)  Acknowledge the Problem

If your social media channels are being flooded with negative feedback and hostility, take the time to address the issue at hand. This is the first step toward easing tensions and moving on from the situation. In your acknowledgment, be sure to speak plainly about the issues your company is facing and how you plan on addressing them. However, try not to overcommit in this initial step.

Of course, not all social media backlash is the same. Use your own discretion when deciding if acknowledging a specific controversy would be good for your company’s long-term image. While some issues are best faced swiftly and publicly, a more measured, behind-the-scenes approach can also be useful in reducing further damage to your brand.

Aw, hey, let's turn that frown upside down. ~ The Simpsons

2)  Start Positive Initiatives

When facing an overwhelming degree of negativity online, sometimes the best thing you can do is find a way to turn it into something positive. For example, if your brand is criticized for a perceived lack of diversity, incorporate that feedback into a plan to hire more diverse staff. Putting your words into action is a signal of positivity and goodwill to your customers.

3)  Show Humanity

Once again, the easiest way for your audience to see your brand in a positive light is to be as genuine as possible. If you are in a situation in which your company must apologize, do so with humility and grace. Show that your brand is more than a logo by approaching your critics as human beings. A public display of dignity is a simple way to garner an empathetic response and move on from controversy.

4)  Ignore the Trolls

One potential downside of engaging directly with your audience through social media is that it opens your brand up to the darker side of online anonymity. A good social media team should be able to tell the difference between genuine, good-faith criticism from an active audience and mean-spirited, hostile negativity. As the face of your brand, it’s crucial that you not allow the trolls to take over your message.

Final Thoughts

In today’s saturated digital marketplace, it’s more important than ever to find ways to make your brand stand out. Social media is a major innovation in direct-to-consumer marketing that makes it easy to interact with your audience and build positive sentiment towards your brand. However, it can also be a tricky landscape to navigate if you don’t use the proper methods.

By building a digital brand that emphasizes genuine connection and shared values with your audience, you can establish lasting trust and loyalty that extends beyond the digital space. Creating goodwill with your customers might lead to increased traffic and sales – but more importantly, it can lead to a stable, positive, and engaged base over time.

If you need help establishing or refreshing your online presence, particularly on social media, HighClick can help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or contact us here. We’ll make it our mission to help #elevateyourbrand!

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Hazel Bennett is a freelance writer and blogger. She has a degree in communications and lives in Northeastern Ohio. Hazel loves writing about numerous topics and showcasing her expertise with words.

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How to Turn Your Followers Into Clients

One of the best ways to reach potential customers is through social media marketing. Social media allows you to build a brand presence, reach a wider audience, and engage with current and potential customers.

However, many business owners make some of the same mistakes when getting started on social media. For instance, they might limit themselves to creating awareness on a single platform. While this isn’t entirely unreasonable, you could be targeting the wrong audience.

Maybe this particular scenario describes you…

You’ve worked hard to build your follower base over time. Your content is amazing. You’re always sharing the best advice you can find. But something still isn’t right. Your conversion rate is low.

You’re finding it challenging to turn loyal followers into returning clients. This may be due to a number of reasons. But ultimately, it boils down to poor marketing strategies and tactics.

Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explain how to convert your followers into clients as well as how to generate tons of leads via social media channels. Excited? Let’s dive in!

Start a Conversation

Create Unique Content

One of the most critical steps in converting followers into customers is to create unique content.

While it’s a good idea to consistently post on your social media accounts, if you keep posting the same kinds of content, you will quickly become ignored. Try to come up with some new and innovative ways to engage with your followers and potential customers.

If you can think of a way to reach out to your customers in a way that’s more interactive, go for it! You’ll find that this is one of the best ways to get more people interested in what you have to offer.

Don’t be afraid to try new things and invest time and money into developing new strategies for engaging with your customers. When everyone else is posting about the same boring things, your posts will stand out from the crowd.

Create Contests and Giveaways

Creating contests and giveaways is a great way to generate viral marketing for your business. Encouraging people to talk about your business by creating a contest can go a long way toward attracting more followers, clients, and customers.

A successful contest must have an objective that entrants can strive for. It should be fun, and engaging, and should also be easily measured. An excellent example of this is a contest to get the most tweets or Facebook likes.

To make the contest more enticing, you can offer prizes for the winner or runners-up. Be sure that your contest is easy to enter so all your followers will want to participate.

To further increase the number of entries, you could offer additional prizes for entrants who are creative enough to submit creative content such as photos, videos, or blog posts related to your product or business.

