Week of 5/15: Skimming the content to make you better

A weekly list of articles to skim (We highlight the important bits) so you can always be updated about business tips that will impact you.

Image for How to Use Content and Social to Promote Your Small Business

Small businesses have personality, and that's why customers love to buy from them and shop locally. So, play up your business's personality, using social media.

In the United States, the small business sector represents a significant part of the nation’s economic growth, with an estimated 28 million registered businesses earning 54 percent of annual sales in America. Small business accounts for 55 percent of all jobs and, on average 66 percent of new net job growth on an annual basis, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Given these statistics, there is nothing “small” about small businesses in America, except that these organizations typically follow a lean startup model, beginning as part-time businesses and growing only with time and cautious investment.  Because of this limited growth model, hiring a marketing manager isn’t an option, budget-wise, for many small businesses.

However, what they lack in capital, these nusinesses can make up for with creative content marketing.

How can your small businesses leverage content tools and brand messaging to support your growth? Here are several strategies and software packages that every business owner should consider part of an effective marketing plan.

Master social media management.

If delegating social media management to someone on your team isn’t an option, become a master content creator yourself. There are many online courses available on Udemy that start for $10 per lecture, allowing you to learn at your own pace the fundamentals of digital marketing and social media. The courses will teach you what to share and when, to optimize the benefit of professional community management.

Learn what software applications the experts use to preschedule posts, and how to get alerts sent to your phone whenever someone likes or comments on your social media content. Empower yourself (or your staff) to respond quickly to customer questions on important social channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Small businesses that sell online nationally, or internationally, can benefit from looking at metrics or analytics regarding their social media engagement. Learn where your customers are from, what posts have the most traction, the most active days or times for your customers — and more. You can use Sprout Social. The software also comes with comprehensive scheduling applications, competitive reports and more.

Take advantage of newsjacking and trending hashtags.

Starting from scratch with new social media accounts means a slow, persistent build in terms of audience. Don’t be discouraged if it takes time and a lot of effort to gain traction and followers for your small business, but focus your efforts first locally, to build brand awareness in your immediate community.

Look for hashtags and other businesses in your local area that are “killing it’”on social. Follow charitable organizations from your community, including local associations and chambers of commerce. There is nothing unscrupulous about following up news events or headlines from your local area; comment, and like posts (or share them) to start networking with other businesses in your area. You can also expose your own business to more people by leveraging hashtags that are trending. Stay in the middle of the conversation.

Stimulate user-generated content.

Small businesses that advertise on social media platforms gain more traction by encouraging customers and users to create their own content. Just as product or service reviews help small businesses, so does user-generated content when shared online.

There are many ways small businesses can leverage user-generated content without pricey contests and large giveaways. If you own a restaurant, for instance, ask customers to share their favorite meal on Instagram, using a custom hashtag for your business. The hashtag will allow owners to randomly select a winner monthly, but the pictures of different items, and comments from satisfied customers, are worth far more than the price of a once-per-month “free dinner for two” incentive.

Invest in visual-content marketing.

You don’t have to be a graphic designer or professional video editor to create valuable multimedia visual content to share in your social feed. Finding the time may be a challenge for small business owners, but there are many free or low-cost smartphone apps that make it easy to create social-friendly creative posts.

If you are just starting out, and want to create some animated video posts with captions, try Ripl. The full version of the app (without the distraction of a watermark on your images or videos) is under $10 per month. Adobe Spark is fabulous software that allows a more advanced creative user to develop short videos, presentations (slideshows) and even magazine-quality graphic posts for social sharing.

Use an online-review service.

Gaining favorable customer reviews should be part of a small business marketing plan. Consider that any brand has an uphill battle to convince and convert potential customers. And favorable communication coming from the small business itself naturally has a biased opinion. The beautiful thing about customer reviews is that they hold a lot of merit with new customers, who trust the purchase or service experience of other consumers over the brand’s own promises.

Some industry leaders in online reviews, like Trustpilot, are out of budget for small businesses, despite the fact that they offer a high-traffic and easy-to-use online review format. Other review providers, such as Google My Business and TestFreaks, are more budget friendly, and the ratings and comments they enable customers to leave can be embedded for the business’s website.

Proud of your service track record? Showcase it on social media and on your website as an important credibility piece, to help establish a positive online reputation. Don’t forget to design an effortless way for customers to leave your business a review, by designating a funnel on your website; and remember to respond to comments (negative and positive) in a service-focused manner.

Overall, don’t be afraid to show the personal side of your small business to your customers, on social media.  Staff recognition, birthdays and charitable giving or events are all valuable from a public relations standpoint.

Small businesses have personality, and that’s why customers love to buy from them and shop locally. Let your passion and positive vibe shine through, and watch your small business grow.


On – 09 May, 2017 By Pratik Dholakiya


Image for 10 Tips for Making Your Small Business Stand Out on Social Media

You've heard social media can be a boon for your business, but how? Here's a look at what these various channels can do for the savvy small business owner.

10 Tips for Making Your Small Business Stand Out on Social Media

Chances are, you use some type of social media or content strategy to market your small business. But since so many other businesses use those same platforms, you have to constantly find new ways to make your business stand out. For ideas and tips on using social media and content marketing for your small business, check out these tips from members of our small business community.

Prepare and Execute a Social Media Crisis Management Plan

If you’ve been in business for more than a day, you’ve likely experienced a crisis or two. And when that happens, it’s important to have a plan — including one for dealing with the situation on social media. Rick Verbanas elaborates in this Your Guerrilla Marketer post.

