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!

How to grow your LinkedIn network in just 5 minutes a day

As a small business are you maximising your presence on LinkedIn? Our favourite B2B platform has now got more than 630 million members – 21% of the entire global workforce –  yet, despite its huge number of members, many people are still not using the platform to its full potential.

Despite a growing number of small firms and independent consultants stepping up their social strategies; in what is an increasingly competitive market, many still have work to do.

Research shows that nearly 60% of people now consult social media before making their buying decisions. 70% of them use LinkedIn, so it really is more important than ever to ensure you have a strong, thriving network.

Building your community is all about making connections. So, this month we’ll show you how dedicating just 5 minutes a day to strategically building your first-degree connections can exponentially improve your access to new clients and professional opportunities.

So, whether you’re aiming for that 501st connection, or just want to make your profile work harder for you, read on as we show you how to grow your network by investing just 5 minutes a day.

1. Personalise and connect

Follow up with everyone you meet (or wanted to meet but didn’t) at networking events. You can only do so much at a conference, so use the power of LinkedIn to make those connections count. Before you hit connect make sure you send a personal message, explaining who you are and where you met (remember, this is not the time to sell your services). Dig out those business cards and get searching.

2. Update your status daily

Simply having a LinkedIn profile is not enough to keep those connections coming in. Like any social media platform, you need to engage and participate. As you would on Facebook or Twitter, make sure your content adds value, stays on brand and includes a call to action. Try sharing relevant articles, videos or blog posts.

Keep yourself present in your connection’s feeds to give them more opportunity to like and share your posts. This will get you introduced to their connections and offers a great opportunity to grow your network. When connections share your content it is social proof that you’re an expert in your field, which might encourage those 2nd-degree connections to reach out to you.

3. Participate in groups

It’s impossible to engage on a one-to-one level with hundreds of connections. Here’s where LinkedIn groups are a great way of making and maintaining those new connections. Join relevant groups and pick a handful to stay active on, but avoid marketing yourself or your business. Participate in (or better yet, initiate) group discussions.

If you are a member of any ‘real world’ networking groups look through their membership directory and find those contacts on LinkedIn. Remember to customise your connection request and reference the group you are both in.

You can also consider starting your own group. A certain level of kudos will come with this, and people are keen to connect with experts. When they join they are likely to connect with you.

4. Promote your profile

This is a great way to take advantage of your presence on other platforms. Make sure you have customised your URL, then place your LinkedIn profile link in your email signature, add it to your website, include it on your business cards and list it on your social media bios. This tip is easy to achieve and can really drive your traffic and therefore connections.

5. Engage

Keep an eye on your wall and be sure to share, comment on and like your connections updates and posts. There is always a lot going on with LinkedIn – new jobs, birthdays, job changes. Interacting with these important milestones is a great way to develop relationships as well as building new connections, as it will give you more visibility on the platform.

Conclusion

Give just 5 minutes of your day to one of these tasks and you’ll be able to track your success as your number of connections starts to grow. When you connect with the right people on LinkedIn you are truly taking advantage of one the best networking tools at your disposal, putting you one click away from meeting any one of those 630 million members.

If you would like some support with your LinkedIn or wider social media strategies, we’d love to chat.

A version of this post originally appeared on our good friends at South Thames Marketing’s blog.

Social media should not be ignored by B2B companies: Here’s why

Let’s talk social media. We’ve noticed that our clients who sell to customers ‘get’ social media – the benefits are obvious. Less so with B2B firms – they wonder if the benefits are really worth the effort. Writing blogs, creating videos and images all cost time and money. We believe that when done right, it is worth the effort and the payoffs can be significant. It’s our job after all! Here’s why…

Show the human side of your business

Whilst consumer choices are emotionally driven, business decisions are largely rational. Or are they? We’ve all heard the idea that people buy people, not things. This is especially true in the case of B2B services. Providers often win because of the emotional response to the team they present at a pitch, and the relationships they build up over time.

By establishing a social media presence, you allow potential clients to see the human side of the business. This lets people see who works for you, which is important, but it also showcases your values as an organisation. You can show people that you’re the type of person they want to work with, which can leave a meaningful impression.

