02.22.17 | The Socialite: Building Your Presence
Modern marketing has become very focused on social media. Of course, this makes a lot of sense. Certain social media sites have millions of active users. And, they let businesses post for free. So, they are great places to get some free advertising. In most cases, you just have to put the work in; and, you’ll get a lot out of it. This can be a challenge, though. So, to help you out, this post will be going through some of the best ways to start getting more traffic to your social media pages.
The easiest way to draw more people in is to improve your posting. There are loads of ways that you can do this. First, you should be aiming for your posts to be very consistent. This means that all of your posts need to use the same branding and house style. Even the things that you say have to be in character. Along with this, you need to make sure that you’re providing people with content that is interesting. You have to give people a reason to be reading your content. So, if it’s not worth their while, they won’t bother with it. Making sure that your posts are interesting can be hard, though. But, you can always ask people that you know for help before you start posting. Always make sure that you’re confident in your posts before you send them out.
When you see things trending or becoming popular on social media, it’s usually because it’s has a big uptake of likes, follows, or subscriptions. Social media sites use very complex algorithms to calculate these things, and growth is one of the biggest parts of it. So, if you can get a large number of followers in a short period; you will find that people will start flocking to your pages. One of the easiest ways to do this is simply by buying the likes. When doing this, you just have to make sure that you’re buying real followers and likes, and not fake ones. There are loads of companies out there that offer this service. And, most social media sites don’t have a problem with it.
A lot of success can be found in pooling together and working with other people on social media. If you can find a company that would be willing to work with you, it’s much easier to share your followers. This means that you will both benefit from each other. And, you will both get more exposure because of it. Building up a relationship like this can be hard. So, you need to be willing to spend time talking to people. But, once you have a partner, things will get much easier. Having a mutually beneficial exchange like this is a great way to make sure that success continues.
Hopefully, this will inspire you to start using your social media more effectively. You may have to spend a little bit of money on this. But, once you’ve done it, it will be very worth it. You will notice the benefits from this sort of work almost instantly. And, it may even be where your first customers come from.
If you’ve been living on a remote island far away from civilization, you might not have noticed that we’re living through a period filled with unusually high levels of political engagement, debates, controversies, and so on. In every bar and at every family meal, binary political opinions are being explored. People are talking. The question is, should your company also be involved in the conversation? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits – and the slightly longer list of problems it can pose.
It’s your company, and you can do whatever you like with it. If you have a particular political view that you want to throw your support behind, then giving your company a political stance might be, in your view, the morally correct thing to do. People are inspired by passion, and you might get a pretty loud round of applause from customers and potential customers alike.
The Obvious Pitfalls
You could get yourself into a mess and you might need to find a PR firm to fix it. People are pretty political these days, and most any opinion can cause you to be blacklisted by supporters of certain organizations. Whether you can live with losing them is up to you. If the cause is obviously close to your company (say, like anti-fossil fuel agendas would be for environmentally conscious clothing), then you might decide there’s little risk. Be warned though: it’s possible for your message to be misinterpreted, which can cause you problems with opponents and advocates of the cause. Ouch!
What’s To Gain?
Is it not enough to have and express your own opinion privately? Flying the flag for one particular issue from company’s headquarters might seem like a noble thing to do, but its impact might be minor – and thus not worth the headaches it could cause.
Remember, You Are Here Forever
Nothing ever really gets erased from the internet once it’s put out there. Express an opinion today and you have to be prepared to stand by it at any point in the near future. What if your views turn out in hindsight to be incorrect? You’ll have a whole agenda dedicated a cause that shouldn’t have been supported. That’s a tricky one to wave away.
Even if You Are “Right”
Even if you’re 100% sure about the political views you want your company to hold, there’s a way to express them. People can get pretty nasty when it comes to politics, so make sure your views are delivered with the same upbeat, positive tone that flows through the rest of your content.
Ultimately, it’s generally best to leave politics at the door when you enter the office. But if you must express an opinion, make sure it’s a view that won’t alienate your target audience. That’s where proper market research will come in. Know your customer is key to avoiding mistakes – while you don’t want to offend anyone (you really don’t!), it’s more manageable if your opponents aren’t the people you’re trying to court as customers.
