A recent report stated that only 9% of small businesses have created their own You Tube channel. As YouTube usage continues to soar, don't let your business be one of the ones that are left behind. It does not take all that long to get your channel up and running. And once it is up, fresh content is very key to get customers or clients to your channel to grow your business.
Today, I would like to take a moment to help you go through the steps to get your You Tube Channel up and running. As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any problems. Having a fantastic content strategy on YouTube will help you build your brand’s identity, showcase your products, and connect with your audience in fresh and exciting ways. So with all that in mind, let's take a look at what you need to do.
To create a YouTube account for your business, you’ll need to first create a personal Google+ profile as well as a Google+ page for your business.
Once you have that taken care of, you’ll be ready to get your YouTube channel.
1. Login to the Google+ account associated with your business and head over to the YouTube Channel Switcher.
2. You should see your personal account as well as the option to create a new account for your Google+ business page. Click on your business page.
3. A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm that you’d like to create a channel for your business. Click ‘OK’.
4. Another pop-up will appear notifying you that your YouTube channel and Google+ page will now be connected. Click ‘OK’ again.
5. Well now look at that. You’re now the proud owner of a YouTube business channel.
Customizing Your YouTube Channel
Now that you’ve set up a YouTube channel for your business, you now need to get it looking at the very least, functional with good graphics and easy to navigate. Here are a few easy things that you can do to give your channel a more professional look and make sure that your customers know how to find you online.
By default, your Channel Icon will be linked to your Google+ profile photo. I know hardly anyone uses Google+ much anymore but that is the nature of the beast. Although your image only needs to show up as a 98 x 98 pixel icon, it’s recommended that your picture should be a JPG, BMP, PNG, or non-animated GIF and at least 800 x 800 pixels.
Adding channel art is a great way to show off your brand’s personality and create a more visually engaging YouTube profile. Your Channel Art should be under 4MB and at least 2048 x 1152 pixels (although YouTube recommends going with 2560 x 1440 pixels for best results on all devices).
Details and Description
To unlock all of the customization options for your channel, you’ll need to click the gear icon in the section beneath your Channel Art. A pop-up titled ‘Channel settings’ will then appear. Look for the ‘Customize the layout of your channel’ option and enable it. Click ‘Save’. You’ll now be given a wider range of options sorted into five tabs: Home, Videos, Playlists, Channels, and About.
Click on the About tab to edit your business details.
Under description, give a brief outline of your business,your products, and services. Be sure to also include your contact email as well. For your social media links, include all of your business’ social media profiles (you can get your links to appear over your Channel Art by adjusting the drop down menu). On the right hand side, you’ll find a section titled ‘Featured Channels’ where you can feature other YouTube channels that are owned by your brand or managed by your employees. While this section may not be useful to you yet, once you expand your YouTube presence it will definitely come in handy.
Using Great Content
Now that the basics of setting up your channel is done, you need videos right?
Your videos should be an integral part of every business’ content marketing strategy - it’s a fantastic way to provide your customers with high-quality, informative, and entertaining content that keeps them coming back again and again. So, with that in mind, let’s explore how you can use video to build an audience for your brand. Here are some of the different types of content your business could be using.
More and more, people are turning to YouTube to learn new things. In fact, searches for “how-to” videos are growing by 70% year over year which means that there is an expanding opportunity for businesses to capture new audiences by providing educational content around their products. Videos that teach new skills are great for building trust with your audience. If you build trust, you build potential customers. Educational content doesn’t have to be limited to teaching people how to fix your products either. You can also create video tutorials that show customers how they could be using your products to solve everyday problems.
When it comes to creating compelling video content, few things are more effective than great storytelling. Inspiring videos that fit into your business’ identity are perfect for communicating your brand’s image and ideals to a wider audience. These types of inspirational videos should be geared towards building a lifestyle around your brand and showing customers that when they purchase your products, they aren’t just buying a thing - they’re buying an experience. Marketing your brand (not you) is going to go a ling way in creating not only identity but followers as well.
Building a YouTube strategy around fun videos that cater to your audience’s interests is one of the best ways to capture viewers’ attention and focus it onto your products. While their sense of humor may not be for everyone, funny or entertaining videos are undoubtedly effective. Everyone likes a good laugh. Keep those videos short however. Today's tuber surfers don't spend a lot of time on any one video and you got to capture their attention in about the first 3 seconds.
