Relationship Building Online: Part 1 of 4

If you’re not getting business from your online efforts, you are probably not developing those relationships properly. Developing relationships online is very similar to how you develop relationships personally. However, I have had people say with regard to social media, “I don’t want to be everybody’s best friend on social media. I don’t have time for that, seems like a burden and I don’t like these people.” That attitude will set you back.

You don’t have to have to spend the time investing in every single person and go visit their grandmother in the hospital. Yes, that’s what a dear friend would do. Rather, online relationships are more about understanding what these people deeply desire and why they spend time online. Ideally, you take the time to learn about your audience and what you can help them with and how you can do it. How can you serve them and build credibility and trust with them by addressing what is important to them?

Relationships are built on four things:

(1) Trust Building

(2) Rapport Building

(3) Finding Their Crave

(4) Building Your Tribe.

So how can you do those four things really well in a somewhat repetitive manner without leaving people feeling like they’re a number? It’s a delicate art, and it’s not easy.

Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll be exploring how you can build relationships online, and spread the word about your business! Today, we’re covering one of the building blocks of the internet: Content.

Using Content to Build Trust

When I consult with clients we dive into questions like:

  • What’s your communication style?
  • What are the needs of your clients?
  • How do they like to be communicated with?
  • What are they engaging with online?

The goal is to meet them in the middle so that everybody feels good and you’re not expending the energy that’s draining you and you’re building a relationship that they feel is valuable.

When you’re starting an online relationship, you don’t have the ability to just ask what your audience needs. Instead, you need to research your audience, find ways to understand their needs in a broader context, and start by addressing those. One of the best ways to do this is through content marketing.

How To Use Content Marketing

To start the relationship building process powerfully, start by giving. Online the easiest thing to “give” is content. What you produce online says a lot about your expertise, and it’s a great way to get people to start to notice you. In fact, content is so powerful that content marketing is a strategy used today by companies from startups to Fortune 500s.

What does content marketing mean?

Social Media Sign Post on white backgroundContent marketing is the process of producing information that you’re an expert in, which offers value to somebody. That content can include:

  • How-to articles
  • Checklists
  • Opinion Pieces
  • Comparisons Between Tools/Services,
  • Before and After Inspiring Stories of Transformation,
  • Case Studies, Statistics and Corresponding Infographics,
  • Entertaining or “Edu-taining” Tutorials
  • And MORE!

There’s a whole host of content that you can create that a particular audience sees as valuable. Each type of content addresses a different user “need,” and they should be paired with whose and how you want to capture attention.

How Content Builds Relationship

One of my colleagues, Christina Hills, teaches people how to develop WordPress websites. She once created a video where she pretended she was Julia Child, and she did a video on how to cook a blog. She included steps you need to take to set up a WordPress site using analogous kitchen items and food. It was informative and entertaining, and something that people could connect with. Her audience got to know her personality while getting a foundational understanding of what a blog is.

Then she was able repurpose that video over and over and over into her blog, offer snippets on Instagram, and put it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube natively.

Content serves its purpose when someone who just watched it says “I understand a little more about creating a blog site, who this woman is, and that she has this expertise and she’s fun.” There’s a relationship just by her bringing out a part of her that likes to act.

If you don’t like to act that’s fine. There is something you do well or naturally that’s “you” and that people like you for that you can incorporate to bring your expertise online. It could simply be just sharing your top tips in a blog, in a downloadable PDF, or even in a video. There are tons of ways to bring out that content and then it’s about getting the word out about it, using your email list, using your social media, and tribes like Social Buzz Club.

Online Relationship Building Keys

By now you’ve learned the importance of content for building online relationships. We’ve covered:

  1. The importance of giving
  2. That content must offer value
  3. That content gives readers the chance to get to know you

 

Next week, we’ll be talking about building a rapport one-on-one. If you want to learn more about building a content strategy, you can email me or come over to socialbuzzclub.com, I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Let’s connect!

Tips For Improving Your Online Graphics For Social Media

Using graphics on social media helps to increase engagement with your followers and increases your conversion. Why? Using images on your social media sites allows you to connect with your followers on an emotional level and draw their attention. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create eye-catching and captivating graphics (I’m not). Instead, use this easy checklist to ensure you’re making the most of your online content.

1. Keep your images simple and focused on one thing (one tip, one quote)

If you create a standard look with consistent font and style to the image, you’ll help people to connect your image style with your brand. You may even develop a theme to the type of content you share. They could be: positive or inspirational quotes, valuable tips, questions, or photos on your area of expertise (food, fashion, fitness, hobbies, hair, cars, etc.).

