For small businesses, keeping operations afloat is the primary concern, and marketing is something that is done ad hoc or not at all. However, for businesses to thrive in the competitive marketplace, marketing of some sort is needed. With limited time and resources, traditional marketing plans don’t tend to make the list when it comes to small and micro business. They don’t make sense and end up depleting your energy and time. There are many ways to utilize your existing resources to generate free marketing and build your business’s awareness within its target audience.
Instagram has done it again! Earlier this year they launched an algorithm that placed the most individually relevant content at the beginning of each user’s feed. Now, Instagram has introduced a suite of business services to further solidify its standing as legitimate and in-demand advertising business platform. Regardless if you’re a micro business or a business Goliath, the need and opportunity within Instagram is significant:
“According to Instagram, about half of users now follow a business on the platform and even more—around 60 percent—say they’ve learned about products on Instagram.”
It seems like every month Facebook releases a new feature, which enhances the user experience and keeps people within their platform. One of the more recent announcements was about Facebook Live and its capabilities within the Facebook mobile app. To save you time and mental energy, we’re here to break down Facebook Live so you understand what it is, how to use it, and how it can positively impact your small business. Let’s get started!
What is Facebook Live?
At its core, Facebook Live is a real-time video streaming service within Facebook. With the rising popularity of video across all social media platforms, it should come as no surprise that Facebook has embraced video and is attempting to create the preeminent video platform. Facebook Live allows users to stream live video to their friends and followers. Streams can run up to 90 minutes in length and can be restricted to certain groups requiring an invitation from the creator. A novel feature is that videos are automatically stored in the creator’s timeline, which builds a virtual video library for friends and followers. However, the creator does have the ability to delete stored videos at their discretion. This compilation of videos is in stark contrast to SnapChat, where snaps are only available in the moment and instantly disappear once viewed. Currently, Facebook Live is available on iPhones and Androids, but has ambitions of being rolled out globally this year.
We’ve been talking a lot about how social media is a critical part of any successful business. What we haven’t discussed is how to manage your social media so you are projecting a consistent brand presence without it taking over your entire week. Enter the social media editorial calendar. Establishing an editorial calendar for your social media efforts will save you time and allow you to strategically target and analyze your social media posts.
With the jack-of-all-trades mentality that often accompanies small business work environments, it is easy to jump from project to project and sometimes lose focus of where your resources and time should be spent. By implementing an editorial calendar, your business has a visual representation of what topics are being discussed across your social media presences as well as maps out deadlines so work is delegated and broken down into tangible tasks. Even if you’re a one-man show, this kind of planning is useful.
Now while on a personal level this might initially cause you to panic because you have four days to find a token of appreciation for your mom, from the standpoint of a small business owner, you should rejoice. Nearly 50% of shoppers make their purchases 2 and 7 days in advance of Mother’s Day. This means there is a huge audience in need of gifts now! In fact, Mother’s Day spending is on the rise and is the third largest retail holiday in the United States. As a small business, you have an enormous opportunity over the next few days to engage customers who have a serious spending deadline.
National Small Business Week is in full swing! Since 1963, the president has proclaimed one week out of the year as National Small Business Week citing the importance of small businesses to our national economy, and per President Obama’s 2016 proclamation, as representative of “the spirit that has always driven our Nation forward.” This is truly a week of celebration and acknowledgment of the hard work and dedication millions of Americans put forth each day to grow their passions and prosperity across the country. Don’t be fooled, though. There’s so much more to NSBW than festivities and merriment; business and industry findings are revealed, which glean insight into what’s in store for small businesses in the future.
We’ve touched on the importance of your brand, and identified the key components to creating one that is memorable, but today we’re going to hone in on brand imagery. Think of brand imagery as the frosting to your cake; it lures people with its outward appearance and enhances the flavor profile of the cake. A red velvet cupcake is great, but a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting is infinitely better. Get the gist?
Your brand imagery should show the personality of your brand to its audience. When a company has strong brand imagery, you can identify its ads or promotions instantaneously. Coca Cola, Target, Google, and Apple were the first companies that came to mind when I brainstormed this topic. Each has a distinct look, feel, and message to its imagery, and I never hesitate to associate their names with their product promotions because it is so obvious.
Pinterest recently opened its Promoted Pins platform to small businesses, meaning that small businesses can now target and segment their ads at a much deeper level. Small businesses can now collect data and audience insights that were previously off-limits.
According to a Pinterest internal study, “Promoted Pins have a major impact on brand metrics. People who saw Promote Pins have seen double digit lifts across several brand objectives from awareness, to favorability, to purchase intent.”
We all know and love YouTube for its enormous collection of videos ranging from hilarious to poignant to downright astounding. Undiscovered talent, vloggers, and hosts of other talented people and groups have built cult-like followings on YouTube and have millions of subscribers. Their viewers return day after day to watch the latest videos and share their thoughts in the comment sections.
These individuals are not the only ones who have capitalized on YouTube’s power as a marketing platform. “YouTube is used by 55% of B2B marketers, and 55% of B2C social media marketers who participated” according to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. If you thought YouTube wasn’t for your small business, this study shows it is a responsive platform to different businesses and industries.
Pranks are the name of the game on April Fools’ Day, and increasingly brands are getting involved in the fun. This year we saw a flurry of businesses play into the trickery of April 1, but the majority fell flat. The notable few who rose to the top had viewers laughing out loud and were incredibly memorable. Aside from having viewers giggling at their desks, these brands successfully engaged their audiences through these stunts and turned an otherwise silly cultural holiday into a marketing triumph.