Optimizing Your Videos for Search
Staying on top of your YouTube SEO is critical if you want to get your videos noticed. Every minute, 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, so you need to be doing everything you can to stand out from the crowd. Every element of your videos - from the title to the description to keywords - can have a huge impact on how prominently they get featured in search results. Here is how you can improve your ranking on You Tube and get in front of viewers when they need to see you most.
Before you start optimizing your videos, you should narrow down which keywords you’ll be focusing on. Think about which keywords someone might search to come across your video and run them through a keyword planning tool to make sure that they’re popular search terms. This can also be a solid source of inspiration for future videos - it’s a good idea to experiment with keywords and build future content around popular search terms in your industry.
One of the most important things that YouTube takes into consideration when determining the quality of your video is its engagement. Encourage your viewers to leave a comment, subscribe, share, favorite, or hit the ‘Thumbs Up’ button after they’ve finished watching to increase your chance of showing up higher in search results. If you want to boost your engagement levels, try running a contest. Giveaways and contests are an excellent way to increase viewer participation and connect with your audience. When YouTube is determining your rank, it will also take your video’s view count into consideration. To increase your viewers quickly, make sure that you’re distributing your new videos through your email list and all of your business’ social media channels.
The actual format of your video also plays a role in your overall search ranking. Although Youtube can’t watch your videos to determine their content, there are a few other things that it looks at to make an "educated" guess.
• Filename: Be sure to include your target keywords in the name of the file that you’re uploading. Youtube will pay attention to it.
• Length: YouTube considers longer videos to be of higher value, so try to make them as substantial as possible.
• Title: The title of your video should be concise, descriptive, and feature your target keyword near the start.
• Description: The longer the description, the better. Add as much content as you possibly can - include a detailed overview of everything in your video and any relevant resources that your viewers might need. Your keywords should also show up in your description.
• Tags: You don’t have to overload the tags on your videos to get a better ranking, but do your best to include your target keywords and a handful of other associated terms.
Tips and Tricks
After covering everything above, you should be on your way to building an audience and maximizing your business’ potential on YouTube. However, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, I’ve put together some nifty YouTube hacks that you can use to increase your subscribers and generate more traffic for your website.
Add a Watermark
A watermark is perfect for driving new viewers back to your channel and encouraging them to subscribe. These customized images will be overlaid on every one of your uploads and link back to your channel, making it easy for new viewers to find more of your videos. To add a watermark to your videos, take a look at your channel page and click on ‘Video Manager’. This should take you to the Creator Studio where you’ll be able to access some more in-depth settings for your account. Once you get to the Creator Studio, click on ‘Channel’ in the sidebar. A drop down will appear under ‘Channel’. Click on ‘Branding’ and then ‘Add a Watermark’. You’ll now be able to upload an image that will show up in the corner of every one of your videos.
Enable an Automatic Subscription Prompt
It’s important to not only be driving people to your YouTube channel, but to also be encouraging them to subscribe while they’re there. Whenever you provide a link to your channel, add “?sub_confirmation=1” to the end of your channel’s URL and a pop-under will automatically appear on your channel prompting visitors to subscribe.
Link Merchant Cards to Your Website
As long as your account is verified, in good standing, and following YouTube’s community guidelines, you’ll be able to add Merchant Cards to your videos. If you have a e-commerce type of store, you can use Merchant Cards to link your viewers directly to your store to buy the items featured in your videos. If you want to add Merchant Cards to your videos, just head to your Video Manager and click on ‘Edit’ for the video that you’d like to add a card to. At the top of your screen, several tabs will appear. Click ‘Cards’ and then ‘Link Cards’ and then add in the information for your products.
I hope the above tips will help you get into the world of video for your business using You Tube. Good luck!
Before you can create any kind of a great Facebook advertising campaign, you need to know what your goals are and how to read those goals. (analytics) You’ll need to measure to determine how successful the campaign is. Avoiding these steps can really take a toll on your ROI. Take advantage and use Facebook Insights.Generating sales: Your approach will vary depending on whether you’re in the B2C or B2B sector. When in the B2C, your best bet is to use page post ads to promote in the news feed, where you can use larger images to promote your products and services. When in the B2B sector, you should use both page post ads and right-hand column ads to focus on acquiring more leads you can nurture through the sales funnel to convert to sales. Your goal is to send more traffic to your website or landing page, and you should target based on interests, age range, and gender keeping in mid that is appropriate to do so.
Building more brand awareness: Use page like ads to get more likes for your page. You should aim for likes only from highly targeted people, so it means using targeting competitors, similar interests, and custom audiences to get newsletter subscribers to like your Facebook page. Exclude people who are already fans of your page to avoid wasting your hard earned advertising bucks.
