Social Media

How Being Socially and Environmentally Friendly As a Business Can Be Leveraged

The number of companies that have started to value their impact over profits is growing. This is a huge change from past generations when profits were all that mattered even if it came at the expense of the environment.

Technology has made it possible for things to be shared all over the world in a matter of minutes. This has caused many companies to take a step back to look at how their tactics of making money impact their public perception.

In many cases corporations have done better while being more socially or environmentally friendly as people make their money do the talking. The following are advantages a business can have by being socially or environmentally friendly.

Incredible PR Move

People are much more informed about how businesses operate now than they were in the past. Companies that were using underpaid labor overseas have seen drops in sales once revealed. With smartphone technology the treatment of employees as well as the environment has improved.

Announcing the different social or environmental initiatives the company is taking part is can help improve customer loyalty. Companies that produce something of high quality but also are conscious of the waste they produce should be promoted.

A section in a monthly newsletter about the green initiative might not seem like much but those that care deeply about the environment will take notice.

Listing Your Business as a B Corp

A benefit corporation identity or B Corp simply means that the business goal is to benefit the public in some way. The regular business model is to increase profits year after year. A great B Corp example Giving Assistant listed quotes in their announcement that are values of other B Corporations and are below.

“Businesses should compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.”

“All business ought to be conducted as if people and places matter.”

“World business leaders must realize that everyone is dependent on each other for the well-being of our global community and natural resources.”

“A company’s products can and should benefit society in their production, practices, and profit.”

As anyone can see these are not the traditional value statements of businesses. A B Corp also allows a company a form of trust from the public as their final goal is not to profit as much off of the public as possible.

Another great benefit of becoming a benefit corporation is that of attracting top talent. Many of those in the job market are willing to take a lower salary in order to make a real difference. Being able to help the public instead of the bank account of investors in the corporation help reduce stress that usually is present at regular corporations.

Social Media Justice Warriors Will Leave You Alone

The rise of social media allowed people to voice their opinions about things that they might not have any idea about. One of these persistent people with a gripe with a company might point out all of the things that they might not like.

This could be production tactics or even something like how much you pay employees. Taking the green route or one that stresses helping people socially will keep their keyboard warriors away. Make sure that you have an employee that embodies your corporate values working the social media accounts.

People can say hurtful things but the last thing that you want is an employee losing their temper which will reflect poorly on the company.

Doing business the correct way might not always be the best for profits but in the long run will be beneficial to the company. Take a few hours to look at processes to see where you can reduce waste. Often times this is a quick fix that will have little to no impact on production. ​

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5 Free Ways Startups Can Promote Content And Boost Reach

If content is King, then promotion brings Glory. But not all content creators of early-stage startups are able to embrace glory. What is the reason? Organic reach is depleting day by day on social media. And most startups at their early stages don’t have a budget to spend on paid promotion.

What is the solution? 

In today’s post, I will discuss five free ways how startups can promote their content to reach more people. After reading this post, you will be able to maximize the success of your content marketing by reaching a large number of people.

Without further ado, let us dive in:

1. Answering On Quora

This ever-popular question and answer site claims to have 190 million unique monthly visitors. The beauty of this platform is that people question and answer on almost every topic under the sun. To promote your content on Quora, the first thing you need to do is to find questions relevant to your topic. This you can easily do by searching through Quora search box. 

Once you find topics relevant to your content, dig deeper the topics to locate the questions of which answers your content offer. After you get the questions, write short answers and provide links to your content. If people like your short answers, they will come to your content for more information. 

2. Including Influencers

Including influencers in your content is a good way to get more eyes at your content. How does it work? The process is simple and has the following steps:

●     Ask influencers in your industry for a relevant quote for your content.

●     Include the quote in content and let the influencers know about it.

●     When the influencers share the content, you will reach more people. 

What benefits will you get when influencers share your content?

Needless to say, influencers have loyal followers who interact with the content influencers share. You will certainly reach more people if your content is shared by influencers.

3. Sharing on Communities

Sharing content on communities like Growth Hackers and inbound.org can attract more eyeballs to your content. However, just sharing links on these communities will not help get more readers. You need to be active in these communities: share, like, and comment on other’s content to build rapport there. Only then, people will engage with your content.

Here is a list of few free communities where you can share your content:

●     Growthhacker.com

●     Inbound.org

●     Scoop.it

●     Flipboard.com

●     Reditt.com

●     Facebook groups

●     LinkedIn groups

Your success on these communities depends on how well you engage with others’ content. So be active if you want more people to read your content.

4. Syndicating Content

Content syndication is publishing your content on other websites to reach a broader audience. It is one of the most effective ways to get more readers. However, you should not forget to mention the website where the content was first published.

Medium and LinkedIn are popular platforms where you can syndicate your content. Also, you can target any leading website in your industry to request for content syndication. But you should propose value that content will bring to the readers of that website. 

5. Sharing Creatively on Social Media 

Though organic social media reach is dying, you can still reach a large audience if you use social media creatively.

Here are some ways to maximize your reach on social media:

●     Share your content multiple times with different snippets

●     Tag people you have quoted in your content

●     Use relevant hashtag

●     Tag people who share the same content as yours and ask their opinion

●     Use images, memes, and animated GIFs to increase shares and likes

The secret to harnessing the power of social media, in today’s time of dying organic social media reach, is to get your content shared by as many people as you can. The more people share your content, the better reach you will have.

