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Key Learnings from my Four Favourite Business Books

One of the main problems with reading a constant stream of business books is that each comes multitude of different ideas and strategies.

Obviously, it is impossible to take every idea and implement them into your business – no small business owner has the time or capacity to do so.

Key Learnings from my Four Favourite Business Books

Instead, I have experimented with various strategies over time to see what will work for me (and what doesn’t). Through this experimentation, I’ve found that each of my favourite books has a key learning that I use in my everyday business life. In this blog, I’ll share those learnings with you…

 

“The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy

The main premise of Hardy’s book is common sense when you stop and think about it. Each day, we constantly make small, inconspicuous decisions that shape the outcomes that we achieve in our lives. By making incremental changes to these decisions, we can achieve any goal that we set for ourselves – in health, family or business.

For example, if we consciously plan to add one extra social media marketing post into our daily business routine, we will reap the benefits down the track as our online footprint will be much larger than it is today – all because of the compounding effect of that small change we made.

“18 Minutes” by Peter Bregman

The key take-away point that I found in “18 Minutes” is to devote a small amount of time each day ensuring that the focus of your daily tasks is aligned with your overall objectives.

The “18 minutes” is used when you devote:

  • Five minutes at the start of business to clarify that all planned work is aligned with your overall objectives.
  • One minute at the start of each business hour double-checking that focus is adhered to.
  • Five minutes at the close of business determining the following day’s outline and plan.

“The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber

Gerber, through an engaging narrative style, encourages his readers to establish their businesses in a franchise-style – just like McDonalds – regardless of their size or employee numbers. He believes that through the creation and use of Operations Manuals, a business can provide quality and consistent service at all times, regardless of the employee delivering that service.

One thing that makes this book stand out to me is the multitude of real-life examples that Gerber uses throughout to illustrate his ideas and teachings. The book is very easy to read (almost in one sitting) and it makes you want to “spring into action” after you close the final page.

“Getting Things Done” by David Allen

Known as GTD, the process outlined in this book is almost gospel to some people. Once implemented, GTD helps shape the way you organise and complete tasks, anywhere in your life. It is so popular in fact that several software apps have been specifically designed to cater for devotees of the GTD method.

However, the GTD process wasn’t the main take-away for me. I was engaged by the phrase – “Your mind is for having ideas – not storing them”. Every day, so many things pass through our brains, it is impossible to mentally store each one away for further contemplation or action later. Rather than lose any ideas, I now keep a constant supply of Post-It notes close by and record anything and everything. The notes are then stuck to my computer screen for later processing.

In conclusion, please remember that these books have far more to offer than just the learnings that I have outlined above and I heartily encourage all small business owners to read each book. Take notes as you do – on post-it notes of course.

If you do come away with something totally different from one of the above books, let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this Blog…

Google Loves a Fast Site – Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business Site

Five Simple Ways to Speed Up your Small Business SiteAs proved by 27% of all websites on the internet, the WordPress CMS is an amazing framework to build upon when creating any site. Not only is it simple to use and update, WordPress has a huge community of developers around it, consistently creating new plugins for use in the CMS. The base framework of WordPress itself is so popular, it is estimated to be used by over 70 million websites worldwide!

It’s so simple to use WordPress to add fresh content, plugins and imagery that sites can easily get slowed down by the shear workload. Today’s internet-savvy visitors expect a site to load its content in under five seconds – any longer, and they will start leaving in droves.
Luckily there are five simple actions that you (or your web developer) can put into place to ensure that your site speed is up there with the best.

#1 Optimise all Images

All website owners and operators need to ensure that images have been optimised before they are uploaded to a website. This means that PNG files should be run through an optimizer like TinyPNG to reduce them and JPG images files must be reduced to at most 80% quality. There’s plenty of free editors that can help with this optimisation including the very capable Irfanview.

#2 Minimise Website Code

Most websites are made of complex programming code, generating everything that you can see on the browser screen. This code is not usually contained in one single file, meaning that your site is “pulling” information from several places as it loads, slowly down the load time.
Adding a plugin to your site such as JCH Optimize helps to automatically compress and tidy up some of the code (specifically CSS, JavaScript and HTML) into one file on the server. This singular file is then accessed by your site visitors, effectively speeding up the load time on their browsers.

