Community, not competition. When women support one another, incredible things happen. Girls compete with one another; Women support one another.
You’ve seen the empowering quotes drizzled across Instagram posts, splayed across Facebook walls, and cleverly contained on hot pink coffee mugs.
And it all sounds great, and oh-so-shareable in our Instagram hashtags and Facebook groups, preaching the good news of building community with one’s brand.
But what does it mean to put said values into practice when you’re a sweatshop of one, small business start-up or newly minted blogger in your niche, trying to elbow your way in for a seat at the table and a slice of the pie?
Can you build a business without willfully going toe-to-toe with known competitors in your field?
Can you create colorful sales copy that isn’t copying someone else?
Can you infuse the more weird parts of your personality into your brand without frightening off potential customers?
This is your public service announcement to worry more your side of the fence and less about what other people in your industry are (and aren’t) doing. Here’s why:
The Grass Is Always Greener Where You Water It
“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” ― Roy Bennett
Spend more time tending to your garden and less time peeping over the fence. Check in with your social media data and analytics to assess how your audience is responding to your content, where they are coming from, when they are online, where they live, and all that good stuff:
Grow your audience base on your social channels by establishing a keyword campaign, following new accounts, and sharing engaging content. Crowdfire is an awesome free tool to start with small steps toward big wins.
Being proactive instead of reactive with your marketing strategy puts you in a more powerful position to create, grow, and learn.
Build Your Brand In Your Voice + It Will Be The Only Voice You Need to Speak In
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” ― Brené Brown
There is only one you, and you know your brand better than anyone else. “Experts” can help you build infrastructure around your brand and teach you how to communicate it to others, but ultimately, you are the authority.
Building a brand that scales for growth and reaches the right online is a delicate balance of listening and talking. In doing so, you’ll learn who you’re talking to, what they respond to, and how to develop your brand’s voice and tone.
Trying to emulate a competitor’s social media strategy or sales copy steals energy and time from where your efforts would be best spent: Reviewing your data and analytics to learn about your audience, building a quality content and marketing strategy, and learning how to leverage your “You Infusion” to build a better brand.
Put Your Mission + Your Vision Into Practice With Your Brand
“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” ― Howard Schultz
Care about the environment? Opt for e-mail receipts, paper bags, and other eco-conscious business practices to demonstrate your commitment to Mama Gaia.
Identify issues that are important to you, and work to create solutions with your brand. Communicate this in your mission statement, and share relevant content in your social media for others that serve the same causes.
Give back, when possible. A donation of time or expertise to a cause is often just as valuable as money. Pay attention to how your customers demonstrate their social values, as well.
Strive For Authenticity in Your Brand + Your Marketing Will Take On A Life of Its Own:
“Confidence is knowing who you are and not changing it a bit because of someone’s version of reality is not your reality.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Share content that speaks to you, not what you assume others expect from your brand. Share what inspires you. Share what motivates you.
Show your hand: Let some vulnerability slip in every now and again when telling your brand’s story. Was your business built from a hardship? Have you experienced challenges on your path? Spill the beans, but with a goal to connect with consumers versus unleashing a sob story for shillings.
Harness the power of the discomfort zone. Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable at least once a day in your marketing and revel in your freedom from the mundane.
Be you, every day of the week. Other people can’t.
Establish your “unique selling proposition”, or as I like to call it, your “unicorn selling proposition”. This is what YOU have that sets YOU apart. Notice how the focus is on you, and not them. 😉
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