B2B marketing on a budget – 6 strategies to maximise your resources

So, you are a small business that is just ticking along but you know that your product is great, why do your customers not see this too? A few more sales could really make a difference, but you don’t have a big marketing budget to set the industry alight.
Here are a few simple tips of how you can ensure more sales at minimal or no cost to you.

1. New customers

Creating new leads is the number 1 on businesses’ wish lists, but how do you do that without resorting to cold calling? First – don’t cold call, I am sure there is a well-oiled script that everybody in your company reels off every time they receive a spam caller. Make sure you are visible online, convenient and quick to use, and easy to understand. Make sure your potential customers can find you online on those platforms they use. This presents you with a free way to advertise yourself, so make the most of it. Fill in your bio on all the big-player-sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram. Link back to your website. Use relevant hashtags and keywords.
Engage with customers in your industry by liking, commenting, retweeting and sharing their content.

2. Improve customer experience

62% of customers will spend more on a simple buying experience. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, fast, easy to navigate and tells your customers clearly what you do. Have your contact details easily accessible and only put things on there that are interesting or important to your new and existing clients.

3. Remind your previous customers of your existence

A sale should not be where the relationship with your customer ends. There could be a million reasons why they have not come back – so send them an email or a letter. Offer a discount or a freebie next time they buy. Give rewards for referring your business to their network. If a customer returns and has a hassle-free experience, they halfway to becoming a loyal customer. The minimum follow-up should be to ask for feedback, this gives you data for testimonials.

4. Only useful, important, entertaining or exciting content

What are the kinds of questions you are answering all the time? For every time you have explained something in person, there are at least 100 people trawling the internet for answers.
You could:

  • Do a video tutorial or introduce a new product
  • Write a How-to guide
  • Write content in ‘list format’ such as this one. No more than 10 – nobody is interested in a ‘Top 40’ and it is wasted content
  • Use infographics that are informative/important to your audience
  • You can use these across your email marketing, social media pages, and your website
  • You can recycle some of the best performing post a few months later
  • Share relevant 3rd party content
  • Include customer testimonials in your online presence
  • You could even turn these into a slide show video (30 secs max.) – videos rank highly on engagement
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY – be active online and give your customers stuff they want to read or watch, or stuff they didn’t know was important to them
5. Create a loyalty/reward system
  • customers collect points to get free stuff
  • or you give them exclusive promotions or discounts if they come back within 30 days or spend over £££
  • Offer rewards for referring up to 3 new customers
6. Prove of how good you are – Industry awards
  • Most industries have awards that set the standard
  • Gives clients confidence in your business and is proof of your credibility and expertise
7. It’s party time!

Well, depends on your line of business or industry I guess. The term ‘event’ is probably more appropriate. This could be:

  • Online – offering a day or week of bonuses, discounts, deals and competitions
  • A real-life event to tempt new and existing customers to visit you
  • Opportunity to answer questions or introduce a new product or range
  • Create an inviting atmosphere, a buzz – drinks and nibbles, maybe a DJ if your budget allows
  • free samples – or any free stuff
  • A competition, giveaway or a raffle – basically free stuff

This allows for interesting content in the build-up. Use good-quality pictures on social media announcements or flyers and distribute across all your online platforms. Competitions make for online engagement. And finally, why not print some flyers and hand them out? It’s simple and cost-effective. These tips will help you to find new leads, strengthen existing ones and hopefully get people talking about your business.

How to generate leads for your small business in 2021

Leads are the lifeblood of every business.

In order to survive and thrive, your organisation will need to have a steady stream of sales leads, but even seasoned professionals can find it difficult at times.

It’s no surprise; securing that steady flow is hard work. It requires you to continuously attract new leads, qualify and nurture them, and ultimately turn them into customers. This process, called lead generation, is essentially a technique of finding the right mix of channels that will get you in front of the right people. Using an effective lead generation system will make this process a whole lot easier, but just like any tough job, lead generation requires you to invest some time and effort upfront.

If you’re not sure where to begin, this guide will get you started by leading you through five key strategies to capture and convert those all-important leads.

Create buyer personas

A lead is a prospective customer, so the obvious starting place is to work out just who is likely to buy your product or service, and how you can reach them. Begin this process with research – use the internet to find similar companies to you and see how their consumers are, and study your existing customers, you’ll learn a lot. Consider the basic components that make up a consumer – age, gender, likes, dislikes, purchase habits and financial situation, then feed these into a pen portrait to build buyer personas of your ideal prospect. You should also look closely at the information you hold on existing customers to help build this picture.

Build your marketing plan

Build your plan using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based) goals, and remember to employ a wide range of techniques, with a sharp focus on inbound marketing techniques designs to draw potential clients to you. This ensures the leads coming to you are ‘warm’, making your job securing the customer that bit easier. Here are a few of our recommended inbound techniques:

Digital Advertising

Social media channels and search engines offer incredibly targeted ways of getting your business in front of potential leads. Often referred to as Pay Per Click, they are an effective way to get visitors to your site.