Promote your thinking

Most experts in a field have something interesting to say, a perspective on current affairs and events in their industry – and social media is a great way to promote your angle, story and take on things. You might choose to focus on future trends in your industry or reflect on past events, talk about products and services or the values and theories that underpin what you do. Whatever you choose to write about, getting it out there is key in making it worthwhile.

According to The State of Digital Marketing in 2017 report, blog posts and articles are considered the best way to generate and engage an interested following, and ultimately convert some of these into leads.

Gain trust

Perhaps the default method of checking out a new firm is to Google them. Of course, it’s our immediate response, followed by checking whether any of our trusted contacts have any experience with them. Social media is good for both these things – it offers a window into the community you’ve endeavored to build around your firm, through your social media marketing efforts. It also offers prospectives a quick route to testimonials, recommendations, and Q&As, which all leads to bolstering credibility.

Harness your video content

People are increasingly getting used to having complex concepts explained to them in video format. Cisco reckons 75% of all mobile traffic will be video by 2021. So what’s this got to do with social media? It offers the ideal platform for hosting and distributing video, allowing people to engage with it, and if it’s really good, share it and extend its impact. It’s also one of the most cost-effective forms of social media marketing with a high return on advertising spend (ROAS).

So whatever your position on social media, and take on specific platforms, we think there’s something out there that could be of benefit. As with anything, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution – and you may well be right that you can’t see your services doing well on Facebook, for example. But, given the time and thought, the benefits we’ve discussed are available to all B2B firms, and they should be considered as part of any digital marketing strategy. You might just find that they start to open some new doors for you.

5 Tips for Understanding Social Media ROI

Many businesses understand the importance of social media. With its ubiquity in the modern world, it’s essential avenue for reaching clients, customers, and potential leads. But few businesses understand how to measure their success on it. If you have no idea whether your social media efforts are successful, or if your clients are bugging you for evidence of your social media prowess, it’s time to consider social media ROI (return on investment).

ROI provides tangible proof that your marketing efforts on social media are working and doing what they should be. It allows companies to know which posts are successful, and which aren’t, allowing you to improve your offerings over time. It can be a challenge, though. Algorithms are constantly changing, and there are always new tools. However, there are some key steps that can be taken to start measuring your social media ROI properly. Here are five we like to use.

Set (And Know) Your Goals

ROI is about quantifying to what extent you got from your posts what you wanted. Clicks, likes, shares, leads – any measurement of your success depends on your intended goals. Before you can track or measure ROI, you must determine your goals so you know which factors to measure. Setting goals allows you to tailor your posts towards achieving them. If you haven’t set goals, do this now – it will be a big benefit for that which will enhance your ROI further. The most common goals that businesses set for their social media posts are reach, traffic, leads, new customers, and conversion rate. Conversions can be anything from filled-out contact forms (which create leads) and link clicks to file downloads and social interactions.

Suffice to say, there are many metrics from which to measure ROI and these depend on your goals. Want to get more customers? Set goals for account signups or new traffic. Looking to spread the word about your brand? Keep tabs on reach.

Measure Your Visitors

Most social media websites include integrated analytics. These allow you to see the performance of a given post or combination of posts. Alternatively, you can use complementary apps like Hootsuite (for Twitter) to get more sophisticated insights for understanding ROI. For more complex goals, like click-throughs on a landing page, consider using software like Google Analytics. It automatically tracks all kinds of information about your visitors – including where they came from. Sophisticated CRMs and marketing automation tools like Hubspot and Mautic also allow you to create landing pages with integrated monitoring and analytics. This is great for tracking post with a common call to action and a shared goal. You can also use it to compare the performance of different pages or social media posts. By measuring visitor activity, you can find out all kinds of insights. These include: understanding how many users click from your site to your social media accounts; which posts/social platforms visitors came to a landing page from; and what pages they went to after clicking through.

Track Campaigns

Groups of posts with the same goal are grouped into campaigns – a structured effort to achieve something using social media. For each campaign, measuring the time spent, the cost of ads, etc. and balancing it against the performance of the associated posts (in relation to your chosen goal) can help to determine the ROI of a campaign. For example, let’s say you spend 4 hours getting paid £10 an hour to create a campaign of four posts. If this results in 40 purchases being made, then that’s £1 of investment per purchase. That’s a pretty good ROI (depending, of course, on the cost or profit line of those purchases).

