Building Your Business with Melinda Emerson. Melinda F. Emerson, known as SmallBizLady, is America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She has been a thriving entrepreneur for nearly 15 years and is an internationally known keynote speaker. Melinda’s small business advice is widely read reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week on the internet.
Job fairs and job search websites are great, but the key to successful recruitment of top talent today lies in leveraging social media networks. It is one of the best ways to tell people who you know that you have a job opportunity. By leveraging social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you can greatly amplify your search for qualified candidates. Practically every working adult has a profile on at least one social media platform. Small business owners can use these connections to reach more candidates, as well as attract better talent. Here are some ways to leverage social media to recruit top talent into you small business:
Build An Online Presence – Today’s employees want more than just higher salaries. They want a good place to work with the right ethics, culture and corporate values, so they feel a connection. In addition to engaging with customers, use social media to portray your company brand, establish your reputation online. once you have a pool of candidate you can check them out to see if they would be a good fit for your company.
Create a Strong Network – You can use social media to build relationships with industry leaders as well as experienced professionals. Engaging with the right people can help you build strong network, and they can become referral sources for you. When reach out to top level people, be authentic and personalize your message instead of sending generic communications.
Connect with Employees – Being active on social media allows you to interact with job seekers, but you can also involve existing employees in the recruitment process. Encourage employees to share posts about the company’s latest news, content and job openings. Also check what your people are saying about the organization, and work on any issues that need to be resolved.
Recruiting on Different Social Platforms
Every social media network has its own features and benefits, so learn how to use these for the highest impact. Start with one platform and move on to others after you have mastered social media recruitment on the first.
Here are some tips for recruiting on:
Facebook – Leading the social media game, Facebook is a powerful recruitment tool. Use Facebook ads to reach the right people, and create a separate careers page where candidates and employees can discuss job openings, company culture and more. You can also use live streaming to announce opening and connect with potential job seekers.
LinkedIn – This niche social media platform for professionals can help you find and connect with top talent. Make sure your company profile is up-to-date. You can reach potential candidates with targeted ads, and explore LinkedIn groups to find people with specialized skills or experience. Consider using LinkedIn Recruiter and Pulse too.
Twitter – Use the right hashtags to help users find your job posting. Ask your followers to tweet about openings as well. There are plenty of online tools to help you pick hashtags, as well as colloquial language that users might be using for specific industries. Make sure to share other relevant content as well, not just your job ads!
Instagram – Yes, the popular photo-sharing site can also be a great way to connect with quality job seekers too. For instance, posting pictures of the workplace and your team or corporate events helps you promote the company culture visually. All you need is a call to action come join our team. You can also explore a potential candidate’s photostream to learn about their interests and passions.
Advantages of Social Media Recruitment
here are some more benefits to consider with social media recruiting:
Reach out to passive candidates who may be willing to explore a job change
Find people with creative ideas, niche talents and a passion for their work
Explore a potential candidate’s work history, education and experience
Discover people who will be a good fit, as well as filter out those who won’t
Cut down on the costs of advertisement, recruiting and talent acquisition
You may also want to consider an applicant tracking system to help maximize the impact of your social recruitment efforts, since it automates a majority of the steps. Social media integrated can take away much of the guesswork, manual effort and time that would otherwise be spent on manual social media hiring. Using applicant tracking software can post job openings across various channels, including traditional job boards and social media sites. Your talent pool also becomes centralized, with applicants from every platform consolidated in one place.
Consider social media recruiting the next time you have a job opening.
About the Author:
Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager specializing in HR and is responsible for leading Jobsoid’s content and social media team. The firm offers applicant tracking systems and other HR search services. Kelly started with Jobsoid as a social media strategist and eventually took over the entire digital marketing team with her innovative approach and technical expertise.
If you are going to start doing a podcast to create content to promote your business, there are a few things that you need to know. Doing a podcast is hard work, so in order to leverage it to drive brand awareness and sales in your business you need a refined topic, a regular schedule, and the right equipment. Here is a breakdown of what is involved in getting started with a podcast.
Consistency is key. If your podcast is weekly, make it weekly, and don’t skip a week. Once of the easiest ways to keep your podcast consistent is to record multiple podcasts in a day. Set aside two days a month where you record 4-6 episodes that way you can stay ahead of the schedule.