Create Buyer Personas With Social Media Data

Social media can also be a great tool for gathering data about your potential customers and creating buyer personas. In this post on the Digital Information World blog, Ritesh Patil details how you can do this. And BizSugar members shares their thoughts here.

Track the Impact of Your Content Marketing with These Metrics

When it comes to content marketing efforts like blogging and social media, it’s important to have some kind of system for measuring results. To measure how those efforts impact your brand awareness, check out the metrics listed in this Content Marketing Institute post by Sujan Patel.

Learn How to Integrate User-Generated Content on Social Media

Social media is a great tool for interacting with your customers. And that includes sharing some of their content on your own channels. This Social Annex post by Prasad Dhamdhere features some tips and explanations about including user-generated content on social media.

Add These Topics to Your Blog

Blog content can be extremely popular on social media and elsewhere. To add some interesting topics to your blog mix, check out this post by Gary Shouldis of 3Bug Media. Then see what BizSugar members have to say about the post here.

Squeeze More Profits From Your Facebook Ads

Advertising can be another way to get more out of your social media efforts. But if you’re going to spend the money on Facebook ads, you want to make sure you’re getting as much benefit as possible. In this Kissmetrics post, Brad Smith shares some strategies for squeezing more profits from your Facebook ads.

Make Your Marketing Adapt With the Times

Marketing channels and strategies are constantly evolving. So your business needs to keep up if you want to continue getting the best results. Chad Stewart discusses the importance of adapting your marketing efforts with the times in this Biz Epic post.

Use Hootsuite to Manage Twitter Chats

If you’ve ever taken part in a Twitter chat, you know how important it is to have a good tool for managing tweets and responses. Hootsuite can be a great option, as Mike Allton of The Social Media Hat points out in this post. You can also see input on the post from the BizSugar community here.

Use These SEO Essentials for Long-Form Blog Posts

If you’re going to blog for your business, you should probably have some kind of SEO strategy. When it comes to long-form posts in particular, there are a few SEO essentials that can help out with every post. Neil Patel lists some of them in this post.

Create Better Live Broadcasts

Livestreaming on platforms like Facebook, Periscope and Instagram is becoming an increasingly popular strategy for businesses. To learn more about creating better live broadcasts, take a look at this Prepare 1 blog post by Blair Evan Ball.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to:

Social Media image via Shutterstock



On – 22 Apr, 2017 By Annie Pilon


Image for Why you should be wary of social media “Ninjas” – Marti Jeremiah-Shelley – Medium

Social media is a part of every day life. If you are a business, a small or large brand you need a social media presence so that you can…

Why you should be wary of social media “Ninjas”

Social media is a part of every day life. If you are a business, a small or large brand you need a social media presence so that you can communicate with your customers and show them what you’re all about. Social media is the norm for businesses and a great tool generally to enable us to communicate with each other and just be social.

I am a social media manager, I started my own business Wee Bit Social almost a year ago now and I manage my own channels on a daily basis as well as those of my clients. I also provide advice and training to businesses to enable them to successfully manage their own platforms. I don’t take my work lightly, I studied with Digital Mums and worked my arse off alongside my day job learning with a wonderful business who allowed me to learn my craft in a sort of social media apprenticeship.

I know enough about social media strategies and how to effectively put them in place, but I also know no matter how great they are they always need to be checked and amended, it’s an ongoing and detailed process. It’s a skill, a craft that needs to be studied and earned. It’s not something you can wake up and put on your Linkedin profile simply because you know about hashtags and you are slightly active on 5 platforms.

I’m no Gary Vee by any means, but I can walk into a room and talk to people about why their brand should be using social media, how often to post, what types of content they should be posting and why, and which platforms are the best for their business, and that’s just a start. What I’m noticing more and more of though, is the social media cowboys offering a social media “package” for £40.00 a month, a one size fits all type method to social media for business. This approach really annoys me because as there is plenty of room for everyone, this is just not a great way to approach social media marketing. In fact it’s not marketing at all. It’s these sort of companies that ultimately, encourages the opinion that just anyone can be a “social media ninja” by sending out a few tweets.

That’s just not what it’s all about and I personally feel like it downplays the skill and damages the industry for social media managers in general. Freelancers like myself and so many others I know in this industry who put so much time and thought into their work behind the scenes. Spending the time getting to know their brand, they sit down and discuss the requirements, the tone and ethos of the company they are working for, develop a strategy, look for and develop amazing content, study and analyze what works best and at what time and then put all this into place keeping in mind the customers and the brand they are working for. It involves real skill and a love of what you do and genuinely wanting to connect with your audience. Sure there are things like advertising and algorithms that come into play and don’t make it easy but these are also taken into account and it’s the reason we also believe in engaging with other people and spending the time needed to connect.

Social media is about being SOCIAL it’s not about just whipping out a few tweets a week and hoping for the best, properly trained social media managers are aware of this which is why we do charge more than £40.00 a month. So when you see a bargain deal for managing your social media for a pretty paltry sum, it might be time to consider what you will be getting for that £40.00 and the thought that you might be better saving that money and doing it yourself. Or, you could hire someone that really, genuinely cares about what they are doing, which will ultimately be reflected in their work and your business. As in most things, you get what you you pay for.


On – 20 Apr, 2017 By Marti Jeremiah-Shelley