How Social Media is Impacting Web Design

final social media 3

Social media has been everywhere these days. And it is affecting almost every walk of life.

It is often noticed that social media has its impact on the offline world as well. So, it is quite obvious that the world of the Internet would be impacted the most by social media platforms.

For businesses to be successful these days, creating a social media strategy is a must. And for almost everything they do, they need to follow a process that integrates social media in it. Web design is no different when it comes to this. It has experienced a sea of change since the advent of social media on the Internet.

Social Media Impacting Web Design

Social media has been able to exert its impact on Web design to a great extent.

Almost all the companies these days have their presence on social media. And what can be a better platform to let people know about this than the home page of the business website? This is why almost all the websites have the icons of different social media websites. And a click on any of those would lead the website visitor to the company’s social media page. This is becoming imperative for any website these days.

Attractive Design for Social Media Pages and Profiles

The advent of social media has made the Internet more of a live and interactive marketplace than ever before. It’s no more the same drab thing. In addition to creating an attractive website, it is also extremely important to have a prominent social presence. And for that, you need to design how you want to present yourself in front of your potential customers through the social media platforms.

For example, if you want your business to be present on Facebook through a page, it is important to designthe Facebook fan page of your business properly. The same holds true for Twitter and other platforms as well. The profiles that you have on these social media websites need to be designed in such a way that they can grab the attention of the viewers with immediate effect.

Perfect Design Necessary for Ads on Social Media

With social media becoming more and more popular with every passing day, increasing numbers of people are joining these websites. For example, Facebook alone has its number of active users in 2015 at a whopping 1.41 billion. This is driving the companies to use these platforms to reach out to their target audiences. So, they are preparing ads for the social media websites. And the focus is more on design.

The ads are being specially designed for different platforms. The objective is to increase their effectiveness and garner more clicks. The designs of the ads will also play an important role in ensuring that the company is able to gather leads, which should be converted to earn revenues. Moreover, the designers are also required to create different other stuff, such as banner ads, memes, and so on.

Interactive Designs

Social media has helped to create a penchant among people for content that is more interactive and interesting. This is where Web design is expected to play an increasingly important role. Web designers need to shape the websites as well as the social media pages of the companies in such a way that they attract more interaction from the potential as well as the existing customers. This will help them understand what their customers are looking for and where they are going wrong.

Using Images for Social Media Communication

Social media has been able to change the way businesses are run. They are the perfect field to interact with the customers, know what they want from you, and help you decide how you should plan your offerings.

The designs should be planned in such a way that they drive the interaction of hundreds of customers on a regular basis. A picture speaks a thousand words and hence, they are among the best components for communication. So, most of the social media platforms need images. This is where a Web designer becomes relevant. Attractive images need to be created. Moreover, the images should also be resized to meet the requirement of different social media platforms.

Increasing Importance of Web Design on Social Media

Is the importance of Web designing going to diminish with the passage of time?

This is a question that’s haunting the online world after the advent of social media. But that is not expected at all. In fact, the importance of Web designing is likely to increase further soon. This is because the companies will need attractive Web design to keep the audience captivated on their social profiles.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

7 Ways To Find Inspiration For Social Media Content

inspiration

Everyone knows incorporating social media into your promotional game plan is an essential part of marketing your business online. And in order to have a solid social media presence, you need to post consistently and engage your followers.

But that said, it can be difficult to know what to say that makes an impact when you’re posting on Twitter multiple times per day and Facebook at least once per day. How do you continually find new content that matters to your followers most?

Fortunately there are more resource than you could possibly tap to help break you out of your content rut and help organize your updates. Employ them deliberately and carefully to avoid jumping onto the “me-too” bandwagon that has run rampant on social media.

Get inspired by these seven sources of inspiration for social media platforms and add your own powerful and unique ideas that speak to the voice of your brand.

Inspiration for Social Media Content

1. Pull from Quora

Quora opens the floodgates of questions and ideas to address with your own social media following. Peruse through popular questions, as well as the recent additions of blogs and reviews. Ask your questions directly on Quora and link back to your established following on Facebook and Twitter. It’s easy to set up a free profile that follows topics of interest to you and your industry that will ultimately jog your creativity and inspire.

