This article is mainly aimed at Mompreneurs (Women who run their own small businesses) but I think it could be helpful to any start up, which is beginning its business journey. I was inspired to write on this topic by the many talented entrepreneurs I met at the recent WSB Connect Networking event, many of who run businesses from home and may therefore be classed as Mompreneurs. So here is some useful advice to create awareness and build your brand.
- Embrace Social Media: Many Entrepreneurs are facing a time crunch and in the case of Mompreneurs perhaps multi-tasking raising their families along with running their business. Hence, they need to make the most of the limited time at their disposal. Enter Social Media. It is a very relevant way to reach your target audience at a time when they are relaxed and hence most receptive to your messages. Don’t try and be on every social media channel, instead pick 2 or 3 that you can leverage well. My recommendation: Choose Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. Now, set some goals for your social media activity – it could be increasing traffic to your website, growing your newsletter subscriber list or growing your social media followers.
- Host a blog or a website: Today, you can set up a blog or a website very easily and for little more than the cost of the domain and the platform. There are many choices out there. Choose one that you find easy to work and is mobile responsive. This website and /or blog is a way to promote your business offering, yourself as the service provider and how to find you. As you build up a customer base, you can request happy customers for testimonials, which can also be featured on your blog. A lot of your social media activity should ideally link to your website and drive traffic there. Over a period, your articles will be indexed with google and other search engines and more people will find you when they are searching for the products or services you provide.
- Be an Expert: While you may have more than one service or product category you offer, you should ideally position yourself as an expert on a single subject. For eg, if you are a pet photographer, then stick to this for everything you communicate. Let people associate you strongly with this single subject and eventually that will be what you will be known for. This will draw you many customers in the long run.
- Build a Community: Now that you are on social media, it may be worth considering building a community of your social media followers. This will involve you creating a Facebook group where they can interact with both you and each other. For example, our pet photographer mompreneur may like to consider creating a ‘Pets of Riyadh or Saudi Arabia’ Group. The majority of posts by you should be helpful advice, which is useful for owners of pets. Once in a while, you can put up posts about your recent shoots or your services. But never oversell or be pushy. Remember social media followers are there to relax and to engage with their friends and will not appreciate being marketed to.
- Curate or Create Compelling Content: Develop a content strategy. Think about what you will post which would be most helpful to your followers. A good mix of original & curated content is best. Original content can be social posts, images, short videos, infographics. Many of these can be created easily with free online templates and your smart phone & laptop. Our pet photographer could do blooper videos of trying to pose pets. Don’t be afraid to curate content as well, for eg, maybe our fictional pet photographer Mompreneur may like to post celebrity pet photoshoots from around the world (with the appropriate credits) or collaborate with a vet or animal behaviourist either in the Kingdom or their home country who can create content on pet advice. Keep it short and relevant.
- Tap Local & National Media: While we would love for the media to come to us, often we need to tap them and let them know you exist. You need to have a good elevator pitch, which you can use to pitch them a story on your business. You would also need to identify various media outlets – digital, print, tv and google them to get their contact details. Don’t ignore radio, which can be a powerful channel too. Once you have your media lists, send them an email or linkedin request to let them know how your story can help their readers or viewers. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get an immediate response. You may need to try another angle or a seasonal story. Eventually, you will get a response from media and then you can keep in touch and be a regular source.
- Share the Love: Reach your subscribers with a weekly or fortnightly newsletter that provides them with content that is useful and engaging. Some of your newsletter content can overlap with your social media content but at least part of it must be original. Can you collaborate with a non–competing but allied local business to do a joint newsletter? For eg. Our pet photographer may like to collaborate with the animal behaviorist or vet or even a pet shop for content for their newsletter.
- Network: While you build your online image, do make the time to regularly network. It could be a forum like the WSB Connect or a Chamber of Business. It may even just be a community gathering or your child’s school events. This will enable you to spread the word about your business and increase your awareness. You may even like to offer a free or paid taster workshop at these networking forums so potential customers can get a flavour of your services.
- Learn some tricks of the Trade: Don’t hesitate to learn some handy hacks to save yourselves time and money. Think about scheduling your social media posts for twice a day so that you don’t actually need to be online at that time. Do consider spending time on your analytics and measure how your posts are doing. Consider which ones are doing well and how you can tweak your content to get a similar response. What days of the week and what times of the day do you get the best response. That will give you pointers for optimum times to post. You will also find some interesting sources for the curated content that you can visit weekly and choose your posts. Just google for the subject you are keen on and then book mark the sites you like to visit regularly.
These are a selection of ideas that I would recommend for Mompreneurs to consider implementing to build their brand and business.
Read on to hear more about the world of branding & reputation in future WSB newsletters or reach out to me and we can have a chat over coffee. If there is a particular subject of interest that you want me to write about, do let me know.
Deepa Thomas-Sutcliffe is a storyteller & career communicator. She is available to consult with businesses of all sizes across the GCC during her tenure in the Kingdom. She lives in the DQ with her diplomat husband. You can visit her profile on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/deepamthomasor email her on firstname.lastname@example.org