Tag: storytelling

#SocialIsntScary – Spooky Branding

While branding is essential, often it can also be overwhelming. Partially this is because many people don’t really understand what branding is. A brand is basically an idea, image or feeling that the general public gets when they think about you or your company. In fact, it’s the public who truly controls what your brand is by the way they perceive you and what you do. This makes it complicated for small businesses and people to wrap their heads around branding.
While we can’t control how others perceive us, we can certainly influence it. That is how we brand successfully. This means your images, your posts, your style, your voice are all fundamental aspects of your brand. In branding, it’s called touchpoints. Every aspect of your business that interacts with another person is a touchpoint. This could be your office space, your website, your invoices, your trade show booths. One way to tackle your touchpoints is to approach your business the way a potential customer, client, vendor or influencer would. What would you want their experience to be like? What would you want them to see? To hear? To read?
So, when developing your social media, thinking about your brand should be intentional. You have a brand whether you’ve invested time in developing it or not. The smart method would be to decide what you want your brand to say about you and then incorporate it into everything you do – including your social media strategy. Here are some ways to keep branding in mind while managing your social media.
Discriminators
First, what are your discriminators? A discriminator is basically what makes you stand out from your competition. What do you offer that you want to highlight or feature? What makes your company stand out? Why should people follow you? It’s ideal to have one to three specific discriminators to work with. Think about your level of expertise or your skill set. Consider the aspects of your business that you are super passionate about. What type of information draws you in while you are online? These will give you a good indication of what your strengths are.
You may have a lot of different interests. It’s important to narrow it down to just a few that tie into what you do. Focus is important in branding. An individual needs to be able to receive a clear idea of what you are about and not get lost in too much clutter.
Now find ways to incorporate these discriminators into your branding. Find a handful of popular keywords that closely relates to what you are doing and incorporate them into your content regularly. Do some research on hashtags for the same purpose. Sometimes being specific can be more successful than going with trends. Niche businesses have a market too and those specific keywords may not draw the most attention but are more likely to pull in just the right audience.
Consistency
Make sure that you develop some images that coincide with your brand’s look and feel. Then use them over and over again across various social platforms. Someone should be able to look at your website, your LinkedIn page, and your Twitter account and instantly recognize you and your company.
These graphics will help people find and connect with you. It will solidify the branding images in their minds that they retrieve whenever they think about you. Make your photos, colors, fonts and descriptions match across all sites. While it can be tempting to change things up and be creative occasionally, this can be confusing for your target audience. After all, they are the ones who determine what your brand is. Make certain what they are seeing is what you want them to be experiencing when they interact with you.
Post on a regular basis. The online world is fast paced. If you don’t regularly attempt to keep their attention, they will move on to the next big thing. If it looks like you have abandoned one of your channels, even for a short period of time, your viewers will stop checking in. It’s important to have downtime, and vacations, and people do get sick – use scheduling tools to make certain there are no gaps in your posting.
Interaction
Social media is all about engagement. Therefore, it’s important to at least keep your brand in mind when interacting with others online.  Follow up on your comments, likes and mentions in a manner that is consistent with your personal style and voice. Join online groups that fit well with your brand and what you do. Surround yourself with influencers and experts in your field. Each time you respond to something that is a touchpoint for that person.

#SocialIsntScary and neither is branding. It just involves making deliberate choices that mesh well with your brand and keeping it in mind as you go. This will help you #BeAwesome and stand out!
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

#Develop Strategy – Why Strategy in Your Marketing is Important

When you are running a small business it can be difficult to maintain all the different facets of running a successful company. Owners need to manage the work, the clients, the numbers, the team, and the marketing. It can be both daunting and overwhelming. Many entrepreneurs and business owners simply overlook marketing due to a lack of time, energy or experience. However, business growth is dependent on your marketing strategy. 
Business Plan
First, you need to have a plan. The more detailed your plan the easier it will be to set measurable and achievable goals. Your plan should incorporate what you intend to do during the year – the amount of work, the level of profit, staffing, expenses, purpose and messaging. Leave no rock uncovered when you sit down and develop your plan. This will include your marketing strategy for the year. 
Branding & Storytelling
What a lot of business owners don’t understand about their brand is that it exists whether you develop it or not. How the public views you, and your company, makes up the elements of your branding. Owners that ignore this fact will find that the public has 100% control over how their work is perceived. Smart companies understand the power of creating a business message – a method of storytelling for work – that projects the image that business owners want their staff, clients, competition and the general public to associate with their work. Understanding your own brand and company story is the first step in developing a marketing strategy.
Target Audience
We no longer live in an age where we market our services to everyone. Traditional advertising is slowly becoming a marketing tool of the past. Why? Because it is ineffective to sell to a wide group of people without narrowing down the demographics. Want an effective marketing strategy? You need to hone down exactly the type of people that make your ideal client. The time and effort involved in sales and marketing should be utilized only in areas where your target audience works, plays and relaxes. If you don’t have a picture of your ideal client, then you need one right away.
Types of Marketing
Now that you know your message and where your clients hang out, you need to determine the types of marketing that will be most effective for what you do. This will be different for every business. The variety of marketing options feels endless. This list alone will have your head swimming. 
In 2016, online marketing is the place to be. This means social media marketing and content marketing are huge right now. Building a mailing list (or funnel) is another area that many marketing experts say is essential for your business. Developing content and booking stages is a type of marketing as well, called influencer marketing, and can be quite effective for establishing expertise and presence. Relationship marketing is a great way to build a village of partners that are invested in you and what you do. 
This article showcases a study that proves the younger generation does utilize social media when it’s time to make purchasing decisions. Another reason that demonstrates how knowing your audience is vital. 
Marketing Plan
Having an editorial schedule with goals and focus for your content, messaging and social media is practically essential.  If you are not certain which direction to take, do some initial experimentation. For instance, you can concentrate on one type of content or platform each month, while maintaining your other marketing channels.  If you switch it up and continue focusing on different platforms over a 3-6 month period, you can see which platforms are doing the best for you and get a better understanding of each option. 

If you know one choice will work well for your business, focus your energies on developing that area first and then slowly begin incorporating other channels. Often it’s better to do one thing well than to do a variety of marketing tactics on a sub-par level.
Networking
Networking is another way to grow your circle of connections.  You can do this both on- and offline.  Recommendations back and forth are extremely beneficial.  You can also reach out to your network if you have questions about how to get the most out of your marketing, social media platforms, content and emails.  You might have a connection who is masterful in a certain aspect of marketing you are you’re interested in.  You and your connection might work in the same industry, but have different niches.  If you both have blogs, you can refer to each other in your content. This is a great way to develop both referral and power partners for your business, not just new clients!
The best advice is to have fun!  Think of your marketing strategy as an adventure.  You will learn so much about how you want your business to look, feel and present itself to the world. 

Having trouble creating your company’s story? Don’t have a clue how to put together an editorial calendar? Just don’t have time to deal with all the little tasks involved with staying on top of your marketing strategy? Give the team at The Social Media Advisor a call – we specialize in small business marketing strategy development!

~ Social Media is changing the way people do business.  Don’t get left behind ~ 


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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.


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