SEO

Digital advertising won’t work for every business, and in some cases SEO is worth greater investment. Google gets an incredible 3.5 billion searches a day, making it prime real estate for lead gen. SEO will improve your visibility in search engine rankings – hopefully keeping you away from the fateful second page of Google results! It must be routinely updated and maintained in order to bring in a steady stream of leads, but when done well can bring in endless warm leads ready to be converted to customers.

A Statista survey conducted among marketing professionals in the US, found that 43% of respondents believed SEO to be the most effective channel in producing high ROI, so this is a powerful place to invest your lead gen budget.

Blogging

Creating engaging content that is promoted well will position you as a thought leader in your field, demonstrating your credibility and bringing a human element to your company. Be sure to include a call to action at the end of each post.

Build a sales pipeline

Once your leads start coming in they’ll need to be nurtured to be transferred into sales. Using a sales funnel model will allow you to organise your customers journey. Once in place, your pipeline will also give you an overview of where prospects are in the sales process. There are a number of reputable platforms that can support this work.

Embrace automation

As you begin to get leads in, you’ll need to find an efficient way to keep in contact with them and nurture them through the pipeline. Plan ahead and look at where automation, such as email marketing, could help you in this process. The beauty of automation is its ability to allow you to scale your marketing efforts whilst keeping your content personalised to your audience. Automation does not mean impersonal – Liana Technologies reported that almost 70% of marketers found improved targeting of messages was one the most important benefits of marketing automation.

All of your prospects have different needs, and having the option to treat them as such will seriously strengthen your relationship. Look for an email service that offers segmentation and tailored, dynamic content which gives you the chance to customise content based on your contact’s needs.

Harness the power of social media marketing

Social media now stands as one of the most effective lead generation channels, and it should therefore feature significantly in your strategy. These platforms are excellent for enabling relationship-building, and once you begin regularly posting engaging content, you’ll attract followers who you can then drive to your website. Here are our top suggestions for using the major platforms to generate leads:

Twitter

According to Optin Monster, 66% of people have discovered a new business on Twitter, so it’s a great place to make yourself heard. Promote your new content such as your blogs, and stay active. Commenting, sharing and engaging is vital to keep a vibrant community.

LinkedIn

One of the smartest things you can do on LinkedIn is to take advantage of the platform’s targeted advertising. It’s in users best interested to keep their profiles up to date, which makes LinkedIn an advertisers dream – you can zone in on just about any part of your audiences profile.

Facebook

Like LinkedIn, Facebook has some incredibly precise targeting options. The platform gives you the option to create campaigns using a Lead Generation objective that allows consumers to fill in a form with their contact information. Most internet users are on Facebook, therefore it’s unsurprising that Smart Bug Media reported that 84% of marketers choose to use this platform to acquire leads.

Remember, business growth can be a difficult and long-term process, and a sign of sustainable progress is a steady increase in sales, rather than random sale spikes. Following these tips will give you insight and overview, allowing you to scale your operations up gradually. Good luck!

How brands should behave on social media during COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic is perhaps the largest challenge most brands have ever faced. 

As the world changes rapidly before our eyes it’s vital that we respond appropriately in this trying time. Companies are finding themselves being challenged by consumers like never before – be it about the treatment of workers or how they’re contributing to the cause, how your brand acts on social is more important now than ever before.

Your inclination might be to go quiet across social media. We understand that urge. How do you compete with a global pandemic? Is it even ethical to do so? A number of high profile brands directly affected by the pandemic have made that decision –  there hasn’t been any Twitter activity from easyJet since 17th February as they contend with refunding and rearranging their customer’s flights and hand sanitizer producer Purell haven’t tweeted anything aside from official statements since February. Hygiene companies such as Purell could be accused of profiteering so their silence is probably a wise choice. However, unless the nature of your services or product puts your brand at risk of being insensitive, we strongly suggest you do not go dark. 

Done well, this moment represents an important opportunity for your brand. Perhaps surprisingly, SOPRO has reported that as much as two-thirds (65%) of all industries will experience stable or increased demand – with more than a third (39%) likely to see increased demand during the pandemic. Therefore, it’s vital that you keep active on social media to keep your business afloat, however, this must be done in a sensitive and appropriate manner.  

So how do you navigate this confusing time? Whether your business has temporarily ceased trading, is still in full operation or if you are contending with fewer customers (or too many panicked customers) we’ve assembled these guidelines to help you find a new focus to your digital content strategy.

First things first, 2 very important rules:

Do not try to profit from the crisis, or do anything that could be interpreted as profiteering:

A global pandemic is not a marketing opportunity. It would be not only insensitive but downright dangerous for a brand to try to profit from this tragedy. Corona (who, granted, are in a very unusual situation sharing the name of the virus) have come under fire for running a campaign for their new Corona Hard Seltzer with the tagline ‘Coming Ashore Soon’. It should go without saying, but Coronavirus is not something you want to associate your brand with. 

Do not run campaigns that could be considered ill-timed amid a global pandemic:

KFC recently paused their ‘Finger Lickin’ ads, amidst criticism that encouraging customers to lick their fingers during the global spread of coronavirus was a rather bad idea. Geico also halted their campaign ‘Perfect High Five’ after customers made noise on Twitter about how inappropriate it was. A Coors ad titled ‘Official Beer of ‘Working’ Remotely was also put on hold over concerns that the message would come across as tone-deaf as most of us transition to working from home. The lesson –  a campaign that was seemingly inoffensive a month ago could be seen in a very different light today. 

