Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ category

Beat Writer’s Block with These 5 Blog Topics

April 14th, 2015

If you’ve got a business, you know how important a blog can be for your website. However, you also know how easy it is to get stuck in a rut. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, here are a few blogging topic ideas to get your ideas flowing.

5_Blog_Topics_to_Beat_Writer's_Block

Compile the Best Resources

Do you know the very best place to purchase raw cacao powder? Have some intel on where to find spectacular WordPress plugins? Don’t keep that knowledge to yourself- let your readers get in on the joy.

Answer Frequently Asked Questions

Collaborate with your customer support team to get an idea of the most commonly asked questions. Look through industry-related forum posts and your social media comments to get even more inspiration. Your readers will appreciate being able to easily find what they’re looking for, and you will be a hero!

Announcement Time!

Don’t be shy if you’re excited about something. Have an upcoming promo, a website revamp, or new staff joining the team? Allow others to share your successes with you.

Dare to Compare

When on the lookout for the best new product, customers love to compare. Create a pro and con lists, list specs side by side, and give a summary of your thoughts on each product. Let the product face-off begin!

Double Dip with Video Uploads

Have you just created an awesome video? Go ahead and embed the video in a blog post. Write some text before and after the video to add some context or behind-the-scenes insight.

Maintaining a blog for your business is a great way to offer advice or value to your customers. In addition, you can promote your business, bring traffic to your website, and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Don’t let a case of writer’s block stop you- go forth and blog! Let us know how it goes.

Is “Coupon” a Dirty Word?

July 17th, 2014

If you have a business or eCommerce site, you might be tempted to jump onto the coupon-code bandwagon. Is it worth turning to promo codes, online coupons, and deal sites to attract sales, or will they crush the longevity of your business? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

coupon_dirty_word

PROS:

In Line with Consumer Behaviour

Online shoppers like to do their research. They like to compare prices and search around for great deals. They especially love the thrill of the hunt, and tracking down a promo code can make them feel especially victorious.

Increase Customer Loyalty

Rewarding fans and customers with exclusive codes can increase loyalty. Instead of offering coupon codes to the public, you can try offering them only to Facebook followers, or send customers a code for their next purchase after checking out. Randomly surprising select customers with 20% off their next purchase and a note of appreciation can make them love you even more.

Customers View Coupon Codes as a Limited-Time Only Deal

Customers view coupons as a temporary special offer rather than a permanent discount. Because of this, withdrawing a code or ending a deal will not likely have a negative impact on sales.

Attract New Customers

Potential customers who are sitting on the fence about trying your products might be enticed by the right deal. If your product offers value to customers and has high potential for repeat business, a coupon code can be very helpful.

Prompt Others to Spread the Love

Many customers are more willing to “like” or write about a post on social networking sites like Facebook if they were offered a deal. Make some social media savvy customers happy, and they’ll pass that joy right along to you.

 

CONS:

Calculate the acquisition cost!

Be sure to calculate the cost of acquiring new customers through heavy discounts. Don’t let your website get buried by deal sites – understand your business and assess whether offering discounts is sustainable and will have long term benefits for your business.

Diminish Product Value

Coupon codes can diminish the value of your product. Make sure that codes are not offered too frequently and that they don’t “cheapen” your brand. Ensure that your prime business strategy is not based on discounted goods if you want to build a sustainable business.

Will Coupon Users Turn Into Long-Term Buyers? 

Think about your business and what it offers. Will customers want to come back again or does your business offer a good that only needs to be purchased once in a lifetime? Remember to consider the audience your coupon code will attract, and determine whether this is beneficial for your business in the long run.

Disrupt the Checkout Process

Customers who see a coupon code field in the checkout might be prompted to leave your site and go hunting for a code online. This might disrupt the checkout process or cause customers to change their minds altogether. One helpful solution? To stop triggering customers from going off on a coupon-finding expedition, try labeling the field as “Gift Card Code” instead of using terms such as “Discount Code” or “Promo Code.”

So what’s the verdict? Do we say Yay or Nay to coupon codes? All we can say is this: coupon codes can be a great way to spread the word about your business, but business owners need to think deeply about the long term effects of offering them.

Choosing the Right Social Media Network for Your Business (Part 2)

December 18th, 2013

In our last blog post, we pointed out some pros and cons of some of the most popular social media networks. In part 2 of our social media series, we’re going to focus on more media and image-centric networks!

youtube_logoIt’s the largest video sharing website around, but is it worth it to get your own channel?