Decide Show Format: Make sure there’s an audience for your topic and content. Niches are fine, but not all stories are worth telling. You need to be a decent story teller and you must have the skill to pull great stories out of the people you interview. If you do your podcast in a talk show format, this is critical. You can also do a narrative format, but you could run low on topics quickly unless you’ve written a ton of books and blog posts on the topic. How long will your podcast be? 20 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour? Many podcast are geared towards 25 minutes which is the average drive time people spend going to work each day. Will you interview one person for 30-minutes or will you do three interviews in that time?
Get a Team: Are you a good host or should you have a co-host? You might also need a producer to schedule interviews or technical producer to do the edits and posting for your show. Some of the most popular podcasts have two hosts who play well off each other, so consider it. It’s also good to have a co-host if you are not a seasoned interviewer or if you are a busy entrepreneur with a heavy travel schedule.
Build an Audience: One of best ways to build an audience is to do interviews on other people’s podcasts. Create branded social graphics so that you let people know when you are releasing another episode. You can also use your signature graphics when you show is posted in iTunes, iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google Play or other paid platforms like Soundcloud or Spotify.
Engage with Listeners in Other Platforms:Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups are very effective for creating ways listeners can engage with each other and you beyond the podcast. This is also how you can upsell your listeners on your other products and services.
Use Professional Equipment and Focus on Your Sound Quality: You need a reliable computer and microphone. A lot of people conduct interviews using Skype, others use the software Garageband if you’re a mac user or the software Audacity if you use a PC.
Posting Your Podcast: You’ll need to host that optimizes your show for audio and video podcast distribution
Libsyn Podcast Hosting – They offer a $20/month plan. You can start out at the $5/month until you are ready to go live.
What make a podcast great is the personality of the host(s), great guests, and sound quality. Don’t spend too much time worrying over how to set up your podcast. With the right tools and an engaging topic, you can reach millions of listeners in no time. Podcasts are growing rapidly in popularity, and are cheaper to produce than most other content, and you can build a global audience for you brand. Get started with podcasting today.
Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Deb Gabor, who is the CEO of Sol Marketing, brand expert, and investor pitch whisperer. She is the author of Branding Is Sex and assist clients in increasing revenue at her 8 Hour Brand workshops. For more information: www.SolMarketing.com.
SmallBizLady: DEB, NAME A BRAND THAT HAS RECENTLY COME UNDER FIRE?
Deb Gabor: Sure, there are several that have come under fire. Here are a few:
SmallBizLady: WHAT DO MOST BRAND DISASTERS HAVE IN COMMON?
Deb Gabor: That’s a good question. I find that most are failing to align the company’s actions with their brand values, beliefs and mission.
SmallBizLady: HOW DO YOU PREVENT A BRAND DISASTER?
Deb Gabor: Ensure your brand is a magnet that attracts to its customers, employees, and vendors who share beliefs and values similar to the organization and people behind the brand.
SmallBizLady: AS A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE TO AVOID DISASTERS?
Deb Gabor: Here are two steps as a small business owner you should take to avoid disasters:
Be clear on what your beliefs and values are as an organization.
Make sure those beliefs and values inform everything you do and say as an organization throughout the entire course of doing business.
SmallBizLady: WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE AFTER A DISASTER HAPPENS?
Deb Gabor: Accept responsibility. Apologize.
Show concern for health and welfare of the people. Illustrate detailed explanation of what the company is going to do to prevent a similar situation. And, create a deadline for reporting back to customers.
SmallBizLady: HOW SOON SHOULD YOU RELEASE A PUBLIC APOLOGY AFTER A CRISIS?
Deb Gabor: As soon as humanly possible. Hopefully, under 24 hours from the incident.
The sooner the better.
If you don’t control the narrative, the media will.
SmallBizLady: WHO OWNS YOUR COMMUNICATIONS IN A CRISIS?
Deb Gabor: The business owner and leadership team are responsible for how the company should show up in a crisis. This shows ultimate accountability for the situation.
SmallBizLady: WHICH BRANDS THAT HAVE FACED BRAND CRISIS LATELY DO YOU THINK ARE GOING TO RECOVER?
