No product, no problem: Earn money for your brand with social capital.
Money may not always be the mission. But at some point in time your brand will need it to fund your growth and these are a few little to no cost ways to get a head start.
What’s the point of having a ton of followers if you don’t know what to do with them? If you’re building a brand that doesn’t necessarily follow a profit driven business model that doesn’t mean you still can’t make a few bucks off of the massive following you’ve been building. For those companies that aren’t selling a product or service -- sell yourself -- rather, your influential power.
Here are a few ways that brands can benefit from their social capital:
If your brand is very involved in your local community, here’s an opportunity to offer advertising space and promotional content to the businesses or brands whose target customer aligns with that of your following. Companies will gladly pay for the extra exposure for their businesses.
If you have a personal brand and you’re comfortable with putting yourself in front of the camera becoming a brand ambassador could be the route for you. It’s similar to paid advertising in the sense that you’re promoting someone else’s product/service, but they’re relying on your personal influence to boost the popularity of their offerings.
Brands that are mainly mission-based can find many opportunities to promote their mission through merchandise. This usually involves branding a low-cost product which serves as a vessel to promote the mission. For example, Black & Abroad is a brand whose mission is to promote international travel within the black community. They began as a blog highlighting the experiences of black travelers through images and written posts. Now they’ve found a way to differentiate themselves from similar blogs by introducing merchandise that enhances their mission. Hats and shirts that simply say “Black & Abroad” encourage young, black travelers to wear them in their selfies when they're overseas! Not only is this brand earning revenue from their merch but, they’re receiving free advertising everywhere the merch is seen by black followers interested in traveling abroad.
If you think you’ve narrowed down your audience and know what your followers like to do for fun, event promotion is a good opportunity to place your following with events they may be interested in. Take for example, HerAgenda. This is a brand that targets career driven women over 21. Even though HerAgenda appeals to these women specifically through networking it doesn’t mean that they can’t partner with events that serve their audiences other interests such as entertainment or dating.