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5 Tips on How to Maximise Social-Media Efforts With a Small Team

Don’t get overwhelmed, but don’t leave out this crucial tool for building your business.

Scott Langdon

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No matter how small your business is, a good, strong social media strategy should be a vital part of your marketing efforts.

An October 2015 study by Pew Research Centre found that 65 percent of American adults surveyed use social networking sites, which means that if your business doesn’t have a presence there, you’re missing out on two-thirds of the U.S. population.

With dozens of social avenues to choose from, though, social media management may seem overwhelming, especially for a small business.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: The Secret Ingredients to a Successful Branding Strategy

Below are some tools and tips to effectively manage social media for your business, no matter how lean your team is.

1. Devise a manageable strategy

Before diving in and signing up for every channel with a social aspect, get organised and be realistic about your capabilities, looking at the following categories:

  • Hours per week available for social media management: This will set expectations about what you should prioritise and how many channels you should manage. Critical tasks that should be taken into account for effective social media management include:
  • Design: This includes not only signing up for and populating your page with the essential elements, but working with a designer to optimise graphics for aspects such as profile banners, profile pictures and images for shared content.
  • Content creation: This includes strategising and writing posts, as well as working across multiple departments to publicise promotions.
  • Content-engagement monitoring and interaction with followers: If your brand experiences negative sentiment online, or you anticipate customer service needs through these channels, allot time accordingly. To keep customers engaged, your social media manager should also be responding to comments and answering questions.
  • Analytics: Monitoring of analytics, which includes sales, followers, engagement and sentiment, is imperative to refine content strategy and adjust social media management tactics for your business.
  • Determining your target audience: If your product is built for businesses, look at professional sites such as LinkedIn to focus on. If you’re a storefront, establishing a presence on Google+ is essential to ensure you are search-engine-friendly. Facebook is the behemoth social media mainstay, so it should be on your list of must-have social channels.
  • Determining your message: Besides increased sales, what do you want to achieve with your social media presence? Do you want your channels to act as an additional form of customer support? Do you want to distribute engaging content in hopes of its getting shared? Do you want to make new connections with leaders in your industry? Deciding on your goals will shape the messages of your channels, which should be unique to each outlet’s specific audience. As a fellow Entrepreneur writer mentioned, posting the same content repeatedly leaves followers less engaged.

2. Use tools to save you time

Now that you have a strategy in place and know what social media channels you’ll use, what type of messaging you want to disseminate and how you’re going to monitor your successes and areas for improvement, you’ll next need to put your approach into action.

Thankfully, social media monitoring tools save you time as you’re managing channels and evolving strategy.

3. Use free analytics provided by each channel

pinterest-boardOften, social media in-house analytics tools provided by social media channels, such as those outlined by Social Media Examiner, are some of the most effective ways to keep track of data.

Facebook Analytics, for example, shows page managers everything from number of visitors at varying times of the day to data on how many people carried out a negative action – such as un-liking a page – when interacting with a specific post.

Pinterest analytics show you the type of content your users love the most, while Twitter shows you not only yours and customers’ top Tweets, but impressions and engagement.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: Why I Will Leave Your Website in 7 Seconds

Google Analytics will show you what channels are driving traffic to your website and resulting in sales. Explore the free analytics of whatever sites you’re using, and use those insights to craft better content and optimise frequency of distribution.

4. Use free tools to manage multiple channels

While you can use software such as Excel to keep track of messaging and ensure you’re creating unique content for each channel, a multi-channel management application can display multiple feeds at once, saving you the pain of logging into myriad sites and clicking multiple windows.

Free social media multi-channel management services, such as those endorsed by the experts here, include Hootsuite and Buffer; and pull networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, which can go into one easy-to-read window.

Some, like Hootsuite, will even display additional data besides your channel content, such as interactions with your business from other brands.

5. Make social media progress easily shareable with your team

Since social media is, well, social, you’ll want to make your strategy transparent to your team. This will not only garner you insight and suggestions from the social media users who make up your company but will incentivise them to get involved and boost your engagement by participating on your social channels.

We-recommend-tickWe recommend: 8 Reasons Why Your Marketing Sucks

Free project management tools such as Trello and Slack, mentioned by Social Media Today, allow you to display tasks to your team, while also allowing for global discussion.

Social media may be free, but your time is highly valuable. Continue to refine and optimise your social media strategy to maximise results, while saving your business money by taking advantage of free applications.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Scott Langdon is an entrepreneur with over 13 years of internet marketing experience, and currently serves as a managing partner of the nationally-recognized SEO firm HigherVisibility. Langdon and the HigherVisibility team work with clients of all sizes from across the country to offer a full range of interactive marketing services. He resides in Memphis, Tennessee.

