Small Businesses and Social Media: Tackling the Essentials of Your Social Presence

It’s time to leave the safety of your comfort zone when it comes to content creation and your digital presence. You may feel right at home when you post blogs on your website, but disseminating your brand story takes a much more versatile approach to get more followers, views, and higher engagement. All of that, of course, for the sake of more loyal customers down the road.

Social networks are a place where your audience hangs out to be entertained, informed, and educated, with a much greater range of communicating. Through emoticons, informal comments, as well as shares, reviews, and likes, social networks have become the place where everything happens – including your possible customers’ decision-making.

Choose your platforms

Not all networks are created equal, at least in the sense in which you will use them to get your brand in front of the right people. Choosing the right platforms means that you first need to know who your customers are, which will also significantly shape the kind of content they enjoy. For instance, Pinterest and Instagram are highly visual, even though the latter leaves plenty of room for lengthy texts, they are predominantly used to create a visual appeal around your brand.

Then again, Tweeter is all about short and sweet posts that get plenty of traction, while Facebook allows a vast variety of content types to be mixed and matched. Maybe you should consider them all, but perhaps only two would suffice. Also, don’t forget the professionally-oriented LinkedIn, as well as YouTube as a great platform to educate and impress!

Create a plan

Even if you’re running your business all on your own, being an entrepreneur takes all of your energy, and then some, to actually grow your business. It’s not a coincidence that the tasks around social media are summed into an entirely separate job post, which means that you might even consider hiring a social media manager, or at least tech-up your posting to make it easier on your workload.

Now that you’ve established where your audience is, figure out when, how often, and how much time they spend on each network. Businesses all over the world have implemented social media tools that can help you create a desired schedule for your different platforms and organize your posts according to your needs.

Monitor and adjust

No matter how much you know about your audience, the fickle human mind changes often, even if not drastically. These changes in preferences, opinions, tastes, trends, and styles affect every brand differently. You need to know in what contexts your brand appears, how people communicate about your company, and whether there’s a fire that needs putting out.

You can learn from the best in business, as including media monitoring in Australia across many industries has become an essential part of any brand’s online strategy. You need to stay in the loop when it comes to the news in your niche and the latest events that may affect your business – and utilize the data to tailor your social media posts every time.

Diversify your content

As a small business, you deal with a large competition, which in turn means that you need to keep your social content game at its best. People get quickly bored with monotone, predictable posts, and they prefer content that provides actual value, in addition to being branded, and they least of all appreciate promotional posts. That is why you should do your best to balance the types of social media posts you share and make them as appealing and as audience-specific as possible.

The world has shifted towards a more visual-focused type of content, which lets you introduce imagery, videos, infographics, memes, gifs, and similar animations into your posts. That way, you’ll keep your audience interested! However, make sure that your posts have a purpose – whether they aim to educate, intrigue, inspire, motivate, or inform, they need to have an applicable value, or else they’ll end up delivering no results or engagement.

Meet your influencers

Finally, every business, no matter how small it may be, can make friendships with the right people. The era of influencers began a long time ago, but the trend is only growing. You can reach out to your existing customers to be your brand ambassadors on social media, or find someone who would do a review of your product or service.

This relationship alone will get you much more visibility and more engagement with each post. Influencers are the lifeblood of many up-and-coming brands, as they give your brand a more relatable look and feel, and your audience will always make decisions based on the opinions of those they trust.


Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with many companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and a regular contributor to Technivorz.

A Beginner’s Guide to YouTube Influencer Marketing

As social media platforms become increasingly ubiquitous sources of information and communication, they also become fertile ground for marketing prospects. YouTube, in particular, has become prime real estate for advertisements and has created a new wave of opportunities in the form of influencer marketing.

What is “influencer marketing?”

To understand how influencer marketing works, you must first identify YouTube influencers. Influencers are individuals that generate content on social media platforms, have a large following, and whose viewers actively engage with their material.

Michelle Phan, for example, began posting makeup tutorials on YouTube in May 2007 and has built an avid following, with more than 8 million subscribers. As a result of this success, Phan became a brand representative for Lancôme, co-found a beauty product subscription service called ipsy, and launch her own cosmetics line. While not every YouTuber achieves similar success, marketers can team up with those who do to advertise products effectively.

Some YouTubers, referred to as micro-influencers, have fewer subscribers and views overall but appeal to niche audiences. These micro-influencers can be invaluable to marketers because their viewers tend to engage strongly with their content, which means any recommendations for products can easily produce conversions. This is especially true if your brand or product is fairly specific to a target market.

Why YouTube?