Deb Gabor: Starbucks is going to make it!
They were swift to accept responsibility, showed regard for humanity, took decisive action.
The CEO has been leading the charge on communication in an authentic and personal way.
SmallBizLady: WHAT IS A BRAND?
Deb Gabor: A brand is a magnet that is designed to draw in customers, investors, employees, and partners that share similar beliefs and values.
SmallBizLady: WHY IS BRANDING IMPORTANT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES?
Deb Gabor: Here’s the short answer: you have a brand whether you like it or not.
When you go through the process of defining/articulating your brands DNA, this will open strategic/financial territory. You’ll attract the right customers, and it will help you stand out from the competition.
SmallBizLady: WHAT ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF STRONG BRANDS?
Deb Gabor: The best brands in the world are the ones that elevate their customer’s self-concept and make them feel like the hero in their own stories. The best brands in the world bond emotionally with their customers.
SmallBizLady: HOW DOES A SMALL BUSINESS BEGIN TO CREATE A BRAND?
Create a profile of who your ideal customer is. Who is your company’s products and services made for?
Define the self-expressive benefits of your brand by asking what does it say about a person that they use this brand?
Then, figure out what is meaningfully different about your brand.
Lastly, figure out what your ideal customers life story is and define how you make them the hero in their story.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
How to be creative and stay competitive is a universal problem for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. Everyone needs help wrangling the creative process. At Modernist Studio, we work with large companies, but we enjoy working smaller and medium sized businesses, who have fewer resources to help them strategically integrate creativity into their companies. Somewhat ironically, these smaller companies can benefit more from a creative approach to their product and service development, because it will help them differentiate themselves, drive new innovations, and better compete with larger and more established companies. Here are some of the ways we help small businesses harness the power of creativity without getting steeped in the chaos of innovation.
Bring it in-house. As much as my company likes working with small companies – and as much as we like getting paid! – it’s a huge benefit for small businesses to have a generalist designer inside their doors. Ideally, this is someone who can work tactically on projects through their craft, and can also think strategically about the business. But it’s easy to pigeonhole this person as a production artist, giving them menial activities like creating letterhead or PowerPoint presentations. As you bring in your first creative hire, make sure they are at a decision-making level and have some authority over the way the business works, and that they aren’t just an assembly line of trivial creative artifacts.
Let them do their job. Everyone has, and is welcome to, their opinion about creative work. It is valuable to offer criticism and suggestions about ways work can be improved. But I’ve notice that in small businesses those suggestions become mandates. Employees, particularly founders, have a strong sense of ownership in the company, and it’s reasonable that they want to explicitly direct the way their company’s products and services appear to the world. But this heavy-handedness can break a creative team, because they start to feel that their intellect isn’t valued – that they are just a set of hired hands. This isn’t art and they should be held to the same collaborative standards as any other employee. But you hired them for their creative expertise. Make sure they have enough runway to explore, and to bring their creativity to reality. Give them room.
Teach the whole company. It’s tempting to hire a single designer and treat them like “the creative person.” This sends a pretty strong message to the rest of the company – that they aren’t creative, and that they shouldn’t try to be. Innovation comes from all aspects of the business, and it’s important that everyone has the skills to create new, exciting ideas. A lot of consultancies sell one-day workshops in creativity that are intended to help small companies understand a creative process. I’ve found these to be thin and ineffective. Employees walk away feeling that they had a good time, but didn’t really learn anything. Instead, think about implementing a more long-term training program. What if every Friday afternoon, for a whole quarter, the entire team took lessons in ideation and creative problem solving? Compare the perceived productivity loss with the benefits of creativity, innovation, and visualization: it’s a strong investment that could pay for itself in no time.
Small businesses face a lot of challenges that larger organizations can avoid, primarily because of their access to resources. But when creativity is infused into small companies, they can bring new products and services to market faster, and can leverage the creative process to drive rapid change and produce great new innovations: they can better compete with those larger, more intimidating corporations.
