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 think 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.


BONUS! If it’s social media marketing you need help with there are many ways I can help you for free, take a look at this! Or if you can spare 8 quid then my new book is filled with more social media tips than you can shake a stick at!


Powerful Call to Action Phrases You NEED to Use in Your Social Media Content!

Having thousands Facebook Likes or Instagram followers is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if those followers never take any action. Whether it’s a tweet, blog title or text in your ad, every word you share in an update needs to inspire people to do something beyond just reading it. Words are very powerful and for social media to be a successful addition to your marketing strategy you must learn how to right copy that converts!

What Does a Call to Action Mean?

A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It might be signing up for your email list, buying a product, investing in a service, or following you on social media.

Call-to-Action Statistics

  • Almost 90 percent of website visitors read headlines and CTA copy. Many of them don’t read anything else.
  • Full-screen CTAs, such as exit popups you create through Hello Bar, perform better than any other position for CTAs (up to 25 percent conversion rate).
  • Color can make a huge difference in whether or not people click on CTAs.
  • More than 90% of visitors who read your headline also read your CTA copy. (Unbounce)
  • Emails with a single call-to-action increased clicks 371% and sales 1617%. (WordStream)
  • Adding CTAs to your Facebook page can increase click-through rate by 285%. (AdRoll)
  • By forcing visitors to watch an informational video on their services before presenting a CTA, Kimberly Snyder increased conversions by 144%. (QuickSprout)
  • For KISSmetrics, a CTA within a video gets 380% more clicks than their normal sidebar CTAs. (QuickSprout)

CTA Phrases to Persuade

If your intent is to persuade people to choose your product/service, here are several phrases to try incorporating into your call to action:

  • “Try it free now” or “Start your free trial now” Everyone loves a freebie. This CTA is good because instead of straight up asking a prospect to hand over money for your product/service, you’re offering a free ‘test drive.’
  • “Join now and get…” Here you’re simply asking your audience to reply to your message to get something of value in return. It could be an e-book, a free sample, or a template, just make sure it’s relevant to your audience.
  • “Start now to get…” or “Your Journey to X Starts here” or “Start now” infers to your prospect that they are about to begin an exciting process — with the rest of the CTA telling the user how he or she will benefit.
  • “Talk to an expert now” This is a great CTA to use for an online chat opportunity or when you want the prospect to call. Telling your prospect that you are a team of experts, will automatically make them feel safer in your hands.
  • “Learn more about us at…” Prospects at the top of the sales funnel are collecting information, learning about brands and your industry without knowing exactly what they want yet. Using a CTA that invites people to learn more about your business can be extremely effective at building brand awareness. When prospects decide they’re ready to buy, they’ll have your business name at the top of their mind.
  • “Please don’t hesitate to call us” Let your customers know you don’t mind talking to them over the phone. These types of CTA’s belong on every page of your site.
  • “Order now and receive a free gift” If you can tempt prospects with a free gift, they’re more likely to buy the original product. The free gift on offer doesn’t have to be physical, it could be a discount off a future purchase or a downloadable template for example.
  • “Get yours now” A personable CTA subtly telling the consumer that you want him or her to have something valuable — something other people might want.
  • “Request your FREE quote today” Giving a free quote costs nothing but time to you, but once you have the prospect communicating with you it may just turn to a sale!
  • “Click here to get free shipping” Use this popular CTA to overcome one of the chief barriers to buying products online – shipping costs!
  • “Money-Back Guarantee offer here” When you offer a money-back guarantee, consumers feel more confident trying out your product or service.
  • Activate X Today! Using a CTA like this one puts the prospect in the driver’s seat and motivates them to act. These call to actions work well if you’re offering a discount on products or a free demo of your service.

CTA Phrases to Create a Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency encourages customers to act now instead of holding off making the purchase. Here are some effective call to action phrases that you should consider using as the sooner you can get people to take action, the better!

  • “Download here immediately.” Or “Download here right now” Strong adjectives promote urgency and encourage click-throughs.
  • “Act quickly or you might lose it” Loss-aversion is a common psychological principle that is proven to work! Get the point across that if they don’t act now, they might lose something valuable.
  • “Reserve your spot now” Same principle as above! Tell your prospects that if they don’t sign up and reserve their spots, they run the risk of leaving it too late.
  • “Order now while there’s still time!” Urgency is often a key element in effective call-to-action phrases. Subtly pressure consumers into acting now rather than waiting until the opportunity passes them by.
  • “In a hurry? Call…” Call-to-action phrases like this one let the consumer know that you’re willing to respond to their needs right away. A perfect CTA to use if you offer out-of-hours or emergency services.
  • “It’s very important that you respond promptly” With this CTA you’re telling the prospect that if they don’t respond right away then they might lose out on something good.
  • “Offer expires very soon” A powerful, snappy CTA that clearly states there’s an offer on the table, but if you don’t snap it up, you’ll miss out.
  • “For a short time only” This CTA is popular during sales or clearances. It’s clearly stating that here is a chance to buy a limited-edition product, take advantage of a big discount, or get some other benefit. But only if you act now.
  • “Limited availability” a great CTA as it creates urgency and infers your product is highly popular. A win-win for you as it serves as a form of social proof as well as an incentive to act quickly.
  • “Expires at midnight tonight” It gives a definitely end point to the sale, so your prospects know they have to act quickly as the clock is ticking.

CTA Phrases to Imply Exclusivity

A very effective way to make people act is to imply exclusivity with whatever you’re offering. Try these phrases out to get people taking action and jumping at the chance to be a part of your product or service to not get left out of the group.

  • “I invite you to…” Everyone needs to feel wanted and special —foster that sense of belonging by giving the impression that you’re personally inviting your prospect to do what you want.
  • “Join X Other [Category] as Subscribers to My Email List” A great CTA for social proof. This CTA comes in many forms for example “Become one of the X people who subscribe to my emails.” Or “Join the club! Over X request my emails. You could, too!”
  • Request an invitation”
  • “Members Only”
  • “Only available to X”
  • “Pre-register/Pre-order”
  • “Exclusive access”

This is an excerpt from my book ‘The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive, Jargon-Free Guide to Social Media Marketing For Those Who Just Don’t ‘Get it’!’ – Available now on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback!