With all the social media platforms available, why invest in YouTube specifically? The Huffington Post reported YouTube reaches 100% of 16 to 34 year-olds, and 98% of 34 to 44 year-olds, which is more than enough reason to perk up your ears. Visibility without conversions is essentially meaningless, and so the most significant figure is that YouTube demonstrated higher returns on investment than television advertising in 77% of cases. When your dollars are working harder, your job is that much easier.

According to YouTube’s own data, 72% of car buyers indicated YouTube-influenced their purchase decisions in some way, as well as 66% of beauty product users, and 62% of smartphone users. This means a vast majority of consumers use YouTube for information about, recommendations for, and examples of products before they buy.

Furthermore, marketing through YouTube is still in its development, giving you some room for negotiation and innovation. The price per ad varies widely – between $0.02 and $0.20 per view, averaging about $0.10 to $0.15 – meaning you can plan your budget accordingly. If you invest in up and coming talent (that is, micro-influencers), you may be able to spend less for the same number of views. The relative newness of YouTube gives you some creative license as you plan your marketing campaign, in addition to being a little easier on your wallet.

Finally, YouTube provides analytical resources for marketers to help you strategize efficiently and monitor your progress. For example, YouTube gathers information about times of day various age groups tend to view and which devices they view from, giving you valuable data about when and how to advertise your brand. Google Brand Lift Solutions also gathers statistics directly relevant to marketers, such as brand recall stats. This provides a significant resource to plan your marketing campaigns and to measure their success.

Strategizing for Influence Marketing

The first step toward launching an effective marketing campaign is to identify specific goals. Who are you trying to reach? How much are you willing to spend? Are you trying to increase brand visibility by achieving a certain number of views, or are you more interested in scoring sales? Specifying your goals helps you measure your progress, which means you’ll be able to tweak your strategy as needed for optimal results.

As mentioned in the description of YouTube influencers, choosing your talent depends on a number of factors beyond the number of subscribers. It is critical to choose a YouTube channel that is relevant to your brand because their audience will be more interested in hearing about it. A YouTuber’s reach evaluates the number of views per video, which may not directly correlate to their number of subscribers. Even more important is the viewer engagement with the material, which includes views, comments, likes, and dislikes. Influence measures the activity inspired by the YouTuber’s content, as well as audience growth (whether viewers become subscribers). Lastly, you want to choose a consistent user, who generates regularly scheduled material, provides meaningful content and has relatively stable viewership.

Collaboration requires aligned values, beliefs, and interests. This means you’ll want to choose a YouTuber who will be able to genuinely get behind your brand, understand your goals, and display sincere enthusiasm to their subscribers. Focus on someone who has expertise in a relevant area, who is credible on the subject matter, and who has a strong relationship with her followers, even if that means foregoing a YouTuber with more subscribers overall.

Executing an Effective Campaign

Utilizing YouTube influencer marketing requires giving the influencer the reins. Remember, they have built an audience from scratch, and they know best how to get a positive response from viewers through natural interaction with the product. You may even decide to offer discounts, giveaways, or free products to viewers for an even bigger response. Keep in mind, though, you want to do this thoughtfully, so you appear to be a generous company offering value to a specific audience, rather than a desperate business hoping to take advantage of viewers to generate revenue.

Over-controlled, cookie-cutter campaigns tend to be fairly obvious to viewers, and can actually garner a negative response. This is crucial to keep in mind, because ultimately, it’s not only the influencer who will buy your product, it’s also (and more importantly) their viewers. Scott Cook, the founder and CEO of Intuit, remarked, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is–it is what consumers tell each other it is.”

With this in mind: put your efforts towards identifying and choosing talent, negotiating a fair deal, and developing some general talking points for the YouTuber to work with. This may include basic knowledge of your product, describing how your product can help them, and what makes your product different from (and better than) the competitors. Specify your goals and how you’ll measure them, and work collaboratively with YouTubers to develop organic, effective marketing campaigns.

6 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2018

Social media is constantly evolving. Today, it has become an inseparable part of our lives and businesses. During 2016, Instagram added 100 million users in about six months.

With consumers spending more time on social media to learn what’s happening around the world, marketers have realized its potential. Social media is a powerful channel for driving traffic to websites, generating leads, and enhancing brand value. This is why social media marketing is now an integral part of a brand’s marketing mix.

Because social media is constantly evolving, the trends of 2017 might not be relevant this year. So it’s important to keep yourself updated with the latest social media trends that are anticipated in 2018.

Here are six major social media trends you should watch out for this year.

Top Social Media Trends to Watch in 2018

1. Greater Emphasis on Influencer Marketing

Did you know?

