When launching a new online business the first question you should ask yourself is, “Am I passionate about this?” If the answer is yes, then the next question should be, “What is my brand awareness strategy?” Unfortunately, many first-time site launches fail because the business owners skip this crucial question and move on to getting their website ready. The truth is, if a new company launches online without an already active brand awareness strategy, then may already be starting off a big step behind its competitors.
Think of the last time you needed to buy something online and you had no idea where to go; how did you find the right website? If you’re like most online shoppers, you headed over to Google and either searched for the product or service that you were looking for, or you typed in the name of a company that you already knew offered these services. Those are the two things it usually boils down to: people either buy from companies they know, or they buy from whichever site the search engine tells them to. Many websites launch and never really take off either lying dormant waiting for prospective customers who will never find it, or getting shut down by the frustrated entrepreneur who can’t understand why there is no traffic on their site.
Why is it beneficial to build a social presence online first? It creates awareness of your brand and “hype” among prospective customers even before the site launch. If you don’t find people who are interested in what you’re selling and get them excited about your site, how are they supposed to find you? More importantly, why should they trust that your site is the one to go to? A good example of this can be seen in Hollywood. If a movie just opened at your local theater with no ads, no media coverage and no previews, how many people would go see it? The question becomes even more important if you factor in competing movies that are getting their name out there and generating buzz.
This is where social media and blogging can really help new online business owners. Many first-time online business owners mistakenly think that they can’t do anything to promote their new business until their website is up and running or until they have products to sell. The beauty of social media networks, like Facebook and Twitter, is that they aren’t about selling. In fact, they discourage it. The same goes for online blogging. Setting up social media accounts and a blog is not about posting all your products online for people to see—that’s what your site is for—it’s about interacting with your target audience and becoming an online influencer in your market.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how Facebook affects brand awareness, especially when paired with a professional blog and it comes back to that first reason people buy from a company: because they know and trust them. Blogging about your industry and products is a great way to become an authority within a market and to create a reputation that will give your posts value. Social media and blogs work hand in hand. Facebook and Twitter are the best ways to distribute what you post so that more people will see it. Having followers and following others in the same market will only expand your audience of potential customers. Your blog serves as a hub for your business until your site is launched and is a place for you to design your brand identity and then redistribute it to your target audience. How do you reach your target audience? They’re already following you on Facebook and Twitter—it’s one big, happy circle. As an added bonus, active social media accounts are favored by the major search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) and will actually help push your company name—and eventually your site—to the top of the results page.