social media

Getting Social Media Buzzing With Talk Of Your Brand

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Social networking sites are expanding rapidly all over the world and brands that don’t use them in some form could find that they fall behind their rivals. Social media not only provides a way for companies to engage with their customer base, companies can also use the medium to attract new customers and reach new audiences.

To put ‘social’ into context, in the UK alone there are over 33 million members of Facebook, over ten million on Twitter and one in every six internet page views in the UK is to a Facebook page. In total 60 per cent of all adult internet users have their own social networking profile and one in three of those visit their page more than once a day.

Getting Social Media Buzzing With Talk Of Your Brand

Don’t Just Focus on One or Two Sites

If you’re going to be joining the social media revolution then be sure that you don’t just spend time on one or two of the most popular sites. You might think you’re doing a good job by joining Facebook and Twitter, but in reality you are missing out on plenty of other options as well. Pinterest, for example, allows you to post and tag images for others to view. A retailer could, for example, ‘pin’ images of new products to the site.

Engage with People and Other Brands

Being on social media is one thing, using it in the correct way is something completely different. You can’t just have a presence on it and think you can use at as a way to talk to your friends. The moniker of social media isn’t something that you should take literally. At all times you need to be engaging with your followers, bearing in mind your aim is to raise brand awareness, reach new customers and ultimately generate more sales.

Choose who you follow wisely and try to be as helpful as possible to your followers. You could use social media to highlight new products and services. Many companies use social media to run competitions or promote sales incentives such as exclusive coupon codes or gifts with purchase. For example, you could offer promotional products such as t-shirts emblazoned with your brand to the first 100 people that ‘Like’ you on Facebook.

Show your Expertise

Social media is not just a place in which to engage with potential customers and other brands, it also gives you a chance to flex your muscles and show how much of an expert you are in your chosen field. Post comments on recent industry developments or changes in legislation. Invite technical questions from your followers that can be shared. As your reputation grows, other sites will link to your social media profiles, as well as your main website, which in turn should generate more visitors and help search engine optimisation.

Website Applications Improved Through The Cloud

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Having fast application speeds isn’t just a bonus for today’s customer—it’s absolutely vital. Customers expect your applications to perform at a level that’s comparable to what they’re used to. If yours don’t meet their expectations, they can easily find an alternative that does. Taking advantage of the cloud is one affordable solution that small businesses have embraced to improve Web applications and step ahead of the competition.

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How it Works

For those who don’t know much about the technology involved, it’s worth offering a brief explanation of exactly how cloud computing functions. Local, in-house computers no longer have to be your sole operation systems. With the cloud, an entire network of computers orchestrates the running of your applications, offering better reliability and speed. The user only needs the cloud computing system’s interface software, typically just a Web browser, and your cloud’s network handles everything from there.

Benefits for your Brand

Businesses often forget that their brand image doesn’t just stop at the marketing campaign. One of the best ways to attract and maintain customers is by simply offering good service. Of course, this alone isn’t exactly the best business strategy, but service can often speak louder than social media. Faster services equal a positive brand image and sends the message that your company is innovative and on the cutting edge of modern technology.

What about Security?

With headlines about hacking and information lost due to server failures, it would be negligent not to ask questions about the security of cloud computing. According to CTO and cloud expert David Grimes, “Cloud computing is as secure as other forms of computing.” Cloud systems can be both public and private configurations, the latter of which eliminates many questions about security. They also offer security in the nature of their construction. If a physical computer fails, the virtual machine can automatically restart on another physical computer within a short time frame. This ensures resilience and reliable access to your important information.

Ahead of the Game

PC Mag contributor Samara Lynn claims it’s a myth that small businesses are flocking to the cloud. She cites a business survey conducted by Brother that revealed 42 percent of small business owners aren’t using the cloud for their business. Of course, this also means that the majority of small business owners are, in fact, using the cloud, just not for that specific purpose. However, adapting to this trend would put your business further ahead of the substantial 42 percent that simply makes do without the cloud. Since customers expect faster, better and more reliable services, this could give you a significant edge over the competition.