  • For every $1 which businesses are spending on influencer marketing, they’re earning $6.50 in media value.
  • 71% of marketers find influencer marketing to be truly effective at building brand awareness on social media.
  • Tweets from influencers about product recommendations coupled with tweets from brands can increase purchase intent by 5.2X.

Such stats demonstrate just how impactful influencer marketing is. The popularity of influencer marketing is likely to continue in 2018 too.

If you haven’t thought about integrating it into your marketing strategy yet, do it now. Identify your goals, find the right influencers, build relationships with them, and reap incredible ROI from your influencer marketing.

Here’s an example from Adidas, on how they used influencer marketing to enhance their social media image by harnessing hashtags effectively. Adidas launched an influencer-driven campaign on Instagram. Their focus was to boost engagement and encourage users to post content about the brand experience.

Image via Instagram

For their #MyNeoShoot campaign, they collaborated with Selena Gomez along with some top influencers. These influencers encouraged their followers to participate in the contest using the hashtag #MyNeoShoot. This would give them a chance to become one of the six models for the campaign.

The results?

  • Between January 2016-January 2017, their sales increased by 24.2% while Nike saw their sales drop by 9.1%.
  • The brand received 12,000 entries for the contest.
  • The hashtag #MyNeoShoot got more than 71,000 mentions.
  • Adidas’ Instagram page gained 41,000 new followers.

Many marketers today face challenges in finding the right influencers for their brand. Someone whose niche and messaging aligns with theirs and someone who has a genuinely engaged following.

Platforms like Grin can help you find the ideal social influencers for your brand. You can search by category, location, engagement, and various other filters to find the most suitable influencers.

Image via Grin

Another example of a useful platform to find your ideal influencers is TRIBE. This is a digital marketplace which connects brands with influencers from across the globe. You just need to create a campaign brief for which influencers will create content. You only pay for the ones that you finally select.

Image via TRIBE

2. Instagram Stories Going Viral

In 2016, Instagram launched a new feature – Instagram Stories, which spread like a virus. Today, over 300 million people are using Instagram Stories every day. Why? Because they are fun to use.

You can add hashtags, text, drawings, stickers, or create polls to increase engagement and collect valuable insights about audience preferences. Stories help marketers expand their reach using interesting videos and photos. These also help to ensure that are better engaged and view their account frequently.

Posts in Stories have a duration of 15 seconds and disappear in 24 hours. So you only have a few seconds to impress your audiences showcasing your products or other valuable information.

Using Instagram Stories for your brand can:

  • Improve engagement with your social media posts.
  • Make your business portfolio more impressive with videos.
  • Enhance the visibility of your brand.
  • Make your content attractive and eye-catching.

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms. With over 800 million monthly active users, Instagram is expected to grow even more this year. So it definitely needs to be a part of your social media marketing strategy.

Let’s take a cue from leading American faucet brand, Moen. No one might have imagined the brand would ever launch such a creative campaign, especially for an Instagram Story. But this is what they came up with.

Image via Instagram

The Story resulted in a 45% increase in impressions for the brand. This way, Moen found a quicker and more efficient way to create engaging content.

3. Watch Out for Twitter Making a Comeback

Both Instagram and Facebook today have more users than Twitter and in 2017. Twitter failed to grow their users significantly.

Why was Twitter unable to generate more users compared to other channels? Due to the criticisms received when U.S. President, Donald Trump bullied people in several instances.

Users started complaining about his freedom to bully people. They were upset at Twitter not banning him from the medium. And Twitter’s popularity declined.

But 2018 might not see Twitter having a similar fate. Twitter’s leadership are already strategizing about improving their partnerships with brands and agencies. So don’t ignore Twitter this year. It might be a game changer for your business.

4. Live Videos and Streaming are on the Rise

According to a report, video streaming is expected to be a $70.05 billion market by 2021. In 2016, this was worth $30.29 billion. Live streaming shows real-time broadcasts to users and can include streaming of promotional events, celebrity events, etc.

Today, people prefer watching video-based content more than other forms of content. Here are some statistics that support this.

  • By 2020, the US is likely to have 236 million digital video viewers.
  • Viewers aged between 25-34 spend 197 hours per week, on an average, watching videos online. Closely followed by people aged between 35-49 and 18-24.

Most social media platforms are integrating video formats in their content to better engage users. Brands too are using video and live streaming to penetrate deeper into their target markets. It helps educate users about your brand and drive better engagement by offering tangible content.

Video and live streaming are gaining popularity by the day. In 2018 too, brands will be heavily utilizing them in their content strategy to achieve their goals.

