Since the first social media platform came online, more and more businesses have been spending increasing amounts of money to establish and popularise their presence in the online environment. Social media is simply a way to drive sales and to convert potential clients, however, these platforms can serve a much more important purpose: they can help create a brand and take a company to a trending position.
Large companies use their online resources for more than conversion and advertising. They are using social media to popularise a brand that potential customers will consider the standard when it comes to purchasing products.
Apple and Samsung are great examples of companies who have elevated their brands from simple product designations to popular icons. The two electronics manufacturers have convinced the general audience that their products are always the best ones available and that owning one of them means more than having a great smartphone, or tablet; it means belonging to an extended family of individuals who are able to recognise quality products and have the resources to purchase them.
This having been said, in this article, we will look at how small businesses that lack proper funding can use social media to popularise their products, create a brand, drive sales, and find funding.
Find the Right Platforms
The most important part when it comes to getting the word out about a business and its products is finding the right channels to do so. This is where a bit of research will go a long way. Go online and look at what platforms your target audience is using. Depending on what products a company is selling, its audience might regularly use :
- Apps like Instagram (makeup products, clothes, photography equipment);
- Blogs and review sites (power tools, gardening tools, etc.);
- Video content websites such as YouTube (smartphone and IT equipment manufacturers);
Choosing the right platform is essential as it will make it easier to reach your audience and to feed them information without taking them out of their virtual comfort zone.
Advertise Your Company, at the Same Time as Your Products
Large, well-known companies have grown by predicting what products would be successful and then attaching their name as visibly as possible to the product. Most do this by allowing their employees to present their products to establish an emotional connection with potential buyers. In time, a part of the audience is instantly converted, and the rest will remain interested, wanting to be part of the fan family.
Small businesses can present their production lines, emphasise the work that their employees are doing to make the products as great as they can be, and explaining to potential buyers how their lives could change with a single purchase. Newsletters and promotions are equally useful, as well as contacting reviewers to present your products.
However, keep in mind that popularity is not the end goal. While social media can and will drive sales, it can also help a business secure all the financing it will ever need.
Use the Popularity as Financial Leverage
Lenders and investors are more likely to finance or give loans to companies that have a strong online presence. This is because already have a community built around them and an established brand. In other words, even if the products are moderately popular, the company has sales potential. Finding investors that are willing to finance your company will be much easier when they can see where the money will go.
In many cases, online popularity and social media can even be used as leverage when negotiating with banks. However, this requires a proper business plan and a large fan community.