How an Accountancy Practice Can Utilise Social Media: A Complete Guide

In today’s digitally driven world, properly utilizing social media is necessary for those who want to remain relevant and competitive—and that includes accounting businesses. With so many opportunities for growth and relationship-building, social media, if done right, provides a unique platform for long-term marketing success.

As we all know, social media has changed the way we receive and exchange information—it’s the new word-of-mouth marketing and it’s how your prospects and clients network. Just as emerging technology changes your daily workflow, it also impacts the way you interact with prospective and existing clients. Your social presence, or lack thereof, can be critical to your businesses continuity. Today’s conversations, research and buying decisions take place online. This means social media is no longer optional as a communication channel—it’s essential.

Many Accountants embrace social media and use it as a means to communicate and promote their services, share informative and valuable expertise and to encourage conversations and nurture relationships. Moreover, an accountant’s presence on social media platforms comes not only from its own online activity, but also from everyday visitors and clients past and present who share content and express their opinions and experiences on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

These ‘big three’ are by in large the most popular social media platforms being used by accountants, as each brings a unique element to the social media marketing mix that, when combined, makes for a powerful strategy.

  • Facebook is probably the first platform you think of when social media is mentioned, it’s fun and friendly but has an increasingly serious business purpose. It’s a great place to show your firm’s personality and reach out to prospects.
  • LinkedIn was created specifically with business and employment in mind, it is the professional, ‘grown-up’ face of social media. The hundreds of millions of profiles include business leaders and decision makers, which make it the most extensive networking platform ever.
  • Twitter is broad spectrum, everyone from POTUS to the Pope has a handle. The limited characters needn’t limit your message, it ensures you keep things to-the-point but by using links to interesting articles, blogs, stories it’s easy to share much more than the time of day.

For those businesses that handle their social media channels well, they benefit from being able to;

  • Share positive experiences with others
  • Keep the brand in the minds of customers and prospects, thanks to repeated exposure
  • Talk to customers about their needs – which helps grow the business
  • Expose marketing messages to new prospects.

Having said all this and shown the benefits accountants performing strongly on social media enjoy, even more so fall into the common pit-fall of irregularly posting a handful of self-serving social media updates that link back to their website “about page”, or a blog that holds the same information as other people in the industry, which does not differentiate them in the market place, nor position them as a trusted advisor. In basic terms, a lack of social and content strategy means a failure on their part to fully engage with this mass audience that’s waiting to be talked too and advised – and start reaping the benefits to be had in doing so. This is unfortunate for those businesses, but great news for yours who are looking to take a more proactive approach to social media marketing as you can learn from competitor mistakes and make your name come to mind first when a potential client searches online for ‘Accountant.’

When it comes to a strategy, an accountancy will be best served by implementing a robust and consistent content plan that allows them to promote their activities and business news and become an industry thought leader by sharing valuable, informative contributions and insights that will engage and provide advice to their audience.

What do your clients care about? Accounting probably isn’t too high on their list but personal money management, small business ownership and how changes to legislation will affect their family or business are several of many ‘pain points’ of your ideal client. So whilst sharing a blog post about de-stressing for the self-employed or a news article on “Small Business Saturday” doesn’t directly bring new clients in, your followers will recognize and appreciate that you care about their “big picture.”

Engaging with your followers in this way enables you to uncover their pains or issues they may be experiencing and directly post content that provides a solution to it, helping you  cut through bland and uninspiring social media updates of competitors and attract your ideal client.

Facebook

Where Facebook can really be leveraged for an accountancy is within the use of its extensive potential for user engagement. With over one billion active users, it is likely that many of your clients and competitors may already be there. It is compatible with any type of multimedia content meaning you can post videos, photos, and links to external content, allowing it to enhance and support your other online marketing efforts e.g. blog posts. In addition to this, the robust advertising options offered by Facebook are a brilliant tool to leverage to ensure content is directly seen by a highly targeted audience of your choosing.

PurposeKey Metrics
 

§  Generate Engagement

§  Increase Brand Awareness

§  Generate Leads and Sales

§  Strengthen Customer Service

 

 Likes

Reach

Conversion

Engagement

Twitter

Where Twitter can really be leveraged for an accountancy is within its use as a real-time public information network that gives your business greater exposure in web search results and makes it easy to build a community of potential customers who are there to discover and share interesting content. Twitter can also benefit an accountancy through the use of both creating and joining in with existing Hashtags. Twitter Hashtags categorize topics and discussions so users can quickly and easily connect with businesses and individuals with a common interest. In addition, they can also be used as keywords to help easily find and connect with your target audience.

PurposeKey Metrics
 

§  Increase Engagement

§  Establish Network

§  Increase Brand Awareness

§  Strengthen Customer Service

 

 

§  Follower Quality and Growth

§  Brand Mentions

§  Retweets, Replies and Lists

§  Reach

§  Conversion Rate

Blog

Where Blogging can be really utilized for an accountancy is its use in improving search engine rankings and boosting industry perception placing you as an authority in your sector.  By regularly updating your corporate Blog with valuable, interesting and relevant industry analysis and comment, it shows that you have a deep interest in your sector and are more informed than the average participant; giving potential clients a compelling reason to choose you over competitors.

PurposeKey Metrics
§  Increase Engagement

§  Increase SEO

§  Establish Authority

§  Generate Brand Awareness

 

 

§  Reach

§  Engagement

§  Authority Share – Cites and References

§  Audience Growth

§  Conversion Rate

§  Subscribers

§  SEO Improvements

Example Blog Post Titles

  • End of Tax Year Changes 5th April 2018 – What You Should Be Aware Of
  • Ultimate Business Guide to Tax Rates, Thresholds, and Allowances for 2018/19
  • Self Assessment: What happens if I miss the deadline? And other Common Questions – Answered!
  • Want to become self-employed? 5 Top things to consider before you make the move to work for yourself.

LinkedIn

Where LinkedIn can really be leveraged for an accountancy is within the ability to demonstrate expertise and show yourself as an authority within your sector. Furthermore, it can be utilised as an avenue to promote career opportunities, general company news and updates, raise brand awareness and as a resourceful knowledge base where you can learn, discuss and stay on top of industry news as well as connect with other professionals in your industry.

