By: Trisha Bautista
If you’re thinking about starting a business from home or already have one that’s about to take flight, there are a few things beyond the usual business requirements you need to prepare for.
Aside from funding, suppliers, labor and etc., one aspect of business that cannot be taken for granted in the modern economy is branding and social media presence.
If you want to the get word out, targeting influencers, blogs, and online publishers is key to creating awareness, which in effect could bring you more customers. In fact, if you have the right mix between of having a solid product and the right kind of exposure, your big business break could be just around the corner.
Here are things to keep in mind:
1. Have a unique but memorable brand name.
This applies to getting you customers and getting exposure. Choose a brand name that is unique and not overly complicated that people would will a hard time remembering what it is. If possible, have a name that says what your product is at a glance for better recall.
2. Make a product description that people will understand and find easy to digest.
In the world of social media and listicles, long-winded product descriptions will most likely be ignored. People go for visuals, avoid writing an entire novel as the description and let your products speak for themselves.
3. Take good product photos.
These days, good photos are a must-have when it comes to selling anything. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, make sure you have clear, well-lit photos of what you’re selling. If you want influencers and editors to notice your product and promote it themselves, make sure they can see what you’re selling at a glance and that the photo is pretty enough to be “re-shared” on their own social media accounts or websites..
4. Research the magazines, newspapers, websites, and influencer profiles you want to reach.
Determine which news or lifestyle outlets will best fit your product. Get to know their key messages and themes. Observe how they do product features so you can target similar features. And if you’re targeting personalities, peruse their social media accounts and see what products or services they either use often or promote often. This will give you an idea on which media outlets and influencers would best suit your product.
5. Join at least one high-profile bazaar.
There are many monthly, quarterly, and yearly bazaars around the metro these days. Whether it’s a food bazaar, baby and mom fair, or trade event, it’s worth the investment. Join a major one, because these bazaars usually invite many editors and influencers to their events. Most of the time, these editors and influencers are invited there for the purpose of getting them to share the event with their followers and readers. If you’re lucky, they’ll come across your booth and buy your product, and/or share it on their social media accounts. Have business cards ready, and create an eye-catching and unique set up so that your booth will not be overlooked.
6. Invest in freebies and lookbooks (if you’re selling a service)
If you’re selling food, provide samples. If you’re selling dry goods, provide product try-ons. If you’re selling a service, provide nice, curated photos, lookbooks, or even videos of your portfolio. Any potential customer will want to know exactly what you’re selling, and if your product is worth buying. The same applies to editors and influencers. If you want them to share your product with their followers, they have to believe in it, too.
7. Take advantage of holidays and special occasions.
There’s a reason why people say holidays are just a big marketing stunt. But since you’re a seller now, too, that means you get to take advantage of the seasons where people enjoy spending. If you’re targeting moms, for example, be extra active on social media around Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Make special promos, or even create special packages or variations of your product to fit the occasion.
8. Invest in freebies and product try-ons.
As mentioned previously, take advantage of special occasions. To get media exposure for your product, put together a special gift basket or package of products that fit your holiday or season of choice, and send them about two weeks ahead. Prepare a short write up of your product with all the pertinent info (where to buy, how to buy, and how to find you on social media), and well-composed product shots. For editors, research (you can call up their news desks!) on the location of their media outlet’s office and send them a product basket with lots of freebies they can try. If you want to reach influencers, contact your chosen ones (they’re usually very active on social media and fairly easy to contact) and formally invite them to try your product for free. They may or may not feature your product, but the first step is sending them samples!
9. Be active on social media.
Finally, be active on social media. Use unique hashtags, and curate your feed to be aesthetically pleasing (like it or not, this is a must these days). Your accounts should invite people to land on your page or profile. Update your pages regularly (daily!), and make sure you check messages and replies regularly. Deal with your customers (potential editors and influencers included) professionally and politely, and answer all their queries as quickly as possible. When you have satisfied customers, invite them to share their experiences with you, and share them on their pages, too. After all, satisfied customers make the best sales people when they refer your product to their friends and family.
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Trisha Bautista is a writer, editor, and PR practitioner with articles published in many of the country’s top magazines and lifestyle websites. She’s a mother to an eight months-old baby boy, and is constantly trying to find the time to stay fit and healthy while balancing married life, motherhood, career, and a social life. She enjoys discovering health, fitness, beauty, and shopping hacks to maximize time and money, and loves the occasional wine night.