8 Reasons Why Your Social Media Marketing Strategy is Failing and How To Fix It

You’ve set up your profiles, posted your content, followed a few people on Twitter… and now what?  Most businesses understand the power of using social media for business but struggle to create and execute a strategy effectively. Here’s a quick guide to the most common reasons why a social media strategy (or lack of!) fails and what you can do to fix them and get things back on track.


  1. Not Having a Clearly Defined Social Media Marketing Strategy in the First Place

Before you jump in and start forming your social media presence, you need to develop a plan with key strategic elements that will ensure your social media presence is going to be a successful addition to your marketing strategy. All too often businesses get their profiles set up and quickly start posting without considering key elements such as what types of content will I post and when, how will I measure success and if my customers are even on this social media platform. The result of which is a rushed, inconsistent and unsuccessful presence that is not going to be positive for your brand or provide any value to your customers. So on a basic level to help you get started, before you begin just ask yourself these questions;

  • Why do I need to use social media and what do I want to gain in using it?
  • Who are my audience?
  • Are they on social media and if so what platforms are they using?
  • What messages do I want to share with them and how am I going to do it?
  • What content am I going to create?
  • How often am I going to post?
  • What social media platforms will I use?
  • How will I measure my success?



2.      Not Using the Right Platforms

Failing to develop a marketing strategy often leads to businesses not utilizing the best platforms for them. Many take a ‘join all platforms’ approach in the hopes that it will gain them maximum exposure, when in reality it has the opposite effect. It’s much more valuable for you for example to have three well-developed, active platforms than having to stretch your resources across seven many of which may not even play host to your target audience. From this, it is important to have a clearly defined target audience and to know where they spend their time online. So rather than jumping straight into Twitter or Facebook just because they have the highest number of members, take the time to really consider what platforms are right platform for your business. Do this by performing research on your current customers’ social media habits to  find out where your audience likes to spend their time, the type of content that they find most appealing, and how they like to engage with content. All of this information will help you form a concise strategy that will maximise potential for success


3.      Having Incomplete and Inconsistent Social Media Profiles. 

 All too often poor planning leads businesses to have an inconsistent image, voice and persona across their social media platforms. From incomplete profiles, to different profile images across platforms and different messages being shared, not having consistent branding fails to reinforce to your audience your brand message. From this, it is important that before you engage in social media that you are clear on what kind of image you want to portray of yourself and make sure to keep it consistent across all platforms. This consistency equally applies not just to the ‘voice’ you portray but also to the creative aspects, that is the overall presentation including the colour scheme and typography. If your brand or company uses certain colours then be sure to apply these consistently across the presentation of all your social media platforms. This also extends to a company logo or picture, make sure they are up to date and reflective of the image you want to portray. By setting consistent guidelines over the presentation and integration of your branding into your page it ensures that all these factors support and are in line with your overall branding and help reinforce your message and brand across all social media platforms.



4.      Not Using Analytics

 Analysing your metrics shows you a wealth of information and insights. It can show you whether your network is growing and how fast, how much of your website traffic is referred from social media and what content resonates best with your audience. Failure to analyse this data however is a huge mistake, without it you have no insights as to whether you are a making a successful and measurable impact and whether you are actually reaching the overall goals of your social media presence. In addition you will remain unaware as what you are doing right and what areas are in need of improvement which leads to poorly guided future decisions and the continued use of tactics that aren’t driving results. You don’t have to suddenly become a meticulous number cruncher however but you should pick several important metrics that are representative of your overall goals and regularly track and analyse them to make sure they are growing in a positive and successful way.


 5.      Not Posting Content that’s Interesting, Varied and Encourages Engagement

 Social media is centred on having conversations and engaging with people. That being said, many businesses make the mistake of sharing content that is simply an update of what they are thinking or doing or random images of cats to encourage likes that ultimately has no real substance or value in what they are sharing. To avoid to making this mistake every post and tweet you post should have a clearly defined topic as well as delivering something valuable to the reader, whether that be entertainment or information. You must also write your content with your target audience in mind so rather than trying to appeal to a generic wider audience, write content that contains specialised information and analysis that those interested in your services or in your sector would read. A common mistake made with posting is not including some form of media content such as a relevant video or picture that can lead posts to look uninviting and not capture a reader’s attention.  To avoid making this mistake make sure to post insightful and valuable content that your readers will want to read and looks visually appealing also.  Posts with some form of media such as a photo or link always get more clicks so it is vital that you try to include some form of relevant media.


6.      Posting Too Much, Not Enough or at The Wrong Times

 It is common to see businesses that either continually post unvaried and spam type messages all day across their platforms or leave it weeks without updating their content then have a sudden surge of content posted across their profiles in a day. What those businesses don’t understand is that in order to get the most out of using social media as a marketing tool, you need to post varied and informative content consistently and at the times where your audience is most likely to see it otherwise your posts may be overlooked or ignored, causing your brand to miss out on important engagement opportunities and lack of interest generally leads to unfollows and unlikes from consumers. It is therefore vital that you figure out a comfortable writing routine that works with your editorial calendar, be it posting daily or several times a week, and stick to it in order to maintain consistency and maximise your impact. This process involves some experimentation to find the best publishing schedule for you along with tracking your metrics to see when people are most active and your engagement and feedback rates for your posts. There are however two things that should always be considered and will dictate your posting schedule; your company goals and what your audience wants.


 7.      Not Listening and Responding to Your Audience

 The fact that customer service through social media is quickly becoming an expectation of consumers means you’re publicly open to both criticism and praise online. Many businesses take the approach of taking several days to respond to comments, or only responding to positive interactions or worse not responding to either at all. Ultimately, people want quick responses from you if they interact with you online and if you fail to respond you ultimately develop a negative image for yourself by not acknowledging good and bad interactions and importantly miss out on opportunities to make valuable connections with customers and learn important feedback that can help develop your business in the future. From this, make sure to always have someone available to monitor interactions and what people are saying about you not just in your work hours. After all, you may only be working and online at 9 – 5 but that doesn’t mean your audience is.



8.     Not Having the Right Person Managing Your Social Media Presence

Ultimately, whether it’s yourself, your sister an intern or a freelance social media manager, the person you have put in charge of your social media presence is in control of how your brand is presented publicly online and ultimately how successful your presence is going to be. It is vital therefore that you choose someone who has a true understanding of what your brand stands for, knows how to successfully market on social media and is proactively working with you to make sure both you and your audience are getting the best out of using social media.  Remember it’s more than just simply having a presence, it’s also about knowing how to market yourself successfully and it is that point where that general family member, friend or inadequate social media professional is not going to successfully perform.

How to Write an Effective Blog Post and 8 Quick Content Ideas to Get You Started!

Blogging is often considered at the heart of social media and is an important aspect of marketing your business. Done right it can establish you as an authority within your sector, drive traffic to your website and increase sales so is a vital tool for a business. Whilst anyone can write a blog post, it takes focus, effort and dedication to effectively write strong posts and maintain a blog that keeps your readers engaged and coming back for more.
Before you begin writing for your blog one of the first things you must do is to have a clear understanding of the target audience you are writing for. This involves you knowing and learning aspects about them from what content resonates best with them to what needs, interest, problems and questions they have as customers. So ensure your content contains specialised information that your customers will want to read. In doing so will not only will you be maximising interest and engagement from your readers, you will be proving your expertise in your industry.