There are plenty of signs that your startup is becoming a genuine success. Some people base it on their presence on social media, others use cold hard cash to measure their success, but there’s one thing that everyone agrees on as a sign of a business on the up and up: the moment you have to move to a new office. Many startups begin their lives being run out of someone’s living room and that’s just fine. When it’s you and a few friends setting up a business, then you really don’t need much more than a laptop and a dream. But over time the needs of your business are going to grow, and you suddenly find that it’s just not realistic to try to do everything from home anymore. Your staffing needs will increase; you’ll need greater levels of infrastructure, not to mention that it lends a far greater sense of legitimacy to your business in the eyes of the rest of the world. With all of that in mind, here are a few ways to make sure that your office space is absolutely perfect for your needs.
Think About Space
The kind of office that you choose for your business is going to be pretty strongly influenced by the kind of business that you actually run. What kind of atmosphere are you trying to create? What are the specific needs of your employees? These kinds of questions are crucial when you’re trying to figure out what it is that you need from your office space. If your business is based around creativity and communication then it’s important that there aren’t too many things separating members of your team. If you need specific pieces of technology throughout the office then you need to make sure that you’re using the space properly to prevent any mobility, or health and safety, problems.
What Changes Do You Need To Make?
Not every office space is going to be there, fully formed, ready for you the moment you find it. A lot of the time it’s your job when looking for the right office to see the potential in places that might require a little bit of work. Are there walls that you want to get rid of to make it into a more open plan environment? Do you need a company like TC Floors West to level the floors so that it’s actually a safe and comfortable place to work? Remember that time and money are always going to be a factor so it’s important to weigh the needs of your office with both the time frame that you’re working with and the condition of your finances.
Location, Location, Location
Depending on the business that you’re running, the kind of location that you’re in is going to make a lot of difference. If your office is the kind of place that’s going to get a lot of clients and customers coming in and out, then you want it to be somewhere easily accessible. If you need a warehouse or other large area then it’s not going to be a great idea for it to be located in a busy, populated area. Remember, just because the office seems perfect doesn’t mean that it is. Make sure that you weigh all of the pros and cons before making any decisions.
02.20.17 | Five Types of Advertising You Need to Use
The world of advertising is vast and varied. You need to come up with a plan for dealing with this when you think about how you can advertise your business and its products. The five examples of advertising methods discussed below should all be used, or at least considered as you formulate your plan. Read on to find out more about them.
1. Product Placement
Product placement is a growing form of advertising that many businesses are discovering and making the most of. To put it simply, product placement allows you to advertise your product by inserting it into a form or media. It could be used in a movie, a TV show, a YouTube video or even a video game. Of course, the size of your business and how much you have to spend will decide which of these options is right for you. Getting products in big movies is always a challenge, so think carefully about your choice.
2. Direct Marketing
Direct marketing does pretty much what it says on the tin. This form of advertising is all about taking your idea and your pitch directly to the customers that you want to target. In the media age we’re now all a part of, this can be done in a variety of different ways. You could start by using an email marketing strategy. Then you could build connections on blog, forums and on social media. You might also want to try face to face selling; that’s another example of direct marketing.
3. Banner Ads
Banner ads are very popular among small businesses that want to get their adverts seen online. They are banners that normally sit at the top of a web page, and it’s often the first thing a website visitor sees before they scroll down. You can find a company that offers digital campaign development support if you want to do online advertising in the right kind of way. This is a good idea if you don’t know much about it yet.
4. Billboard Advertising
Many people get too caught in the hype surrounding online advertising. It causes them to forget about just how important and how effective good billboard advertising can be when the right approach to it is taken. You should aim to create image and messages that can be seen far and wide. Strike the right cord and draw people’s attention to what you are trying to say. The best thing about this kind of advertising is that it’s often impossible for people to ignore.
5. Sponsored Tweets and Facebook Ads
You can’t afford to ignore social media if you want to take your business to the next level and get good results from your advertising strategies. Sponsored tweets can be very useful when you want to get your message seen by the right people. The tweet will pop up in people’s timeline. And the same kind of thing can be done on Facebook with their advertising system. Make the most of the advertising possibilities both of these sites offer.
