I think it’s safe to say that social media has proved itself an incredibly vital tool for any small business! Whether it’s a place to tell your brand story, a community that allows you to directly engage with your customers, or a powerful targeting/listening tool to help you reach important audiences with your message, no other media platform can compete.
Whether you’re a small home-based business or a multi-million dollar corporation, social media provides a level playing field and new opportunities that continue to grow and develop as the years pass and the platforms evolve. That being said, all this potential and change can be overwhelming! As a small business owner, where do you even start? If you need to make a big impact with a small budget, you should consider custom social media training sessions.
Here are three reasons why you should elevate your knowledge while investing in yourself and your business in 2021 and beyond:
It’ll help you reach your goals faster
Some goals can be easily attained based on your current skill set and connections, but others can take a lot more time to conquer due to lack of time, resources or knowledge. Social media training sessions can help you reach those seemingly unattainable and frustrating social media goals faster by empowering you with the knowledge, confidence and skills necessary to get the job done on your own time!
It’s a Budget-friendly short-term commitment
Unlike the cost associated with traditional marketing campaigns or long-term agency contracts, social media training can be booked and paid for on an as-needed basis. No contract is required and you can book as few or as many sessions as you want. Whether you’re looking to invest in training every month to keep your knowledge current, or you’d prefer to invest in one session to help you solve a specific problem you’re currently facing, training gives you that freedom.
It keeps you in control
Many businesses are worried about investing in social media because they don’t like the thought of someone else being in control. Social media training does the exact opposite; it keeps you in the driver’s seat the entire time. You’re in control of the topic, you get to ask all the questions and you guide the session entirely from start to finish. No external access to your accounts and no trusting someone else to create content, just the tools you need to empower you to grow your own business from the inside.
Looking to learn more about how Blab’s training sessions work? Want to book a custom private session? Contact us and let’s get the conversation started!
The year 2020 brought a whole new meaning to the term social. With everyone restricted to online video calls and forced to remain two meters apart, social media quickly became a refuge of digital connection.
Dawn of Social Commerce
Since its humble beginnings, marketers have been searching for the answer to the most common (and sometimes baffling) question; what is the real ROI of social media marketing? As we enter 2021, there are now more social commerce options than ever before. Marketers are finally able to see hard numbers and direct results when running ads to market products or services on social media. Thanks to new purchase methods through Instagram stories, product tagging options and call-to-action buttons, it’s now easier than ever to take a customer from interest to purchase with a simple click. Does your small business have a social commerce strategy?
Beauty of Choice
Every platform is battling hardcore to win your businesses’ advertising dollars. What started as a monopoly with Facebook’s ad platform, has now become a marketplace full of ad options for businesses of all sizes. Beware the beauty of choice though; as more selection doesn’t always mean more quality opportunities. As the ad market gets more competitive, you need to be extra cautious with your money and make sure any ads you invest in are fuelled by your business goals and your marketing strategy.
You don’t have to go too far to find a professional that’ll argue that social media controls too much of our everyday lives and public discourse in general. Constant media coverage revolving around anti-trust investigations and privacy violations can cast a shadow on social media platforms regarding their influence on society and general transparency. Keep an eye on the platforms you use regularly as a business because their responses to accusations/allegations can and will influence how users view your businesses association with the platform.
As we move forward through 2021, guarding your brand image will be of utmost importance as brad accountability remains top of mind with customers in the midst of misinformation and public outcries. Understand the social concerns of the customers you’re looking to connect with and have a plan created in advance on how and when to share thoughts on current issues so you don’t damage your brand image in the process.
Need some help navigating the ever-changing world of social media? Contact us to learn more about creating a new strategy for 2021!
It’s no secret that social media has become critical to marketing during the pandemic. With spending on social media marketing predicted to rise, traditional advertising investments are starting to decline. So how can you, as a small business, continue to build on this growing trend? These five tips will give you a great place to start:
Play Around With New Channels and Features
Having a social media strategy is all about being in the know when it comes to unique features and updates so you can leverage them for success. Whether it’s Instagram Reels, Facebook’s integration with gift cards or TikTok’s opportunities for businesses, there are so many tools being launched that provide a unique opportunity to engage with your customers on social media platforms. Get connected with what’s new so you can quickly create content for new features and take advantage of them to hack your growth.