Taking Advantage of the Improvements

With its ongoing acceptance throughout the IT community, cloud computing is on its way to being the undisputed champion of today’s computing systems. Cloud databases offer efficiency that can’t be beat and at a cost that’s viable for small businesses on a budget. Because technology evolves at such a fast rate, it’s especially important not to delay when keeping up with new trends. Innovation often works by building off of the inventions and technologies of the past, so keeping up with current tech developments ensures a smoother transition into future progress.

Trim Your Budget With The Cloud

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What’s the primary trait shared by all successful companies? Positive cash flow. Admittedly, that’s a lousy answer. Still, companies that manage to provide products or services for less than customers pay will stick around. That’s the tricky part, though. There are only two basic ways to do that: charge more or spend less. You can’t keep raising your prices whenever your profit margins slip, so you have to find ways to trim your budget, making your business leaner and more efficient. Fortunately, cloud computing provides five easy ways to do just that.

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No Hardware

Buying, maintaining and upgrading physical servers can quickly eat up an IT budget. Even if your business is too small to need racks of servers, just one file server can cost thousands of dollars. Enter cloud computing. With no initial investment, you can deploy any type of server you need.

Dynamic Resources

The biggest benefit cloud computing offers e-commerce businesses — and any other field with predictable ebbs and flows in sales — is the ability to dynamically scale servers. Gone are the days when a company had to maintain spare capacity in its servers in case users began flooding the website. Now, when there’s a traffic spike or a lull, cloud hosting clients can scale back resources, saving money by only paying for capacity currently in use.

Reduced Staffing

The monthly fee your company pays for its cloud services covers the costs of maintenance and hardware upgrades. That frees up more money for expanding the business’s product line or increasing customer support staff. IT staff employees are expensive, because they’re so valuable and a necessary part of any company with in-house servers. With cloud computing, however, you’re paying for a small portion of the host’s staff and are effectively splitting the cost with the cloud host’s other clients.

Increased Resilience

Cloud hosts often have multiple physical data centers in geographically distant locations. The host mirrors client data at multiple sites, so if there’s an outage, disaster or server failure, your server will be back up and running quickly, often within just a few minutes.

Backup Services

Even if you’re not using cloud hosting or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), your business can benefit from cloud backup. Decades ago, when companies backed up their files locally onto reels of magnetic tape, IT departments made sure to keep full copies of all data off-site. By doing so, they mitigated the risk of fire, natural disasters or a costly mistake. If anything happened to the local data, someone could retrieve the tapes and restore everything. Now that the cloud’s available, nobody has to haul around physical storage or spend hours overseeing the backup process. Instead, businesses can store data on cloud servers and access it at any time.

In order to keep your business competitive, you must find ways to reduce your expenses without reducing the quality of your infrastructure. By subscribing to whatever cloud service meets your needs, you can maintain an inexpensive, flexible, robust infrastructure and focus more on your primary business goals than whether to hire a new server administrator.

How to Launch a Social Media Marketing Campaign

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socialmediapassionEngaging your customers in a way that makes them feel welcome has always been a good way for small businesses to build a loyal following. Before big-box retailers and business-to-consumer websites existed, people frequented local businesses, where the owners were their neighbors and part of the community. They not only bought products, they developed social relationships with business owners.

Fast-forward to the current way business is conducted, and you will see more and more small businesses developing a strong presence on the Internet. Whether you have a small Internet-based business or operate a brick-and-mortar store in the middle of your town, you need to be online and use social media to stay competitive.

Why it Matters

No longer is social media just a place for kids to hang out online with their friends. After the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey about Internet usage. The survey revealed that in December, 67 percent of all adults who go online use social networking sites. With literally billions of people around the world using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and numerous other social sites, businesses need to incorporate social media into their marketing plans.

How to Get Started

You may already have a website where customers and potential customers can go to find out about your company and the products or services you offer. As every Internet marketing guru will tell you, your website must always be fluid. If you want people to come back, you need to add fresh content, and blogging is a great way to do that. Once you have some good content, you can link to it on social media sites and drive traffic to your website.

Not everyone is comfortable venturing into new territory, so if you’re unsure about how to promote your business online, get help creating your social media marketing campaign.

Find your Target Audience

One of the mistakes that you can make when getting started with a social media campaign is to try and be all things to everybody. That is impossible. Even a huge company like Disney knows that its focus must be on families with young children – why waste time marketing to people who are not interested in what you’re selling?

