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At what point should you start your social media when you’re launching a new business? Should you start posting before you officially launch? And if so what on earth should you be sharing?
Something that trips many small business owners up is how their social media relates to the launch of their business. I often get asked if they should start posting to their platforms before their products or services are ready to start selling. And many tell me they aren’t ready to start their social media yet because they haven’t launched their business.
The truth is, you can’t afford to not start your social media before you launch your business. The issue is that some small business owners equate the moment their website is finished and goes live into the world as the moment their business launches, and they expect an influx of inquiries and orders. But the trap they fall into is not building an audience that cares about what they have to offer first.
In fact, one of my students from The Modern Marketing Collective, Tanya Harrison who owns the online rattan furniture store Raja Homewares, spoke about this in episode Ep 19: Behind the Business with Tanya Harrison. Tanya launched Raja Homewares after months working on her branding and website, only to realise they missed a key ingredient: an audience! She quickly realised that having a website of products wasn’t the answer to getting sales.
She joined the Collective, and grew a loyal and engaged customer base of 13,000 Instagram followers within the next 12 months, and now has consistent orders coming in and a sustainable and growing business.
To learn more about the strategy that Tanya and my other students are implementing, go to emilyosmond.com/free to register for my free online class!
So let’s look at what you can be sharing to your social media as you prepare to launch your business.
1. Introduce yourself
A lot of new business owners will share stock photos in order to have content when they are just starting out. And that’s ok, perhaps if they are woven in between your own photos. But my opinion? Stock photos of sunsets or flaylats or plants don’t evoke emotion or connection in your audience and certainly don’t provide any insight into your business. A lot of new business owners share these types of images because they see other accounts doing so. I’m here to tell you stock photos aren’t the answer to growing a business.
So what’s the alternative? Share the photos that are unique to your business. Introduce yourself and your team if you have one.
Often I have messages from small business owners who say, “I own a clothing store, so should I show myself on my social media”, or “my audience are professionals, should I still share a photo of me”. And every time, my answer is yes.
You don’t need to wait for professional photos so don’t let this stop you. Just take a selfie or ask a friend to take a photo of you, brighten it up, and get it out there. And in your caption, tell people your name, what you’ve been doing up until deciding to create your new business, where the idea came from, why it matters to you, and what they can expect.
You’ll start building customer loyalty by actually showing the people and story behind the business. This is just one of your advantages of being a small business owner.
2. Share behind the scenes
Another advantage of being a small business owner is the candid images you can share. The office space, the studio, the kitchen table, the garage of stock!
Don’t think that just because your day to day of setting up your business doesn’t fit a professional, polished or corporate style that it won’t be of interest to your audience, or worse, shouldn’t be shown.
As humans, we love to have a glimpse into other people’s worlds. So take your audience on the journey with you. Your first arrival of stock, testing out packaging options or kitting out your home office.
I remember several years ago, when I was employed at a tourism organisation and managing their social media, we saw a local business’s new Instagram account pop up.
It was a beautiful perfume store. The doors hadn’t opened, and we couldn’t buy from there yet, but we were so intrigued and excited by the snippets we were seeing about this new business.
We were taken on the journey of seeing their store being transformed from its previous interior to its new fitout. We saw new perfumes arriving, and the store taking shape.
We had marked the open day in our diaries and on the day that this boutique opened up its doors to the public for the first time – you guessed it – my colleagues and I were straight down there to see what it was all about!
Share behind the scenes and build interest.
3. Ask for input
The power of starting your social media before you are ‘ready for business’, is that you can seek input from your audience and avoid costly mistakes. You can learn what your audience responds to from the content you share, understand the questions they have about your products or services, and prevent any oversights you might have otherwise missed. Your customers are your greatest teachers about your offers so you want to get them in front of your audience as early as possible.
I also recommend you to take this a step further and reach out to some of your followers or ideal customers and ask if they would like to speak on the phone with you. Listen to them, ask them questions. This is an invaluable insight into what your customers actually care about. This also helps to take the bias out of your decisions.
Before I launched my newest program, Scalable, where my students learn how to create, launch and then grow an online program for recurring revenue each month, I spent a great deal of time on the phone to several of the lovely ladies who expressed interest in the program to learn more about what their challenges were, their fears and their desires. This meant I could create an offering specifically tailored to their needs, and not just what I was guessing they might want.
4. Build your list
A super-powerful strategy for all new businesses is to build your list. This might be a list of pre-orders for products, or a waitlist for your new service offering, or a VIP list for the launch event.
Either way, the common thread is that this list is, put simply, a group of people who want to invest in what you have to offer! And you can start building this one right away. You can go old school and simply ask people to send you their email address, or take it up a notch and share the link to your email marketing sign up page on your social media. These are your VIPs who get first access to your new business offers, which means when you officially launch, you have eager customers waiting to buy from you. You can contact them directly to invite them to buy which is invaluable when it comes to a successful launch.
I use this strategy in my own business when I’m launching something new. I build an interest list or waitlist before I launch something new to test out my hypothesis that an idea I have has legs by putting it out there, understanding questions my audience has, what I’m not being clear enough about, or elements that I hadn’t even considered.
Then when I go to actually sell my new offering, I have a list of people who have expressed their interest in buying it. This helps mitigate the risk of spending months on creating something no one actually wants.
For instance, I’m not entirely sure right now if my business retreat will be able to go ahead this year but since the day tickets closed to my retreat in 2019, I started taking a waitlist of people who want to attend this year’s event.
So there you have it – four tips for starting your social media before you launch your business.
Your aim here isn’t perfection: it’s to start with what you have and build from there. It’s ok if it’s a little messy, or feels awkward or you’re unsure. Done is better than perfect, and clarity comes from action.
So get going today!
Are you ready to create a full time income from your business, so you can spend more time with your loved ones, without “hustling” every spare hour of the day? Register for my free workshop!