A New Social Strategy

Due to panic, curiosity or the fact that a majority of people are now stuck at home, time spent on social media is significantly up. 85% of Chinese consumers reported an increase of at-home screen usage during the outbreak. Bearing in mind that your content will likely be sandwiched between rolling news coverage on Covid-19, you should consider the following when creating content amidst the pandemic. 

Distraction

It’s important to steer your focus away from hard-selling. Remember, the increased time we are all spending online is prompting a lot of people on social media to be even more vocal than usual, particularly on platforms such as Twitter. If your company comes in trying to make a hard sell for a product that feels ill-timed, your followers will let you know about it. 

In these economically uncertain times consumers are looking for distraction, so consider what you could offer for free to provide that for your customers. Offering tips to survive lockdown is a good idea, as is providing ideas to keep the kids entertained. 

Connection

Now is the time to build a sense of trust in your brand. ‘Trust content’ allows you to spend more meaningful time connecting with your audience, something they will appreciate when things return to business as usual.  Consider creating long-form content such as articles, video series, podcasts or training content. Adjusting the volume of social media content, you post is perfectly reasonable right now. Give additional attention to creating high quality, meaningful trust content instead.

Figure out how your company can create good will and stand by your customers during this time.  Be it offering more customer service across social or extending return windows, it’s a chance to deepen that all-important brand awareness and trust.

Community-building 

People are seeking social communities online like never before. Virtual communities are popping up across social media – from bands performing live streamed concerts to fitness trainers providing live streamed classes – people are coming together for a whole new type of experiential moment. If your brand can offer this type of experience, great! If not, think of other ways you can rally your audience together, such as sharing content that connects us all to help build that feeling of coming together over a common cause.

Consider changing the focus of your campaigns from hard-selling to raising brand awareness. Community- building should be the focus of your social campaigns, maintaining your recognition level, so your customers can respond when they are ready to spend. For instance, set new conversion goals on your Facebook campaigns so they are raising brand awareness rather than trying to make sales. 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

With the indefinite timeline of the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be challenging to look to the future, but brands can serve a vital role in doing this. This does not mean offering discount codes for 6 weeks down the line, but just providing simple positive messaging that reminds us all this will come to an end. Switzerland’s tourist board is a particularly good example of this, giving their social media followers a slice of Switzerland from afar, using hashtags like #neverstopdreaming and #staystrong to bolster morale.

Companies must remember that there will be a point someday where everything will return to business as usual. If your business has gone quiet on social media for months on end the effects could be catastrophic; customers would have good reason to think you had gone out of business during the pandemic. Instead, use this time to distract, connect with and support your customers. If you can successfully adapt and offer your customers value in this time of uncertainty, you will win their trust and when normal life resumes and they do spend again, it will be with you. 

Make LinkedIn work for your small business this year

LinkedIn has long been known as the home of B2B discussion, and in 2020 the opportunities to engage and grow your business are expanding. Companies of almost any kind can benefit from maintaining a LinkedIn presence, and although it does require a dedicated, platform-specific approach, the numbers speak for themselves:

  • LinkedIn has more than 645 million users, across more than 200 countries and territories; 
  • LinkedIn has added nearly 150 million new members in the past two years;
  • 94% of marketers use LinkedIn to publish content;
  • Of the LinkedIn users who are engaging with the platform monthly, 40% access it on a daily basis;

LinkedIn is the world’s largest and most active professional networking platform and your company page represents a huge opportunity to establish your brand as an industry thought leader, as well as attract top talent from around the globe. Here’s how to optimize your business page and improve your presence, authority, and recruitment prospects on the platform.

How to create and optimise your page

Step 1

Log in to LinkedIn. Click the work icon on the top right corner of the page. Then click create a company page.

Step 2 

Select small business from the list of options.

Step 3

Fill out your company’s name, a public LinkedIn URL, your business’ website and your business’ industry.

Step 4

Check the verification box to confirm you are authorised to represent your company, then click create a page. If you don’t have enough connections, you may not be able to create a community page. If this happens, build your network then try again. 

Step 5

To really unlock your business page’s potential, you need to optimize your page – according to LinkedIn, completed pages get 30% more weekly views. Start by identifying keywords and using them throughout your page.

Include relevant keywords at the very beginning of your company tagline as well as in your headline, overview, specialisms and life section. Keyword research will help you understand the actual search terms that people enter into search engines. Use tools such as Moz Keyword Explorer or SEMRush to help you. 

Step 6

Using those keywords, write a strong ‘About’ section. Work up an engaging overview of your business, that answer the following questions:

  • Origin Story: Where did our idea and passion come from?
  • Vision: What future do you want to help create?
  • Values: What core values support our vision and decision making processes?
  • Positioning: Who are our customers and where do we fit?
  • Products/Services: What are our core product & service offerings?