The headline represents one of the most important parts of your blog post. It is the deciding factor on whether a reader is compelled enough to click on and read your blog post or not and for this reason needs to be grab attention and be concise in stating to the reader the benefit of clicking the link and reading the content. Whilst there is no definitive perfect headline template, there are several key characteristics of a powerful headline that compels the reader to click on. Powerful headlines are very concise and specific, they focus on the reader and what interests them and also are keyword-optimised ensuring the right type of reader is going to find them.

20 Example Headline Templates That Grab Attention
• How to Get The ______ you Want Using ______
• 5 Secrets your ______ Won’t Tell you About ______
• 10 Things ______ Can Teach You About ______
• 5 Little Known Ways to ______
• The Ultimate Step by Step Guide to ______
• Best Practices for ______
• 100 Shocking Statistics About ______
• Now You Too Can Have ______ with These 5 Easy Steps
• How to be a World-Class ______ Like ______
• How to ______ a ______ You Can Be Proud Of
• 10 Things you Must Know About ______ But Don’t
• 15 Things you Never Knew about ______
• 5 Unexpected ways to be Successful at ______
• Why Your Business Needs to Know About ______
• 3 Things You Must Do After ______
• How to ______ in ______Days
• 20 ______ Every ______ Should Include
• 10 ______ Mistakes that I Should Have Done Differently
• Why I Don’t Do ______
• 11 ______ Tips I Wish I Had Known



The opening paragraph or introduction is meant to provide the setup for the main content and put the subject matter into context. This section of the blog post needs to clearly explain to the reader what your blog post is going to address and compel them to feel as though they will achieve a significant benefit from reading on and taking in what you have to say. As a general guide there are several key characteristics of a successful opening paragraph that you need to include.
Be Direct – Online readers prefer to be clearly told what they are about to read and why they should do so. So avoid over complicated, artsy style writing and make it clear to the reader what you are talking about and why they should listen and take note.
Be Concise and Compelling – The success of getting readers to read your whole post lies in how well you convince them at the start of your blog post that they simply have to read on. So whether you are offering exclusive content, a competition or some highly valuable advice, make it clear to the reader and in doing so give them a compelling reason to want to read on.
Be Bold and Creative – Ensure you set yourself apart from other generic blog posts by being creative. Don’t stick to generic writing styles, layouts and subject matter as being bold but still informative and valuable can attract a lot of attention and encourage a reader to carry on and read the whole post.



The main section of your blog will provide the substance to what you have outlined in your title and opening paragraph. It is important within this section you adhere to several characteristics that constitute a well written blog post;
Logical Structure – You need to ensure that your blog follows a clear and logical structure that flows coherently, making the topic easy for your reader to understand.
Short and Succinct Sentences – Short and succinct sentences ensure readers keep interest as it makes your content easily scannable and digestible, an important aspect for skim readers.
Examples and Evidence – Providing evidence and examples that back up your points helps you appear more of an authority with your writing as well as helping your readers to grasp concepts by offering clear and obvious examples that clearly support what you are discussing.
Images – Having a variety of images helps the visual appeal of your post as they break up the blocks of text and help to visually illustrate specific points.



The conclusion should be a short statement that clearly summarises and wraps up your post. This is the area when you should also include a clear call to action in which you direct the reader onto a next step after they have finished reading your post. Whether it is a link to an external site or encourages them to subscribe, you need to ensure the connection with you doesn’t end when your blog post does.



Once you have finished writing your blog you need to consider the important factors of proof reading and optimisation before you publish your post. This process includes a thorough read through of your blog looking into areas such as formatting, grammar, spelling, keyword placement and other optimisation opportunities. Look to analyse these several key areas;
Strategically Placed Keywords – By including relevant keywords and phrases that your target readers are using and strategically placing them throughout your blog post you tailor your content in a way that is going to ensure you are targeting reader’s needs and the chance for maximum search engine visibility. Look to strategically place these keywords across your post from your URL, to your blog title and subheadings.
General Formatting – Ensure your blog post is readable and visually appealing by thoroughly checking your formatting and paying attention to key areas such as including sub-headings to help break up text, breaking large blocks of text with images, being consistent with font choice and text size and generally ensuring ease of read with succinct sentence structure and clearly made points.
Correct Links and Visuals – If you have included links ensure that they point to the correct location. If you have included visuals such as pictures and videos also ensure you reference and credit where you got them from.



Tips and How-To’s
Providing informative tips, advice and how-to posts can be very useful to your customers and has the added benefit of promoting your product and its uses.

Behind the Scenes/ A Day in the Life of
People love to see behind the scenes as it shows them an aspect of your business that they wouldn’t normally see. ‘Day in the life’ posts are a popular example.

Contests and Other Exclusive Content
Running a contest and sharing exclusive content always generate engagement and interest. Just make sure the content and/or prize you offer is relevant and valuable to your audience.

Relevant Industry News and Updates
If you know any relevant news/ events that are going to interest or affect your customers then share it with them and you will become a trusted industry news source.

Compile a Useful Resource List
If you come across any valuable and informative resources such as links, websites, books and products related to your business and industry, then share it with your customers. This can go some way towards establishing your blog as a trusted source of information.

Customer Testimonials / Success Stories
A customer testimonial goes a long way in terms of establishing credibility and interest in your product or service. So if you have received a good recommendation or someone has found another useful use for your product then share it on your blog.

Interviews with Industry Leaders/ Key Figures
If you have an industry expert that is of interest to your customers or have celebrity contacts then conducting an interview and sharing it on your blog is a sure-fire way to attract attention, even more so if they share exclusive content.

Share Content that Helps Humanise Your Brand
Sharing stories from your business founders, staff members, charity work to your business morals and values and your business highs and lows helps your audience get to know and care about you as it shows there exists a real human behind your real business.


Top Tip: There are plenty of ideas for content out there. Every book you read, event you attend, blog you visit and interview on the news you hear, is rich with ideas for content. So keep your eye out and keep a notepad handy so you always write down any ideas. But what happens for those times when you run dry? Here are four tools to help generate content for your blog:


  • Google Trends: Google Trends keeps you up to date on the day-to-day pulse of your audiences’ interests. With Google Trends you can see the frequency and popularity of Google searches related to your topic and test the subject with Google Trends.
  • MyBlogU: This free online platform allows you to crowdsource and brainstorm with other content creators.
  • Quora: This is a crowd-sourced, question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, edited and organised by its community of users. This can help lead you to the types of questions that real people are asking. As well as having the benefit of building your authority, engagement, and traffic from being a regular contributor on Quora.
  • Buzzsumo: A fantastic source for research, with Buzzsumo you enter a topic or a URL in its search box and then displays a wealth of information. Buzzsumo provides backlinks and shows the content that performs best on social media.

How to Perfectly Handle a Social Media Crisis

Experiencing a social media crisis is an intense time for any business and one that hopefully you will never have to deal with. However if you do find yourself unfortunately at the receiving end of a social media crisis, you need be prepared and know what to do in that situation. This post will help you with your pre-crisis planning and provide 6 steps to successfully managing a social media crisis.


One of the key elements to successfully managing a social media crisis is pre-crisis planning and this includes;


Always Listening on your Social Media Platforms

You cannot deal with a crisis if you don’t know it’s there so it is important that you are actively watching all of your social media platforms and listening to what is being said. That way as soon as a crisis emerges you can respond immediately or as soon as protocol dictates.


Knowing What Constitutes a Crisis

Knowing what constitutes a crisis is also a very important factor. A Social Media Crisis normally has three characteristics;

  • A social media crisis is a significant change from the norm. It is expected that some negative talk will occur and this is not a crisis. It becomes a crisis however when a  different line of criticism occurs that is more serious.
  • A social media crisis is when the business does not know any more than the public about what’s going on. For example if a disaster has happened and you find out via a social media platform when everyone else does that is the sign of a social media crisis.
  • A social media crisis has a strong impact on the business as a whole. If the scale of what is being said has a large impact on the business itself then that absolutely constitutes a crisis.