Leverage the podcast marketplace and search for interviews and current thought leadership about your industry. Devour podcasts in your industry and related markets to hear new ideas that will be highly relevant and interesting to your followers. Soon you’ll be able to form your own take on the information and spread the resulting content on your own social media accounts. You may even catch the attention of podcasters and be invited for an interview yourself.

3. Share Quotes

Quotes may be short on text, but can pack a powerful punch and get your point across quickly. Social media followers enjoy this type of content because it gives them a quick, often memorable principal that they can keep in their mind for the day. Quotes are 10 percent more likely to be retweeted on Twitter, so the simple effort of finding a relevant and interesting quote can boost your shares quite a bit.

Want to combine the power of social media image updates with your followers’ natural interest in quotes? Tools like Recite, Pinwords and QuotesCover make it easy – no graphic design background required.

4. Share Other People’s Content

Don’t succumb to the pressure of always having to come up with your own new ideas to spark unique social content. Periodically re-sharing other people’s content is a simple way to bring relevant content to your audience and show that you’re open-minded to new thoughts and letting others have a word. And when you share content created by a member of your audience, you’ll give them validation and a chance to enjoy your social media channels even more. Don’t be shy about sharing others’ content along with your own.

For even greater reach, be sure to tag the original creator in the text portion of your Facebook or Twitter update. Doing so increases your odds of reaching the creator’s social community in addition to your own.

5. Refer to Pop Culture

Stay relevant by sharing content based on a popular song, celebrity, or recent event. This can create a path leading to larger conversation or connection with your audience. It’s also an easy way to infuse some personality into your channels by incorporating humor and generating far more shares than expected.

Mention popular television shows, an important sporting event, or something dominating the current news. Just ensure you consider the sensitivity of the topics involved and avoid controversial events unless you’re ready to handle the backlash that may come with it as well.

6. Leverage Upworthy

Upworthy is a social media news site hosting a wide variety of shareable content. There are dozens of categories, and even if you don’t find anything relevant to share with your audience, it’s impossible not to find some inspiration for your own social channels.

Be careful, though, not to get lost in the sea of content yourself. It’s far too easy to spend hours lounging around Upworthy reading interesting articles that spiral past your immediate needs. Fortunately that’s exactly the response you’re looking to generate from your own followers.

7. Browse Reddit

With an incredibly large user base that generates an enormous amount of eclectic content, Reddit is a one-stop shopping source for social media inspiration. Check-out Reddit’s tremendous reserve of commentary about current video games, hilarious memes  and sobering new stories. Review currently hot commentary, new posts, or controversial comments easily using tabs at the top of the page. Seeing the conversation on each post gives you even more ideas on what to share and what angle to take.

Your strategically planned out social media content doesn’t have to be repetitive or boring. By using these seven sources of inspiration for your social media content, you’ll be able to share consistent, interesting content on a regular basis.

Where else do you find inspiration for social media content?

Light bulb photo via Shutterstock

More in: Popular Articles

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

15 Great Microsoft Word Add-Ins for Social Media, Email Marketing, More

15 Great Microsoft Word Add-Ins for Social Media, Email Marketing, More

Ever since its launch in 1983, Microsoft Word has been an integral part of daily office life for millions of workers. It doesn’t matter what sort of business you’re running or what type of industry you’re in — chances are, you’re going to need to use Microsoft Word more than a few times per day.

But just because Word is the processor of choice for a vast majority of businesses does not mean the program is absolutely perfect. That’s why Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has opened the floodgates and allowed scores of developers and companies to develop their own plug-ins to improve on Word.

There are plenty of Microsoft Word Ad-Ins to choose from, and they’ve all got dynamic business solutions in mind. But to help get you started on improving your own word processing experience, we’ve picked out 15 of our favorite add-ins for Word.

