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4 Keys to Growing Your Small Business

4-keys-to-growing-your-small-businessEvery business is different, yet all have common goals – to grow and expand their business. The problem is, a lot of business owners them give up even before they reach goal. As an entrepreneur, you need to understand that growth is a long-term, ongoing and always evolving process.

You can be highly successful in your business if you live by these simple ideologies.

Look for new ways to wow your customers

As we welcome the New Year, you should take this opportunity to think of what you can do to impress your customers. Think about the different ways you can really delight, thrill and surprise your customers. Take the time to think of new ways to wow your customers.

Delegate some daily responsibilities

According to studies, 70% of small business owners prefer to do everything on their own. You need to understand, though, that running a small business is no small task. If you try to do everything on your own, you may find yourself swamped with work, stressed and exhausted. Worse, you may be missing out on a lot of business opportunities and time with your family.

As your business grows, you need to start letting go of day-to-day responsibilities and delegate some of these tasks to your team. This way, you can focus on tasks that have the biggest impact on the growth of your business.

Create high quality products

In today’s highly competitive business environment, the only way to thrive and survive is to attain and retain customer satisfaction. To do that, you should consistently deliver high quality products and services to your customers.

In the business world, quality is everything. Customers will continue to buy from you if you deliver quality products. If you do not, they will quickly look for alternatives.

Professional development

We live in a world that is quickly changing. None of us can afford to be stagnant in our knowledge. Regardless of the industry you’re in, make a commitment to continue learning and growing. Knowing the latest trends will help your business stay relevant and stay on top of these changes. Remember, learning is essential to stay on top of things.

The key to your future can be found in ongoing commitment to learning. After all, where you are today is a reflection of the skills and education that got you there.

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4 Social Media Habits to Avoid

social-media-habits-to-avoidSocial media has been an integral part of our lives. Since most people check on their social media accounts several times a day, having a stellar social presence is essential for your business’ growth. Most business owners, however, tend to develop some bad habits that prevent them from growing their audience.

Start by determining your bad habits and try to correct them before they cause any more harm. Here are 4 social media habits you need to stop doing right now.

Too much sales pitch content

Most people follow your brand because they find your content informative, valuable or entertaining. Either way, these people are interested in the content you share. Although we understand that you are running a business and you are looking to increase your sales, it’s definitely not a good idea to bombard your followers with advertisements. If you do so, you are likely to lose your followers.

For your brand to succeed on social media, you need to develop a good relationship with your fans and followers. Focus on engagement, rather than selling.

Posting too much

Being active on social media can help you build a strong online presence. You need to post consistently to keep your followers engaged and to stay relevant, but that doesn’t mean that you should post about something every hour. If you do so, people are likely to unfollow you because of the torture you put them through.

Post at least once a day and focus on content that your fans and followers are interested in. Eventually, you’ll be making friends and earning followers fast.

Not determining your brand

In order to build an online presence, you first need to define your business’ personality. Ask yourself how you want people to envision you. Also, define a consistent brand voice to drive consistency in your content creation efforts. Even if people view your content on different channels, you want to make sure that they could identify the content as coming from your brand.

Abusing the hashtag

Hashtags are a great way of categorizing content, providing context or curating information. Sure, hashtags can be powerful when used correctly. They generate attention and help you gain more followers, but too many hashtags in a single post can be distracting. Plus, it takes away from the message you’ve posted. Stop hashtag abuse!

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Social Media Content Ideas for the Holidays

social-media-content-ideas-for-the-holidaysNot too long ago, businesses celebrate the holiday season by decorating their stores with Christmas ornaments with music playing in the background. In today’s digital world, however, businesses try their best to add the holiday spirit into their social media campaign.

Bringing a bit of Christmas cheer into your social media posts will get everyone in a positive mood. It can also help you drive traffic to your site and customers to your store.

Here are 4 social media content ideas for the holidays.

Holiday recipes

If you are in the food business, it is a good idea to share some holiday recipes with your audience. A lot of people, especially those who are hosting a family get together for the first time, are looking for easy recipes that they can prepare for their family this Christmas and New Year.

Share recipes of desserts, typical holiday drinks and other holiday themed recipes. While you’re at it, you might also want to share some tips on how to serve these items.