2. Create a photo collage (when appropriate)

If you have ‘before and after’ images or want to showcase multiple images in one, you could create a collage. Collaging is really for specific use cases and you can skip this tip if you don’t want to put extra time into your images. If you do choose to collage photos, here are some best practices to help you create engaging collage photos. Collaging images together does require a bit more design effort to do it well and keep it focused, but there are some great online tools that make it easy. Most of the online tools have a free version and you can usually upgrade for more features for a low monthly fee. 

3. Always include your URL

It is always a good idea to include your URL at the bottom of your image, your own personal watermark. You want your followers to know how to find you and it is a simple way to keep them engaged with your brand. You can also include your logo on the image in order to make your brand more memorable. In addition, if someone shares your post, their followers know where the tip or quote came from. This helps to increase your presence on social media. Simply add another text box for your URL in a smaller and less prominent yet readable font. If it’s too large, it may come across as promotional instead of more like a watermark to identify your brand.

4. Make sure the text is extremely readable

This is the most important graphic design tip: Ensure that your following can clearly understand your message. Ensure the words show up clearly. Don’t put them on top of a busy part of an image. Choose fonts that are easy to read and ensure that your words are not too big or too small. It is also a good idea to pay attention to spacing, you can space your letters out to help emphasize certain words in your message. Paragraph spacing can also be used to make your design more balanced and readable.

5. Add shapes to support text readability

If you add a shape over a portion of your image, and then add your text onto the shape, you then have another great way to focus your message and make it stand out. Color the shape with complimentary colors to the background image (or to your brand style). This will help your message stand out from the main image. When adding shapes try using the transparency feature as shown in the video. This will let part of the main image show through while bringing the text into focus.

6. Using backgrounds

If you have a photo you love and want it as a background, you may have to do some adjustments. Using some free online tools can help, some of these tools have free photo templates and you can also upload some of your own photos. There are features available that allow you to fade the image in the background and overlay shapes to focus on the message you are sending.

Easy Tool To Create Images

I often use Canva to create great graphics for my social media posts. Canva has a free version and is easy to use, see this video below for a demonstration of some of the tips above. Using online tools for creating graphics will easily help to bring your images to another level.

How To Create A Logo Online For Free

To design a logo you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands when you need a quick, clean and good looking logo. There are up to 3 parts of a logo that you may choose to include. The must have piece is the name of your company. The optional pieces are the icon (which often is referred to as the logo) and a slogan. If you need a customized icon or

There is a reason graphic designers get paid well. And if you don’t have a sense of graphic style or online design ability, these designers are well worth hiring. The time it will take you to create, edit and potential re-create a logo doing it yourself (even with the easiest of tools like I’m going to show you) may not get you as far if you are artistically challenged.

If you’re a creative type, you can become a faux graphic designer using online sites. Sites like DesignEvo and LogoMaker.com are two that I found to be easiest. They have similar features. DesignEvo’s advantage is that you may download a free version. It’s lower resolution, but it is fine to use online on a website/blog and/or social media accounts and graphics.

Almost Free Logo Online Design Tools

DesignEvo has a very easy to use editor. I found more unique icon choices at LogoMaker.com but you have to spend a minimum of $39.95 for the logo files. It is free to make your design on LogoMaker.com, however, the logo is not free to download or use. The downloadable file is what you basically pay for. DesignEvo will simply ask you to give credit on social media to download the logo design you make. If budget is a factor you might simply try both tools, see which you like best and go from there.

The Online Design Tool Features

Both design tools are easy to use. The LogoMaker.com designer interface is more basic than DesignEvo.  DesignEvo allows you to use a gradient color scheme on the icon. You can change the colors, fonts, sizing, and orientation of the logo. You can add elements like shapes colored background. You can also add an outline and shadow to text, adjust the text opacity, and in 1 click make text all uppercase. LogoMaker.com editor is much simpler. You can change solid colors and font sizes and color (no shadow or outline) and orientation of icon and text.  The icon suggestions could be better on DesignEvo. I find that LogoMaker gives me better ideas for logo icons. In fact, it appears they pick images that may correspond to the words in the business name.

Compare Logo Design Quality

See for yourself. Here are to screen shots from each design tool. You’ll find hundreds if not thousands of options on each site, so by all means, check them out for yourself. This is no way meant to be comprehensive.

This is DesignEvo

Below is LogoMaker

Whether you’re into design or simply know what you like in a logo design, give these free online logo editors a try to create your custom design.

If you need a logo designed and you’re not a DIY design type person, hire a graphic design firm that understands marketing and is experienced at logo design.