#3 Reduce call-outs to external sites

Whilst grabbing web fonts from Google and displaying Social Media on your site may be appealing and give you loads of instant content, they are responsible for a majority of site drag. When accessing information from external sites, your poor website not only has to load itself but it also needs to load content from these other sites.

To prevent this, use common fonts or fonts that can be stored on your own server and minimise your Social Media display – at least on the home page.

#4 Optimise your site’s database

Over time, site updates and usage takes a toll on the database which stores all the information for your site. Keep this data inline and optimised with the WP-Optimize plugin – it will automatically tidy the stored information on a set schedule and keep the background of your site neat and tidy for quick access.

#5 Use Online Tools to determine blockages

If you have tried all the tips above and still need to squeeze out a few seconds of load time, head over to GTMetrix and type in your website address. This online tool analyses your site speed using Google PageSpeed and provides a concise list of how your site is performing and where improvements can be made. Some areas may be too technical and need the assistance of a web developer however quite a few can be “fixed” by a novice user with a few spare minutes.

Conclusion

It’s important to note that not only is site speed essential to your visitors, it’s also important to your Google ranking too. Page speed is an important part of the Google Algorithm – slow loading sites will be penalised with low ranking in search results.

Need help getting your site “Up to Speed”? Rusty Mango Design are specialists in developing WordPress sites and we can tweak your small business site until it is purring like a kitten. Send us an email today and we’ll check it out on GTMetrix for you (free-of-charge) and we’ll let you know exactly what we can do to help!

Five Internet Strategies that could save your Small Business

Let’s be clear from the very beginning – using the internet for small business is NOT the guaranteed golden bullet solution to all your problems. The addition of an online presence will not automatically turn your fortunes around. Running your own website, engaging customers on social media and selling products online takes effort and hard-work – as will all the strategies outlined in this post.

The internet definitely offers you more avenues to market your business than ever before. You can generate followers and advocates that will purchase from (and market) your business 24/7, sometimes without any one-on-one interaction from you.

Below, there are five online strategies outlined that your business can employ to help raise awareness of your business and its offerings and, most importantly, boost that bottom line.


#1. Boost your Facebook Posts

Facebook BOOSTEver seen the big BOOST button on your Facebook page?

This is the button you will see next to any posts you have made. With the power of a BOOST (and a minimum spend of $7/day), you can actually display your posts in the Facebook feeds of a very specific audience. These people are the prime candidates to which you want to market your products and services.

For example, our local dance shop is selling Fascinators for the upcoming races in town. With Facebook BOOST advertising, they can target:

Women, who like Fashion, and live within 50 miles* of the town, in the 18-50 age group

With targeted boosts, you get your message sent out exactly where you want it to go – much better than casting a broad net and hoping you catch something.

* Not a typo – Facebook, an American company, measures in miles regardless of your location.


#2. Build an eCommerce Store

eCommerce online storeCoupled with the low overheads associated in running an online store alongside your “bricks and mortar” business, there are two major advantages for building your own online store

Firstly, an eCommerce store can sell your products and services 24/7– your customers don’t have to wait for the doors to open or for you to even be available. A good online store is set up to run automatically with payment options and shipping processes integrated.

Secondly – your online store is capable of selling anywhere in the world. Your customer base is dramatically widened beyond the immediate geography of your shopfront. If someone on the other side of Australia (or the world) wants to buy your goods, they can access your online store and make the purchase whenever they want.


#3. Provide 24/7 Customer Service

Customer ServiceGood customer service can be time intensive, and sometimes very repetitive with no immediate remuneration for your time.

With a website, you can off-set some of the repetitive parts of your customer service through the use of frequently asked questions (FAQs), video tutorials and downloadable help sheets (Bunnings are the masters of this) to name just a few. 

Setting up your website’s customer service area properly would be time well spent as the support you provide online can save you hours either on the phone or answering emails.

 

 


#4. Plan and maintain a Content Marketing strategy

Content MarketingContent marketing is a must have on any small business website. To clarify, Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and producing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that attracts and retains your target audience. It is also a key element of the Google search algorithm, helping to determine your website’s placement in search results.

How do you create an effective Content Management Strategy?

  • Decide on your content mediums according to your strengths and your target audience (Blog, videos, podcasts, newsletters….)
  • Generate a plan in calendar format which includes the dates, topics and mediums for the creation of your content. This includes social media updates and blog posts.
  • Stick to the plan – consistency is the key to success!
  • Monitor your traffic to gauge the success of each item. This will give you valuable information in relation to what is working and what isn’t.