Gift ideas

Did you know that 65% of shoppers go online to find great deals, considerable discounts and gift ideas for their loved ones this holiday season? Feature your products and let people know why they make an ideal gift for their loved ones.

DIY videos

According to Psychology Today, social media posts are likely to receive 56% more likes and 36% more comments if they are presented in a video format. In addition, 39% of users are likely to share these videos.

If your brand has a product that requires demonstration, go ahead and create a how-to video. Video generated content allows you to deliver your brand message with impact and encourages customer engagement as well.

Showcase your fans

Customers have this inherent urge to share their experiences with others. Now is a great time to encourage your fans and followers to share their stories. Ask them to take a picture of themselves with your products and have them create a story about how they use them.

By allowing your customers to take center stage, it allows you to grow your online presence, increase engagement and reach new market segments. The result – maximized conversions and sales opportunities.

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Boost Your Holiday Sales with These Quick Tips

boost-your-holiday-sales-with-these-quick-tipsHoliday season is the busiest time of the year for online retailers. According to studies, there is a 20% increase in online sales between Black Friday and Christmas. This is a wonderful time to attract more customers to buy your products and grow your business. But with so many businesses vying for the attention of consumers online, it’s time to think about how to capitalize on this potential influx of buy-happy customers.

Here are our top tips for holiday sales conversions.

Post regularly

During the holidays, social media usage is at an all-time high. Most people are at family events and are scrolling through their news feeds to pass time and keep themselves entertained. Some are looking for special offers and gift ideas. More users on social media mean more potential clients for you.

With more people turning into their smart phones during this time of the year, you want to make sure that you’re posting more often. Remember, more engagement means more exposure, which may lead to an increase in sales.

Get your visitors into the spirit of Christmas

Just like you decorate your home to get in a festive mood, you should also consider sprucing up your social media page or e-commerce site. Spread holiday cheer with seasonally themed cover images. Or better yet, give your online store a quick holiday make-over. Use the holiday season to change things up.

One study revealed that theming a shop for the holiday season excites visitors and gets them into holiday shopping spirit. This is a clever way to turn visitors into buying customers.

Don’t be a stranger

A lot of people fail to realize this, but it is far easier to sell to existing customers than it is to approach new prospects. Don’t be afraid to market to those you know. The best way to do this is by sending them an email. Let customers know that you have this certain product on hand. If they’re interested, they can drop by your store or visit your online store to buy the product. It’s as simple as that.

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Twitter Tips for Business

Twitter Tips for businessTwitter has over 300 million active users, making it one of the biggest social media platforms around! For marketers, the potential Twitter has to offer is huge! Additionally, the latest brand pages that have been introduced make it an even stronger platform for promoting content to customers. Countless companies have successfully used Twitter to build-up their brand’s identity. However, while several marketers have climbed aboard the Twitter bandwagon, many have yet to efficiently use the tool as a strategic channel.

What could possibly be preventing marketers from maximizing Twitter’s marketing potential? The main issue involves the unconventionality of Twitter. Twitter technology looks, feels and acts very different from traditional marketing tools therefore it requires a unique approach. Businesses have to look at the wide variety of skill sets required to see the full advantage of the site, from Customer Intelligence, to PR to interactive marketing, separate departments must come together to fully utilize the site properly. Furthermore, the openness of Twitter means marketers must keep in mind the classic mistake of saying the wrong thing.

However, with the right plan, marketers can tackle current obstacles and find success through Twitter.

Here are some Twitter Tips to help you succeed with your business:

1: Train your team to use it well.

While employees may be familiar with Twitter’s growing social media presence, they still need to understand how the site works in all its complexities and understand how it is that YOU want them to use it. Lots of companies are training employees to use social media, but when it comes to Twitter, training and experience is especially important. Twitter has a unique language, behavior and uses that are very different from Google, Facebook and the other social media sites.

2: Figure out Twitter’s role in your marketing mix.

When using Twitter, first decide why and how it fits in with your other platforms. It doesn’t matter if you’re making just one Twitter account, or several accounts. You need to understand how your customers are using the platform-are they just listening on Twitter, or are they actively speaking out? Brands can have more than one account, which may be useful for handling separate segments that have specific objectives, such as customer support, PR and direct marketing. With this in mind, each account MUST deliver a clear message of the brand to the audience.