Final Thought

As a content marketer who has successfully created content marketing strategies for many brands, I believe that you should spend 50 percent of your energy on content creation and the rest 50 percent, on content promotion.

Answering on Quora, including influencers in content, sharing content on communities, syndicating content and sharing content on social media creatively are some proven ways to take your content in front of a mass.

What about you? Do you want to share any other free way to promote content? Leave it in the comment section. I would love to know about it.

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How Interactive Ads Can Boost Your Success

It’s no secret that people often find ads to be annoying—if they even notice them.

But what if the reason why people either hate or ignore ads has more to do with how advertisers design and use them rather than the fact that they are ads?

Interactive ads.

Advances in technology, such as the ability to create interactive ads, can enable companies to be far more successful in engaging their user bases than they have been in the past.

Customers.

If you can figure out where your audience members are, what they want, and how to provide that to them in an interesting way, your ads can be incredibly effective. Here’s how to use interactive ads to make your business more successful.

How Interactive Ads Foster Engagement

Businesses are seeing marked improvements from rethinking what ads are. Instead of interruptions, ads can actually be “‘a way to spend more valuable time with consumers.’”

Animate ads.

The ability to animate ads and make them interactive allows you to make ones that enhance the user experience and are more enjoyable than ads have traditionally been. For example, Timberland partnered with another company and ran a successful display ad that invited users to color it by tapping on different sections of the image. DSW created an ad that viewers could flip through simply by tilting their phones.

Interactive ads allow brands to be more personal and meet their consumers’ needs more easily. As brands pursue interactive advertising, they are seeing the time people spend on ads increase significantly, in some cases by 47 percent.

How to Create Interactive Ads.

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If you are so inclined, you can always take a shot at creating interactive ads by writing the code yourself. This article from Webdesigner Depot gives instructions for how to do so.

Because of the importance of ads being visually appealing as well as fun, it’s a good idea to have a designer help you create the ad. If you have some understanding of coding, following the above steps makes creating an interactive ad fast and easy.

Even more simple.

But for those of us who prefer something simpler and don’t want to mess around with coding, there are alternatives. For example, you can use a tool like the one provided by Bannersnack to create animated banner ads that work with HTML5.

You don’t have to write any of the code yourself.

You don’t have to write any of the code yourself. You simply create your design, animate the ad, and then either download it for use in your campaigns or embed it on your website. It’s up to you to know your audience and how to find them, of course, but a resource such as this one can help you create an eye-catching and engaging ad.

Don’t Neglect the Why.

Yes, it’s important to know how to create interactive ads, but they won’t be effective at all if you don’t make them with a clear idea of the purpose behind them.

In this post on some of the most effective advertising and marketing campaigns that brands have run, HubSpot notes that the companies were successful because they focused on:

  • Solving a problem
  • Telling the bigger stories behind their products and making the stories interesting
  • Creating their own product categories where they could dominate
  • Being honest
  • Making their products seem cool
  • Encouraging consumers already using the products to use them more often
  • Being creative and entertaining
  • Being relatable
  • Showing just how effective their products were
  • Making their products seem critical to have
  • Engaging with their followers while keeping their branding consistent
  • Trying something new, even if what they were already doing was working

Getting Your Interactive Ads Out There.

Interactive advertising is all about getting your customers…well to buy your product, obviously. But it’s about getting them to buy your product by persuading them to interact with your brand. And social media has democratized society to the extreme, giving people direct access to each other and thereby giving brands direct access to their customers.

Social media.

Social media is a great resource for targeting purposes. You can discover who your audience members are and what they like so that you can show your ads to people who want to see them.

Plus, social media is all about people sharing information they find interesting and entertaining. If you create an ad that is interesting in and of itself, the people who do see it will want to share it with even more people.

While this sounds simple, figuring out how to get your ads in front of your audience is a fairly involved process. You’ll need to study your market and do keyword research on your audience, as well as on your competitors. There is a lot more to say on this topic, but doing so is beyond the scope of this article. To learn more, you can check out this in-depth guide on SEO & PPC keyword targeting.

Bringing Advertising Up to Speed

Don’t let your thinking be limited by how businesses have used ads in the past. It’s not necessarily an easy process, but if you recognize what people are looking for online and deliver it to them in an innovative way, your ads can be something they want to see instead of avoid.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

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How Network Size Indirectly Affects Business Relations

Your social media footprint and the number of real-life follow-ups you make with that crowd – along with the business contacts you make in the day-to-day – can really help your business. Some reports say that between 70%-80% of positions are filled via networking. But have you wondered how the size of your network can indirectly affect your business relationships?

The Business Relationship.                              

A business relationship can be defined as “a process where two firms or other types of organizations ‘form strong and extensive social, economic, service and technical ties over time, with the intent of lowering total costs and/or increasing value, thereby achieving mutual benefit’. One study, in particular, suggests that “on average, firms have ten important business relationships.”

One way of measuring the types of relationships is this model:

Source: Impgroup.Org

It suggests there are four types of relationships your business can form:

Customers – Surely one of the most important “ships” your business needs.

Suppliers – Having a great “ship” made of suppliers ensures you the edge.

Complementors – The third “ship” should be filled with people and businesses that far from being in competition with you actually complement what you do – and vice versa.

Competitors – The fourth “ship” is made from those you compete with; because by working together, there’s a greater chance for both of you to succeed.

Another resource – The Muse – suggests five types of people you should be networking with. They include:

Trailblazers – people with similar but more established businesses.

Role Models – people with businesses you admire in other industries.