#5. Give Email Marketing a try

Email MarketingIf you are thinking of employing an email marketing approach to broadcast your small business, you can’t look past MailChimp (no affiliation with Rusty Mango). It has almost everything built-in to help you create great looking emails, distribute them and, most importantly, keep you within the law regarding SPAM.

Note: You cannot send emails from a business in Australia to anyone you like. You must have the recipient’s permission or an existing customer relationship with that person.  For more information, take a look at the Spam Act 2003.

Using MailChimp (and common sense), you can create an email campaign that drives business to your website and your physical store:

  • Use a pop-up plugin on your website to acquire email addresses from your site visitors. Some of these can be set up to send collected addresses directly to MailChimp.
  • Create list of your existing customer’s emails. Excel is a good way to do this as you can import spreadsheets to MailChimp.
  • Using one of the many templates, create your first email newsletter. Re-purpose some of the content that you have created for your site – blog entries are perfect for this!

MailChimp has a built-in unsubscribe option. Recipients of the email simply have click Unsubscribe in the footer of the email and MailChimp will automatically remove them from the list, satisfying another condition of the Spam Act.


Conclusion

The real secret to a successful and productive online presence for your small business is summed in one word – consistency. Your website cannot be a stagnant brochure for your business, it needs to be dynamic, helpful and must reinforce your position as an expert in your field with quality service and/or products. Make an effort to set aside 15 minutes a day and develop each of the strategies into a workable system for you – the rewards for your business will become clear in no time at all.

Feeling a little overwhelmed? If your business needs help developing any of the strategies above, please get in touch with Rusty Mango Design – we love to help small business!

The power of a #Hashtag

The Power of a HashtagTwitter, the 140 word social media platform, has been with us since 2006 and one could excused for thinking that the #hashtag has been with us just as long. However the first tweets that featured a #hashtag actually appeared a year later when user Chris Messina decided to create a method of grouping like-minded tweets into the same clusters.

Nowadays, the #hashtag is an integral part of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and even Facebook. It can be used as a powerful tool for online marketing and any business owner who wants to drive their social media marketing on to success need to master their usage.

Choosing the right #hashtag to engage with your target audience needs some thought and practice. They are very similar to the keywords that are used in conjunction with search engines to find a website, if the wrong words are chosen then the results won’t point towards your business and you risk missing out on potential engagements.

Thankfully, it is not too hard to select #hashtags that will work for you. Here’s some simple items to consider when using #hashtags on your Social Media marketing:

  • Ensure that the #hashtag is relevant to the topic. Don’t be obtuse.
  • Take a look around the web and use #hashtags that are already in circulation. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own but commonly used tags have already got a “readership”.
  • When creating unique #hashtags, use words that will directly link back to your business. For example, if I were tagging marketing memes, I could start a “trend” with #rustysmarketingmemes. Watch that you don’t be too broad, as tags can be hijacked, leading to detrimental effects for your business.

The perfect mix for #hashtags in any single Social Media commentary is between one and two. Any more and research has shown there is a 17% drop in engagement. That said, #hashtags in your tweets, posts and pins increase the chances of your message being passed along to others. You’ll also be surprised as to how many followers you will attain – people monitor for hashtags rather than tweets.

At the end of the day, as with any Social Media, there is an inherent risk involved. Don’t share anything in your posts (along with those hashtags) that may have a negative effect on your business or personal life. Think before you post/tweet.

As already stated, the #hashtag is a powerful tool and can be made to work for your business. Smart companies like Black Milk Clothing have built themselves successfully through smart Social Media marketing and there is no reason other businesses can’t follow in their footsteps. Integrate a Social Media plan featuring the use of clever #hashtags with your regular business website and help your online traffic grow.

 

Make Twitter work for your business

Make Twitter work for your businessA huge chunk of the Social Media focus, especially in business terms, is given to either Facebook or LinkedIn. Poor little Twitter is often seen as the outsider. However, if you are looking to build your credibility and influence in the online world, there can be quite a bit of power in those 140 characters. The trick is to wield that power in such a way that you can build a following that works for you.

Below are a selection of tips that the small business owner can use with (and around) Twitter to create a following that will drive customers inbound to your website and ultimately, your business.

