When it comes to aspiring entrepreneurs and personal branding moguls alike, there’s no doubt that it’s near impossible to build a viable commercial enterprise in 2016 without social media’s ample assist.
You’d be hard pressed to find a better case study for social media’s pulling power than that of entrepreneur and GRAZIA Australia’s market editor, Pia Muehlenbeck, who attributes a strong social strategy to a great deal of the success behind her luxury sportswear label, SLINKII Athletic.
A digital native in the truest sense of the phrase, together SLINKII and Muehlenbeck boast a combined following of almost 1.3 million – a captive audience who have watched SLINKII and its founder grow from a nascent ‘Mom and Pop’ operation into a new paradigm for how to run a business in 2016.
Below, Muehlenbeck shares her secrets for social and entrepreneurial success.
“Social media for entrepreneurs is amazing. Take Instagram, for example. You can access 300 million users on one platform. Social media content is the new currency and through it you can build a really engaged audience who love what you do, engaging them in a way that’s often more effective than traditional advertising.”
COVER YOUR BASES
“Firstly, the best piece of advice [Pia’s business and life partner] Kane Vato gave me was simply ‘Build a website’. You need to create a home base. Even if you don’t yet know exactly what your product or business is going to look like, if you know the industry that you’d like to be in it’s not the worst idea to create a website straight away.
Begin writing articles for a blog, create original content, and get it up there. Because Slinkii existed as a website before we launched our ecommerce offering, it already ranked really highly in Google. So when people search for keywords related to health and fitness, we’d automatically rank highly and that’s because older websites will always favourably. Social networks go through waves of popularity, so you need a place people can return to if your strongest site falls out of favour. It’s so important to build a loyal subscription database too, so that even if a platform like Instagram does go away one day, you’ll have more brand longevity than if you were only operating on one social platform.”
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
“With social media, there has to be consistency. Think about exactly what kind of industry you want to operate in, and just post content directly related to it. You’ll soon build an audience who share an interest in that area. When you’re then ready to launch your own service or product, you’ll already have attracted an existing user base. If you set yourself a goal to post consistently and around the same times, you’ll build a following courtesy of good quality content coming through.
“I believe in the principle that ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’. Transparency is important as it can create loyalty amongst your followers who have witnessed the evolution of that brand.”
“When starting out with a small business, don’t waste time waiting for perfection. At time, it can be really tough and tempting to give up. It certainly was for me. When I approached manufacturers with my idea for the first collection, they came back to me with a price tag that was way out of my reach. So instead of working toward an unobtainable idea of perfection and holding off your launch, it’s sometimes best to launch and [work toward] a perfect product or service that you can evolve on. If you just get out there and build, there’s always room to grow.
JUST DO IT
“People always come to me with ideas and my response to them is just to go our and do it – get it done! And don’t be scared. A lot of people have a fear of telling people that they’re doing their own thing in case it fails and they risk public humiliation. It certainly was for me. I was scared to tell people what I was doing in case it didn’t work. But I think if you just get out there and back yourself, you’re the only person who will promote you as best you can.
You just have to take that risk, and sometimes that’s what means you’re going to succeed because there’s no other option! You have to try your best – get on the phone, get out there, meet people, hustle online and off and be proud of what you’re doing. I just didn’t realize it was that simple.”