About the author:
Jon Kolko is the author of Creative Clarity, Partner at Modernist Studio, and the Founder of Austin Center for Design. Previously the Vice President of Design at Blackboard, he has worked extensively with both startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been a Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
As you know by now, summertime is when I catch up on my business book reading. Every year, I take a look at all the books I’ve been sent in the last six months to see what’s worth a good read. There are some gems that have been released this year in entrepreneurship, marketing, and productivity, and these picks are already making me itch to grab a cold glass of lemonade and curl up on my favorite beach to read them. Check out my Summer reading list for 2018.
If you feel a lot of busyness even when you’re not working on your business, this book is for you. Laura Vanderkam, a time-management expert, gives you seven counterintuitive principles you need to adhere to in order to feel like you have all the time in the world, as well as attitudes to help you remain calm even when you feel overwhelmed.
Just a few decades ago, women had to choose between having a serious relationship and their careers or a business. Now you can have both and excel. An international love and success coach, as well as Senior Editor at Essence Magazine, Charreah Jackson shares tips and strategies on how to be a powerful woman who refuses to sacrifice either her career or her love life, this book will help you have it all.
Do you ever feel like you’re capable of more than you’re actually achieving? It might simply be a matter of knowing what to put your attention on. In this book, author Neen James helps you cut through the noise to put your focus on the right things to increase profitability, get better results, and improve your attention on the right things.
4. The Parker Principles: 10 Leadership Force Multipliersby Mel Parker
Mel Parker knows a thing or two about leadership. Once an Army Ranger, he went on to become a senior leader at DELL and the President and CEO of Brinks. Along the way, he learned how to help organizations through great leadership. In the book, he outlines his “Parker Principles” which are proven leadership lessons that can help you step up your leadership game in your small business.
I pulled this one from my library for a re-read. What could you do if you were unstoppable? What could you achieve? Tim Grover made his mark by taking people like Michael Jordan and Dwayne Wade and making them even greater. The key is to keep going when everyone else is giving up, learning how to thrive under pressure, and not letting your emotions make you weak. Grover shares strategies he gives his world-class clients, teaching you that anything is possible.
They say timing is an art, but author Daniel Pink proves that it is, in fact, a science. When you make a decision can impact the success of it, and yet most of our decisions are based on nothing more than gut feelings and guessing. Using principles from biology, psychology, and economics, Pink shows you how to succeed at life. With a dozen little factoids about timing, like why we should avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon, you’ll be hooked.
Do you have a value proposition for your brand? If you do have one, is it “inside-out,” as author Lisa Dennis says most are — more focused on product and service features than on your buyers’ needs? This book will help you craft a value proposition that aligns with what your audience really wants, and you’ll be able to use it both in conversations with potential customers as well as in your marketing content.
You might know these authors from their blog, Marc and Angel Hack Life, an inspiring site guaranteed to uplift and inspire you. Now they’re bringing their personal development wisdom to this book. In it, you’ll find tips for changing thought patterns and habits that keep you struggling so that you can overcome any obstacle. With daily rituals, mindfulness techniques, and self-care advice, you’ll nourish yourself, and that will make you a better entrepreneur!
We put so much attention on continually expanding our network to grow our businesses…but what if the network you already have was enough? Business school professor David Burkus leverages the art and science of networking to uncover strategies that work best to grow your business or career, using the network you already have developed.
Yeah sure, I’m throwing my book into the ring here, but it’s for good reason: this summer, since you’re reading all these great business books anyway, is the perfect opportunity for you to get your plan to launch your own business if you haven’t already. And I have some exciting news! The Audible version of the book is now available on Amazon!
Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Dr. Susan Harrison, who is an award-winning thought leader, change agent, speaker, trainer, and author. She speaks and writes about stress management, leadership, personality styles and assertiveness. For more info: www.DrSusanHarrison.com.
SmallBizlady: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO AVOID CONFRONTATION IN THE WORKPLACE?
Dr. Susan Harrison: The easy answers are: don’t work, live on an island, and if that is not an option, the best way is to prevent the need for it. Put time into developing good relationships. Also, it is harder to be annoyed with someone you like.
SMALLBIZLADY: ANY TIPS ON BUILDING GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIPS?
Dr. Susan Harrison: Yes, here are some tips:
Become a really great listener.
Ask people about themselves and then remember what they said.
