If feels like a catch 22. You want to build a social media following so that you can sell your products when you launch but you also feel like you can’t build it until you have your product.
Many of my clients have this struggle when they come to me for business coaching before their launch. Here are the strategies I suggest.
Choose 1 -2 platforms and focus
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Choose the platform/s that your target market is using. Commit to creating a strong and engaged following on that 1 (or 2) platform/s. Having a poor or sporadic social media presence is worse than having none.
Create content buckets
A content bucket is a theme or idea prompt. Having different buckets that you can cycle through ensures you aren’t sharing too much on one topic. This helps because nobody is on social media to be sold to. They are there to be inspired, educated, or entertained. A mix of promotional and lifestyle content will result in more engaged followers faster than just promotional content.
Some ideas for your buckets:
Brainstorm ideas for each content bucket
Some days you’ll be inspired to create content from what is happening in your business prelaunch preparations but to reduce the stress of having to come up with ideas and create the content, brainstorm ideas for each bucket. This is a technique called batching that I swear by for my business. Having a list of ideas you can pick from will remove the ‘I need to post but don’t know what to’ stress.
Here are some content ideas/prompts:
- From the desk of the founder
- Prototype/product timeline undated
- Supplier spotlight (transparency is key for eco businesses – customers love knowing where the product is made and the materials)
- Lifestyle posts (and yes, you can use stock photos)
- Countdown until launch
- Polls/Questions (customer co-creation)
- Related/helpful articles
- Influencer takeovers
- National/International Holidays (i.e Plastic Free July, or World Oceans Day)
- Job opportunities
- Community engagement/Volunteering
- Product teasers
You only need 1000 loyal people to spend $100 on your products to hit 6 figure revenue. Building engagement on social media is a fantastic way to get started on building your first 100 loyal fans, then your next 100 and then your next 100.
The first place to engage is ‘reactive’. Respond to all comments, retweets etc. Not sure what to reply? Think of it as a real in-person conversation. If somebody in real life said they loved your shirt you wouldn’t just say thanks and walk away, would you? Nope, you’d say thanks, yeah, I got it from an amazing boutique downtown. You continue the conversation. Do the same online. Respond rather than just reply. Open the conversation up with an open-ended question.
Got nobody engaging with your content yet? No worries, you can still engage! Be proactive and seek out your target market and connect with them. DO NOT SELL!! Do not follow/unfollow! Remember that 100 engaged followers are better than a million unengaged. Search for hashtags that your target market would be using. Like and comment – engage, start conversations, add value and expect nothing in return. Some of those people will check out your profile and if they are your target market follow you.
Building engagement takes time. Don’t give up after a few days or weeks. I know how hard it is to put all that work into creating content only to have crickets but consistency works. Keep it up for at least 12 weeks before you decide it’s not working.
Use your network
Invite your close family and friends to follow your new company page. Send personalised messages to them explaining that you are about to launch your new product/business and you’d appreciate their support. Invite them to like the page and explain how important it is for you to have engagement on your posts. Ask them if they see your content they could like or comment on a post or two a week to kick start your community.
Don’t bombard them and don’t take it personally if they don’t (or if they unfollow you later). Long term you want your true target market following you this is only a short-term tactic to build some initial momentum to your social media efforts.
Collaborations are great because they help build your brand awareness while also saving you money.
I have another blog post in the works shortly all about collaborations so make sure you are following me on social media (Facebook or Instagram) so you don’t miss it. In the meantime here are some quick ideas.
- Shout out for shout outs by businesses/influencers with a similar target audience can help you gain some followers.
- Write a guest post. When the owner of the blog shares your post they will link to your social media.
- Takeovers. Either on your page or another business/individual. The key is the same target market.
Pay for ads
I know funds are strapped at this time but if you are time poor and need to build your social proof quickly then paying for adverts on social media can get you followers and that much needed social proof that comes with it. For example, spending $5 a day for a few weeks can help you get 100-1000 new Facebook followers. To determine if it is worth the spend consider how much of your time it would take you to gain that many followers. Depending on your unique situation it might be worthwhile.
Final important thoughts:
Provide value (a reason to follow you)
Engage (be social)
Be consistent (Rome wasn’t built in a day)