Finding business ideas and inspiration online

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

From social media to reviews, here are the best ways to help boost your brand using the internet.

Expanding your brand is a constant concern for every business owner, but is rarely a simple task.

Part of the reason for this is the breadth of options and advice, sought and unsolicited, that constantly approach from every angle. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed, creating a desire to turn to professional help to cut through the chaff.

While this will always be a viable option, there are also significant benefits that can be found through the free alternative, of turning to existing examples to adapt to your personal needs.

The social media solution

Probably the easiest and most visible way to find inspiration for your business is to turn to the social media presence of existing brands.

While we would never suggest that a business lift or copy directly from another, taking general ideas of themes and marketing measures can prove to be an effective way to drive your engagement numbers.

For social media, the best way to do this can be to concentrate on aspects of social strengths. Which advertising campaigns and messages on social media sites created the highest levels of engagement? What types of interaction or humour resulted in the most popular outcomes, and which attempts failed to deliver?

Learn the basis behind these ideas, and you’ll be better poised to leverage them into your own business. Again, aping efforts directly is not a winning bet, but understand the reason why something succeeded or failed, and you can adapt your interpretation without crossing the unspoken line.

Turning to reviews

For a more external look at the positive aspects of your industry, another solution can be to turn to review and comparison websites. These exist for practically every type of business and serve to streamline the important factors of what customers consider the most significant features.

For an example of this, consider this page built to review new bingo sites. Used to directly compare the factors customers find the most valuable, the standouts here include mentions of bingo bonuses, free tickets, and special codes.

For a developer of a similar website, this would give the knowledge that this is what customers find the most critical, so it would indicate an element of focus.

Image credit: Money transfer comparison – Monito ” (CC BY 2.0) by Monito – Money Transfer Comparison.

The same can be said for whatever industry you participate in. What do the reviewers love the most, and what aspects are left unmentioned or barely considered? Of course, you won’t want to let lesser-known components of your business atrophy completely, but this idea could at least reveal areas of primary concern.

Working over the long-term

The last thing to keep in mind is that business and advertising ideas are not built in a vacuum. As part of evolving socio-cultural consciousness, it is the greater context of an idea that can be just as important as the idea itself. 

This is something you need to understand, to make not just the right move, but the right move at the right time. Keep a track of trends, whether seasonal or over a longer scale, and you’ll be in a much better position to strike when the iron is hot.

Main image credit: “Social Media Keyboard” (Public Domain) by Shahid Abdullah.

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