With business opportunities like Uber, Amway, Etsy, Postmates and Poshmark now within anyone’s reach, becoming an entrepreneur is easier than ever. Of course, that doesn’t make entrepreneurship itself any easier – it still requires commitment, dedication, and constant outreach. For individuals looking to build an Amway business or gain exposure to their Etsy shop, social selling is increasingly becoming a viable approach. These platforms count users in the billions, after all, so it only makes sense to leverage them for business purposes. Here are five ways to build your brand online.

1. Know Your Audience

Much of advertising’s success comes down to knowing who to reach out to. Target the wrong market, and no amount of effort will yield positive results. There’s a reason you don’t see billboards for John Deere tractors on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles – nobody’s buying! If you are in business for yourself, consider who your target market is. Who is interested in your products? Do they fit a pattern? Use social platforms to target these individuals, and create compelling content (more on this below) to keep them engaged. Platforms like Facebook make it easy to go after specific demographics and subset groups.

2. Use the Right Tools

When it comes to social channels, there are no shortage of options. Facebook certainly has the largest audience, and should be considered a pre-requisite for anyone interested in social selling. However, perhaps your product is better served by a different platform, like Yelp, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest? Knowing which tools are best equipped to sell your product can make your job that much easier. If you’re selling a product that is highly visual in nature, consider using a photo sharing app, so that customers can see the product in use. Alternatively, if you’re selling your product primarily on the charms of your personality, perhaps creating a YouTube channel will better suit your needs. Think about the tools that suit your business model and put them to use.

3. Post Compelling Content

Content is king. Without compelling, engaging, interesting content, your marketing efforts will go nowhere. You want to constantly be publishing content that is tailored for your target market, easily shareable, easily digestible, and inherently valuable. Ultimately, the form that this content takes is of secondary importance to the motivation and thought that goes into it. Though some marketing evangelists will try and tell you that context and implementation are more important, this is missing the point – no amount of views, likes, or inbound clicks will matter if the content itself doesn’t effectively sell your message and drive customers to action.

4. Consider Paid Advertising Approaches

There’s an old saying in business: you have to spend money to make money. In other words, marketing doesn’t come free. To expand your target audience and broaden the reach of your efforts, you may want to consider paid advertising. Social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all offer paid advertising services. Better yet (as mentioned above), these services allow you to limit your efforts to individuals that match your customer model. For example, if you want to market to women in Southern California between 25 and 35 years of age, Facebook allows you to do just that. This is a terrific tool for entrepreneurs, as it helps minimize marketing costs while increasing the effectiveness of your efforts.

5. Network, Network, Network

The larger your audience, the better. That’s fairly self-evident. But you might not realize that the larger your network, the better chance you have of spreading your message outside your core group of followers. Networking can help you grow your target audience organically, and reach individuals who you might not otherwise be able to. To grow your network, try to develop relationships with influencers, content publishers, creatives, and personalities that are a natural fit for your business (or your customers). You can then leverage these individuals – and their own networks – to spread your message. Many entrepreneurs find that networking is vital to building a business, so get started now, rather than later.

Start Marketing Your Business Online Today

When it comes to marketing your business online, you may not know where to start. Relax, and take things one step at a time. Remember, any effort is better than no effort at all. Start by addressing the low hanging fruit. If you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, create one. Then start growing your business by leveraging your existing social network. You can then work over time to grow your audience through networking, content marketing, and perhaps even paid advertising efforts. Over time, these disparate efforts will coalesce into a cohesive and robust marketing strategy.

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