You finally have a business up and running, which is a huge accomplishment. Don’t kick back and relax just yet, though. In its early stages, your business’s top priority should be to grow, which, even if done strategically, can still be a lot of work.
Another business owning struggle is figuring out how to keep things unique and interesting. You don’t want to settle for doing the same things everyone else in your industry is doing. Here are 5 interesting things to do to grow your business that most people aren’t already doing.
1. Network using social media … the right way
Much of the networking you are going to do these days will be through the web, social media in particular. It’s the easiest and quickest way to connect with brands who are similar to yours and find potential consumers of your product or service. Through social media, you can make great first impressions (literally) before anyone even visits your website. You can also make bad first impressions, if you aren’t careful.
There are plenty of useful ways to make connections with other like-minded brands and potential customers on social media, but there are definitely wrong ways to go about doing so as well. Don’t pay to gain followers. Don’t send automatic direct messages to earned followers. Don’t follow or like random accounts in hopes they will follow you back unless you have a good, strategic means of doing so.
Instead, reach out individually to form valuable relationships with potential partners, customers and brands in your industry. Yes, this takes time and careful planning, but workarounds won’t actually help your business grow. Offering value will get you plenty of value in return.
2. Survey your target audience online or in person
Social media is a great starter tool for listening to your business’s target audience and learning a little about who they are and what they like, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to only one audience analysis method.
A growing business knows its target audience better than it knows itself. As you grow, you need to stay up to date on where members of your target audience are going, what they are doing and saying, what they like and don’t like, and more. A business has to grow and change with its target audience, or it will not last.
Free services such as SurveyMonkey allow an easy way for you to collect all kinds of data about your target audience. Give audience members some kind of incentive for making time to take your survey, such as entry into a drawing for a free product or service for each person who takes the survey.
3. Write a book
Something many people don’t consider in trying to build a business is information. Almost any product or service can involve information sharing, and what better way to build your brand and grow your business than with a useful how-to guide?
Writing a book related to your industry could help to grow your business and solidify your credibility in a specific field. A book will offer a different format in which visitors to your website or loyal customers to your business can access information you wish to provide for them.
In order for a book to help grow your business, it must add value, meaning it needs to offer something that can’t be found anywhere else. The point is to draw people to your business in search of more.
4. Offer something different on every social media platform
Using social media as a tool to reach international audiences has become a vital practice for business owners. Unfortunately, not everyone who uses this strategy knows how to use it correctly.
Can you guess what a growing company or organization’s biggest social media mistake is? Posting identical content on every single social platform out there. People in general expect to find different content on different social platforms, and aren’t very likely to follow you in multiple places if you use a lazy copy and paste method.
If you are going to grow your business through the use of social media by bringing followers to your products, services and content, you need to take the time to develop different social content for each platform.
For example, you might link back to a company blog post via a Facebook page, share a photo on Tumblr and link to a landing page from your website using Twitter. Each brings followers to your business in a different way designed specifically to appeal to that particular platform, making people much more likely to click on it.
5. Support a charity
Have you ever liked a company, heard about a campaign they were running to support a charity and instantly loved them even more? That’s exactly what that company hoped would happen. Other than raising awareness for a good cause, some businesses have caught onto the idea that doing good looks good, too.
Do what you can to show support for a local charity, such as hosting a charity event or even an online campaign with a nonprofit that hopefully somehow relates to your business ‘s mission and goals.
Local charities are always looking for supporters, and the business-nonprofit relationship works because both sides benefit from the publicity in a positive way. You need exposure; the charity needs donors and supporters. It all works out.
Running a business is hard enough, but you have to work to maintain and grow it as well. Use social media for smart networking. Get to know your target audience to learn how to better provide for them using online survey tools. Write a book to gain credibility, or support a charity to gain your own support.
Use these strategies in your plans to establish a brand and grow a business that is quite unlike any other. By using a combination of offline and online tools to reach people in new and unique ways, your business will become one of a kind, and one that simply cannot be ignored.