It's not uncommon for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to feel stuck in an endless race for customer attention.
With social media advertising making it easier than ever for businesses to target customers, competition is no longer limited by neighborhoods or ZIP codes. But that doesn't mean your SMB can't compete. Help customers connect with your business and gradually establish a loyal base through effective branding.
Go Mobile — and Focus on Social Media
According to research reported by Inc., customers touch their phones anywhere from 2,617 to 5,400 times a day. Meanwhile, Forbes noted that nearly 20 percent of customers across all age groups say their purchase decisions are influenced by social media. While others can debate the larger implications of this type of behavioral shift, for SMB owners, it means that to effectively establish a brand, their company needs to be available on mobile devices as soon as possible.
Focus on a social media presence early (perhaps even before your business opens) by setting up profiles featuring your unique logos and imagery. As soon as possible, post content in the form of blogs, photos, videos and more. Even if you don't think anyone is listening, content is key to building your brand, generating excitement and connecting with customers early on — so they can get to know you and your product.
Emphasize Your Personal Brand Voice
While any SMB is made up of lots of people working together, when you're building your brand, it's important to cultivate a single voice across all messaging. Wondering how to figure out what that voice should be in the first place? Start by identifying your brand's emotional appeal.
What kind of values do you want to project, and what do you think is important to your potential customers? It could be something as simple as humor (a tactic that has worked well for fast food giants like Taco Bell and Wendy's) or a more nuanced commitment to charitable causes and the community. If possible, consider conducting market research to find out what's most important to the demographics you want to target. You can use that information as a starting point for your persona.
Once you've established your voice, it's vital that you and your team understand how to apply it consistently across all channels. Walt Disney famously said, "You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality." It's important that everyone is on the same page about who you are and what you stand for, so you can present a consistent image.
Creating a successful business is hard work, and there are plenty of considerations throughout the process. A personal voice, effective mobile presence and dynamic social media can help you get ahead of the competition.