Here is an example of a cosmetic brand, Benefit, which uses Facebook Live videos in a series.

Image via HubSpot

Two women from Benefit host a series called “Tipsy Tricks” every Thursday. On some of these episodes, they ask the audience which product they’d like to see, being used in the look they’re creating. This is an innovative way of using live videos to know more about audience preferences while ensuring they remain engaged.

5. Targeting Generation Z

Studies have found that Generation Z will be of higher value to businesses as compared to millennials. Not only are they way smarter with money but also likely to be more influential than millennials.

21% of people in this generation have created savings accounts before the age of ten. At the moment, the oldest members of this generation are 22 years old. This indicates that these people are ready to enter the workforce and will have a greater purchasing power.

Because of this, many brands are shifting their focus to Gen Z, and are active on platforms that appeal more to this new generation, like Snapchat and Instagram.

6. User-Generated Content in Content Strategy

What if you bought something and had a great experience? Wouldn’t you like to share it with your friends or networks? Once you spread the word, more people are likely to buy the product, or at least consider your recommendation. With this, you’ve just generated content which has the potential to attract more consumers to the brand.

That’s the reason brands truly value user-generated content as it helps spread positive word-of-mouth quicker. 56% of people seek guidance from their friends when it comes to purchasing products.

Realizing the power of user-generated content or UGC, brands have started leveraging this tactic to build trust and engagement. They encourage customers to post about their experiences on social media to expand their reach and increase visibility.

One of the best examples of UGC in marketing is that of Starbucks. Every year in the month of December, they launch a contest called #RedCupContest. The aim is to promote their limited edition holiday-themed beverages served in bright red cups.

Image via Instagram

Coffee drinkers are asked to submit their coffee shots for which they can win an expensive Starbucks gift card. This results in over 40,000 posts of red cups, leading to a boost in sales.

Conclusion

These six social media trends are going to impact your marketing this year in a big way. From connecting with relevant audiences to maximizing your ROI, there’s a lot you can achieve with social media marketing. Incorporate these trends into your strategy to rise above your competition.

Can you think of any other social media trends to watch out for in 2018? Let us know in the comments below.


Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

A Guide to Creating Compelling and Engaging Social Media Posts


Having a healthy social media presence is a must-have for most, if not all, businesses in the digital age because social media usage is still at a constant rise—with 8 out of 10 internet users logging in to Facebook and other social media sites for an average of 2 hours per day.

Ideally, you’d want to reach and connect to most of your target audience or the people who have a higher chance of liking your brand and becoming potential customers. However, even that is hard enough in this age when almost every brand is promoting on Facebook.

Although gaining exposure has become a monumental task, it’s still possible to pull off. You just need to have a clear goal, a creative strategy, and creative content that is not only informative but also entertaining and compelling enough to get noticed. Otherwise, you’ll just be another generic post to be ignored in the user’s news feed.

But don’t fret. With the right strategies, you can create social media posts that will get noticed by the right audience, and therefore, gain you precious new customers.

How to Get Your Brand Noticed on Social Media

Before you go all in, take a few minutes to read these tips and best practices for building a successful social media presence in 2018.

Pick your cup of tea.

While it’s tempting to stay active on all top social media platforms, the drawback is that you won’t be able to engage your target audience on ALL of them fully. It’s okay to create accounts on multiple platforms, but you’re better off focusing on one.

So if you’re a lifestyle brand, for example, you can use Instagram as your main platform for engaging with your audience and do minor updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Bake information into bite-sized goodies.

People on the go love snacks. If you’re giving them full-course meals of text, chances are they’ll skip over your content to find something more interesting.

When posting on social media, bake your posts into manageable chunks or better yet, add relevant and compelling images and visuals to make your brand more attractive and memorable.

Bonus: Here’s a cheat sheet to help you find the right image sizes for every social media platform.

Aim to educate, not advertise.

While you can use social media to promote your products to a wider audience, it’s still a platform for two-way conversation. Invite your audiences to share their thoughts to not only get valuable feedback but also make your brand more relatable.

Conclusion

Social media may be oversaturated at present, but with the right strategies, you can create inspiring and engaging posts that give your brand the attention it deserves.

Check out the infographic below for more tips and best practices on posting on the top social networks.


As she makes her way in the digital marketing world as a Content Specialist, she also makes sure that she’s updated with the latest memes and trends among other things. With her inner rapper, Paula pops those headphones in and listens to her R&B and Hip Hop playlist during her long rides to and from the South. She either gets herself a venti cup or two of her fave iced coffee or a cold bottle of beer on a random day. There’s nothing in between.