Building a brand on social media takes carefully thought out, deliberate effort. The foundation of any successful business, no matter the niche, is a recognizable presence across platforms that will attract – and retain – the attention and loyalty of followers, and eventually customers, for your products, service or influence.
Here are some things I’ve learned over the last decade of building my “backyard chicken/country lifestyle” brand Fresh Eggs Daily that can apply to any business.
1. Be passionate about whatever it is that you are selling whether it be a product or service.
If you can’t get excited about it, how can you possibly expect your customers to? Lots of bloggers or influencers are sometimes tempted to jump on the latest trend or fad solely because they think that’s the easiest way to get popular fast, but ultimately if you don’t believe in your brand to your core, you’ll burn out trying to fake excitement.
On the other hand, if you’re selling or promoting something that makes you tingle you from the tip of your toes to the tip of your nose, your followers will automatically respond to that organic excitement that you naturally generate without even really giving it much thought or effort. True passion will just ooze from every post and sentence you write.
2. Be genuine and true to yourself.
Your brand absolutely needs to encompass some of your own personality and style. Customers can see right through anything that’s forced or fake. Obviously anything on social media is a bit more polished than “real life” and you are only showing a small slice of your life – one that you control – but If your brand doesn’t accurately portray you at least on some level, it’s going to be difficult to convince your followers that they should want and need the things that you tell them they should want and need.
3. Set regular “business hours” even if you work from home.
Sticking to a semi-regular “work day” not only forces discipline and ensures you’re putting in enough hours, but also forces you to close up shop at the end of the work day and not work 24/7, which is very easy to do when you ARE passionate about what you’re doing. Of course there are exceptions and lots of flexibility when you’re self-employed and work from home, but for the most part, putting in regular hours can help to prevent burnout.
It’s important that you don’t get taken advantage of and asked to meet deadlines that require working until 9pm on a Saturday night, or taking phone calls during dinner time. The tendency seems to be to value the time of those who work from home less than someone at a regular “cubicle” job.
Just as it’s important to limit yourself to working a normal work day, and get those you work with to respect those business hours you set, it’s important to set aside regular “time off” to spend time with family, friends or merely some quality “me time”.
4. Keep an eye on your competitors, but don’t actually “compete” with them.
Modeling yourself after someone else will always ensure you come in second. Instead, it’s important to be unique and find your own voice.
But there is a reason for the saying “keep your friends close, your enemies closer.” It does pay to keep tabs on what others in your niche who might be attracting the same customer base are doing.
Setting up Google alerts for not only your own name and business name, but also your competitors’, is a good way to keep tabs on what they’re up to without actually having to expend any time or energy constantly checking their website or social media.
5. Don’t let roadblocks, haters or other negativity get you down.
The sad fact is that as a brand you are just naturally bound to have to deal with those who don’t like you. And as you get more popular and well-known, the negative comments will likely become more frequent. But instead of looking at it as a negative, remember that ambiguity is actually a worse problem for a brand to face. If there are those who absolutely love what you do, it’s almost a given that conversely there are going to be those who hate what you do. The one thing you don’t want is for no one to care either way.
So don’t get angry. Instead use that energy the naysayers or those who don’t believe in you expend on the negative in a positive way – as motivation to prove them wrong. Never engage in online confrontations or respond publicly to bullying or trolls. You’ll never win. Instead quietly block, delete and move on. Your quiet success is the greatest revenge.