Having a Crisis Plan

Every business whether big or small should have a strategy for how it will deal with a service shut down or public relations disaster. As part of your plan, you need to have clear answers to the following questions;

  • Who will handle your social media accounts in case of a crisis?
  • What will that person/people be authorized to write?
  • Who needs to be made aware of the crisis?
  • What is the response protocol?



If a crisis has broken, here are 6 steps to successfully managing a social media crisis;


Acknowledge there’s an Issue

The first thing you must do is respond to the crisis by acknowledging something has happened, even if you have no answers or solution to it yet. It is important at this stage to be genuinely sorry and apologise and acknowledge the issues on your part. It is easy to see whether a company is being genuine with their apologies, so be honest and up front and this will help you later down the line as you try to rebuild your reputation.


Respond on the Medium in Which the Crisis Broke

Once you have gathered information, you should respond first on the medium where the crisis broke. This means if the crisis broke on Facebook, then respond first on Facebook and then work your way through and respond on your other mediums. You never know where a crisis will break so you must be aware and listening on all of your social media platforms.


Create a Crisis FAQ

You will then need to create a Web page or something similar and put all the information about the crisis in one place. That way you can direct people to that page where all the answers are clearly there for them; this will save time and prevents misinterpretation of your responses.

Information provided on the crisis FAQ should include;

  • Acknowledgement of the crisis
  • Details about the crisis, how it broke, who was alerted first, when, and how
  • Specific actions taken in response to the crisis
  • Potential effects it may have
  • What is being done to prevent future occurrence
  • Contact information for complainants to get in contact


Build a Medium Where People Can Talk/ Voice their Concern

While this may seem counter intuitive, you want people to raise concerns on a medium you control. Whether it’s your Facebook page, forum, or the comments section on your Crisis FAQ, you will be able to keep more of the conversations about the crisis in a single venue, making them easier to track. If you do not provide this then you give no option but for complainants to create their own which will then give you no control of it whatsoever.


Keep Your Employees in the Know

Every employee is a potential spokesperson which makes it imperative that you keep them informed about the crisis. Whether it is by email, text message or something similar you must keep your employees in the know so that if they are approached they can respond accurately.


Learn your Lessons

After the crisis subsides, part of moving forward and rebuilding your reputation is to learn from the events that happened. This means you should create a document for your records that contains information that can guide future crisis management, highlight positives/ negative in your crisis protocol etc.

Information contained in this document should include;

  • Copies of all comments, tweets, posts, emails made during the crisis
  • Information about where the crisis broke, when it broke, where it spread and how
  • Where all relevant people informed and in the know at all times?
  • How did your response protocol work?
  • Who if anyone, rose to your defence? Those who did will later need to be thanked



Useful Resources

How big brands coped with social media crises

6 examples of social media crises: What can we learn?

Are You Prepared For A Social Media Crisis?

PR Crisis Comms in Action: Top 7 Social Media Fires of 2017

What We Can Learn From the Biggest Social Media Management Nightmares of 2017




Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan [The Ultimate Checklist]

‘If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’

Whilst Benjamin Franklin wasn’t speaking to the owner of a local cupcake company looking to start a Facebook page when he said those words, they still ring true when it comes to a business starting out on social media. Just as you wouldn’t set up a business without a business plan, you can’t just jump straight into social media, start aimlessly posting and expect the customers to come rolling in. Rather, you have to sit down, grab a cup of coffee and develop a clear social media strategy. While there’s no one-size fits all solution, you can find social media success if you’re armed with the right questions to get you started. After all, a plan equals focus and focus is what is going to drive your business forward online.


What Objectives do I Want my Business to Achieve by Using Social Media?

Whether you want to use your social media presence to gain exposure for your brand, directly educate and interact with your customers, promote specific products and services or all of the above, clearly identifying your objectives is the critical first step towards a successful social media presence. Identifying your objectives in the beginning ensures a multitude of critical elements of your social media marketing, it allows you to effectively tailor your content and posting schedule, provide value to your customers, right through to helping you accurately measure your success as you will be aware of the most appropriate metrics to track efficiently.


Common Social Media Objectives

  • Build Brand Awareness
  • Drive Traffic to Website
  • Provide Customer Service
  • Engage with Fans
  • Establish Thought Leadership
  • Launch New Products or Services
  • Generate Leads and Increase Sales
  • Research and Insights
  • Build Your Community
  • Improve SEO
  • Competitive Analysis


What is the State of My Current Social Media Use?

If you are already present on social media, you need to take a good hard look at your content from the eyes of a new (or potential) fan or follower. There is a whole host of important questions you need to ask yourself when you look through your online presence. Here’s a few taken from the checklist I use when I conduct a Social Media Audit;

  • Assess their presence: has it been thought through? Profile/cover photo/about section completed, effective and branded?
  • Can potential followers immediately get a sense of company culture, products and services on offer?
  • Content: How does their content support their strategy? What content receives the most clicks, likes and shares? Are they sharing engaging content? Do they encourage engagement? Offer something valuable/useful? How often is it updated? Are they engaging back with fans? Do they use hashtags effectively? How do they use images to tell the company story?
  • How are the individual platforms being used to drive traffic to the main web presence? Is it clear what the next step is that they want fans/followers to take? Call to actions in tweets/pins/posts?
  • Record numbers of followers and following – are they both relevant and targeted audience?
  • When the last time was their Twitter / Facebook/Pinterest etc. presence was updated?
  • What feedback do they get from followers?

Who are My Target Audience?

Determining the audience that you want to reach and engage with on social media is fundamental to your strategy.  Whether your target audience is your current or potential clients or customers, affiliate businesses, thought leaders or all four, your aim is to create a successful social media strategy that matches and is tailored towards understanding and acting on your target audience’s behaviours online. Creating Buyer personas helps you define and target the right people, in the right places, at the right times with the right messages. When you learn important factors about your target audience from their age, job status, income, interests, problems, to their likes, dislikes, motivations, where they spend their time online and in what format they like to digest their content online then it becomes easier to target them on social media. The key is to remember that the more specific you are the more successful and targeted you are going to be with your social media strategy that will bring real results and conversions for your business.


What Platforms am I Going to use for my Business?

What platforms you choose to use will ultimately depend on where your customers are and which ones are best suited for your business. Spend the time researching where your current customers are online and what platforms can be best utilised with your resources and business. The key is to not spread yourself too thinly across lots of social media platforms just because you think this will gain your business more exposure, rather it is much more effective to run a handful of platforms consistently and efficiently and to spend the time reviewing the platforms you are on to make sure they are as effective as they can be. You should also keep up to date with research into new technologies and platforms that your business could potentially utilise in the future.

Selecting the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business

Each social media platforms is unique, with its own best practices, style, and audience. The key to choosing the right social media platforms relies on you having a clear understanding of your objectives for social media, your target audience and what resources/ information you have to share. Simply put, choose the ones that best fit your strategy and the goals you want to achieve on social media. You don’t have to be on them all—just the ones that matter to you and your audience.

