We all must have witnessed a noticeable trend of hike in the number of small, local and organic brands in the last few months. There are several reasons behind this, such as the growing acceptance of buying local and organic, the added push of more and more people realizing how they can produce more locally and to add the cherry on top, the government’s push towards #VocalforLocal. Industries such as homemade food, skincare, haircare, gifting/crafting or home decors, etc. have seen a plunge in their sales numbers.
While e-commerce websites such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc. have been popular for a while now, it wasn’t the case until 2 years ago, when consumers were apprehensive of making purchases online. But now they are more drawn towards homegrown brands easily available on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where people spend most of their time since the pandemic struck. If we especially look at this year itself, there’s a surge of such small brands making a huge stir on the internet. The storytelling, the narratives and just organic and chemical-free labels have made people incline towards these homegrown brands and some leave their old age loyalty towards established brands.
For small businesses focused on community and individual customers, this makes social media a powerful platform for connecting directly with an audience to build brand awareness and brand loyalty. Even better, social media is also an effective platform for lead generation.
However, as the demand is rising, the reach of these small business pages struggle when compared to the big or old established brands and labels in terms of popularity, the cut-throat competition and the big brands’ large spends on marketing which are looting consumers interests, trusts and sales. Entrepreneurs have strong ideas but not as much money to either invest into hiring marketing teams/ PR houses or just the right skill set to perform it in house. There are examples where people have just followed models of huge brands only to find themselves not reaching their fit and there have been examples of homegrown brands working through word of mouth and reaching their key audience, It’s always about the right mix unique to your brand.
As a communications expert who herself just launched a homegrown brand, here are my suggestions for any young entrepreneur out there to mix & match to grow their brand on social media from scratch. Begin of course by setting up your professional business account on platforms you find deemed to your target audience.
This isn’t a marketing lecture, but facts are facts. The packaging is always a consumer’s first impression of your brand. The way a person is likely to perceive your brand is associated and highly dependent on the packaging. Hence, after product development, one must really focus on its packaging. The color palette of your posts will depend on the design and packaging of the product which is what you’d be using to make posts on your social media platform; so it’s much like your own personal advertisement. Investing your best creative juices and abilities on it will always be a winner.
The one value proposition or USP for a homegrown brand especially in its young stage is the direct contact with your consumer. It’s like going to a shop where the consumer meets the seller directly unlike your e-commerce platforms or malls. So if you interact with them using various tools of social media platforms like Q&A’s, Polls, Quizzes etc. you will be able to gain direct insights of your consumers needs and be able to successfully build your brand, your products to suit your consumers.
Also, make it a habit to post and interact regularly, your social media engagement only grows with consistent activities on the page so interaction is highly dependent on your consistency. Always check insights make strategies based on it and try sharing a few different types of content and seeing what resonates well with your audience by driving the most impressions, engagements, and shares.
Word of mouth:
As old school as it sounds, word of mouth is reliable, powerful and still has its old school charm which no other form of marketing can provide to date. As you launch your first phase of business, dedicating huge budgets into marketing and advertising spends might not be the best option or a possibility for every business. Spreading the word around through peers, friends, family, groups/associations and your personal social media would be a great option. Focus on these initial followers as many of them will prove to be loyal and can help you gradually grow your brand by shares and engagement. Ideate about the brand with more and more people so that you can get clarity of your thoughts and consumers’ questions.
Partners & Associations:
As you settle in, it’s always best to identify the right set of partners which can add value to your business in generating sales and awareness. Influencers/creators are currently a very popular set of partners and you can just begin by sending them a PR Package which consists of some of your brand’s goodies and see it reach masses. Other things are of course, partnering with the right set of associations, ventures to do giveaways or host events, etc. that draws engagement and publicity.
Social Media Advertisements
Instagram and Facebook have really made it easy for enterprises to advertise on their platform. All you need is to define your target audience with regards to cities; age, gender etc. and you are good to go! You can just spend as little as Rs. 80/ day to get going.
This is not a step by step guide mantra to success, however, this is how you can start engaging and reaching out to an audience you desire and grow in this era of social media.
The article is authored by Diva Bhansali, CEO- Everything Mom Made.