11 social media tips for small businesses

1. Start with a plan

Social tools are easy to use and you can get started with organic posts for free. That might make it tempting to dive in and just start posting. But like every good business strategy, using social media for small business success needs to start with a good plan.

Without a plan, you have no clear goal for what you’re trying to achieve. That means there’s no way to measure your results. Take the time to create a social media plan right upfront. This ensures that all your social efforts support specific business goals.

Here are some strategic social media tips from our guide to creating a social media marketing plan:

  • Set social media goals and objectives. Create goals that follow the SMART framework. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Base your goals on metrics that will have a real impact on your business. For example, aim to acquire customers or raise your conversion rate, rather than simply racking up likes.
  • Research the competition. How are your competitors using social media? While you don’t want to copy them, learning from what others have done is a great way to reduce your learning curve. A competitive analysis can help you learn what’s working and what’s not for other businesses like yours.
  • Conduct a social media audit. If you’re already using social media, now’s the time to take a step back and evaluate your existing efforts. As part of your audit, look for impostor accounts that may be stealing your online thunder.  
  • Find inspiration. You’ve looked at what your competitors are doing online, but what about other businesses? Take inspiration from the success of businesses in all industries. Where can you find these success stories? Head to the business section of most social networks and you’ll find useful case studies. It’s also a great idea to ask existing followers what they want to see more of, then give them exactly what they ask for.
  • Create a social media calendar. A social media calendar helps you post the right content to the right social channels at the right time. It should include a plan for your content mix. Try starting with the 80-20 rule. Use 80% of your content to inform, educate, or entertain your audience. Use the other 20% to promote your brand or sell your products.

2. Decide which platforms are right for you

Don’t make assumptions about where your audience spends their time online. Your instinct might tell you that if you’re targeting millennials, you should skip Facebook and focus on Instagram and Snapchat. But the data shows that 84% of millennials still use Facebook.

To make sure you’re using social media for business effectively, you’ll need to conduct some research of your own. This will help you to understand how your specific audience spends their time online.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach. You can use different social channels to reach different audiences, or to meet different business goals.

3. Know your audience

One reason using social media for business is so effective is that you can micro-target your audience. But first, you need to understand who your audience is.

Start by compiling data on your current customers. Then, dig deeper with social media analytics. You’ll start to develop a solid picture of who’s buying from and interacting with you online.

When they first started using Pinterest ads, Imperfect Foods targeted obvious keywords like “sustainability” and “healthy eating.” Then, they discovered that their target audience was also interested in finance.

They used that insight to drive new creative concepts. They started to talk about the money-saving side of reducing food waste, rather than just the environmental benefits.

4. Expand your audience

Once you have a clear picture of who your audience is, you can revisit your social media plan. It’s time to look for ways to reach more people just like them.

They tested ads on Facebook and Instagram, including both News Feed and Stories. They found that the ads that had performed best in the UK also performed best internationally. Their audience understanding meant their creative remained effective when they expanded beyond their original target group.

You can also use social media to drive new customers to your local business.

5. Build relationships

The unique benefit of social media marketing for small business is that it allows you to talk directly to customers and followers. You can build relationships over time, rather than asking for a sale upfront.

More than 40% of digital consumers use social networks to research new brands or products. Part of that discovery is getting to know who you are as a brand and what you stand for.

When people engage with your organic content or ads, it’s a great idea to engage back. This helps to build trust and form a loyal following. As fans share and like your content, you rise in the social algorithms and gain new, free, exposure. You also nurture relationships that can develop into sales over time.

Facebook Groups are another great way to build community and  brand loyalty.

You can also build relationships with other entrepreneurs and influencers in your niche. Think your business is too small to work with influencers? Micro-influencers (starting with 10,000 followers) can be effective for establishing brand trust. As a bonus, they are often well within the budget range of smaller brands.

6. Share compelling visuals whenever you can

People have come to expect social posts to include a visual component.

Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, in particular, are visual-first networks. If your content doesn’t look good, no one will stop scrolling to read what you have to say. But even tweets benefit from a good graphic. Twitter itself ays, “The single simplest thing you can do to get more attention to your Tweets is to add an image or GIF.”

Not sure your brand lends itself to great visuals? If Heinz Ketchup can get in on a photo-based meme, there’s surely no stopping you.

For service businesses in particular, great imagery can be a bit of a challenge. But every business can tell its story through photos and videos. Maybe you can showcase your company culture with images from inside your office.

Deutsche Bank used Snapchat to showcase the experiences of two of its interns. This gave potential employees an inside look at what it might be like to work for the company.

Or maybe you can use photos of your customers to highlight how they use your service.

Another option is to use stock photos. There are plenty of free, high-quality photos online that you can use in your social posts.

7. Focus on quality over quantity

The sheer number of social media marketing options for small business might seem overwhelming—but you don’t need to do it all. It’s more important to create quality content on a couple of key channels than it is to have a presence on every single network.

You can’t do it all, and there’s no reason to try. Reach out to your audience in the places where they’re already spending time online. Focus on using one or two social channels really well, at least to start. Once you’ve got those mastered, you can build from what you’ve learned and expand your efforts.