Tip #1 – Become a Tweeter worth following:

  • Whenever you are tweeting, be sure to post a variety of information that is relevant to your target audience. Create a mix of links, quotes, latest news, blog titles and retweets so that your followers can expect something a little different each time.
  • If someone follows you on Twitter, repeat the favour. As soon as they hook with up your Twitter, check out their profile and click their FOLLOW button. You may need to jettison them sometime in the future but, who knows, they might have an audience that you can reach into.
  • Always use hashtags to help your followers and potential audience find what they are looking for. With over 6000 tweets being sent out every second, hashtags allow followers to keep their Twitter viewing relevant.

Tip #2 – Get Visible

  • As detailed in the previous tip, searching is a great way to find other Twitter users in your industry’s area. Use this to seek out KPI’s (Key People of Influence) and industry commentators that you can follow. Two upsides for this trick: you’ll often find great content to retweet or repurpose for your own followers and, you may just score a “celebrity” follower – giving your own tweets more exposure (“Hey, guess who follows me now?”).
  • Don’t pretend to be the only source of information on Twitter – retweet the posts from others that you have found useful. The original poster will notice this action and may follow.  Plus your audience will benefit from someone else’s experience that you share.
  • For maximum exposure of your Twitter efforts, be sure to publish your Twitter tag everywhere (@RustyMango). Put it on your business cards, banners, signage, web sites and any traditional advertising so that you can get the Twitter conversation started.

Tip #3 – Act Strategically

  • Make sure your site has a Twitter FOLLOW button. If your site is built on WordPress, there are many excellent plugins that can help (https://wordpress.org/plugins/twitter-tweets-button/) or, alternatively, manually code the button into your site https://about.twitter.com/resources/buttons ). Your site designer can help with this.
  • Offer value to your Twitter followers with the occasional voucher or coupon – exclusive just to them. Roscoes Piazza in Innisfail does this on some slow nights (“Guess how many boxes are stacked in the store tonight. Closest number wins a free family pizza!”)
  • Twitter only allows a maximum of 2000 people that you can follow at any one time. That is quite a hefty number however, if you find yourself going close, make sure that you unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you in return. Of course, make an exception for those on Twitter who provide you with worthwhile industry-specific tweets that you can pass on.

To keep a handle on all this Twitter action, use browser add-ons like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. These two “programs” will allow you to tweet, monitor your account, view retweets of your content and provide an easy way to regularly work on your Twitter campaign.

Make it a habit to tweet/retweet every day – it will keep you abreast of worthwhile content and information from around the web and help to establish yourself as an industry leader in the eyes of your followers.  

How to choose the right Social Media for your Business

Social MediaWhen it comes to choosing a suitable social media platform for your small business, there is no shortage of options. But with most business owners being enthusiasm rich but time poor, not every single one can be covered. In an ideal world, the small business owner would be able look into each and every social media channel and determine which would deliver the best results for them.

There are a whole range of factors that determine the success of a particular social media for you: your products / services, human resources, audience and financial resources all need to be taken into account.

Let’s look at the five big ones that may be useful for your business:

Google +

Google Boss Larry Page has trumpeted the growth of Google+ at every opportunity but you need to wary of this – his company has made “membership” of Google+ mandatory for usage of Gmail and Youtube. Apart from this, who actually uses Google+? I tried for a short time but found that the circles concept is fundamentally flawed to reach a larger audience with update posts.

On the plus side, Google+ is powered by Google so it isn’t disappearing without a fight. It’s also intrinsically linked to Google search so there may be benefits to some benefits in that one fact alone.

You, like me, may need to test this one out for yourself.

Instagram

Essentially an image sharing platform, Instagram is slightly more suitable for business than the other image sharer platform, Pinterest, through its clever use of hashtags and plugin integration. Whereas Pinterest allows people to collect images that are of interest to them, Instagram can be integrated directly into business websites allowing site owners to draw in real-time content from their own customers.

A great example is used in online fashion stores – with a simple WordPress plugin, a site owner can display their products as worn by their customers – after purchase! The customer simply has to take a photo and upload to their own Instagram account with a suitable hashtag. The website detects this tag and displays the image in the online shop. What a great way to show your products in use by everyday people – not shop models!

