There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has added even more challenges to small business. These challenges are pushing for a change in how small businesses operate, market, and connect themselves with their current and potential customers. The pandemic has put more pressure on the smallest business owners to digitise manual activities.
After identifying the problem of time consumption with manual activities, Write in Danderyd launched the project Digital transformation in the smallest business that will focus on uncovering the secrets of an easier everyday life as a smallest business owner - those of us working as consultants, coaches and running businesses with few or no employees.
The purpose of the research project is to find out what tools or processes will save business owners time and money by transforming manual activities into digital and automated ones; to simplify your everyday life as a business owner.
We will look at which processes and tools are trending and which ones are recommended to simplify your business life. The outcomes of the project, including tips that can be easily implemented, will be reported on Write in Danderyd’s website blog, by email (so make sure you are on our list!) and directly to clients by the team.
Follow Nellie on this journey and don't hesitate to share your thoughts - positive and not-so-positive - in the comments below. Alternatively, get in touch with us here.
We see a lot of small businesses trying to market on social media. Creating great content and posting it, only for it to be pretty well ignored.
If you have done any of our courses, you'll know we go on (and on...) about posting being no more than 20% of the job. The other 80% contains engagement and marketing building (getting more of the right kind of followers to read and react to your posts).
Social media marketing is not for the faint hearted. Each social media portal is one channel and needs a marketing campaign with all its elements to make it a success. Plus a lot of time and effort.
Hiring someone 'young' to manage your social media is not sensible.
Neither is hiring a social media manager without checking that they are properly qualified - that means education (preferably marketing and not just social media) and experience that shows they can build leads or sales for a client.
Using a posting system, like Buffer, Hootsuite or Later, helps you post a little faster and a little easier. It does not help you market your business.
Social media marketing is marketing just the same. It needs to fit properly into the buying journey your potential clients/customers take and it needs to directly move them one or more steps closer to the buying decision. If it doesn't, it is a waste of time.
Does social media really fit in your potential clients/customers' business journey?
If you aren't getting sales from your social media efforts - saying that it is 'brand awareness' doesn't count - brand awareness is a step at the beginning of the process and should still add sales at the end of the process, if it is working - or you aren't sure social media is where your target market is looking for your service/product, get in touch with us and we'll work it out with you.
If you are marketing on social media, here is our take on doing it yourself versus using us. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of it.
As the real world changes, the online world does too. More than half the entire world population uses social media and its use increased as people started to get stuck at home.
This poses a dilemma for small business owners.
On the one hand, not 'wasting' money on marketing while businesses are closed, sales can't happen and income is so uncertain seems sensible. On the other hand, others see the value in remaining visible and protecting future sales.
There are also those who have, in a positive way, taken advantage of the crisis to reach out to their target market and ask for their support through this period.
Market forces usually keep the playing field somewhat level and that's been true in the healthy economic climate we have benefited from for years, up to January this year. Now it has now been shaken to pieces.
While saving money is sensible in a down period, being invisible isn't. Companies that best survive in recessions are those that market through it and therefore get sales as soon as recovery starts. It can be fatal for a company to ignore the competition's activities and lose their market share.
If you have been busy surviving and marketing has had to take a back seat (or been left behind), here are some things to think about:
There are various cost-effective areas you can use to reach out to your target market:
If this feels overwhelming or you don't have time to do this yourself, reach out to us. We have two ways that we can help you:
A garden services client of ours also sells Christmas trees. We run a social media marketing campaign for them each November and December, building up awareness and sales of the trees and helping fuel bookings coming in at the end of the winter.
Whatever size and type of business you have, if you need help marketing it and want to grow your sales, get in touch with us.
I had an amazing opportunity a few weeks ago to work with six small and hobby business owners on getting more clients using social media. Ahead of the next sessions that are tomorrow, I want to share with you some key ideas:
1. How many times does a potential client need to come into contact with your product/business/message before they decide to buy something from you?
What do you think of this answer?
As a huge generalisation because, of course, all businesses are different, general marketing theory goes with the rule of seven – your message should be seen seven times before a potential customer will buy. Google apparently says this is now more like ten times because consumers use the internet to search for corroborating evidence that you and your product are as great as you say they are.
This means that your message needs to reach the SAME PERSON ten times. That every potential customer needs to see your message ten times. At least.
Whichever number you think truly fits your business and your target customers, it takes time and marketing energy to achieve that many contacts with each person.
What can you do about this?
2. Cheat! Wait, what? No. Talk.
The best way to skip a few of those contact steps is to talk to your potential clients – not AT them mind you but TO them. Pick a few and have a chat.