Turning followers into clients is more attainable than you might think. While you may assume that your content alone is enough to entice your audience, that isn’t always the case.

Today, social media platforms are littered with brands competing for brand awareness. In order to succeed at converting your followers into clients, you’ll have to be unique in your approach to positioning and branding your business. It’s essential to identify your unique selling proposition and maximize it effectively.

One of the easiest ways to turn followers into clients is by starting a conversation with them. Rather than merely posting content for the sake of doing so, engage with your community and ask relevant questions.

Be sure to respond to any comments or questions that visitors leave on your page. In doing so, you will show prospects that you’re interested in them – and that they’re being heard and valued by your company. This will help build trust with potential customers and make them feel like they’re more than just another potential sale.

To start a conversation with one of your followers: first, take a look at their profiles to see what types of things interest them and which companies or organizations they follow. Then, use that information to start a conversation with them.

Don’t introduce your website or product into the conversation directly when you do this. Demonstrate that you are an authority on the topic by giving more information than is asked for – and then mention your company as if it were an afterthought.

Build Relationships with Influential People in Your Industry

Like any other business, it takes money to make money – and social media is no exception. The problem with social media is that you can spend a lot of time and energy engaging with people for “free,” but there’s no guarantee that any of the relationships you build will lead to sales.

The secret to making sure your efforts are worthwhile is to focus on connecting with influencers – people who are capable of influencing the people you want to reach. There are several ways you can go about doing this.

Start by identifying influencers who are actively focusing on your particular niche or industry. You can learn more about them by searching for their names on LinkedIn, reading their blogs, and following them on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Take a closer look at prominent influencers’ social media accounts and see if they are posting links to content that’s relevant to your business (and your potential customers). You might also be able to find them by seeing who’s active in groups relevant to your niche or industry.

Once you’ve identified these influencers, engage with them by liking or commenting on their posts. Even if they don’t reply directly, they’ll see that you’re interacting with their content – and this might lead them to engage with yours as well. It’s a good idea to comment positively.

Take Advantage of Trending Topics

Businesses are often afraid to jump into a trending topic out of concern that their involvement will come off as inauthentic.

The fact is, if you’re not leveraging the opportunity that comes with trending hashtags, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to increase your awareness.

There are several ways to get involved in the conversation without forcing. If you want to be seen as an active participant, research the trend and make sure your answer is helpful and relevant to your target audience. Convince people that you’re an authority in their niche.

Once you’re recognized as an expert in the field, try linking your response to your business or industry. If you have something valuable to contribute, take the time to write out informative blog posts for the same. Ideally, your blog post should also point to your products or services as an ideal solution to readers’ problems.

The Bottom Line

Before you can convert followers into paying clients, you have to get them to know, like, and trust you. Building a social media following is time-consuming and requires a great deal of patience and consistency.

Once you’ve attracted your potential clientele, start sharing your work in subtle ways that encourage followers to contact you without forcing your work down their throats.

If you’re struggling to get started with social media marketing or you need help building your follower base and converting them into customers, HighClick Media is here for you!

We are a full-service digital marketing and web design agency, dedicated to helping grow businesses of all shapes and sizes by implementing comprehensive marketing solutions. Our talented team of creative thinkers, innovators, and digital marketers bring extraordinary skill to every project, positioning your business for blistering success.

Whether you’re looking for a website refresh, social media marketing, or brand development, reach out to us today by calling 252.814.2150 or dropping us a line here.

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Guest blogger Margie Heaneythe writes high-quality content and helps manage social media marketing efforts for Get Plus Followers. She helps save social media marketers time and money by finding active and engaging Instagram users for their personal profiles or business pages. Margie is proud to partner with LearningFuze, a premier coding and data science boot camp offering part-time or full-time courses, available in person or online.

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Give ‘Em Something to Talk About: A 4-Step Guide to Boosting Your Brand Reputation

Give ‘Em Something to Talk About: A 4-Step Guide to Boosting Your Brand Reputation

If you’re looking for a surefire way to win customers’ trust and grow your business, you need to pay special attention to your brand reputation. In today’s world, consumers have tons of options when it comes to online retailers. If you want to encourage more people to choose your website, it’s important to have a stellar reputation as a brand.

When people see your brand logo, you want them to instantly think of your business as one that’s dependable and passionate about helping customers. As you continue building your reputation, you’ll notice that more people are visiting your site, which significantly increases your chances that they’ll convert to customers.