Microsoft Word Add-Ins

1. Pickit Presentation Images

The Pickit Presentation Images add-in provides users with access to a virtually unlimited number of free-to-use images. The app has an easy-to-install task pane that enables you to browse themed collections of photos, icons and GIFs without having to leave Word. It’s free to use, although a premium version is available for a monthly subscription fee.

2. Document Wizard

Document Wizard allows you to alter the author details of your documents with one, simple click. The add-in also enables you to configure a series of heavily-used Word templates so that you’re able to insert brand names and contact points into multiple documents with one swift swoop. This add-in requires an Office 365 subscription, and costs a small monthly fee.

3. DocuSign for Word

DocuSign for Word is perfect for business owners who regularly need to add eSignatures onto contracts and documents. After editing a document, users can then use the DocuSign app to securely sign a document or send the document to someone else to complete and sign. This add-in boasts an intuitive drag-and-drop design, and is free to download.

4. Selection Diff Tool

Selection Diff Tool helps users to instantly compare two regions of text within a document. By selecting areas of text or using direct clipboard copying, you can instantly search for key content differences within particular line, paragraph or page. Selection Diff Tool is available for a monthly subscription.

5. Maps for Office

Maps for Office allows you to generate an interactive Google Map and insert it directly into your Word document. As with ordinary Google Maps, the add-in lets you choose between road maps, various terrains or satellite views.

6. Contextual for Word

Contextual for Word is a content discovery app that helps you to track down fresh and relevant content from across the web without even having to open a browser. The add-in then has the power to insert chosen pieces of content directly into your Word documents.

7. Training for Word 2013

If you’re worried you might not be getting the most out of Microsoft Word, Training for Word 2013 could be perfect for you. The add-in features a diverse range of 134 interactive tutorials designed to provide users with in-depth help solutions that aren’t necessarily covered in Word’s own built-in support tool.

8. Wikipedia

Quite a few different versions of Word now come with Wikipedia pre-installed. But if you haven’t already got it, you should definitely look into downloading it. As one would imagine, the Wikipedia add-in for Wordautomatically searches the site for topics based on your selection in an Office document without ever needing to open a live browser.

9. Dolphin Compose Common Phrase Library

Dolphin Compose Common Phrase Library is a dynamic, cloud-based central library that helps users to search, edit, reuse and retrieve phrases or clauses that are repeatedly used within a wide range of company documents. This helps to establish a uniform brand voice for your business, and also ensure that all company documents are up-to-date. Dolphin Compose requires an Office 365 subscription.

10. QR4Office

QR4Office is an intuitive add-in that helps you to instantly create custom-built QR codes for your company, and then integrate them into various Word documents. This fairly simple app enables you to alter your code’s color, background and size, and is free to use.

11. AP Stylebook Online

If your business requires a lot of crisp content, AP Stylebook Online is a pretty crucial Word add-in. It instantly scrutinizes word usage, spelling, punctuation and syntax without the need for a browser. That being said, it’s worth pointing out you will need a current AP Stylebook Online user name and password in order to use this app.

12. Arabic Authoring Services

If you’re keen to do business with individuals or companies across the Middle East, the Arabic Authoring Services add-in makes life a whole lot easier. This free app can instantly convert Romanized script into Arabic script. More important still, it restores missing diacritics in the Arabic text to ensure nothing gets lost in translation.

13. Word Facebook Integrator

Facebook is often blamed for hindering productivity. But if your company is involved on social media, you very well may benefit from downloading Word Facebook Integrator. This add-in enables you to post messages and quotes instantly to Facebook from Word. You can also view social media photos and insert them into documents without having to open your browser.

14. MailChimp for Microsoft Word

MailChimp for Microsoft Word allows you to draft and design an effective HTML campaign directly within Word. You can then easily export your work to any MailChimp account. Add-in features include native placeholders to optimize design and the ability to merge tags.

15. KStudio – Office Script Editor

KStudio’s add-in script editor is a great tool for tech-savvy businesses and coders. It helps users to organize your workflow by way of an easy-to-install task pane. There, you can draft script from online temporary libraries, deploy it to cloud storage or publish it virtually anywhere.

