Social Media for Small Businesses

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Businesses of all size and shapes have started making the most of available mediums. Today we will try to anatomize tips on social media for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses eyeing social medium to promote their business/services. However, majorly these small businesses are failing or not being able to make optimum use of social media for their business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to effectively use social media for established brands, but the topic social media for small businesses is seldom addressed. According to Digital state of eMarketing India 2017 Octane Research:60% small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multichannel marketing funnel.
70% small businesses consider content strategy as their primary marketing activity.
52% business owners are using social media as to efficiently address customer engagement.
More than 20% of business owners said that they are making 50% plus profit using social media.The primary reasons for the low turnout are uncertainty on an application of social media, calculating return on investment and persuade employees/stakeholders to clinch social media. Hence it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial is Social media for small businesses.Social media for small businesses is a great way for emerging businesses to generate lead and build a reputation. If regularly updated, social media can deliver more results as compared to traditional mediums. Social media for small businesses gives brands an edge of control over the content that they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses to instantly identify what is benefitting them. Social media for small businesses also helps generate Word of Mouth, which is one of the best tools for emerging businesses.Social Media for small businesses | 10 Tips to effectively use Social MediaDefine your Target Audience
The first and foremost important part that small businesses should focus on is to define their target audience. This helps small businesses to device their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined basis age group, sex, location, users’ online behaviors, their likes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries and important milestone. Audience targeting plays a very crucial role in the outcome of the results. For e.g.: a local shop selling footwear should not target users with interest in entertainment. The shop definitely won’t get the desired results.Set achievable goals
Overnight success is a myth. Small businesses must understand this basic fact. Generally, when a new business starts selling on social media, there is palpable excitement is achieving more than set targeted sales. Businesses need to set goals which are upwards and forward. To achieve enormous goals, small businesses start updating social feed with multiple updates in shorter duration. This leads to user’s disinterest in the product/service. The set goals should be in sync with brand’s core capabilities and expertise. For e.g.: if a business is into selling shoes, they shouldn’t set a goal to repair maximum shoes in their area.Choose the right medium
By now everyone knows, social media is for free. Even paid campaigns can be conducted at a relatively low cost as compared to traditional mediums. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jumping the bandwagon and creating profiles on all the available platforms. Creating social profile doesn’t hamper brand image, but aggressively promoting a brand on wrong platforms can lead to brand losing its potential customers. Hence it is advisable for SME’s to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For e.g.: If a shoe selling brand tries to aggressively sell on LinkedIn, they won’t get a plausible response as compared to promotions on Facebook/Instagram.Promote your core product/services
Since each and every business is riding in the social media wave, it is important for a them to promote their core product/services. Nowadays, we see a lot of businesses promoting their services as well as promoting peripheral products/services, which revolves around their core product/services. Majority of the times, this SME’s doesn’t have capabilities to fulfill a requirement, which can lead to a bad word of mouth for their business on social media platforms. Let us go back to our example; if a shoe seller is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it is not going to benefit the business in the long run.Create quality content
Now that we have covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium and promoting the right product/services let us now take a look at the type of content a business should promote on their social pages. A business should always focus on creating good quality content rather than not-good quantity content. Even if the business updates their page once in a day as long as it is relevant to their business, advocates about its core products send across a clear message it is considered as a good quality content. Antagonistically, if a business posts multiple updates which aren’t even relevant to the business’s products and services leads to users considering the business as fake/spam. Also, new businesses should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.Create a content calendar
Making a small business successful on social platforms is no small task. It takes a lot of efforts for the businesses to keep up their conversion ratio. One such effort is to create a content calendar. Small businesses must anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar must be planned a month in advance but an even weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses to avoid any last minute hassles, strategize much more effectively and it also helps in creating curiosity amongst its loyal fans/customers.Test and re-test
Social media is highly unpredictable. The content a business posts today, might not work for tomorrow. Hence, small businesses must always test their content before publishing it on their pages. Testing content also applies to the platform a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners must always don the consumer’s hat before posting about any product feature, updates, schemes or offers. A consumer’s perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.Look for inspiration
Small businesses must always look for inspiration from a competitor who is successful in the same category. Copy pasting competitors idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses must look for the kind of content its competitors are putting up and derive their own strategies subsequently. Inspiring content/stories always make a business to strive to create their own content that is appreciated by one and all. It helps in increasing brand consideration, brand visibility thereby increasing conversions for the business.Calculate ROI
Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate its return on investment. It is more important in case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to keep a tab on the budgets allocated to any promotions and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion is not doing well or the business is not getting desired results, the brand custodian can always look for other platforms to generate quality conversions.Analyze and Re-strategize
There can be umpteen instances where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That doesn’t mean that the promotion is wrong or the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the business to formulate their upcoming strategies in more effective ways. At the end of every campaign, brands must note down the learning’s from that campaign and identify if the content/idea was appreciated by their fans or not. This helps businesses to skip the non-performing updates from future communications.Final Thoughts
Social media for small businesses is definitely beneficial and fruitful. If followed correctly, small businesses can benefit tremendously from the power of social media promotions.