8. Use the right tools

The secret to using social media effectively is to take advantage of tools that automate or simplify much of the work. There are loads of tools to help boost your productivity. That means you can start using social media for business without having a full-scale social media team.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Engagement management. Social media is not a broadcasting system—it’s a way to engage with customers and fans. Social media management tools like Hootsuite can help you centralize all mentions and messages directed at your company in one dashboard. Then you can respond and engage without having to log into each of your individual social media accounts.
  • Analytics. Getting all of that information in one place can help you get a better picture of your social efforts overall. Brandwatch allows you to create in-depth reports. Hootsuite Insights provides a great overview of how well you’re capturing the conversation in your space.
  • Graphics. If you’re having trouble creating eye-catching images for your posts, turn to tools that will help get the job done. VSCO, Piktochart, and Canva are some of our favorites. You can find more photo-editing tools in our post on how to edit Instagram photos.
  • Content curation. It can be a struggle to come up with new content to share every day. Content curation is the art of sharing quality posts from others (with credit, of course). It can be a great way to provide value for your followers and keep them engaged. Tools like BuzzSumo and Pocket can help you find and organize content to share. You can find more content curation tools in our beginner’s guide to content curation.

9. Monitor and respond to all relevant social media conversations

We’ve already talked about the importance of responding to people who post comments or questions on your social properties. But there’s more to social engagement than that.

You need to be aware of the conversations that are happening about your business elsewhere online and respond where appropriate. This is known as social listening, and we’ve created a whole guide on how to use social listening for your business.

10. Schedule your content to free up more time for engagement

We talked about creating a social content calendar way back at the beginning of this article. Once you have that calendar in place, you can create your social posts in advance and use scheduling tools to post them automatically at the right time.

This allows you to dedicate one block of time per day or per week to creating your social content. It’s much more effective than letting social posting take you away from other tasks throughout the day.

11. Track and refine your performance

As you implement your social strategy, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. You can then fine-tune your efforts and improve results. The analytics tools mentioned above give you a great picture of your social efforts and can help track whichever metrics matter most to you.

Once you have an idea of how your strategy is working, it’s time to start looking for ways to improve. Using A/B testing, you can make small changes that boost your success over time. No matter the size of your business, social tools can help you better connect with your audience, reach new potential customers, and increase awareness of your brand. If the possibilities seem overwhelming, start small.

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7 Useful Instagram Marketing Tips

It’s no secret that your business needs to be active on Instagram — with more than 500 million users, it’s a social network that provides a great marketing platform to reach potential customers from every corner of the world.

In order to improve your Instagram marketing, you need to increase your following on a steady and consistent basis. After all, the more people that come in contact with your brand and follow you on Instagram, the larger your audience is that you can potentially reach every time you post. Here are seven easy to implement Instagram marketing tips that will help you grow your brand — for free.

1. Take advantage of free Instagram tools.

Instagram just started to roll out business profiles, which heavily mirrors Facebook’s business profiles, complete with a huge “contact’ call-to-action, allowing users to email, call or text the business.

Along with the contact option, business profiles have access to analytics, or as they call them, Insights, giving users access to impression and engagement data. If you use your Instagram account for your business, you might want to consider converting your personal profile to a business profile in order to take advantage of these options. The more you understand about how your users are interacting with your content, the better you can make adjustments to improve your engagement.

 

2. Cross promote Instagram posts.

Want to easily add new Instagram followers that already love your brand? Post across all over your other social media profiles — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. — and invite them to follow your Instagram profile. They are already following you on social media, so they are obviously interested in what you offer, so give them another way to socially connect to your brand.

Don’t assume that your posts will reach everyone that’s connected to your brand on social media. Many people move away from certain social media platforms and some aren’t as active on some than they are on other networks. You want your followers to be connected to as many of your social profiles as possible to increase your reach per post.

3. Don’t overwhelm your audience.

You want to post often enough that your brand stays relevant, but at the same time you don’t want to post so frequently that you overwhelm your followers and they end up unfollowing your account because they feel you are constantly in their face.

There isn’t a magic posting formula that will work for every brand. You need to test and see how your audience responds. As a starting point, I would suggest posting twice daily, alternating times of the day to find out when your highest engagement occurs. Then start to experiment with more and less posts per day, really paying attention to engagement. Once you find your sweet spot, the work doesn’t stop — as your following increases you will have to adjust. Post frequency optimization is a never ending task.

 

4. Interact with followers to spark growth.

If someone takes the time to leave a comment on one of your posts, take two seconds to reply and thank them. That simple engagement can create a loyal customer as well as a raving promoter of your brand.

Also, incorporate ways to get your followers to interact with your posts. A simple, “Tag three of your friends that would love this” can quickly put your brand in front of a larger audience as well as attract new followers. Since they are being introduced to your Instagram profile through a friend, there is less resistance, resulting in many of the tagged users following your profile.

5. Create an interactive hashtag.

Creating an interactive hashtag is a great way to create instant engagement — just make sure you are using hashtags the correct way. A very simple strategy I have used for some of the larger brands I consult for is creating a hashtag that customers use to tag photos of them with the product that they just purchased.