Online Marketing

Everything You Need To Know About Instagram’s New Shopping Features

The app is giving influencers and brands new channels on which consumers can discover them.

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Influencers and brands have two new ways to sell products to users scrolling and tapping through their Instagram feeds. After a summer of testing shopping buttons that drive purchases via Stories, the Facebook-owned app has launched them for businesses in 46 countries.

It’s also begun rolling out a personalised shopping section in the Explore tab, which Instagram redesigned earlier this year to feature AI-powered channels categorising content based on topic (e.g. travel, art, decor).

The shopping tab will be a place for users who know they want to browse and potentially buy, with Instagram’s algorithm serving up brands the user already follows or would likely be into, based on past activity on the app. Meanwhile, the shopping bag stickers in Stories will give users a chance to not just admire their favourite influencers’ outfits, but actually click through and learn more about promoted items.

Since Instagram began testing the feature in June, more than 90 million users per month have tapped to reveal tags in shopping posts, according to a Sept. 17 Instagram blog post. The app already allows brands to purchase ads in the form of Stories.

More than 400 million accounts watch Stories daily, and one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses, Instagram also reports.

Instagram has been testing shopping in feeds for nearly two years.

Related: Creating Power Digital Campaigns

Back in November 2016, the company explained on its Business blog that online shopping often involves research and deliberation, rather than impulse purchases, which is what led Instagram to build out shopping posts that would provide consumers with information about products without having to leave the app until they’d made a purchase decision.

Salesforce has forecasted that the referral traffic Instagram drives to retailer websites will increase by 51 percent between the 2017 and 2018 holiday seasons, according to Adweek.

Speaking of leaving the app, Instagram is rumored to be developing a standalone shopping app, according to The Verge, but the company declined to comment on these reports to both The Verge and Entrepreneur.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Online Marketing

Social Media Marketing For Start-ups: Essential Tips

There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.

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Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing, when you’re short on funds, can seem like an intimidating prospect. If you and your team aren’t already knowledgeable about digital marketing strategy, you may think it’s impossible for you to manage marketing campaigns yourself. With a bit of determination and a great deal of studying, however, your startup will be able to successfully launch, direct, and refine your own digital marketing strategies.

What things can you do to help your start-up get more press, attract more customers, and get more brand awareness? There are plenty of ways to get the leads your start-up needs, but only a few tactics you’ll need in your arsenal to get the job done at a limited cost to your burgeoning business.

Get to know your niche

Many young companies adopt random acts of internet marketing. They’ll throw a few hundred dollars into promoting Facebook posts without necessarily understanding how to communicate to their audience.

Before you dive into advertising and promotion platforms, you should spend some time to define – and to get to know – your niche.

To help define your target market, use questions like:

  • Who are your existing customers?
    • How would you group them?
  • Who does your product or service help?
    • Does your product help business owners, stay-at-home parents, college students, or someone else?
  • Who are you looking to reach out to?
    • That is, are you looking to refine your target market or expand it?

Once you’ve answered a few questions like the ones listed above, you should be able to get a better idea of who you’re marketing to. With an understanding of who you’re communicating with, you should be able to craft a tailored message about your brand.

Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing

Choose social media platforms wisely

Many start-ups try to master as many social media platforms right at the start. Instead of dividing your attention between Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you should identify one or two social media platforms that will help you market your product or service. This is why defining your target market at the beginning is so very important.

You must first decide who your message is intended for before writing, editing, and positioning that message. After you’ve got your target market down, you’ll be able to pinpoint which social media platforms can serve you best.

Here are a few examples to give you an idea of which social media platforms are best suited for your needs:

Twitter

  • Best for blog links
  • Frequent posts: 1-4 posts every few hours is the most effective
  • The community is open to businesses promotion

Facebook

  • Best for communicating to existing customers
  • Daily posts: 1 post every 2 days is the most effective
  • Users respond best to images, videos, and clips

Reddit

  • Strictly promotional posts are undesirable
  • Building readership and/or a following is slow
  • Better suited for long-term growth strategy

Do your social media research

Start conducting some preliminary research about social media platforms. Build a profile of each, listing their pros and cons. Try investigating other social media platforms such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Quora. While these aren’t platforms as large as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they could have a far greater impact on your start-up.

Answering questions on Quora and interacting with other users on GitHub, for example, could help you build genuine business and customer relationships.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

Concentrate on mastering a few channels

Ultimately, it’s important to concentrate on one or two social media platforms based on your target market and your goals. Attempting to have a significant presence on all of them will prove expensive, time-consuming, and, at worst, counterproductive.

Focusing on one platform will allow you to track your marketing efforts with greater precision, revise your marketing strategy more easily, and help you speak more directly to your target audience.

