Social media has helped level the playing field when it comes to advertisement and marketing. Previously, only large companies with sufficient funds can purchase the airtime needed to reach people. With the help of social media, all types of information can easily reach people. There are no limits to the information in the Internet.
Thus, the demand has shifted to providing good content to engage target markets. Because the Internet is a relatively new platform for advertising, it welcomes creativity in all aspects of brand promotion. Sometimes the most effective marketing campaigns come from small businesses. Here are some of the most inspiring success stories from these companies about how they used the Internet wisely for brand strengthening:
JarvieDigital Photography and the Jarvie Window
Photographers, both professional and amateur, are already in overabundant supply in the Internet. In fact, some say in jest that a person only needs to have a digital camera to be considered a photographer. With too much competition online, how can a starting business maintain an edge?
Scott Jarvie learned that the answer lies in foregoing a highly competitive edge. The key was for the brand to be helpful. He created a website called JarvieDigital Photography where he shared his insights about photography for free. People appreciated this undertaking. When people learn something from you, they take this as your perceived expertise. This helps improve the reputation of your brand in the process. When they have similar needs or concerns in the future and they know that you have the answers, they will keep coming back to you.
One of the photographic techniques shared by Scott Jarvie is the Jarvie Window. This is a shooting style where the photo subjects will pose from a circular window. This was received with viral popularity in the Internet.
With the buzz created by the Jarvie Window, Scott Jarvie had more clients who eventually discovered his wedding and nature photographs. He maintained various social media pages and instead of promoting his work, he went on to promote the works of his students as well as his tips to improve one’s photographic skills.
The Prospecting Expert: Consistent Branding and Content
The Prospecting Expert is a consulting firm that helps salespeople with their skills. Created by Steve Kloyda, this small business achieved recognition after it achieved a successful social media presence with the help of videos and podcasts.
Steve’s tips were well received and while people were listening to his insights, he made sure that his brand would be easily recognized. He used a consistent profile picture and brand logo all throughout his social media channels. He also encouraged viewers to share his content on Facebook and Twitter.
To directly reach users, Steve also invested on an iPhone app so that his content will be distributed efficiently and in a timely manner for mobile users.
Coconut Bliss: Ice Cream and Photos
Coconut Bliss is just like any other brand featuring delicious desserts. But what set them apart in the crowded food industry is their active involvement in social media marketing.
Based in Eugene, Oregon, Coconut Bliss takes pride in its organic desserts. Their brand conveys a fun vibe and they encouraged customers to post their pictures while enjoying Coconut Bliss desserts. To increase their interaction with their target market, Coconut Bliss started many photographic contests and partnerships.
A picture is said to paint a thousand words. This is also true even in social networks. Captivating and compelling photos can easily be shared from one user to another with relative ease. A brand should use photos wisely to increase its online value.
Unlike traditional promotional photos where products are displayed, the photo campaign of Coconut Bliss lets users tell their own stories. Customers freely posted their photos while interacting with Coconut Bliss food products. This strengthened the brand as a fun, cool and interactive company that knows what people enjoy in their desserts.
Small businesses usually have no resources to extend beyond where they are located. Usually any company with plans of international domination must shell out vast amounts of money. But this business perspective has changed with the arrival of social media. The Internet has connected millions of people together regardless of their locations. It has also become an alternative platform where brands can be established to a wider audience.
Social media favors creativity. There are many small businesses who have made it big by launching quirky and memorable social media advertising campaigns:
JamaicansMusic: 1.5 Million Fans in 4 Months
Online music portals are numerous in the Internet but the music channel JamaicansMusic achieved popularity by using social media. They have created an online community where people can connect, interact and even play games while enjoying their favorite tracks. They even have a creative songwriting game which invites users to be hands-on with community interaction.
Because of the success of JamaicansMusic, it earned word of mouth referrals from fellow online users. This hype was the reason why it received 1.5 million new Facebook fans in just four months.
SEOMoz: Interactive Search Engine Optimization
SEOMoz is just one of many service providers that focus on search engine optimization and social monitoring. They established their brand by introducing gaming mechanics in their operations. Site users will get points for every post, comment and Facebook Like they contribute to SEOMoz.
SEOMoz also uses social proof to earn the trust of visitors. This helps maintain the positive reputation of brands associated with them.
Ana White, the Woman Carpenter
Ana White is a female carpenter who branded herself as a homemaker in Facebook for women empowerment in carpentry projects. Her brand is all about self-reliance; followers eventually became hooked with her easy do-it-yourself projects for furniture creation.
With over 51,000 fans, Ana White became a successful entrepreneur with many home improvement projects. People keep coming back in her website to learn more about carpentry and this has helped increase her value and expertise among potential clients. For every carpentry insight shared by Ana White, carpentry projects come rushing her way.
EasyLunchboxes and the Singing CEO
EasyLunchboxes was started to help find healthy ways for creating packed lunches of kids in school. Kelly Lester created this as a solo commercial venture. But that didn’t stop her brand from gaining popularity. She maintained a blog which gave tips about food presentation. It also provided people with various opportunities to connect socially.
In addition to the social network she created within her Facebook page, Kelly also took advantage of the welcome page by warmly greeting visitors. She also described herself as the Singing CEO.
Kelly created a YouTube channel where users have a chance to create videos of why they like the brand of EasyLunchboxes. She made use of her talents in acting and singing to help interact with users. Users were entertained and they became fonder of EasyLunchboxes and its snack tips.
Social Media Explorer and the Intent Twitter Plugin
Social Media Explorer specializes in business education and information with the help of digital marketing. They made use of the Twitter plugin called Intent to monitor the development of their business leads.
Social Media Explorer also maintains a blog which provides various insights and information about business and information. It has featured reputable authors such as Jason Falls and Aaron Marshall. They also provided links to the articles of their featured authors to help establish their expertise.
The Future of Social Media for Small Businesses
As long as there will be online users, small businesses have a chance to compete with more established brands. They don’t need to have immense resources to purchase airtime for advertisements. A small company only needs to have distinct ways of standing out among the competition. All it should take are qualities such as out-of-the-box creativity, dedication and proper brand presentation.