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Tips for building brand recognition without spending much money – Part 4 of 4

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Momentum builds

When you first start your business the small things you do will seem frivolous, it will seem like you aren’t getting any traction, but brand awareness takes time. A person might not necessarily try your product the first time they see it, but if they see it repeatedly, they will become more likely to try your product.

We are now at the point where we a lot of people say, “Oh I have seen these before, I have been wanting to try them.” We hear it at demos, and we see it in conversations on Twitter. Repeated brand exposure is the key to building momentum, and you don’t need millions of dollars to spend on TV commercials to accomplish that.

Good ol’ grass roots marketing is far more powerful than you think. It just takes a bit longer to achieve national exposure, than blasting a commercial over multiple television networks, but even in today’s age with Tivo, commercials are getting overlooked. Plus, word of mouth, personal recommendations are going to have far more value than a print ad or television spot.

Build and army (Social Media, continued)

Over time we have built relationships with individuals through social media; many of them athletes, some health nuts, and a few musicians. In exchange for them getting free product from us, they shout from the rooftops how much they love our stuff. Through that messaging we have gained lots of loyal supporters that not only purchase our product from us, but also help us spread the word of how much they love Bearded Brothers bars.

Bearded Brothers has an army of sorts, defending and touting our name on social networks like Twitter and Instagram. It’s one of many ways people discover our products: various health and fitness related blogs is another. We achieve this in two ways. The pro-active way of achieving this is recruiting brand “ambassadors” that we send free product to in exchange for mentions on social medial, and in personal life. These are not paid sponsorships, they are real people that love our product, and would likely still be doing the same thing, even if we didn’t send them free stuff.

The second way to build an army is passively…let the recruits come to you. Just being present on social media networks gives people the opportunity to toot their praises to the masses about your product or service, especially if you are active and engaging on those networks. It’s also important that every single person that sends you a praise gets replied to (same is true with criticisms). This lets them know you are listening and that you care.

Once the train starts picking up steam, it’s hard to stop. There have been days recently I actually worry about how much momentum we are picking up. Just yesterday I opened up Instagram to see Bearded Brothers tagged in an image taken out of a page of Details magazine that featured our tasty Mighty Maca Chocolate bar. It just goes to show that consistent hard work will pay of exponentially.

Speaking of Twitter and Instagram, you can follow myself, and Bearded Brothers on the following accounts:
Twitter: @calebsimpson
Instagram: @calebsimpson
Twitter: @BeardedBros
Instagram: @BeardedBros

Part 1 of 4 (Social Media, Facebook)
Part 2 of 4 (Tell your story)
Part 3 of 4 (Think like a drug dealer)

Tips for building brand recognition without spending much money – Part 1 of 4

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Unless your business is backed with millions of dollars in VC funding or has been profitable for several years, chances are you don’t have a marketing budget. When Bearded Brothers launched, we raised $5,000 on Kickstarter to get us going, in addition to some of our own money. From the very start we didn’t have a dime to spend on marketing; and despite not having any funds to promote ourselves we have managed to grow to 400 retail locations across the nation and develop a lot of brand recognition. Here is how you can build brand recognition without spending much money.

Social Media

It should go without saying: If you are a business you MUST have social media accounts. Bearded Brothers has accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is FREE marketing. Although, lately Facebook has made it much more difficult to succeed in this arena, by implementing the pay to play strategy to make money off businesses, but I have some helpful tips on that. These platforms allow you to generate creative content for your customers, and potential customers, to engage with. It also helps you spread the word about your brand.

Over time social media has gotten us quite a bit of attention, but that is only because we are active on all platforms (although we can do better). It has essentially had a snowball effect for us. Even though our follower rate may not seem to indicate that, we have received some great media attention in publications such as Trail Runner Magazine, Bloomberg Business Week, and Backpacker Magazine (print only), all because of people finding out about us through social media.

Facebook: As any business owner knows, Facebook has severally limited the number of fans that see your posts. This is solely because they want you to pay to promote your content. I have found, however this is very much worth it, if you do it right. My advice is to not spend money on Facebook Ads. This is because the content shows up in the side panel. Mobile users, and desktop users with ad block won’t see this content. And you are still being charged for impressions of users that have ad block installed.

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 6.59.24 AM

My number one piece of advice is to use, “Promoted Posts.” These pieces of content are seen on all platforms (mobile and desktop) and can expand your reach well beyond Facebook Ads for a smaller amount of money. They key is to target your promoted post. When creating the post select your target demographic age range, and gender if applicable. This will allow you to reach a much larger audience with a smaller dollar amount.

You can even get specific by typing in interests. This will allow you to narrow your target audience down even more. In my past experience I have noticed that way more people see my posts than Facebook tells me. Notice in the screen shot provided here, the reach would be 6,300-17,000. If my post is relevant enough to the audience it’s going out to, it will definitely reach the 17,000 mark, possibly even higher.

The last promoted post I ran was promoting a sale on the Bearded Brothers store. The post was shared upwards of 40 times, had over 700 likes, and was clicked over 275 times, and generated about $2,000 worth of sales on our site. So, the $40 we spent promoting the post was more than worth it. In addition to likes, shares, and sales, we gained a lot of new fans on the page because the content was going out to friends of people that had liked our page.

I will share more about how Twitter can be used to your advantage in a future post that relates to the topic of, “Building an Army.” The next post will be about telling your story: something I believe to be crucial when it comes to developing your brand.

Part 2 of 4 (Tell your story)
Part 3 of  4 (Think like a drug dealer)
Part 4 of 4 (Momentum Builds, building and army on Twitter)