4 steps to brand engagement

In our last piece, 4 steps to building your brand as a small business, we talked you through some of the ways you can utilise your status as a small business to build a brand that will mark you out from your competitors and really resonate with customers.

You may have built an impressive brand, but if you can’t get it noticed, so what? In this piece we’ll discuss some ways in which you can connect with potential customers, get your brand noticed and get the word out about what your small business does.

The crucial thing is to be creative and original. You could take the easy route and market your brand like any number of other small businesses, but then you’re in danger of disappearing in the crowd.

As with creating your brand identity, investing in marketing your business will help you reap the rewards later on.

1 – Use Social Media
Nowadays, social media is undoubtedly the most common method of utilising your brand to increase your company’s visibility. Doing this effectively can deliver enormous value.

The most important thing is to recognise what each different platform offers. For example, with Instagram you can show off the visual side of your business, from graphics or high-quality product photos, to “behind-the-scenes” pictures.

With LinkedIn you could publish blog content and position yourself as a thought leader in your field or start a discussion on a trend in your industry. Or you could use Twitter to post news and interact with consumers in a more relaxed, informal manner.

Whichever channels you choose, getting the right tone on each is absolutely vital in order to engage with users.

2 – Create Content
Social media channels wouldn’t be much use without content to post on them. As we said in our last piece, it’s important to position yourself as an expert in what you do, and content is an ideal way to achieve this.

Blog content on your business, trends in your industry, or on local news can showcase your status as a leader in your field, a business that doesn’t just join the conversation, but sets the tone. Or you could utilise a slickly produced piece of video to illustrate what your business does and to give people an informal, friendly look at your company.

Content can be a really effective way to cement your brand identity in the eyes of consumers. And, if it’s really compelling, it’s an invaluable way to generate traffic to your website. So, whatever content you produce, strive to make it original, engaging, informative and always a reflection of the brand identity you want to show off.

3 – Be Responsive
There’s very little that’s more frustrating for a consumer than feeling ignored. As a small business, it’s vital for the integrity of your brand image that you engage properly and meaningfully with consumers.

So, if, for example, someone challenges you on social media over your customer service, don’t try and blank it out. Talk to them and try to set it right. If someone leaves you a negative review on Google, take their criticism into account and reply appropriately.

It’s also important to personalise your communications with customers. As a small business, you want to come across as professional, but also approachable. After all, consumers are flocking to small businesses partly because bigger companies often make them feel like just another customer.

So, whether you’re replying to an email, sending a letter, or answering the phone, talk to the person on the other end in a way that shows you care about your business and the people who use it.

4 – Get Involved Locally
This is perhaps the best way to put a human face to your business. For a small company like yours, being a part of the communities in which you operate can be vital to long term success.

So, consider ways to get involved and not be just another business in the neighbourhood. If you’re a small bar, restaurant or gallery, why not host an event? It’s a great way to make acquaintances in the area, get the word out about what you do and to have some fun in the process.

Maybe you’re not the type of business that would suit hosting an event. That shouldn’t stop you getting involved locally. Sponsor local charities, represent yourself at area events and, in general, get out there and make sure people put a face, and not just a logo, to your business.

So, there are four of our tips on generating brand engagement. But this isn’t a definitive guide. As we said, the key thing is to be creative and original in how you market your brand.

There’s never been a better time to start thinking about how you can get your business out there and get it noticed.