For example, creating a hashtag that your company can search for to re-post the pictures of your customers with your product will accomplish two things:

  • It will cause more of your followers to use the hashtag and post images of them with your product because they will want to be featured on your page
  • Every time someone posts using your hashtag they are exposing all of their followers to your company and product(s) — free advertising!

6. Re purpose content from other relevant accounts.

If you are finding it hard to come up with enough content to meet the needs of your following, consider re purposing content from other relevant Instagram accounts. Just be sure to credit the original source in the post by tagging their profile and mentioning them in your caption.

 There are many apps available that download Instagram photos and save them to your camera roll, allowing you to easily re-post them. Re purpose content from accounts that have an audience you would like to get in front of, because many accounts will return the favor and re purpose your content after they see you share theirs.

7. Use creativity to connect with your audience.

Being creative with your images is a great way to connect with your followers — it’s much more effective than posts that look like straight up advertisements.

Why Digital Marketing is Important to Your Business?

It’s a reality of life that we board a technology dependent world wherever we resort to the internet with no matter queries or desires we have.

One of the most important reasons why digital marketing is taking up the traditional marketing channels is as a result of the internet has enabled businesses to interact with targeted audiences in real time.

Customers have grown accustomed to participating and interacting with one’s brand or business. Another equally important reason is its affordability.

Digital marketing is infinitely more affordable when compared to traditional marketing channels.

An email or social media campaign can send your message to a wider audience for a fraction of the price of a TV advertisement for example.

Plus making that memorable brand logo is achieved using a web emblem creator with all the fonts, lots of different emblem designs that are absolutely customization without the large price tag.

Even if your business is already thriving, you will be missing out on an untold number of leads, partners, clients, and dollars if you’re not properly utilizing some straightforward digital marketing techniques. And yes, it can really be made quite straightforward if you’re willing to learn.

Some industries have put digital marketing to smart use while others are simply slowly beginning to.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a canopy for marketing. It is all about marketing Products and services through digital technologies, overall the internet, digital marketing involves all marketing weapon that requires an electronic device or the internet.

For the promotion of business and very helpful for new startups, different digital channels such as social media, email, search engines and websites are utilized to interact with current and prospective consumers.

The weapons in digital marketing gadget include websites; search engine marketing (SEM) – which is a canopy that includes search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search – as well as online display advertising; social media marketing; mobile marketing; and email marketing.

Benefits of Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing makes possible a direct communication path between your business and your consumer, enabling you to prepare your own audience of trustworthy fans.

Digital marketing increases brand awareness and reach your target customers and provide better ROI.

Digital marketing can save you a lot of money. Read how can small businesses save money in marketing? By Entrepreneur

With digital marketing, you can ensure that the right consumers are viewing your content. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) allows you to reach those consumers who are searching the web for content and topics that are relevant to your business.

Digital marketing enables real-time customer service.

Digital marketing provides significant measurement and analysis of consumer behavior and engagement.

Your Customers Are Online

If you’ve got been avoiding digital marketing, is it as a result of supposing you’re merely not ready? Does one think you simply would like it slow to get established then you’ll figure out the digital marketing angle?

The problem with this approach is that your customers and potential customers are already online. Right now, today there’s an honest chance they might already be looking for a business like yours, but if they can’t find you simply, they’re likely to choose someone else.

This is how people do business today. Once someone has an interest in your business, whether or not it’s in your niche generally or if they’re curious about your complete, the first things they’re going to do is analysis online and see what they can find out concerning you.

Your Competitors Are Online

For your business to achieve success, you would like to pay attention to what your competitors are doing and learn from it. Think of your competitors not even as somebody that you simply area unit planning to beat, but as people that have something to teach you.

When you consider what your competitors are doing, you’ll get some plan of what’s working and what isn’t working. Possibly, whatever type of business you’re in, your competitors have established a web presence.

Get to Know Your Target Audience

Digital marketing allows you to engage with your prospects. You can gradually get to understand them and what they’re hoping to find. On social media or on a blog you can begin a conversation. Run a survey or try to get to understand them. Pay attention to their comments or their responses to surveys.

By interacting with people digitally, you’ll be able to begin to get to know what they’re looking for. Wherever is their pain? What’s keeping them up at night? What solutions are you able to provide to them? Instead of trying to guess, digital marketing allows you tools and ways for finding out that your customers extremely are

In this way, you begin to make a relationship with your customers. You become much more than a business. You become a trusted partner. People are rather more likely to shop for from businesses that they have already bought from.

Digital Marketing Trends that boost ROI of E-Businesses

  1. Influence Marketing
  2. Content Marketing
  3. App Store Optimization
  4. Big Data Personalization
  5. In-store Marketing
  6. Social Media Marketing
  7. Live Video Streaming
  8. Site Optimization as per the Wearable Technology
  9. Consumer Engagement Strategy

Tiktok For Business

Does the hottest new social media platform TikTok confuse you? To some, it probably seems like just a lip-syncing video app for teens, but it’s much more than that.

