Tag Archive small business marketing

Are Hashtags Effective on Facebook? Here are Three Ways You Can Use Them to Serve Your Small Business.

You might be wondering as a marketer whether or not you should utilize hashtags in your Facebook marketing strategy. As with any marketing tactic, it is imperative that you put yourself in the mindset of your target audience and cultivate a realistic understanding of their behavior. How might the viewer be impacted by the hashtag? What behavior, if any, would result?

As with many social media trends, marketers get tempted jump on the band wagon before completely accessing how it will benefit their brand. Not everything from a marketing standpoint, will be applicable to your business goals so be sure to align your objectives with your specific marketing tactics.

Loading up your Facebook posts with hashtags without a clear understanding of how they may or may not impact you is careless, especially if it can actually hurt your reach. Research has shown than posts decrease in reach in correlation with a greater number of hashtags used.

Let’s consider how your Facebook followers and post viewers might utilize the hashtags in your post. Social media users generally search a particular hashtag to learn more about topics they care about. Ask yourself how the use of hashtags in your Facebook post will benefit your viewer.

If you can figure out a way to legitimately and authentically tie in your brand’s message with a trending topic, Facebook hashtags can work for you. In many cases, if you are a small brand, this could be a challenge.

Having a clear cut objective with your hashtag use however, could be beneficial to your promotional and marketing goals. Here are 3 ways using hashtags could be beneficial for your small business:

  1. You are running a contest or promotion and you want to house submissions.

Let’s say you want the community to submit their best local nature pictures for a contest. Creating a uniquely branded hashtag that encompasses the name of your area and the particular contest, and then requiring entrants to include the hashtag would be an appropriate application.

  1. Supporting a mission or initiative

If you were looking, for example, to support the #shoplocal initiative, using the hashtag ¬†could add to the credibility of your post and loyalty to your brand. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get direct business or sales as a result of using a hashtag such as this but Facebook followers who support and identify with the shop local initiative may be more inclined to do business with you in the future.

  1. Just for fun…

Sometimes the use of fun hashtags can add to the humor of your posts and likeability of your brand. One of the reasons people use Facebook is to be entertained. Using funny hashtags can endear them to you and show your fun side if that is suitable for you.

To recap, apply discernment when considering any marketing tactic such as hashtags to make sure you are utilizing your resources and efforts appropriately.

Facebook Reach Decline-3 Tips to Help You Survive

Facebook’s culture is primarily comprised of personal interactions. Users utilize the platform as a means to stay connected with friends and family. They also respond favorably to content that adds some form of value for them. Posts that educate, entertain, inspire or provide helpful tips fit appropriately into the niche of this social platform.

Because Facebook’s mission is to create a more user-friendly experience, they will be more likely to show “value-added” content in the newsfeed. This is great for users but does provide some challenges for marketers. Remember, people are not on Facebook to be sold to. If the majority of your posts are promotion-oriented, it could negatively impact your reach. For your brand to thrive, you’ll need to determine how you can align yourself with these values and the ever-changing environment of Facebook.

Now, with Facebook’s increased efforts to drive more conversation in the newsfeed, engaging content is more pertinent as ever. As it has been in the past, Facebook is looking for more than a post like from its users. Posts that ignite conversation- that motivates users to contribute with a more “thought out” response will fare better with reach than posts that merely elicit a like or no response at all. As a consequence to not getting engagement with comments from viewers, the reach of your posts have the potential to decline.

It seems obvious, but providing valuable content is more…valuable. There is no substitute for it. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t post fun or frivolous content, but you shouldn’t rely on it as the backbone of your social marketing strategy.

What you put in, in essence, is what you’ll get out of it. If you create insightful, thought-provoking content, you’ll be more likely to encourage more engaged comments. Conversely, if your posts don’t carry much weight, the comments, if any, will be comparable and your post reach can suffer.

With a trend of users becoming more “passive” on Facebook, getting a response will pose a challenge. This, however, gives marketers the opportunity to provide followers with meaningful content they really care about. It’s up to you to decide what that is and how to engage your audience.

Though there are many unique ways to get your followers engaged with your brand, Here are 3 examples of content your customers might enjoy:

1. Tell Your Unique Story

Is there an interesting story about how your business got started? Customers are always interested in how their favorite brands came to be. Any content that shares the “behind the scenes” perspective generates interest from loyal followers.