Step 7

Creating backlinks to your company page will help boost your SEO ranking. A good way to do this is to ask your employees to update their LinkedIn profiles so that their page’s a link back to your business.

Step 8

The best way to improve your company’s ranking is to regularly share relevant content. Read on to discover the best type of content to share.

What posts to share

Social media content is all about who you want to reach and if it will drive viewers down your marketing funnel. Here are a few types of content that work especially well on LinkedIn, including a deep-dive into video, our top-tip for 2020.

Publishing how-to blogs or list posts

Writing informative articles is a great way to raise your visibility and start conversations on LinkedIn. It demonstrates your industry expertise and positions you as a thought leader. How-to blogs and list posts receive the most attention on LinkedIn, and given their easily digestible formatting it’s easy to see why.

Sharing Industry-Adjacent Content

The key to LinkedIn articles is to consistently share information that interests your clients. This content gives you the opportunity to showcase other topics you’re familiar with that could be helpful to clients. Customers remember smart people who offer up reliable advice, so sharing industry-adjacent content helps keep you top of their mind in the long run.

PowerPoints and PDFS

LinkedIn owns the service SlideShare, which offers tools to help you make your own presentations. Take advantage of their tools and courses and share original slideshows on your LinkedIn page. 

Make Predictions

Prediction posts at the start of the year are a winning tool for boosting your LinkedIn engagement. Making predictions about your industry positions you as a sector leader and encourages people to share their opinions with you.

LinkedIn Video

Video is 5 times more likely than other types of content to start a conversation amongst LinkedIn members, so it’s a great tool for increasing brand awareness, offering a more human side to your company. 

According to Wyzowl’s 2019 State of Video Marketing…

  • 79% of people say a brand’s video has convinced them to make a purchase
  • 87% of people would like to see more videos from brands.
  • What’s more, 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.

Despite this, video is still a relatively untapped marketing channel. Don’t be put off by a lack of budget of technical know-how, you can create this content affordably in – house your video content doesn’t necessarily have to be professionally produced to be effective. Here are a few ideas for creating that captivating video content.

Create screencast tutorials and presentations. 

A screencast is simply a video recording of your computer screen accompanied by audio narration. Use a PowerPoint presentation or high-quality visuals, and narrate as if you were giving a presentation. Screencasts are one of the most cost-effective techniques for producing video content and are the perfect place to start if you’re camera shy or don’t have a video camera. 

Show behind the scenes of your business


Giving your followers a backstage pass offers a unique insight into your business – why not highlight your best employees, or flaunt your office culture and brand values?

Try DIY animated videos

Hiring professionals to make animated videos will set you back a fair bit, so why not try giving it a go yourself? Animated videos are a great tool for simply explaining concepts, whilst enchanting your viewers. Try cloud-based animated video creation platforms such as Sparkol or Vyond. These platforms are not free but are more affordable than employing a professional, and many of them offer free trials. 

Share video testimonials from happy customers

User-generated videos take the pressure off your company to produce content while offering social proof – something you can never get enough of as a business. Customers product reviews, social media shout outs and testimonials are invaluable tools to grow your business, and if they are video testimonials, even better! To cultivate your customers, why not consider offering them discount codes in exchange for video testimonials of your product. 

Interview experts and thought leaders

Associating your business with influential thought leaders in your field will help you become recognized as an industry leader. Interviewing experienced leaders in your industry is a tried-and-tested way to build trust and authority with your target audience.

Pro tip: Add subtitles to your video content – studies have found 39% of people are more likely to finish a video with subtitles.

How to grow your followers

You’d think out of 645 million users, it wouldn’t be that difficult to quickly build your connections, but after you’ve exhausted your own contacts list it can be a challenge, especially when you want to make sure those connections are relevant and add value to your network. Here are some simple steps to help grow your followers:

Add a page link in your signature

If you’re already emailing someone professionally, it’s likely your page will interest them.

Add the follow company plugin to your website

This drives visitors from your website to your LinkedIn, increasing your reach.

Ask your employees to add your page to their current work experience

This will help you get more backlinks and gives you the opportunity to share your employees’ best posts on LinkedIn, profiling your top talent as well as leveraging their networks.

Mention companies and pages in page updates

By mentioning companies with the @ symbol it’s easier for them to reshare your content in front of your audience. Think about the companies you admire and have strong followings and mention them in your updates. 

Keep it up

Post consistently – according to LinkedIn, pages that post daily get twice the member engagement. Try the 3, 2,1 technique to keep your content varied- every week aim to post 3 pieces of industry-related content, 2 pieces of ‘proud’ content (content that makes your employees and followers feel good) and just one piece of product-related content.

Remember to engage promptly – reply, comment and ask questions and keep your business details and photos up to date. Building a community on LinkedIn requires attention.

Make LinkedIn work for your small business this year

There are endless opportunities to make your small business LinkedIn Page work wonders for your company. Of course, running a small business can be challenging, but with a good plan in place and the right tools, LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool for helping your company grow. We hope you’ve found this guide helpful, and are inspired to make LinkedIn work hard for you in 2020!

Now you can proactively grow your LinkedIn company page

Good news. Now you can proactively grow your LinkedIn company page.