If you use TikTok just right, you can introduce your business or product to a huge audience. In fact, according to InfluencerMarketingHub, TikTok has 500 million users worldwide, and it was the most downloaded app for Apple in Q1 2018.

Of course, TikTok isn’t the right platform for all types of businesses. Here’s how you can determine if it’s right for you.

Study the platform.

The last thing you want to do is join a social media platform and look like you don’t know what you’re doing. To avoid getting shunned by users on TikTok, you need to study the platform. By studying what type of content works on TikTok and how to interact with others on the platform, your business can fit into the culture naturally.

TikTok is all about fun and visually appealing content. If you take a look at the TikTok trending page, you’ll find tons of silly videos set to hit songs.

The app isn’t the place for serious sit-down sales pitches. TikTok is used primarily by people between the ages of 16 and 24, according to GlobalWebIndex, so you need to connect with them in a creative way if you want to find success on the platform.

Create fun content.

Now that you know TikTok is all about fun and creativity, it’s time to create fun, creative content of your own. Creating your own content is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to promote your business on TikTok. Plus, one of the biggest benefits of TikTok is that you don’t need to create highly-polished videos. Just pull out your smartphone and start filming.

While wacky videos are widely popular on TikTok, don’t try to create an outrageous meme if that’s not your business’ style though.

Keep it simple. A light-hearted video that shows off your products will come across more authentic than if your business tries creating a viral meme and fails.

Launch a hashtag challenge.

Another way to promote your business on TikTok is by launching a hashtag challenge. A hashtag challenge is when you encourage TikTok users to create or recreate content and add your branded hashtag to it.

And recently, as stated in this Mobile Marketer article, Chipotle’s #GuacDance campaign was TikTok’s highest-performing branded challenge in the U.S. The promotion resulted in Chipotle’s biggest guacamole day ever, with more than 800,000 sides of the condiment served.

A fun hashtag challenge not only promotes your business, but it also drives user interaction and engagement.

Work with TikTok influencers.

TikTok-specific influencers might not be huge yet, but they will be and you can work with them to widen your reach on the platform. Generation Z is typically opposed to anything that looks like a traditional ad. So, working with TikTok influencers can really help you make a connection with that generation of users.

Speaking of Chipotle again, they partnered with influencer David Dobrik for a paid marketing campaign for the #ChipotleLidFlip challenge and got more than 100,000 submissions and 230 million views.

To get results from TikTok influencer marketing, just make sure the influencer’s audience matches your target audience. To find the right influencer for your business, you can look for online tools that let you search bios on TikTok, look for mentions of other brands, the most popular languages used in an influencer audience and more.

Take advantage of TikTok advertising.

It took a while but TikTok has finally introduced ads to their platform. TikTok offers four different types of ads including:

  • Infeed Native Content: This type of ad is similar to Snapchat or Instagram story ads and supports multiple features like website clicks or app downloads.
  • Brand Takeovers: This lets brands take over TikTok for the day. They can create images, GIFs and videos with embedded links to landing pages or hashtag challenges.
  • Hashtag Challenges: Instead of trying to make a hashtag challenge go viral on your own, you can use promoted hashtags to get more engagement.
  • Branded Lenses: Branded lenses are like the Snapchat 2D and 3D lenses for faces and photos.

As with any social media platform, ads can help you reach a ton of users on the platform. TikTok also offers precise targeting so you can make sure your ads are reaching the exact users that would be interested in what you have to offer.

Over to you.

So, does TikTok make a little more sense to you now? If your business has a younger target audience, TikTok is the perfect place to capture their attention. Use these tips to make sure you get the most out of your TikTok promotion strategy.

5 BENEFITS TO HIRING A SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY

Are you thinking about hiring a social media agency? Smart move. Business growth requires a multi-pronged approach, and taking advantage of the services of a social media agency helps companies across industry types in many ways. Whether you make gadgets or sell some type of service, it is necessary to have an effective social media presence to meet your business goals and stay ahead of the competition.

Here are 5 benefits to hiring a social media agency.

Pros of Hiring a Social Media Agency Can Help Your Business

1. Elevates Engagement With Your Customers

You need targeted, dynamic content that gets your customers excited across multiple social media channels. From Facebook to Snapchat Instagram and more, each social media platform is different. Agency professionals work with these every day to develop content and curate strategy across demographics for maximum views, interactions, and click-through.

2. Allows You to Use Your Time More Effectively

Time is money. The time it would take you or your employees to develop and implement a comprehensive social media strategy across the many popular channels can be spent on the things you do best: working on your core business.

3. Promotes Brand Awareness & Consistent Brand Messaging

Branding your business appropriately is a critical component of success. If your social media efforts are haphazard or inconsistent in messaging, they can be ineffective and even potentially harmful. Most social media agencies have specialized professionals — from copywriters to graphic/video specialists that come together to create a cohesive, attractive, and consistent brand.

4. Streamlines Your Marketing Processes

Marketing your business can take a significant amount of time and energy. It can also be quite stressful — particularly when it isn’t going very well. Hiring a social media agency can take a lot of the pressure off you and your team and increase efficiency in daily operations and continuing business development initiatives. Process improvements can have a significant effect on your bottom line.