Example, I have animals and when people ask about them, I love it.
Be a team player and help others. Also, ask for help on occasion.
Helping someone bonds you to that person so when you ask for help when you need it, you are forming stronger relationships
SMALLBIZLADY: WHAT IF YOU CAN’T FORM A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE?
Dr. Susan Harrison: Then, you accept reality. Despite another’s bad attitude, keep positive and cordial. Sounds harsh I know, but true.
SMALLBIZLADY: SUSAN, DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER TIP ON PREVENTING CONFRONTATION?
Dr. Susan Harrison: If we deal with people according to who they are we will have less confrontation. People have different personalities and quirks. Oftentimes, we don’t get along with others because we communicate the way we like to communicate instead of the way others respond best.
For instance, some people like to have small talk before business discussions and others want you to get to the point quickly. Or, some people don’t want much communication before they have had their coffee.
If we pay attention to others, we will get along better and have less confrontation.
SMALLBIZLADY: WE KNOW ISSUES CAN’T BE PREVENTED FOREVER SO WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND TO MANAGE CONFLICT?
Dr. Susan Harrison First, decide if this issue is something that could be a pattern. Oftentimes we need to overlook annoying petty things. You can’t decide what’s petty to someone. It is a judgment call. But, you don’t want to be that person who is always finding something to complain about at work.
Secondly, make a plan on where, when, and how to approach the other person. The more prepared you are, the better your chance of a positive outcome.
SMALLBIZLADY: ANY TIPS ON HOW TO APPROACH THE OTHER PERSON?
Dr. Susan Harrison: Yes. Approach with facts, confidence, humility and emotional control. The timing of it is important as well. Approach the person in a time when he/she is not very busy. I recommend just stopping by instead of making an appointment unless necessary. This keeps the other person’s stress level from rising. A stressful person is not as easy.
SMALLBIZLADY: WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE IF YOU ARE APPROACHED BY SOMEONE THAT HAS AN ISSUE WITH YOU?
Dr. Susan Harrison: Listen without reacting. If you are beginning to have stress and aren’t ready to respond, calmly say something like, “Let me think about this and get back to you this afternoon and we can discuss it then.” That will give you time to lower your stress and prepare.
Decide what your part was and own up to it. Even if it is just the perception of the other person. And, no fake apologies like “I’m sorry if you felt like…”
SMALLBIZLADY: DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON MAINTAINING EMOTIONAL CONTROL WHEN DEALING WITH CONFLICT?
Dr. Susan Harrison: Here is one you may not have heard of: think about your toes and wiggle them, then move up to your calves and move them, then focus on your fingers and your hands. Odds are that before you get to your hands, you are calmer.
SMALLBIZLADY: SO, DR. HARRISON, WHAT IF I AM A CRIER? ANY TIPS ON CONTROLLING THE TEARS?
Dr. Susan Harrison: If you are a crier, here are tips before you lose it: raise your eyebrows, blink a lot, drink cold water, chew gum; if nothing works then excuse yourself and cry until you get control.
It’s best if we don’t cry at work, but I know some people who seem to have it in their DNA.
SMALLBIZLADY: WHAT IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN CONFLICT OFTEN?
Dr. Susan Harrison: You may not like this, but look for the common denominator. If you are in conflict often, it is you.
What can you do differently? How do people see you, whether or not it is true? If you aren’t sure, ask a good friend.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
#Smallbizchat is a weekly conversation where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss.
Please join us live on Twitter every Wednesday 8-9 pm ET. Here’s how: follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter and follow the hashtag #Smallbizchat and click here for directions to join the weekly conversation.
In June, we will be talking about conflict, branding, and customer retention. Also, join us on June 20th, we will host #Smallbizchat LIVE on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, where we will be talking about, human resources, business perseverance, and sales.
Here is a list of who is on #Smallbizchat in June.
June 6th – How to Avoid Confrontation and Manage Conflict, @drsusanharrison
Dr. Susan Harrison is an award-winning thought leader, change agent, speaker, trainer, and author. She speaks and writes about stress management, leadership, personality styles and assertiveness. Learn more at www.DrSusanHarrison.com.