PurposeKey Metrics
 

§  Increase Brand Awareness

§  Generate Leads and Sales

§  Connections and Networking

§  Increase Authority

 

 

§  Number of Business Leads

§  Performance of Updates

§  Engagement Rate

§  Follower Demographics

YouTube

Where YouTube can really be leveraged for an accountancy is by recognising that with the power of video, YouTube’s massive audience, and AdWords’ targeting tools, you have the ability to reach new customers easily with a great resource that not only improves search engine rankings, but by providing informational and entertaining videos you can help spread your message and allow others to get to know your brand better and in a positive light.

PurposeKey Metrics
§  Increase Brand Awareness

§  Generate Leads and Sales

§  Improve SEO

 

 

§  Video Views

§  Engagement

§  Significant Discovery Events

§  Audience Demographics

§  Video Engagement

§  Audience Retention

§  Video Shares

§  Subscriber Rates

 

Example Content and Activity

Activity (Minimum Suggested Amount)Content
1x Weekly Blog Posts 

 

Post blog post on a specified day in the week

Promote the latest post regularly across other social media platforms

Daily monitoring of blog, responding to any comments and interactions

 

5x Daily Tweets

 

Go through and find relevant influencers/ local businesses etc. to follow.

Search for and utilise any relevant trending hashtags.

Respond to questions and general interaction from followers.

Relevant retweets of positive brand mentions, customer reviews/photos and local news and events.

Go through and unfollow inactive/unnecessary accounts (if applicable).

 

 

1x Daily Facebook Post/ LinkedIn Post

 

Daily look for relevant influencers/ business pages etc. to like and interact with.

 

Respond to questions and general interaction from fans.

 

Sharing of any relevant and interesting items – positive brand mentions, customer reviews/photos, local news and events etc.

§  Update Audience on General Business News/Developments

 

§  General Content from the Website repurposed for Social Media

 

e.g. Claiming back money spent is a big perk of being self-employed – but you can’t just claim anything and everything. Check out our handy guide to Claiming Business Expenses in our latest blog post [Insert Blog Post]

 

e.g Confused by the ‘Making Tax Digital’ Plan HMRC have implemented? Our approachable team of specialists can help you understand how this government plan will transform how businesses and people pay tax. Call us today to arrange a no-obligation meeting.

 

§  Content (Both original and shared from news sources] about the Areas/Locations You Work in

 

§  Customer Testimonials

 

e.g. We’re hugely grateful to have recently received this wonderful five-star review for our accountancy services [Insert Testimonial]

 

Find out how we can help you by arranging a free no-obligation meeting with us! [Insert Website Contant Link]

 

§  General Facts, Tips and Information surrounding the Industry

 

§  General Industry news and events that are interesting/relevant

 

e.g. Self-employed stress relief: how to keep calm and freelance on via @AXAUK [https://www.axa.co.uk/insurance/business/business-guardian-angel/self-employed-stress-busters/]

 

e.g. Why 2018 is the perfect time to start a business in the UK [https://startups.co.uk/start-uk-business-now]

 

§  Engaging Industry Related Questions

 

e.g. Fill in the Blank: The best thing about being self-employed is _____

 

 

§  Any Special Promotions, Offers, Events you are Doing/Hosting/Helping

 

§  Competitions

 

 

§  Give Peaks of Behind-the-Scenes Business Activities –Sneak Peeks of Future Work, Something Interesting in the General Work Day

 

§  General Useful Information – any special ways of doing things? Any events coverage? Have you featured in the press recently?

 

e.g. Has your business ever played a role in a client’s success story? If you have a client with a particularly inspiring rags-to-riches story or a wildly successful business venture, see if he or she would be interested in being featured on your social media page(s).

 

§  Job Postings/Opportunities

 


Given the huge popularity of social media marketing, there’s no better time to start planning your social media strategy! Take some time to learn about the major platforms you should be on, take advantage of social media management apps and tools, get a good look at your audience and learn all about them, then just jump in and go for it! Remember to be you, build trust and show off your expertise.

How to Effectively Incorporate Social Media into Your Website

There is no one-size-fits all approach to integrating social media into your website: however, a combination of the following strategies are sure fire ways for any eCommerce brand to really start leveraging the power of the social sphere.


Homepage Feeds

Homepage social feeds represent an incredibly powerful means of bringing your product to life on-site. Such feeds can help your site feel more human and less like a sales pitch. If you decide to integrate a social feed into your website, keep in mind that you need to ensure that your feed only contains high-quality images and content worthy of your homepage versus unrelated selfies or advertisements. Feeds are a form of social proof, arguably the most important psychological trigger when it comes to drawing in new customers.


Social Buttons

Social buttons are an absolute must do for any brand, this is especially true in today’s world where customers are spending a bulk of their time on Facebook versus on-site, it’s incredibly important that you make following your business via social a one-click process versus forcing followers to try and find you. You can also use social media buttons on your website to increase sales: such buttons can promote your brand’s social media channels as a way for visitors to hear about contests or promotions you may be running. Regardless of where you place your buttons, you should keep the following in mind before rolling them out:

  • Make sure that your buttons mesh with your site’s layout and colour scheme.
  • Only highlight the social platforms that you’re active on: if you’re only active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for example, don’t bother linking to your dead Pinterest page.

Hashtags

There’s perhaps no easier way to encourage social sharing than by creating a hashtag. Not unlike social buttons, hashtags can be implemented throughout your brand’s visual content to provide customers with a hub of discussion and sharing for your brand and its products. Beyond coming up with something unique, keep the following in mind as well:

  • Keep your hashtag short and sweet (the ideal hashtag length is said to be under 11 characters)
  • Be prepared to curate your hashtag in order to avoid spam or potentially irrelevant images
  • Pick something that you can use for the long-haul: the more you use your hashtag throughout your marketing, the more likely it is to catch on.

Product Pages

Social media represents the modern word of mouth: buyers want to show off and share to others about their purchases. To feed into your customers’ needs to share, ensure that you have social sharing enabled on your product pages. Be careful however as it’s crucial that the social buttons on your product pages should not interrupt the buying process, but rather provide a way for customers to receive one-click feedback on their next purchase. Keep the following principles in mind as a means of optimizing your products for shares:

  • Do not use the same social buttons on your homepage and product pages: your product buttons should be smaller and stylized differently.
  • Only offer sharing to the social networks where it makes sense: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are much better than somewhere such as LinkedIn.
  • Make sure that your plugin captures your product’s image and description appropriately as it’s shared
  • Don’t forget about the importance of your customers’ experience once they’ve landed. Give them a chance to share their experience in the buying process: you may be surprised at how many of them are more than happy to sing your praises.