Your brand reputation hinges on several factors, including established marketing channels such as social media and email. In this article, we’ll examine several things your business can do to make sure you’re establishing a favorable brand reputation.

I got a reputation! A following! My brand is on the rise!

Demonstrate Your Value

One of the best ways to bolster your brand reputation is to demonstrate your value. Many organizations like to talk about what they do that makes them great – and sometimes that approach is successful. But if you want your business to grow by leaps and bounds, you need to show visitors what you bring to the table.

There are many ways that you can highlight your brand’s value in a manner that your audience can better understand. A SaaS provider, for example, could present a full demo of the dynamic features their product offers. Instead of merely reading about how quickly someone can construct a form with your software, show them by providing a demonstration.

We would appreciate a good review.

Another great way to underscore your value is to showcase customer testimonials and reviews on your website. This method works particularly well because it’s someone else – not you – who is touting your company’s value. New visitors can see what actual customers think about your products or services, and that can be the determining factor when contemplating your value proposition.

Research proves that reviews and testimonials can help increase sales by building social proof – the idea that our behavior is influenced by the actions, attitudes, and beliefs of others, assuming it must be the correct behavior – which generates trust and a positive reputation. Adding these blurbs to your business website can improve your conversion rate by 270%!

Finally, someone's talking to me!

Engage with Your Audience

If you’re not purposefully engaging with your audience daily, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to build up your reputation. Consumers expect online brands to engage with them on social media, email, and their websites.

There are several ways that you can enhance engagement across all your marketing platforms.

On your business website, you can allow comments and reviews on your blog posts and product pages. Engaged visitors will take advantage of these channels to communicate with your brand. Make sure your team is available to address users’ concerns and thank them for their feedback.

You subscribed to my email list; prepare to buy!

Email marketing is another avenue where subscribers want to see more engagement. When you send out emails as part of a drip campaign, you can expect to get responses from users based on what you sent to them. By personalizing future emails in the campaign, you can offer specific answers to customers’ questions.

When you engage with users directly, they’re far more likely to regard your brand as trustworthy.

Social media is another pivotal platform for customer engagement. Whether you’re a small, independently owned business or a major corporation, social media engagement can generate substantial results for your business.

Who here is on social?

Reach out to consumers who comment on your posts and join relevant social media groups where you can interact with your target audience. Customers recount that when a brand engages with them on social media, they typically spend 20% to 40% more when they shop on that brand’s site.

The reason for this is simple: when companies deliver targeted, interactive experiences to consumers, they’re taking significant steps toward strengthening their brand reputation.

Is there something I can help you with?

Improve Your Customer Service

Your customer service and support teams are essential to furthering your brand reputation. Should a customer have questions or concerns, your customer service team can make the difference between a completed purchase and an abandoned cart.

Let’s say you’re visiting a particular website to make a purchase. After selecting the products you’re looking for, you realize you have a question about one of the items in your shopping cart. So, you begin searching for a way to contact customer support. Upon finding the appropriate link and typing out your query, you find out that the promised response time is 3 to 5 business days. Would you patiently wait for a response or abandon your cart and seek out a competitor with a team that’s ready, willing, and able to support you?

Hmmm...I think I'm gonna pass on that one.

In this age of instant gratification when consumer patience has dwindled to almost nil, most people would choose to find the items they need on another website.

Ideally, your website’s live chat options should include a combination of real customer service agents and chatbots. The chatbot is your first line of defense. This handy tool is typically located at the bottom corner of a site’s homepage, so customers can easily access the information they need when they have questions.

When I think of chatbots....

Chatbots should be able to accommodate essential operations such as password changes and blog references. If an issue is more complex, you can program your chatbot to transfer that customer to a live agent where they can get assistance immediately.

When your team can answer customer inquiries in minutes instead of days, you’ll be well on your way toward building a positive brand image. Customers will return to you time and time again when they perceive your business as hospitable and reputable.

Implement Social Listening

Implement Social Listening

Social listening involves monitoring and cultivating your business based on what consumers are saying about you and your competitors on social media. It’s also a powerful tool for improving your brand reputation.

Nearly half the population (49%) uses social media platforms to talk to friends, watch videos, and make purchases. Identifying how people think about your products or those of your competitors can help boost your brand reputation.

Big Reputation, Big Reputation...

Through social listening, you may notice that several people outside your primary social media group are discussing a feature your product is missing. Instead of viewing this feedback in a negative light, you can use it as an opportunity to show your commitment to customers. Implement the requested features whenever possible and work towards building an all-inclusive package for users.