Do some demographic research to find out where your target audience hangs out online. Then develop content that will appeal to that audience, and start building a following.

Engage in Conversations with Potential Customers

Everyone wants to feel like they are important, so find a way to interact with the public. Stimulate conversation by posting a quiz about a service or product you provide. Use surveys and allow people to post their comments and opinions. It is important that you have someone continue the conversation and post results of surveys. Customers are usually happy to offer feedback, and they’re even happier when they know you’re listening to what they have to say.

Connect your Social Media Channels

Make sure that you connect your website to your social media channels with links in both directions. Social media allows you to reach a large number of people with very little expense. With practice, you will discover what works best for you and build a following of people who are likely to become customers.

Print is Not Dead…Totally

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Though we live in a technologically-based environment, print media is still an important part in our day-to-day lives. Contrary to popular belief, print media is not dead, well, at least not yet anyway. Because it is still alive, there is no reason why you, a small business owner, cannot take advantage of print media advertising.

As a small business owner you are aware of the struggles and concerns for ensuring your business is a success. It costs money to properly utilize online advertising and hiring social media networkers to run the online part of your business. Because print media is not as popular any more, it is still one of the more cost effective methods for advertising a small business to the local community.

Types

There are many different types of printing services you can use to promote your small business. These include flyers, doorknob hangers, business cards and newspaper ads. All of these mediums are effective when they are delivered to the right people. Flyers can be hung on billboards at stores, in community centers and at parks throughout town. They can also be left on car windshields during a big event in the community. Door hangers can be hung throughout the community on front doors or on mailboxes. Business cards can be left everywhere you go, including stores, restaurants and offices.

Needs

Find out what the community needs from your business. Ask yourself what you can offer residents that they truly need, not just what theywant. Discover if certain areas of your community need your products and services. Do this by asking your customers where they live or conducting a survey in various neighborhoods in the community. This will tell you where to concentrate your print advertising efforts.

Business to Business

Go to other local businesses and offer a swap advertising plan. This is where you offer to have flyers and business cards posted in your place of business in exchange for them to do the same with yours. Go around town introducing yourself to other business owners and make a connection with them. Do not solicit other businesses, offer them a networking option with your business. This works great, especially if the products and services you offer complement those in a neighboring business.

Enhance the Online Presence

Print media can be used in conjunction with your online marketing endeavours. Think of print media as another way to get the word out about your Facebook page or website address. Print these locations on all of your print media advertising, especially on your business cards. Make it your mission to get your printed materials in the hands of everyone who comes within five feet of you and your business.

As you can see, print media is not quite dead yet and until it does die, there is no reason why you cannot take full advantage of its potential. Making print ads and delivering them to the right people in your community will help get the word out about your business and drive those new customers to your store. If you already have an online presence, this is another way to also drive customers to your website, where they will turn into loyal customers.

 

7 Tips for Successfully Using Social Media to Market Your Ecommerce Site

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Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for your ecommerce business, but perhaps not in the way you’d naturally imagine. Correct use of social media requires some specific considerations, if you want to attract people rather than turn them off. Successful social media marketing for ecommerce is a game all its own.

Know your statistics. This is tantamount to coming up with a successful social media marketing strategy. Statistically, less than 30 percent of social media users shop through their social networks. However, more than 50 percent of those people use their social media every single day for other purposes like socialization and communication. Given this data, it is plain to see that your marketing efforts should be focused on communication, rather than sales. Read More

Social Media is a Proven Tool for Ecommerce Sites: So What Are You Waiting For?

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If you are an Internet entrepreneur, then you are already well aware of the power and influence of the online community when it comes to your business’ success (or lack thereof). Therefore, you simply cannot afford to overlook any of the ways in which the Internet can be used to your advantage, and that means you should be developing your social media presence. If you are still a stranger to the ways in which social media can be a powerful tool for the betterment of your ecommerce site, then the time to get in the know is now.

Need some convincing? If so, just check out the impressive numbers of a big-time online retailer that has used social media to its advantage. Fab.com is a virtual store that specializes in “everyday design” items (basically, you can find everything from refurbished vintage typewriters to pug-faced t-shirts on this massively popular site). Read More