June 13th – How to Avoid a Brand Disaster, @deb_sol
Deb Gabor is the CEO of Sol Marketing, brand expert, and investor pitch whisperer. She is the author of Branding Is Sex and assist clients in increasing revenue at her 8 Hour Brand workshops. Learn more at www.solmarketing.com.
June 20th – SmallBizChat Live
How to Develop an HR Process for your Small Business, @ogingacarr
Oginga Carr is an author, organizational structure expert, and consultant. His passion is in the dynamic of change; dealing with it, working through it, and preparing for it. Find out more at www.OgingaCarr.com.
How to Persevere in Business, @TwylaGarrett
Twyla Garrett is the owner of IME and the author of “Homeland Security; A Comprehensive Guide for All.” Twyla is also known as “FedBizLady” and her Twitter account and personal blog are both listed as #49 in the Official Guide for Social Media & Homeland Security’s Top 100 list. Checkout Twyla’s new book, “My Mother’s Words,” at www.mymotherswords.com.
How Prequalifying Customers is Key to Small Business Sales Success, @SellingAgency
Shawn Karol Sandy founded The Selling Agency to work with hungry Sales Teams and Scaling Businesses to help them deeply differentiate their offers and sales strategies. Author of the BADASS SKILLS BUILDER series. Find out more at www.TheSellingAgency.com.
June 27th – How to Retain Customers, @sharilevitin
Shari Levitin is an internationally known sales strategist, writer, speaker, entrepreneur, and author of Heart and Sell: 10 Universal Truths Every Salesperson Needs to Know. Learn more at www.ShariLevitin.com.
Creating original content is the best way to demonstrate your expertise and build your brand online, but you need to find a content area that works for you. We tend to think of content in terms of blogs or written words. Writing how-to articles, check lists and informative blog posts are certainly an avenue to pursue, but it’s really hard work to do it consistently, so you need to make sure you love it. I wanted to be a writer since 8th grade, so writing is truly my thing. But if you detest writing there are other things you can do to build your business’s social footprint. Content marketing has exploded, with 89% of B2B marketers currently using content marketing. The recent shift to being a mobile first world has created audiences that are consuming content in new and savvy ways. People want to learn from you and become your customer. Here are a few suggestions for developing content if you hate writing.
Alternative ideas for Content Marketing
While written articles aren’t going anywhere, people are looking for more engaging content. Options for content beyond traditional blog posts include video, Images, infographics and podcasts. Yes, images are amazing content. We’ve all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. If what you sell has visual appeal there are social platforms just for you.
We’ve seen a flood of visual social media sites and tools in the last few years. Each has its own benefits, and can help you connect in meaningful ways with your audience. Here are ways to leverage other kinds of content
Facebook LIVE is one of the best ways to leverage live video marketing. It gives you a way to create an authentic connection with your target audience and build a following.
Instagram’s got over 800 million users, with 500 million daily users, so they’re pretty engaged on the platform. Users are liking and sharing images, all while leveraging hashtags so it’s a great place to post and repost photos of your products, behind the scenes shots, and custom quote graphics. Pay attention to what your competitors are sharing, and engage your happy customers to share user generated content too. On Instagram it’s not about a heavy marketing push, it’s about the brand in action.
Pinterest is great for getting mass support of a single image (and clicks back to your site). You’re not restricted to posting just plain images on Pinterest. You can get creative and share collages of images relates to a topic or post words or infographics. The more visually appealing the images, the more pins they’ll get.
If you’re trying to reach the youth market or millennials, words aren’t as effective as images — fleeting images, at that. SnapChat is a leading mobile messaging app in the online marketing world. With over 100 million users, they are a serious marketing channel. You can send videos or photos, which disappear after being viewed unless the viewer take a screenshot. There are SnapChat stories that you can use to should a whole day of images and there’s SnapChat trophies which you get for using the platform by earning a score or filters in unique ways.
Brands are finding innovative ways to connect with users through the tool. Food delivery service GrubHub is creating legions of fans simply by sharing promotions, behind-the-scenes images, and doing giveaways on SnapChat.
Tips for More Sharable Content
While you can cut down on the amount of written content you create if you implement photos and videos, you’re not off the hook completely. Combining images and articles can get better results. In fact, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without images. So by joining the two together, you can pack a bigger punch through your content marketing efforts.