Thought Leaders – smart folk who think differently.

Informants – those people who know a lot and share that information.

Cheerleaders – good people with good intentions.

Ultimately, the larger the network of relationships you have means the greater your potential and the bigger your value. Networks have become the main approach to “describing spreading processes such as epidemics or information transfer because they express the heterogeneity of interactions characteristic of many human activities.”

The Harvard Business Review had this to say about forming networks:

“We’ve found that networking—creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information—is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address.”

To that end, the HBR has proposed there are three separate forms of networking. They are:

Operational – helps manage current internal responsibilities.

Personal – helps boost personal development.

Strategic – opens eyes to new business directions and stakeholders needed to enlist.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Mutual Connections.

One benefit of networking is that mutual connections enable possible business partners and/or clients to do reputable research and make positive (or negative) findings on the person they are considering working with. Because the truth is indeed out there – it just sometimes takes more than just Googling to find it!

How do you utilize a network properly to gain new business relationships? Or just to maintain existing ones?

First off, remember that your network is your sales safety net. As such, every new relationship should be tended too; nothing happens overnight, and it’s increasingly hard to remain in the forefront of people’s memories.

Become better at communication.

You should become adept at communication; make it your best friend and follow up without becoming a nuisance. It’s often about timing, and you can meet someone that might be a great help – but a year from now. So add them to your newsletter, follow up on birthdays, etc – anything to keep on their radar because when something comes up, you’ll be in mind.

Be a resource.

Email marketing can help with that. Beyond just using email to reach out to say hi, use it to share information. Be a resource. It also gives you a chance to be viral too, as your contacts pass the info along to people they know.

The bigger your network size, the more opportunities you create. LinkedIn is a great website for business networking and as such has created its own world. What are its rules and how could they help?

First, LinkedIn always suggests you know the person you’re trying to connect to because LinkedIn places constraints on the size of the network. Also, reaching out to complete strangers means they have the ability to dismiss your invite with an “I don’t know” – and if you get five of these, your account will be temporarily suspended.

But LinkedIn doesn’t just provide you the opportunity to network; it shows others who are already in your network along with its size and its shape. And here’s where it gets interesting – because some suggest shape is more important than size. According to Ed Han at The Balance, “it’s important to network with specific people: your networking activity should be targeted. This is what I refer to as your network’s shape, and it’s why I say it trumps network size.”

Networks should bring you at least two things:

Instrumental Support – this is comprised of the ideas, advice, and aid people can bring to your table.

Psychosocial Support – this helps you survive/thrive as a person.

The Harvard Business Review suggests that instead of dismissing the huge network of people you don’t really know, embrace it for what it is; a huge source of ideas, connections, and assistance. That way you can find the Instrumental Support you’re looking for. Use it as your personal hive mind.

Get your Psychosocial Support.

However, it goes on to suggest that in terms of Psychosocial Support, you’ll have to look to places less digital and more flesh and blood. Places like outside your immediate department; with people who have similar family situations; and with those you’ve known for a long time who can provide greater perspective.

Positive and Possible and Nurturing.

To get the most out of your network size and, ultimately, affect your business relations in the most positive ways possible, means finding that sweet spot between Instrumental and Psychosocial. To do that, you’ll have to put in the work and devote some blood and sweat equity into building the connections you have and nurturing them.

One last tip: help others first instead of waiting for them to help you.

One last tip: help others first instead of waiting for them to help you. That way your networking won’t be seen as a selfish means to grow your own business but what it should be; an organic approach to building relationships through network size.

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6 Ways to Improve Your Entrepreneur Network

It’s been said that business is all about who you know and that saying has proved to be true. It’s true that nepotism and favoritism are frowned upon — but as a business owner, it is easier to trust someone that you actually know, even if they are less qualified. 

The right connections.

It can get discouraging trying to get some experience in the first place. Having the right connections can get you the opportunity to interview for your dream job. Having someone you know or is a relative in a higher place could help you get the capital you need to start your startup.

The right connections could help you form a partnership that will change the course of your entire company for the better, or the right connections could help you find a buyer for your company, leaving you with enough cash to start the next one.

Start building.

You don’t just get connections as soon as you jump into the business world, though. You have to strengthen, build, and improve your network. A strong network is especially important if you are or plan to be an entrepreneur. Although you may already have some connections thanks to family and friends, a business network should be composed of a lot more than that. It should be composed of all different kinds of people with diverse backgrounds and experience.

Improve and strengthen your network.

When improving and strengthening your entrepreneur network, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about knowing people, it’s about connecting with them. You might have hundreds of Facebook friends, but are you actually friends with them all?

If presented with the opportunity, would you want to invest with the kid you sat next to in psychology class but never hung out with outside of school? Maybe depending on the circumstances — but if you were choosing between a few different options, you’d probably be more likely to invest with someone you knew and trusted, right?

…meaning your entrepreneurial network.

If your entrepreneurial network isn’t where you’d like it to be, don’t stress. You should always be building and improving your network as you continue to grow and networking will probably never end. If you want to focus on strengthening and improving your network sooner than later, though, here are six tips to help you do just that.

1. Join online communities.

With the Internet, networking is easier and faster than ever. There are communities online dedicated to the purpose of helping people connect and network. You can go beyond that too, though, and join online forums that cover topics in your niche or area of expertise. You don’t have to limit it all to business, either. You can join groups about things you have a personal interest in as well. As mentioned, your network should be diverse so you don’t have to focus only on the professional side of things.Be prepared.