Social Sign Ins

Did you know that 73% of users prefer to log in to a site with social login, as opposed to providing an email address and creating a new account?  Improve your website visitors’ experience with social login and increase your website registration conversions and retention. The benefit of social sign-ins are two-fold: visitors can browse your site without the annoyance of creating a new account and they can comment on your blog with ease.


Include Share Buttons

If you sell a product or run a full-fledged eCommerce site and you haven’t added share buttons to your product pages, you are missing out on a whole host of potential social impressions. Share buttons should enable website-goers to seamlessly share or recommend a product. Two broad tools that can help with this are AddThis and ShareThis. Both provide efficient and easy-to-use solutions for social media sharing across eCommerce sites with the added benefit of analytics to see how the content is getting shared.


Social Proof

With 79% of consumers trusting social proof as much as personal recommendations, it’s important you integrate the proper social widgets on your website to increase sales and website conversions. One way to do this is to use one of Facebook’s social widgets, such as the “Like Box”. This feature shows your visitors that you’re a credible source, their friends also like your Facebook page, and that you’re a legitimate product or brand. As an added bonus you’ll also be able to increase your Facebook likes with this social media integration.


Making Social Part of the Retail Experience

There are many other ways to integrate social media to improve conversions, streamline customer services and drive repeat business and referrals.

  • Improve your post-purchase page with a range of social cues (i.e. Share your purchase) to enhance the customer experience, and to spread the word about your business.
  • Add a simple sharing section which allows a user to send a tweet or a Facebook status with a link to the product they just bought.
  • The post-purchase page can also include quick links to your social media channels, email newsletter and links to access customer services too. This is also the place, as well as in order communications, to share any referral discounts you offer for customers who share with their friends.

Reviews and Ratings

Social customer service is just as important as other functions like contact forms, call centers and live chat, so make sure you offer a good service that customers can access. Reviews help reassure customers, improve SEO and encourage repeat business. Linking social sign-in to your reviews set up will more than likely lead to more reviews from customers, as it just makes everything easier and more streamline. Make your social customer service easy and obvious to access by displaying it prominently on your help pages.


This is an excerpt from my book ‘The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive, Jargon-Free Guide to Social Media Marketing For Those Who Just Don’t ‘Get it’!’ – Available now on Amazon in Kindle or Paperback!


How a Health & Beauty Salon Can Utilise Social Media: A Complete Guide

In today’s digitally driven world, properly utilizing social media is necessary for those who want to remain relevant and competitive—and that includes Hair and Beauty Salons. With so many opportunities for growth and relationship-building, social media, if done right, provides a unique platform for long-term marketing success.

As we all know, social media has changed the way we receive and exchange information—it’s the new word-of-mouth marketing and it’s how your prospects and clients network. Just as emerging technology changes your daily workflow, it also impacts the way you interact with prospective and existing clients. Your social presence, or lack thereof, can be critical to your businesses continuity. Today’s conversations, research and buying decisions take place online. This means social media is no longer optional as a communication channel—it’s essential.

Social media is a great way to engage with your current and potential customers, spread more awareness about your services, and create brand loyalty among customers by reinforcing what makes your salon unique. We live in an image-crazy digital world where people like to see an image rather than words. Someone looking for a new hairstyle or set of nails, would like to see a) a choice of what to choose from and b) what YOU can do. This is your chance to shine. This is your chance to promote your business in a creative and inspirational way as to attract new clients and to prove what you are capable of.


Why is social media for hair and beauty salons so important?

  • Showcase your achievements
  • Promote your team
  • Engage with individuals
  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Increase online sales and enquiries
  • Reach more potential clients
  • Stand out from the crowd

With the increasing use of social media in every industry, it’s crucial that businesses know how to connect with customers and use platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in a way that customers will enjoy and that will benefit your business.

A powerful and successful social media presence could easily be made by implementing a robust and consistent content strategy that allows you to promote your activities and business news, generate engagement and a sense of community and become an industry leader by sharing valuable, informative contributions and insights that will engage, evoke interest and provide advice to your audience.


There are many examples of rich content that could be utilized!

  • Introduction to what’s involved with each specific manicure and pedicure service.
  • Tips for choosing nails for your personality, body type, age, etc.
  • Detailed descriptions about beauty service options
  • Hand, foot, and nail maintenance tips.
  • Matching nail types to events.
  • How to discuss your nail preferences with your salon artist.
  • Strategies for interesting nails, including stencils.
  • Nail color choices or polish information.
  • Post about beauty in general including tips and tricks
  • Share customer stories of transformations with a human angle and life improvements
  • Post personal stories of the staff and show the human face of your brand
  • Before and after photos of transformations
  • New products that you use and your recommendations if any
  • Thank you images to thank customers for giving you their trust and their business
  • Contests where your followers and customers can participate to get exclusive deals or coupons
  • Upcoming events in your salon
  • Upcoming events in your local community
  • Lifestyle related photos

Facebook

Where Facebook can really be leveraged for your Hair and Beauty Salon is within the use of its extensive potential for user engagement. With over one billion active users, it is likely that many of your clients and competitors may already be there. Facebook provides the perfect way for you to share your services, post photos of your unique nail art or create contests or giveaways to promote brand loyalty and spread awareness of your brand. It is compatible with any type of multimedia content meaning you can post videos, photos, and links to external content, allowing it to enhance and support your other online marketing efforts e.g. blog posts. In addition to this, the robust advertising options offered by Facebook are a brilliant tool to leverage to ensure content is directly seen by a highly targeted audience of your choosing.