5. Saves Money on Expensive Digital Marketing Tools

It takes a lot of tools to deliver an effective social media strategy. Agencies will have access to a number of different types to get the job done well including expensive scheduling and analytical tools, quality image libraries, contest software, reporting platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) programs, and more.

Why Website is so important for Business..??

How would you like a low-cost showroom which is open 24/7 and generates good revenue for you? Websites are currently the “in” thing and anyone can get them designed. Of course there are various design requirements for a good marketing website. But there are ample resources on the Internet which will guide you for a good website design.

We strongly recommend that all businesses should have a website. And one of the strongest reasoning is that you are getting a marketing tool at a cost of a cappuccino in Starbucks. Below are 8 reasons we think having a website is important for business.

Websites are important for businesses

1) You are thinking of customers

When you design websites, you are off course thinking of your customers. This same sentiment is understood by customers also. You want your customers to know about your company. And it is not necessary that the customer touch base with you during the day time only. He might want to know about your company and its products in the middle of the night.

By having a website, you are resolving his curiosity and thereby making it easier for the customer to approach you. He already knows your business through your website.

2) Information

By displaying product catalogs, product features and comparisons the customer can get a lot of information through your website. In today’s online world, many customers make purchasing decisions online.

They already have their decisions pre made, even before they enter your showroom. This decision making will be supported because of your online presence (not necessarily only on your website)

3) Websites create a trust factor

This factor was true a couple of years back. But nowadays, website as a trust factor is highly abused. This is because any company can have an online presence.

Nonetheless, for many potential customers and in many industries, websites are still an important trust factor for the customer. I can definitely tell you that in the consumer durable industry, having a website is almost mandatory because the products are technical in nature. So if you want to divulge information, than it is another reason that website is important for businesses.

4) A well designed website can become a revenue driver

There are many different e-commerce gateways nowadays to sell your products directly online. So if you have a good website design, which creates trust in people, the customers might be ready to swipe their credit cards on your online store as well.

Related:   The blogging cycle and the process of blogging

Online e-commerce comes with its own challenges because you need to maintain inventory and you need to manage transport. However looking at the phenomenal growth of e-commerce websites, we can be rest assured that small websites with unique products will grow equally well.

Having a website is important for business because sometime down the line, the customer will expect 100% of businesses to have an online sales presence. And if you are 24/7 collecting offers, then you can drive fantastic revenue for your business.

5) Repeat customers can get good information

Depending on different businesses, the frequency of repeat customers also varies. In some businesses, like garments, repeat customers will be very frequent. However in some businesses like consumer durable or hardware, or industrial products, repeat customers might hit your store 3-4 years later.

In such cases, repeat customers require additional and updated information to make purchases. Imagine that now your repeat customer, who has bought products from you 5 years back, needs new information. And now through your website, he can receive all the updated information and can make the purchase decision via a few clicks.

That’s just how easy it will become for you to retain repeat customers. Websites are an important source of information for new customers, but even more so for repeat customers who already trust your business.

6) They can become your portfolio / testimonial

I know a tours and travel agent who has a fantastic website. And do you know the number 1 thing on that website which convinces most new customers to go ahead with booking? It is a list of 400 positive testimonials for the agent from people who have traveled all across the globe through this agent. Below is an EXAMPLE of testimonials on websites.

The agent regularly follows up with his customers and ensures that he has a testimonial from them. Due to his excellent service, he generally gets a positive testimonial. And he then makes sure that the valuable testimonials are being published on his website.

These testimonials then become his accomplishments as well as his portfolio. He can show how many good customers he has and how many places they have visited. Thus for his business, his website is very important.

For your product or company, your website can drive more new customers through the use of portfolio pages or through the use of online testimonials. Either ways, you are sure to benefit from an online presence.

7) Through use of modern SEO tactics, you can beat your competitors online

In all this time, I never mentioned competition. However, having a website is important to beat competition as well. Through modern seo tactics like content creation, link building or social media marketing, you can stay on top of competition and attract more customers to your business.

SEO for your website is important - 4

Off course seo has its own cost. Without a good seo, your site may fail badly. But with good seo, the investment or expenses done on seo, will give a very good roi. I had one of my clients who has a top positioning for the keyword water cooler. That top positioning has driven him a turnover of at least 10 lac rupees. So using seo to come on top of search engines, and then attracting and retaining customers can all be done through use of an amazing website.

8) 24/7 contact with customers

If nothing else convinces you about the importance of websites, then this single point will. A customer needs convenience. The more convenient a purchase for him, the more likely he us to buy repeatedly.

Your website is convenient for him to visit. Your contact form is convenient for him to ask questions. Your e-commerce setup is convenient for him for purchases. And finally, your website being present in top of search engines will be convenient for him to find his favourite vendor.

Overall, if the success of businesses depends on the convenience of purchase, then websites win hands down because of the convenience offered to customers for gaining information and making purchases. That is why, a website is important for business.