Report Your Results

Gathering all the data is useless if you don’t make use of it, so it’s vital to determine a way to report any findings on social media ROI. Whether it’s simple graphs and tables in Excel or more complex solutions like Google Analytics reports, having some kind of visual aid to show the impact of social media on the business can be great for showing success – or for finding ways to improve.

Google Analytics isn’t as intimidating as it seems – this blog from Convince and Convert has a great overview of the top five Google Analytics reports for showing the impact of social media marketing, so you can see what it can do and how to do it.

Review, Reflect and Adjust

Once a report is created, you should be able to quantify and visualise your ROI and review your results. Good ROI tracking can compare different posts to see what worked and what didn’t or compare the performance of paid advertisements against non-boosted posts to see what the added cost got you in return. Reflecting on results can show where successes and failures occurred, and highlight which tactics worked and, just as importantly, which didn’t. Adjusting your goals and posting styles in reaction to your ROI can help to improve your performance on social media over time – and, again, that will show in your ROI reporting.

At the end of the day, social media is a numbers game – be it for likes, click-throughs, or new customers, monitoring and reacting to your ROI measurements can help with all manner of potential goals for your business or website. If you need any help understanding ROI on social, contact us at Colour Me Social today.

How to Nail Social as a Start-up

Social media is no longer just a procrastination strategy from the impending panic of finishing that project deadline you have. In the past decade, it has become less of an optional marketing opportunity and more of a priority. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have become integral parts of brand awareness, content distribution, lead generation, and customer acquisition strategies for businesses.

This is especially true for start-ups, who have smaller budgets and less revenue. However, they are the most in need of good marketing strategies needing customers to make money and requiring money to get customers. Does it create a classic chicken in egg dilemma of what comes first, the marketing or the money? There is no easy answer, however, huge spending isn’t necessary for start-ups to run successful social media marketing campaigns.

Just consider the fact that Facebook is now responsible for a whopping 15.8 percent of total time spent on the internet, and the average social shopper spends an average of £113 when coming from Pinterest and £49 when coming from Facebook. (Source: http://www.greencandymedia.com/33-captivating-statistics-that-could-change-your-marketing-strategy/#.VONDcym4ksk)

Now that the importance of social media has been covered, let’s look at some of the details.

If there isn’t a plan, make one.

Here are some elements that make up a great social media plan:

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals. The more specific, the better. This includes:

  • Brand awareness. This will happen organically as you post content, engage with users, and promote your brand.
  • Lead generation. You would like your social media profiles to be lead generators that drive traffic to your website or blog. This requires a long-term investment and results are not immediate. Remember that patience is a virtue!
  • Content distribution. This involves an understanding of your brand’s voice: Use social media as one of your content distribution and dissemination platforms. Ensure engaging and unique content, and it’s possible that others could share your posts and advertise your brand for you. Posting regularly at peak times is extremely important (there are apps that can help pinpoint your audience’s best times), especially on Facebook and Twitter. For this purpose, you should develop an editorial calendar. Along with sharing your latest blog posts, try posting relevant news, photos, links and interviews you see around the web.
  • Customer acquisition. The best case scenario is that your social media profiles raise brand awareness, generates leads and leads turn into customers. Once you can use social media as a customer acquisition tool, you will have maximised its value.

“Does it really matter which social media channel I use? Aren’t they all just social media?” The answer is Yes and No in that order.

While not every industry has a clear preference for social media channels, there are important determinants that can help you find the right social network: your target audience age group, your business’ location, and the nature of your services. Depending on your strategy, approach, and goals, you should be able to determine which social media platforms are right for your start-up. There are currently five major social media platforms of potential value for start-ups:

Build a tribe

By this, we mean to build and engage a community. For long-term growth and success, the best thing you can do is build an online community of ambassadors. Behind every successful marketing strategy is a genuine human connection. Show your social media audience the people behind the product or service you offer: why you love what you do, and what served as an inspiration for your start-up. You can use this opportunity to look for social media influencers, and turn them into brand ambassadors. These ambassadors provide start-ups with the exposure they need to grow into a global brand. This won’t happen overnight, but a prolonged investment over many months and years will pay off.

If it isn’t working try something else, or better yet, try something new!

Once you your accounts are set up and you have developed a social media management routine, schedule regular temperature checks for all your channels. Tools like Audience evaluate your Twitter presence with one click; you can receive reports on your engagement, reach and profile strength. If your customers don’t engage as well on one of your social channels, check to make sure you haven’t been neglecting it!