Social Media Strategies for Startups: 5 Viable Paths To Consider

Social media and marketing are here to stay — but do you know how to make the most of social equity for your startup? It seems like every week there is a new platform or strategy that everyone is buzzing about.

However, not every strategy will work for your startup and that’s why we’ve got 5 viable paths to consider.

Read on— by the end you’ll know which direction to point your social media strategy in.

Check it out: 5 Keys to Branding For Small Business Success

Put People First

Customers have never favored a saccharine or corporate approach to advertising but the growth of social media has made impersonal marketing even less appealing. Use this reality to inspire your social media ethos and develop a strategy that puts people first.

There are many different ways that you can do this. For instance, you could get the members of your startup to carry out ‘social takeovers.’ This is where you hand over the keys of your social media account to someone who doesn’t normally look after it.

It could be anyone, a rep from the admin team, a part-time recruitment official, or one of the company directors. If you’re feeling really daring then you get another company to get involved, such as a local school.

The important thing to remember when you unleash a social takeover is that you don’t get too carried away in your brand message; social media is about building a community and if you want to put people first, it means you’re going to have to let your startup take a backseat.

Partner With Bigger Players

Going viral is a tactic that can reap huge success for a new business; just take the example of Dollar Shave Club, whose excellent video, Our Blades Are F***ing Great, is now part of social media strategy legend…

Unfortunately, not every startup can run a social media campaign that gets over 25 million YouTube views. However, what you can do to give yourself a chance of getting those figures is to partner up with a bigger player.

This could be a social media influencer, or a partnership with a bigger organization. If you’re really smart then you can create one big player from a number of smaller players. How? By using micro-influencers. These are influencer marketers who don’t have the enormous figures of people like Shakira, but do have a devoted following who will be influenced by their recommendations.

Whichever strategy you take, the important thing is that getting an endorsement from a big player can make a huge difference in driving up your social media network and that’s a huge deal – your network is your net worth.

Experiential Marketing: Offline/Online Social

Customers don’t want your startup to sell them your goods, services, or dry corporate messages. What they want instead is for you to engage with them on a level that makes you products part of their life by selling them an experience.

Snapchat have been using AR for sometime and it’s become a potent weapon for a number of businesses. In April 2018 Snapchat released a Shoppable AR Lens feature, an extension of the social media platform’s shoppable ads that let brands connect directly with Snapchat users.

Snapchat’s Shoppable AR Lens was launched by Adidas, Clairol, STX Entertainment, and King. You can see how Adidas made this exponential form of social media work for their Deerupt running shoe by checking out this article. Experiential marketing has enabled these brands (and many more) to use to social media to create awesome offline/online social experiences.

But for your startup to really get the most of this social media tactic, you need as many composite parts of your business working together in harmony as possible. By making sure your website is geared for AR and VR, you can create a strategy that uses experiential marketing to drive customers from your social media accounts to your website.

Host Social Communities

Posting a million different things on social media is great. But what do you think the value to your startup would be if instead of just being a publisher of information for your followers, you used your social media accounts to become a curator and a community manager?

Building up a community by using Twitter chats and Facebook groups is an excellent strategy to get deep engagement from your social media followers. And, remember, engagement is the most valuable currency that social media has.

If you don’t believe me then just listen to what Ryan Stewart, founder of the group Digital Marketing Questions, has to say on the value of creating a social community:

Facebook pages and personal posts rely completely on the Newsfeed algorithm for organic exposure. Facebook groups send users a notification whenever someone posts to the Group, thus driving traffic to each post… Facebook gives users the option to silence these notifications. However, if your group consistently adds value, they won’t.

If you want to find out more on how you can use the social communities to create a winning social media strategy, read this strategy using private Facebook group.

Budget-Friendly Bootstrapping

You don’t have pots of money to throw at every corner of your startup; you need to get a team of people that you can trust, build a website, find an office space that works for you, and have a working accounting system…. And that’s just the beginning!

Thankfully, social media is easy to bootstrap — especially in the early days.

You can automate your processes and scale up your social strategy with a range of free tools and inexpensive VAs. There is so much AI-driven automation out there that can help you take the heavy lifting out of social media management.

Of course, you need a good strategy to get you started — but remember to keep things agile and reactive. Make the most of social advertising to seed and launch content and products, but don’t put your entire business in the hands of one channel either.

So many startup businesses don’t last the test of time and for so many different reasons. Getting your social media strategy wrong might not be thing that sends your startup under, but getting it right could be what takes it into the stratosphere. So, pick your strategy, implement it now, and take your company as far as you can.