Facebook Strategy

  • Write relevant posts that engage consumers: Write posts that customers want to respond to and will enjoy giving their opinion on. An example of this would be to ask questions like “Summer has officially begun! What will be your summer haircut of choice?” This type of conversation starter is relevant, personalized, and something that majority of salon-goers would enjoy discussing.
  • Post pictures, and lots of them: One of the best ways businesses can use Facebook is as a visual medium. Your salon should be showcasing the work that it is most proud of. Whether that be fun holiday-themed manicures or gorgeous bridal party hairstyles, pictures provide an outlet to show what you can do.
  • Treat your Facebook Page as a miniature website: When customers arrive on your Facebook page they should be able to find all of the information they may be looking for. Use the various Facebook tabs to show your salon locations, services, photos and reviews.
  • Provide Facebook Fans with exclusive deals: When Liking a business on Facebook, customers like to feel as though they’re getting something special in return. You can entice them to like you on Facebook by offering 10% off their next visit or by sharing the Page on Facebook to receive a gift with their next purchase. In addition, you can provide discounts to Facebook Fans which are only redeemable by mentioning the specific Facebook Ad.
  • Target your Ads: Use Facebook Ads to their full ability through targeting. You may want to only target people located close to your salon, or those who like related Facebook Pages.
PurposeKey Metrics
Generate Engagement

Increase Brand Awareness

Generate Leads and Sales

Strengthen Customer Service

Likes

Reach

Conversion

Engagement


Twitter

Where Twitter can really be leveraged for your Hair and Beauty Salon is within its use as a real-time public information network that gives your business greater exposure in web search results and makes it easy to build a community of potential customers who are there to discover and share interesting content. Twitter can also benefit your Hair and Beauty Salon through the use of both creating and joining in with existing Hashtags. Twitter Hashtags categorize topics and discussions so users can quickly and easily connect with businesses and individuals with a common interest. In addition they can also be used as keywords to help easily find and connect with your target audience.

Twitter Strategy

  • Use Twitter as an information source about your services: Post information about a specific service with a link to your website where customers can get more information. This is a great place to promote any training courses you offer to salons and clients.
  • Offers for Retweets: Twitter is a great platform for sharing as a simple Retweet from one of your Followers can generate you plenty of referrals. Offer incentives for Retweets such as “SNS dipping powders are formulated to build the health and strength of the natural nail. Odorless, fast-drying, and Long lasting! What colour would you choose for Summer? Receive £10 off you next visit by retweeting this post!”
  • Provide Group Deals: Salons are also a social place where people go to relax, enjoy, and feel good about themselves, so Twitter is a great way to engage with multiple people at once. An example would be to offer “Come in this weekend with 2 or more girlfriends and receive 20% off each on manicures, pedicures or a colour change just by showing this tweet!”
  • Use Twitter hashtags: Twitter is where hashtags were originally created, so use them on Twitter as well as Instagram. Insert hashtags at the end of updates, as a way to make contest posts unique or to tag a specific geographic location.
  • Share Articles on Twitter Related to your Salon: Use Twitter to share articles or interesting facts or stories in relation to your hair, nail or beauty salon. Customers who are following you on Twitter are interested in what you have to say and likely want your advice when it comes to their beauty or hair care.
PurposeKey Metrics
Increase Engagement

Establish Network

Increase Brand Awareness

Strengthen Customer Service

 

Follower Quality and Growth

Brand Mentions

Retweets, Replies and Lists

Reach

Conversion Rate


Instagram

Where Instagram can really be leveraged for your Hair and Beauty Salon is within the use as an online portfolio to help drive brand awareness and sales. By showcasing products through interesting, exclusive and high-quality imagery, you will be able to give potential customers a shopping experience that can influence purchase behaviour.

Instagram Strategy

  • Stay on trend: Use trending hashtags to draw more users to your Instagram profile and to find out about your salon. An example would be to use #happyeaster as one hashtag to gain more views while showing a picture of a holiday themed manicure and showcasing the salon’s services.
  • Use geography to your advantage: Use hashtags to point out your location. That way future customers looking for a salon nearby may stumble upon your photo and your salon.
  • Use before and after pictures to showcase your stylists’ talent: Reviews and testimonials don’t need to just be a text post when it comes to social media. Use Instagram to show results in your salon. Before and after pictures show transformation and can grab users’ attention.
  • Be fun and quirky: Instagram users tend to be young and on trend, and enjoy fun, quirky posts in addition to just product or service-related posts. Once in a while a feel good post can engage your customers and you can use specific quotes or pictures that you feel defines your brand.
  • Do exclusive Instagram contests: Hold photo contests among your Followers, such as “Post a picture of your new summer manicure with the hashtag (such as #ILoveMy[Insert Business Name]Nails!) and be entered to win your next manicure for free!” These engage customers and are easy for customers to participate in by simply uploading a picture and including the proper hashtag.
  • Provide incentives for Instagram word-of-mouth: Provide incentives for customers to upload a picture of what they had done at your salon such as “Have a new hairstyle or cut from [insert business name] that you just love? Upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #ILoveMy[business name]Hair and receive 10% off your next visit.”
PurposeKey Metrics
Increase Brand Awareness

Engagement with visual assets

Showcase products

Showcase company culture

Showcase marketing events

Link back to website, blog, and other content assets

 

Referral traffic

Shares and comments

View of photos

Page rankings on key terms from photo sharing sites

Product purchasing and lead generation

 

How to Create a Great LinkedIn Personal Profile

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional online network, with over 500 million active users spanning more than 200 countries. The network is primarily centred on careers and network building and is highly popular with business-to-business users. It enables users to connect and share content with other professionals, including colleagues as well as potential employers, business partners, and new employees. It is also beneficial for those looking to share and discover industry news and knowledge and for those looking for jobs.


The Profile Summary

The summary area of your LinkedIn Profile constitutes the most important part of the entire page because it is the first thing readers’ scan after reading your name and tagline. For this reason your summary must be compelling. Here are some suggestions that will improve your summary:

  • Write it in the first person ‘I am’ etc. as it shows an authenticity that you miss out on when writing in the third person.
  • Write your Summary in the Who / What / Goals format. Clearly stating who you are, what you do with the final section providing information about your professional goals and aspirations.
  • Read your summary and keep asking yourself ‘so what?’ as this will help you to pin point areas for improvement.

Optimise your Profile for SEO Benefit

Suggestions for optimising your LinkedIn Profile for SEO benefit include:

  • Customise the URL for your public profile
  • Embed keywords strategically throughout your profile
  • Try to list up to the maximum of three links in the billboard area (e.g., your business website, your personal website, your blog). When entering the anchor text for the hyperlink, embed as many of your keywords as possible.