2. Be prepared.

Before heading to events or striking up a conversation, make sure that you’re prepared. Have business cards tucked in your wallet and know what you want to say about your business if the opportunity arises. If you try and wing it you may find yourself fumbling or taking up too much of the conversation.

Networking isn’t just about you, it’s about connecting and learning about the other person too. You can pitch what you have to offer, but if you aren’t listening, you could miss some great advice from someone that learned some entrepreneurial lessons first-hand.

3. Attend social events.

There’s nothing like a night out to clear your head and give you a break from the office but there’s also nothing like a night out to help you make connections and improve your entrepreneurial network. Attending social events is a great way to connect with others and grow your network while having a bit of fun. Some events are put on specifically for the purpose of helping people network while other events are just some fun parties that turn into networking opportunities.

Tools like the SELECT card can give you access to private events like cocktail hours, rooftop soirees, gallery openings, menu tastings, and so much more. Using being a SELECT member is a great way to find out what’s going on in your area so you can attend and make some connections.

4. Get involved in your own community.

Getting involved in your community will give you the opportunity to volunteer and attend events where you can make connections with other local businesses and leaders. It is also a great way to get your name out there so that people recognize you and what you’ve been doing when you have the opportunity meet them. Not only will it help you make connections, but helping your community is a great thing to do.

5. Start talking to everybody.

This can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re a more introverted person. Talking to everyone, though, is a great way to expand and improve your entrepreneurial network. You may find that the guy you’re behind in a long checkout line knows more about content marketing than the consultant you were talking with before. Who knows? Maybe the cashier will help you come up with the most dazzling name for your business.

Although your objective when talking to people may be to build your network, don’t make the point or focus of the conversation about you, your business, or networking. The best connections are ones that are sincere and founded on a connection of friendship. Avoid approaching people with the purpose of pitching to them – you shouldn’t even necessarily plan about talking business. Approach them with the purpose of making a connection and let the networking happen from there.

6. Follow-up and engage with your connections.

The goal of networking is not to collect as many business cards and phone numbers as possible, the goal should be to connect and develop relationships. Following up on conversations or reaching out to connections just to check in can go a long way toward cultivating those relationships and making them last longer which will likely be a great benefit down the road.

What are some of the most effective networking tips you’ve ever been given?

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12 Ways to Improve Product Branding

Branding is essential for any startup trying to get off the ground. Once you have you your branding –a company must protect its brand’s image by keeping it alive. 

Marketing strategy helps keep your brand going — but your entire company is responsible to get your brands name out there and to retain your name and brand as a reliable trusted source. One difficult customer retention or service encounter can do years worth of damage to your brand and company. Consider having (or building) a brand expert within the marketing person or marketing department.

Branding for better customer engagement. 

Here are 12 ways to improve your product branding for better customer engagement, whether your company is new or well-established.

  1. Entertain.

Content as well as product quality and exposure are going to get your brand ahead. But “content” is a dry word for what can be some very fun stuff. Old Spice’s famous “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” spot went massively viral (its current YouTube view count is over 50 million) because it was fun to watch. Old Spice entertained its customers and reaped the profits: according to Adweek, the ad generated an 11% increase in sales.

  1. Educate.

Knowledge is power, and your consumers know it. If you can offer useful information to your ideal customers, you’re much more likely to draw them to your website and nurture a positive emotional response. Whole Foods, for example, shows it knows its customers by providing almost 4,000 recipes on its website.

  1. Inspire.

People, and especially millennials, love to identify as “makers.” A millennial knitter may love a yarn company because their creativity-based brand personality syncs up with the knitter’s self-perception. And any creative person is going to appreciate something that provides inspiration. This is why providing inspiration for crafty and creative customers (Pinterest is a huge platform for this) and responding to their creations on social media can be such a powerful tool.

  1. Play up your niche.

In a world where Amazon is responsible for about half of all e-commerce sales, startups can feel like the deck is stacked against them. But your unique product isn’t designed for everyone on the planet: it addresses a specific market need, felt by specific people. Make sure your branding caters to these people first and foremost–if you’ve reached them, you’ve already reached a huge portion of your customer base.

  1. Customer service.

New customers are great, but they’re expensive: Brandwatch recently reported on research discovering that customer acquisition is six to seven times more expensive than customer retention. This is why making attentive customer service part of your brand personality is so important. Caring, responsive customer service helps your customers feel truly valued, and that’s what will turn them into brand-loyal repeat customers.

  1. ReMarketing.

Remarketing shows online ads to people who visited your website without completing a purchase. These ads are so effective because they target people who largely are already interested in your product, even if they’re on the fence about buying it. Remarketing can be the little branding push that helps them press “buy”. Marketing firm Adhesion reports that remarketing is one of their most cost-effective strategies.

  1. Sponsorship.

Maybe you can’t afford to plaster your logo on a NASCAR winner, but even small brands can find savvy sponsorships. Sponsorships attach your brand identity with something your ideal customers already value. If you’re looking for more local customers, you could sponsor a worthy local cause. Try sponsoring a podcast whose listeners are your ideal customers: Hawke Media reports that 71% of podcast listeners visited a sponsor’s website.

  1. Smart Social Media.

Whole books have been written about the ins and outs of social media marketing, but you don’t have to get a marketing degree to learn some basics. For example, HootSuite reports that Twitter is especially popular among college-educated millennials. If that describes your customer base, allocate your social media resources accordingly.