Digital presences have become an important facet of every business regardless if you work via the internet or not. You could run a little corner store that doesn’t really need the internet, but with so many people using the internet around the world, your chances of success rely on your ability to use as many resources as possible to get noticed and the internet is no exception. There are online directories, store reviews and social media that you can use to get noticed.
It might sound difficult to get noticed on the internet given the number of websites on the internet, but here’s a secret: 98% of the internet sucks. Let’s face it, who checks more than a few pages on Google’s search? Despite the millions of hits and results that a Google search spits out, we don’t actually check a good 98% of those because they just plain suck.
Understanding Search Engines
Have you ever wondered how a search engine works? If you type something in and hit search a couple of times, you’ll realize that it’s not completely random and that you’ll get the same results over and over again. However, if you check again the next day or in a couple of days, you’ll notice that they might change. This is called search ranking—a feature that is different for every search engine, but we’ll use Google as an example because it is the most popular search engine.
Firstly, the web is a large place and it’s important to think of it as a large web of connections. You need to know a website’s address in order to connect to it directly, but if you don’t know the address then the only way you can connect to it is through a link by someone else. This is what is meant by a web, you technically have access to all of the open internet, but you don’t necessarily know every single website which is why we have to rely on search engines to categorize and sort all of that information for us.
If your website isn’t listed on Google, then the only way you’re going to spread your website is through social media and sharing the link directly with other people. This is similar to how networking in real life works. You have to speak with people to get contacts, and those contacts can lead to other people. If you look into a directory, then you might get the numbers of a bunch of people you can speak to for help, or to sell your products to.
How to Use Search Engines to Your Advantage
The first thing we’re going to talk about is search engine optimization or SEO for short. SEO is a series of strategies and methods that a web owner can utilize to make their website easier to discover for search engines such as Google. There are several different types of SEO and you can visit POET Media for more information about how to get the correct services. However, even if you do get the correct assistance, it’s still a good idea to get to grips with the finer points of SEO.
Google will rank your content based on a couple of things. Keyword relevancy is one of the more important things to think about. Essentially, it refers to the number of times a search time appears on your page. For instance, if someone searches a term such as “Akita dogs” then Google will look up all the websites in its database and look for the term “Akita dogs”. If you have a website about dogs but very little information about the Akita breed, then you will perhaps be on page 2 or 3 of the Google search. However, if you have a website that is specifically about Akita dogs, then you will be much higher on the search ranking.
Your content also plays a big role in what your search ranking is. If you have a lot of original pictures and posts about Akita dogs, then you will be very high in Google’s search ranking and you might even place top 5. However, if your content about Akita dogs has been stolen from other websites, Google can detect this and you will be flagged for plagiarism. Google hates anything that is stolen, so if your content isn’t a hundred percent original, Google will deduct points from your ranking and you will be put down a couple of spots.
Search engines such as Google will also check other things on your website and use those to display a search result. For instance, your meta title and meta description play a big part in the visibility of your website. When you use Google, you might notice that each search result is accompanied by a small body of text that gives a brief explanation. These are never written by Google themselves, but instead, these are written by the website owner or they are taken from a sample of the text on the website. Image file names are also important. Using the example from before, if you tag your images “dog” instead of “Akita dog” then you will rank lower. Always give your images proper descriptions and tags, but don’t overdo it!
Now that you have a general idea of how SEO works and how Google ranks your website, let’s go through some actual tips. These are all very general ideas on how to boost your internet traffic, but they are guaranteed to work.
1. Use Relevant Images
This can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t have images (and original ones) then you’re missing out on a lot of exposure. Keep in mind that you can’t just simply use any image you found on Facebook or Google due to copyright practices. If you’re unsure if an image is completely free to use, then go to a stock photo website such as ShutterStock or Pexels to look for some free images. As explained above, images are also searched when you plug some terms into Google. The more images you have, the more chances you will be picked up by Google’s search algorithms. In addition to SEO optimization, having more images on your web page will make it easier to view. With more images, you’ll have less text or you can break up heavy blocks of text with a picture. People can also find your website through Google’s image search because if they search images, your images might come up and they might check out your website as a result of it.