Integrate Your Social Media Marketing With Your Regular Marketing
A lot of small businesses make the mistake of looking at social media as a separate branch of marketing entirely, as opposed to another leaf on the original branch itself. As social media takes centre stage in our post-pandemic marketing world, it needs to integrate more seamlessly with your broader marketing strategy.
Harness the Power of Social Media Influencers and Content Creators
Marketing budgets that include influencers are on the rise, up to 7.5% from 6.5% a year ago and expected to rise to 12.7% in the next three years! As online traffic continues to increase, it’s so important for brands to identify the right influencers that will attract target customers and identify growth segments. It’ll also be important for social media managers to invest in influencer training and relationship building. Maintaining communication with influencers to discuss product updates and gain feedback on trends they’re observing, will go a long way toward creating a mutually beneficial partnership.
Adapt Your Creative Content to Current Times
COVID-19 is a reality right now all around the globe so why not adapt your creative content to suit it? Searching for stock photos to share with a blog? Avoid photos of large gatherings in public places because consumers will perceive that as outdated, or worse, insensitive. Just because your content lives online, doesn’t mean it’s exempt from the current trends and lifestyle adaptation brought on by the pandemic. On the other end of the spectrum, a lot of customers are beginning to feel fatigued absorbing content that enters on the virus, so tread lightly and do your part to understand the delicate balance before you slap something up on social media.
Take Time to Consider the Right Platforms for Your Business
Most businesses rank brand building as their top reason for utilizing social media platforms. That being said, it’s important to understand how each platform impacts the customers’ perception of your brand. Transparency and trust are huge factors in our current climate so consider which platforms you use based on their policies (i.e. privacy, hate speech etc) and how they might undermine the consumer’s trust.
As the pandemic continues to push more consumers online, social media is becoming increasingly important for small businesses. No matter how experienced or uncomfortable you are with using social media as a business, taking the time to create a connection with the consumer, building up their trust and focusing on brand awareness, will always pay off in the long run.
Not sure where to start? Contact us to learn more about one-on-one training sessions and how they can help empower you to grow your brand presence on social media.
By now it’s clear that we’re all spending much more time online! Given the quarantine and social distancing restrictions, it’s no surprise that we’re surfing the web much more frequently than we were pre-pandemic. Despite that, it may surprise you to learn that we’re not visiting the same websites we used to.
As our digital viewing behaviours changed, so did our demand for specific types and sources of content. Just because there’s more people online more often, doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be swooning over your every word. As our lives continue to shift and change, so do our priorities and interests. If you’ve found your email marketing isn’t quite converting the way it used to, it may be time to reevaluate your efforts and kick off a new game plan that’s better suited to our pandemic lifestyle and beyond.
Break Out Your Customer Personas
Remember those personas you created forever ago that seemed useless and silly? Well now’s the time they come in handy! While it’s impossible to identify every customer’s every need, having customer personas to work from can help you stay relevant while continuing to reach a large audience. These personas will help you make assumptions about current pain points, tone and value propositions for individual “niche” markets. You’re still trying to reach the same people, you just need to witch up the nitty gritty details of how you do that in our current environment and beyond.
Lead With Empathy
If you want to bring in new leads and make sales, emotional intelligence is critical. That’s precisely why pandemic-related email open rates saw a 41% increase in March 2020, according to Worldata, despite overall email open rates plummeting. Consumers felt isolated and uncertain, so they wanted support and direction. If creating this empathetic, emotional content isn’t your strong suit, try the age old trick of putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. What do your customers need from you? What are they going through right now? What kind of support will they need in 2021? Try to focus on what possibilities will resonate most with your target audience and lead with that.
In the marketing world, data will always be your friend. While it can sometimes be complex or confusing to interpret, taking the time to learn more about the data behind your choices will pay off in the long run with more efficient and cost-effective campaigns. We’re all moving through uncharted territory so don’t be afraid to take some risks and dive deep into the data behind your email marketing campaigns to determine how to build a stronger inbox presence in 2021. Start small be evaluating your email subject lines and once you’ve mastered that, move on to mastering the preview text, composing an impactful greeting, writing a perfect call to action etc.