  1. Referrals.

Referrals build branding because they capitalize on one of the most important marketing connections that exist: personal relationships. According to Invesp, consumers are 90% more likely to buy a product that’s been recommended by a friend. When people feel good enough about your product to tell others, it sends a powerful message to future consumers about your brand. You can incentivize this process by offering rewards to customers who bring in more customers.

  1. Use influencers.

Popular kids mattered in high school, and they matter in the world of branding, too. But things have gotten a little smarter: your ideal influencer can be cool, but they might be an even better fit if they’re experts on the products you’re trying to sell. A good influencer partner can be very cost-effective: Tomoson reports that businesses make about $6.50 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.

  1. Be ethical.

Okay, so you should probably do this one whether you’re branding a business or not. But promoting ethical and eco-conscious values can really raise your brand’s profile. A 2015 Nielsen survey found that almost 75% of millennials will pay more for products they know are sourced sustainably. To attract this sizable consumer base, make eco-conscious and ethical production decisions. And make sure consumers know you did it.

  1. Step up your packaging.

Imagine that you visited a store with no sign outside and a fly-specked, flickering ceiling light inside. You know the store has a product you want, but the aesthetics of your visit are hardly adding to your shopping experience.

That’s what ignoring the packaging component of e-commerce branding is like. For many customers, receiving a package is the first time they experience your company physically rather than just online. It’s a big branding moment, and you want your package to look its best.

That’s why you should take a look at Packlane. Users can go to Packlane.com, choose a box style and size, and then design a work of art. You can upload logos and artistic motifs, select background colors and add text, and arrange components however you want. Unlike most custom box printing services, Packlane doesn’t charge more for using more than a few colors, and they can cover your box’s entire surface area both inside and out.

The results can be truly beautiful–check out their blog or Instagram to see the wide variety of styles customers have come up with. Packlane’s transparent pricing system can be scaled down much further than most other custom services as well–if you need an order of only 25 containers, Packlane can help. This makes Packlane an essential tool for any startup that wants to put its best face forward when shipping to customers.

What are some other strategies for improving your product branding?

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5 Marketing Tips for Startups Eyeing Gen Z

No, Generation Z did not just pop out of nowhere.

We found a Harvard Business Review article that talked about this demographic back in 2015. Joan Schneider, the article author, called it the iGeneration or iGens. Generally, it comprises the youth born from 1994 to 2005. These individuals are graduating high school and college. Barely entering the workforce, they’re already expected to make up 20 percent of the consumer pie by 2020.

Huge potential. 

Given this huge potential, it is not too early for businesses to start marketing to iGens. Take the time to understand their behaviors and interests. Unlike their older peers, the millennials, they are truly digital natives. They grew up alongside the evolution of Mesozoic mobile phones into more sophisticated smartphones. A world without Google, they never got to personally know. So don’t be surprised by the way they consume content. Read our 5 marketing tips to get you up to speed:

Offer specific solutions.

The term hyper-personalized gets thrown around a lot. It best describes and summarizes the kind of solutions that appeal to iGens. Let’s break the term down a bit. It is rooted in the idea of customizing content based on your target audience’s activities and likes. Now, with hyper-personalization, customization is done on a per-user basis. Think about how Netflix suggests movies or series it thinks you will be interested to see next.

 Challenges.

This tactic is not without its challenges. If you are offering a product or a service, will you sacrifice commonality over the specific tastes of individual consumers? Maybe you shouldn’t. Instead, if you sell drinks, provide them with options that boost the energy of those who are on the go or cater to the diet of those who are obsessed with fitness.

Present exceptional value.

The iGens are value-conscious consumers. This attitude can be traced from their expanded worldview, which determines their priorities. And these days, their priorities go beyond the basics and the bottom line. As renters, they are said to look for environmentally-responsible buildings and amenities.

As consumers, they are known to connect with brands that fit the lifestyle and culture they devour. This kind of behavior signals to businesses the need to inject doses of excellence and conscience into all of their processes, including product development, creation, and marketing.

Behavior toward renting property. 

The infographic from Forrent below focuses on Gen Z’s behavior toward renting property, but it has some good points about the general qualities that appeal to this generation’s members.

 

Infographic courtesy of ForRent

Reach out to them on social media.

Let’s return to the fact that iGens are digital natives. They share aspects of their life on social media. This means they are highly-accessible to businesses. And what may seem too informal for older generations can be quite normal for these young adults.

One good example is their ability to reach out to each other in a casual manner. What about when they need to buy something? A 2014 MMNPL survey said that 50% would go to YouTube to learn about new products. Meanwhile, only 25 percent would check emails from brands.

Create engaging content.

It is not a secret that engagement ranks high in determining if your online campaigns are doing well or not. But have you heard about the other ROI or return on interaction? If your idea of producing online content is akin to producing a television show, then something is already fundamentally wrong about it.

Digital media is not a one-way channel. At the same time, iGens will not give you the time of day if you are not speaking to them. To engage them on Snapchat, for instance, you need to listen to them first. And then try to make conversation. They’d love that.

You’ve got to include the “freebie” game. 

Meanwhile, they like getting freebies. But again, they will also pay for something they believe is of value. In this regard, you may offer free or paid courses. You can take advantage of platforms that allow you to design knowledge-sharing campaigns.

For instance, Kajabi not only offers the tools you need to build a course in one place; it also gives you access to potential buyers and users of your product. And that marketplace can include the iGens. In doing so, you can focus on distilling your own knowledge into bite-sized information for your target audience.

Bring iGens into the fold.