2. Using Software
There is software such as Yoast SEO that will help you optimize your web pages. These programs can be used via a WordPress plugin or a downloadable software package. These programs will do spell checks, grammar checks and even check for keyword relevancy and rank your web page based on its SEO visibility. It will help you cut down long sentences, tell you if you are lacking images or keyword relevancy, and it will give you suggestions on where to make these changes. However, some people find that working with these tools makes it harder to add your own personal flair to an article. If you find that using an SEO plugin or software dampens your creativity, then it’s recommended to not use these programs and instead, manually work on your SEO.
No matter how great your website is and how well optimized it is, your ranking is going to greatly depend on how well-received it is by your readers and viewers. Try and get your web pages linked on another website. For instance, if you have something informative on your website, you can link to it on forum posts or Reddit messages. You could also promote your website on social media and link your posts on Twitter or Facebook. Those social media platforms will automatically generate previews so that you can easily share them with your followers and friends. You can also try to get your web pages featured on other websites that are somewhat related to your own. The more websites that link back to your content, the higher your Google rank will be and the more traffic you will get.
4. Designing for All Devices
Did you know that a lot of social media users only rely on smartphones and tablet devices, not a computer? Because of this, it’s a good idea to design your website with the intention of it being viewed on multiple devices. There are great examples of mobile website design all over the internet, and many website design services will take this into account as part of the cost. However, it’s always a good idea to check if your website works as intended on mobile devices and retains all of the functionality it has on your desktop computer. A lot of people will check your website on a smaller device, so try not to add too many large images, create an alternative version for mobile, and make sure it works efficiently.
The vast majority of businesses are embracing digital tools in one way or another. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the retail, manufacturing or healthcare industry, you’re likely to have a piece of software that you use on a regular basis.
On the whole, this adoption of digital tools has been a good thing, ushering in greater levels of efficiency and productivity, but it doesn’t provide any guarantees of improvement. If your business implements poorly designed software then it might not provide any benefits at all, in fact, it may end up holding you back.
Image credit: Pixabay
Are You Locked In?
Before you’ve started using a piece of business software it is difficult to know exactly how it is going to fit in with your company’s methods. Unfortunately, once you’ve signed a contract or purchased the software outright, there’s not much you can do if you discover that it’s not quite right for your business.
That is to say, there’s not much you can do if you’ve purchased proprietary software that leaves you with little room to maneuver. To avoid this, look for open-source technologies that allow you to implement modifications to suit your business. That way, instead of having to simply deal with an off-the-shelf software package, you can create a bespoke tool that suits the way that you work.
Is It Mobile?
With smartphones taking a larger role in our everyday lives, it is hardly surprising that many members of staff now utilize them in a work capacity. However, does your business software encourage or hinder workplace mobility? With the rise of the internet and cloud computing, any company that does not allow their software to be accessed via smartphones could be accused of being inflexible.
Today, Web Application Development can easily adopt responsive designs that adapt to the size of the screen that they are being displayed on. Not only will mobile-friendly software give employees greater flexibility, it will provide a boost to productivity by letting them work wherever and whenever they need to.
Is It User-Friendly?
When you are designing your business software, there are many things to consider. You need to make sure that it has all the necessary features, that it is secure, that it is aesthetically pleasing, and that it is user-friendly. The latter, in particular, must not be neglected if you’re to empower your staff.
Giving employees the opportunity to test the software during the development stage is perhaps the best way of ensuring that the final product isn’t confusing and unwieldy. If your employees can’t use a piece of software, then it is ultimately a wasted investment for the business.
Is It Putting Customers Off?
Not all business software is internal. If you have an application that is customer-facing, then think carefully about how it looks. Does your app look professional and trustworthy, and does it reflect your brand? If it doesn’t, then it may be time to go back to the web design drawing board.
Business software can provide organizations with a fantastic competitive edge, but only when implemented effectively. Bloated, poorly designed and inflexible tools will ultimately have the opposite effect on your organization.
