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 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




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.


New eBook! The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses [Advanced Version, Updated for 2018]

Shameless plug alert! My new eBook “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses [Advanced Edition, Updated for 2018]” is now available to buy over on Amazon!

Perfect for beginners to social media, this 300+ page guide is packed full of straight-forward and effective advice and guidance, cutting through the jargon and giving you all the essential social media know-how to confidently grow your social presence, generate leads and sales on social media and make your mark on the online world.

This eBook is packed full of useful social media stuff, yet the handy bite-sized paragraphs and bulleted checklists makes it a light read for you and your business. Throughout the book we look into key areas such as;

  • An Introduction to Social Media
  • How to Create a Social Media Strategy
  • Best Practices for Social Media Marketing Success
  • Important UK Internet Usage and Social Media Statistics
  • A Comprehensive Look at all the Major Platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Pinterest, Instagram and many more.
  • Social Media Monthly Clean Up and Refresh Checklist
  • 83 Engaging Ideas for Your Social Media Content
  • Useful Tools and Apps to Help You Market Smart




Don’t worry, you can still download the free version off my website. No sign-ups or long forms – just download your free PDF and away you go! http://www.scarlettdarbyshireuk.com


The Ultimate Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Quarterly Social Media To- Do List [PDF]

We all love a good to-do list don’t we?

Whether you’re a social media butterfly or a start-up like a deer in the headlights when it comes to anything online, every savvy marketer needs a go-to checklist to streamline all aspects of their social media marketing.

To help you along, this checklist will make sure you are ticking off and maintaining those all important fundamentals that help keep your social media presence ticking along nicely.

No gimmicks, no fuss. Just a straight-forward PDF with a handy checklist to make managing your social media a breeze. Oh and there’s even a handy to-do list for your business whilst you’re at it. good eh?


Download your free copy here! Social Media To Do