Social media can feel like such an established part of the online marketing furniture these days that you might have forgotten just how crucial it is for a small business like yours, and for what reasons.
In particular, it can be easy to presume that your cafe, hotel, restaurant or similar small firm is doing just fine if it simply exists on social media, perhaps sharing a new blog post or other interesting link from time to time.
Alas, social media is too important to treat as a mere optional extra or ‘nice to do’. The statistics tell their own story – according to Rose McGrory Social Media Ltd, there are estimated to be some 32 million Facebook user accounts in the UK alone, with about 78% of the country’s over-18s using the platform. That’s just one of the many popular platforms out there.
Such networks boast a huge audience that your company could be missing out on if you aren’t active on them, especially if certain competitors of yours are. Here are a few more good reasons to beef up your social media output if it’s in any way lacking.
It’s great for building relationships
The term ‘social’ should perhaps make it obvious, but there are still too many businesses that are failing to appreciate just how much the major social platforms can help them to grow by enabling them to get in touch with more of the most relevant people.
Depending on whether your company is a B2B (business to business) firm or a B2C (business to customer) one, you may use social media to interact directly with ordinary customers, or perhaps to extend your professional networks or develop your reputation as an authority in your field, including in response to the latest news in your industry.
It enables you to enhance customer service
Providing the best possible customer service is such an important thing to do if you want to power your business’s growth. But it’s much harder to appreciate exactly what’s right and wrong with your present customer service unless you have an instant and easy means of receiving feedback from customers.
Social media can provide that. Simply having a Facebook or Twitter profile gives your business a channel through which to swiftly respond to and resolve customer queries. However, you can also use it to monitor any random and untagged mentions of your brand that could further assist you with the continual improvement of your customer service offering.
It allows you to boost brand recognition
The greater the amount of social media content your brand produces, the greater the opportunity there is to capture the attention of potential customers.
We aren’t necessarily just talking here about people who may have never before heard of your brand. Indeed, the best business opportunities may be from those who see your brand on social media and recognise it from elsewhere.
When the content that such target customers see your brand producing is also valuable and relevant to them, it’s even more likely that they will trust you enough to decide to buy from you.
With social media, more really can be more
When you want to attract more business from more people who are also more loyal to your brand, there are still few marketing channels with the sheer effectiveness of social media.
However, even something as potentially powerful as your firm’s Facebook or Twitter profile does not exist in isolation. Link it up to a similarly attractive, informative and easy to navigate main website, while also taking advantage of other means of online promotion such as Groupon business advertising, and you’ll be able to make your firm’s social media activity even more impactful.
In-Depth Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses
Is your business a startup or a small business? Then you likely to be wearing a lot of hats, i.e. with limited human resources at hand, you’re doing more than one role in the business.
Some areas like marketing, seem easy to do, so you’ve probably taken this task taken on, only to discover there’s a lot more to it and it’s taking up too much of your precious time. Especially when you include social media – which is really a job in itself, when it’s taken seriously by businesses.
Social media is more than just something you can get around to using at some stage. If your business is not using it, it’s missing out on customers, advocates and supporters. In social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube, where you can readily become an influencer, the world’s your oyster so to speak and you can communicate with everyone!
Marketing, & Research
Social media is a great tool for marketing and it’s also ideal for research, insofar as it’s a window into how your business is perceived.
The opportunity is there for you to ask questions and get feedback, which we know is precious, as a trending post, can make or break a brand. It’s safe to say, every company striving for success, wants to know whether their customers and followers are liking the products, services and the brand! A small caveat emptor here – we recommend using your good judgement, when assessing feedback, and comments. Not all will be true.
However for startups particularly, feedback, in any form is welcomed, as it can drive the business forward either in the same or a different direction. It does make you wonder though, with the power of social media, just who is in control of businesses – consumers or owners! 🙂
Let’s get into the strategy. This article will cover what you need to do, to have a strategic plan that aligns with your business objectives.
