Social media is one of the most popular tools for brand-building today. What is your favorite unconventional branding tip or practice that doesn’t involve these platforms?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Attend Industry Conferences
There’s something uniquely different about meeting someone in person versus online. That’s why I try to attend as many industry conferences as possible throughout the year. It’s a great way to connect with inspiring people passionate about their work, and to look for ways to help each other out. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster
Truth be told, for me this isn’t about the brand exposure and I don’t really go out of my way to promote my brand in the process, though it does become a secondary benefit of the efforts. We’ve made a lot of charitable contributions and set up additional opportunities to help the populations in need. This is a great way to give back, and as a secondary benefit, the brand’s reputation grows as a result. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
3. Hold Intimate Dinners With Peers
In a world of constant digital bombardment, intimate meetings of peers stand out. Being the brand that facilitates these connections is a huge brand-builder. – Brennan White, Cortex
4. Create a Customer-Led Consortium
One program we started in a business I ran was a “client board of directors.” Although these customers held no equity in the company, they were repeat buyers, loved our services and products, and understood our vision. In creating a direct line to them, we got vital insight, along with constant evangelism for our brand. They brought in as many clients are our salespeople, for free! – Benjamin Berman, Optimize For Growth
5. Host Sponsorship Events
Sponsoring events is a great way to build up your brand. Identify what events you want your brand associated with and establish a presence. This will allow you to shape the persona you want your brand to have, and create a footprint within a specific community that falls under the umbrella of overall target audience. – Duran Inci, Optimum7
6. Start an Email List
There’s something more intimate about sending an email to your subscribers than a social media post. My favorite emails are from brands that treat their email list like a private club. Share secrets with your subscribers and don’t be afraid to get more personal with them. Let them get to know the person behind the business. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
7. Send Stickers
It sounds simple because it is: Send your customers little branded gifts. In a world in which people are inundated with ads, promotions and brands wanting something from them, you can create delightful moments by simply giving instead of taking. Stickers are an easy — and affordable — gift, but it can be anything. Ideally, it’s something that aligns with your niche or market well. – Derek Shanahan, SuperRewards
8. Provide a Great Blog
One great way to build your brand aside from social media is a factual, informative and great-looking blog. When you provide your potential customers with tips and strategies that they can implement in their daily lives, your brand should expand. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
9. Build Relationships With Bloggers
We implement many other tools along with our social media strategy. One out-of-the-box tactic we like to use is blogger relationships for product features and product reviews. By creating relationships with bloggers, you can reach a niche audience that may not have seen your brand otherwise. – Stefan Lewinger, Sock Fancy
10. Deliver a Great Service
Customers are the best brand advocates. The most effective way to influence customers to talk about your brand is to build an amazing service that they genuinely love. Social media, content, advertising — these are all important, but none are as important as customer word of mouth and a reputation for going above and beyond. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
11. Use Remarketing
Brands with big budgets use billboards. Most of us don’t have their budgets but, luckily, internet billboards are incredibly cheap. If your website is already generating traffic, only a fraction of that traffic is converting into leads or sales. Use remarketing to continue promoting your brand to these visitors across the internet for pennies a day. – Ajay Paghdal, OutreachMama
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