Why Digital Marketing is So important for Small Businesses

When small businesses get started, their focus is often on how to get their first group of customers through the door. They may rely on traditional forms of advertising, such as print ads and coupon mailers or even big signs on the side of the road. They may trust that since they know they offer a good product or service, it’s only a matter of time until customers will find their way to them.

While this strategy may bring in a trickle of business, there is a better and easier way. Small businesses should consider the huge marketplace of prospects online. No small business, no matter how new, should overlook this vast marketplace.

Benefits of Online Marketing

The group of potential customers that are found online is a much larger group of people than you are likely to be able to attract locally. Using digital marketing, you can reach an enormous audience in a way that is both cost-effective and measurable.

Other benefits of online marketing include:

  • The ability to interact with your prospects and learn exactly what they are looking for
  • The ability to reach a global marketplace
  • You can save money and reach more customers for less money than traditional marketing methods
  • Get to know your audience and allow them to know you personally which can help to create brand loyalty
  • You can track responses to your marketing efforts immediately

Are You Postponing Digital Marketing?

Why would you choose to postpone putting time and effort into digital marketing? Different small business owners may come up with a variety of reasons to avoid this form of marketing, but in the end, procrastination is still procrastination.

Small businesses sometimes believe that they don’t have the time or the money to be competitive online. They think they can only face so many challenges all at once and they are still learning the ins and outs of business in general. Many of them may prefer to take things slowly and to stick with one or two basic forms of advertising, assuming that their business will evolve as time passes.

They may even think the best strategy is simply to wait for customers to show up. Since they are a small business, they may think they only need a small number of customers.

This is not an effective approach. There is never a guarantee that your business will attract customers just by existing and even if it does, you may not attract as many customers as you need to make your business become profitable.

Your Customers Are Online

If you have been avoiding digital marketing, is it because you think you are simply not ready? Do you think you just need some time to get established and then you will figure out the digital marketing angle?

The problem with this approach is that your customers and potential customers are already online. Right now. Today. There’s a good chance they might already be looking for a business like yours, but if they can’t find you easily, they are probably going to choose someone else.

This is how people do business today. When someone has an interest in your business, whether it is in your niche in general or if they are curious about your brand, the first thing they are going to do is research online and see what they can find out about you.

They expect to find you there with a website and a social media presence. They may be looking for reviews so they can learn what other people are saying about your company and whether it is a good place to do business.

If a potential customer can’t find you online, they may conclude that your business doesn’t appear to be legitimate. There is a very good chance that a lot of these prospects may decide not to take your business seriously and they will quickly head somewhere else.

Once they have made that decision, they probably won’t be back.

Your Competitors Are Online

For your business to be successful, you need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing and learn from it. Think of your competitors not just as someone that you are planning to beat, but as people who have something to teach you.

When you look at what your competitors are doing, you will get some idea of what is working and what isn’t working. Most likely, whatever type of business you are in, your competitors have established a web presence. What kind of content are they using? Are they blogging, or are they using a lot of graphics and videos?

How do they communicate their brand and what makes them unique? How well do they engage with the audience? Do you think you can do better? You can’t if you don’t participate in competing in the digital world.

If your prospects begin to search for a business similar to yours and are able to find your competitors’ website but not yours, your business is not even in the running. Your prospects can’t choose you if they don’t know about you. In this scenario, your competitors have just raced ahead of you regardless of whether they have an effective website or a clear message.

Be Accessible to Your Customers

It’s clear that in today’s digital world, the first place the average consumer looks for what they want is online. Whatever product or service they are looking for, they will most likely start their search with Google. If you have no online presence at all, you won’t be found, and you can’t compete.

If you have an online presence but your competitors are easier to find and are found first, you still might not be found at all. Besides creating a website, learning search engine optimization is a strategy that can help you move ahead of your competitors just by being the first name that a prospect finds in a Google search with keywords that can lead them to your business.

Simple questions that your prospects may want quick answers to should be easily discoverable online, such as where you are located, what your hours are and what you specialize in. By looking at your website and your competitors’ websites side by side, your prospects should be able to compare hours, prices, special offers and more.

This is why it’s imperative for you to know what your competitors are up to. Your prospects are already checking both you and your competitors out. They are already comparing you against each other. What are they finding out?

Let Customers Come to You

Think of digital marketing as a way to make yourself accessible to the people you are trying to reach in order to offer your products and services. The scope of your business can reach well beyond your walls. You are able to attract a much larger audience than you possibly could by just catering to local prospects.

By creating a web presence, your business is open for business even when it’s closed. You can create an atmosphere in which your customers can come to you anytime day or night.

At their convenience, customers and prospects can send you emails with questions, make purchases and browse your inventory. Potential customers who have no way to physically come to you can still do business with you, whether they are limited by disability, transportation or simply living too far away.

Get to Know Your Target Audience

Digital marketing allows you to engage with your prospects. You can gradually get to know them and what they are hoping to find. On social media or on a blog you can start a conversation. Run a survey or try to get to know them. Pay attention to their comments or their responses to surveys.

By interacting with people digitally, you can start to get to know what they are looking for. Where is their pain? What is keeping them up at night? What solutions can you offer to them? Instead of trying to guess, digital marketing allows you tools and methods for finding out who your customers really are.