Instagram is great for businesses with a teen/young adult market – they are all over this!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been designed from the ground up to cater for the Business to Business market. At current, over 2.7 million businesses are represented on the platform but it may not suit your needs if you cater to the public consumer.

If your small business provides services to other businesses (large or small), LinkedIn is ideal for creating connections within your industry. By simply “connecting” with one person, a whole spider web of possibilities opens up to you. Your connections still need to approve your invite to connect, but this is lot more personable than a cold call.

Facebook

Facebook is the one Social Media that everyone knows and everyone is on. Luckily for business, it is fantastic no matter what service you provide or products you sell. If there is one social media you must be on, in my opinion, this is it.

Facebook not only allows businesses to build a fan-based community around their brand but it also enables the business owner to directly target their ideal audience. Is your target audience 15 year old boys who love to surf and skateboard? Facebook has them covered. What about pregnant 30 year old mums? Too easy.
By ensuring that users enter information about themselves, Facebook can specifically target these audiences.

You can boost your posts on Facebook through the usage of paid advertisements or, in the initial period, try it out with your own audience (people who click LIKE on your website).

Twitter

Another must in the Social Media arsenal for business owners, Twitter is great for a whole range of reasons. You can use it to start or participate in trending topics (once again using hashtags), both locally and worldwide. Better still, you can graphically the trends across the world.

Announce your latest news, products, blog posts and anything else you want to share, instantly. Start instant competitions for your business with no need for outside promotion (great for those times when business is slow).

Hashtags are the key. Before posting anything on Twitter, do a quick hashtag check (I use Tweetdeck) and see if there is a similar tag that you can use. This way, you will “hook” into a movement that has already started.

On top of the five mentioned above, there are many more Social Media channels to choose from, including the popular Foursquare, YouTube and Pinterest options.
When choosing the platforms that you want to use, don’t forget that nothing is set in stone. If, six months down the track, you decide to try something else, there is no barrier to stop you.

Just remember that as a small business, being on too many platforms can spread you out too thin, effecting your productivity and results. Hopefully, armed with the information written above, you can make an informed decision on which platforms to focus on to help boost your business.

You’ve got a great site…. but no traffic!

Great site but no trafficYour website is built and ready for the influx of customers you are expecting. You’ve done your research into a successful website and you’ve put in the hard yards and used a reputable designer to get it all done.

Your “Call to Action” couldn’t be clearer if it jumped out and bit your site visitors on the nose. The content of the site is fresh and full of juicy but useful information. Products in your e-commerce store scream out for someone to buy them – they are just that good.

Everything is perfect.

But no-one is coming.

What’s gone wrong? When everything else is in place – how do you get that all important traffic through the front door of your website?

Tip #1: Identify your ideal customer and then hook them

Sit down with your business partners or employees and grab a pen and paper. You need to do some brainstorming and map out who is most likely to purchase your products or services. You need to examine aspects such as age, gender, social status and location amongst many others that may “pop up” in your discussion. This process is vitally important as it clearly identifies who you should be targeting and can often determine how to grab their attention.

For example, If you are in retail selling women’s clothing of a certain kind, your ideal target audience may be women over the age of 40, on an average wage, who are looking for clothing that is affordable and makes them look younger/slimmer.

Once you have identified your ideal customer, brainstorm again to find ways to connect with them. What does your ideal customer read, watch, listen to or even do?

Some possible courses of action include using Facebook advertising that allows your business to target directly to the market you want with specifics such as gender, age and general interests. You could also look at traditional marketing through magazines, radio or newspapers. What other interests does your ideal customer have that you can hook into? Write them down and test them out.

Tip #2: Identify your current customers and leverage that relationship for your website

While the last tip identified your “ideal” customer, you can’t ignore the others than may fall outside that “ideal” bracket. If you have been in business for a while, you will have customers who have bought from you in the past and continue to do so. You can use this relationship to build traffic for your website.

  • Set up a referral program with a coupon giving discounts to referring customers.
  • Give out your web address with each physical purchase or even on your invoices in the form of a simple, plain business card (your logo on one side, web address on the other).
  • Run competitions through your social media contacts that can expand to an outside audience and draw them to your site.

Tip #3: Use your industry links

Look at the contacts you have already have through your industry and look for like-minded businesses that you can link through. You may even pursue the idea of package deals: for example, a wedding MC may team up with a venue, local band, florists and a photographer to promote a full package deal. Set yourself as the prime organiser of the package and get customers flowing your site for the full details.