Finally, never be afraid to try something new, be it in everyday life (like a new meal for dinner), or in tour social media profile. Breaking the mould or taking a leap outside your comfort zone doesn’t require a huge budget. It just requires a little courage and ingenuity. After all, the essence of start-up spirit is to problem-solve in an innovative, efficient way. Look at the #6SecondScienceFair Vine campaign for GE. The campaign encouraged fans to film their own science experiments, in order to build GE’s reputation as an innovator. It generated over 600 user submissions, 345 percent follower growth and 253,800 engagements, and all in a single week. Good luck!

Wanna talk social? Click here.

The cost of DIY social media

These days, few doubt the importance of social media in growing and developing your business. There are very few businesses not active on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Those who aren’t rouse suspicion from a customer-base increasingly used to easy engagement with businesses possessing a visible social media presence.

Many small businesses now grasp the importance of an active presence on social media. But a still-vast number of these fail to understand exactly what they need to do to make sure they are using it effectively. They are missing a ‘major business opportunity’ as a result.

With small teams and scarce resources, you might try to take on extensive social media management yourself. This, however, is often not cost effective. It can leave your time spread thinly across watered-down output, and a diminished focus on other aspects of your business.

Our team take a look at the challenges you face as a small business trying to manage social media on your own.

Where to start?

Today there are so many social media websites and platforms. It is hard to know which ones are useful for your business, and where to begin. The rise of social media has resulted in a proliferating number of social media channels to choose from. They all have with different – and rapidly changing – features and user demographics.

From Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn and Instagram, there are many social media channels for use in the business sector. Each one brings different benefits and drawbacks which greatly determine their use to your business. Knowing which to use, and those to avoid is a vital starting point for your social media strategy. Expert consultancy and knowledge of the market can help you get this right.

Learning to engage properly with your audience

Choosing the correct channels to promote your business is one thing. Understanding how to engage with each channel effectively is another. How you engage is a broad term, and encompasses when you choose to engage with your audience and who you want this audience to be. This can be anything from scheduled output and keeping your profile active in particular periods, to more active customer engagement as and when they use social media to reach out to you. You must also consider who you are engaging with. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow businesses autonomy over the people that want to target, beyond their existing followers. Getting this right is crucial, and can require expertise.

Sourcing high-quality content

A key next step of engaging effectively on social media is the sourcing and creation of high-quality content. Experts Hubspot offer the following advice:

“You can’t speed up inspiration, but you can get better at chasing it. Whenever you sit down to write content, you should dedicate a concrete block of time for researching articles, images, and data to support and enhance your narrative.”

High-quality content understandably does not source or create itself. Your social media output is the first thing potential clients see when finding your business. However, doing this correctly diverts significant time away from other areas of your business.

Keeping up with analytics

The need for expertise is no more obviously required than in the field of analytics. Analytics are the ultimate key to measuring the effectiveness of your output. You need information on who is engaging with your channels, when they are doing so, how they are and why. This is hugely important stats to help you refine your digital presence. Making sense of these is understandably difficult. Whilst this data can be used to improve your social media output, you need the necessary skills to both interpret it and craft the necessary strategy in response.

Training

Even in situations where you have staff devoted to social media management, this is no guarantee of success. There are many social media ‘basics’ that employees can be unaware of, ranging from the basics of how each site works to understanding questions of privacy and tone, with a general lack of quality control in-between. Training others to be social media experts can be costly, and requires constant upkeep as staff move on and the social media landscape shifts.

It is difficult to imagine that this money could not be better invested in other areas of your business.

Your time could and should be spent developing your business in areas which play to your strengths, rather than wasting time creating output for social media which lacks the necessary quality and insight to truly benefit your business’ development.

Expert assistance can save you time and money, aiding your growth by giving you better social media content than you could produce alone at a fraction of the cost. With consumers relying on social media and content to make informed decisions, outsourcing your social activity can give you the competitive edge required to drive sustained growth.

Colour Me Social are here to help. We offer a very affordable solution, working closely with you to grow your online presence in a manner befitting your business needs. Click here to get in contact.

 

Thanks to: Hootsuite + Hubspot

Is your business active on social media? If not, what rewards are you missing out on?