3: Defining Your Brand

The first major step to using Twitter and hashtags effectively is defining your brand or business in a few specific words. Twitter is one of the most widely used social media sources, so you want to make sure your posts are being seen by the right people. Your central business tag should be a word that is unique to your business. You can make it your company name or a tagline that people will know about your business. For example, Red Bull uses #givesyouwings which is their company slogan. Doing this will help your business become recognized.

4: Gain a strong base of followers and engage them.

For a Twitter account to be successful, it takes more than just setting up the account. Brand need to build an active base of followers for their content to have any impact. You may have different tactics that can be performed to activate that community of followers to meet your brand’s objectives. For example, it’s important to keep the community engaged so conversation around your brand keeps building. A good way to do this is to use a calendar tool like Hootsuite to schedule content to continually go out to keep the audience active and engaged with your brand.

After developing your Twitter accounts and building a strong fan base, marketers can take a combination of relevant content, along with Twitter ads, to drive conversation and sharing. Twitter can be used to stimulate real-world brand interactions. Tweets can spark interest and energize your audience if you develop strong, relevant content, which in return will expand your brand’s presence in both the Internet and real world.

Always remember, your job does not end after you’ve completed this four-step plan. In the long run, it is absolutely necessary to be active in coordinating the proper use of the technology, and sharing best practices. This will successfully help your brand stay consistent with Twitter marketing!

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5: Use Trending Hashtags

As Social Media sites are growing, so is the use of the hashtag. If you didn’t already know, a hashtag is a word or a group of words after the # sign. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc., hashtags are popping every everywhere. On Twitter especially, the hashtag has proven to be an extremely powerful tool for marketing businesses. But, how do we use this strategy properly? Hashtagging can either help you reach your target market and expand your business, or it could be a waste of your time. It is crucial to learn the power of this social media marketing tool and how to use it properly.

6: Use Content Tags Properly

Lastly, using the right content hashtags is another crucial step for your business success on Twitter. These tags are not branded, and aren’t necessarily popular or trending, they are just simply unique to your business. Using these enable you to get seen by your consumers who are searching for those specific hashtags. One of the biggest mistakes people make when using hashtags is not being specific enough to your business. For example, using #food if you run a catering business will end up working against your favor. Millions of people a day use #food and that is never an acknowledgeable hashtag for a business. Instead, using something more specific like #foodcatering will get your post noticed by your consumer. Finding common hashtags by checking out what tags are being used by your followers and your competition is a great way to make sure you’re using them effectively.

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4 Types of Photos You Should Never Use on Your LinkedIn Profile

4-types-of-photos-you-should-never-use-on-your-linkedin-profileIn today’s digital age, a lot of people have been using social media to help them build a strong online presence, develop their personal brand or use it for professional networking. Although social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can help you achieve these goals, nothing compares to LinkedIn in that regard.

When it comes to your LinkedIn profile, there are 2 areas that matter most: your headline and your profile photo. In fact, your profile photo is your first point of contact with other professionals on the site.

With that in mind, we’d like to share with you a list of pictures you should never use on your LinkedIn profile.

Party pic

Using a picture of yourself while in a social event may seem like a good idea. You look friendly, relaxed and approachable. However, using photos that are out of your work context may send the wrong message to your network. We understand the work hard, play hard mentality, but this type of photos aren’t appropriate for a professional site like LinkedIn.

Group picture

Your LinkedIn profile represents you and your expertise. It baffles me why some people would use a group photo as their profile picture. Having more than one person in your profile photo may send a confusing message to the viewers. And how are we supposed to know which one is you?

No photo

Some people choose not to upload a photo and leave it blank instead. But if you do, you’ll be missing out on a lot of opportunity. LinkedIn profiles with profile pictures are 11% times more likely to be viewed than those that don’t have one.

Selfie

There’s nothing wrong with using a selfie as your profile picture; people just don’t know how to take them. If you are to upload a selfie, make sure, that it’s not a photo of you with your arms stretched, trying to snap a photo. Remember, your profile photo gives users an idea who they are going to deal with. The shot still needs to look professional. Save your smug, snapped-in-the-bathroom selfie for Facebook or Tinder.

