Small Businesses and Social Media

The 21st Century Version of Word-Of-Mouth Marketing

Technology has undoubtedly changed the dynamics of business operations over the last couple of decades. And through social media, businesses can now connect to a huge base of potential customers in a fluid and efficient way. So, rave reviews from happy clients can spread like wildfire, in the same way as do awful experiences. The opportunities are huge, but zeroing in on the best ways to optimize this social reach has been a real struggle for small and medium businesses. From unique displays to special events, photos and videos, there are more than a handful of ways users can communicate their satisfaction or otherwise of a product or service via social media. Nonetheless, there are key things that almost always need to be on your social media page, and focusing on these could make all the difference in making your business go viral in reaching your target audience.

Leveraging the power of Social Media for your Business

Not many local businesses fully utilize social media accounts to enhance their growth. For some, sharing funny stories, pictures or videos and getting feedback in likes and sales is essentially all there is to social media use. This obviously couldn’t be more erroneous. Without ramping up sales or increasing client base, this approach to social media may well be regarded a distracting part of business. Successful campaigns on social media, as with traditional physical marketing, are primed on increased sales and revenues. The major caveat, however, is that local businesses are intrinsically not big spenders like big businesses and brands, and so striking the right balance to get the right results is always important. Sure, having friends like your page and posts can be exhilarating, but that’s not all there is about social media. You also want to consider that each of your contacts may have a decent number of friends, and exploring this opportunity can be the difference in skyrocketing sales and client base or dwindling revenues and ineffective campaigns.

Here’s more on effectively using social media to create the right opportunities for your business.

Engage your audience

Have a holistic view of your business and notice elements that could be pictorially represented and shared across your social media accounts. This should be easy, but not many businesses take advantage of the graphical components of their brands. Engaging your audience using images to your advantage is key to physically and digitally expanding your business reach.

Creative Ideas that entice photo-taking

This could be a life-sized graphic image, a funny character, or other ideas that resonate with your brand and engage your audience in the desired way. Whichever option you choose to go with, an attractive background is a must-have, and if you are wondering what ideas would work, you’ll want to check out Display walls, Wall Graphics, or Pop-Up Displays for some smart concepts.

Ian from Colorado Canopies, specialists in a wide range of marketing materials for small business says:

“Utilizing your space, taking time to really make the most of your idea and collaborating with your supplier are key elements to getting this type of display right”

For businesses tailored for kids, getting the right shot when taking photos including children can be a pain, so hiring a professional can save a lot of time and hassles. Matching a dedicated space with equally awe-inspiring graphics and backgrounds will help project your brand to your target audience on social media.

On the whole, the choice of concept and approach will largely be defined by your type of business. You may also decide to go with the idea of posting something completely random or unusual and weigh the response for better targeted posts in the future. Essentially, you are all about having your pictures shared online with a wide audience, and so a photo contest with a reasonable prize for the winner can be equally magical in engaging your audience.

Done effectively, the right buzz can spiral growth and brand awareness in your locality than word of mouth ever will. So, get to understand the graphical aspects of your business, use the right backgrounds, explore intriguing props and stamp your digital presence on social media to ramp up sales and drive your business to the next level.

Choosing a Canopy

Whether price, available space or the varied options abound, there’s more than a handful of factors to consider when choosing a canopy. If you have an event in the offing but still considering the right choice of canopy, no worries! We’ve got a worthy read here. Ian from Colorado Canopies gives us just about all you need to know before choosing a canopy for your event.

Will the event be taking place indoors or outdoors?

Your choice of canopy will largely depend on whether the event will be held indoors or outdoors for a number of reasons. For starters, indoor events are often easier to manage, and so something simple will like work just fine. Considerations are often more on access, size and branding, in contrast to an outdoor event where a strong, quality canopy is what you want to shrug off weather and disruptive changes that may occur.

How about weather factors?

Changes in weather can impede proceedings during any outdoor event. If there is a possibility of rain or turbulent winds, a canopy with covered sides is what you want. Conversely, sunny and warm climes demand canopies that are comfy and enhance seamless airflow.

What goes in under the canopy?

Will you be covering perishable goods or food items? If so, you want to consider canopy designs with one or two openings. However, if you essentially want to stand out and clearly define your space in a market or events like trade shows, an open-sided canopy sounds just ideal, especially if you will be receiving guests from all sides.

Canopy Quality

Canopies for outdoor events are expected to be stronger and more durable than indoor alternatives. You want a canopy that can withstand the barrage of weather assaults and crowd movements. Another thing to consider is how often you intend to use the canopy. If you regularly hold or attend events, a strong canopy that can withstand the test of time is an ideal choice. So ensuring the legs and joints are strong enough is vitally important.

Choosing a Canopy Size

Your choice of canopy size will also be defined by your audience size or whether the canopy is intended to cover only products. You have to consider if an extension will be designed outside the canopy, or if the whole event will be taking place under it. Whatever your needs are, getting a sufficiently roomy canopy always wins the day in the unlikely event that things unfold bigger than expected. Having visitors crammed up under a congested canopy is a loathsome spectacle for your brand and potential visitors.