Social Media Strategy
To get started, you’ll want to set goals for your social media strategy. Ask questions like:
- Which industry are you in? – B2B or B2C? Are you in a service-based industry?
- What are competitors doing? – Look for inspiration from leaders in your industry.
- What do you want to achieve with your social media? – Drive new customers or more sales? Increase brand awareness?
Social Media plan
Create a strategic social media plan that includes:
- Investment – your time and money
- Content Strategy – what content you will create, where it will reside and how to share it
- Analysis – Measure activity
- Reward – Give your followers a reason to stay and share
You’re in business to make money and it needs startup funds and ongoing working capital, which should, as soon as possible come from the profit made on your sales. However, marketing is often overlooked and therefore under-resourced. Whether it’s your time or money, it costs your business, so you’ll want to be getting a healthy return on investment. The good news is it’s measurable so you can change tact as required to get a great result.
Once you’re familiar with the platforms that work best for your business, set aside time to regularly view their analytics to find out how often customers are using social media and other channels to refer friends or family to your business.
On your website set up tracking on your online products’ URLs, and also website pages and posts, so you can track all inbound activity. Measurement is everything. It empowers you to understand your website visitors and what brings them to your site. It also informs you, which type of content is of interest to them. Then all you need to do is more of it.
Content has never been so important. SEO practitioners dedicate a lot of resource to it to improve their clients DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority).
Regularly create, and publish unique content on your website, ideally in a blog. Then share it in social media so you’re actively engaging with your audience in a meaningful way. By sharing links to content you’re also giving your followers a reason to like, share and add a comment, so their followers and yours can engage further.
Also commit to content publishing on other reputable websites. This will help grow your reach i.e. their visitors can learn about you and business. This is called content marketing and it’s a strategy that’s now generating $$billions in advertising and SEO services revenue.
Small businesses can act on feedback from engagement faster than the big box companies or retailers. You can easily tune into what your customers are telling you, and make immediate changes to your services. processes etc. to suit them. Therefore engagement is hugely valuable to startups and SMEs. If a small business isn’t engaging with its customers in social media, chances are success will be harder to get. For example, 29% of people are more likely to visit a competing business if they’re ignored on social media.
There is a time to reward your loyal followers. Acknowledging their worth to you is smart. Set up a competition that rewards the winner/s with a discount, or give away or maybe a donation to a charity of their choosing. We all like to know we’re appreciated.
Guide For Getting Started On Social Media
And now we will reward you for reading this article…here is a helpful step-by-step guide to building social media for small business, check out the in-depth guide by Valpak. It covers everything from creating the right mix of content to perfecting your engagement strategy. Get started with this guide and you’re on your way to improving your small business social media presence.
Become a video influencer
It’s an exciting time to be working, whatever your age or stage in your working life. There are so many ways to generate an income online.
No longer, do you have to first further your education, and then accept a role, starting from the bottom in a traditional business.
Nowadays your career can start at any time, even while you’re still studying. Read this inspiring story about dropshipping your way to millions. With desire and aspirations to do it your way, you can succeed in whatever you chose to do. However a word of warning: There is no such thing as ‘an overnight success’. Read this: About overnight success.
Rarely do people succeed with anything in life without first putting in a lot of hard work and also experiencing failure. It’s the people that accept failure as part of the process to success that actually succeed. You may know that even geniuses experience failure and not just once but many times before they eventually get a break through.
Take Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, he failed 1000 times and let’s face it, most of us would have given up on whatever we tried way earlier.
In fact just one fail can be enough for us to give up. So this blog post is on how you can take a different path like being a video influencer and make a living from it.
How much money do you think you could make as a video influencer on a platform like YouTube? $1,000 per year? $10,000 per year perhaps? According to a report from CNBC, the top ten YouTube influencers of 2018 made more than $180.5 million through a combination of brand deals, advertising revenues, and merchandise. Granted, those are extreme examples, but it shows that you can make a living from being a video influencer if you get your strategy right and provide genuine value to your target audience.
How Do I Get Started On YouTube?
We’d all like to be able to grow our influence on YouTube. But just how do you go about achieving that when you’re starting from scratch with no subscribers?