If your business is not active on social media what are you missing out on? New clients? New Customers? Are competitors engaging with your customers before you?

In a world of increasing interconnection between businesses and customers, there is plenty to be missed out on if you don’t make the most of the opportunity. Let’s take a look at what you’re missing out on and the perks of effective social media use.

Act fast, stay relevant

Increasingly, having a business presence on social media is a matter of urgency. There are so many people just like you, with a raft of interesting ideas and a burning passion to make them work. Promoting your business on social media is fundamentally about staying relevant. Social networking platforms are entry points to businesses for interested customers searching for the right product.

Getting to know Your Customers

The need to promote your brand online presents a unique opportunity to find out more about your customers. The correlation between successful promotion  and eventual boost of your brand requires little explanation. With the  customisable nature of each customer’s social network, targeting those whom you want to target has never been easier.

This process is, of course, a two-way street. Facebook allows you to use adverts to reach target demographics. But also, potential customers may find your business across social media platforms, reaching out to you directly.

What do your customers want? What do your customers need? Who else are they engaging with, and why? By opening up your business to social networks, you start to answer these questions.

Getting to Know the Competition

If you aren’t promoting your brand via social media, chances are there’s a business similar to yours who is. Getting up to speed with the business side of social media brings you back into connection in the fight for new businesses. It also gives you a greater insight into what does and doesn’t work in your line of work.

What are your competitors doing that you aren’t? What are they doing that you might wish to avoid? Is there scope for collaboration between businesses across social media? These important questions can be answered once you choose to engage with your wider online community.

Style is Substance

This final point presents a somewhat less tangible outcome, though one which is so often overlooked even by those adept at marketing their brand online.

Social media isn’t just about getting an insight into others or boosting your outreach; it presents an opportunity to not just promote but to refine your own business. With the general trend towards eye-catching infographics and snappy yet insightful short videos, building up your business on social media allows you to perfect precisely how people see and understand your business, which remains an increasingly important facet of the current business landscape. Refining your brand has never been easier, from presenting a stylish display of your products, to allowing a more human voice to cut through a more precise, technical idea. All of this is available at a fraction of the cost of more conventional marketing and design processes. Ultimately, your online presence represents the first impressions of your business that your customers will see, and thus its capacity for both grasping and keeping their attention shouldn’t be overlooked. An engaging social media presence, more than a billboard or magazine ad, is likely to keep them returning – and themselves engaging – with your business and your ideas.

Just a fad?

Those who remain sceptical of the capacity for social media to promote and transform your business ideas perhaps ought to head the advice of Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, the internet’s most widely used social media managing platform with more than 10 million users:

Right now, we’re undergoing a business transformation just as momentous as the advent of the Internet. Its promise is almost as limitless and yet there are still holdouts who insist it’s “just a fad.”

Social media has already transformed the world, and the world of business is no different. Many still doubt – or perhaps more accurately, fail to properly grasp – the true value of social media in aiding business. That in spite of these changes (social media is still very much in its infancy, Facebook itself is still just 12 years old) renders this problem all the acuter.

There are many advantages to being had from effective engagement with social media. If your business does not make the most of these platforms, someone else surely will, and potential customers will soon take their business elsewhere. All of this may happen without them ever having the chance to hear about your product, no matter how suitable it might be for their needs.

You’ve got your killer idea, now go and sell it to the world.

Lead Magnets – Why They Should Be An Essential Part Of Your Lead Generation Strategy

Let’s talk about lead magnets.

They’re a fantastic way to build a list of emails and visitors over time on your site. We know that under 5% of visitors will buy something on their first visit, so why turn the other 95% away with intrusive ads and pop-ups and banish them to the land of never return? Businesses are much better off building a long-lasting relationship and creating trust, instilling confidence and constructing a better relationship.

Lead magnets can be the answer.

Lead magnets are an enticing prospect offering a specific piece of valuable information. In return for this, you are getting a visitor’s contact details, maximising the number of targeted leads you are getting. What you provide can be almost anything – think essential guides, infographics, fun calendars, lists, video courses, discount coupons, free samples or giveaways. Of course, the list goes on and on.

Below is an example of a lead magnet we produced for one of our clients. We use social media to drive traffic to a bespoke landing page where the ‘Essential Guide to Millennial Home Buying’ can be downloaded.

