Category Archives: Social Media

Social Media Marketing

Main secrets for businesses to exist online successfully

The modern business must exist online. Businesses that don’t do so are doomed to obscurity and invisibility. Even on the African continent, the widespread adoption of smart mobile devices means more people are using the internet on a daily basis. But existing online is one part of a major marketing move requiring its own focus. Let’s consider some important aspects to having a digital presence in today’s world.

Why existing online matters

As indicated, the idea of the internet only being accessible to rich countries is undermined by facts. HTXT summarised a recent report about African internet usage, which showed: “Global active internet usage grew 10% in 2016, adding 332 million more users, while Africa saw 42.7 million more active users being added.”

Mobile devices are, of course, the most frequently used. What this indicates is that if we run a business, even in Africa, we need to care about existing online – there are literally billions who will have access to our sites. They will be searching for information and the websites we control should be the first place they land (not our opposition or social media complaints).

How to make this happen

In order to drive people to our sites, we need to select a number of aspects. One of the first is to get the right domain. While people won’t check on the domain owner, usually, there are other aspects to consider.  

To choose the right domain, we should align it with our brand. Sometimes, our name will be so broad, it might already be taken. We can check the domain owner and attempt to purchase it from them, but we should rather opt to choose alternatives. Search engine optimisers who work to promote businesses online suggest choosing as close as possible to the brand itself.

Consistency is also key. We must maintain the same colours, themes, styles, logos and so on from the physical world into the digital. This continuity is important to convey to potential clients we are a serious business.

Another issue when it comes to maintaining a website is that we need new content, making it more visible to Google searches. Google is able to indicate how relevant content is as well as duplicates – so we need fresh, unique copy. This tells Google – and therefore its users – that the site is receiving attention, is worth seeing and remains relevant to what the business focuses on.

What startups must consider when starting their business in 2016

Startups must consider the world as it stands in 2016. Everything is integrated in ways no one could’ve foreseen. Creating a business no longer means standing by rules or ideas that worked decades ago. Instead, new ways have had to be created just as new businesses begun. What matters to people these days differs dramatically from before, meaning businesses have to had to readjust their priorities in extraordinary ways.

We should therefore consider just what startups should consider as essential in 2016.

The internet is everywhere

If we don’t have a website, we don’t exist. A digital presence is everything. Customers are searching with their phones, using them to find info on everything about shops to products being sold. People forget that the entire continent of Africa is renowned as being the mobile continent, with a large number of phones in use. As Time pointed out, “nearly 70% of Amazon’s customers shopped via mobile devices [the in 2015] holiday season.”

Existing does not just mean having a website – it means having a working, reliable and easy to use site. We need to also be on social media, since this conveys further reliability. Customers don’t like fewer ways to contact businesses and will see absence as a negative.

As part of considering how we’ll exist online, we must consider if we’re opting for Cloud or VPS hosting, the type of site we’ll build and so on.  

Mobile is everything

As we’ve noted, mobile is essential. We must create services in a way that welcomes mobile engagement. This could mean either making our site mobile friendly or developing a mobile app. From big to small, all businesses have developed apps that allow users an easy way to engage with the business. Amazon has its own app, as does the local Mr Delivery – making selections easy for the customer and encouraging follow through of sales benefitting the business. The convenience of mobile is the biggest benefit for a business – not catering to it could mean collapse.

Challenge and growth

These days, people from all walks of life are obtaining degrees and education. The barriers restricting people based on their identity have reduced (but aren’t completely gone, unfortunately). This means we’re operating in a world increasingly diverse. We should attempt to look beyond the confines of those we know and associate with, bringing in talent and skills from people we might not meet otherwise. Businesses consistently benefit from diversity, too, since this brings new ideas and considerations from perspectives we’d never consider. Often, values can be challenged but this should be seen as a reason to grow, as a person and business.

Tips to stay ahead in today’s world

Businesses must be faster and yet more accurate than ever before. With rolling news that never stops, constant sources of information and a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, all businesses should be rethinking how they operate. There’s no point in business people ignoring progress, even if it has resulted in them feeling overwhelmed. If we don’t keep up, we’ll either be left behind or swept aside by those able to ride the currents.

We should therefore consider the various ways we can use tech to help us stay ahead.

Use Social Media

One often overlooked area businesses must consider is social media. Though each platform is different, each caters to particular needs and audiences. For example, Twitter is ideal for short, instant messages that many will read quickly. Tweets are easily shareable and, recently, can contain various forms of media: videos, static and moving images.

Facebook allows for longer posts and tends to mean a more engaged experience, as clients write directly on our pages and accounts. With other tools, like Facebook Live, we can also create relevant, longer content.