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How to be Successful with Instagram

how-to-be-successful-with-instagramAre you in love with Instagram as much as I am?

Are you a business owner that has an account on Instagram and not sure how to build your business on it?

Don’t worry I am here to help!

Here are just a few fun facts about Instagram that will blow your mind:

    • Instagram has over 500 million active monthly users.
    • Instagram users have shared over 40 billion photos to date and share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day.

 

  • 80% of Instagram users come from outside of the U.S.

 

  • Instagram is used by 31% of American women and 24% of men. Read more stats here from Hootsuite.

Now that we have those stats out of the way, it is clear that Instagram is the place to be! It is also owned by . . . what’s that social media platform that has the blue f on it??? Oh yeah FACEBOOK! The two of them got hitched in 2013 and Instagram has grown into this beautiful, amazing beast of a social media platform!

What does this mean for your business? Nothing really if you are not posting correctly!

There are many different ideas, ways and theories out there about how to post to Instagram page and what will work best. I wish it was that easy to say ok if you follow these 3 steps your Instagram account will grow by hundreds, you will see an ROI right away and it is SO easy! BUT there’s not, the only way to see what will work for your business is to try each of them! Each business is different and their audiences are different, the key with Instagram is to make your posts visually appealing that it draws your audience in, to get them engaging on each post. Either by liking the post, commenting or even reposting.

How do you get that visually appealing content? Do you need to hire a professional photographer? Get a studio to showcase your products or services? Invest in a super high-end camera to get the best quality pictures? NO, NO, and NO

All you need is a smartphone! That is great news right?

Here are 2 blogs that show you how to use your smartphone for images: Shopify Article and a RealSimple Guide

There are so many different apps that really do the work for you nowadays. The camera on your smartphone will work perfect, you just need to be creative. You may need to spend a few bucks for a simple background like buying a piece of foam board and covering it in marble contact paper so it looks like you have a marble countertop, or purchase a small tripod to help keep steady while taking images, go to the dollar store and find a few fun props if needed.   

I want to highlight a few Instagram accounts that I follow and how they are being successful with their content. Some posts are very long like a full blog length and some are short sweet and to the point, then some are in between.

Let’s take a look:

  1. The first one I want to showcase is one of our clients Coach Jessie May she is a branding coach, so her posts have a theme to them and her content is longer on each post. We love that she uses plenty of #hashtags and emoticons on her posts, by having more content she is adding more value for her audience which increase her engagement through likes and comments.  jessie_may_ig_post
  2. The second one I love is Mantra Magazine  this is a simple motivational quote that is not very eye appealing BUT has a GREAT message on it. What they did on this post they kept it short and yet gets you thinking and engaging. They used 24 #hashtags on this 1 post and got 1,465 likes and over 20 comment, sometimes keeping it short and sweet is good, asking a question to get your audience commenting always works! mantra_magazine_ig_post
  3. The third one I wanted to show you is Boulder Magazine, they used someone else’s image (gave credit) but this image is very creative and thinks outside the box! This is showcasing that listening and watching your audience can be good for your business. Sometimes it is hard to think of NEW, Fresh content everyday, so when you look at your audience and what they are posting you can share their images. Remember to give to give them credit by @mentioning them and thanking them in your post. This post generated 672 likes and over 15 comments!  boulder_magazine

These are 3 different types of businesses here and each of them is using Instagram in a different way. So what I am telling you is test the waters, put a post up that is short sweet and to the point like a motivational image and ask a question, then try a longer post like a blog post and use #hashtags, and then try a repost from someone you are following, see which one gets the most interaction and then you can start building your strategy from there. We recommend posting to Instagram between 3-5 times per week.

Instagram takes time, this is the one social media platform (besides Pinterest) that you cannot schedule posts to go out, you have to post manually! There are a few tools out there like Buffer, Hootsuite, LaterGram that allow you to schedule posts on their platforms then they push you a notice on your phone that you need to post your scheduled post to instagram, it’s a little complicated right?

So here are a few apps that I love to use when I am creating images for our Instagram account and our clients, most are free but some I have paid for and WELL worth it!