If you have been struggling to grow your LinkedIn company page followers, there is some good news in the form of a new LinkedIn feature.

Organic growth of your LinkedIn company page can be incredibly tough to achieve. It’s possible, of course, especially if you have a good number of employees that actively share your company page updates to their personal profiles. Or you have loads of great content, including videos, events, fun office happenings or a cute company dog. Also, If you are a big business that people want to work for or with, you will have lots of followers too. But, for most small companies, reach, and engagement generally comes from personal profiles.

You could try to grow your followers with paid ads. However, that might not be ideal as the cost per follow is high, and you might not be in a position to invest financially in paid social media ads.

What LinkedIn has rolled out recently might be the answer you have been looking for. Similar to Facebook, they have introduced a new functionality that allows you to Invite your connections to follow your page.

To do this, you will need to be an admin of the company page. However, LinkedIn allows multiple admins, so it’s possible to increase reach by including as many admins as you can in this activity.

We have been witnessing a lot of positive changes on LinkedIn in the last couple of months. It’s good to see that the social media network with the strictest privacy policy is finally giving us tools that can help us grow and improve the social media presence of our companies.

LinkedIn Ads vs. Facebook Ads: How do they compare, and which one is right for you?

LinkedIn and Facebook

We will tell you why 2019 is expected to be huge for LinkedIn marketing whilst many companies turn away from Facebook Ads. It is not because one is better than the other, but brands now understand which platform is best suited to target the right audience for them.

Facebook is currently losing a lot of business to other social media platforms, especially LinkedIn who have seen a 212 percent growth in the money spent on ads with them. It seems 2019 is their year, but how can you decide where your money is best spent?

How do LinkedIn and Facebook compare when it comes to Ads?

LinkedIn Ads are the preferred choice for B2B marketers, 71 percent of them currently use it as part of their strategy, which is only going to increase, according to the before mentioned statistics. As every marketer knows, rule number one of marketing is to know who your customers are. Next, you need to figure out how to reach them. Age, gender and location are the basic demographics that you will get from LinkedIn and Facebook alike.

However, LinkedIn can also tell you about their users’ education, skillset, profession, and the industry they work in. That is powerful extra data you won’t find on other platforms.
LinkedIn has become essential to any brand wanting to increase brand awareness, network with the right people, and achieve growth.

Being a platform that has been created purely for professional use, LinkedIn is seen to provide reliable content. Its content’s nature is neutral, sober, professional – a lot of users access LinkedIn daily for making business decisions.

When it comes to advertising, it is popular with B2B companies who will most benefit from investing their money here. It allows them to target a specific industry and the kind of companies they need to reach.

LinkedIn has a range of options for how you want to advertise on it and its professional brand image means that adverts appear generally more trustworthy. They look a lot like natural content – which results in more engagement than on other platforms.

Similar ads on Facebook feel more like spam, because of the different environment in which they are presented.

One big drawback of LinkedIn Ads, however, is the cost. They are quite pricey compared to Facebook – who also have a lot more active users – 2.2 billion users in fact, compared to LinkedIn’s 550+ million.

Despite those numbers, LinkedIn Ads still achieve a higher return on your investment – possibly because it is the right platform for B2B marketing and mainly used in that way. The adverts on there have always been more targeted and a good fit for the audience, purely due to the nature of what LinkedIn is all about.

The purpose of LinkedIn is to be a network of work and business users, which makes it, in turn, a weak contender for B2C marketing. It is very unlikely to reach the end customer, Joe Bloggs if you will, by advertising on a business platform.

Facebook is much better placed for B2C marketing. If your company’s target audience is end customers, then promoting your goods on Facebook will create more engagement than on LinkedIn.

If there ever was a time when you are weak and willing to buy, say – that jumper that allows you to carry your cat around or some obscure gadget that you never knew you wanted, or a really ‘fashionable’ green/purple coat, you most likely do that in a weak moment at home, after a couple of glasses of wine and you are scrolling through Facebook, dressed in your pajamas, in front of the TV.

The odds will fall drastically when you are dressed in your smart work clothes in the office, looking for companies that might be able to help you with your current project or looking for a new job opportunity.

It would, therefore, be unfair to say that companies are leaving Facebook Ads because LinkedIn or other platforms are better. It’s more likely that marketers now have more choice, know their customers better, and advertise on the platforms that are the most suitable for their business.

How to better manage your business Instagram account

When establishing your business on Instagram there are a few basics you need to get right in order to grow your following and get relevant followers who are more likely to convert. Here we’ll go through a few techniques to better manage your account and boost your success on Instagram.

Your Content is Your Shopfront

Of course, the first thing to consider is your content – this is the heart of your profile and needs to do a lot of work to captivate your followers. You don’t need a professional photographer to create great content though, just ensure you take pictures in natural light, and use the Instagram filters or VSCO to create uniformity across your profile. The difference between a good and a great Instagram account is visual appeal of the overall feed.

Here are a few ideas for content that typically does well with audiences. These tips can be incorporated into posts or stories:

Actional or practical ideas: Give your followers ideas they can act themselves, for instance, if you sell clothes try posting outfit inspiration using your products.

