Small business owners may not fully appreciate the advantages that they have because of their size and their ability to directly control the entirety of their business operations. Aside from the often touted control of their schedules this affords them, they can also enjoy the benefits of much more personal branding, creating relationships with their customers that have the potential to be much more significant and long lasting than those that their corporate counterparts are able to build. Personality is something that, unlike mass produced content, can’t be boiled down to a formula, thus making it a powerful X factor in the hands of a business owner willing to share some with their customers. What is the personality of your brand? Your brand probably already has a certain personality associated with it by your customers. Finding out how they view you is a good start when deciding how to go about building your brand image, so you may want to simply reach out to your customers

When customers are able to engage with their favorite brands, it can be a very special thing. A brand can mean a lot to a person for a lot of different reasons, and when a relationship with a favorite business carries deeper meaning for a customer, they should be respected as a valuable source of insight both when it comes to customer service and product direction, as well as looked to to identify good things about a business that the owner of the business may not even realize themselves. In the internet age, the tendency to remix, repackage and reinvent has translated into a vibrant opportunity for brands who are able to tap into these impulses on the part of their customers. While poor customer service has the potential to kill a business, positive customer experiences and outreach can unlock a wealth of positive development for business owners and their customers alike. Create a directive for your customers to respond to. While your customers might be

Social media followings are interesting things, comprised of individuals and yet capable of creating massively directed attention towards single pieces of content in ways that seem almost premeditated. What’s more is that followings will tend to act differently (or at least be made up of slightly different demographics) depending on the social network in question. When experimenting with your social media strategy, you may realize that one profile on network X is getting a lot more engagement than profile Y. This may be because of the nature of the network, or it might be that on network X your content is appearing before users more within your target audience. In order to strengthen your other profile, figuring out how to cross pollinate your followers can be a worthwhile technique. Share content from one network on another, and visa versa. Bridging the gap from one following to another starts with providing bridging posts that can bring your followers from one profile to the other, ideally while they

WordPress is a great tool for small business owners, since it has enough functionality to satisfy their website needs, and is easy enough to use that even if they don’t have a strong background in technology, they can still easily update their own blogs and learn to manipulate more advanced details through editing child themes. However, like anything that small businesses use over the internet, an understanding of potential security risks and how to combat them should be an elementary part of the learning process. Update themes and wordpress versions, as well as plugins. Through storing changes to a website theme in a child theme, business owners can avoid losing edits they have made when their theme updates. Updating themes and making sure that the latest version of WordPress is installed will help you rest easy knowing that the latest security features are in place. However, if you are using plugins, which is almost certainly the case given the wide range of functions that they can

  Guest blogging is a great way for businesses to create connections while at the same time providing their customers with fresh and interesting content. Often, small business owners will be the ones reaching out to other blogs looking for a chance to tap into their audience and expand their brand recognition, however, as a business builds its own reputation and audience, roles can shift and business owners will find themselves being reached out to by guest bloggers. For those who are new to the role of hosting guest blogs, it may not be clear how to respond to these requests, or how to go about managing the relationships that are formed through guest blogging. Here are a few tips and rules of thumb that can make accepting guest blog requests a bit easier. Know who is asking you to share your audience. While ideally, every time someone asked to share a post on your blog it would be fine and mutually helpful, in reality business

    Small businesses often struggle with bringing their social media presences up to par. Business owners may know how to bring in customers to their brick and mortar locations, and may even run their websites with a high degree of success but feel that when it comes to managing their social media efforts they can’t help but fall short, seeming to lack the “secret sauce” that allows other businesses and corporations to be successful. The truth of the matter is, if a business has regular customers within a brick and mortar location or on a website, then they already have access to the catalysts of their social media growth, they just need to take the appropriate steps to convert their current customer base into social media followers as well. 1) Create a clear incentive to follow you. This principle is one that gets a lot of mileage in content marketing in the form of “like gating” select content. The principle of trading something of tangible

  A recent article on Yahoo Small Business touted marketing on Tumblr for small business owners. Tumblr is a great platform that combines some of the best features of a blog with a newsfeed comparable to Facebook or G+. In terms of allowing a business to connect to its customer base and get a better sense of what their followers are interested in, it is a versatile tool. However, a word o to small business owners who are thinking that they don’t need to host their own content in addition to contributing to communities such as the one found on Tumblr; be careful to not assume too much about content that you don’t directly control. If you lose your content on Tumblr or other 3rd party platforms, it can be gone for good. Something that small business owners may or may not consider about Tumblr and other third party platforms where they post their content is the fact that they are not the ones with final

  SEO can be a major game changer for small businesses, especially for home based or internet based businesses that don’t have a brick and mortar location to promote. That said, navigating the world of SEO isn’t easy, and by some accounts, it’s only going to get harder. Business financing allocated to shady or black hat SEO practices is money wasted, but for small business owners who don’t have a firm understanding of how to promote their own websites, it can be tough to differentiate between snake oil and the real thing. That’s why as Google becomes more and more able to weed out poor quality content from its search results, business owners may actually have a reason to celebrate. A small business perspective is still valuable and can generate interest. The good thing about small businesses in relation to creating content is that they are uniquely positioned to have engaging perspectives. What it takes to run a business is something that people want to know

  We have already written about the potential uses of Instagram in a small business context, but as mobile continues to grow in importance, so does being able to tap into the audience using it in order to build loyalty, brand recognition and ultimately a base for increased sales. For further evidence that Instagram represents a potential boon to marketers, look no further than the emergence of a Hootsuite style scheduling program specifically for managing Instagram posting. Schedugram allows business owners to manage posting in advance for multiple images across multiple accounts, making the otherwise tedious process of posting bulk images to Instagram much easier. Marketers can deduce the most productive times to post, and then schedule campaigns around those times without the need to manually post on a clock. Why schedule posts? There are a number of tactical advantages being able to schedule posts in advance confers on marketers. From being able to perfectly time releases of content across different platforms, to keeping content coming

  A business may be getting a fair amount of traffic to its website, but in and of itself traffic can’t keep a business running. Visitors need to be turned into leads, and there are a wide number of factors that can effect their willingness to do so. One core concept of content marketing is that valuable content and the appearance of being a trusted source enhances your ability to win business. Putting content to work has benefits in terms of SEO, branding, and social media growth, but using content to create leads specifically is also a viable strategy, provided that your content is of a high enough quality to merit serious interest. Here are three techniques business owners can use to turn their content into a catalyst for lead creation. 1) Gate your best content. Gating content forces visitors to provide information in exchange for the ability to read a full article. While gating all of your content will more likely than not wind up annoying

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