To help you decide the best platform, ultimately ask yourself these questions;

  • Purpose – What information do you want to share with and communicate to your audience?
  • Format – In what format is the best way to present this information? Videos, Podcasts, extended pieces of writing etc.
  • Platform – Which social media platform will allow me to share this message best and which platform has the correct audience that I want to reach?
  • Time – How much time can I devote to a social network? Aim for at least an hour per day per social network. Once you get going, tools like Buffer can help you effectively manage your time.
  • Resources – What personnel and skills do you have to work with? Visual social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram require good quality images. Social platforms like blogging emphasize quality content. Do you have the resources to create what’s needed?
  • Audience – Where do your potential customers hang out? Which social network has the right demographics for you?

Have I Done my Research?

A successful social media presence is always aided by a good, solid foundation of prior research. You should look to do initial research into key areas such as your competitor’s social media, your target audience demographics, the latest trends and news in social media, marketing and business as well as many others. Conducting research and paying attention to changes in your industry and audience for example should also be a regular and active occurrence as things, especially social media, evolve and change so you need to keep up to date to ensure your strategy is as relevant and effective as possible.

  • Market Research – Who is your target audience? How do they behave on social media? Where are they online?
  • Competitors – Which platforms are your competitors using? Are they directly engaging with prospects online? What are they good at online? In which areas could they improve? Can you get case studies? (Both successful and unsuccessful examples?)
  • Latest Business and Social Media News, Trends and Techniques – Do you know the latest techniques on your social media platforms that are effective? What is changing in social media and/or business that could affect your marketing?

Am I Clear on My Marketing Voice and Tone?

The temptation at this point might be to jump right in and start sharing. Before you do however, it is crucial to cultivate a voice and tone of your marketing that effectively encompasses your brand.

To help you with this, start with questions like these:

  • If your brand was a person, what kind of personality would it have?
  • If your brand was a person, what’s their relationship to the consumer? (A trainer, friend, family member etc.)
  • What do you want your customers to think about your company?
  • Describe what your company’s personality is not
  • Are there any companies that have a similar personality to yours? Why are they similar?


Who is Going to set up and Maintain my Businesses Social Media Platforms?

In the beginning you will need to decide who will implement and maintain your social media accounts. Whether you want to run them in-house or hire a social-media marketing manager or firm, you need to ensure that the person who is in charge of your platforms can effectively represent your brand and has the know-how to create and maintain a successful social media presence. That person is going to ultimately control how your business is presented to others in the online world so you need to be absolutely confident that they are the right person for you and your business.

Have I Chosen My Core Topics?

The key to a successful content strategy is finding the core topics you want your business to be known for and the topics that attract and keep the attention of fans and followers. What topics or categories best represent your company? For most this is a combination of 3 areas,

  • Your Passion – the topic you are passionate and love to talk about
  • Your Assets – the topic you’re known for and skilled and trained in
  • Market Reality – is there a demand on social media for the type of content you are offering?


What Resources/ Content do I Have at my Disposal? 

Each social media platform has a certain type of content that is best suited towards it, for example Pinterest is inherently visual and as such requires good-quality and memorable images to be effective. From this, you need to understand what type of content that the platforms you are using is most effective and importantly what content resonates best with your audience. Once you are clear on both these aspects, you will be able to form an effective content strategy with maximised effectiveness. It is important that you share with your audience a diverse and interesting mix of content types that encourages engagement so you need to think about the types of questions you will ask, updates you will share and ultimately what resources you have that you can utilise and repurpose for your social media platforms.

What Should I be Posting?

A quick glance through any social media article, research and blog post will show an emphasis and push towards sharing visual content. This trend towards the visual has plenty of anecdotal evidence too, with it being a widely known fact that image posts get more views, clicks, re-shares, and likes than any other type of post. On Facebook, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. Similarly for Twitter, in a study of over two million tweets from verified users across a number of different industries, Twitter found that photos have the greatest effect on retweets. Photos average a 35% boost in Retweets with Videos getting a 28% boost. What does this mean for your business? Simple. You must prioritise producing good quality visuals in your social media content strategy.

So now we have established that you need to incorporate the visual into your content strategy. It’s time to take a look at what elements should make up your other content. There are hundreds of rules, strategies and theories on the best way and most effective ways to structure your content, the most used and most simple but effective strategy I use is the 70:20:10 rule.

The 70:20:10 rule

As a general rule of thumb, the rule states;

  • 70% of posts should add value and be brand and business building, stuff that your followers will find interesting, valuable and insightful and that supports who you are as a company.
  • 20% should share ideas or content from other sources e.g. blogs, digital PR, websites, other social media channels etc.
  • 10% should be self- promotional – your offers, discounts, marketing and promotional, sales etc.


21 Quick-Fire Example Content Ideas

  • Business Tips: People love to hear valuable business tips.
  • Humour/Relatable: Whether it’s a funny meme or something funny that’s happened in your life or your business, share it.
  • Inspiration/Motivation: Inspiration is the number one most shared type of content across every social media platform.
  • Open-Ended Questions: People love to talk and they love to answer questions.
  • Offers and Deals: Did you know that getting deals is still the number one reason that people like brands on Facebook? We all love a good deal.
  • Behind the Scenes/Sneak Peeks: People love to feel like they’re a part of what’s happening in your business.
  • Opinions: You can give yours and/or simply ask for theirs. People love to give their feedback and feel like their voice is being heard.
  • Industry News: There’s a huge value proposition in this. Firstly, you are educating your community on things that are happening in your space or in your niche. Secondly, doing this routinely will help you become an industry news or thought leader.
  • Fill in the Blanks: It’s an alternative way to phrase a question and the best ones only require a one or two-word answer, which makes it easier for your fans and followers to answer and engage with.
  • Strike Up a Conversation: Take the time to strike up a conversation. It’s a great way to build relationships.
  • Testimonials: Let people know that other people value your services or your products.
  • Open Q&A’s: Are a great way to provide value and get some real-time engagement with your followers.
  • Polls: You can use a poll for a number of different things like collecting opinions and/or ideas. Polls are a great engagement tool, but it’s also a great way to get great information.
  • Caption a Photo: Asking your fans and followers to caption a photo normally elicits good engagement.
  • Make Predictions: People love predictions. They want to know what you think.
  • Crowd Source Ideas: Ask other people for ideas. Whether you’re getting ready to do a new product or anything of that nature…ask!
  • Highlight Your Customers: Let your social media followers know that you value them. It’s important.
  • Tech Tips or Tools: People love tools and they love tech tips.
  • Advice: if you have some great advice and you feel like its valuable then share it.
  • Share Video or Audio Clips: In some cases video and audio posts are more impactful than a simple text based or image post.
  • ASK!: Ask your followers what content they want to see.


What is my Publishing Schedule?

Whilst it is wonderfully easy for you to be told from a social media expert that you should post 2 Facebook posts a day, 10 Tweets and 2 Blog posts a week for example, the ironclad and definitive answer to the questions ‘What, When and How often should I post?’ is simple: It depends. Everything about the social media experience is about your individual audience and niche. What works for you might not work for me… the important thing is that you experiment and learn what does work for you.

Your publishing schedule is going to be ultimately dictated by three things, your business capabilities, the platform you’re using and your audience needs. In the beginning you will need to experiment to find a publishing schedule that works best for your business, goals and readers and is the perfect balance of what you want and what your audience wants. Part of this consideration is also understanding the nature of the platform you’re using to publish and whether it is one such as Twitter that favours several short updates per day or Facebook where posting 7+ times a week is effective. Ultimately, when you are creating a publishing schedule you need to ask yourself, Can you keep this schedule consistently? Can you always publish high-quality content at this rate? And will you have enough content for this schedule? Once you’ve discovered the most effective schedule for you, being consistent with your publishing schedule has the benefit of increasing SEO value, maximising value and engagement from readers and encourages readers to come back regularly for more.