While the pandemic has definitely changed our everyday life and email marketing as we know it, you don’t have to throw everything out and start over. You just need to go back to the basics and work on reinventing your messaging to better suit your customer’s current needs. Not a fan of writing content? Don’t know where to start? Contact us to learn more about our content writing services and how impactful content can help you grow your brand online.
By now we’re all super familiar with the “story” function that seems to be built into every major social platform at this point. What was once a unique feature on mobile app Snapchat, is now all the rage on Instagram, trying to break through on Facebook and rumoured to be launching as a built-in camera feature on Twitter soon.
Whether you use the feature religiously on or you’ve never bothered to check it out, it’s important to know what value it adds and how it can be used as part of an Instagram strategy to help you reach further and engage better.
Stories Vs. Posts
The first thing we need to determine is what the difference is between the two and how you can strategically decide what type of content to post where on Instagram. Social media has always been about sharing small snapshots and tidbits from our lives over the course of time and Instagram’s newsfeed does a wonderful job or organizing those for us in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Unfortunately, the news feed is where the algorithms come into play which means sometimes your narrative can get lost or your messages can unintentionally annoy or bombard your audience due to the system making guessing and trying to assume what people want to see and when.
Stories provide a fix for these challenges by literally stringing together the narrative and keeping it moving.
Ease of Use & Accessibility
The major value of stories is undeniably where they’re located on Instagram and how people engage with them. When your content is front and centre at the top of the app at all times, your audience is much more likely to see it and dive in to explore as organic impressions can be all over the place and based on previous engagements.
Compared to Snapchat, Instagram’s integration of the feature is much easier to navigate. Plus, thanks to the popular app, Instagram’s audience was already quite familiar with the functionality so it was easily and quickly adopted.
The Big Benefit
Stories present a unique opportunity to post as much as necessary and not have to worry about being penalized by the algorithm. They’re fantastic for more grassroots, raw content that encourage engagement and input with features like the Question button or the Poll option. Businesses can have fun using GIFs, filters and stickers to jazz up their content and can also tag other users, locations and even include hashtags to be part of a larger collection of stories curated by keywords.
Stories place your content front and centre and instead of forcing your audience to consume it, the feature give them the power back when it comes to what they view and for how long. If people are viewing your content in stories, they’re doing it because they want to and they’ve gone out of their way to check out what you’ve got to say.
It seems like every week there’s a new update to the stories feature! While some directly benefit users, some are also great tools for businesses so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Instagram “New” story at the top of your feed to stay up to date with the newest updates.
What new feature would you like to see incorporated into Instagram stories?
As the first month of the year comes to a close, Valentine’s Day is creeping up on us. I heart Valentine’s Day, and not in the tacky, gushy kind of way. More like in a nostalgic, wholesome kind of way.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved giving out valentines to friends. Although the style has somewhat changed over the course of time (has it really though? lol), there’s no doubt that I’m still a child-at-heart. Cinnamon hearts are my jam and I love all the cute cards with silly puns!
While I don’t have to go around a classroom and drop my valentines into decorated paper bags anymore, I do have a blog on the internet and that’s almost the same thing haha! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and my love for social media marketing, I’ve put together a few social media valentines you can share on Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories or all of the above if you’re a serious social media aficionado!
This Valentine’s Day, even if you skip the heart shaped chocolates and complicated dinner reservations, you can still send some love to friends, family and complete strangers on the internet.
Technically we could swap the date in the title with any date in the last 10 years and this would still be a relevant message, but for the purpose of keeping this current, let’s stick with 2019. The marketing opportunities within the realm of social media marketing have done nothing but grow exponentially for years on end and we’ve all been witnesses. Whether we’re spending our personal time exploring these platforms to stay in touch with friends or land a new job, or we’re doing research to see how they could help our startups or employers send their messages out into to the world, social media has become an unavoidable part of our every day lives. So much so, that brands and businesses have caught on and it’s more clear than ever that this is where you need to be to succeed.
That being said, are you keeping up with the times? Are you two steps ahead of your competitors or five steps back? If you’re going to make any resolutions in 2019, make one to really sit down and find your place on social media so you can invest accordingly.