Getting more engagement on your posts: Use link ads, photo ads, and video ads to get more engagement for your posts. Your ad creatives should be extremely visual with stellar photos. If you’ve built a relevant audience, start by advertising to them. If not, target people who fit your ideal customer persona based on interests, age, gender, and purchasing behaviors.
Getting installs of your mobile app: Use the mobile app ads for install ad type. Once your app is published in the app store, you should implement Facebook event tracking. Use app screenshots in your creative, and target based on the audience you believe to be most interested. Thought check. Mobile apps although a bit costly if you are a small business owner, are great to have but also it is for more on lines sales or retail type businesses-e-commerce. If you are a consultant or in the service type of industry, having a app for smart phones may not work for you.
Keep Desktop and Mobile Ads Separate
Facebook gives you the option to run various advertising in different locations. You can run on mobile newsfeed, desktop newsfeed, right column, and Instagram. It’s a good idea to keep your desktop and mobile ad campaigns completely separate, even if you’re aiming to achieve the same goal. Again, your budget needs to come into consideration.
Keeping them separate allows you to optimize your ads, bids, and conversions based on device. Your ads and calls to action are likely to perform differently on desktop than they would on mobile, so your ad setup needs to fact that in. If you’re using the Power Editor to design and build your ads, then you can choose the device targeting on the ad set menu.
Test Different ImagesImages will draw attention to your ads, but no two images will perform the same way. That’s why you should test the same ad copy with different images, to see which ones your audience responds to better. Then, stop running ad campaigns that use the images with the lower click through rates and conversions, so you can maximize your ROI.
Use Lookalike AudiencesA Facebook Lookalike Audience is a list of users who have similar characteristics to your website custom audience. You can use it to find other people who are already like your customers, or to find people like the ones who are already like your page.
If you want to create a lookalike audience, login to the Facebook ads manager and click audiences. From there, click “Create audience” and choose “Lookalike audience” from the dropdown menu.
Then, choose the source of your look alike audience, such as the people who already like your page, or the people who’ve visited the thank you page on your website. Choose your target company, and select your audience size. The smaller audience size you choose, the more targeted it will be.
Use the Remarketing PixelAny potential customers who’ve visited your website from any traffic source, but didn’t convert, are likely comparing prices and providers. They’re in the research phase and are trying to get the best possible deal. So, by the time they’re ready to actually make a purchase, chances are high they’ve forgotten about you.
The Facebook remarketing pixel allows you to target people who’ve visited your website in the past on Facebook with ads. This is an excellent way to make the most of traffic that originally came to you from AdWords. All you have to do to setup a remarketing pixel is login to your Facebook advertising manager, click on Audiences, then click “Custom Audience and Website Traffic.” From there, you’ll be able to start the process of creating a remarketing pixel.
You’ll need to install the code in the footer of your website. It may take a day or so to start pulling in data, but you can then go back to your website traffic menu and choose “people who visit specific web pages.” From there, you’ll be able to create lists of people who are visiting a certain page on your website, and target them or exclude them from your campaigns. One of the best ways to make use of this is to exclude anyone who has visited your thank you page, since they have already converted. You’re not wasting time or money advertising to them.
Target Your Email ListFacebook lets you create a custom audience based on your email list. Create a .CSV or .TXT file with a single email address per row. Remove any other data your email marketing platform includes in your exported file.
Click “Audiences” and click “Create Audience.” Then choose “Custom Audience” and “Customer List”. From there, you’ll be able to upload your list.
You can also upload a list of phone numbers and target those people on Facebook ads, but it only works if their phone number is listed in their account. You can create a lookalike audience based off of these targeted lists, too.
Schedule Your AdsOn Facebook, you can segment your ads by days and hours, if you have a lifetime budget, rather than a daily budget option. This issue is why many businesses aren’t using this feature. If you use this approach, you’ll need to think of the total budget of your ad set. If you don’t have a successful performance pattern over time, then don’t use this setting. It’s not a good option for the first run of an ad for testing purposes.
If you have an ad you know works, you can set up the days and times you want it o run in the budget and schedule section of your ad set.
Use Carousel AdsIf your audience seems to respond well to a series of product images, you can combine those images into a single ad with the carousel ad. This is a newer ad type that allows you to show more than one image at once within a single ad. Ecommerce brands can use dynamic product ads that allow them to cross-sell complementary products, or even retarget customers who click through to their websites, but don’t make a purchase.