Fill Out Every Section Fully

  • Emphasize Your Professional Skills LinkedIn showcases your top 10 skills based on endorsements so people know where you excel. Make sure you fully optimize and fill out as many specific keywords you can to help you get quick endorsements from your connections for those skills.
  • Promote Your Projects Promote and highlight your products, services and projects in the Projects section. Directly link each project to your website and include team members when applicable.
  • Link to Your Publications The Publications section is perfect if you’re an author, regular contributor to top publications, have eBooks, white papers and other company content that you want to promote. You can directly link each publication to where visitors can buy your books, link to author profile pages and also to landing pages for your content.
  • Share Your Honours and Awards This section is where you can highlight notable lists and mentions you’ve received from recognized authorities and publications in your industry.
  • Showcase Specialized Certifications The Certifications section allows you to showcase your specialised educational achievements within your industry. If your business has received a certification for your industry, promote and showcase it here so people can learn more about it.
  • Highlight Industry-Related Coursework If you’ve taken any courses that are relevant and apply to your business, you can list them in the Courses section. This can include coursework you completed at university, on-the-job training course and those offered by recognised organizations in your industry.
  • Feature Your Professional Memberships If you belong to professional organizations in your industry, use the Organizations section to highlight your membership and the position you hold/have held.
  • Demonstrate Language Proficiency Demand for people who speak several languages is on the rise. Therefore, if you are fluent in multiple languages, include that information in the Languages section.
  • Highlight Your LinkedIn Groups When you join LinkedIn groups, you have the option of listing them on your profile, as shown in the Groups section below.  You should utilise this opportunity as this can benefit you three-fold:
  • People who want to get to know you can do so by joining the groups you’re in and engaging with you there.
  • If you run groups for your business, you can display them on your profile to help increase membership.
  • Joining groups related to your industry means you can add more keywords to your profile

  • Publicise Your Interests When you follow businesses, news channels, publishers and influencers found on LinkedIn Pulse, they will appear in the Following section of your profile. Use this section to optimise your profile for specific keywords, highlight publications that you may contribute to and showcase your customers.
  • Support Your Causes One in five hiring managers has chosen a candidate based on his or her volunteer experience so add the Volunteer section to your profile to show others that you also care about helping others. For non-profits, this is also a great way to promote your organization and cause.

Keep Your Network Posted with Status Updates

Keeping your network posted with status updates should be a routine procedure. It gives you the opportunity to share valuable information with your network about what you’re doing. Done right, status updates can engage your followers, create leads, and facilitate customer conversion. Here are some tips on how to optimise your status updates:

  • Leverage the power of status updates by embedding special keywords when posting
  • Focus on sharing informative and useful updates as that is the information members expect from connections they follow on LinkedIn
  • Post status updates encouraging your followers to interact with you and this includes using a clear call to action within your post
  • Post regularly and consistently and you will reach more of your audience and extend your reach.

Use Your Profile as a Central Hub

When searching for someone on Google in most cases their LinkedIn profile is seen on the first page with the vast majority appearing in the first five results. This means that you need keep your profile current and up to date to highlight your experience and expertise and in addition requires that your profile needs to become a central source for connecting all of your other social media platforms. LinkedIn has many available tools for you to utilise that can link your profile with your Blog and Twitter feed among others so is a great way to support and drive attention to your other sites.


Add Rich Visual Content to Your LinkedIn Profile

Throughout your profile LinkedIn provides you with the opportunity to visually enhance your profile so you need to leverage this opportunity. Add some oomph to your profile by adding some up to date, rich, visual content and you will help yourself and your profile to stand out from the rest and get noticed. Embracing the visual in social media marketing is highly important so utilise this and share with your audience creative, informative and engaging visual elements such as pictures, SlideShare presentations and videos. A key thing is to also remember not to just create and then forget your newly visual profile, rather, actively update and refresh your profile with current, fresh and valuable content such as examples of new work, recent articles and features in the press.


Connect with New Contacts in Groups and Answers

Joining and contributing to LinkedIn Groups helps to locate people with shared interests and establish valuable new connections. In addition to the benefit of increased traffic to your profile page, participating within a Group has the added benefit of learning from others and participation in a group or within the LinkedIn Answers section allows you to highlight your ideas and insight. The more you participate, the more you’ll build credibility and trust within your industry. If you’re contributing valuable content, you will soon improve your own reputation as an invaluable resource on select topics by other industry connections.


Give and Get Recommendations

Recommendations from colleagues, business partners and satisfied clients go a long way in establishing your value and credibility. As either an employee or a business, a recommendation can carry a great deal of weight in the eyes of future customers or employers as they essentially act as solid examples of a good experience with you in a personal manner. If you want to get recommendations, use LinkedIn to give them to people you’ve worked with and who have done a great job for you and they will likely reciprocate. Similarly with the new Endorsement feature, if you endorse someone, they’ll be notified and you’re likely to get a reciprocal endorsement in return.


Add, Remove, and Rearrange Entire Sections of Your Profile

LinkedIn enables you to reorder entire sections of your profile in any way that you prefer. This is a great feature to help you optimise your profile as you can place your most important sections in prominent places and delete any that are not relevant to you for example. Simply go into edit mode, hover your mouse over the double-sided arrow in each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click, then drag and drop to another position on your profile.


Edit Your Public Profile Settings

You want to ensure that people can find your profile when they do a public search. You ideally want to show public viewers as much as possible to convince them to click to view your full profile and make a connection. Locate the Privacy & Settings option on your LinkedIn homepage and click Manage. To access your public profile settings, click your profile image and select the Privacy & Settings option. On the next page, click Edit Your Public Profile to see what items are displayed on your public profile. The right side of the page shows a list of items that are displayed on your private profile and you can choose which items to show on your public profile. You can choose to share only a few sections of your profile with public viewers or be fully transparent and show all sections. Just ensure that you enable the setting that allows anyone to see your public profile. You may feel uneasy about showing your entire profile but it is important to do so as your public profile will never display rich-text media like videos or full-text recommendations, therefore, your description of your job experience is the most important part of your profile.


Consider Upgrading Your LinkedIn Account

The goal of improving your public image on LinkedIn is to get high-quality connections. With a premium plan, you gain access to additional features such as seeing people who viewed your profile, requesting and making introductions and mailing other users from within LinkedIn. These are features that could greatly benefit your business so consider upgrading your account if you are in a position to do so.


This is an excerpt from my new book “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses” out now in Paperback on Amazon! Head over there now for more of a Free preview! http://amzn.eu/2uuslrD


How to Make Sure You’re Successful on Social Media

Want to ensure your social media presence is ultimately going to be a successful addition to your marketing strategy? Take note of these 24 best practices!