How Often Should you be Posting?

As you have come to realise, everything about a business social media experience is unique to you. There is no one size fits all approach to what content to post, just like there is not one for about how often to post to social media either. Some of the factors that will impact your specific sharing frequency may include your industry, your reach, your resources, the quality of your updates and the social network you’re using. The best way to discover the ideal posting frequency is by looking at your own analytics and several tools available in the market, these are a great way to show you the best time of day to post on your social media platforms, how often and even when your audience is online. So what are you to do if you are just starting out on these social networks, with no audience and no history? This is where best practices come in. As a good example, SumAll, which compiled timing research from sites like Visual.ly, Search Engine Watch, and Social Media Today has created a great visual resource of what their extensive research found in terms of timing.

  • Twitter – 1-3pm weekdays
  • Facebook – 1-4pm and 2-5pm weekdays
  • LinkedIn – 7-8:30am and 5-6pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Tumblr – 7-10pm weekdays and 4pm on Fridays
  • Instagram – 5-6pm weekdays and 8pm on Mondays with a sweet spot at 6pm
  • Pinterest: 2-4pm and 8-11pm weekdays with weekends being the best
  • Google+: 9-11am weekdays


How am I Going to Ensure my Business Branding is Representative and Consistent?

Having a social media presence is a great way to show a wider audience who you are, what you stand for and ultimately why they should love you. From this, it is important that you know clearly what your brand stands for and how this is going to be conveyed consistently and accurately across your platforms. This consideration needs to be applied to everything from the voice you want for your brand that can be consistently applied across all your posts to the creative aspects of your platforms- that is the overall presentation including the colour scheme and typography. By setting consistent guidelines over the presentation and integration of your branding into your social media platforms it ensures that all these factors support and are in line with your overall branding and help reinforce your message and brand.


Am I Going to Have to Create a Written Social Media Policy for my Employees?

If there are going to be several different administrators of your platforms or you run a business with staff members who have personal and/or business social media accounts, it is well worth creating a social media policy for your staff to sign so everyone is clear on their responsibilities and what is deemed appropriate and inappropriate behaviour when they are representing or discussing your business online.


Have I Considered My Mobile Strategy?

With ever increasing numbers of people accessing the internet and social media platforms from their mobile devices, it is vital that you optimise your profiles for mobile users and give them a mobile friendly experience. Therefore you should test and experiment with your platforms to see how they look on both your desktop and a variety of other mobile devices to ensure you provide a seamless experience for those visiting your social media platforms no matter what device they are viewing them from. When assessing your site from different devices, you should check for several key areas such as; do your images still remain high quality? Are the social media sharing buttons clearly positioned and working properly? If text is used, it is readable on a small screen? The time you spend to perfect your platforms from your desktop should also be spent on making your site work for mobile too, if you fail to do so then you could lose traffic and sales as you will not be providing users with a good experience.


How am I Going to Measure the Success of my Social Media Marketing Efforts?

Tracking your social-media marketing metrics is a fundamental part of the social media marketing process as it helps gauge which tactics are successful and which areas are in need of improvement. Put a plan in place that allows you to track, measure and assess your results consistently to see what content/strategies resonates best and to ensure you are successfully meeting your social media objectives and if they are still relevant to you. Adjust your strategy and your content when appropriate to keep your social media content fresh and your information topical. The more you post, the more you’ll discover which content, timing, and frequency is right for you.


Ultimately, Have I got a Clear Strategy?

Having a clear idea on every aspect of your social media marketing strategy is key to its success. Ultimately, you should easily be able to answer confidently and with clarity the below questions that form a basic social media marketing strategy. Part of maintaining a strong, successful presence is also to regularly assess whether certain aspects of your original strategy have changed (For example are your objectives still the same? Is there a new social media platform that your audience is using?) and then adjust your efforts accordingly. As you become a regular participant on social media you will find ways in which you need to improve certain areas and areas in which you excel in, so never stop learning and listening to what your audience and your analytics tell you.


Keep referring back to this handy checklist;

Setting Goals

  • Why have I joined social media?
  • What is my brand’s overall purpose?
  • What does my business aim to achieve with social media?



  • Who is our target audience?
  • Which social networks do they use?
  • What topics and sources of information are most important to them?
  • What problems can I help them solve?
  • What jobs can I help them complete?


My Brand

  • What is my brand voice?
  • What is the overall tone of my social media updates?
  • What emotions do I hope to convey through my brand’s messaging?



  • What types of content should I post on which social platforms?
  • What type of content best supports my content marketing aims?
  • What are the main topics, categories or messages that support my brand?
  • Should I use social media to provide customer service?


Content Creation

  • What realistic resources do we have?
  • Who should set up and maintain my company’s social media accounts?
  • What is the workflow from content creation to publication?
  • How often should I post new content on my social networks?
  • How does social media fit with our other campaigns?


Measuring Success

  • How will I measure ROI and define success with my social media strategy?
  • What is working with my social media marketing efforts?
  • What is the customer journey from search to purchase?
  • Where does social media fit within my funnel?



This is an excerpt from my new book ‘The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses’ available in eBook and Paperback. Want to grab your copy? head over to Amazon! https://read.amazon.co.uk/kp/embed?asin=B079KJG7BC&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_rLDNAbJ6P5P8W


What is Google My Business and Why it’s a Must Have For Your Small Business!

Did you know that 70% of online searches are conducted via Google, and one out of every five of those searches is regarding a business or a place, according to Search Engine Watch? Put simply, this means that potential consumers are actively searching online for businesses just like yours. In order to get your business found as quickly and easily as possible, you need to harness the power of Google and its product offerings to ensure you put forward the best representation of your business. From this, If you don’t have your small business listed on Google My Business, that job needs to be put on the top of your ‘To Do’ list!


What is Google My Business?

Google my business is a free, easy-to-set-up online platform that Google provides to allow small business owners to manage their presence on Google’s search engine, increase their online visibility and to help people find and review businesses in their local area. Simply put, it’s the most comprehensive and easily accessible business directory ever!

On your Google My Business page you can display important information about your business, such as the opening/closing times, contact phone number, your website link and more advanced options such as your upcoming events.

When someone searches for a business on Google, information such as the business phone number, address, reviews, website etc are pulled from the businesses’ Google My Business page and displayed in the results.

Whenever someone is searching for something which Google determines to have local intent, such as ‘restaurant in Chorley’, links to several Google My Business listings will be displayed below a map of the local area. When clicking on a business’s Google My Business listing, the following information is displayed;

  • The business’s name, address and phone number
  • The business’s location on a map.
  • The business’s opening hours.
  • A link to the business’s website.
  • Photos related to the business.
  • Reviews of the business left by previous customers which give the business a rating out of 5.


This is an example of what a Google My Business listing looks like:


Creating a listing is free and should be regarded as a necessity by all businesses. Even If your business is an online business with no physical shop then you should still consider having a Google My Business page as there are plenty of benefits!

Why Every Small Business Should Be Using Google My Business

People go online multiple times a day to find information to make their lives easier, after all how many times do you hear  —”just Google it!.” Whether through a search result or a maps query, over five billion searches are made each day through Google which makes improving how your business appears on Google a crucial element in your business online presence. Here are four benefits of having a Google My Business listing;


It’s Free and Easy to Set Up

Creating a GMB listing has many benefits, but at a most basic level, listings provide key information quickly for searchers which can help them to find a business, decide on a visit and with the handy maps section to help with directions – it all makes it more likely that searchers will visit your store/place of business. Moreover, even creating a relatively basic listing can help to improve your search presence, so it’s well worth setting one up.

