Most small and medium-sized businesses are familiar with the value of building a brand. Getting to know customers and making connections with the surrounding community can go a long way toward ensuring long-term success — no matter the industry.
While some business owners may have success pouring tons of capital into a multi-faceted brand building campaign, such an expenditure is not always possible, especially if you've recently opened a new business. If you're building a brand on a budget, here are three quick tips to help you get started.
1. Ramp Up Your Social Media Efforts
Social media is a big part of building your brand, but you don't have to spend a lot on paid campaigns, sponsored posts and retargeting just to get good results. Simply paying attention (and responding) to activity on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles can help you expand your reach.
One of the easiest ways to keep your profiles up to date is to schedule shareable posts that advertise new deals, products and events. It's also important to interact with your followers — an active social media presence shows potential customers that your company cares about their experience, which will instill confidence and help build your brand.
2. Consider Digital Video
Forbes reported that 55 percent of Americans watch at least one digital video per day. You may think you need big-budget studio space, fancy equipment and post-production expertise to create a memorable video, but it doesn't have to be that complicated. Business.com pointed out that Dollar Shave Club created a wildly successful promotional video for just $4,500.
If you've got a great idea, don't worry about paying a production company a lot of money to give it a "professional" look. Simply putting yourself out there is often enough, and customers may find your "amateur" approach charming and memorable, which can help your brand grow in an organic way.
3. Monitor Your Local Reviews
Though it can sometimes be tough to see what customers have to say, it's crucial for small and midsize businesses to monitor reviews on sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook. When individuals perform online searches, they want to see that a business cares about the impression it makes on people.
Remember to thank all reviewers for their feedback and respond to critical reviews — the interaction will go a long way toward establishing trust with potential customers. Even if there are a few negative comments, taking care to address concerns in a way that is informative and polite will demonstrate that you value all customers, even critical ones.
Building a brand on a budget isn't always easy, but it is definitely possible. While owners of small and medium-sized businesses might be tempted to go it alone, it can be helpful to consult with a marketing professional early on, so you can prepare for future growth.