Marketing your Startup

Tracey Ryan has a background in herbal science as a result of her love of plants and foraging. As part of an Innovation project, she began selling 100% natural body moisturizer at farmers markets and BiaBeauty took off. Specialising in natural products from plants, nuts, fruit and vegetables, its motto is to ?combine food and skin care? so that you are literally feeding your skin. The results have been gratifying, as BiaBeauty this year came second in the (Angel VC-backed) Startup Awards. So how did Tracey go from plant lover to savvy small entrepreneur with PR and marketing skills? Here she gives us her 5 tips -

Persist with social media, it really does work Facebook has been vital to us in building up our loyal fan base, getting our ?feed your skin? message out and growing our brand online. Make sure to look after your fans, they are your brand ambassadors. We run a ?fan of the week? competition every week, we give skin care advice and tips and post behind the scene photos. Our fans feel part of Bia Beauty and if we ask them to share our posts they do - instant free publicity!

Become the ?go-to person? or ?guru? in your area?I've put it out there that I have knowledge and experience in natural skin care and herbs and so I've been called on for radio interviews and to be the 'skin care expert? for a maternity magazine.

Use a PR company A lot of businesses shy away from this, afraid of big agency fees - but there are lots of budget friendly PR companies out there. We found a fantastic one through Twitter. Make sure your PR Company has a good track record and has experience in your area as well as a good relationship with the relevant journalists.

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Bloggers are an essential part of getting your brand noticed. We drew up a list of all the popular beauty bloggers in Ireland and sent them all little sample packs - a lot less expensive than sending full size products. We get reviews from bloggers in weekly now, with some even posting videos of themselves using the products on Youtube. This has really helped get our name out there and brought a lot of credibility to the brand.

Enter competitions! We're always on the lookout for competitions to enter due to the publicity they bring. Don't be put off, thinking you're too new, or too small, or not the right kind of business. Just this year we won a Tatler Beauty Award, 2 silver awards at the Vodafone Startup Awards and we have 2 nominations in the Mums& Tots Awards in September.

Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna

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