Have Goals and Objectives

Like every other marketing and business initiative, you need to have a goal or objective that you what your social media presence to achieve. Whether you want to use it to improve brand awareness or as a new outlet to interact with customers, having clear objectives for your platforms helps to optimise their reach and impact. In addition, having well-defined objectives also makes it clearer for you in what to measure for your return on investment. It is also worth noting that return on investment with social media marketing cannot always be measured in money. Whilst it can drive sales, the real power of social media marketing is in building relationships with customers. Whatever your objectives, make them achievable and relevant for your business and remember as you progress these objectives may change.


Portray Yourself Consistently

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. Having a social media platform is a great way to show a ‘human’ side to your business that customers appreciate and prefer. From this, it is important to have an idea of what voice you want for your page that can be consistently applied across all your posts, especially if your company page is going to be managed by several different contributors. In general, avoid generic corporate speak and replace it with your own unique voice and customers will be more drawn to and engage with you. 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.


Be Where Your Customers Are

It’s important to have a presence where your customers are looking to interact with you. To find out where you should be there are two easy ways; research the demographics of your intended social media platforms and also ask your customers yourself. When you start researching what platforms you think are best for your business, be sure that their main audience are the ones you want to target. The other option is for you to ask your existing customers where they are active online; this will then help guide your platform choices.


Get In The Habit Of Checking The News

If you’re not already doing this at least once a day, you need to start. Get in the habit of checking both industry news and the news in the world. You don’t need to read an entire newspaper and several journals, just look to bookmark a few key sites and blogs and at the very least, skim the headlines. Social media covers all aspects of people’s lives and the more you understand about them in a wider context, the more you can understand where your brand will fit into your followers’ newsfeed. The added benefit of scanning the news daily means it will also help you to find real time opportunities that you can utilise for your social media content.


Learn To Manage Your Time Effectively

On average, 64% of marketers spend at least 6 hours a week on social media. As more social media platforms, tools and features are added into your marketing mix regularly, it can become overwhelming to keep on top of your timing and not to have your social media management impact your other duties. Timekeeping is one of the most vital skills for an efficient social media marketer, so make sure you’re getting everything done by creating checklists for regular tasks and using social media tools that help you work smarter.


Focus on Building a Community Rather Than a Number of Followers

The number of people following you can only take you so far. Having 10,000+ followers is noteworthy, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many followers you have if they’re not interacting and paying attention to your content. So what can be done to build a community and increase engagement with your current and potential followers? Simple, always insert some personality, humor, and life into your brand and always converse directly with your followers: which is as simple as having a conversation with them, retweet them, like and comment on their posts, and directly ask them to interact with your content.


Create a Powerful Presence Across all Social Channels

If you want your audience to stay engaged, you need to be engaging. One of the great ways to do this by creating powerful social campaigns that run consistent across all your social platforms. How do you do this? Start by…

  • Telling a powerful story: Think of ways you can use your social channels to tell powerful, motivational and therefore compelling stories to your viewers. For example, you can share a story rooted in charity work that you do or support. Alternatively, you could share stories from your happiest clients on your blog and then create a social campaign with a unique slogan and hashtag to promote and create a movement around their stories. Team this strategy with…
  • Brand your movement with a unique name and hashtags: Branding your movement will make it memorable and stick out in the mind of your followers. Take time to brainstorm actionable ideas that will get followers involved, whether that is done by posting photos and using your hashtag to group them, running a contest, or throwing events run by your business. For example, you could use the inspirational aspect of getting fit, or New Year’s resolutions, or whichever angle you believe your customers would gravitate towards. Test out a few hashtags, find the one that resonates best, and brand your movement by announcing it on your blog and social platforms.

Suck Up to Influencers

The goal is to get these influential people to like you and like your brand. Once you get in with the people that matter, your business will exponentially grow because you are exposed to their audience and authority. Make a thorough list of key industry influencers and actively take the following steps to socially connect with them:

  • Favorite, like, comment, and re-share their content: Don’t favorite/like everything they post however, that is too obvious. Try to like and favourite a few times per week and comment when you genuinely have something educational and valuable to say.
  • Tweet at them: Whether it’s asking their feedback on your content or asking industry related questions, this strategy works very well as they will be flattered that you thought of them and consider them to be a valuable resource/influencer.
  • Use the same hashtags: This way when they’re reviewing their hashtag feeds they’ll see your content, and perhaps spark their interest.

Share Trending Content

Your platforms don’t exist to be solely self-promotional, this strategy will only make you be seen as boring and obnoxious. Rather, you need to strike a balance between sharing promotional content that markets your brand, interacting with your followers and influencers, and sharing other useful and entertaining content and news from other valuable resources. To help you become an industry influencer and produce content that is share-worthy, follow these four tips:

  • Look for viral videos on YouTube of hilarious children, adorable animals, and inspirational moments and re-share with your own unique spin.
  • Scan the news for the highest covered media stories and add a unique perspective keeping relevant to your brand.
  • Follow and use relevant trending hashtags to add your voice to the larger conversations happening on social media. For example on Twitter you can see “Trends.”
  • Use a popular tool like Buzzsumo to find content that resonates. It’s the easiest way to search related industry news sites and blogs, keywords, influencers, etc. to find the content with the highest number of social shares. Study the headlines that were shared and re-share those articles/headlines with your followers. This will continue the train of sharing, but also show your followers that your social posts are intriguing and follow-worthy.

Focus On Creating Content That People Care About and Inspires Conversation

On social media, you can’t depend on passive followers to convert themselves. You need to create as many opportunities to engage people as possible, and it all begins with your content. As people spend longer on social networks, their community expands and with every person followed, page liked, or friend added, they have a whole new set of posts and stories vying for their attention. Brands who have little respect for what people want in their newsfeed will find themselves further fenced off than before, therefore it is vital that the content you share is what your prospects and former customers generally respond well too. This may be a video about how your products work, interesting insights about the culture of your company or shocking stats about inefficiency in your industry for example. Whatever the case may be, build social content that gets your prospects talking to you.


Utilise Every Opportunity to Make Social Media Content

Every piece of content that you post is part of your story that you share with your audience. Everything from your ups and downs, your proudest achievements, to your charity work and the people behind your business are all prime areas in which you can create content that you can share with your viewers. So whenever you launch a new product, attend a conference or find a new way to use one of your products for example, look at the ways in which you can squeeze content out of it for use on your social media platforms.