Ecommerce brands can also improve their Facebook marketing strategy using multi-product ads. This allows you to show multiple products in a single ad, giving customers more to choose from. You can also use these ads to show different benefits of a single product. An Adobe study showed these ads are more cost efficient per acquisition, saving you up to 35 percent in cost per click because of higher engagement. And, they can boost your click through rate as much as 50 percent to 300 percent.
Advertise on Instagram, TooSince Facebook owns Instagram, you can create the same ads on Instagram that you can run on Facebook. You can choose to run your campaigns solely on Facebook, or duplicate them on Instagram. If you know your audience can be found there too, then it’s a good way to build more traction.
The key with Facebook is to segment, and run multiple ads on a small scale to see what works before spending more money. Always be testing, and paying attention to your conversions.
Some portions of this article from "Small Business Trends"
Brands and video marketers who want to step up their live content game don’t need to look any farther than Facebook Live. The broadcasting platform, which was officially introduced in April 2016 to all Facebook users, has become a favorite destination for the site’s users when they’re looking for live content to entertain and inform them. However, the same type of content that works on YouTube Live, Instagram Live, or even Snapchat or Twitter won’t necessarily be what works best on Facebook Live. Depending on your particular brand, you’ll want to tailor a strategy specifically to the streaming platform to maximize your reach and marketing potential, and make the most out of your Facebook Live video content.
Fortunately, there are at least eight types of content which perform well on Facebook Live. Consider these options when you’re looking for ways to launch or improve your live video strategy:
Ask Me Anything (AMA) and Question & Answer (Q&A) content is a shoe-in for Facebook Live, as many brands boast audiences which use Facebook on a daily basis. AMAs and Q&As are a direct way to communicate with your fans, but make sure they don’t become stagnant. Set a new theme or topic for each session you conduct, or bring on a collaborator or person of interest to answer your fans’ most burning questions.
Nine times out of ten, consumers only see the forward-facing side of your brand, the side that markets to them and wants to impress them enough to purchase your products or services. But if you use Facebook Live to take them behind-the-scenes, you’ll find brand loyalty and interest will grow. You can do this by showing them preparations for a red carpet event, revealing the process of how their favorite product is made, or by letting them follow along with a particular employee’s daily duties.
Live streaming is digital media’s answer to traditional live television. As such, it’s only natural for many consumers and social media users to default to platforms like Facebook Live for their news, instead of turning on the TV set. In fact, Pew Research discovered 66% of adults regularly use Facebook to get their news. Use this to your advantage, especially if news is a big part of what your brand covers. Do your best to start broadcasting as soon as a story hits, and talk about the facts as well as your brand’s thoughts or reactions to the news.
Everyone loves a good challenge! If your brand has an idea for a competition or challenge which can be broadcast live, don’t hesitate to do so on Facebook. You’ll attract your fair share of viewers, but you’ll also reap the benefits of views on the archived live stream, too. Encourage your audience to share in the challenge at home (if they’re safely able to) and report on their experiences in real-time using the chat feature.
While how-tos might be one of YouTube’s most-searched video types, they’ve become incredibly popular on Facebook Live, as well. You can use the live streaming platform to not only demonstrate how your own product or services work, but also to show how to perform tasks related to your industry. Doing so builds your reputation as a helpful, trustful brand.
Events or Appearances
The biggest problem with events and appearances used to be their localized nature. But now brands can use Facebook Live to stream such events to viewers around the world. Bringing a big event or celebrity appearance to your Facebook page means you’re reaching consumers who might otherwise not be able to attend the event in person.
Interviews are an easy win for brands who want to connect with their fans, and Facebook Live is the perfect platform to stream them. You can keep things internal and interview executives and employees within your brand, or bring in persons of interest, celebrities, or influencers whom you know your audience will tune in to watch.
Product & Service Announcements
Much in the way live streaming events and appearances allows viewers to tune in regardless of their location in the world, product and service announcements can also be made via Facebook Live to immediately inform consumers of your newest offering. You’ll get to see fans’ reactions in real time, and answer any of their questions within chat to help them better understand the new product or service.
Try using these tips on your next Facebook Live broadcast. And remember, you can use Facebook Live both from your mobile app and your desktop.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
Did you know that one third of on line activity is watching videos? Really, it is.
We have known for a while now that video is only increasing in popularity, but I don't think people truly realize the huge influences of video content.
Here's some perspective: did you know that 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week? In addition, over half of video content is viewed on a mobile device.