Leverage visual assets across all your social platforms. If you’ve got a picture to post to Instagram, share it on your Facebook and Twitter accounts too so that you reach more people. Find a way to make the social update unique for each site, though, so people don’t feel you’re spamming your own social media pages.
Invest in a professional designer. Custom graphics, images with custom text, or infographics tend to get people’s attention more, so find a designer who can make your images unique.
Bottomline: Mix up your content marketing. Don’t just do one kind of content. Use images on their own, as well as to support your blog articles. You’ll appeal to a wider audience, and maybe give yourself a little break from writing.
It’s lonely at the top. Especially if you are a small business. There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only about 5 million of them look like miniature large businesses. The vast majorities are businesses with 1-5 people. Getting large is not the prime directive, surviving and prospering are.
There used to be a hard distinction between “opportunity entrepreneurs”, those who raise capital to pursue a vision and change the world, and “necessity entrepreneurs”, those who can’t otherwise find employment who create lifestyle businesses to support their families. Today there is a dynamic third category, the “aspirational entrepreneurs”, those people who want to own, not rent their future, and who are willing to sacrifice in order to control their own destinies.
Never mind that most small businesses fail, aspirational entrepreneurs are motivated to beat the odds. And while rocket ship tech ventures steal the headlines, its small businesses that create jobs. The Silicon Valley style ventures use technology to provide leverage for their businesses, often destroying more jobs than they create. But true small businesses hire locally, support their community and contribute where it matters most, at home.
So how do you beat the odds? You buy every book that can give you a leg up. You attend seminars. You listen to podcasts and read blogs. You join local industry groups. You work long days and weekends, without vacations, sacrificing precious time with friends and family. But there is more you can do. You can accelerate your learning by hiring a coach.
The terms “advisor”, “coach” and “mentor” are bandied around a lot these days. But it is important to understand the difference.
An advisor is someone with specific experience and expertise that can help with your business. They may have run a bakery and can help with yours, or managed a day care center and can share their hard earned lessons with you. Advisors educate you and make you a smarter businessperson.
A coach is someone who has the ability to help you address particular business challenges you face in running your business. They train you to hire better, set goals, or manage people, whether your white-hot and growing too fast or suffering from a major setback. They focus on your trouble spots and work with you to develop a plan to get them under control. They will make you a more skilled businessperson.
A mentor is the rarest of the three. They may have specific expertise, or be capable of training you for success, but they play a more vital role. They help you to be your best self. They focus on you, not simply your business challenges. They are there to help you be successful, in your life. A mentor is a confidential sounding board who will listen and push you when needed.
How do you find an advisor, coach or mentor? You start with who you know. Network with people who can connect you with others you want to know. You can find advisors by looking for someone who has walked your path before. They might be people who have worked in the same industry, or started businesses in the same community. Take them out for coffee, bring them fresh baked goods, ask how you can help them and then do it. Reach out and build a relationship first. Then you’ll find someone willing to give you the benefit of their experience.
You hire coaches to help you acquire an additional skillset. Look for someone who not only has the know-how, but the ability to share it. It is not enough to be skilled at doing something, to be a great coach you also need to be able to effectively assess someone’s shortcomings and tailor your message to the listener. Ask around and identify the coaches who have been successful with other small business owners. Look for a fit with your specific needs and personality.
Mentors are the hardest to find. They invest themselves in you and your character. They have to care about what you are doing and why you are doing it. They will give you the unvarnished truth, no matter how much it hurts, and you need to commit to hearing it. Personal chemistry with a mentor is more important than industry expertise. This is a personal relationship, not just a business relationship.
Surround yourself with people will accelerate your development to avoid the potholes along the way. Don’t repeat the mistakes of others. Find a coach, or advisor, and if you are lucky, a mentor, who cares about you and your business.
In Straight Talk for Startups, 100 Insider Rules for Beating the Odds, my co-author Jantoon Reigersman and I offer 100 best practices to help you create a successful business. It covers not just the fundamentals, but also choosing investors, fundraising, managing boards, and achieving liquidity. If you have the right people around you advising and supporting you as you face the challenges of your growing business, you might just beat the odds.