Whether you’re skeptical (seriously? STILL?!) or just need some reminding, here are five reasons why you really really really need to invest in social media marketing for your business in 2019:
It Provides Authenticity
As a society, we’re far past the point of trusting everything that advertisers say. We’re skeptical, educated and bolder than ever when it comes to our outlook on marketing so as a business, you need to adapt. Social media gives your brand a channel to push out messages on a regular basis, that aren’t robotic advertisements, and stay in touch with consumers by offering a transparent view into your company that lends itself well to the overall genuine vibe that all consumers are searching for.
It Helps Strengthen Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the acronym that we’re all familiar with but aren’t quite sure what it means or how to achieve maximum success using it as part of a marketing strategy. Luckily, you don’t have to know much to know that updating social media profiles regularly can help you show up in relevant search results on Google.
It Works Well With Your Other Advertising Initiatives
Research has proven that 81% of consumers research a business online before they make a purchase so where you show up, what information is provided and how you come off to the world are incredibly important. Social media campaigns are just one part of the puzzle. Make sure that when you’re running a promotion or campaign on other platforms (newspaper, radio, television, magazines, in-store handouts etc), that your social channels match. It’s all about using them as part of an overall strategy.
It’s Cost Effective
Seriously, for real. While the platforms themselves are free to join, it’s no secret that we’re not all exactly equipped and confident navigating them on our own. Even if you pay for assistance with platform maintenance, the cost breaks down to just dollars per day and isn’t your time worth much more than that? You could also invest in custom training sessions to help you feel more confident setting and achieving goals online. Either way, the cost is a fraction of what you’d pay for a one-off magazine ad the size of a business card. Plus, the skills you learn are much more valuable in the short and long term than the real estate on any one magazine page.
It Builds Engaged Communities
Regularly updating your social media channels means you’re giving consumers a chance to learn more about you and what you offer. When followers interact with your content, their personal connections can see that they’ve endorsed and supported you and that’s worth much more than a 15 second radio spot ever will be. Over time, an engaged online community builds on itself in ways that other mediums just can’t compare with.
So what are you waiting for?
Reach out today and let’s get social!
Tis the season for new ideas, concepts, giveaways and promotions but is your business ready? It’s one thing to have some cool ideas, but will all of your content come together in time to make an actual impact online? The holidays offer such a short window of opportunity as time seems to fly towards the end of the year. It often isn’t until Halloween passes that we realize what’s coming next from a marketing perspective and we’re often caught with our hands still in the candy bowl, wrapping up these promotions as the fall season comes to a close.
The key to success with holiday promotions is more than just giving people a discount on something they need/want, it’s about making sure they have enough time to make purchase decisions and that they’re reminded of you and your awesome products/services as much as possible during this short window of time. Need some help slaying your holiday content as we approach December? These five tips will help you put it all together in time!
- Tell a holiday story
The easiest way to make an impact with your holiday content is to tell a story and tug at those heartstrings. The holidays are ripe for emotional expenditure so make sure your social content does more than just earn you double taps. When it comes to content, think more quality storytelling and less direct selling.
- Use stories for complimentary content
Think outside the grid and plan content for your Instagram stories that compliments what you’re sharing and promoting in your posts. Take it a step further and consider incorporating live video to help amplify your messaging and push through the holiday clutter!
- Consider influencer marketing
Influencer marketing works…and there’s stats to prove it! Finding a few on-brand, high-influence social media users to amplify your message can have a huge impact. If you’re not sure how to choose influencers or where to start, consider looking up some research tools and ask yourself whether each influencer you look at has the aesthetic, audience size, and engagement you’re looking for.
- Run paid ads
There’s no doubting that paid ads can have a huge impact for small businesses, if they’re done the right way. When it comes to the purchase cycle, the holidays are the peak of consumerism so getting into that cycle with a series of paid and targeted ads is a no brainer. Do some research on your audience to determine what they like, want, feel and need so you can curate your ad content accordingly. Think beyond geographic and demographic targets and look deeper for your core audience that’s likely to purchase/sign up/join.
- Create a schedule and stick to it
Stay a step ahead of the crazy holiday season by creating a schedule that works for you/your team and using it to fuel everything you do online. This will help you plan our promotions, reminders, contests and more with ease as you move through the weeks leading up to Christmas.