What's interesting, though, are what those stats mean contextually. Think about the turnaround of social content these days. By the time you've come up with a good idea, created it, and then posted it to your Facebook page or YouTube channel, people are onto the next thing. Sad but that is the world we now live in. No attention span because people are just too busy and trying to absorb all this “stuff” in their heads.
When people (brands especially) think about video, they think about it as a long-form, high value piece of content. And the truth is, video is a high value piece of content. It just shouldn't be thought of as an asset that requires thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and months of work to create. Video is no longer a "professionals-only" content piece. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat (and its long-lost cousin, Vine) have made the barrier to entry for video extraordinarily low. SMB’s still need us video production professionals but yes, those apps do a pretty good job.
Which means, if you want to get into the video content game--and you should--then what's equally as important as coming up with good video ideas is your process for getting from start to finish as quickly as possible. In the world of social media, speed is as important (if not more important) than the idea itself.
Honestly, the same could be said for the blogging world--and really all social content, period. It's a game of attention with a very short lifespan.
It's just that video has been such a "luxury" type of content for so long that the vast majority of brands still consider it out of reach. They think, "Well, we don't have the equipment or we don't have the budget to make something professional," so they don't even try taking a step in that direction. Meanwhile, Instagram personalities are vlogging their daily lives on video in their Stories and not only attracting the most attention, but reducing the barrier of entry.
Video doesn't need to be a big production anymore.
But it's also about business goals. The vision has never been about just creating one amazing video, assuming the world will stop, look at it, and clap their hands. Social doesn't work that way. You need to create video content, quickly and easily. It's the consistency that drives business. Try and figure out what drives your customers. What drives your brand and put those thoughts into your video.
Here's another stat that proves the value of social video from a business perspective: videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 80% or more.
The habit of consistency is what differentiates the "one-hit wonders" from the brands, businesses, and influencers that create content on a regular basis--and actually build audiences around their video content. Consistency. That's what your video strategy should be based around. Remember, don’t spend months on a video project and no, you don’t need thousands of dollars anymore to hire equipment and an advertising agency to get your video out. You can do it! And if you feel you can’t reach out to us. We are happy to help.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
Social listening is an important strategy that brands need to consider if they’re to stay up to speed with Millennials and rapid speed conversations.
But does social listening contribute to delivering a great customer experience? Can it help your brand in proactively meeting customer needs?
Yes, it does! And here are 5 ways in which Social Listening can take your customer relationships to the next level.
1. Engage with a large audience (larger than you could ever imagine!)
With a proper social listening software, you can effortlessly listen to those who are talking about your brand, your product or service and also about your competitors on social platforms. Furthermore, Nielsen has found that 33% of customers even prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
When that is the case, listening can be a definite first step to understanding what the customer wants. It’s necessary to stay in-sync with the latest customer expectations else you run the risk of losing out to competition. And social listening is the ideal way to stay ahead in this race!
2. You get the ‘real’ scoop on social
Have you wondered why customers are sometimes too nice while filling feedback forms? One of the reasons is that they don’t have the time (hey, you might be asking too many questions!) nor the patience to explicitly express what they think.
How can social listening be of value here? It helps your brand filter out negative comments and get tangible insights from these comments. Let’s say a majority of your audience is criticizing the lack of information on your website. An intelligent social listening software will filter out these comments and deliver an actionable insight like “Working on availability of information on website can help boost website experience”
3. It’s where real-time customer service happens
The need for businesses to go real time would have been written in stone by now – It’s been repeated that often. Well, there isn’t any better place you can hope to achieve this than on social platforms.
You’d have come across the incident where Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, made sure to respond back to a valuable feedback on Twitter. If you haven’t yet, check out the story here. Customers want to be heard and they treat social media as a platform to engage with your brand and get instant remedies for their issues.
4. Make marketing personalized. Let social content drive engagement!
Personalization is the key to unlocking great experiences and social customer relationships.
Social listening tools can help you identify the way your target personas converse, the words they use, its tonality and unravels their specific needs and expectations from your brand. The insights you gather here can in turn be leveraged to run personalized marketing campaigns!
Moreover, a powerful and dynamic social listening platform can help you segregate your social audience into different categories which also helps in creating relevant content and offers for specific customer groups.
5. Staying proactive
Exceeding customer expectations can be a sure shot way to deliver customer delight. But unless your brand is well equipped with the necessary information and insights, going past expectations isn’t a cakewalk. By constantly monitoring what your customers, as well as other prospects, are talking about and engaging with them regularly, you can come up with a proactive and futuristic customer experience strategy for the long run. And social listening can help you monitor rapidly changing customer needs, anticipate trends and most importantly, deliver actionable insights on how to go about executing these changes.