Why you should join:

  • YouTube offers great ways to engage your clients through creative means. Showcase your products, offer tutorials, or make funny videos that can go viral!
  • YouTube is owned by Google, so the potential for your videos to appear high in the search engine results is huge.

Why you should pass:

  • Producing videos can be a time consuming venture. Do you have the resources (time, money, ideas, team) to create compelling video content? Make sure you’ll be able to maintain an active presence.
  • What are the benefits of producing videos for your business? Think about the kinds of videos that can engage your clients before you get started.

pinterest_logoWe’ve moved into a visual culture, and Pinterest is one of the best ways to introduce your products through images.

Why you should join:

  • There is huge potential for your content to be reshared over and over again.
  • Images are fun to look at, and they grab attention quickly.
  • This is especially useful for retailers and restaurant owners – if you can tempt your clients with beautiful pictures of your products, Pinterest is worth it!

Why you should pass:

  • If you don’t have interesting visual content, there won’t be much to gain from using this social networking site.
  • Currently Pinterest is very female-driven, so think about your target audience. However, don’t let this point deter you too much: this is quickly changing.

tumblr_logoAnother microblogging site that focuses on both image and text.

Why you should join:

  • Like Pinterest, Tumblr is very image-centric. There are some more options with Tumblr though – you can write short articles and have a bit more control over how your page looks. You can also add video and sound!
  • Tumblr is becoming more and more popular for Fashion and broadcast media.
  • Very mobile-friendly!

Why you should pass:

  • Again, before you get started with Tumblr, make sure you have stunning visual content to share.
  • Tumblr users tend to be in the younger age range – from 20s to 30s, so keep in mind whether your business would benefit from catering to this audience.

Instagram_logo

Speaking of images, don’t forget Instagram, that hip photosharing program that you can download as an app on your smartphone.

Why you should join:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of Instagram for your business – it’s a unique way to use social networking.
  • It’s the way to go if you want to give off that casual, approachable, and down-to-earth vibe.
  • Another bonus: You can choose fun filters to spruce up your images! You’ll feel like a cool indie blogger instantly.

Why you should pass:

  • If you’re not planning to use your smartphone, it’s too much of a hassle to maintain your Instagram account.
  • Think about the kind of business image you want to maintain: if you want to remain strictly professional, Instagram might not be the program for you.

Conclusion:

There are a plethora of benefits to getting your business on a social media network. Before you get started, however, be sure to consider your target audience, your brand, and whether you’ll have the resources to keep active on whatever network you choose. Happy networking!

Any comments? Leave ’em below, we’d love to know what you think.

Choosing the Right Social Media Network for Your Business (Part 1)

December 11th, 2013

It’s not really a secret that social media networking is becoming an essential marketing strategy for your business. If you’re not on a social network, there’s a lot to miss out on: word-of-mouth marketing, increased consumer trust, brand building, and real communication between you and your customers.

While it can be tempting to quickly sign up for the all the social networking sites you hear about, it would be much more valuable to concentrate your efforts on a select few. This way, you can provide quality content and be able to have a more meaningful connection with your followers.

Here’s our guide to help you choose which social media networks are right for you:

facebook-logo

Good Ol’ Zuckerberg has done well for himself, as Facebook is currently the most prominent social media network on the web.

Why you should join: 

  • It has an estimated active user base of over a billion people: needless to say, Facebook is popular. You won’t get lonely.
  • Facebook offers great ways to connect with your followers, as they can comment on your posts, post up a review of your business, and “Like” your content.
  • The “Word of mouth” marketing potential is sky high, as you and your content can be shared, posted on other Facebook sites, tagged, etc.

Why you should pass:

  • A Facebook business page will take a lot of upkeep. Be prepared to post content often and reply to your followers. It really is a “social” networking site.
  • Also, be prepared to adapt to the constant website changes, as the Facebook functions, features and policies are updated quite often.

twitter-logo

Can you say something interesting in 140 characters or less? If the answer is yes, this mini-blogging site is perfect for you.

Why you should join:

  • Your posts can easily be “retweeted” to spread the word about your business.
  • The “hashtags” are a great way to keep up with popular trends and topics (believe it or not: “hashtags” are NOT doing great on Facebook. So, keep it on Twitter. Check out this article).

Why you should pass:

  • Like with Facebook, if you’re not ready to communicate with your followers, Twitter is not the best platform for you.
  • Make sure you’ll be able to come up with compelling posts on a regular basis.

google-plus-logoWhile you might not know it, Google+ is quickly rising in popularity.

