Updated: Oct 19, 2019
After months of building my own business, I realized why many business owners choose to hire others to handle their social media/marketing/advertising needs. It is A LOT OF WORK. Prior to starting my business, I didn’t have a clue as to how much planning, data, and time needed to be spent on things other than my products/pieces. I actually thought business cards were all I needed to advertise myself. Sadly, I was wrong. There are multiple strategies to get your business recognized and the use of social media is no longer an option, it’s a must. This was a challenge for me because honestly, if I didn’t need it for my business, I wouldn’t even have a Facebook page. I guess I’m no longer the last of a dying breed.
I digressed. I have spent countless hours reading informative articles, watching instructive videos, and finally implementing everything. Without a doubt, I can say that marketing my brand has been a fulltime job. Social media allows the potential to reach a broader audience than one would had they just used business cards or flyers. However, there are multiple other things that one needs to consider when building their own business/brand. In no way am I an expert, but this is my documented journey. So this is what I have learned so far….
Create a website. This is an absolute must. Fortunately, there are multiple sites that you can use to create your own website. I chose Wix due to familiarity. I have used Wix multiple times for other sites (designing websites is one of my favorite pastimes). Plus Wix is extremely user friendly with its click and add/drag and drop features.
Utilize social media. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest provide great exposure. However, it is imperative to focus on your content and post regularly. There are a ton of different techniques to gain followers. One key being the use of hashtags. This is essential in reaching as many people as possible. Webstagram offers a list of the most popular hashtags and monitors your Instagram account. Iconosquare is also available to provide insights and tools for building your presence on both Instagram and Facebook. I still haven’t conquered the social media aspect. It’s a working progress.
Create business cards. This was one of my favorite things to do because you can be as creative as you want and design cards that really represent you and what you do. I personally used Vista Print. Of course, there are numerous other sites and sources that can help you build your business cards. However, Vista Print is very easy to use and offers a lot of discounts. Always check Retailmenot, or just search for coupons for whatever site you choose to use. Vista print also has a lot of good offers and a variety of promotional products.
Sign up for a business email account. Image is everything, and business accounts look a lot more professional than your typical Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, etc. Create an account that includes your business name for a more legitimate appearance, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Set up your business listing on search engines. Google my business and Bing Places for Business both offer free services to list your business through search and map options. This is a great way to optimize your business visibility.
Utilize YouTube. Video media has become a popular trend, offering great possibilities to businesses. With the right content, you can really grow attention to your business and also make some money along the way. I have recently seen two different YouTube personalities on TV; one on a Sprite commercial, the other on a Disney show.
Hand out your business cards as often as you can. Don’t forget to hand out cards to your vendors. Business cards are like calling cards. Your goal is to get them in the hands of as many people as possible. Especially people that are interested in what you do.
Emphasize what makes you unique. You have to differentiate your brand. Specify why you should get business over your competitors and reiterate this as much as possible.
Take amazing photos. You can take great photos with your own camera or use an app to edit your images. I use Snapseed. However, there are multiple other apps that you can use based on your own preferences. Another option is to hire a professional to edit your photos. Fiverr offers a plethora of graphic designers that can edit and alter you images. Great pictures is key to selling your products.
Personalize your SEO. This is an absolute must because this will optimize your website by adding information to make your site searchable. Try using long tail keywords to help filter out competing sites. Be sure to use all relevant words to increase your site visitation chances.
I hope this article is helpful to all of those reading. Just as I mentioned before, I am on my own documented journey to building my business. This list includes some of the important steps and information that I have found over time through trial and error and research. If you like this article, don’t forget to leave a comment and or/visit me on my sites linked below. Much success to you on your own journey to building your business.