This list is by no means exhaustive. To be honest, there are literally thousands of Word add-ins available online. No matter what it is your business needs, chances are there is already a perfect plugin that will help you to meet those needs. So if you’re wanting to get more out of Microsoft Word, get looking. You’ll definitely be surprised by what you might find.

Microsoft Word Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Microsoft

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

How Social Media is Impacting Web Design

final social media 3

Social media has been everywhere these days. And it is affecting almost every walk of life.

It is often noticed that social media has its impact on the offline world as well. So, it is quite obvious that the world of the Internet would be impacted the most by social media platforms.

For businesses to be successful these days, creating a social media strategy is a must. And for almost everything they do, they need to follow a process that integrates social media in it. Web design is no different when it comes to this. It has experienced a sea of change since the advent of social media on the Internet.

Social Media Impacting Web Design

Social media has been able to exert its impact on Web design to a great extent.

Almost all the companies these days have their presence on social media. And what can be a better platform to let people know about this than the home page of the business website? This is why almost all the websites have the icons of different social media websites. And a click on any of those would lead the website visitor to the company’s social media page. This is becoming imperative for any website these days.

Attractive Design for Social Media Pages and Profiles

The advent of social media has made the Internet more of a live and interactive marketplace than ever before. It’s no more the same drab thing. In addition to creating an attractive website, it is also extremely important to have a prominent social presence. And for that, you need to design how you want to present yourself in front of your potential customers through the social media platforms.

For example, if you want your business to be present on Facebook through a page, it is important to designthe Facebook fan page of your business properly. The same holds true for Twitter and other platforms as well. The profiles that you have on these social media websites need to be designed in such a way that they can grab the attention of the viewers with immediate effect.

Perfect Design Necessary for Ads on Social Media

With social media becoming more and more popular with every passing day, increasing numbers of people are joining these websites. For example, Facebook alone has its number of active users in 2015 at a whopping 1.41 billion. This is driving the companies to use these platforms to reach out to their target audiences. So, they are preparing ads for the social media websites. And the focus is more on design.

The ads are being specially designed for different platforms. The objective is to increase their effectiveness and garner more clicks. The designs of the ads will also play an important role in ensuring that the company is able to gather leads, which should be converted to earn revenues. Moreover, the designers are also required to create different other stuff, such as banner ads, memes, and so on.

Interactive Designs

Social media has helped to create a penchant among people for content that is more interactive and interesting. This is where Web design is expected to play an increasingly important role. Web designers need to shape the websites as well as the social media pages of the companies in such a way that they attract more interaction from the potential as well as the existing customers. This will help them understand what their customers are looking for and where they are going wrong.

Using Images for Social Media Communication

Social media has been able to change the way businesses are run. They are the perfect field to interact with the customers, know what they want from you, and help you decide how you should plan your offerings.

The designs should be planned in such a way that they drive the interaction of hundreds of customers on a regular basis. A picture speaks a thousand words and hence, they are among the best components for communication. So, most of the social media platforms need images. This is where a Web designer becomes relevant. Attractive images need to be created. Moreover, the images should also be resized to meet the requirement of different social media platforms.

Increasing Importance of Web Design on Social Media

Is the importance of Web designing going to diminish with the passage of time?

This is a question that’s haunting the online world after the advent of social media. But that is not expected at all. In fact, the importance of Web designing is likely to increase further soon. This is because the companies will need attractive Web design to keep the audience captivated on their social profiles.

Social Media Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-ndtv”]

7 Ways To Find Inspiration For Social Media Content

inspiration

Everyone knows incorporating social media into your promotional game plan is an essential part of marketing your business online. And in order to have a solid social media presence, you need to post consistently and engage your followers.

But that said, it can be difficult to know what to say that makes an impact when you’re posting on Twitter multiple times per day and Facebook at least once per day. How do you continually find new content that matters to your followers most?