2. Profile An Employee

People like to read about people. It totally humanizes a brand. Plus, acknowledging the great service and work of an employee conveys a powerful message about your business. It shows that you value your employees and that you care about the people behind the scene. This has greater impact if your employees interact with customers and are recognizable on Facebook.

3. Thank Your Customers

Like acknowledging employees, showing that you appreciate and value your customers, goes a long way, especially if it’s coming directly from the owner. A short video with a heart-felt message will endear followers to your post and your brand.

Like previously stated, these are just a few content rich post ideas that have the potential to engage your viewers. As a business, you can explore what types of content customers would enjoy and benefit from reading.

5 Important Steps to Take Before Designing Your Marketing Collateral

There’s a lot to think about when designing print collateral. You’ll most likely consider what imagery to use as well as what font styles, colors and copy best represents your brand. Those are all important elements to think about but before you get too focused on those specifics, be sure to step back and establish a broader, more holistic perspective.

Here are 5 fundamental steps you should take as a business owner or marketing professional before you begin any design conceptions:

  1. Establish Your Goals

Ask yourself a series of important questions…What is the purpose of this marketing piece? What emotions do you want it to evoke. What actions do you want your audience to take? Establishing how you want this piece to serve you will guide all the subsequent design decisions.

  1. Consider Your Audience

Once you start to consider who the prospective recipient will be, then you can design the piece in a manner that would best “speak” to them. To meet your intended goals, the materials need to resonate with your audience. The imagery you choose, as well as the wording and layout should be congruent with the preferences of your audience.

  1. Determine What Your Value Propositions Are

This goes hand in hand with determining who your audience is. Highlighting your value to customers can increase the likelihood of your target audience taking the action you desire. Knowing what aspects of your business, company or organization is important to your audience helps you to best “speak” to them. Do you solve a problem for them in a way that is superior to your competition? Make sure that message is communicated clearly.

  1. Incorporate Current Design Trends

If your piece looks outdated, it sends a message that you are out of tune. You don’t need to be “trendy” but some styles are clearly “old school” and you should invest some time to determine what colors, fonts, layout styles and copy best reflects the current and contemporary voice of your brand.

This also refers to being in touch with current behavior trends and social issues. With a move towards being more environmentally conscious, generating unnecessary use of printed paper could be negatively perceived and be a detriment to your brand. Drive your audience to your website or social sites for more information.

  1. Determine How You Will Measure Success

Since we want our marketing dollars to be used in the most effective ways possible, it’s important to establish what your key metrics will be. Decide what criteria you will use to measure ROI so you know if this particular marketing route serves you.

Bringing It All Together

Adhering to these key steps will help ensure the success of your campaign. The important thing to do with any form of marketing is to take the time to think about what you are looking to accomplish and how you can best tailor your collateral to be the most appropriate voice of your brand and message to your audience.

5 tips That Can Enhance Your Print Advertisement

your-ad-here-copyWhen designing a print advertisement, as well as any marketing tactic you are implementing, it is important to think about your objectives from a holistic perspective. Not considering what factors contribute to the creation of a successful ad could result in underutilizing your resources and efforts. It is a good practice in any type of communication to see things through the eyes of your target audience. Depending on what mode of advertising you are using to deliver your message, you’ll need to hone in on the specifics to that particular medium and ascertain what will be most effective to meet your goals.

  1. Less is More
    Don’t pack your ad with loads of copy and burden your viewers with the responsibility to decipher what your ad is about. Be concise with your message as there can be many ads competing for your audience’s eye. Determine what is necessary to draw them in and take action.
  2. Chose Your Graphics and Headline Wisely
    These two factors will bear the responsibility of capturing the attention of your viewer. What problem are you solving for them? What are you offering? Think about what resonates with the reader and make sure your imagery and headline speaks to them.
  3. Have a Specific Objective
    Your advertisement should designed with a particular goal in mind. What action do you want the viewer to take? Decide what that is and make sure that it is evident. This will also help to establish metrics to determine if your advertisement helped reach your goal.
  4. Design for the Ad Environment
    Consider the landscape of the ad medium you are using. There are many factors to consider here. The colors you choose may depend on whether your ad is in a newspaper or a magazine. If the medium has a particular niche, make sure you find the right balance of integrating in but standing out.
  5. Build an Ongoing Relationship
    Promote opportunities for the viewer to continue to connect and engage with your brand. Include a QR code that scans to your website, include an incentive to sign up for your newsletter and encourage viewers to follow you on social media.

Once you master a few basic key elements in your ad design, you will find that you get a lot more leverage out of your ads.