Networking is just an inherent part of running a business. This is a fact that a lot of people really aren’t going to like, but if you want to make sure that your business is successful, then you’re going to need to learn to network effectively. The problem is, for many of us, networking can be a seriously awkward and intimidating experience. Unless you’re a true extrovert and there’s nothing you love more than meeting people, you’re inevitably going to find networking to be at least a little bit uncomfortable. But fear not! It doesn’t have to be that way; there are actually plenty of things that you can do to make yourself better at networking. Here are just a few simple tips that will help you avoid the inevitable awkwardness.
Never Miss a Marketing Opportunity
The biggest issue that a lot of people have when it comes to networking is that that they simply don’t know what to say. Fortunately, you always have a set topic on hand: your business. This means that you should never miss an opportunity to market your business. If you’re at a specific networking event, then you might have a step and repeat banner that displays your business clearly to anyone that you’re talking to, but otherwise, you could also just hand out a business card when you introduce yourself. That gets the details of your business out there without you having to go through the trouble of explaining the whole thing to people over and over.
Avoid the Hard Sell
But this doesn’t mean that you should use the entire networking opportunity to try and offer up facts and figures about your business. When you’re talking to someone, the last thing you want to do is to give them the hard sell. After all, networking should still have the quality of a natural conversation. If you do talk about your business, talk about it on a personal level. Discuss the people behind the business and how that influences its core values. Remember, this is not an investors meeting, you’re not trying to convince anyone of anything, you’re simply trying to get your business out there into people’s minds.
Fake It ’til You Make It
Don’t worry if you’re the kind of person who tenses up at even the idea of having to talk to people that you don’t know. This is totally natural and far more common than you might expect. You would probably find that the people who seem the most confident while networking feel just as awkward and uncomfortable as you do. The key is to project confidence on the outside, even if you’re not really feeling it. This will set the person you’re talking to at ease and will give them a much more positive memory of your interaction, and by extension your business. The more you do this, the easier it will get until eventually, you’ll find that you’re not even having to fake it anymore, you really do feel as confident as you seem on the outside.
It can be hard to gauge the needs of a person. Sometimes that person themselves won’t know what they need. We see this all the time in employees who use their leverage to negotiate only benefits that have some kind of financial perk to them. But the truth is that employees need more than money from you. Here are a few things that everyone needs even if they don’t realize it at the time.
Everyone needs the space and flexibility to do things their way. This doesn’t just mean offering flexible working times, locations, and devices. It also means allowing for a bit more autonomy in how someone does their job. You want to find the most efficient methods, but their ideas on that end might prove more well-informed than yours since they’re the ones actually doing the work. Even if they like their job, limiting them too much can be a real cause of stress because they feel like they’re being constrained by the role. Allowing employees a degree of self-control can really improve morale and can surprise you with the positive impact on productivity and the results of their work. That doesn’t mean you have to get completely hands-off with them. You should be there to offer your take on things when they need it.
Respect comes in many forms in the workplace. It isn’t just about saying your “pleases” and “thank yous”. It means allowing them to take responsibility for their goofs and taking responsibility of yours. It includes allowing that degree of autonomy. It also means implementing a few employee appreciation ideas to show that you know the role they’re performing is important and the results they provide matter. Without respect, people don’t really feel like they have a role to play in the business. Instead, they will just feel like a cog in the machine. That feeling will hurt morale, it will cause them to care less, making them less productive and it will see engagement in the business drop to all-new lows.
Seeing their results affect real change in a company is always going to be rewarding for employees. But you can’t expect them to work for you for years with only the business’ best interests in mind. They have futures they want to contribute to and by helping them do so, you can show that you consider the relationship with them important. Training employees and giving them the opportunities to learn new skills and responsibilities won’t just keep them focused on exploring their potential for themselves and the business. Failing to train them is risky, watching their skills stagnate to the point that they become a liability to the business more than anything else.
By anticipating the needs of your team and offering it to them, you show that you are more than the source of a paycheck. You are a person and you are invested in them as people. Showing that is by far the quickest way to win the loyalty and best possible efforts of your team.