About the Authors:
Randy Komisar is the co-author of Straight Talk for Startups (HarperBusiness; June 2018). He is a venture capitalist with decades of experience with startups. He is the author of the best-selling book The Monk and the Riddle, about the heart and soul of entrepreneurship, as well as numerous articles on leadership and business.
Jantoon Reigersman is the co-author of Straight Talk for Startups He’s a seasoned financial operator with extensive experience in startups. He serves as Chief Financial Officer of publicly traded Leaf Group (NYSE: LFGR), a diversified consumer internet company. Earlier in his career, he served as investor and member of Goldman Sachs’ European Special Situations Group and investment banker at Morgan Stanley in their mergers and acquisitions team.
Most small business owners know a social media presence is important for their marketing. However, for a strong social presence, is not enough on its own. You must also have a great website, consistent quality content and it’s important to invest in social media advertising as well. The biggest players in online ads for small businesses are Facebook and Google Adwords Express.
Why Invest in Social Media Ads?
According to recent research published by LinkedIn and Marketing profs there is lots of evidence online advertising works.
78 percent of social marketers surveyed said they’re either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the value of Facebook Ads.
60 percent of participants in a study indicated they’ve purchased from a business because of something they saw on Twitter.
44 percent of small and medium businesses use social ads for brand awareness.
41 percent of small and medium businesses use social ads to drive revenue.
26 percent of Facebook users who click on an ad make a purchase.
In addition to reaching consumers and B2B customers on platforms they’re using, social media ads are very cost-effective. You get to choose how much you’ll spend each day, with most platforms having a click-through rate as low as $0.45-$3.77 per click. It depends on your competition and which users you’re trying to reach, and days/times your ad is running.
How to Run Successful Online Ads
Your digital marketing strategy, starts with building your web presence you’re your landing pages. many businesses overlook four crucial steps to an effective advertising campaign. As you begin a social media advertising campaign for your small business, make sure you aren’t guilty of missing these important elements:
For example, if you’re trying to reach millennials, you may want to invest in Instagram ads or if you want to reach Gen X parents you may want to advertise on Facebook, whereas if you’re trying to target other business owners, LinkedIn may be a good fit.
Take the time to make sure you’re choosing the right platform(s) for your target consumers. After all, it’s a waste of your hard-earned dollars to spend money advertising on a network your target audience doesn’t use.
Where will you send social media users?
Many small businesses make the mistake of focusing all their efforts on the ad itself, without thinking about where they plan to send users. While your home page or contact page has necessary information about your company, they aren’t the best spot to direct traffic.
Instead, create a separate “landing page” that’s designed to be a natural follow-up to the ad. On this page, you can use similar language and visuals so there’s a natural flow from your ads to your website, with a clear call to action, whether it’s contacting you for a consultation, purchasing your product or providing you with their contact information so you can add them to your email marketing list.
Begin with A/B Testing.
You can implement every best practice in online advertising, but the best way to learn incredibly valuable information about your target audience is through: A/B testing your ads. Run three to five ads for five to seven days. Then compare the results to determine which two resonated better with your target audience.
For example, use the same language with your ad, but include different images in a few ads and a video in the other. When the ads finish running, you can review the results and see which ones your target users responded to best.
Through A/B testing, you can glean all sorts of valuable insight including types of visuals, imagery, colors, language, etc. It’s worth the investment up front to learn, before loosing a ton of money on ads that don’t convert!
Review Google Analytics Following Every Ad.
Even if you’re not A/B testing, reviewing your data is key to a successful social media ad strategy. You need to understand the actions visitors take from ads to through your site.
Any social media platform you run ads on will be able to provide insight regarding ad engagement and click-throughs; Google Analytics can take the data a step further by showing you where users went on your website after visiting the landing page.
By reviewing this data following each ad, you can draw helpful conclusions to strengthen your next advertising campaign.
Get Started With Your Social Media Ads!
There’s no time like the present to begin your social media ads! By carefully selecting which platform(s) you invest in, taking the time to create a relevant landing page, doing A/B testing up front and reviewing your analytics after each ad campaign, you’ll be well on the way to a successful campaign.