In this way, you start to build a relationship with your customers. You become much more than a business. You become a trusted partner. People are much more likely to buy from businesses that they have already bought from.

Few forms of advertising are as cost-effective as digital marketing. Small businesses frequently try to get as much as possible done on a small budget. Many forms of digital marketing allow you to communicate your brand and reach a wide target audience even when your budget is very tight.

Compared to advertising on TV, radio or through direct mail, digital marketing costs considerably less and reaches a much wider audience at the same time. Using digital marketing to promote your small business will help you to have a much better chance of business success.

Why Logo is Important

When you’re considering all of the factors that go into building a business, creating a logo might not seem like a top priority. But, it should be!

“Maybe I don’t even need a logo at all,” a little voice is whispering in the back of your mind.

Don’t listen to that voice; he couldn’t be more wrong.   Your logo is an integral part of making your brand a successful one – right up there with having high-quality products and positive referrals.

So, if you don’t know just why a logo is so important – then read on to find out why.

 

“A strong logo is the beginning of your company’s branding
and conveys your business’s vision.”

#1. Grabs Attention

Attention spans are short these days – especially consumers’.

As things stand, companies have about 2 seconds to convince potential customers that their products are worth any consideration.

Enter: Your logo.

A logo can quickly grab viewers’ attention and communicate a company’s core values in an interesting way. That short attention span – you know, the one that causes consumers to judge your business by its appearance – can work to your advantage, if you have a solid logo to speak for your company.

 

“Most viewers take less than three seconds to scan
full web-page and form their first impressions.
The next thing they look for?  A company’s logo.”

 

#2. Makes a Strong First Impression

You have one chance to get this right.

A logo is a company’s first introduction to consumers. If designed well, it can pique the interest of the public and invite them to learn more about the company; if not, you’ve just alienated a potential customer base and basically tanked your business.

(We’re kidding – sort of.)

This first impression is your way to immediately communicate ownership over the product(s) you sell or niche you dominate.

Do you offer women’s basketballs with an enhanced grip? Is your financial advice particularly helpful for solo entrepreneurs? Your logo introduces your company as an authority in your professional space from the get-go.

 

#3. It’s The Foundation of Your Brand Identity

Successful branding is about telling a story that will influence customers’ emotions – plain and simple.

And, while it’s true that logo design is only a part of a company’s brand, it serves as the foundation for the entire narrative on which the brand is built.

Colors, tones, fonts – all of this is determined by the story you’re trying to tell, and your logo sets the stage for this story.

These elements will later translate from your logo onto all of your branding materials – letterheads, business cards, landing pages, you name it – creating a concrete, marketable brand identity.

 

#4. Visual = Memorable

Your logo leads the horse (your audience) to water (your company).

Logos are a point of identification; they’re the symbol that customers use to recognize your brand. Ideally, you’ll want people to instantly connect the sight of your logo with the memory of what your company does – and, more importantly, how it makes them feel.

Because a good logo is a visual, aesthetically pleasing element, it triggers positive recall about your brand that the name of your company alone might not.

And, if we’re all being honest, some of your audience will likely forget the name of your business (don’t take it personally – it’s human nature), but they’ll immediately associate your logo with their memories of your brand.

 

#5. Separates You From Competition

Dare to be different with your logo, because your company logo tells consumers why your business is unique. Sure, maybe there are 50 other coffee shops in your city, but yours is the only one that’s committed to sustainability, and your green, earthy logo drives that message home.

A well-designed company logo can communicate everything from the company’s background (professional, relaxed, fun) to their mission (entertainment, efficiency, and innovation) through the right icon or proper font.

In other words, your logo is the forum to both convey your values and show consumers why you’re not like your competitors – you’re better.

 

#6. Fosters Brand Loyalty

Say it with me: Consumers crave consistency.

As your brand grows, your logo is going to become more familiar to a wide range of consumers, and this familiarity creates the perception that you’re trustworthy and accessible.

Think about it: When you’re out shopping for workout gear and suddenly spot track pants with the Nike swoosh, you’re instantly ready to buy. Why? Because with Nike apparel, you know you’re in safe hands; Nike is a brand you trust. Trust is built on a well-designed logo, and brand loyalty is quick to follow.

Once they like you, your customers are going to seek you out again and again – and your logo is the thing they’ll look for first.

 

#7 Your Audience Expects It

And, last but not least.

Your logo is the first thing that your audience will look for when they see any communications from your brand. It should be front and center of all your marketing materials such as business cards, flyers, advertisements, etc.

If you don’t have a logo (and one that stands out), then you are missing an opportunity to make your business stick in the minds of your audience.

Now it’s Your Turn

So there you go! As you can see, you need a logo – it’s a vital part of building a successful business and brand.

To meet this need, Creata Inc has created a feature-rich design suite devoted to building your logo and brand.

Our logo maker and branding toolkit can help you create a unique and effective image to represent your company’s best qualities.

4 Tips for Enriching Your Social Media Content

Social Media Content is the secret weapon in your efforts to win online. Every day, tons of social media content is published at social platforms. But the question is, what to do to ensure that you will reach the right audience?