TOP TIP! Your Google My Business page determines how your information will show on Google’s results. Since you are in complete control of this information, you have to make sure that every detail of your business is listed accurately and you don’t miss any critical steps to showcase your business!


Gain Trust and Credibility With Customers

With the overwhelming popularity of Google, web users searching for businesses on the platform are now accustomed to seeing these GMB profiles and as such, having one yourself will add a degree of credibility to your business. Google itself says that businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers.

Beyond this, the listing looks professional, provides key information that helps people to decide whether you’re a credible business or not and of course the unbiased rating/review system used for Google My Business listings makes reviews on there more trustworthy than those on a business website. Google makes it very difficult for unscrupulous businesses to attain good rankings in their local search results so reviews on here are held in higher esteem than those directly of a business website for example that may not be genuine. Set your sights on achieving as many genuine, positive reviews on Google My Business as;

  • Reviews are a ranking factor that Google uses to determine where you should be placed on search results.
  • Your reviews will showcase your positive business efforts and people are way more likely to visit a business with multiple positive reviews.
  • According to Moz’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews are thought to make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank search results.


Better Prominence in Search Results

Google My Business listings are displayed above the standard search results which means the businesses shown there have a greater presence and get more attention. This of course also has the added benefit of you having two 1st page listings instead of one. It’s important to note that whilst having a listing guarantees that you’ll appear front and center in brand name searches, this prominent position isn’t automatic and guaranteed for general ‘business type’ results. For example, my business will appear when someone searches for ‘Scarlett Darbyshire’ on Google, but I may not appear so prominently if the search made was ‘Social Media Marketing Consultant in Lancashire.’ Getting into the ‘top results’ for a generic business search is the aim for all businesses but achieving this can depend on the level of competition in your local area for your business type and factors such as review scores.

TOP TIP! In an effort to prevent spam, Google will not allow you to enter a P.O. Box as your address because this is not considered a physical location. If you don’t have a storefront you can verify your business by using your home address. Don’t be put off by this fearing your privacy – Google will not make your home address public, as long as you mark that you do not receive customers at this address.


Find Insights into Customer Behaviour

Google provides useful insights such as how customers searched for your business, where those customers are coming from and how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Search and Maps. All of which you can use to gain insights into customer behaviour.

TOP TIP! Post photos that show off what you do! Businesses that add photos to their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.


Get started with your listing now, with help from the comprehensive guide from Google: https://support.google.com/business#topic=4539639


How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy

At its most basic, Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. From a marketing perspective, Instagram makes a strong business case with 800 million monthly active users. When compared among the major social networks, only Facebook and YouTube have more people logging in each month. Instagram provides a huge asset for visual content, which we all know is driving social like none other and has developed itself into a fully-fledged, global platform that allows brands to humanize their content, showcase their products, inspire their audience and promote their brand all in a friendly, authentic way without directly selling to your customers.

Why You Need Instagram For Your Business

From the boom in popularity of Instagram Stories, to the very impressive stats of user adoption engagement and the recent expansion of advertising opportunities—it’s a good time to be using Instagram for business. Only if your business can thrive in this creative and inherently visual platform though.


How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy

Many businesses feel pressured to be on every social media platform without thinking through their strategy, especially when it’s the new exciting platform that all the millennials are using! However, since Instagram is very different from other popular social sites it requires a different marketing strategy.

  1. Determine Your Objectives

First thing’s first, you need to lay the foundation and establish what you want to achieve on Instagram. Whether you’ve never published a single photo or you’re an Instagram pro, it’s important to start with clear goals in mind. Consider the following the questions to help build a solid foundation to your Instagram marketing strategy:

  • Why are you using Instagram?
  • How can Instagram assist you in achieving your overall marketing goals?
  • How does Instagram offer you something different to other platforms?
  • Who is your target audience and which members of your audience are active on Instagram?
  • How will Instagram integrate with the other networks in your social media strategy?
  • How much time or budget can you commit to Instagram?

Depending on your industry, brand and key performance indicators, your Instagram marketing strategy should ideally target several objectives. Here are some common ones that businesses tend to choose:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Showcase your team and recruit new talent
  • Increase customer engagement and brand loyalty
  • Showcase products and services
  • Share company and industry news/updates
  • Connect with influencers
  • Drive sales through traffic
  • Showcase your company culture and values
  • Advertise to potential customers

As you continue to create your strategy, these objectives will guide you in determining the best approach to each part of the process.


2. Determine Your Instagram Audience

Marketing is all about delivering the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Just like on any other social media platform, you need to determine the audience you want to reach before you begin marketing on Instagram. Don’t know where to start? Some helpful factors to consider when narrowing down your target Instagram audience are age, location, gender, income, interests, motivations, and pain points. If you already have other marketing strategies in place, you can draw from those to help. Some other tips include, taking a look at your competitor’s followers and monitoring popular event and interest hashtags that are related to your business then find out who’s using and engaging with the hashtags and check out their profiles.


3. Competitive Analysis for Instagram

After you determine your Instagram audience, do a competitive analysis to see what other marketers in your field are posting as the information you gather from this audit will serve as a benchmark as you start growing your own account. If you already know your top competitors, start with searching for their Instagram profiles. If not, try searching for terms related to your business or industry to find similar, relevant accounts.

Conduct a quick audit of those accounts looking specifically at;

  • What types of posts are getting the highest amount of engagement?
  • What popular hashtags they are using
  • What kinds of captions they are writing
  • How often they are publishing
  • How quickly they are growing.
  • Are there any marketing opportunities they might have missed?


4. Choose Your Content Strategy

Instagram is an inherently visual social platform and the content you share with your audience is the back bone of your marketing campaign. It should be relevant, valuable and engaging for your followers whilst at the same time being consistent with your brand and strategy.

Common Types of Content

  • Product Based Content: This is a popular Instagram marketing strategy focusing all your posts on your products in a straight forward marketing campaign. All your followers receive pictures and videos of your products exclusively.
  • User Generated Content: Another effective marketing strategy is to rely on user generated content. The aim is to create campaigns focused on attracting a large audience who are willing to get involved with the brand’s channel and hashtags and upload their own content. For example, upload themselves using the product etc.

Successful brands use a mixture of both on Instagram. Once you have decided on the type of content for your strategy, you Importantly need to think about the hastags you will use to supplement and enhance the content. Hashtags are sometimes just as important as your brand image and they will help you grow followers exponentially if used correctly. You can use popular hash tags in order to get more chances to be discovered through search engines but at the same time, you can choose to use less popular tags if they are properly targeted inside a specific niche. By all means you can create your own user generated hashtags to build your brand awareness, and for competitions you are running etc.

To get you started, below is a list with some of the most successful Instagram image types.

  • Behind the Scenes Posts: These posts are designed to humanise the brand by offering a glimpse into a part of your business or brand that people don’t normally see.
  • Repost From Employees: Sometimes you don’t need to look any further for great content than your own employees. Reposting great photos from your employees is an easy way to curate authentic content and help humanize your business.
  • Educational Posts: These type of posts offer quick tips on how to do or make something – often related to your product or industry.
  • Influencer Posts: Tap into an expansive audience by piggybacking on the fame of a celebrity or well-known public figure to draw attention to your brand. These posts often include a visual of the influencer using or interacting with your product.
  • Motivational Posts: A motivational post usually combines a simple visual with some kind of uplifting text or quote overlaid on top. They can be a great way to motivate your audience but be careful not to appear cheesy.
  • User Generated Content: User generated content is curated content from your fans and followers. Take a look at your tagged photos or posts using your brand hashtag and consider reposting high-quality images that are particularly positive. Remember to @mention the original poster in the caption as this gives a nice shout-out to the fan showing you care, but also has the benefit or boosting your brand.
  • Special Observances: Join in with relevant fun observances like National Hamburger Day and National Sibling Day to reach a wider audience and tap into potential great engagement. Just ensure the observances are relevant to your brand and not just for the sake of joining in.


