One of the hardest milestones to achieve is to gain acknowledgement amongst the community that your business does exist, and that you are reputable. So where is the starting point? How do you win clients and influence them? The answer is simpler than you may think: fake it till you make it.
There is no shame in your first 50 or more ‘likes’ being from friends and family. Nor is there shame in requesting friends and family (or bribing them) to interact with your social pages. The typical potential client won’t know if they’re friends/family/Santa Claus, they just see them as dedicated customers. The comments and likes from your friends and family pull a trigger in your potential client’s mind which says “well, they’re happy with your work, so why wouldn’t I be?”
Look up any large brand name – how many of those Facebook fans do you think actually buy their product? Probably less than half. As a whole, we hardly consider this when we look into a brand though. We just see a huge amount of people who ‘like’ your page, which obviously means your credible (right?). After all, why would someone like a provider who wasn’t reputable?
While social media is your best friend, it can also be seen as the enemy – it’s up to you to use it more effectively than your competitor. So how do you prove to people you’re the business worth their time?
Stay in-the-know with what your competitors are offering, and what your potential clients are talking about. Remember the saying keep your friends close, and your enemies closer? Well let’s give that a revamp – keep your clients close, and your competitors closer.
This sounds like online stalking, but really, it is clever marketing. Have a look at competitors’ websites, what are they offering that you aren’t? What aren’t they offering that you could be? What content is doing the rounds on Facebook and creating a huge amount of social chatter? Is there anywhere in particular competitors are advertising on social media that could benefit you too? What can you take on board that’s working for their business, which could also work for yours? Don’t be afraid to take ideas for your own media pages, they probably have too.
Lastly, people love seeing proof that what you are offering will work for them. Your friend and family followers can initially help build your reputation, but you need proof of your results to maintain it. Consider this: you’re looking for teeth whitening (or any treatment that takes your fancy). Who would you book with? The provider who shows you a folio of success stories? Or the provider with generic Shutterstock images all over their website and social media pages? I know who I’d prefer.
Brand any photos unique to your business with your businesses logo as this will help people remember who it belongs to when they screenshot the image on their phone and upload it to Pinterest later. This will be to your benefit if they upload or share your images, as it promotes your business to anyone who sees these images.
Most successful businesses started off on rocky shores. While building up your success, there is no shame in faking it until you make it – make yourself appear more successful to tide out until you do become successful. To find out how to turn your handful of clients into brand ambassadors, tune into my next blog.