PhotoCollege

LiPix Pro

Canva

WordSwag (Paid $4.99)

QuotesCreator

Fontmania

MOLDIV

Vidstich

Boomerang

Hyperlapse

Ripl

Prisma

There are literally hundreds of image Instagram apps to try, download a few and see which ones you like the most and are easy for you to use. You can also check out some free picture sites to help with background and images. Canva, WordSwag and Pixabay are good for free images. In the beginning it may take more of your time to take images of your products, or download a bunch of free images so you can create a stockpile of them and then just grab and create. Use Pinterest as creative motivation and pick 3-5 businesses that you really like what they are posting on instagram and use them as a guideline.

I have filled your head with TONS of content, tips, how to and now it is time for you to step into the Instagram world and get busy!

If you are interested in a FREE, yes I said FREE 30 minute consultation with me on evaluating your existing Instagram account or on how to get your business started on Instagram please email me at Marketing@TheBIMSTeam.com I would love to assist you with your success on Instagram!

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Tips to Create an Effective Facebook Ad Campaign

tips-to-create-an-effective-facebook-ad-campaignFacebook is one of the best places to find qualified leads. With over 1.5 billion monthly active users, there is no doubt that Facebook ads can help you achieve your goals.

How do you ensure that your Facebook Ads make the biggest impact? Here are some tips.

Set goals

Take a moment to determine what your goal is before creating a Facebook Ad campaign. What do you want to get out of it? Are you looking to reach people near your business? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Or do you wish to increase conversion rate? Once you have set your goal, it will be easier for you to determine your budget.

Take advantage of advanced targeting options

For your ads to be effective, you need to make sure that it targets a specific group of people. Facebook’s demographic and segmentation tools allow you to reach the people who matter most to your business. By selecting well targeted audience, you’ll have a good chance of reaching your goals without having to spend a lot of money.

Add images to your ad

Pictures are vital for capturing the attention of your target audience. If you want to get your ads clicked, choose an image that stands out.

Businesses, big and small, spend their time, money and effort just to reach their target audience. With so many people posting on Facebook every minute, there’s a good chance that your ads won’t get noticed. You need to grab user’s attention so that they read your ad. An eye-catching image can help you do that. The more interesting and eye-catching the image is, the more likely will people notice it.

Use call to actions

A call to action may not help in making your ad more engaging or increasing your click-through rate. So, why is it important?

When you add a call to action to your ad, people will know immediately what you want them to do. As such, they are likely to proceed with the desired action after clicking on your ad. This improves your conversion rate and decreases your cost per conversion.

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Social Media Myths That Cripple Marketing Campaigns

As a start-up business, you are probably working on a limited capital. You’re trying to do everything yourself because you still can’t afford to hire people for your marketing campaign. It’s no wonder you chose to introduce your brand and reach out to your target audience through social media.

Social media is a powerful tool for business owners, especially for start-up entrepreneurs. In fact, it has grown in popularity over the past decade and has contributed to the success of several businesses all over the world. However, there are a number of myths floating around. These myths can ruin your chance of selling to your target audience.

Let’s put these social media myths to rest.

You need to be on every social networking site

Maintaining a social media account takes time and effort. There’s no point in opening an account on Instagram if your target audience isn’t there. What you want to do is to determine where your audience, and focus your efforts on those platforms.

Blogging is a waste of time

With so much information on the internet right now, some of you may think that creating a blog won’t help you reach your bottom line. But the truth is, a business blog is a great way to capture the attention of your target audience.

Make sure that you supply them with interesting and informative blogs, and they’ll surely be coming back for more. Give them tips and share your knowledge with your audience. Eventually, people will see you as an industry expert.

You need to be online 24/7 to be successful

While regular posting and fast response is important, you don’t need to monitor your social media accounts 24/7 just to build a strong social media presence. We understand that you’re busy, but please make sure that you have at least one social media post per day. Post less than that and your fans and followers will eventually forget about you.

Your social media accounts can replace your website

Although it’s easier to reach out and engage with your potential and current customers on social media, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t update your website from time to time.

Write blogs, provide updates about your recent projects, and then share them on social media. Use it to attract your audience. Encourage people to share your post or voice out their opinions. Because these social media posts are linked to your website, it can help drive traffic to your website. Remember, the more professional your website is, the more advantages you can gain.

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