Overall, social listening can help you pinpoint customers’ persistent or recurring problems, as well as identify potential areas for improvement in your products or services.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to boost your business’s brand reputation. The tips covered here are broad in scope and applicable to a variety of different industries. Carefully consider where you might be missing out on critical opportunities to deeply connect with your audience, and make the necessary changes to rectify these problems.

Before you know it, you’ll enjoy a world-class reputation with both new and current customers. Bear in mind that reputation is much easier to lose than it is to gain. Build your audience’s trust, continue delivering on these standards, and you can expect to see exponential growth in the years to come.

If you’re looking to boost your brand reputation through digital marketing, HighClick Media is here to help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150!

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How To Deal With Negative Customer Reviews

How To Deal With Negative Customer Reviews

Negative customer reviews can happen even to businesses with top-notch customer service. Mistakes will happen from time to time; and unfortunately, social media makes it possible for a disgruntled customer to quickly tell lots of people when something goes wrong.

However, a negative customer review doesn’t necessarily signal disaster. It may seem counterintuitive, but getting a couple of negative reviews every once in a while can actually create trust with customers. Too many stellar reviews can make your business appear fake. Shoppers understand that no business is perfect – and your response to a negative review offers an opportunity to demonstrate that you truly care about your customers.

By following these steps, you can transform a negative review into a positive experience.

Step 1: Respond Right Away

To keep a negative review on social media or another public site from adversely impacting your business, respond promptly. You may not yet comprehend what went wrong – or whether you’re just dealing with a demanding customer. At this point, it doesn’t matter either way. Publicly acknowledge their feedback and advise them that you’re looking into the matter. It’s essential to address the situation with urgency in order to stifle the complaint before it goes viral.

The proper response can even turn a negative review into a positive one! Data confirms that 33% of negative reviews on Yelp take a positive turn when a business makes the effort to respond to a dissatisfied customer.

Step 2: Follow Up Discreetly

Issuing a public apology helps safeguard your company’s reputation. Once you’ve posted a heartfelt apology for others to see, attempt to get to the heart of the matter in private. Contact the individual via phone or by using a free app like Clover Feedback.

If you choose to communicate by email or direct message, bear in mind that anything you say in response can readily be saved as a screenshot and re-shared. If the customer is still unhappy, it’s important to let them voice their concerns in private where you can address them directly.

Step 3: Support Your Staff

Mistakes happen. As a small business, your employees are in the trenches every day, representing your brand to your customers. When a complaint is lodged, your staff needs to know that you are going to back them up. This could involve providing additional training on how to handle dissatisfied customers, establishing a complaint policy, or immediately handing off negative reviews to managers (or to yourself, as the business owner) to lighten the load for your team members.

Keep an eye out for “constant complainers” or “barnacles,” two particularly prickly types of customers who can turn a situation toxic quickly. These customers enjoy airing their grievances, regardless of whether they’re valid or not, in order to try to get a discount or a freebie. When you confront one of these customers, take the high road. Do what you can to rectify the situation, and then move on.

Step 4: Make It Right

Customers take satisfaction in supporting small businesses, due to the fact that they routinely establish personal relationships with you and your staff members. Because you’re most likely acquainted with many of your regulars, you’re ideally positioned to personally and genuinely resolve a negative review.

Determine the quickest, best way to remedy the immediate problem. This typically involves either returning an item, replacing it, or providing a discount. Acknowledge that you value this individual’s loyalty; empathize and engage with them in a way that sets your business apart from the dispassionate customer service centers at most big-box retailers.

“Apologize for and explain the situation, issue a refund (if applicable), and offer an additional benefit for sticking with you. Have a set strategy for specific problems, but personalize each response. Great customer service can turn unhappy customers into brand advocates. Poor service does exactly the opposite,” says Carlo Cisco, owner of FoodFan.

Step 5: Prevent Future Negative Reviews

Lastly, take advantage of this bad review as an opportunity to improve. How can your business function better, assist customers more efficiently, or enhance communication? Establish formalized procedures, such as a refund policy or return policy, and review them often. Role-play with your team members and coach them on how to respond to an irate customer face-to-face. Implement a system or tool where customers can provide feedback directly, as opposed to on a review site such as Google or Yelp.

In essence, a negative review should be seen as a gift. It demonstrates that your customers are fond enough of your brand to go to the trouble of leaving you feedback. Even the worst reviews can end up being positive experiences, if managed properly.