Why you should join:

  • Three letters: SEO. Google+ is, obviously, owned by Google, and this can mean AMAZING search engine results for your business. It might be worth your while to join the network for this advantage alone.
  • You can easily provide contact information for your local customers.
  • Being able to link you business to Google Maps will let your visitors find you easily.

Why you should pass:

  • It’s debatable how “active” the Google+ network currently is, and how often users actually use the network to share information and communicate. Many users join just to boost their SEO rather than to really connect with others. However, there are many predictions that activity levels will soon rise and surpass that of Facebook because of the many advantages of Google+ (e.g. support of animated GIF images) and its increased ease of use.

linkedin-logoLinkedIn is the social networking site wearing the suit and tie. It’s the largest social media network for business professionals, and is currently becoming more popular for business pages.

Why you should join:

  • The “LinkedIn” group is a way for professionals to connect and discuss industry topics.
  • This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert.

Why you should pass:

  • Be prepared to take on a more professional tone with this one. Note that most people using this network are business people and professionals. While LinkedIn is a great place to find professional connections, it won’t give you an audience that’s as varied as you might like.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our social media series, where we’ll highlight pros and cons for more image/media-centric social media networks, such as YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram! Any thoughts? Leave us a comment!

Why You Need a Blog NOW (and 8 essential tips to keep it growing)

September 23rd, 2013

blogging_tips

You’ve heard it before, you’ve thought it over, or maybe it’s on your to-do list: you need a blog.

Especially if you have a business, blogging is one of the best (and affordable!) ways to brand yourself, build an online reputation, network, and attract an audience. By constantly creating new and compelling content, you can increase the number of visitors to your company site and drive your website traffic up. Even more, once your blog picks up speed, it’s a great way to connect and have an open dialog with customers and business contacts.

But despite all of these advantages to having a blog, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to have success. We’ve written a list of essential tips to start a blog and keep it flourishing.

1) Start Small

While it can be tempting to imagine yourself at the helm of the next Mashable or Buzzfeed, constantly spitting out nuggets of quotable wisdom,  it’s often difficult to find time to even write a single post. Start with small, manageable goals that you can realistically meet. For example, aim for one blog entry a week and stick to that consistently. The key is to routinely add new content so that writing becomes a habit, and readers trust that they can come back to find updated content.

2) Make posts “skimmable”

Readers often scan a blog article first before they commit to reading the entire post. Long paragraphs and small type can be intimidating and frustrating to read. Consider using lists, spacing, bullet points, and clear sub-titles to invite your reader.

3) Write for your readers

Just like that loudmouth at the party who continually spouts off abut themselves or provides unwanted lectures, people will tune out if you provide irrelevant or useless content. While it’s important to be passionate about what you’re writing about, don’t blog just to have your voice heard. Think about what your customers need and want to read about. Consider looking through popular blogs to find what’s missing from the blogosphere, or mine your comments and customer feedback for ideas. Above all, DON’T write for search engines – it is much more valuable for your readers to share your content and come back for more.

4) Include images

Visuals can help demonstrate a point, add flavour to your post, and make your article easier to digest. You can check out our blog post for some great places to find free and premium stock images.

5) Be engaged in the conversation

One of the unique aspects of blogging as opposed to other marketing tactics is the ability to personally connect with your audience. Blogging is a communication medium – take advantage of it!

6) Share

If you have Facebook, Twitter, Digg it, or other social media accounts, don’t be afraid to include a link to your newly written blog! Similarly, include social media sharing buttons on your blog so that your visitors can help you spread your content. Consider adding floating buttons alongside your article, or check out ClickToTweet where you can easily let readers retweet a line or two!

7) Start or seek out blog carnivals

Yes, these exist! A blog carnival is a collection of blogs that have been compiled on a certain subject. This is a great way to promote your blog and get informed about similar bloggers.

8) Guest post

Once you’ve built up a reasonable collection of articles, you can establish yourself as an “expert” by posting for other blogs. This can expose you to a new audience and build your credibility.

Conclusion

For business owners, blogging is one of the most effective ways market yourself, draw an audience, and maintain relevancy. While starting and maintaining a blog can seem daunting, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. The key is to remember to keep realistic goals and aim to provide useful content for your readers. We’ll be compiling a list of blog topic suggestions for whenever you get stuck for an idea, so stay tuned!