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As mentioned, it can be almost anything – however, there are certain things you should look to avoid. A perfect lead magnet will offer a lot of value immediately after a visitor provides their details. For example, a mini-guide delivered over a fortnight or a 250-page eBook would be bad lead magnets. Why? They’re simply too long to be easily digested and are not specific enough. Instead, go for something short and sweet, something that people will be able to digest quickly and is attractive due to how good an offer it is.

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See the two examples above. What do they offer? A fantastic financial saving (something no one will say no to) and instant access to a video that people would be interested in. The reward led and instantaneous nature is two of the main factors people are looking for. Anyhow, here’s a checklist (checklists are great lead magnets!) to lead magnet success:

Checklist for Success:

  1. Be specific. Give clear-cut solutions to clear-cut markets.
  2. Deliver ONE big thing – not lots of little ones. Having one solution is much better than doing 20 actions to get a result.
  3. Give immediate gratification. People want information now, not little chunks of information over a week.
  4. Try and change the relationship you have with the visitor – you want them to stop being visitors and become customers, so offer them something to incentivise this.
  5. Offer something of high perceived value and of high actual You have to make this offer attractive, but if you don’t deliver the end result, people will be off your site and away from your business immediately.

Once you’ve made the wise decision to use lead magnets on your site you’ll have to, well, use a lead magnet. Luckily, there are tools out there to make this task particularly easy for you, such as leadformly. For the content itself, there’s a world of tools out there. Canva is great for good-looking easy design, Typeform is great for creating quizzes and Pixabay can be great as a source for images, though by all means have a look around as there’s plenty of content out there.

The last thing you may be asking yourself is how to get traffic on to your lead magnet. Nowadays, the days of social media and mass media, traffic is everywhere. Twitter, Google and Facebook have a plethora of users they’ll redirect to your lead magnet if you approach it the right way. With lead magnets, you’ll be able to maximise the use of your websites and see your sales leads increase exponentially.

You can discover more about how we use lead magnets to drive leads and sales, and how they fit into our social media and lead generation strategies here.

3 Quick Tips for Using Snapchat for Business

Snapchat is increasingly being used by businesses to increase brand awareness. This makes sense, as Snapchat now has more users than Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn. It’s a powerful way to reach more people. However, as a tool, it is very different to Facebook and Instagram and using it is an art of its own. In this post, you’ll read about some key methods of maximising your Snapchat game.

Know the audience

Snapchat has a relatively young user base – 60% of its users are between 13 and 24 years old (learn more). It’s important to tailor your content so that it’s amusing for this age group. A great example of this comes from the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (LAMCA) who have a Snapchat account anyone can add. They send out “snaps” of their pieces with humorous captions written in a colloquial style, usually containing pop-culture references.

If you don’t feel equipped to create such content, consider handing the account over to an employee of the right age group.

Similarly, Snapchat is a very casual social media channel. People use it for fun, cheerful content, rather than serious messages. So if you want to get followers, make sure your content matches this.

Take people “backstage”.

Snapchat is a great way to deliver exclusive content to your customers. Use it as a way to showcase your company culture, whilst inviting viewers to feel they are a part of it.

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(image: BuzzFeed)

The “story” feature is where a series of snaps (both images and videos) are stitched together in chronological order over the course of the day. Users can view your story for 24 hours. It’s ideal to broadcast fun company events, such as work Christmas parties.

You could also use Snapchat to give your viewers a sneak peak of your company’s outputs before anyone else sees. All this will create a strong positive relationship with your audience.

Buy advertising

If you don’t have the time or resources to manage your own Snapchat account, there are other ways to reap its benefits.

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Snapchat offers some innovative and exciting ways to increase your brand’s popularity. For each snap taken, the app offers a variety of filters, which come in two categories. Lenses distort people’s selfies, while filters are simply superimposed over the image. For both of these, you can pay to feature a sponsored version, designed to excite people about your brand. See, for example, Taco Bell’s sponsored lens. According to Snapchat, its users play with each sponsored lens for 20 seconds on average. Filters can also be sponsored, specifically geo filters – filters which are available only in a specific location.

Snapchat now also plays video adverts between “stories” as they are being viewed by the user. Given Snapchats huge user base, this can be a powerful way to reach a large number of people, especially the younger demographic.