Fortunately there are more resource than you could possibly tap to help break you out of your content rut and help organize your updates. Employ them deliberately and carefully to avoid jumping onto the “me-too” bandwagon that has run rampant on social media.

Get inspired by these seven sources of inspiration for social media platforms and add your own powerful and unique ideas that speak to the voice of your brand.

Inspiration for Social Media Content

1. Pull from Quora

Quora opens the floodgates of questions and ideas to address with your own social media following. Peruse through popular questions, as well as the recent additions of blogs and reviews. Ask your questions directly on Quora and link back to your established following on Facebook and Twitter. It’s easy to set up a free profile that follows topics of interest to you and your industry that will ultimately jog your creativity and inspire.

Leverage the podcast marketplace and search for interviews and current thought leadership about your industry. Devour podcasts in your industry and related markets to hear new ideas that will be highly relevant and interesting to your followers. Soon you’ll be able to form your own take on the information and spread the resulting content on your own social media accounts. You may even catch the attention of podcasters and be invited for an interview yourself.

3. Share Quotes

Quotes may be short on text, but can pack a powerful punch and get your point across quickly. Social media followers enjoy this type of content because it gives them a quick, often memorable principal that they can keep in their mind for the day. Quotes are 10 percent more likely to be retweeted on Twitter, so the simple effort of finding a relevant and interesting quote can boost your shares quite a bit.

Want to combine the power of social media image updates with your followers’ natural interest in quotes? Tools like Recite, Pinwords and QuotesCover make it easy – no graphic design background required.

4. Share Other People’s Content

Don’t succumb to the pressure of always having to come up with your own new ideas to spark unique social content. Periodically re-sharing other people’s content is a simple way to bring relevant content to your audience and show that you’re open-minded to new thoughts and letting others have a word. And when you share content created by a member of your audience, you’ll give them validation and a chance to enjoy your social media channels even more. Don’t be shy about sharing others’ content along with your own.

For even greater reach, be sure to tag the original creator in the text portion of your Facebook or Twitter update. Doing so increases your odds of reaching the creator’s social community in addition to your own.

5. Refer to Pop Culture

Stay relevant by sharing content based on a popular song, celebrity, or recent event. This can create a path leading to larger conversation or connection with your audience. It’s also an easy way to infuse some personality into your channels by incorporating humor and generating far more shares than expected.

Mention popular television shows, an important sporting event, or something dominating the current news. Just ensure you consider the sensitivity of the topics involved and avoid controversial events unless you’re ready to handle the backlash that may come with it as well.

6. Leverage Upworthy

Upworthy is a social media news site hosting a wide variety of shareable content. There are dozens of categories, and even if you don’t find anything relevant to share with your audience, it’s impossible not to find some inspiration for your own social channels.

Be careful, though, not to get lost in the sea of content yourself. It’s far too easy to spend hours lounging around Upworthy reading interesting articles that spiral past your immediate needs. Fortunately that’s exactly the response you’re looking to generate from your own followers.

7. Browse Reddit

With an incredibly large user base that generates an enormous amount of eclectic content, Reddit is a one-stop shopping source for social media inspiration. Check-out Reddit’s tremendous reserve of commentary about current video games, hilarious memes  and sobering new stories. Review currently hot commentary, new posts, or controversial comments easily using tabs at the top of the page. Seeing the conversation on each post gives you even more ideas on what to share and what angle to take.

Your strategically planned out social media content doesn’t have to be repetitive or boring. By using these seven sources of inspiration for your social media content, you’ll be able to share consistent, interesting content on a regular basis.

Where else do you find inspiration for social media content?

Light bulb photo via Shutterstock

More in: Popular Articles

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Five Ways to Shift Your Social Media Marketing Up One Gear

Five Social Media Marketing Tips that Will Shift Your Social Media Marketing Up One Gear

Social media is a great place to market your business, especially if you’re a small business. It doesn’t limit your traffic or reach, and allows you to connect directly with buyers without having to invest large amounts of money. By optimizing your approach to social media marketing, you can indefinitely increase everything from brand recall to lead generation, and actual sales and revenue.