Author: Kayleigh Alexandra is passionate about helping startups succeed. She blogs at Microstartups.org and donates all website profits to charities that help people reach their full potential.

 

7 Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Facebook Advertising This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest events in the commercial calendar. Last year’s Valentine’s Day sales totaled $18 billion dollars, and this year is expected to be similar. But what’s the best way to ensure you get your share of the pie? Well, the first step is to reach the largest possible audience, and advertising with Facebook is an easy way to that. Facebook sees over 1 billion unique users every day; that’s about 13% of the population of the planet. With that kind of potential reach, all that’s left for you to worry about, is how you’re going to craft an effective campaign to convert them. So without further ado, here are 7 Do’s and Don’ts to get your Valentine’s Day strategy started on the right foot.

Don’t Delay!

You don’t have to wait until the week before Valentine’s Day to begin your campaign. If you start early, you can beat the competition, and reach the customer before they buy from anyone else.

If you’re running your ads well in advance of the big day, you will want to encourage your customers to take action now by offering timed deals.  It doesn’t have to be much, just a little push to encourage them to act now instead of putting it off. You could offer a coupon, free shipping, or a bonus gift, just to make sure the expiration date of your special offer is crystal clear.

Target Your Ads

Facebook provides you with a multitude of ways to make sure your ads are seen by the right people. There are some essential ways you should be targeting your ads during the lead up to the big day.

The specifics will vary depending on your ad, but for this example, let’s say we’re talking about an ad about a special chocolate hamper aimed at the ‘lady in your life’. First, you want to target men who are currently in a relationship (information helpfully provided to Facebook by the user). Then, depending on your product, you might choose to narrow it further by going for a specific age group, interest area, or geographic location.

Try to build a picture of an ideal customer avatar, and build your ad audience around that.

Don’t Ignore Singles

While everyone else is spending their time going after people in relationships, it’s the perfect time for you to turn your attention to the singles. It can be hard to be single on Valentine’s day, so a campaign of self-love that celebrates unashamedly treating yourself, will win you conversions without the fierce competition that comes with marketing to couples.

Don’t Use a Cheesy Corporate Hashtag

Hashtags can be a great way to promote interaction, and drive social proof, but if you’re going to try a hashtag campaign on Valentine’s Day, you have to be careful. It’s a very personal day, and let’s face it, marketing hashtags aren’t romantic.

However, if you’re targeting singles using the “self-love” approach, then I would encourage you to use all the hashtags you want. Your goal is to create the feeling that it’s okay to treat yourself, and make it a fun event — a hashtag can help.

Don’t feel the need to reach for a cheesy cliche or hashtag if it doesn’t make sense for your brand. Here is how to improve your copy with compelling passion points instead.

Use a Variety of Ad Types

Facebook offers several different ad templates: they’re all designed to achieve different things, and appeal to different people.

If you’re running a large campaign it will be more effective to display your ad to the user in multiple formats, rather than the same one every time. Not all of Facebook’s ad types are appropriate to every campaign. For example, lead ads aren’t going to do much for your Valentine’s day sales. But with a little creative tweaking, you can incorporate videos, carousels, and other interesting visual formats into your strategy.

Appeal to Last-Minute Shoppers

Everyone forgets important dates sometimes — we live in a busy world, and it’s easy to forget to pick up a gift.

As the day gets closer, the customer is left with fewer and fewer options; so if you offer next day, or same day delivery, you could pick up some of the stragglers with your ads. You should also consider adding vouchers or digital products to the mix that people can immediately download, send on, and use. It’s the ideal gift format for the busy person who wants to give something meaningful.

Find a Niche For Your Niche!

Some things are easier to market on Valentine’s Day than others, but even if you’re not selling roses, that doesn’t mean you can’t appeal to the Valentine’s spirit to boost your sales.

For example — we love our pets, so Valentine’s day is a great time to sell dog treats too with some #doggylove spirit. This approach can be applied to all sorts of things —  just keep the tone lighthearted so people don’t think you’re crazy.

If you successfully target an untapped niche you get to reap all the benefits of selling to an audience that your competition might be overlooking. You’re not fighting to be heard, and your audience will appreciate a fresh take after being flooded with generic ads for weeks.

Image credit: Aganyga via Pixabay

Top photo credit: Libreshot

If you’re not really on board with this holiday, you could also find success by standing out from the crowd with some “counter-Valentine’s” marketing too. Whatever your approach is, you’re sure to fall in love with Facebook advertising this Valentine’s day!

entrepreneur hacks Victoria GreenAuthor: Victoria Greene: Brand Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer.  On her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, she shares tips on building great websites (among other things). Big fan of email marketing and targeted social media.