Digital marketing, while best left to a team of experienced marketers, content creators, and creative designers can be done by your team.

Start-ups tight on cash don’t need to fret, they only need to do a bit of market research and direct their energy accordingly. After narrowing down your audience and performing some preliminary research on social media platforms, you can start working on your social media marketing strategy.

Master a few channels rather than trying to dominate all of the social media space. Keep conducting research as you start your marketing campaigns. Each community naturally changes so you’ll want to keep up-to-date. Leverage your research and dedication to get the most out of your startup marketing.

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Online Marketing

How To Create The Best Small Business Website: 5 Easy And Effective Steps

Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.

Ethan Dunwill

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It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If you don’t have online presence, it will become difficult to obtain the results you expect. Your target audience is using the internet nowadays for almost anything. So, if you want to attract more customers and build your brand reputation, you need to build a website. This is how you will be able to expand your business in an easy and not so expensive way.

On the other hand, you don’t have to be a savvy web developer to create a basic website and let the others know about you. Web development and design software have evolved a lot and now you can use several website builders to develop a functional site. You will have plenty of templates to choose from to increase your business’ visibility.

Check the steps below and get ready to create a successful small business website.

Easy and Effective Steps to Create a Website for Your Business

1. What is the purpose of your website?

It doesn’t matter if you develop a simple or a more complex website. Before you start working on anything related to your website, you should start with saying what your company does. Your customers need to understand from the first minute they access your homepage what is your mission and vision. They don’t have too much time to invest when they enter on a website. So, you can make their journey smoother by telling them from the beginning about you. In case you are not so talented at writing, you can use writing companies like RewardedEssays or SupremeDissertations to give you a hand.

Related: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Building A Website For Your Business

2. Choose a domain name and a web host

Even though many think they shouldn’t focus too much on it, the domain name is an important feature of your website. You will use the URL to promote your business to existing and future clients. So, this means that your domain name should be explicit and talk about your business to anyone who wants to find more about you. A domain name should be short, clear, without acronyms or numbers. What is more, you shouldn’t forget to check if your domain name isn’t already taken by someone else.

Apart from a domain name, your website will also need a server where all your data is stored. When you own a small business, creating your own web host will represent a serious financial effort. So, it would be more cost-wise to choose an external host.

As your business grows, you can choose a different host, or you can ask several providers to work on a personalised solution.

3. Build your website’s pages

website-pages-build

You will need more than a homepage to create a good website. If you want your customers to understand that you are a professional in what you do, you will create several pages dedicated to different elements of your business. For example, you can include a catalog with your products or a blog.

Natalie Andersen, CEO of GetGoodGrade mentions that “It is obligatory that apart from the homepage, a website should have at least a page with the products’ catalog and a Contact Us page.”

Below you can find a list with the minimum number of pages a professional website should have:

  • Homepage – here you will include details about your business, making sure that you also talk about your mission and vision.
  • List of products and services – your customers need to know what are the products and services you offer. This will help them decide whether you can answer their questions and provide a solution to their problems.
  • About Us – “About Us page is the place where you talk about your story. Your target audience wants to know more about yourself. This is how you will create a connection with your customers and let them know more about you”, says James Daily, Head of content department at FlashEssay.
  • Contact Us – it should include your address, email, phone number and working hours. You can also include the links for your social media profiles.

Furthermore, if you want to achieve an international presence, you can also use the translation services offered by IsAccurate. Thus, you will be able to address your message to a wider group of people and expand your business on new markets.

Related: How To Secure Your SME Website

4. Test if your website works properly

Christopher K. Mercer, CEO of Citatior recommends that “before you launch a website, you should first test whether it works. You cannot tell your future customers about your website without knowing for sure that it will work without problems once you launch it”. Therefore, you should click on each page and check whether it has any errors. You still have time to fix something if necessary.

Once you have launched your website and something goes wrong, it will become more difficult to do any change. Plus, always remember that the first impression matters. So, you need to be perfect in the eyes of your customers.

5. Maintain your website

After you launched your website, this doesn’t mean that your work is done. You will need to keep your customers engaged and curious about your business. Therefore, updating the products’ catalog constantly or producing content for your blog will keep your audience informed about what you can offer and the latest trends in the industry. Plus, you should also check if your website is up to date with the latest add-ons. If you don’t know how to produce new content for your website or you feel that you are not talented enough, you can collaborate with HotEssayService or RatedByStudents for professional writing services.

It shouldn’t be complicated to create a website for your small business. As long as you keep a clear structure and create a story around your business, you don’t have anything to worry about. It is very important to understand that a website is very important for your business visibility. Thus, you should put all your efforts into it.

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