Behind the scenes photos: These give your audience a different view of your company and build trust in your brand.

Ask your followers: Ask your audience questions through your posts – it will generate engagement and you’ll learn more about your audience.

Offers: Occasionally posting promotional posts can help generate awareness, but make sure it’s infrequent. The number of non-promotional posts should outweigh the promotional ones.

Timing is everything

Posting when most of your followers are online will give you a great chance of building those likes quickly. You can use the insights tab on your business profile to learn more about your followers, and there are lots of studies stating when the best time to post is. The stats change year on year depending on Instagram’s shifting algorithm but here are some tips as a general guide.

Post for your most active time zone: Look at where your followers are located and post accordingly. If they are spread across many time zones (e.g. if you have followers in North America and the UK) finding that middle point between the zones might serve well for you.

Post more during off work hours than during the day: Use scheduling platforms to post during peak Instagram hours, i.e. when people are away from their desks. Top times are lunchtime (11am – 1pm) and evenings (7pm – 9pm.)

Post the important content on weekdays: Engagement shifts across the week, with Wednesdays and Thursdays driving the most, and Sundays the least.

Optimizing Hashtags

Hashtags are hugely important as they help you gain visibility across the platform, however, picking hashtags that are used by millions of people will mean your posts just get lost. Pick hashtags that are popular but have low search volumes – your aim should be to rank in the top nine posts for a particular hashtag

You can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram, and studies show that posts with 11+ hashtags have the highest engagement. Using over 11 means 442% more engagement than using none – so take advantage of this easy way to grow your account.

Beating the Algorithm

As we’ve mentioned, Instagram’s algorithm can be a huge factor in who is seeing your content. Here are a few tricks you can use to outsmart the algorithm:

Post Instagram stories regularly: Stories offer a variety of engagement opportunities and the algorithm takes into account all types of engagement, e.g. if someone replies to a story or participates in a poll. The more engagement, the higher odds they will see your posts.

Post engaging captions: Captions that provide a call to action can help start conversations with your followers. Replying to comments and continuing the conversation will keep engagement up and keep your post skirting around the algorithm.

Seize trends: You should jump on memes and trends that are applicable to your brand, be it holiday related posts or fleeting hashtags.

Instagram is a powerful tool in building your business, and we hope these ideas help you better manage your account. For more insider tips get in touch with us at [email protected]

A step by step guide to the new and improved Linkedin pages – Company pages have received an exciting upgrade

LinkedIn has just launched a major overhaul of company pages, and we have the run down. There are more app features for admins and ‘Know and Grow’ analytics, but the most exciting feature is the new Content suggestions. They provide instant access to trending posts, so you can share the things your customers really want to see.

LinkedIn has completely rebuilt the way companies can interact – and it will give a major boost to audience engagement and the quality of your posts.

With over 500 million users worldwide and 50% of LinkedIn traffic coming through the app, admins can now make full use of this:

Improved admin features for the LinkedIn app

  • post and respond on the go
  • update your profile
  • share the most popular, up-to-date content
  • this allows you to show off your customer service skills by being responsive and reactive

Profiles have greater flexibility

  • add up to 3 hashtags to your profile and associate your brand with trending topics
  • upload PowerPoint, PDF, and Word documents
  • share customer testimonials
  • add a customizable call-to-action button and lead customers to your website, contact page, Registration/Sign up – Visit website, Contact us, Learn more, Register, Sign up

Know and grow analytics

The better you know your customers, the better your content, the higher the user engagement. LinkedIn has improved on analytics and made them more visual. Admins will receive a monthly email summary or can check online. The analytics give data on:

  • Followers
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • For any selected timeframe

You can see what posts have performed well and which haven’t, this allows you to improve your content.

Content suggestions

Companies who post once a week double their audience engagement. LinkedIn’s new Content Suggestions feature will enable you to give your customers exactly the content they want to read about. You can be flexible and let them know what your company is all about, whilst being on trend. You can share the latest, most relevant articles that draw your clients in and build trust in your brand.

As an admin on LinkedIn pages, you can see what topics and articles are currently trending. You can choose the audience size – be it all LinkedIn users, your followers, or your employees. Then simply look at the most popular content available. From there you can either create your own content, in full knowledge that what you write is relevant, or just repost one of the trending posts.
This makes it incredibly easy to stay active on your company page, and active profiles drive a lot of traffic, have a wider reach, and crucially increase followers.
Because your content is relevant to your followers, your brand will be seen more positively and appear very professional.

With the above mentioned know and grow analytics, you will see what content performs best and what didn’t work. It won’t take long for you to have a Company page that will present you in the best light and grow your network. This is the one feature that lets you instantly improve your brand exposure with minimal effort, so we think this is the most important thing to have happened on LinkedIn in years.

To summarise how easy it is to boost your profile with Content Suggestions:

  • Select your audience
  • See what’s trending
  • Create your own content from these suggestions
  • OR re-post what’s trending and associate with the big players in the industry
  • Stay active at the click of a button = higher engagement
  • This drives traffic
  • Increases followers
  • You are relevant to your followers

LinkedIn pages will enable you to really understand what your customers want and how to engage with them. You are always on the pulse of what people are interested in and can give them exactly what they want. Watch your customer base grow and keep them coming back.
Get started now and you will see that this new upgrade has been very well thought out, it is a game changer.