Social listening is one of the most reliable means to make sense of the myriad conversations and comments on social platforms. Not just that, it provides a platform to learn more about your customers, their changing preferences, and expectations, and connect with them on a personal level no matter how far they are. Social media is already a huge repository of information. Now, converting that information into insights that can build customer experience is the advantage you have with social listening.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
While I am not totally sold on the long term survival of Snapchat as Instagram continues to eat away at it's rival, Ad revenue continues to look strong for the mobile app. Marketing your brand on Snapchat takes some creativity. It can be confusing, especially when you're starting out. Something to keep in mind is that a typical marketing funnel is broken down into three main stages:
1. Awareness. Prospects learn about your business and what you have to offer.
2. Interest. Prospects from the first phase take the first step toward becoming a customer by signing up for a webinar or company emails.
3. Evaluation. Prospects from phase two take the final jump to buy from you, often as the result of a sales call or integrating email.
Snapchat is strongest during the second stage, when you're engaging your prospects and trying to create interest. In fact, research shows that Snapchat gets nearly a 4x higher engagement rate compared to similar platforms like Instagram but this is slowly changing as Instagram migrates many of Snapchat's features. Through Snapchat, you can deliver valuable content to your audience to let them see a different side of your business -- one that might not be as visible through another channel.
Here are three ways marketers can use Snapchat to grow their businesses:
1. Offer promo codes.
Brands have had success using promo codes on Snapchat because of how high the engagement rate is.
2. Launch products.
You can also use Snapchat to launch new products. One of the unique benefits of Snapchat is that it gives you permission to create low-budget, informal videos. Letting them see you “behind the scenes,” where you might be unpolished, will help build a deeper relationship over the long term.
3. Leverage influencer marketing.
By leveraging influencers, you can capture a much larger audience because your content will be viewed by both your followers and the followers of that influencer. It’s one of the quickest ways to build a massive audience of your own. Another way to use influencer marketing is by asking an influencer to do a takeover of your account. This basically means that they run your Snapchat account for a certain period of time, and post snaps on behalf of you.
Snapchat is still an up-and-coming platform. If it continues to hold on as a popular app then marketers will have something. Right now it is an app that has yet to become overcrowded. And, because of that, engagement levels are still significantly higher than many other platforms. Marketers who jump on it now will see significantly better engagement than those who get on board months -- or years later.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
We’re all familiar with slogans like “Just Do It,” “Live Más” (Spanish for "more") and “Because You’re Worth It.” These slogans have become synonymous with the brands they represent, so it’s natural that small business owners would associate the notion of branding only with big corporations. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Branding should be a priority for small business owners, as well, despite its being one of the most difficult things to tackle. Half of small businesses close their doors within five years of launching. And one of the causes might be the perception that branding is too “difficult” for founders to dedicate time and brain power to.
Why is branding so important?
The answer is that it represents who you are and what your company is. It represents who you want to be and your core values and principles. The principles you set for your brand should be your guide, and compromising them means you don’t trust your own brand. Change is a constant in business and someone will always try to rival the services you provide; others may try to copy (or steal) your concept, logo and assets. But the one thing no one can copy? Your brand.
Here are four tips to develop a lasting brand identity:
1. Find your purpose.
A brand is nothing but a promise delivered; therefore, building a brand must be the core of your company. Your brand’s purpose is to answer the "why." Why do you matter and why you exist? Why did you start your business?
When I ask, “Why do you want to become an entrepreneur?” One of the standard replies I hear is, “Because I want to make money.”
Nothing is wrong with that; I love to make money too, but that cannot be the sole purpose. In this über-competitive world, your brand needs to find the one thing that makes it different.
As a small businessperson, you don't need a purpose that's going to change the world. An example: If you have a small restaurant that serves a type of food similar to that of the restaurant two doors down, but you use locally-grown products to feed your patrons, that’s going to be your calling card.
Your purpose? To help local farmers and help the local community. Customers know that you’re looking to make an impact and will reward you with their loyalty.
2. Find your voice.
Is your brand quirky? Fun? Adventurous? Giving a brand characteristics normally associated with human beings is one way to ensure that people identify with it.
In the beginning, your brand pitch helps you to create key phrases or descriptions and a checklist of touch points and then use those as bookends when interacting with customers. Opening and closing with a strong touch point leaves a lasting impression on the customer and helps you avoid derailing from your message.