Are you a brand that’s going to debut on social media very soon? Or are you someone who’s already there, but not performing well? Let’s be honest; the reason why you’re here is that you’re either one or the other. And not just you, almost everybody using social media today belongs to one of these categories. After all, social media has the largest audience and is free to reach tool for anybody and everybody. But how do you stand out as a brand?

The key is to create enriching social media content to boost content marketing. And here’s how you can do the same:

Social Media Content Tip#1 – Opt for high-quality pictures

Almost all of us remember the picture that caught our eye months back. But how many of us remember the 300-word long post that was equally likable? That said, visual content is easier to process information. Not only that, it’s one such type of content that’s highly liked and shared across social media platforms. To win on your content marketing efforts, don’t skip this part, it can be a game changer.

Higher resolution images are a visual treat to the eyes and enrich your profile’s look and feel. So if you’re someone who is decent enough with the camera, then you’ve nothing to worry about. But if you’re not, remember that the hazy and slow to download photographs you currently use are only pushing your audience away.

And if you’re a brand of your own, it is very important to stick to a quality content strategy in order to provide the best type of content for your audience. You can either buy copyrights for images or hire a photographer. And trust me that the money you spend is always going to be less than the attraction you gain.

Social Media Content Tip#2 – Create user-generated content

84% of Millennial have some influence on their buying behavior because of user-generated content. But then, what is user-generated content? As simple as it sounds, it is any content that is related to the user. User’s original posts, contest entries, product reviews or customer testimonials are some examples. Never forget that each visitor is a content creator.

It is also the type of social media content that the audience has already accepted and loved. Many companies follow the same concept. For instance, they re-post, share or retweet the best-of-the-user-generated content. And then, give credits to the original curator while featuring it.

With brands that focus on the user’s experience, this is the best form of content today. After all, it allows real users to tell real stories in association with the brand, hence adding a lot of credibility to it.

Social Media Content Tip#3 – Balance is important

How many times do you use Google in a day? How many times have you asked for a suggestion on the internet? Chances are, almost every time you face an issue, your first instinct is to Google it. And because the demand is really high, the need for supply is prevalent.

“How-to videos” and tutorials are a major hit in the market by the same logic. From “How to do a smoky eye” to “How to travel to Ladakh”, you can create useful content on anything and everything you know. As a brand or an individual catered in a genre, the best content tip is to share the knowledge you’ve got. If you start providing what your audience wants, the value of your content marketing automatically increases.

Not only that, to look authentic to the audience and humanize their brand, one must also talk about themselves in their social media posts. This is called brand positioning and is an essential element in shaping up your presence. It is as important as your work. Mostly because people are going to relate to what you do only when they know who you are!

Social Media Content Tip#4 – Shoot videos and go live

CISCO’s reports suggest that 80% of all consumer internet traffic will consist of online videos by 2020. So for any scalable business, marketer or individual trying to establish themselves, video is definitely the key to success. It has also been noticed that people prefer video content four times more than any other form of content in social media.

While relying on videos to attract an audience is a great idea, opting for live video is greater. According to Facebook, people spend three times the amount of time watching a live video than watching a video that is not live. Basically, the user is not only attracted to the moving pixels, but also to the action in real time.

Much like gay weddings, live videos are the newest viral trend. A great example of a live video is to shoot backstage. It could be a tour of your office space or a sneak peek into team bonding activities. It could even be a video of you interacting with your followers to create related content.

Many brands have taken up live video to boost their social media engagement, and so should you! If you want to take away something from this tip, it is that generating social media content can happen only with the assistance of a mobile phone.

While the above-mentioned points are not a hard-and-fast rule-book, they are definitely some valuable content tips to keep in mind. Because they talk about the type of content that is not only enriching your feed but also attracting the customers.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Any and everything you use in your daily life has been designed to suit your convenience and aesthetic sensibilities. And the only reason you use those things is that you like them. Social media feeds are flooded with so much new information for you to consume. We bet you don’t really remember 90% of them, do you? This is where graphic design comes into the picture. The 10% content from social media, which you remember has a catchy image or a design so intriguing that you absolutely tempted to share it, without giving it a second thought. 93% of brands use social media for marketing. Thus, it has almost become mandatory from brands to have an excellent graphics design team for their social media pages.

Let’s Know the reasons why brands are planning marketing strategy on social media need a good graphic design for their content.

  1. Due to decreasing attention spans, social media content should be so engrossing that it captivates user’s attention at the very first look.
  2. A good design has a better chance of being remembered and also if users relate to the image they may end up sharing it. So good designs equal more engagement!
  3. An attractive graphic design of social media posts creates a very positive image and builds brand recognition.
  4. A good graphic designer understands the requirements of the client company and their consumers’ way better.
  5. People don’t like reading the text and tend to acquire new knowledge by visual contact and react on the basis what they see.
  6. Social media images are not only used to advertise the company’s products but also can be used to convey a company’s culture, values and vision. A good design can express what your brand stands for.
  7. A very well designed logo is the “face” of a brand and gives it a unique identity.