We’ve all been there; juggling 20 tasks at once, pretending to be a graphic designer and fiddling around website code like you’ve done it a million times before and aren’t in the least terrified to break everything. As a business owner it’s not unusual to wear many hats at once, and often times, limited marketing budgets make this more of a reality than we’d like to admit. But whether you have a plethora of incredibly useful skills, or you’re a one-trick pony that specializes in one realm and crushes it daily, there are definitely some apps, programs and tools out there that can help you make the best of your unique situation and needs. There’s a time and a place to step back and let technology help so just give in and let it happen. Your schedule and your brain will thank you!
Let’s be honest, very few entrepreneurs have what it takes to navigate the Adobe Creative Suite of programs and blast out incredible branded content. Even those who do have the skills, might not be able to find the time. Cue these great tools that can help you do everything from gather inspiration for content, create collages, add text, motion graphics and more.
There are very few people who actually enjoy writing and find it a simple task to accomplish. For most entrepreneurs and industry employees, writing is not fun and for some, it’s downright terrifying. Luckily, there are some pretty cool tools and apps you can use to step up your writing game and get the support you need to communicate your ideas clearly.
So you’ve got some great photos but need to touch them up a bit without uploading everything into a complex computer program and pretending you know how to use the hundreds of special tools they offer. These apps and programs can make this process a lot simpler and keep your editing contained to your device where the photos already live.
We could all use some help when it comes to scheduling updates on our social media accounts, especially since the list of platforms seems to be never ending these days! There are a bunch of popular industry tools that provide free and paid options which are bound to make things a lot less stressful when it comes to sourcing content, scheduling and maintenance.
We embrace spring cleaning for our homes and our lives with open arms but what about our digital lives? Aren’t our social media accounts just as in need as our closets when it comes to purging and organizing? If your digital life could really use a good cleanse, consider these simple tips that will have you feeling better in no time:
Clean up the Clutter
We’re all guilty of using social sign ins across the internet because let’s be real, creating a new account login every single time we want to use an app or service, is way too time consuming. The problem is that many of us have been using social media for a decade so every time we use Facebook to authenticate a login through another app or service, we can end up with hundreds of apps that have access to our information on a regular basis, even if you haven’t accessed them for years. While we’re not asking you to stop using social sign in, it’s important to keep an eye on which apps have access so you can purge unnecessary connections. To do this, head to your Facebook page and click the arrow in the blue bar at the top of the screen. Select settings and then choose “Apps and Websites” along the left hand side. You’ll see a list of active apps that you have given access to and you can remove items right from that screen by selecting them and choosing Remove.
Polish Your Reputation
It’s no secret that your online reputation matters and employers are searching candidates on a regular basis. How would you fare if your employer looked you up today? While we all do what we can to protect our privacy and ensure we’re sharing and engaging appropriately, it can be hard to track down all the not-so-great decisions we made prior to caring about the workforce. Use a service like Scrubber Social to clean up embarrassing posts all the way back to the creation of your account so you can stop wondering what people are unearthing from the past when they look you up on social media platforms.
Give Your Accounts A Purge
It’s not hard to accumulate hundreds (or thousands) of followers over the course of time on each social media platform and while it’s always nice to have reassurance that you’re worthy of a follow, who you follow back mindlessly is half of the problem. Go through your social media accounts, specifically the accounts that you follow, and don’t be afraid to purge accounts that just aren’t serving you any more. Whether they were accounts you followed to enter contests or businesses you connected with years ago that you just don’t like anymore, removing them will lighten the load in your newsfeed and help you better curate the information you see and interact with on a regular basis. Tread lightly though, the last thing you want is to upset an old friend and cause an argument over an “unfriend” scenario. If you’re on the fence about removing someone on Facebook specifically, try the unsubscribe button instead so you can avoid their updates and all the drama of fully removing them from your circle of friends.
Create New Habits
Moving forward, the best way to stay on top of your social media accounts is to create new habits so you’re always conscious of the decisions you make. Get into the habit of daily maintenance that can make things easier for you in the long run and help you stay on top of things with minimal effort.