Tip #4: Sponsor your local community

Sponsor an event in your local community and be sure to brand it with your website details. You might sponsor the local rugby league competition, a charity event or even part of a large festival in your community. Purchase some large banners (the rollout ones are perfect) and get them into the public eye. Place business cards, brochures even sample bags where they are highly visible during the event and make sure that you are hand to answer any questions and prompt people towards your site.

As you can see, there is a multitude of methods and tricks that you can implement to get your site pumping with visitors. Literally thousands of articles have been written about just using Social Media to drive site traffic in favour of your business. You only need to try something and see what works for your particular industry.

While you are doing this, keep a close eye on your site statistics and engage with your new customers to see where they are coming from. This will give you the data to determine what is working and what is not.

No-one, but the very naive, will pretend that running a successful website isn’t hard work. But all the heartache, effort and time spent will be quickly rewarded when you start to see new customers coming through your site’s front doors and more importantly, buying from you.

 

Five tips for creating an effective E-Commerce store

The Online Shopping ExperienceFor an online store, positive online promotion by your customers is essential to ensuring continued success and growth for your site. A single positive tweet, review or post can drive more traffic into an ecommerce store than traditional means such as radio and paper advertisements combined.

Getting this kind of support from your customers goes far beyond the products that you sell in your store. It is often based on the whole online shopping experience that you provide. If your checkout service, payment and shipping processes are a nightmare, regardless of your product quality, then it is unlikely that you will receive any form of online promotion by your customers.

Here are some easy tips that will help to immediately improve your store’s online reputation.

Contact “old” customers for feedback

Some people will never complain about small issues in your service and continue to buy from you regardless. But those issues may be a prime cause for others not to revisit. Look through your past sales, select a number of “candidates” and send out a very brief survey. What do they like about the shopping experience on your site? What needs attention? How can we do things better?

By listening and implementing, you are reinforcing with these customers that you are a brand that cares and wants to improve your service. Next time they update their social media, you may just get that positive tweet or post that you are looking for!

Make your “Call to Action” abundant and clear.

There’s nothing worse than going to an online store (or any site for that manner) with the intention of making a purchase then finding that you can’t locate the right buttons to do so! When you “glance” at your website, can you immediately see how a customer can get in contact or buy something from you?

If the answer is NO, your “Call to Action” is not clear enough.

Have a clearly defined Complaints and Returns policy

Being loyal to an online shop is a two-way street. If your customers can see/read that you are upfront about your policies and have them clearly defined on your site, they are more likely to trust your brand. However, you must balance this by ensuring that your returns policy is something that you can afford and manage. Making promises you can’t keep won’t bring you any loyalty at all – exactly the opposite, in fact.

Work on retaining customers as well as attaining customers

Look at the service you provide to those who have already bought from you. Do you have follow up services that ensure that current customers are happy? Sounds tricky but it is actually quite easy to do via the power of the web. Engage with customers using Social Media, check with them via a monthly newsletter, ensure that your FAQ page is up to date, provide support on your site with contact forms and video tutorials – the options are endless. The idea is to make your current customers feel like they are still your number one priority.

Answer customer concerns ASAP

It took Dell almost a year to address the problems that blogger Jeff Jarvis first wrote about in his page “Dell Hell”. That’s a long time in the world of the internet however the Dell response changed the way that businesses listen to their customers. Through their specific website, Direct2Dell, customers were finally allowed a voice through to the company and it has revitalised the way they conduct themselves.

Do the same with your business website. Set aside a section where customers can talk to you about anything related to your products. More than that – make sure that you listen to what they say. Your brand and everything behind will improve dramatically as a result.

Your business is far more to customers than just the products you sell and through your website, you can ensure that they get everything ounce of support that you can provide to them. Turn your customers into advocates for your business and watch it grow and expand as they do the promotion for you. As Tim Reid (SBBM) likes to call it – “Word of Mouse” is a powerful marketing strategy that can make all the difference with your online success.

 

Why IS your business on Facebook?

Why IS your business on Facebook?Facebook is a powerful force in the online marketing world, easily second only to Google. You won’t find a member of Gen Y who isn’t using it and, over the past couple of years, Facebook’s “mature” user base has grown considerably. This growth is continuing with the increasing use of the platform by businesses around the world. The general attitude towards FB is becoming “if you are in business, you must be on Facebook.”