Promote your Platforms

Anywhere your customers interact with your brand is an opportunity to encourage them to engage with you online. Once you begin, remember to promote all your social media platforms and that includes mentioning them on your e-newsletter, your email signature, business card, product packaging and anywhere else your customers will see it. Your customers and fans need to be told where they can connect with you through social media, so make it clear where you are.


Make Providing Value a Top Priority

Social media is centred on having conversations and engaging with people. That being said, unless the aim of your platforms is to be akin to a personal journal, the content you post should not be simply an update of what you are thinking or doing no with no real substance or value in what you are writing. To avoid to making this mistake every post and tweet 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. By openly giving out valued advice and information you will become an online repository of specialist knowledge and this will attract the attention of your target audience. Central to being effective is also realising that conversation is a two-way process so you also need to listen to what people are saying to you and about you and respond to them accordingly.


Be Active and Consistent

In order to get the most out of using social media as a marketing tool, you need to post content often. It is therefore vital that in the very beginning 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. Although it takes some experimentation to find the best publishing schedule for you, there are two things that should always be considered and will dictate your posting schedule; your business goals and what your audience wants.


Respond Quickly

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. From this, it is vital that you watch for any negative things that are being said about you and respond quickly and accordingly. Rather than simply deleting any negative comments you receive, as even the most universally loved businesses receive negative comments, view them as an opportunity to win over a customer offering help, guidance or even acknowledging where something went wrong. By dealing with negativity in an open and authentic way you can help build rapport and trust with your customers. Also remember that often you will get praise online in the form of a great review or comment, do not forget to say thank you.


Coordinate Your Social Channels

Your success will be limited If you treat each social media platform as a stand-alone effort. Your networks should work together to help you achieve your goals, with your website acting as your brand’s home base. Coordinate and cross-promote your social media efforts to reach new audiences, boost your following and to push people to your website where they can buy your product or service.


Boost Results With Social Advertising

If you want to accelerate your social media performance, it’s worth your time to explore paid advertising options. Facebook offers a number of advertising options to help boost sales, brand exposure, audience engagement and website traffic. Twitter has two advertising solutions: promoted content that helps you cut through the noise and serve your content to tailored audiences and promoted accounts which help increase the size of your Twitter following. Likewise LinkedIn also offers opportunities to reach specific audiences by advertising or by the use of the sponsored updates feature to increase your brand’s visibility. Even if your budget is limited, don’t dismiss social advertising. Used strategically it can produce great results to boost your visibility and success on social media.


Find Leads Using Social Media Monitoring Tools

Tracking and monitoring conversations happening around your brand and products is a time consuming but vital task that can be made manageable using social media monitoring tools. Ensure you actively make the effort to monitor mentions of your name, your business name, your products and any other keywords related to your business to find conversations already happening in your industry. Jump into those conversations and provide answers, guidance or helpful information where needed. Being useful is one way to start to build relationships with your target market.


Participate in Other People’s Communities (OPC’s)

Actively join and engage the discussions in the communities populated by people likely to use your services and share some of your expertise when it’s relevant. Make it your aim to become and trusted member of these communities. You never want to be promotional in social groups, but if you’re consistently helpful and engaged, prospects will likely be interested and click through to your profile where they’ll find your posts and marketing collateral.


Send Regular Emails with Valuable Content, Deals and Promotions

As your social media connections move into your email list, you can and should continue to provide valuable information, notify them of upcoming deals and promotions and provide general interesting business news and updates. At this point in the funnel you have likely already become a trusted source of information, meaning your subscribers are warmed up to buying from you. Social media is all about building connections with your target market, and making yourself the first name that comes to mind when they’re ready to buy. Take this opportunity to craft perfect email campaigns, using segmentation whenever possible to be sure your content and offers are targeted to specific groups of subscribers and by the strategic use of strong calls to action in your emails to make sure your subscribers know what you want them to do, and what to expect when they click on your offer/content. By continuing to cultivate them with engaging, valuable and entertaining information in your emails, you will help to build connections that will result in long-term, profitable relationships.


Create Customer Advocacy Opportunities

Customer advocacy is where your marketing ROI can take off. You’ll be putting in less effort to reach your marketing goals because your customers will effectively sell for you.

  • Continue to engage qualified leads and customers

There’s no reason why people should stop learning from you after they become customers. If they’re on an email list or subscribed to your blog, actively send out informational reminders for them to connect with your company on social networks.

  • Offer occasional incentives for customers to review your services or share certain posts

Depending on your business and market, offering vouchers or bargains such as free consultations can work well. The benefits for you are twofold: You’ll increase brand exposure and subtly help customers become your advocates.

  • Engage customers specifically about your products and services

If your company offers a complex product, it might be a good idea to create a forum on your website or an entirely hub that’s purely for continued customer support, just for you and your customers to interact around your products.  Externally, LinkedIn showcase pages and Facebook groups might be possible hubs for product-based conversations that build increased trust for your brand and position your company as worth advocating for.

  • Provide substantial advocacy opportunities for repeat customers

Over time, you might form mutually beneficial partnerships with repeat customers. Consider rewarding these relationships with more substantial opportunities such as inviting them to networking events.


Monitor Social for Un-Tagged Brand Mentions

Not every person who mentions your brand or products on social media will tag you in the post. In fact, many social posters may assume that you’ll never even see the posts they create mentioning you. Actively scan your social media networks for these types of mentions and join the conversation by provide pleasantly surprising customer engagement. You should look to actively monitor;

Your Own Brand Terms—make sure to monitor for all variations of your company’s name, including nicknames and common misspellings.

Your Own Product Terms—A less frequently used strategy involves monitoring social for some of your popular products, as well as the common nicknames and misspellings.


Create an Internal FAQ Document

Consult with everyone who manages your social pages and build a document that houses all of these questions and some solid answers. Whilst you should never simply copy-paste those responses over to your customers, you can use this document to quickly guide your response.


Do What Is Right for You

As you become a regular participant on social media platforms, you will find unique ways in which they can be used to the best advantage for your business. Nobody knows your customers and what they expect from you better than you yourself so delivering the content they want and engaging with them is the most important thing and will dictate your decisions surrounding your social media marketing efforts. As with any other marketing efforts, you will learn in time what works and what don’t, the important thing is to learn by doing.


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