Final Thoughts

Do you need help engaging more effectively with your customers? HighClick Media can help! Our brand development specialists are ready, willing, and able to help create a comprehensive brand strategy which connects your business to your audience. Our social media marketing strategies can help elevate your business by increasing its website traffic, brand awareness, and customer relationships.

Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here!

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An earlier version of this article appeared here.

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How to Differentiate Your Products & Services in a Saturated Market

How to Differentiate Your Products & Services in a Saturated Market

 

Here’s an experiment for you to try. Type the product or service that your business provides into a search engine. No business name, no location, just the sector you serve. Did you get millions of results? Yeah. I did, too.

The fact of the matter is, in some areas, the market is simply oversaturated. In certain spaces, standing out can be really difficult.

Whether by lowering your prices, boosting the quality of your products, or making the buying experience simple and convenient, you have to find ways to establish your brand as superior to the competition within the same space.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider these five strategies for distinguishing your business in a crowded market:

Know Your Competition

All those search results you came up with aren’t necessarily cause for concern for your business. As a matter of fact, you can put those results to good use by clicking on the top hits to see what you’re up against. After all, they are your competition.

Examine their features, price points, and return policies. Pay attention to their branding and messaging. Try to locate info on their suppliers as well as their purchasing strategies. Browse through their social media pages, paying special attention to one-star and five-star reviews.

Anything consumers dislike about your competitors is an opportunity for you to do more successfully. Something at which your competitors excel should be a foundational area of focus in regard to your products or services. 

Find Your Niche

Within any market there are an endless number of niches. Some landscaping companies specialize in lawn care; within lawn care, some providers concentrate on either residential or commercial services.

In an oversaturated space, it may seem as though every niche has already been spoken for. If that’s the case, don’t try to directly compete with others; rather, create your own niche.

If your product or service has already been launched, you may be forced to pivot. Before committing to redevelopment, do some research. Is the niche you’ve chosen large enough to support your company? What are consumers’ specific areas of concern? Before jumping in headfirst, make sure you’re capable of addressing these pain points profitably. 

Streamline Your Channel

How do you distribute your products? In certain markets, complicated supply chains cause products to pass through half a dozen hands before making it to the end user.

Cutting out some of the intermediaries will not only help you price your products more cost-effectively, but it will also allow you to create tighter feedback loops with your customers. Perform a comprehensive supply chain audit to identify any steps you could eliminate from the chain.

Develop Your Street (Or Online) Cred

In a crowded market, credibility is key. Consumers frankly don’t want to bother with researching a thousand different brands, so they pick the one they know and trust.

Establishing a trustworthy brand is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep tabs on your social media pages to see what customers are saying about your products and services. Read every rating and review you receive. Be mindful of what customers like and dislike about your products, customer service, and delivery.

Don’t respond in anger when you encounter negative reviews. Instead, strive to make changes that speak to those concerns and emphasize your best features. Being quick to react will cultivate consumer trust and translate into positive buzz around your brand.

Don’t Simply Make Sales – Build Relationships

There’s another good reason why branding takes time. It’s because building rewarding relationships with customers doesn’t happen immediately.

Making genuine connections with customers is akin to cooking an authentic dish: The proper ingredients – exemplary customer service, a dynamite product, and a pinch of personalization, to name a few – must be blended properly and simmered steadily.

Regardless of the density of your market, setting your business apart from its competitors is no easy task. If you want to inspire loyalty from old customers and sway new ones to choose you, you’ll have to do your homework.

If you need help distinguishing your brand in a crowded market, digital marketing can be a great solution. The friendly folks at HighClick Media are experts at all aspects of digital media, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing. Give us a call at 252.814.2150 to see how we can help you elevate your brand!

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How to Use Your Website as a Marketing Tool

How to Use Your Website As a Marketing Tool

At the center of your digital marketing efforts, your website has the potential to become a powerful sales machine capable of branching out to all other online marketing venues.

Learning how to use your website as a marketing tool is an important first step for any business owner who’s beginning to realize the importance and potential of search engine optimization (SEO). Here are some basic tips on where to begin:

Perpetuate Your BrandPerpetuate Your Branding

Your branding must become synonymous with the industry you’re in. Whenever people see a meme, infographic, or video you’ve created, they should be able to instantly recognize this content as coming from your brand.

Creating a memorable brand logo has the potential to skyrocket your visibility and steer people directly to your business’s website. You might choose to use a DIY free logo creator tool for this purpose or enlist the services of a graphic designer if you’ve got the budget. Once you have your logo nailed down, you should be adding it to literally every piece of content you put out.