By starting a connection, you build a bridge between your business and your potential customer that hugely increases the likelihood that they make it through the seven, ten or even twenty contacts they need to go through to buy.
Yes, I am away that this takes time and energy. I know that, I do it for our businesses. That is how I know for sure that it works! You are in business for the long-haul, right?
How does this fit in with all the photos you are putting on Instagram, the blog posts that you are sure you are supposed to be writing, the Facebook page you have but isn’t doing a lot by itself? All of that comes under ‘content marketing’ – a very effective way of using social media BUT for it to work, you have to get people to look at your page/profile/posts…
3. Is there anybody out there?
Honestly, no, probably not. At least, not hanging out on your Facebook page waiting for you to post something. You have to go and find them.
We cover everything you need to know about ‘content marketing’ in our sessions starting next week (click here for details) – including what, how and when to post.
In the meantime, get talking. Or if you are stuck, join us at this session tomorrow!
Here is our eBook on the topic too, from our sister company, My Own Marketing Coach:
Instagram has just rolled out a new feature - you can now add up to 10 photos and video in one post.
To get the update, you might need to reinstall the app (we did). Then, when you want to upload to your Instagram feed:
1. Click to add a photo/video
2. Click on 'select multiple'
3. Tap or hold to change the order
4. Add filters if you want
5. You can like or comment on each photo just like Facebook
6. When you now see the blue buttons on the bottom of an image appear this means you can scroll to see all the images/video.
We'll be working on it for Life in Danderyd tomorrow (www.instagram.com/LifeinDanderyd). How will you use it for your business? Let us know so we can check it out when you have!
You told us that you'd like a few hours with us, working on getting clients by using social media. Repeatedly in some cases (you know who you are!). So, very happily, we are running two 2-hour sessions this coming Thursday in Danderyd.
You can expect the sessions to provide:
For more information, click here or get in touch with us. If you want to join us but can't make it this Thursday, let us know and we'll see what we can do.
Even professionals get it wrong sometimes. Be very careful when posting on social media that you remember the chance that the whole world *could* see what you have written. That doesn't mean they will - don't make the assumption the world WILL see what you have written but be careful to stick to your business viewpoint and stay well clear of jokes. They can backfire, as this article in the NY Times highlights, oh-so-clearly:
Twitter has become a great business tool and there is plenty written about how to tweet. Here are some reminders about what NOT to do with Twitter:
* Follow everyone.
One high-end fashion business we spotted seemed to have followed every car dealership across the USA. Needless to say, only 1 of the hundreds (thousands?) had followed back and they had never shared or engaged in a chat. Follow those that will provide your followers with interesting and relevant snipets and those who you think are specifically interested in your business, such as journalists that cover your region/products.
* Re-tweet everything.
If it is really relevant to your followers and will make their life a little bit better, retweet it. Otherwise don't.
* Miss out information on your profile.
Your profile is a chance to let people know:
1. Who you are
2. What you do
3. What you would like them to do next.
Use it or lose it (the great opportunity).
* Sell, sell, sell!
While we are all in business to make money (you aren't? lucky you!), selling on Twitter just does not work. The power of Twitter is in the spreading of your messages, one tweeter at a time. Sales messages don't get shared so don't bother. Boasting doesn't fit well either so share your achievements as light-heartedly as possible.
* Well, she said...and I said...and then he slipped on a banana skin!
Save personal chat for personal accounts. Or better yet, a chat app well away from the public eyes of Twitter. It is really boring for everyone else, especially on Twitter because they can often only see one side of the conversation!
* Too little is worse than too much
It really is. If you are going to use Twitter for business, use it. Don't sign up, post a few things and then forget all about it. Make it a regular date with 140 characters.
Now, off you go. 140 characters awaits your deepest, darkest (business) thoughts.
Using your social media to manage your customer services can be a big success. It does, however, take:
* Time and commitment - if you are a big organisation, monitor it 24 hours a day. If you don't have that kind of resources (and very few really do) then make sure that you check your accounts several times a day and respond to enquiries immediately if possible.
* Honesty - don't remove negative comments or questions straight away (unless they are abusive). Try to answer them as clearly and honestly as possible, leave them up for a day or two then remove the whole thread.
* Updates - post information if you are unexpectedly closed, if something has gone wrong with the service you provide or life has had to get in the way of business. Stay positive though!
Check out Arlanda Airport's Twitter feed. Notice the constant interaction (not just monitoring but chatting) and the amazingly positive responses. Awesome.
In competition with Twitter's Vine video service that was launched in January 2013, Instagram launched their competing video service on Thursday 20 June 2013. Some key differences are:
Mashable (a technology magazine) has a great step-by-step guide to getting started. Or call us, of course.