If you’re unable to scale your current efforts at social media marketing, this write-up will tell you exactly how you can do it to achieve your desired results.

Social Media Marketing Tips

1. More Frequent and Intentional Posting

Be it over the internet or on social media platforms, your activity is your pulse. Unless you’re consistently active, you’re as good as dead on social media. After all, nobody hangs out on your social page. They have to be seduced to take a look and the only arms that you can extend are your pieces of content.

Conduct this experiment. Increase your social media activity and you’ll see your followers grow. Decide on a schedule. For instance, three times a day on Twitter, two on Facebook and only once on LinkedIn. UseGoogle’s keyword planner to see what your audience is looking for and source that content using a news aggregator like FlipBoard, a content curation app like DrumUp or a recommendation app like Pocket  (set-up keywords).

Relevant shares are more likely to get engagement from exclusively your target audience. Edit your descriptions to something extra-specific so you attract the right audience.

Social Media Marketing Tips - More Frequent and Intentional Posting

From your content recommendations, schedule the decided amount of content every day or a week in advance. You could even store content on a content library in a content curation app to make scheduling everyday easier.

2. Creating Content Based on Predicted Performance

It takes hours to create high-quality content, as you may well know, and that effort is best applied to content that you know will get shares, increase you reach and make an impact. How do you know?

Google trends, audience interests/insights available on social media platforms and engagement stats pulled by social media analytics tools.

Social Media Marketing Tips - Creating Content Based on Predicted Performance

You don’t have to monitor these platforms on a daily basis. Once a week would do. Simply observe which of your blog posts got the most shares on social media (SumoMe has a free count plug-in that integrates with your blog). Study Google Analytics to see which blog landing pages are driving traffic to your website. Keep a tab of topics trending in search. Decide on your topic title based on these indicators and share your posts on social media.

3. Interacting with Social Users on Communities

Communities are where the most valuable conversations happen on social media (from the perspective of businesses). Social communities are created for people with similar interests to meet and discuss the latest happenings, issues and ideas on how to solve them. You may not recognize them as such, but it is easy to recognize those opportunities once you’re a part of the right communities.

On each social media platform that you’re on, join groups that discuss your niche. The idea is to become a part of that community. Do not promote your product as soon as you join the community. You’ll lose your credibility and any opportunity that you might have in the future. Spend five minutes a day participating and introduce your product only when it answers someone’s question.

There are two straight-out benefits of participating in communities: the relationships you build with your high-target audience and constantly being at the top of their minds. (They’ll think of you when they want to buy. Some great communities to be a part of are sub-reddits discussing your industry, Quora and communities on Google Plus.

4. Including Compelling Visuals on Every Post

Everyone’s aware of how visuals add value to written content. But what value do your visuals actually add? The same rule that applies to written content applies to other forms of content. What point is your visual making on the post?

Begin by conceptualizing your visual. What do you want it to convey? Think emotion, process or summary describing the title of your post. Once you’ve decided on the concept, browse for options. There are severalfree visual resources that stock wide ranges of photographs that you’ll be surprised to see fit your posts.

Social Media Marketing Tips - Including Compelling Visuals on Every Post

If you intend to create your visual, that isn’t very hard either. Google for inspiration, source your background from an image resource and use an image editor like PicMonkey to put together your visual. To create an infographic, you could use Piktochart.

5. Encouraging Employees, Partners and Friends to Share Content

There’s no better way to cut through the noise on social media than making advocates of your personal and professional network. You could use this employee advocacy guide to understand how such a program is developed and managed. Studies have shown that advocacy on social media increases the credibility of the message broadcast. Another obvious advantage is the instant, increased reach.

You simply begin by explaining why you need your advocate’s help. Show them exactly how they’ll impact your business and show your appreciation towards their efforts by rewarding them. Spend extra time devising the messages you intend to circulate via your network of advocates because it has potential to go viral. Other studies show that messages shared via advocates are shared many times as compared to those shared via company pages on social media.