Lastly, do not be afraid to hire members of the Gen Z. Get onboard one or two persons without prior corporate experience but with years of dipping into the industry. You can ask them about their expectations of the industry, met or unmet.

This strategy can help you in better understanding this demographic. It can also be a source of ideas for innovation. Further, you can put the iGens in areas where their voice will matter a lot such as product design or marketing.

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Why Businesses Should Consider Social Media Engagement

Let me start this article by asking you a very simple question. Have you seen anyone with no social media accounts in today’s world? If yes, how many people? I believe you can count them on your fingers. Today, almost everyone has multiple social media accounts, especially younger groups of people.

According to the statistics, around 2.45 billion people are active on various social media platforms today with the Facebook far ahead of other social media platforms with over two billion active users. However, there are many other social media platforms with millions of active users, which cannot be ignored as well.

The brands that are not active on social media platforms are missing out on plenty of things. There are plenty of companies that have already started being active on social media platforms, and these companies are reaping a lot of benefits from their social media engagement.

Top five reasons why businesses must engage in social media platforms.

There are plenty of reasons for businesses to engage on social media platforms. If we list all of them out, the list could cross over 100. For that very reason, I am not going to list out all minor and major reasons for businesses to be active on social media platforms. We’re only listing out five top reasons for businesses to be active on social media platforms.

Here are the five of the top reasons why businesses must consider social media engagement.

  1. Referral visitors.

The social media active users follow their favorite celebrities, brands, and experts on social media platforms. The influencer marketing is so popular today because anyone with a good content and offer has an opportunity to build a fan base on their social media accounts.

The brands that come up with a right social media marketing strategy have an opportunity to reach and retain loyal followers. If their fan base is satisfied with their products and services, they could well share the page with their friends and loved ones.

In fact, the study shows that around 71 percent of the customers who have had a pleasant experience with the specific brands on social media platforms share recommend the brand to their loved ones.

  1. Enhance customer relationship.

So much depends on customer relationship in today’s world of intense competition. The big companies are not only focusing on reaching out to new customers by doing Facebook marketing, Twitter advertising, and so on, but they are also doing their best to retain their existing customer base.

With social media platforms, the companies can provide a top notch customer service to their customers, and provide instant answers to their queries. Having a strong relationship with existing customers will not only help in retaining your existing customers, but it will also increase your brand reputation, as they are likely to tell about your brands to others.

  1. Crisis management.

There is no guarantee that business will always have a smooth run in the world that is full of uncertainty. There are many cases of business where the bad news or event has ruined the overall business operations.

The businesses who are active on social media platforms can somewhat manage the crisis. The social media platforms are the part of a person’s daily life now. The people almost immediately share their happiness and dissatisfaction with their social media accounts.

And, the people are also likely to contact the pages directly with their queries and complaints. The companies who are very active on various social media platforms can get the direct feedback and opinions from their angry customers. They can detect and monitor most of the negative reviews and comments circulated on social media platforms.

When they get the direct feedback and customers’ opinions, they can respond to their problems in an effective manner. They may not control all the damage done, but they can certainly minimize the damage by responding to negative comments on social media platforms.

  1. Lead generation.

The social media platforms will help in reaching out to potential clients and bringing them to your lead page. According to the statistics, around 50 million small businesses are there on the Facebook, and around four million of them pay the Facebook for advertisements.

It’s because social media platforms, such as Facebook can help the businesses to reach whom they want to reach with their ads. It allows targeting the people based on age, demographics, interest, and so on.

If you promote the relevant content on social media platforms, they will visit your website. If you have an enticing lead page, there is a good chance that there would be a conversion as well.

  1. Content analysis.

Not all content is a great content. This is true, but we sometimes perceive that every piece of content that we generate is awesome. With a social media platform, you can actually test the quality of your content.

There are analytical tools that are offered by social media platforms that allow the publisher to see the engagement in the post. The great content will get a very nice engagement while other content may not get that much engagement. This helps the brand to analyze their content.

Conclusion

The social media engagement is not for gaining competitive advantage anymore because many brands are already very active on various social media platforms. The study shows that over 85% of the American companies with more than 100 employees are active on Twitter.

The companies are so concerned about social media engagement now that they are spending a lot of money on mixing artificial intelligence with their social media accounts to be more active on social media platforms. If your business is not yet active on social media platforms, you should hurry and start being active on social media platforms.

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5 Absolutely Essential Lessons For Startup Newbies

Upon graduating, a couple of my really close friends felt the urge to initiate something impacting. You can say, to begin their life’s work.

I Joined The Tom, Dick, and Harry Crowd.

It is safe to say, I made the mistake of joining the bandwagon of attempting to initiate a startup like all the Tom, Dick and Harry almost with zero knowledge of how to go about it. It is true, we were inexperienced and naive in thinking startups are easy to set up but it really is the opposite.

We found that the hard way.

In the Literal Sense, we Failed Before we Even Began the Journey.

To give a little context, my co-founder and I made an earnest attempt to target the fitness market in our country. Although hitting the gym and maintaining a fit lifestyle is an established routine in most developed countries, it is only a rising trend prevalent among posh areas in Pakistan.

Tapping into this sea of potential customers never was the difficult part; however, it was the execution part of the plan that was what brought about significant hurdles along the way.

We began with the 36-day challenges which gained momentum as we got several signups but after the first session; in a nutshell, our resources were drying up and to continue towards the second session since we needed signups which we failed to achieve.

