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How to choose the right Social Media for your Business

When it comes to choosing a suitable social media platform for your small business, there is no shortage of options.

But with most business owners being enthusiasm rich but time poor, not every single one can be covered. In an ideal world, the small business owner would be able look into each and every social media channel and determine which would deliver the best results for them.

There are a whole range of factors that determine the success of a particular social media for you: your products / services, human resources, audience, and financial resources all need to be taken into account.

Let’s look at the four big ones that may be useful for your business:

Facebook

Facebook is the one Social Media that everyone knows, and everyone is on. Luckily for business, it is fantastic no matter what service you provide or products you sell. If there is one social media you must be on, in my opinion, this is it.

Facebook not only allows businesses to build a fan-based community around their brand, but it also enables the business owner to directly target their ideal audience. Are your target audience teenagers who love to skateboard? Facebook has them covered. What about expectant mums looking for baby shower information? Too easy.

By ensuring that users enter information about themselves, Facebook can specifically target these audiences.

You can boost your posts on Facebook through the usage of paid advertisements or, in the initial period, try it out with your own audience (people who click LIKE on your website).

Instagram

Essentially an image sharing platform, Instagram is slightly more suitable for business than the other image sharer platform, Pinterest, through its clever use of hashtags and plugin integration. Whereas Pinterest allows people to collect images that are of interest to them, Instagram can be integrated directly into business websites allowing site owners to draw in real-time content from their own customers.

A great example is used in online fashion stores – with a simple WordPress plugin, a site owner can display their products as worn by their customers – after purchase! The customer simply has to take a photo and upload to their own Instagram account with a suitable hashtag. The website detects this tag and displays the image in the online shop. What a great way to show your products in use by everyday people – not shop models!

Instagram is great for businesses with a teen/young adult market – they are all over this!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been designed from the ground up to cater for the Business to Business market. At current, over 2.7 million businesses are represented on the platform, but it may not suit your needs if you cater to the public consumer.

If your small business provides services to other businesses (large or small), LinkedIn is ideal for creating connections within your industry. By simply “connecting” with one person, a whole spider web of possibilities opens to you. Your connections still need to approve your invite to connect, but this is lot more personable than a cold call.

Twitter

Another must in the Social Media arsenal for business owners, Twitter is great for a whole range of reasons. You can use it to start or participate in trending topics (once again using hashtags), both locally and worldwide. Better still, you can graphically the trends across the world.

Announce your latest news, products, blog posts and anything else you want to share, instantly. Start instant competitions for your business with no need for outside promotion (great for those times when business is slow).

Hashtags are the key. Before posting anything on Twitter, do a quick hashtag check and see if there is a similar tag that you can use. This way, you will “hook” into a movement that has already started.

When choosing the platforms that you want to use, don’t forget that nothing is set in stone. If, six months down the track, you decide to try something else, there is no barrier to stop you.

Just remember that as a small business, being on too many platforms can spread you out too thin, effecting your productivity and results. Hopefully, armed with the information written above, you can make an informed decision on which platforms to focus on to help boost your business.

Top five reasons every small business needs a website

In small towns, such as my hometown of Ingham, small business owners have relied for years purely on local customers for their income. And this has worked just fine for the most part as these businesses have built up loyal trade and trust with good service.

But times have changed. Businesses right through to the early 90’s never had to compete against anything like the internet and the changes it has brought. Nowadays, a huge amount of business is conducted online and, as a small business owner, you are no longer just competing against other local businesses. In fact, for most professional services and especially those selling products, there is no concept of a local business anymore.

Whether you like it or not, you are a state-wide, national, or even an international business. Your customers are very aware that if they don’t receive the service, they expect to get along with the product they want AND at a price that they like, they are going online to get it somewhere else!

So if your business is unwilling to get online to be competitive in 2020, then you are going to lose a huge chunk of your potential market.

Here’s five good reasons why getting a website is essential to the evolution of a modern small business.

#1 – A website is available to your customers 24/7

With online trading, a customer can choose when they are going to visit you. They are no longer dependant on when you open your physical store. A website allows a business owner to keep products and services moving all day, every day. A mobile-responsive site takes this to the next level with customers accessing businesses on-the-go with tablets and smartphones.