To be assured of success on social media, you have to survey the latest studies and case studies and learn what works to apply the insights to your business. This write-up is insights derived from experience and brands that have succeeded on social media. All that’s left to see is how you apply it to your business.

Shift Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Which Social Media Site Do You Use Most for Business? [POLL]

This week, we want to know what social media site you're spending the most time on for your business. Check back for your most popular social media sites.

Social media has become a bigger part of a lot of small business’s marketing and customer engagement strategy since its infancy.

Quick question: Does anyone remember creating a MySpace page to promote their company? Sure, some — musicians, mostly — still use that platform but there are so many more popular options these days. And each one presents unique opportunities to reach an audience in a unique way.

Want to reach the general population? You’re probably using Facebook. Talking to your small business owner contemporaries? That sounds like a job for LinkedIn. Looking to be part of a national movement? A tweet with the right #hashtag gets you involved.

So, this week, we want to know …

Which social media site do you use most for business?

What Are Your Most Popular Social Media Sites?

We’re giving you a choice of the big ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.

Let us know which platform is open most on your phone or occupying a tab most often in your web browser. In the comments section below, tell us why.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Almost Half of Small Businesses Marketing Products on Social Media (INFOGRAPHIC)

According to this infographic that reveals how small businesses are using social media, About half are marketing their products.

Small businesses are waking up to the potential for using social media to market their products, a new study has found.

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media

According to the report by SCORE, a nonprofit association for small businesses, 45 percent of these small companies use social media marketing to promote a specific product or service.

Apart from product promotion, small businesses use social media marketing for the following purposes:

  • To share information about sales and discounts (38 percent).
  • To gain likes and fans (38 percent).
  • To solicit/respond to customer feedback (34 percent).

Other purposes include providing videos to highlight products or services (29 percent), sharing a company blog post (20 percent) and establishing their personal expertise (23 percent).

Facebook: Top Choice of Small Businesses

Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the most preferred social networking site for a majority of small businesses (70 percent). Twitter (38 percent) and LinkedIn (37 percent) are a distant second and third choice.

Facebook’s unparalleled popularity among small businesses can be attributed to its massive user base, which allows businesses to connect with more customers. On top of that, the social networking giant has made its platform more business-friendly to help smaller firms leverage it for marketing purposes.

From time to time, Facebook introduces new tools and features to support small businesses’ marketing initiatives. Take the recently launched Lookalike Audience tool, for instance. Designed to help small businesses reach a global audience, the tool makes it easier for firms to expand their customer base.

“What I hear from small businesses around the world is their time and their money is precious, and we want to be the best minute and the best dollar that they spend every day,” Facebook’s VP of global SMB Dan Levy told Forbes. “We want to be number one growth driver for their business.”

Social media is all about creating that personal bond with your audience. Therefore, to make the most of it requires adopting a more personalized tone of voice. Humor works really well and any information presented in a simple to understand language gets maximum audience attention.

How can you make it simple for your audience to understand what you’re talking about? That’s the question you must always answer when you develop your content strategy for social media marketing.

Check out the infographic below for more information.

According to this infographic that reveals how small businesses are using social media, About half are marketing their products. 5

Image: Score

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Want to Be Kind of a Big Deal? These Social Media Tactics Could Move the Needle

Want to Be Some Kind of Big Deal? Consider These Social Media Advertising Examples

Perception is everything. In the business world, people are naturally attracted to the biggest names, whether you call them influencers, experts, or [insert industry here] rock stars.

But what if you aren’t a big name yet? What if you’re just starting out and looking to make a name for yourself? How can you get on the radar of people you want to do business with in the future?

Social media advertising makes it super easy to appear superbad. You can bias the way people think about you and make yourself (or your company) appear bigger than you are.

Here are six crazy ideas that will help you look like a really big deal using social media ads.

Social Media Advertising Examples

1. Target Ads at Specific Company Employees

Is there a company you want to partner with? Before you even get to that first meeting, you want to make sure some important people who work there have heard of you.

How do you accomplish this? Start bombarding employees who work at that company with Facebook Ads.