5. Setting Up an Editorial Calendar

On average, brands post about six images per week on Instagram which adds up to over 300 posts per year! With that many posts, it can be difficult to keep track of all the content you need to post as well as what you’ve already posted. Instagram does not reward quantity but if you are consistent and able to deliver quality content frequently, your followers will reward you with a higher engagement rate. Creating an editorial calendar is a helpful way to cut down on the amount of time required to manage your Instagram presence and is also a great place to record any key events you want to highlight on your Instagram account such as new product launches, national holidays, special observances or special offers. Ultimately, your content schedule and the frequency of your posting depends on two things your available time/resources and what your audience wants. This is why after the first couple of months, you should look to study your audience and try to find out vital insights such as when to post in order to get the most engagement as this will guide your strategy going forward.


6. Building a Consistent Brand on Instagram

It’s clear when a business on Instagram doesn’t have a consistent brand strategy as their content is random, sporadic and disjointed, which will do nothing but confuse their audience and will likely cause an account to lose followers. To avoid this, it’s important to maintain a consistent brand aesthetic across your Instagram account. To determine what yours looks like, start by thinking about your brand personality. What are your brand values? What’s your brand personality? Are you bold and adventurous with a bright colour palette? Or are you sensible and regal and use a lot of purple in your brand? Ideally, someone should be able to see a picture in their feed and instantly know that it’s from your brand just by looking at the photo.


7. Utilize Paid Advertising

You can create a successful marketing strategy on Instagram without paying for ads but only to a certain point. If you want to be sure of your future success, you need to capitalize on this feature and leverage the opportunities available to you to boost traffic, sales and awareness. It’s important to note that at current, the advertising feature on Instagram is linked with Facebook ads and cannot be used independently. In a nutshell this means, you will have to create a Facebook account as well in order to use them, in case you don’t have one already. Whilst it might appear to be somewhat annoying to have to do this, it’s actually of tremendous benefit to you as Facebook has access to more user data than any other social media or advertising platform. Therefore, you can be assured that you are getting the best ad targeting option available for marketers with great results in the long term.


Here are some top tips for maximising advertising campaigns on Instagram:

  • Use eye-catching images: Ads are not intrusive and are shown in users’ feeds just like any other posts, therefore your ads need to be as attractive and persuasive as your regular posts. This means that you need to focus on great imagery, professionally quality photos and attention-grabbing captions.
  • Target your ads precisely: To maximize your gains from the advertising campaign you must target your ads precisely. This means carefully studying your followers, potential customers and your competition to identify specific segments of your targeted population and deliver your ads to them. The more you can narrow down the pool of potential customers, the better the results will be.


This is an extract from my new book ‘The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses’ Available now on Amazon as a downloadable eBook and Paperback!


50 Low Budget – High Impact Marketing Strategies for Cash Strapped Businesses

It happens to the best of us. Whether you’re a bootstrapped start-up, or an existing business with cash flow issues, at some point or another most businesses will come to need to invest in their marketing tactics to boost their business and get some more business through the door. These fifty inexpensive marketing strategies will help you engage and leverage your customers, build lucrative relationships, and ultimately keep your brand at the top-of-mind when it comes to people searching for the product/service you have to offer.