Ease of use

How easy can the canopy be installed and put down? Sure, you want a durably designed canopy, but not one that would take a longtime to be erected or detached. If you will be needing more than a sizable number of people to sort your canopy, or have to commit more time fixing it than is desired, you want to consider your options before settling for one.

Using a Canopy for Branding

You need a canopy to mark your space, but even more important is that your choice of canopy should reliably and clearly represent your service or brand. For this, a high-quality printing service is unarguably important. Another trusty idea is to make good use of canopy sides. The canopy roof can be a good spot, but for increased visibility when potential visitors walk by, a well-designed printed branding on the sides of the canopy can be your magic wand! So, put your canopy sides to good use and consider including products, announcements, product launch and other attention-grabbing information on them.

Exhibiting at a Trade Show

Preparation is just as important an aspect as execution and pulling the right strings is what you want before going all out for an exhibition. Thankfully, we’ve got some tips to give you a head start. Let’s dive in.

According to Ian from Colorado Canopies:

“You pay a high premium for space at a trade show and so you really need to utilize it in the right way. Talk to experts and discover the wide variety of elements that can be incorporated to a trade show display”

Invite your Inner circle and friends

First off, you need to create the right buzz around your stand to get others attracted to you, and what better way to go about this than inviting your clients and everyone else in your inner circle. Whether directly or indirectly, this group of individuals will create the hive of activity you want. And as your stand builds a strong identity and social credibility, you increase your visibility to potential customers. Sure, existing clients and friends may not intend to buy anything at the show, and that’s fine too. Inviting them alone makes them reckon their relevance to your brand and helps to keep their relationship and long-term loyalty. Also remember to give a generous 4 to 6 weeks prior notice to have them well informed. A subtle reminder one week before the event could be all you need to have your inner circle show up at your stand.

Create a Frenzy with a New Product or Service

This lets you have something to talk about and can also help put you on the spotlight during the event. It’s not enough to invite your friends and existing clients; having an intriguing reason for them to show up can increase your odds of success on the day. The “event angle” creates a frenzy that you can use to your advantage, and also gives you something in-depth to talk about with your invitees before the event. With the right product or service, a hard sell wouldn’t be needed to ramp up orders on the spot. Plus, this will make it easy to analyse the success of the event based on generated sales and new leads as well as help to identify pain points to work on in future events.

Follow Up

Following up with new leads surely can’t be a left a wayside activity. Things can go cold, and fast! if you don’t keep the momentum with your new leads. Before going for an event, ensure to have a workable plan that makes it easy to follow up on event proceedings. Your sales team could have a day or two off to recuperate. But you should be right back to assess the event and get in touch with new leads within a maximum 7 days. Executed correctly, follow up allows for consistency, builds trust and credibility with new leads who could be your best asset moving forward.

Small Business Branding

Take branding away and you have nothing to showcase your business in an effective, nimble and elegant way. There’s really credence to why branding has become a buzzword, and more so in today’s business clime largely driven by technology. If you’re stuck finding valid reasons to level up your branding efforts, you may well want to know why branding is so important for your business. So here’s more on the importance of branding for business growth.

Ian from Colorado Canopies explains:

“People love brands — it’s that simple. If you don’t look like a brand it takes away from people’s perception of your business.”

Branding propels recognition

Regardless of the size of your business, ensuring that you are visible physically and digitally with a well-orchestrated branding strategy can spiral your client base and effectively enhance the growth of your business. At its core, good branding makes you unique. It’s the difference in saying “Let’s go to Starbucks” instead of “Let’s go to a coffee shop”. While they may provide the same service, going to Starbucks, and not just a coffee shop tells more about the experience and quality of service on offer at the former. That’s what branding does to your business; it ensures you are “the right choice” in a sea of competitors, and this could help attract more customers, retain existing ones and ensure you get solid referrals to widen your reach.

For professionalism

You don’t judge a book by its cover, but sadly, this doesn’t always hold true. And your business is no exception. A shabby looking premise, poorly designed promotional contents and ineptly crafted product labeling don’t make a good brand. Consistency is key across the board, and so having a professional touch in every facet of business goes a long way in enhancing the perception of your brand. First impression, they say, lasts longer, so ensure to send the right message and stamp your brand to your audience first time.

Branding Increases Company Value Which Can Improve Access to Credit

Branding enhances business value. Hence, a business with a strong presence and identity easily wins the race on the financial side too. Done effectively, your business will not solely be viewed based on its profit and revenues, but also its robust concept, and this can help attract future clients and investors. Lending institutions would also be more willing to accede to credit requests, making your business command more value if you decide to sell it off.

Using the right strategies and consistency, branding builds trust, inspires your team, simplifies your expansion and provides a solid Launchpad for new products and services.