Our 5-step guide to a social media audit

It’s great that you’ve taken the time and effort to create a good social media strategy for your brand. Now that you are regularly posting on social media, it’s time to stand back and allow your social media channels to do the work for you. Right?

Well, not entirely.

The social media space is continually evolving and if you’re not keeping yourself updated on new trends, you can soon find that your social content falling off the radar or missing the mark completely. From customisable chatbots to face filters to video content such as Instagram stories, there are mind-boggling ways to connect with your audience via social today.

As important as it is to plan and put out a regular stream of relevant content, it’s also equally important to review performance against set goals. It gives you a chance to see what’s working, change what’s not and possibly experiment with new trends and content types.

A social media audit is a great way to examine what’s working well, cut back on aspects that are hampering performance and implement new actions based on a detailed analysis.

But where and how do you get started?

Here are 5 steps to follow.

1. Track down all your social media profiles

The first step would be to make a list of all your social media profiles, both the official and unofficial ones floating around on the internet.

You might have experimented with video in the early days or years of your company, but there have been no recent updates in a while. Or perhaps a former employee of your team signed up for a social media account, but failed to follow through and the profile remains inactive.

Search for your brand name across all major social networks to identify test accounts or ones created by long-lost employees. Once you have a list, pull together all account details in a spreadsheet – Profile Name, URL, date of last activity, engagement (if any) and followers.

Next, go through each account with a fine-toothed comb to determine whether the profile is needed and/or whether it adds any value to your company. Some questions to consider:

  • Do we need to use this platform?
  • Is our target audience active on this social media platform?
  • What is our objective or goal with regard to this social media platform?

Now would also be a good time to consider if any of the new and emerging platforms out there are worth spending your time on and whether you should consider including them in your social strategy.

2. Make sure details are consistent

From the right website links to visual imagery and branding, having a uniform look and feel is important to ensure your brand has a consistent presence across social platforms. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure that branding is uniform:

  • Are all bio and profile descriptions match each other and updated?
  • Are all the visuals and colours used consistent with your branding?
  • Check all links in the profile and ensure they are uniform and working.

You can also check for consistency across all channels with respect to the type of content or regularity of posting (although you may have made a conscious decision to post more regularly on some).

3. Analyse competitors and influencers

A great way to improve your social media marketing is to observe and learn from others who are already excelling at it.

Identify your top competitors and/or list 3-4 key influencers in your industry. Then add their social media profiles to your sheet to compare and contrast their content and performance. Understanding their strengths and areas of improvement can reveal key insights that can help shape your own posts.

It is also an excellent way to try new ideas and draw on trends that are working successfully for others in your space. You could try and gauge, for instance:

  • What sort of content are they posting (links, images, videos, gifs, polls?)
  • How often do they post
  • How many followers do they have
  • What sort of engagement are they receiving
  • Their approach and tone of voice

You can make a note of their tactics to get a feel for their social strategy, and perhaps use some of the ideas/initiatives to inspire your own strategy.

4. Analyse your own performance

Here comes the intimidating bit (well, unless you love data analytics).
It’s time to dig deep into your social analytics to uncover the dirt. This is a key aspect of your social media audit and will form of the bulk of your analysis as this is where you can glean the most interesting details. Compile a list of metrics to track. These could include:

  • Followers
  • Likes
  • Shares (Facebook)
  • Retweets (Twitter)
  • Comments
  • Mentions
  • Reach
  • Direct messages

You could even plot these on a timeline to compare them to previous periods and track performance over time.
Make sure you review all your top-performing posts i.e content which has received the most likes/comments/shares. You could choose 3-5 of your best posts and link to them in your spreadsheet. You could even identify the poorly performing posts and make a note of which content post types were not-so-effective. To find out which content types are working the best on each channel, categorise it across different content types: blogs, promotional posts, video, images, quotes/motivational, resources/educational, company/product updates etc.
To track overall performance, head to Google Analytics (and click on Acquisition) to identify which social media profile is generating the most traffic to your website.

5. Draft a list of action points

Now that you (hopefully) have a decent understanding of where you stand, it’s time to draw some insights so that you can use it to shape your future plan.
Based on your research and takeaway, you can identify new objectives and a list of action points to implement. Whether it is increasing engagement on a particular channel or be more regular with posting on another, your social analytics should be able to pinpoint what you need to focus on. Here are a few possible things you could action:

  • Revised objectives and KPIs
  • What new ways are we to increase interaction/engagement with users
  • What is the right content mix and regularity of posting
  • Resources required to put the plan into action

Rinse and repeat

Having an eye on the health of your social media accounts via a social media audit is essential if you want to see strong results.
It not only reveals great insights about your target audience and the way they interact with your content, but it also helps you track whether your day-to-day actions are making an impact in the long run. Additionally, it allows you to focus on areas that need improving and helps you evolve along the way.

Keep in mind that it isn’t just a one-time affair. Schedule a ‘spring clean’ of your social media accounts every 6 or 12 or 18 months (or more often if needed).