4 Essential SEO Strategy Elements for Service-Based Businesses

Unique Elements Required for a Service-based Business to Rank Properly in the Search Engines.While big multinational companies employ SEO strategies to gain clients and customers from all over the world, a small business who deals only with customers in its geographic region only wants local leads.This article looks at what you must have in your SEO strategy if you’re one of those smaller businesses and you’re trying to gain visibility with clients local to you.1. Your websiteLook at your website and see if you can tell where your business is located and who it services.Your target area should be prevalently noted in the Home page copy, your contact page, as well as in the footer. You can even incorporate it into your business name or URL.The idea is of course to make sure that when someone gets to your website looking for what you provide, they are also affirmed you service their area.Put these terms in your META data too. It makes a difference in reaching local customers doing specific searches for your city or business service area. Additionally, when you create individual pages for each service you provide, work the locations serviced into the headlines and copy.2. Google My BusinessIf you haven’t already done so you should create a Gmail account for yourself, so you can easily log into all of Google’s apps and products.Google My Business is one such tool available for free that gets your business pinned on Google Maps and if Google sees the right signals you’ll show up high in the local rank results too. The local rank results are those results you’ll see when Google has understood your search query to be location specific.Try typing ‘plumbers near me’ into Google and you’ll likely see a few ads and some localized listings before you see the organic search results. This could be 1 – 3 ads or 3 or 4 local listings depending on how competitive the market is.Those local listings are valuable to your business and by creating and verifying your business with Google you’ll have at least initiated the steps it takes to get listed in those local listings.Once you have the account, fill in everything you can. Provide photos and use your service and locality keywords in the description and anywhere else you see a sincere opportunity.3. Local CitationsLocal citations are when your business is listed in local directories. You’ll likely only ever need to do this once and it’s very easy.Just look up your location with the word ‘directories’ after. There are some obvious ones like Yelp but you may find some niche directories for your locality as well as your service too.Don’t ever pay for these as those paid directories will have already been flagged by Google when it reviews their site. Paying for links or citations will always harm your ranking efforts.4. ReviewsWhen it comes to local customers, reviews are golden. They’re testimonials that other potential clients can trust. Requesting these from previous customers is totally fine; however, falsifying them is not.Don’t have them log into their Gmail account from your computer to leave a review or Google will see that your reviews all come from the same IP address and the reviews then won’t help your rank.There are plenty of other things you can do as well but those 4 points are staples in any local SEO strategy and if you’re a service-based business you’ll need them in order to get the right traffic.Of course, if you’re looking to really dominate the rank results and ensure you’ve got a solid strategy you’re going to want to hire someone providing professional search engine optimization. They can take things further as well as actively maintain the efforts needed to let Google know you provide what you do, where you do it, while you spend your time actually providing your service!

Keys to Home Business Success

Tips for Starting your Home-Based Service BusinessThe current trend is towards more home-based businesses. They require lower overhead and startup money making them easier for entrepreneurs with limited fund. If you are thinking about starting a home-based service business, here are a few tips for getting started on the right foot.What is a service business?Service businesses are those that provide help to others. This can be anything from mowing the lawn to managing business accounts. The basis of a successful service business is one that supplies a need. In your area, it may take some research to discover the top service needs and then figure out which one you can provide.Benefits of a home-based service businessThere are several benefits to running a home-based service business. First of all, you can run the business from your home. Since you already pay a mortgage, utilities and car payments, the only thing you need spend money on now is the equipment for your business. And, running a service that began as a hobby means you already own most of the needed equipment.Secondly, a home-based service business requires low overhead and startup costs. We alluded to the startup costs above and the low overhead means no employees but you. The key to keeping the overhead low is taking on only as many projects as you can safely and efficiently handle by yourself.Home-based service business optionsAs we mentioned, you can usually run these service businesses out of your home. Establishing a website for selling your services lowers the overhead even more and maximizes your profit. With the Internet as your potential customer base, the opportunities are endless for marketing and finding clients. Here are some home-based service options.Virtual assisting has taken off in a big way in the last ten years. Using a computer, fax machine, telephone, and Internet access, you can perform various administrative duties for large and small companies. You are paid for the work that you do so there is no extra charge for the company. Virtual assisting skills run from transcription to accounting to managing email and company websites.Transcription by itself can be a profitable venture. Medical offices and businesspeople are always in need of someone to transcribe their audio or video files. It is far easier and less time consuming to record an interview or dictate a medical procedure. Your job will be to turn that file into a document for patient charts and online use by various businesses.Ghostwriting is the process of writing articles, novels, eBooks and more for an individual or a company. Using your writing talent, you can make a lot of money creating literary works (print and electronic) for others who need them.Getting started tipsThere are considerations before beginning any type of business even a home-based one.1. Check out the local laws for registering and zoning a home business. Most home businesses require no zoning issues unless you will be meeting clients in your home and posting signs in the yard.2. Small business tax laws. Now that you are a business, you are subject to different tax exemptions, deductions and payments. Sites like irs.gov can give you the information you need.3. Set up a separate work space at home. This could be as simple as using a spare bedroom or den with a door to keep your work separate. If you rely on the telephone a separate phone line can be added. When a workshop is needed, consider using a garage or purchasing a large outbuilding.4. Use on and offline marketing methods to find clients. This includes: viral marketing, newspaper and Yellow Pages ads, flyers and direct mailings, email marketing, article marketing, setting up a website and etcetera.5. Create a schedule to divide time between work and family. Balancing both is hard. Scheduling time and sticking to it means more gets done and no one is slighted.A home-based service business is an alternative for people who want to know entrepreneurship without spending a lot in upfront costs. If you have a talent and can meet a need, consider a home-based business.Changa G.