Aside from marketing, social media can act as a source of business, industry and market news. Considering how quickly information is distributed, this can help us stay on top of what’s happening in our field and those related to us.

Be ready to upgrade

All sorts of equipment can quickly become outdated. For example, computers stop receiving software support. This means they can no longer run the latest versions of important software clients might use. We must be willing to upgrade where necessary, meaning we should have money put aside specifically to upgrade the tools we use everyday.

Upskill staff

Be sure to carve out time for staff to improve themselves. This keeps them abreast of information and where the market is going. They improve their own skills, meaning they become more valuable in general and specifically for us. We’re therefore investing. In this way, we have staff who are constantly keeping their heads above the water.

(Picture credit: unsplash / Pexels)

The perils of social media for 2016

Few could’ve predicted that social media would prove to be as important as it has become. Popular people on various social media platforms sometimes have a wider audience and reach than even some papers or news networks. Indeed, YouTube’s most watched channel is run by a man who’s now a millionaire for playing video games. People lose their jobs just as quickly as they make them, because of what they do on social media. We cannot downplay just how important Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other networks have become.

What is social media?

By now, most of us know what social media is. We’re probably subscribed to several, each one focusing on particular forms of media and communication. One of the best definitions comes from Webtrends from About.com. As they state: “Social media are web-based communication tools that enable people to interact with each other by both sharing and consuming information.”

Twitter is a short-message social media platform, ideal for staying up to date with news, sites or businesses. Facebook is designed to be more personal, ideal for families and friends, especially those who live far apart. LinkedIn is designed to enhance our careers, letting us meet and associate in related circles and allowing future recruiters to know who we are.

Almost all such services are free.

How do they benefit businesses?

As we noted, the main focus for social media is the ability to send, share, consume and create information. Twitter is ideal for linking to other sites, Facebook allows for large scale live video recording and so on. Businesses must view these as additional tools to help their marketing, if not the business itself.

But not all social media is created the same. As one marketer’s guide highlights: “If you want to create a successful social strategy, you need to familiarize yourself with how each network runs, the kinds of audiences you can reach and how your business can best use each platform.”

What’s important here is to consider social media as expanding on the platforms for your marketing strategy. These days most marketing courses will have at least some focus on social media. The problem is the platforms themselves are so new, rules are always changing and no one has clear, absolute guidelines.

What we are recognising however is that fewer customers tolerate advertisements in their faces. They don’t want to be bombarded with marketing. We therefore need to be smart about what kind of marketing we practice, how best to serve our clients but to do so without annoying an audience.

These are the skills we must develop in the age of social media.

What lies in the future of marketing?

No one can accurately predict the future. Yet we can speculate on broader themes and examine what happened in the past. Making informed predictions does not mean absolutely perfect ones. To that end, we should wonder what lies ahead for marketing. Knowing what we’ll see means knowing what will work – and in this way, we benefit our business.

Social is king

Social media has come to dominate the modern landscape, with smartphone users. Even on the African continent, where mobile phone users outnumber even bank users, social media is rapidly spreading. Of course, social media is completely different than other forms of media since it is controlled by the audience itself. That is, they decide what to see but can then interact with major brands like never before.

This isn’t like an audience who could change the channel – on Twitter, Facebook and so on – users and brands can often operate on the same platform and have the same reach. As Inc.com notes:

“The social approach underscores the importance of the increasingly connected, interactive and vocal audience dominant in social networks. With increasing power over the kind of content they produce and consume, users are becoming more discerning. The mass market approach is thus no longer as relevant as before.”

Recognising the growth of social media is essential for any brands hoping to dominate or have some strong footing in marketing. Creating or working with a tech-savvy, socially capable marketing team is essential.

Mobile will dominate

Related to social media, mobile marketing will also continue to be important. What’s important is to recognise what technology is being used for. For example, SMS messages are no longer as prominent as they once were. This means if we’re still sending SMSes in 2017, we might look as relevant as VCR repair people.

But there’s another often overlooked aspect. As Internet Retailer highlights: “The more screens a shopper uses to access an online retailer, the more loyal and valuable she is.”

Good content

Customers want more than just what the business offers, in terms of products or services. They want an experience. One way to deliver that is to produce relevant content, tapping into wider social events and happenings. We want customers to feel they are dealing with people, not just a blank name or logo. By showing humanity, in terms of keeping up with social events, movements, thought leadership, we provide more ways for them to interact with us.

These are just some considerations for the future, but we should also keep up to date by doing marketing courses, providing us with more concrete foundations for consideration.