But why? If your business is only doing Facebook because “that’s what the others are doing”, then you might just be wasting your time.

But a small business owner doesn’t have any time to waste!

You should only get into Facebook if you have established a real goal for doing so. Your particular business’ goal for entering the world of Facebook could be to:

Humanise your business and brand in the eyes of your customer.

Genuine interactions and their associated connections are integral to any form of Social Media and Facebook is no different. It allows a business to put a human face to a brand that people can actually relate to. Through Facebook, your business can engage in one on one conversation with customers, share tricks and tips about your industry or display your latest wares after a customer has bought them, encouraging others to do the same. These types of “relationships” with your customers, draws them closer to you and much more likely to use your services or purchase your products.

Get people talking about your business.

The average user has, on average, 130 Facebook friends to share with. Imagine what could happen if you could get in front of those 130. If your brand is compatible with these people and engages with them, they might just LIKE you as well!

If only ten from that number decide to LIKE you, pure mathematics shows that the growth of your exposure would be exponential (10 x 10 x 10 x 10…..). There is no other (free) marketing method that can match this. Facebook also has paid options that can expose your brand to even more around the globe.

Directly target your ideal demographic.

Facebook knows everything about you. In your profile, you have entered your location, age, hobbies, even your favourite brands in some cases. A user would be naive to think that Mark Zuckerberg only wanted this information to help you share with your friends. Zuckerberg wants this information so that his company can sell targeted advertising.

As a business with a little advertising cash to spend, this is a golden opportunity. With such detailed information on hand and using Facebook’s paid advertising, a business can market more directly than ever before. For example, if you wanted to target expectants mothers, aged between 20 and 25 who live on the Sunshine Coast, you can. Your business information, once you set up an advertising account with Facebook, will appear on the pages of your exact target audience.

Put your business in front of your customers every day.

Even if you don’t opt to pay for advertising on Facebook, once a (potential) customer has liked you, any posts that you make on your Facebook business page will automatically appear on their feed. Don’t abuse this by posting multiple items a day (which will lose your following) and you have a “friend” for life.

Continue to offer conversation and social interaction, build that relationship up and you have a client who won’t look elsewhere for your goods and services.  A branded Facebook page is a very powerful way to expand your audience and increase the overall awareness of your business online.

#BeSmart when using #Hashtags

How to use a HashtagTwitter, the 140 word social media platform, has been with us since 2006 and one could excused for thinking that the #hashtag has been with us just as long. However the first tweets that featured a #hashtag actually appeared a year later when user Chris Messina decided to create a method of grouping like-minded tweets into the same clusters.

Nowadays, the #hashtag is an integral part of Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and even Facebook. It can be used as a powerful tool for online marketing and any business owner who wants to drive their social media marketing on to success need to master their usage.

Choosing the right #hashtag to engage with your target audience needs some thought and practice. They are very similar to the keywords that are used in conjunction with search engines to find a website, if the wrong words are chosen then the results won’t point towards your business and you risk losing potential clients.

Thankfully, it is not too hard to select #hashtags that will work for you. Here’s some simple items to consider when using #hashtags on your Social Media marketing:

  • Ensure that the #hashtag is relevant to the topic. Don’t be obtuse.
  • Take a look around the web and use #hashtags that are already in circulation. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own but commonly used tags have already got a “readership”.
  • When creating unique #hashtags, use words that will directly link back to your business. For example, if I were tagging marketing memes, I could start a “trend” with #rustysmarketingmemes. Watch that you don’t be too broad, as tags can be hijacked, leading to detrimental effects for your business.

The perfect mix for #hashtags in any single Social Media commentary is between one and two. Any more and research has shown there is a 17% drop in engagement. That said, #hashtags in your tweets, posts and pins increase the chances of your message being passed along to others.

At the end of the day, as with any Social Media, there is an inherent risk involved. Don’t share anything in your posts (along with those hashtags) that may have a negative effect on your business or personal life. Think before you post/tweet.

As already stated, the #hashtag is a powerful tool and can be made to work for your business. Smart companies like Black Milk Clothing have built themselves successfully through smart Social Media marketing and there is no reason other businesses can’t follow in their footsteps. Integrate a Social Media plan featuring the use of clever #hashtags with your regular business website and help your online traffic grow.

 

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design