If people are trying to get me to buy something and they launch into a hundred reasons why I should do that, I’m not interested, no matter how great the product. I don’t have time to stand there and listen to a whole sales pitch. So, take a lesson here: Don’t parrot your brand’s virtues; live them.
And, be short, concise and to the point: If customers feel and understand your passion, they’ll understand what the brand is trying to convey.
3. Make brevity and simplicity your best friends.
It’s tempting to think of the multitude of things that make your brand great; therefore, it can be overwhelming to try to simplify what to convey to the public. The key here is: simplicity is best. The most successful brands have the simplest brands. For example, Coke has not changed its brand overall since the 19th century. The company may have changed colors and style, but that’s about it. All of us are familiar with the brand, whether we drink soda or not.
Keeping things simple increases brand recognition and can help create an emotional connection, turning customers into brand loyalists. Also, avoid being vague with your messaging. It’s a trap that many people fall into -- if your messaging says nothing about your brand, your company becomes forgettable. Clichés are also a no-no. They make your brand look lazy and unprepared.
It’s tempting to use vague language to feel "safe," but it makes customers think you’re hiding something from them. Don’t be afraid of offending someone; just be honest. With all the changes taking place in society -- culturally, politically and economically -- more consumers are looking for brands that align with their beliefs.
4. Make them work for you.
Evangelizing your brand is already a part of your job and that of your employees’. It’s their job to tell your customers why you’re great and why they should buy from you.
When customers understand your brand, what you stand for, what you deliver for them and everything your brand conveys, they take on the role of "brand ambassadors" willingly. When your target consumers understand every nuance of your brand, you’ve hit the branding jackpot. When consumers identify with your brand, they become vocal about it -- on social media or through word of mouth, which is still a powerful medium.
When customers have that connection, they organically evangelize your brand; they are working for you. Reward them, especially when they’re not expecting it. A discount or special offer, especially if it’s unexpected.
Here’s a bonus tip for you: Every campaign should be personally authorized by someone who truly understands the brand before anything is revealed to the public. If it not you the owner or manager, never leave branding to chance, because even minor mistakes can have a long-lasting effect on your business.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
When it comes to online marketing, the purpose and objectives are generally the same as traditional strategies in terms of increasing brand awareness and finding new customers. There are several ingredients that go into a successful digital promotion all the way from planning to sales. Perhaps the biggest benefit online marketing has for small businesses is that it enables them to spend each dollar more efficiently to yield a higher ROI. Here are some ways in which small businesses are making the most out of their online marketing efforts.
Producing strong content
Content marketing is the cornerstone of every online marketing strategy. Producing stellar brand material is a surefire way to create loyal visitors and encourage sharing. At the end of the day, the most important goal of content creation is to turn visitors into customers. This can start with small objectives like earning a follow on social media, signing up for a newsletter or taking a survey or poll. Regardless of what type of content you are producing, such as a video, image, blog or social media post, you need to have a clear vision of how your content is going to add value to the life of the reader. Successful small businesses don’t just produce content for the sake of keeping a schedule. Typically, they know exactly what the concerns of their target audience are and they gear their content to address them in a profound, meaningful way. Everyone benefits from quality content Small business can take advantage of their tight-knit followers and cater to their precise interests.
Localized SEO strategy
A good SEO strategy is the key to getting noticed.. Local SEO is extremely important for small businesses, especially ones with a physical address. The end goal of local SEO is to gain high rankings for searches around your geographic location. When users search keywords or phrases in the area, you want your website to be at the top of the list. Localized SEO is great (but very competitive) for smaller companies such as dental offices or law firms. For example, Abrahamson and Uiterwyk, a Florida injury law practice, has used local SEO to dramatically boost their rankings to increase business. With consistent efforts, they’ve ended up ruling Google’s Map packs and local results for keywords like “injury lawyer Tampa FL.” Google them and see for yourself. Currently, only 17 percent of small business are investing in SEO. Now is a great time to jump onboard and find the best ways you can leverage the Search Engine to increase your online exposure.
