Promoting businesses online now have a wealth of digital tools and techniques at their disposal to help them get noticed in the online market place.
Geeta Sidhu-Robb, founder of juice and health food delivery service, Nosh Detox, was using social media to promote her business long before it became fashionable to do so.
Ten years ago, in fact.
On a tight budget and needing to convince a skeptical public, she tapped in to the power and reach of bloggers to promote her business and diet products online.
“Juice fasts didn’t really exist in the UK at the time,” recalls the former corporate lawyer and single mum of three. “In fact some people actually thought a detox could kill you.”
“We couldn’t afford PR (public relations) agencies or expensive advertising campaigns, so we’d talk to pretty much anyone with an online presence and persuade them to take photos, film us on YouTube and write about us,” she says.
The bloggers would include a link to her website on their pages – occasionally in return for some Nosh Detox freebies Ms Sidhu-Robb admits. This helped push the business to the top of organic – not-paid-for – search rankings.
A £2m turnover and Hollywood A-list clientele followed, along with significant followings in Russia and Australia.
It shows how, on social media, a little can go a very long way when it comes brand promotion.
No social media marketing is a business in its own right. Convenient and low cost, with a potentially vast audience reach, the platforms have overtaken all other media for small businesses, says research firm BIA Kelsey.
Former investment banker Isabelle Ohnemus has extensively used “influencers” to promote her Zurich-based fashion company EyeFitU, which is an online platform aimed at remedying some of the sizing inconsistencies across fashion brands.
Usually young, fashion-conscious females with a prominent online presence act as “brand ambassadors” for EyeFitU, promoting the company to their followers on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook.
Big brands will sometimes pay in excess of $30,000 (£23,000) to such influencers for a single post, but smaller companies with more modest budgets can still get in on the action.
“There is a trend for going with smaller-scale bloggers rather than those with million-plus followers,” says Ms Ohnemus.
“Having those kinds of numbers doesn’t necessary mean a high number of conversion.”
In other words, it’s the quality of the following not the size that matters. People who trust an influencer’s opinion are more likely to buy the brand’s goods, she says.
Of course, there are rules governing this sort of social media influencer marketing, so you have to be careful.
Geordie Short TV star Marnie Simpson recently got into trouble for uploading images of products from two firms she had business relationships with, without identifying them as adverts.
Know your Customer
One of the main advantages of an online business compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar shop is the amount of data you can gather about your customers.
You can find out which search words people use to find your business, for example, which images they respond to the most, and which website content they share on other platforms.
This all helps to refine and target your marketing efforts.
Furthermore, the technology tracks the most popular searches online, giving you the opportunity to create content based on the very latest trends.
Partner with a media company to create a focused strategy and leverage platforms with existing audiences.
Contact us today at Website SA to help you maximise promoting your business online.