If you’re a small business, from time to time you might find yourself in a position where, all of a sudden, you could lose a significant percentage of your workforce. In a team of four or five, say – one person could quit, one has travel plans arranged well in advance, and the other gets ill. Out of nowhere, you’re running at way below full capacity, and there’s no guarantee that things will pick up anytime soon. It’s a scary time, but remember; it’s much better than downsizing because you have to. And you’ll get through it just fine, if you take our advice.
Bring in the Experts
In a small team, every person’s expertise is highly valued. The person who is good with numbers becomes the de facto accountant; the person with a gift for the gab becomes the communications expert and/or receptionist, and so on. As such, losing a couple of members of staff can make it so that you’re severely lacking in a few key areas. These areas are too important to ignore, and you’ll need to outsource the work to make sure they’re taken care of. A service such as Receivr can make sure people can always get through; and will stop you from spreading yourself too thin. Bringing in an accountancy firm or financial advisors will make sure that the crucial details aren’t overlooked until your team is back in one piece.
Keep Things Steady
If your business has been going well and you’ve been seeing steady growth, then it might be frustrating to have to curb your progress through no fault of the company, but it’ll be an essential move until the ship is steadied. By taking on extra business and acting as if everything is fine, you’ll be pushing yourself too much, to the limit, and you risk burning out unnecessarily. There’s always time to grow bigger later on down the line, but if you get too big and are unable to offer the level of service you know you can provide, and then you’ll be doing your business more harm than good – even if profits are temporarily improved.
Part Time Staff
If you’re struggling with the admin side of your business while you’re understaffed, then look into bringing a couple of new faces on a part-time basis. Depending on how desperate your situation is, it might be worth contacting a temporary staffing agency to get people in quickly for a couple of weeks. Otherwise, asking friends or family members if they – or anyone they know – would like part time work is an option.
Be Prepared to Work Hard
…Not that you don’t already work hard, but this might be one of those times where you just have to suck it up and put in the long hours. It’ll feel like your work/life balance is heavily tipped on one side, but this is the nature of running your own business. In a few weeks, when things are back to normal, you’ll be able to look back with pride at your hard work.
With the recent turn of events in politics you may have noticed a lot of the world is talking about business, women, equal rights and promoting our traders and supporting start-ups. Whilst there are many negatives in this situation there are some really interesting positives. We don’t know where the future is heading, so it’s more important than ever we knuckle down and make sure our ships aren’t sinkable.
One of the most important areas of your business, outside of profit and loss, is the performance of your staff. From management right through to the shop floor, you need to be able to count on your team to be in top form. However, a good boss knows that you need to start at the top and nurture your way to the roots.
Taking notes from the recent news reports you may be able to highlight some areas within your own company that could be working against you. Take for example the recent gender pay gap report and the resulting Women’s marches across the globe. Do you feel that your business could be guilty of this? If so, you can do something about it. This will ensure that all members of your team, male or female, respect you for supporting the bridge building between the genders, when it comes to pay and value of ability.
When your staff are happy and feel supported, they will put far more back into your business. If you notice that productivity has increased, reward them. A nice way of doing this is by incentivizing things. Either through an Employee of the Month plan or by sending flowers, wine or gifts to staff members who have really stood out.
We all know the pressures put on families today and whilst there are enforced rules on maternity leave or empathic release, you don’t have to stick to the basic minimum. In fact you will receive far more respect from your staff if you go a little beyond what you have to. Build an environment where your key employees feel they can talk to you about anything. Have an ‘open door’ policy and be on hand as often as you can for a chat. It could be that one of your stronger marketing team execs is struggling at home and not able to see their children so much. Could you make some changes to allow them to work from home one or two days a week? Strong staff won’t sit on their laurels. They will often work harder to show you they are grateful for the support. So think outside the box.
Give regular pay reviews and take time to sit face to face with your employees, don’t wait for them to feel so bad about something until they build up the confidence to come to you. Just be clear and concise about what you can and cannot do, but ensure they know you are listening and proactive when it comes to their needs.
Look after your staff, they will look after you.
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