Hence, to make our product stand out, we tried to pivot by making our product more female-centric, but that too did not go as well as we planned. Eventually, the startup fizzled out and became a thing of the past.

This experiment was not as much of a loss as we thought it would be — since we learned a great deal out of the whole gig.

Through this personal experience, I felt it necessary to write down and list and really explain only the MOST essential problems that came up. As we now know, the traps my friends and I fell into are the ones that many entrepreneurs and startup-would-be’s need to be aware of before deciding to take the big leap. The big world of entrepreneurship is a great place.

But make sure you internalize these lessons I learned. Please learn them wholly.

1. Remember: Thoroughly Research Your Customers.

Before even beginning to think about creating your own business, you need to keep customers ahead of everything. You need to know your customers very well. Research into them. You must utilize time and energy to study the important demographics, the culture, social and financial class of your customers.

Plus, you cannot make any assumptions — because most likely, they might turn out wrong and erroneous. They are the key to revenue generation and eventual positive ROI for your investors.

During the ideation phase, ideally, you would talk to your potential customers. You would ask about the problem that they seem to face. Ask them how they go about the process of reaching their goals. Identify and let them explain in full their “pain points.” 

These customers can look at your product and know how your product will provide leverage to help solve their problem. Listen. With the initial data you gather, you analyze and start creating your business model before proceeding towards building your minimal viable product.

2. Design Your Startup’s Blueprint, Top To Bottom.

When I say blueprint I am referring to your startup’s business model. Several tech writers and serial entrepreneurs stress upon this point — and rightly so. If the founder does not know what he is building, then they might just as well pack their bags right now.

You need to know certain elements relevant to your business such as your customer segment, revenue streams, cost structure, value propositions that your product is offering, the team, channels and potential partners.

Once you compile them into document or chart form (whichever is easier), you will have a reference point that you can revisit if you feel some form of deviation from the line.

The main gist is to have the tenacity and focus to generating original ideas and building a viable model over it. That’s the first step, though a hard process in itself which is not to be taken lightly.

Then with that model, you execute the plan with full swing. In the world of entrepreneurship, remember that timing is crucial and a number of people may have the same idea as yours. How you execute the blueprint matters and how you express it in the form of a story is discussed next.

3. Teach Yourself To Be A Storyteller.

Even if you are a coder who has confidence issues, you can still train yourself to become a speaker. You should develop this ability. Work on this skill so much that you know for sure that you are on the level to sell even the most normal looking vegetable or stationary.

You have to grab your potential investor’s attention through a popularized practice called the Elevator Pitch. Even if you have to rote learn that story — memorize this story deeply — and practice it, even if only to your mirror. 

Make this story as appealing as you can and try not to use cliched terms that the investors have already heard a thousand times before. Investors are very bored with these overused terms and you will see their eyes get a type of glassy look in them when they hear you say these tacky words.

Know that a story can be and should) be personal, inspiring, out of the ordinary or a mixture of all three. There should be an element of surprise to pique someone’s interest. Make it so that your audience at least remembers the gist of your product.

On a lighter note, your story should be such that your potential investors/customers are literally like this gif. 

There is no feeling more glorious than this. Period.

4. Launching Your Product Is Just The Beginning

You got the blueprint ready, you have begun coding or developing the next disruptive product but when the time comes to launch, be ready to listen to feedback, bug reports, possible faults or loopholes in your product.

You will run into obstacles that may range from logistical to financial to operational.

Startups usually follow the Lean methodology; to iterate over several sprints, in order to release only the product with the most necessary features. The point is to gain traction in the initial stages.

Snapchat can be taken as an example. Initially, the mobile app’s most distinct feature: being among the first social apps to open directly to the camera and the photos captured and shared self-destructed on the time set by the user.

Over different updates, features were regularly added such as face filters that became the main source of planting Snapchat as one of the fastest growing app to date.

The point of including Snapchat as an example was that more features have to developed, tested then rolled out with the passage of time.

If your product is not gaining enough users, chances are you might pivot and/or start from scratch (which is an extra pain) in order to drive your business forward.

5. Find Different Forms Of Social Media To Spread Awareness Of Your Product.

Know that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram might be the giants in social media especially when it comes to marketing but what matter is how effectively they are used. Content is king when it comes to social media marketing and the way you do publicity of your product matters significantly. 

More typical ways to spread awareness is through word of mouth. Talk to your family, friends and acquaintances. People are kinder than you think and are ready to help out. Network, network, network! I cannot stress enough on how important this is to get your product across.

Attend conferences, hackathons, open mics and startup competitions. Sooner rather than later you will notice that you have successfully created a ripple effect, after which you’ll place your product on the radar. 

With these different techniques, make sure you back up all the hype. Combining all the points from above, you should be ready to take the plunge and ‘Go Live’ with your product. The rest is good luck and timing. 

YOU WILL NEED IT!

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How Social Media Marketing can boost Your Marketing Campaign

Social media marketing is probably one of the most affordable and effective ways of marketing. It’s not only affordable and effective for big corporations, but also for small and medium-sized companies. According to the study, the budget allocated for the social media marketing has increased to 12%.  And, social media marketing is also the vital part of digital marketing.

According to the statistics, there are over 2.45 billion social media users all over the world, and this number is expected to reach to 2.9 billion in 2020. Some of the popular social media platforms with millions of active users are the Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat, and so on.

The people spend a lot of time on these platforms, and the most of the marketers are already capitalizing on this thing. The return on investment is really impressive with social media marketing.