First thing’s first: go out and make a video, even if it isn’t perfect. Almost all successful YouTubers started from nothing. Many of their early videos were their worst videos, including the likes of Pewdiepie, Logan Paul, and Dude Perfect. But the important thing is that they all took the plunge and put content out there to see what happened. There will never be a perfect time in your life to start making videos, so it pays to start, even if you don’t think the quality is there.
The next thing to do is to share your channel with all of the people you know. The people who are closest to you are often your most ardent supporters, so get in touch with your Facebook friends and ask them to get involved with what you’re doing. The first 200 or so people you attract to your channel can have a significant impact on how visible you become in YouTube feeds, especially if engagement is high. Also, remember to connect to your video content through other social media channels, such as by providing links to your videos on your Instagram bio.
The third thing to do is focus on a niche. YouTube has been around for nearly 15 years, and so established video influencers already cater for all of the most obvious categories. Your task is to develop your own niche – an angle or focus on a particular subject that you think you can do better than everyone else. Developing a niche helps you to create relevant, engaging content for your audience that they genuinely love.
Can I Make A Living From Being A Youtube Influencer?
The short answer is “yes,” but you need to be highly successful. Many people feel that once they hit the 100K subscriber mark on YouTube that they have made it. But the reality is that people in the 50K to 500K range usually don’t make enough money to live on. A channel that gets 10 million views per year will probably generate around $45,000, before taxes.
Becoming a successful YouTuber is not easy. There is a lot of competition, and many of the easiest ideas have already been exploited by people who got into the game many years ago. But those who break the one-million-subscribers mark can experience tremendous rewards.
5 Frequently Asked Questions About Instagram Stories
Are you in two minds about marketing your business on Instagram Stories? Or perhaps you understand its importance but are not sure how to leverage the platform to improve your brand image and boost sales?
Or maybe you’ve already created your first business Story but need help in making it more searchable?
If so, this post is just for you. We’ll be answering several most common questions about Instagram Stories and its implementation in marketing.
Is Instagram Stories Useful To Businesses?
Yes, it is. Launched in 2016, Instagram Stories has shown great potential as a marketing tool.
Here are some of the main advantages of Stories for businesses.
Reach Out To 400 Million Users For Free!
As of October 2018, Instagram Stories has more than 400 million daily active users. You can reach out to them without spending a single dime. How many marketing channels you can think of that can beat this?
Spread Brand Awareness
One of the best features of Stories is that its users like to hear from different businesses. That’s why one in three of the most popular Stories comes from a business. If you can create an interesting campaign, you will find many willing ears.
Engage With Viewers
Instagram Stories’ users are not only interested in watching business’ Stories but are also willing to engage with them by following their other social media accounts, downloading apps, reading blog posts, and visiting shoppable pages.
Which Type of Stories Do Brands Post More Often?
According to a report, product promotion Stories are put out most frequently (36%), followed by those offering an inside look (22%). Other popular business Stories are influencer takeover Stories (14%), live event Stories (10%), and how-to Stories (5%).
Is It True That Stories Automatically Disappear After 24 Hours?
Yes, this is true. That said, if you want, you can keep your favorite Stories alive for much longer by showcasing their highlights just below your profile bio using the Stories Highlight feature.
How Can I Design A More Engaging Content?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, several strategies have proved to be immensely effective, such as the following two.
Create Special Offer Campaigns
Giving customers an incentive to do something is a time-tested marketing strategy. Run a ‘special offer’ ad in your campaign every now and then to widen the customer base and generate more sales.
Include Video Ads In Your Stories
Are you publishing your first business Story? Have you just launched a new product? Video ads are immensely useful in raising awareness about a brand or a new product.
How Can I Make My Stories More Search-Friendly?
One way to make your stories more searchable is by adding location and other relevant hashtags, like #GoodMorning, #Mood, #Work, etc.
If you want to find more information on how and why to use Instagram Stories to grow your business, don’t forget to check out the infographic below.
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