3 social media trends to know for 2018

3 social media trends to know for 2018

As a small business owner, you have to focus on the present, but also be mindful of the future. Staying in the know will put you in a much better position to capitalize as we head into 2018. Marketing is no exception. Here are three social media trends you should keep in mind: 1. Chatbots are here and you need to learn how to use them. The days of customer service hotlines are fading. Consumers demand instant responses and social media is often the venue of choice. Chatbots allow you to interact instantly and provide a higher level of customer service. Considering incorporating them into your social media management and website interface. 2. Mobile is king in the social media eco-system. Mobile is a way of life today. People use their smartphones, iPads and other devices more than desktops for news and entertainment. Therefore the content you post on social media needs to take that interface into account. The trend of mobile use dominating social media is only going to increase, so you best direct your resources there. 3. Video content is exploding. When done right, there isn’t a bigger bang for your social media marketing dollar. There’s a reason giants like Instagram and Facebook are touting their video capabilities. It won’t be long before video is the leading type of content on the web. Businesses that know how to pivot and tell their story through video content will experience much better social media success than those who do not. If you’re having trouble keeping up with marketing trends, remember we are here to...
Cut the clutter: Why you should ditch jargon

Cut the clutter: Why you should ditch jargon

Jargon is so common that it’s hard to differentiate this language from plain English. Just read a few business articles and you’ll come to the same conclusion. The project has been greenlighted. Let’s put this topic in the parking lot. Close the loop. Paradigm shift. These are some examples of jargon in the modern corporate vernacular. While some might think peppering an article with buzzwords can help their cause, the fact remains that it’s actually a hindrance. Why? Language is supposed to connect. The words you choose when addressing a team member or prospective client could cost you business. Jargon can be an unintentional form of obfuscation. You might lose the reader before you even break through the surface–and that’s a shame. Words can build trust and credibility. Relationships are formed when people feel like they can relate to other people or brand personas. However, when you use jargon, you run the risk of making people feel dumb because they can’t follow your message. And no one wants to feel like their intelligence is being insulted. This is counterproductive to rapport building. Bear in mind that simplicity in language does not have to mean your brand is unsophisticated. You can skip the jargon and still come across as professional. Professionalism comes from a place of confidence and experience. Jargon can come across as over-compensating for a weakness. You have a strong brand, so why detract from it with language that only adds clutter? Remember: You’re doing business with people. Write for real people in everyday prose and you’re sure to hit a home...
The most successful business owners do this thing

The most successful business owners do this thing

In an age of social media, it’s easy to forget about the human factor. Sure, emails, texts, and Facebook messages can be convenient, but we lose a great deal in the process. There is still a great value in the ol’ face-to-face meeting. If you’re not meeting other business owners in person, you can count on the fact you’re selling yourself (and your business) short. Sure, we’ve all got a mountain of work to do. Even so, if we don’t make the effort, our business will pay the price. There’s a maxim that it’s not who you know, but what you know–and that statement no doubt applies to the business world. The days and months go by–and before we know it, we’re in danger of losing that valuable connection we currently have to our fellow business owner. Relationships require ongoing nurturing and maintenance to flourish into something with relational substance. You might know this intuitively, but it can be hard to put into practice. One of the more onerous burdens business owners face is the age-old question of how best to use one’s time. Don’t be driven by temporary gains at the risk of stunting your long-term progress. Think strategically and craft a networking plan that includes consistent face time opportunities. For small businesses, the business owner is often the most critical player, because business owners forge connections with other business owners, not their support staff It all begins with scheduling these opportunities and making it happen. So grab a pencil and mark the...
How your business can stand out from the crowd

How your business can stand out from the crowd

Every month, entrepreneurs launch thousands of businesses in the United States. But without a point or points of difference, they are set up for failure. Whether you have been in business for five months or five years, you have to maintain a value proposition. What does your business offer that others cannot? What pain points can you address? If you don’t have good answers to these questions, now is the time for some introspection. Here are four tips from the best to stand out in the competitive landscape: 1. Study the best. Look no further than your local market for companies that do a good job of differentiating themselves. They don’t have to be your competitors or even in the same industry. What matters is that they are capturing significant market share. Take Starbucks, for example. They are a leader in the industry because they offer a consistent experience and comfortable atmosphere. 2. Think benefits, not features. This is sales 101. Consumers don’t really care about X or Y feature. Instead they want to know how your dog walking service can save people time and allow for more time with their family. 3. Get emotional. People are often motivated by emotional or gut feelings. Though logic enters into the equation, ultimately they are compelled by a visceral drive. For example, if you are a personal trainer, you can tap into peoples’ desire to look and feel better. 4. Explore motivations. Why do people choose you over a competitor? You might conduct customer surveys and polls to glean this insight. Keep your eyes and ears open and tune into social...
What does it take to be the next Uber?

What does it take to be the next Uber?

One trend that has dominated the modern marketplace in the last five years in the “sharing economy.” It seems new ventures pop up every day, with a goal of eliminating the middle man and empowering the consumer. Uber is just one example. In many American cities, the service is a viable alternative to taxi cabs. Giant Airbnb is a service that connects consumers looking for accommodations with home owners. What do these successes mean to you? Here’s what business owners in any niche can glean from their wins: Speed matters. Uber is always looking for ways to maximize the customer experience. Technology is one answer to that. Although costly at times, an upfront investment can mean residual returns. Customers today want what they want faster and easier. Are you set up to meet their expectations? Lead with trust. Trust is the currency of the sharing economy. This can be a tall order at times, because such companies like Uber simply act as a third party and do not deliver the service. As the business owner, however, you can exercise more control over the deliverable. Your business is only as good as your employees. Do they trust you and believe in your vision? Rewarding and motivating them can go a long way. Put community first. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have mastered the art of grassroots marketing. They maintain a consistent feedback loop between buyers and sellers. You can get plugged in, in your own right. Start by using social media sites at your disposal and monitor what people are saying about your brand—good, bad and indifferent. Truly engage in...
3 ways to foster workplace diversity

3 ways to foster workplace diversity

Diversity should be more than a buzzword at your organization. Not only is it the right thing to do, fostering a culture of diversity can do wonders for your bottom line. Why? When people feel at ease and can express themselves in an authentic way, they are more likely to perform better, which increases engagement and benefits the organization as a whole. If your organization doesn’t have a diversity initiative, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are three actionable steps you can take to achieve this end: 1. Start from the top Executive leadership sets the tone. To that end, senior leaders need to have a desire to build a diverse culture and hire people who are open to working with people of all different nationalities, skin colors, genders, sexual orientations, etc. If diversity is not a company goal, it just won’t happen. People tend to hire those who look like them, resulting in a homogeneous workforce. Without policies and tactics in place, your workforce will look the same and you’ll miss out on other potentially beneficial viewpoints. 2. Provide safe spaces for employees Something as simple as making bathrooms available for transgender and gender non-conforming employees can go along way in the workplace. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Unisex bathrooms are one way to address this. On a broader level, there’s a lot you can do in the way of encouraging employees to interact with each other beyond their normal course of activity. For example, lunch and learns, after hours mixers and company picnics are great ways to get people talking. When...