To compete in the rapidly evolving digital landscape, having a strong website is a must for businesses of all sizes. Keep in mind, 51 percent of website traffic comes from organic search. Your positioning depends on the reputation of your website. Perhaps one of the most important factors that go into a website’s reputation (that influences Google Rankings) is speed. Loading time has a huge impact on how users interact with your platform. Page abandonment drastically increases after each second. A great way to optimize website speed is to select a good host for your web server. A lot small businesses miss the mark in this area because they’ve put together a site using a basic CMS like WordPress, but don’t have a good technical team to support them. For a small business evaluating a website platform, the free trials are typically pointless. Building and marketing a good website takes a lot of work and resources. Committing to this task is one of the best investments of time and money you can make for your business. One of the greatest things about online marketing is that it gives small businesses a chance to compete a relatively level playing field as the bigger enterprises. Success is based on smarter rather than total money spent. Having a solid content creation plan and SEO approach is crucial in getting your website in front of the eyes of your target audience. No need to rush it, a strong foundation will almost always lead to good results in the end.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
“Ahhh, those were the days!” or “I remember back when I used to….”
Remember when dad would get up early, throw on the robe, and go outside to grab the newspaper? Or when mom would meticulously cut out coupons for the next trip to the grocery store? For many people, that was as ordinary as using sugar substitutes for our home brewed coffee. But for most of us, those days are long gone. Mocha lattes, Groupon deals and of course smart phones are the latest fads. “Traditional marketing is dying, and Millennials are responsible.”
Today's world is governed more than ever by rapidly advancing technology, and there doesn't appear to be any end in sight. Long gone are the ways of the 70's, 80's and 90's when the preferred sales method was silly cookie cutter advertising patterns that most everyone adhered to as a marketer, with surprising results that made it worthwhile. Resistance is...sadly futile. Or is it? Maybe it's time we stop resisting and start embracing the fast-approaching challenges of making our businesses profitable in the future. Traditional marketing is dying, and Millennials are responsible.
While pondering your next marketing strategy, keep this in mind: The millennial generation (also known as Generation Y, born in the early 1980's to around 2000) is now the largest population in the United States, representing more than one quarter of the total population, as this number suggests. It's still close (about 83.1 million to the baby boomers 75.4 million), but time itself will widen that number as the older demographic rides off into the proverbial sunset.
What Causes Traditional Marketing to Fail With Millennials?
Millennials have a general disdain for TV and radio ads that were the industry standard for marketing before the millennium. Most people have learned to tune out a lot of the constant bombardment of advertising that our society has inundated us with. But their generation has developed a nearly flawless ability to completely tune out not only the sales efforts of traditional marketing, but also the world around them. As a father of a millennial, I’ve seen first- hand how little attention they pay to ads (and to me on occasion, a frustration I know is not solely mine) that might get my own attention. We’ve all seen faces completely buried in a cell phone, oblivious to everything.
So of course we now know that over 85% of millennials have smart phones. We need to engage them where they are most likely to be. It should be noted that people of all ages spend plenty of time on their phone these days, but millennials tend towards much greater time blocks of cell phone usage. Another notable difference in this demographic is that millennials are much more socially liberal than previous generations. From topics such as gay marriage or marijuana usage, to the unique Democratic and Republican candidates we’ve seen gain tremendous popularity in today’s politics, millennials are more active and perhaps even more outspoken about societal issues and the future of our country. If you thought they were different, you’re right, but not exactly in the ways you may have thought.
There's no question your customers are spending time on social networks, whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, or any number of other apps and websites where folks are hanging out in digital form. Since you want your brand to be where your customers are, it makes sense to figure out how to grow your business using these platforms.
Find a way to analyze your social media posts, rank them in terms of engagement, and figure out why they perform well (or don't), adjusting what you're putting out into the world accordingly. Listening tools such as Google Analytics
is good to use.
2. You need to create great original content.
Doing so involves understanding trends, who your audience is, and how they want to engage with social media. If you want to target say stay-at-home mothers, because they're the primary shoppers for the family.then it makes sense to post on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, which 74 percent, 32 percent, and 19 percent of this demographic respectively visits on a weekly basis. So, while Snapchat and Twitter might be trendy for other audiences, it's not where many moms are hanging out.
3. Asking questions is a great way to drive engagement.
People want their opinions to be heard. It's just a matter of finding creative ways to encourage the sharing of them. Consider giving you customers or clients free products or coupons in exchange for their feedback.
4. Sweepstakes are a great way to drive engagement.
People love having the chance to win things. And, you can exponentially grow your following by requiring them to tag a few friends to enter a contest.
5. Featuring popular blogs works, too.
Consider the popularity of how-to videos on YouTube. "It's huge--whether it's putting on makeup, changing a car tire, or doing an anti-aging skin care regiment, there's somebody out there giving a tutorial in pretty much every category, You just have to look at the number of views these people are getting, sometimes in the tens or hundreds of thousands. They're clearly getting very strong airtime.