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How to Best Leverage Social Media to Gain a Following for Your Upstart Company

Published on April 13, 2019, at 4:20 p.m.
by Michaela McLean.

According to the 2019 Global Digital suite of reports, more than 3.48 billion people around the world use social media. That is more than half of the world’s population! With more users online than ever before, a plethora of online businesses has emerged. In fact, 77 percent of U.S. small businesses incorporate social media for sales, marketing and customer service. Based off these numbers, how can a startup online business have an uber-competitive edge in its market?

Social media giants such as Instagram and Facebook are powerful tools in taking a small business to the next level. While most companies understand the importance of a strong online presence, not all brands are successful at leveraging their social media platforms to increase brand awareness and a loyal, responsive audience.

Photo via Tim Bennett on Unsplash

Carlie and Angie Nall, co-founders of Poppy & Rose Clothing, recently started an online boutique that experienced overnight success by effectively targeting millennials through Instagram. The mother-daughter duo shared insider tips on three tactics they employ to keep their trendy boutique the most captivating post on their followers’ feed.

1. Collaboration
In the evolving world of digital media, networking is a vital strategy for businesses. By collaborating with other Instagram influencers and startup companies, Poppy & Rose Clothing increases its exposure and reaches a wider audience. According to an article from RoundPeg, “Influencer marketing has become one of the most valuable forms of marketing. Potential customers are more likely to be receptive to recommendations from a person they respect and trust rather than an online ad.”

Carlie Nall, content creator and marketing director for Poppy & Rose Clothing, witnessed tremendous growth in exposure and sales from collaborations. She stated, “Posting shoutouts and building partnerships with influencers are strategic ways to gain a bigger following on Instagram. We send several influencers different items from our store, and in return, they post on their personal profiles explaining the product in detail.”

2. Contests
Social media contests are powerful tactics to build a fan base, reach new potential customers and get 64 times more comments than regular posts. Specific contests include Instagram giveaways, which are “limited-time promotions where brands promise to give away a product or service to one (or more) lucky entrants according to a specified set of criteria.” Whether a small business or a household name brand, giveaways create buzz about new product lines while increasing brand awareness.

Angie Nall claimed Poppy & Rose Clothing found “massive success in implementing and sponsoring over 15 contests. It is very important we continue to create enticing content so our followers will want to enter and spread the word every time. We make it very clear what they can win and get in return by entering our giveaways.”

3. Consistency
From the aesthetics of the company’s profile to the tone used in its direct messages to customers, brand consistency is key for a successful and dominant social media presence. According to an article on Hypewired, cohesive social media branding “does a host of useful things for a [business, including] helping a brand name ‘stick’ in the mind of a viewer, creating a cohesive personality for a brand and its company, and reducing the possibility of confusion in a potential viewer.”

A business’s feed sets the mood for its followers. Integrating a color scheme for photos and using similar editing filters creates aesthetically pleasing and cohesive visuals that engage followers. Poppy & Rose Clothing strives to remain visually consistent in its Instagram feed by committing to a bright color palette featuring different shades of blue, pink and orange. Angie Nall explained, “The aesthetic of your brand is everything. In order to keep consistency across all our platforms, Poppy & Rose Clothing uses the same backdrop and colorations in our photos. We want the site to easily flow and look highly professional.”

Photo via Emma Matthews on Unsplash

In addition to aesthetic visuals, consistent timing is everything when it comes to social media marketing success. Posting content should be done in a strategic manner each day to maximize a business’s organic reach. Carlie Nall noted, “After a new launch, we advertise on Instagram and Facebook as well as post Instagram ‘stories’ so our followers do not miss the announcement. We then send out an email to our mailing list to further target our subscribed customers.”

If businesses can grab their audiences’ attention when they’re receptive, they will most likely engage with a post by liking, commenting or sharing. As Eric Meyerson asserted in a recent article, “Engagement creates momentum all its own – and the best way to drive engagement is to get your timing right in the first place.”

In an ever-changing social media landscape, incorporating collaborations and contests while prioritizing consistency will help jumpstart an online business’s social media presence. These tactics will help a business develop a competitive edge in the social media field and prove it is better than its competitors.

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