It may seem a pain at the time, but putting the effort into auditing your social media channels is definitely worth the hard work.

How to boost reach and engagement for your LinkedIn Sponsored Content

Social media

So you’ve dedicated a chunk of your social media advertising budget towards Sponsored content on LinkedIn, hoping to see engagement, and ultimately, results

LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content is a great way of getting your brand in front of your target audience at the right time. If used effectively, it can be used to build brand awareness, engage with your audience, nurture key relationships and finally, generate those much-needed leads.

Sounds great but how exactly can you use it to strengthen your company’s profile on the professional networking site. It can be challenging to put out steady stream of diverse content which aims to inspire and engage your followers. At other times, you are able to put out regular content, but it isn’t really resulting in much engagement or an increase in followers

To address some of these challenges, we’ve come up with some tips on how you can increase your reach and drive engagement for your LinkedIn Sponsored updates.

Set clear goals to drive content

What do you ultimately need to achieve with your LinkedIn Sponsored updates? Perhaps you want to build a community and increase engagement with prospects or leads. Or you want to focus on lead generation.

Your content creation strategy should be driven by your end goals and this will influence every aspect of your content.

Are you trying to create brand awareness? Then videos, infographics,  informative blogs can help to keep your company at the forefront of people’s minds. Do you want to position yourself as a leader in your field? Then post links to long-form content such as whitepapers, case studies or eBooks.  If you wish to increase conversation or generate leads, you can link to gated eBooks or webinars with a strong call-to-action encouraging sign-ups. If your aim is to nurture your leads, you can share articles, guides and articles which educate your target base.

Focus on pleasing your audience

To make the best of your Sponsored content, make sure you know who your target audience is. And use this information to guide the type of content you post. The more targeted your campaigns, the higher you are likely to convert.

Think about their jobs and and which industries/sectors do they work in? What are their needs and pain points? How can the content you share directly address this?

While setting up campaigns, you can create targeted campaigns that speak to the needs of each type of your buyer persona. If your buyer person is the upper management team such as CEOs and VPs, for instance, you could perhaps share leadership articles or content highlighting management trends, which may be particularly appealing to the,

Unlike other social networking sites, people usually browse LinkedIn to network, look for jobs, or learn more about their industry. Tap into this ‘professional mindset’ by giving your target audience plenty of content that can help them learn something new, increase knowledge and be productive in their jobs. In addition, sharing your opinion or providing a critical analysis or insight into something can also help to drive engagement

That said, don’t forget that people love an inspiring or uplifting story or a piece of news that can add a new perspective or give them a new lease of life.

Use diverse content types to grab attention

Not all content is quality content. So it might be wise to invest in creating powerful content that are likely to strike a chord with your audience.

Images and videos are a sure-fire way to capture attention in a time when people just don’t seem to have it. Images that have interesting stats or an infographic image is a great way to present information and strike up a conversation.

LinkedIn allows videos from Vimeo, YouTube and Slideshare to play natively within the newsfeed, so use this functionality to share some interesting video content. Keep your videos short (under 2 minutes) and make sure you use subtitles so that people can watch at work  or on a commute without the volume.

Text updates, especially if they are from the CEO or member of the C-suite usually demand your reader’s attention. An effective text update is short, intriguing and should make the reader want to know more (which you can follow with a link for instance. You can ask a question, comment on an trending news story from the day or say something thought-provoking aiming at encouraging a discussion.

LinkedIn has identified the following  ways to make your Sponsored Content stand out.

  • Ask questions
  • Aim to inspire
  • Capitalise on trends
  • Use imagery

Track performance and measure results

As is with any kind of advertising, testing results is crucial way to uncover key insights and identify issues.

There’s no point simply sharing content without tracking the performance of posts and its impact towards your overall goal. Apart from engaging audiences, you can use LinkedIn’s Conversion Tracking to see how your ads are helping you achieve your goals, be it lead generation, conversions or purchases. To track conversions, go to Conversion Tracking options in Campaign Manager and add the Insight Tag to the website pages you wish to track.

You can then identify a conversion action (newsletter subscription, webinar sign-up or demo registration) and link it to your campaign to track the performance of your content.

Additionally, you can gain a deeper understanding of your audience using website demographics to get data on industries, sectors, job titles and company names. This in turn, can help you customise content tailored to their unique needs and interests.

Test and optimise for success

To make the most of your efforts with Sponsored Content, you need to review, monitor and experiment to ensure success.

You can use A/B testing for example, to compare multiple campaigns. Create a duplicate campaign to show the same post to different target audience and see which performed better. You could even run the test on varied versions of the same post to see which performed the best.

Choose the right metrics to track, and this usually depends on your campaign goals. For instance, if you want to track ROI, you could track the number of conversions and the cost per conversions. If your goal was to generate more leads, track the number of sign-ups/registrations.  For brand awareness, you could track the number of new followers and engagements.

To make your LinkedIn marketing efforts successful, you need to have clarity on your goals, cater to your target audience with compelling content, and then finally test and measure performance for optimum results.

To discuss any of the points above or if you need help with executing any of these tactics, do email us at [email protected]