  • Learn How to Ask for Referrals: You’re much more likely to get something if you ask for it! Don’t just assume your clients will pass along the good word-of-mouth about you. So do you want to get more clients? Get over the fear of asking and force yourself to get in the habit of asking for a referral from every satisfied customer.
  • Learn the Most Likely Places to Find Clients – and go to those places. Think of the obvious places your target audience will be and go to those places to drum up new business in person or simply just leave a stack of your business cards there.
  • Host a Workshop, Event or Class Related to Your Products/Services: People love to learn so classes on topics related to your products and services can bring big gains. Plan an event or class to host, then print out flyers and post them in your local community and areas where target clients will see them. Bulletin boards, libraries, coffee shops, and adult education centres etc.)
  • Create a Brochure: Brochures can be great sales tools as they are relatively cheap, give you some in-hand marketing material when you’re discussing your products or services and also give potential customers who want to think over your pitch to have something to take away with them.
  • Get Free Publicity for Your Business: Do this by involving the media (including social media!) in your big business events such as grand openings, new products launches, moves, or charity events. Don’t have one of these happening in the near future? You can always get involved in someone else’s charity event by becoming a sponsor.
  • Create a Website for Your Small Business: If you don’t already have one, it’s a vital necessity nowadays for a business to have a website. Even if it’s a basic one that simply presents the who, what, where and why of your business at least it gives you a home on the web and a chance of coming up in local search – critical for getting your business found nowadays. There are lots of great website building platforms out there, with WordPress being one of them.
  • Create a Blog for Your Business: Blogging can create a bigger market for your products or services if you share valuable, regular and engaging content consistently. You should also cultivate your blogging community by visiting and commenting on other relevant blogs regularly. (Be smart; pick the ones your customers are likely to be visiting too.)
  • Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan and Implement it: Developing a presence on social media is a great and vital low budget marketing strategy. Download my free eBook that has a great social media strategy template (if I do say so myself!).
  • Spend Money on Social Media Advertising: All the major platforms offer forms of inexpensive advertising, often with incredible targeting options. Learn about Facebook ads and Twitter ads in the above eBook.
  • Become a Radio Guest: Radio can be a very effective way of targeting your potential customers and is a much more inexpensive form of advertising compared to other channels such as television. Get in touch with your local radio for potential deals on airtime ads/interviews.
  • Develop Business Partnerships: Cross-promotion is a great way to tap into a wider audience, cut down on the cost of advertising and can create valuable relationships that benefit all the partners involved. This can be done locally offline through some kind of special event, or online with a webinar or promotional giveaway
  • Send out Promotions with your Invoices: A no-brainer that’s often forgotten! You’re sending out a document anyhow so why not include a promotion?
  • Learn How to Write a Killer Sales Letter: Whether it’s direct mail or email, once you’ve written one, be sure to learn how to maximize the response to your sales letter.
  • Create an Email Newsletter: This gives you a great opportunity to stay in regular contact with your customers, sharing business news, latest offers etc.
  • Join a face-to-face Networking Group: There’s no faster, easier way to make contacts and get known in your local community.
  • Participate in Local Business Trade Fairs: While trade shows are far from easy, they can be one of the most rewarding forms of marketing when approached with the right strategy. Your attendance will be rewarded with rapidly expanding your database of sales leads, meeting and connecting with prospective customers and learning about new developments in your industry.
  • Apply for Business Awards: Getting a business award under your belt is a great way to build credibility and generate positive PR. There’s nothing wrong with a nomination from a friend or even nominating yourself – just make sure you’re entered!
  • Advertise Your Business on Your Vehicle: Be seen whilst you’re out and about by putting a vinyl wrap on your car with your logo, business name and contact detail and/or place a plastic business card holder on the side of your vehicle.
  • Pamper Your Existing Customer: Make sure you’re not neglecting the people who already know and trust you, as typically it’s five times as expensive to make a sale to a new customer as it is to an existing one. For example you could take your best customers out to dinner using the opportunity to ask them about how to improve your business or write to your customers to reward them with exclusive benefits such as a new loyalty program or an invite to sneak preview your latest product.
  • Utilize Your Business Setting: Your building and surrounding land or sidewalk are great places to put up signs and banners.
  • Push For PR: A media story is much more valuable than an advertisement because of the credibility it gives your business. Journalists’ are looking for a compelling story to tell so help them by letting them know about an interesting story of yours involving an innovative product, unusual customer contact or gamble that paid off.
  • Turn Employees into Ambassadors: Your employees are part of the community and have all sorts of contacts that could help you so thing of ways you can keep them motivated and utilize them.
  • Give Back: Channel into your inner good by sponsoring your local lads football team or having a charity collection jar by the cash register. You’ll feel good by doing your bit for the community but will also benefit by generating goodwill with customers. As an example for less than the cost of a 1/4 page ad in a local paper, you can buy team uniforms for your local sports teams and not only will you get the team, and their friends, family and fans attention but it will show a very wide audience that your business is a genuine part of the local community.
  • Create Instructional Videos: Video content is really valuable, but it needn’t be costly to get quality YouTube videos produced. You can research the plenty of guides out there to help, or you can get others involved on a budget by using sites such as Fiverr.
  • Get Ad Promo Credits: Big ad campaigns may be out of your budget but there are often discounts and coupons floating around out there for paid Facebook Ads or Google ads.
  • Create DIY Infographics: Infographics are very powerful marketing tools as they’re visually appealing, easy to digest, and people love to share them. All in all they’re a great way to drive up referral traffic and links. There are plenty of free vector kits out there for Adobe Illustrator. Check out Visual.ly for inspiration, they have many examples for you to browse through.
  • Recycle Your Content: Breathe life into your old content by turning them into new creations! For example, you could turn a collection of blog posts into an eBook.
  • Develop a Customer Referral Program: Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, so encourage your existing customers to spread the word by offering a free product, free month of service, or some other reward for referring new customers.
  • Hold a Contest: Contests are an inexpensive, effortless and exciting way to grow your business and increase online engagement as you often only need to worry about the costs of monitoring the contest and prizes.
  • Guerilla Marketing: An advertisement strategy designed for businesses to emphasise the creativity and promote their products or services in an unconventional way with little budget to spend. Take a look at these successful examples.
  • Business Card Draw: This simply idea involves you putting a big glass bowl at your place of business with a sign asking visitors to drop their business cards in for a chance to win something. At the end of the month when you’ve collected loads of business cards, you draw a winner. The real winner here is you however as there’s no reason those other business cards you’ve collected have to go to waste! Use the email addresses provided to let users know that while they haven’t won this time, they are more than welcome to join your mailing list, which will notify them of future giveaways and special offers.
  • Email Marketing: A great way to get new visitors engaged with your business and maintain relationships with your existing customers. The key to success is to get new website visitors to sign up for your newsletter by offering a bonus content piece for subscribing (e.g. free ebook) then slowly nurture your subscribers via email until they are ready to become paying customers. MailChimp is a great free email marketing service.
  • Give Away Balloons at Local Events: For a few hundred quid you can rent a helium tank and get a few hundred custom balloons printed with your business name. This is great as a summer imitative at a fair or community event as you’ll have a bunch of happy people marching around with your brand floating above their heads.
  • List Your Company on Google Maps/Google My Business: Google Maps/Local presence is important for many reasons as It directs customers to your establishment when they are in the area, and your business typically appears higher in Google search rankings.
  • Use Google Products: Google has provided businesses with a toolbox of marketing goodies (Analytics, Google+, Google my Business etc.) that will only help your business grow. By following their terms of service and best practices, you can help your business gain recognition.
  • Learn From What Your Competitors Do: It’s important to look at what your competitors are doing as you can get a good sense of how they have become successful, and where they are lacking in their marketing efforts. Both of which you can apply to your own efforts.
  • Revisit Your Landing Pages: Landing page design can have a huge impact on your conversion rates. If you’re doing any kind of advertising or email marketing, your landing pages are where people who are interested in your offerings decide to “convert” into a lead or a customer or not so you need to regularly update and maximise them to make sure they are fit for purpose.
  • Make Reporters Come to You: Instead of always sending boring pitching reports with story ideas, go straight to the horse’s mouth and schedule a coffee meeting with the local relevant reporters in your market. Start the conversation by genuinely attempting to make their lives easier without trying to sell them your story and you will become a valuable resource.
  • Freebies: Everyone loves a freebie and there are many ways to produce freebies that cost next to nothing. For example: a free eBook on a topic of your expertise, small samples of your product, or discount coupons people can obtain in exchange for their email address.
  • Be Active in Forums: Join discussion forums where people are actively talking about products and services like yours, topics in your industry, and businesses relevant to your brand. This will help spread the word about your expertise, gain credibility in your industry, and build your network.
  • Get on Online Directories: This is one of the most efficient and inexpensive forms of marketing your brand. Many of these directories are free to register, and enable users searching for your products and services to quickly find you.
  • Give a Speech: Many organizations are actively looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups. Get over your fear of public speaking, think of the benefits and volunteer. You don’t have to be a pro as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. Make it easy for people to associate you and your business with expertise in your field.
  • Be Generous: To keep customers loyal to you, don’t make the mistake of thinking that promotional items are only for conferences and tradeshows. Send your customers small “surprise” gifts as they always work to instil loyalty and retention. They don’t have to be expensive, consider items such as tea bags, pens and pads, small flashlights or things very target specific to your industry, like small packets of flower seeds for a gardener.
  • Team up With Larger Firms in the Industry: Find larger companies, or more experienced businesses and invite them to lunch with the intention of asking them to consider referring their smaller cases or business they don’t have time to handle, to you. With every successful referral they give you remember to send them a genuine thank you. This will help you easily build your customer or client base.
  • Feed Them!: Anything involving free food gets attention. Partner up with local businesses and a restaurant/ Café to throw a special event, complete with free food. Combining your database with other businesses will expose you to an entirely different segment of people for a fraction of the price.
  • Write For A Trade Magazine: If you want to get people’s attention and have them call you, there’s nothing like writing an article for a trade or local magazine to gain credibility and get the exposure you want. Demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as the go-to person for your product or service with this service and it will make you appear credible because a recognised publication is publishing your content.
  • Write A Book: The status of being a published author provides you with unprecedented access to media, speaking gigs, and other opportunities like nothing else can and the best part is that it costs nothing other than your time.
  • Online Reviews: Online reviews are a critical component of your business’ reputation and can do wonders for converting new customers. Let your fans review your business, then incorporate their reviews in your blog post, on your website, promote them on social media and anywhere else that is relevant and will be seen.
  • Host Educational Events: Partner with businesses that target the same audience as you to host “educational” events. Split the cost and the work that goes into creating the event, including inviting prospects and clients. It’s a cost-effective way to market to the other firms’ clients, to prospects, and to build a relationship with these other partners in order to gain future referrals.
  • Join in on Weekly Hashtag Hours like #ThrowbackThursday: To build your social media following, you need to be an active participant in the community. A great way to get your content seen by many eyes is to join in on a relevant fun weekly social media hour that already has a loyal audience. There’s a hashtag for almost anything, check which ones you could join in with here.
  • Go Back to Basics: In an online age, there’s still something to be said for going back to basics and conducting some ‘real life’ marketing. For example you can go old school with flyers and poster in local cafes etc.