#2 – Your website opens you up to the international marketplace.

A website means that you don’t have to just sell your products and services to locals in your immediate area. If you have a great product and it is easily found online (with search engine optimisation), you can sell to anyone, anywhere in the world. You are no longer geographically locked in.
If someone two thousand kilometres away wants your products – with a website, they can get them.

#3 – Window Shopping has evolved too

Walking down the main street in your town or city is no longer the only way to go window shopping (though some may disagree). Online, your potential customers are always looking and planning where they are going to make their next purchases. They are comparing prices, checking out services and calculating delivery costs. Even if they may not be making an immediate purchase, when they do, those online businesses who have made an impact on their searches will come to the forefront.

#4. Online, you can build your position as a Key Person of Influence in your industry.

Your website and your online presence have become key factors when customers are searching for a new business to deal with. A strong presence is a great way to demonstrate that you are a modern business with its finger on the pulse of your industry. Customers testimonials are also a great way of showing your prospects that you can deliver the products and services that your offer. Social Media interaction (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will help to build a community of loyal followers that your business can use to develop, research, and sell new products. Each one of these components is essential to build your authority as a KPI (Key Person of Influence).

#5 – On the internet, size does not matter.

A website is a great leveller. Whether you’re a one-man show or a 20,000-employee corporate giant; if you offer prompt and friendly service backed up by a quality product, you can compete head-to-head with the “big guys”. On the other hand, if you don’t have a website, you’ll be losing business to other companies that do.

Despite all the reasons that are spruiked daily about the benefits of an online business, it is estimated that more than half (52%) of Australian small business owners do not have a website. This is astounding considering that 82% of small business owners get new business through referrals. If you don’t have a website, how do these referrals find out more about you?

If you want to evolve your small business and access a greater share of your industry’s market, get in touch with Tropical Coast Web Design today and we will create an online strategy that will work for you.

Five Key Components for an Effective Online Marketing Plan.

For any small business to be successful in our modern online-orientated world, it is vitally important to have a strong presence on the internet and an effective online marketing plan is the key component to developing and nurturing this presence.

Without an online strategy in place, any attempts to capture an online audience for your business could be “hit and miss” – potentially making your business invisible to the target audience you are trying to attract.

Here’s five key components that need to be part of your online marketing plan:

Email Strategy

Create a strategy to send out regular emails to your customers and other followers, informing them of your products and services. A small newsletter an easy approach and with a time management, shouldn’t take a long time to produce.

Setting up an email capture on your website to “harvest” email addresses is amazingly easy to do and, with Mailchimp integration, it’s a great way to build your subscription list with little effort. You can offer something in return (i.e. PDF of tips, discount coupon) or the simple offer of your monthly newsletter might be enticing enough.

Social Media

Choose the social media platforms that your target audience is likely to be using and try to post to each platform at least once every two days. Use a variety of posts to peak people’s interest – images, quotes, stories, discount offers, etc. Try to shake things up occasionally, so that your content doesn’t appear static with the same type of posts and your audience doesn’t get bored.

Blog Posts

A Blog, like this one, is a great way to provide your followers with helpful information while demonstrating your experience in your industry.

Try to stay below 600 words in your posts and keep it relevant – think about the items that your audience would like to read and what they need to know about you and your products/services. With every post, let them know how you can help them.

Promote each blog post on your social media.

Online Advertising

If your marketing budget allows, sign up for a Google AdWords account to promote your business in both Google search listings and various advertisements that display around the internet and social media.

Advertising on Social Media, especially Facebook and Instagram, is also a powerful marketing tool and can be set up in minutes using the Facebook Ad Manager. The process uses a simple wizard to determine what you want to advertise, how you want to do it and what target audience you are aiming at (and where they are located).

Content Calendar

To ensure that you are consistent with marketing to all the items above, create a one-page content calendar. For you, this might be weekly or monthly but whatever you choose, make sure that you do something towards one of the above every-single-day.

Using a content calendar is all about planning your time effectively so it shouldn’t be an onerous task and take you away for very long from your everyday business.

If you use a weekly plan (like I do), you can use your weekend to lay out all the components for the week. That way, you can schedule your marketing items to deploy automatically throughout the week – leaving you free to concentrate on the multitude of tasks that small business owners must do every day.

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