If your logo and branding are unique and cleverly designed, your target audience (the people actively consuming your content on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) will flock to your website.

Compose a Long-Form FAQ Article

Given that 8% of all Google queries are questions from users, it’s time that you capitalized on this by answering all the questions pertinent to your industry.

A FAQ article is a type of blog consisting predominantly of questions and answers. Google takes notice of question-and-answer dialogues and is much more likely to rank content that appears to answer those questions best. As you continue answering questions, your site will quickly gain momentum by becoming a go-to knowledge hub for people who are already interested in the products and services you have to offer.

Create Pillar Posts for Your Blog

Pillar posts are more potent than normal blog posts because they’re designed to appeal to Google’s algorithms as well as people.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a pillar post that will boost your website’s ranking and add value to your audience.

  1. Come up with a great concept that engages your audience but is also relevant to your industry.
  2. Craft a title that’s list-oriented. The longer the list of potential “hacks” or “tips” you can provide, the better!
  3. Begin by writing about three of those concepts.
  4. Publish your blog post under a catchy title, such as “3 Failproof Ways to…” or “3 Neglected Methods for…” (Note: Make sure the body of your post lives up to the hype of its title, or you might be guilty of clickbait.)
  5. Add an image or video for each of the concepts.
  6. Add another tip each month, making sure that you also change the number in your title as you add those tips.
  7. Update the existing content in the blog as well wherever relevant.

This continual adding and updating will get Google’s attention – within 6 months, you can expect your ranking to improve significantly.

Sell Directly from Your Site

You don’t have to transform your website into a full-fledged ecommerce site to sell your products or services online. You already have the ability to present products and sell them directly from your existing website.

You can add products, along with prices, and offer delivery as much as you are able to. Before long, you’ll have a much more convenient way of selling your products in a world where people are prone to shop at home and have items brought to their front door.

Reviews and Testimonials

Become the type of business owner who thrives on good reviews – then show off those reviews by displaying them on the most prominent areas of your website.

Google uses a 5-star system to rate businesses. If your rating is higher than 4 stars, showcase it on your homepage to instill trust in future users who might be looking for your services. It’s a surefire way to develop credibility with your audience in a market where competition is so strong.

Conduct Interviews

A great way to set yourself up as an industry leader and a trustworthy source for your products and services is by interviewing experts within your industry.

Conduct interviews and post them directly on your website, or post them on YouTube, then create a video feed on your site that allows users to watch your content without having to navigate away from your page.

Who would you interview? Here are a few ideas:

  • Suppliers
  • Affiliates
  • International Experts
  • Local Experts

Basically, anyone who might add interest and value to a topic related to your industry.

Develop TutorialsDevelop Tutorials

Educating your audience is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can utilize – and you can do this directly from your current website!

You can embed videos on your site or simply create a step-by-step written tutorial about how to solve a common problem your target audience might regularly deal with.

This solution-based content will attract visitors to your site, compel them to trust you, eventually buy from you, and ultimately refer you to others who have the same needs.

Final Thoughts

In an ever-changing digital landscape, your company’s website is the most important marketing tool in your arsenal. None of the various aspects of marketing – social media, content creation, email campaigns, paid search ads, SEO, print media, or other traditional methods – have the potential to create more leads or present a more professional image of your business than your website.

Not only does your website serve as a virtual salesperson and brand ambassador for your business, but you can also use it to genuinely connect with prospective customers.

In essence, your website is the nexus at which all your marketing efforts begin and end. Whether you’re sending a tweet, publishing a blog post, running a newspaper ad, or adding a link at the bottom of your business card – the ultimate goal of marketing is to drive traffic to your website.

The success (or failure) of your overall marketing strategy boils down to the design, prowess, and intuitiveness of the website it draws people towards. If you aren’t using your website as the marketing tool it is, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential business. If you’re not making a concentrated effort to be where your customers are, you can bet that your competition is going to reach them before you can.

By implementing the suggestions listed above and incorporating them into your marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to seeing positive results for your business.

If you need help developing a marketing strategy, if your branding is all over the place, or if your website is perhaps too old and dilapidated to do what you need it to do, give us a call at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here!

We’ll be happy to sit down with you (in person, or virtually) and discuss possible changes we can make together to help your business succeed in the digital age. At HighClick Media, our primary mission is to elevate your brand, no matter what it takes. Let’s start a conversation today!

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As a digital content expert, Anna Knowles likes to spread her knowledge and love for digital media. Her aim is to partner with small businesses and startups, helping them grow their enterprise with dynamite content.

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