Building a Social Media Business
Social media is a booming place for new businesses. Who wouldn’t want to get rich from scrolling? Part of the art, however, is making it look fun and easy. But, just like ballet dancing, it takes inordinate time and effort to make something look so effortlessly beautiful that everyone else wants to be a part of it.
To take a case study, look at this article on Anissa Kheloufi, who founded the fashion company Belmiraz. According to Bloomberg, her apparel company earns almost $500,000 a year. Marketplace platforms like Tictail have noticed the trend towards shopping via a social media app and have changed their retailing options accordingly. But what should an entrepreneur keep in mind as he or she moves towards a social media-based business?
Know your audience
While purchasing via apps/social media is a trend across all ages, it’s most popular among shoppers age 18 through 35. This information is key to know. As an obvious example, a company that sells mobility aids for seniors may want to dedicate less time to social media advertising, and it may not be worth it at all to develop the option to buy over social media.
You may already be marketing through social media; if that’s the case, you should evaluate how much traffic that marketing is generating and whether or not adding the option to buy via social media will actually be profitable to you. And, as with more traditional advertising, knowing your customer base will allow you to determine what catchphrases, graphics, and interfaces you will use. This is true for maintaining your current business demographic as well as strategizing how to expand your clientele.
Be specific in your use of social media
It may be tempting to canvas across all the social media platforms out there, but experts actually recommend lasering in on one or two select platforms. To this end, you may want to do marketing research to see what platform your audience most frequently visits. A company that sells jewelry may know that its clientele want to achieve the trendy looks that the business posts on Instagram, so it would behoove them to maintain an Instagram presence. On the other hand, a company that knows that its clientele will be focusing on buying wholesale electronics will understand that their customers are probably focused on running their own business. In this case, the electronics company may want to advertise via a business-oriented platform such as LinkedIn (in fact, you will see that the linked example is exclusively on Facebook and LinkedIn).
It may have been the buzzword of five years ago, but “branding” is still a useful concept and strategy. Social media allows branding like never before. If you think about it, individuals use social media to create their personal brand through curated pictures and targeted content (is it an articulate call for feminism or an all-caps rant for a cause? Both affect brand).
And branding for a social media-based business is entirely about brand. To brand effectively you need to determine what you want to be known for and what makes you different. Branding via social media means consistency and cohesiveness. Keep your profile images the same (ideally your logo). Make sure fonts, font size, and text color are all the same. Make sure all posts adhere to a specific layout, formula, and writing style; make sure these same posts are always in line with what your company stands for! Nothing random or off-brand!
Creating a social media business can be lucrative, if it fits your target audience and if you strategize appropriately. Consumer trends have rapidly changed from brick-and-mortar shopping to online shopping to app shopping. A business that can grow with these trends definitely has an advantage, especially if its ideal market is the ever-growing demographic of phone-centric shoppers.
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