Despite the fact that social media marketing can provide a handsome return on investment and people spend a lot of time on various social media platforms, there are still many marketers that are not being able to enjoy the same return like other successful marketers.

How can a marketer utilize the power of social media marketing?

The key to success in social media marketing or any forms of marketing is knowledge and implementation of the strategy.

Here are some of the ways; a marketer can use social media marketing to boost their marketing campaign.

1.  Start with a concrete plan

There is no point in starting a social media marketing campaign without a concrete plan. The first thing to do before starting a social media marketing plan is to make a concrete plan. Be absolutely sure of what your business objectives are and expectations from the campaign.

Here are some of the things to consider before making a concrete plan.

·  Expectations from the campaign: The first thing to consider before making a plan is to decide what you expect from the overall social media marketing campaign. The expectation must not be overly ambitious or very low.

·  Target audience: Not all the people would want to purchase the product, and one must understand this fact. The target audience must be decided before running a campaign. Most of the social media marketing platforms provide an option to filter the audience.

·  Message: Plan what kind of messages you want to deliver to the target audience. Keep track of various social media trends before planning a message.

·  Plan how social media marketing can fulfill your marketing goals: Be specific on what you want from the campaign, whether it is a conversion, brand awareness, web traffic, or others.

2.  Choosing the best social media platforms

There are many popular social media platforms on the internet, and the best social media platforms depend on the various factors. The Facebook is obviously the social media platform that you do not want to miss out on. For some brands, such as fashion brand or fast food, the image-sharing platforms would provide them with a better rate of return.

Similarly, the Linkedin platform could work out very well for the B2B businesses because it’s a social media platform for professionals. Choose some of the social media platforms that best suit the needs of the brand before starting a campaign.

What next?

After having a concrete plan and selecting the best social media platforms, you’re ready to start promoting a product. Here are some of the ways you can use social media platforms to improve the performance of your posts.

1. Focus on headlines

The people will read the headline before they decide whether to read the whole content or not. The headline must be interesting to grab the attention of the readers. There are hundreds of posts that are promoted on the social media platforms, so the readers will not bother to read the content with a lousy headline.

Create a new and better title to grab an attention of readers. Do not be limited to only one title, instead create multiple titles and do A/B testing to see which content can be promoted effectively.

The tools, such as Buzzsumo can help in researching the interesting titles for the social media content.

2. Customize the content for the platform

It’s not an easy task to customize the content for each social media platform, but in order to perform better on every social media platform, it’s necessary. There is a need to customize the headline, images, description, and the way the message is delivered.

The same content that performs well on the Facebook may not perform well on other platforms, such as the Twitter. For an instance, the Twitter has the word limit, so the way of delivering the message must be different on the Twitter than the Facebook.

3.  Embrace the visual

The study shows that visual content has 40% more chance of getting shared on the social media platform in comparison to the plain text content. And, the more shares mean a better reach and a better engagement.

Try to create an attractive and eye-catching image not only for the brand but also for every single post that you’re planning to post. This can lead to an increment in an engagement. Try experimenting with varieties of images, such as infographics, memes, and so on.

In the case of the image-sharing social media platforms, such as the Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat, the post with a lousy image has no hope of getting an engagement from an audience.

4. Post at the right time

The timing of the post matters a lot. It is one of the important factors that determine the engagement of the particular post. For the post to reach the maximum number of people, the content must be shared at the time when the maximum number of people are online.

The peak times for various social media platforms are different. Conduct a research to be aware of the best time to post on various social media platforms. There are tools, such as Facebook insights, Followerwonk, and so on that can help you determine the right time to post.

5. Post multiple times

Many popular pages and channels on the social media platforms share the same old content, multiple times, and it has given them wonderful outcomes. Most of your followers will engage with the content without even knowing that it is the same content.

There is a good chance that the post will not reach out to each and every one of the followers, so it’s not a bad idea to post the same content multiple times. However, it’s better to make a minor adjustment in the headline, description, and the image before sharing the content.

6. Ask questions

One of the best ways to engage the followers is by asking relevant questions to them. Every person wants to share their opinion, and the comment section is the best place for them to share their opinions.

Do not just drop links on the pages. And, the people will be engaging with one another as well when there are plenty of interesting comments on the comment section. It helps to bring the human connection on the post.

There are plenty of creative ways to ask questions to the followers. Ask a compelling question so that the people would not be able to resist the temptation of sharing their opinion.

7. Reach out to influencers

According to the study, an average return on investment from the influencer marketing campaign is $6.5 for every dollar spent on the campaign. This demonstrates the power of influencers and influencer marketing campaign.

There are hundreds of influencers on the social media platforms, and there is no need to hire influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers. Find some relevant influencers, and ask them to promote your content.

The posts shared by influencers are reached to many people in the niche market. You will be surprised to see the results from the influencer marketing campaign.

Conclusion

Most of the marketers think that the social media marketing is really easy, but this is not the case. Social media marketing is challenging like every other form of marketing. It takes a lot of planning and hard work to succeed in social media marketing.

Following the tips mentioned in the above section of this article will help you to plan and implement a social media marketing campaign to give a huge boost to your overall marketing campaign.

According to the study, around 95% of the online US adults in the age group of 18-34 are likely to follow the brands online. You will be able to get a massive return from your social media marketing campaign if you manage to promote it in a right way.

If you lack enough time to focus on the social media marketing campaigns, then it would be better to hand over this task to an experienced digital marketer or some good marketing agencies.

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