As professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s important to build a substantial brand following around your name, product, service, and/or skill-set, especially when seeking to target and monetize a niche customer base.
By definition, brand following consist of the quantifying your brands impact and presence (usually online) by the number of people who literally follow you on social media or by a measure of customer loyalty. Brand following is usually a direct result of brand strategy, which is a long-term plan or unique approach created for the development of a brand in order to achieve specific goals.
When setting goals for your brand think S.M.A.R.T, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Keeping goals along these lines, overtime, may help maintain focus and direction when it comes to content planning, social media campaigning and igniting audience engagement.
Some companies opt to hire a brand strategist like Sylvia Kerali, founder of natural hair care platform and online community Curls Understood, to design, and manage an action plan, to increase brand following.
In the height of the blogging boom, Kerali birthed her first online venture, “I Like Her Style,” a celebrity style blog which, at its height, pulled in over 70k unique visitors a month. Since then, she’s created Curls Understood, which currently has 19,889k followers on Instagram and 11k likes on Facebook but, when Kerali first became a blogger, social media wasn’t the catalyst to boost her following.
“I never really used social media as it wasn’t huge for digital marketing at the time. I did a lot of partnerships with other bloggers like cross linking, featuring other bloggers on my site and me being featured on there’s. I also held a lot of contests with brands to build awareness on both out platforms.”
There’s more than one way to build a brand following but there are a few key ways to build a successful brand following, in a reasonable amount of time. What reasonable? Well that depends on your personal timeline and your brand goals, but one things for sure, building a meaningful following can open doors to new opportunities that you may have never considered.
Black Enterprise caught up with Sylvia Kerali to talk, her three “big tips” to assist in building your brand following.
1. Quality Content- Regular and quality posts on social media are key. I spend hours a week pinning on Pinterest, scouring photos for Instagram and writing for Facebook/Twitter. It’s also important for me to include as many calls to action as I can so that I direct people back to the site with purpose. I also try to have at least one new blog post a day so readers come back regularly and Google loves sites that have fresh content. Lastly, I try and maintain a certain standard and quality to all the content posted.
2. Research- Research your competitors to death. Find out what they’re not doing that you yourself would love to see then make that the foundation of your business. For me it was high quality, content segmented by hair texture, volume and length. Nobody was doing that in a way that spoke to me.
It’s also not a bad idea to research general brands that you admire and are doing well. Look at their sites, social networks, mission statements – all of it. You’ll start to see commonalities that make them all successful. I noticed that media sites that simply display their content cleanly tended to do have the largest cult followings.
3. Schedule- Set a schedule for your business. Have time slots for answering emails, writing blogs, outreach etc. Being organized will help you be more efficient and hopefully free up some time for other interests.