Social Media Advertising Examples - Target Ads at Specific Company Employees

Because Facebook Ads have super specific targeting, all you have to do is target people who work at the company with certain job titles. You don’t want to target every employee at a company, especially really large ones. You just need to make sure the right people see your ads (e.g., people with “marketing” job titles).

The goal of these Facebook ads is simply to build brand awareness for you and/or your company. You’ll want to start this process about 90 days ahead of time.

You’ll know if you’ve achieved your goal when you finally talk to them and you hear the magical words: “I’ve heard of you guys.”

2. Promote Your Guest Posts

One way to gain some exposure with a new audience is to do a guest post for a large, established industry publication. When you finally get this opportunity, you need to make the most of it.

Spend no more than $50 for a promoted post on Facebook and a promoted tweet on Twitter. Send some targeted traffic to your inaugural guest post.

Social Media Advertising Examples - Promote Your Guest Posts

Why spend money promoting your guest post and driving traffic to someone else’s website? Because the editors will notice how your article performed. If your first post goes nowhere, you might not get a second chance.

So amplify your post to help it become a unicorn! Help juice the numbers so the odds are in your favor. You want the editors to be thinking, “Holy crap, this guy’s post got thousands of views, we need to do more with him!”

Social Media Advertising Examples - Promote Your Guest Posts

Most publishers live and die by page views. Unless they’re crazy, the editors will try to lock you up and make you a regular contributor in the hopes you’ll keep sending them thousands of page views every month.

3. Do an Engagement Campaign

Want to really make someone take notice of you on social media and appear more influential than you are? Tag someone in a Facebook post or tweet and then pay to promote it.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to get the attention of an editor at a publication where you want to become a contributor. You could tweet: “Great post by [insert Twitter handle here]” also making sure to include the headline and link to the story.

That might catch their attention when they get the notification from Twitter – for a couple seconds. But once you start promoting it, you’ll REALLY grab that person’s attention as it starts getting retweeted and liked hundreds or maybe even thousands of times.

“Wow, this guy is kind of a big deal,” they’ll think. They’ll want to work with you. And you’ll be like:

Social Media Advertising Examples - Do an Engagement Campaign

4. Spike Your Medium Posts

Are you publishing on Medium yet? You should be. It’s a great way to grow your audience and expose your best content to more people.

To get really big on Medium, you need recommendations. If you can get 200 people to click on the Medium heart on your post within 24 hours, it’s extremely likely that your story will be one of the top posts for the day and featured prominently, both on Medium and in the Medium Daily Digest they send out to users via email.

Social Media Advertising Examples - Spike Your Medium Posts

How do you get that many hearts in 24 hours? By spending no more than $50 on social media ads.

Facebook and Twitter ads that are targeted to people who have a Medium account will help send some great traffic to your posts. Hopefully this will be enough of a catalyst to turn your post into a unicorn that gets lots of hearts and reads.

5. Get on the Front Page of Reddit

Of all the ideas in this post, getting on the front page of Reddit is the most difficult. But when you do manage to get there, you’ll get tons of traffic.

Basically, if you do nothing proactive, the odds that a redditor will discover and submit your post are about 1 in a-very-large-number-with-a-lot-of-zeroes-on-the-end. Also it’s not easy to identify redditors on other social media sites because they have random aliases.

What you can do is try to get on the radar of Reddit power users. Results aren’t guaranteed, but here’s how you do it.

Let’s say you work for a company that sells home and gardening products. You’ll want to create social media ads that target people who are interested in the home and gardening category and Reddit.

Chances are good that someone who is authoritative on Reddit will follow Reddit on other social platforms. They’re always looking around for interesting things to submit.

Although it may seem like you’re still sort of blindly hoping a high-profile redditor will submit your post, this technique has actually been surprisingly successful. Basically this will narrow your odds from 1 in a gazillion to something more like 1 in 10.

Before trying this out, my posts had never made it to the front page of Reddit. Since using this tactic, I’ve managed to successfully get to the front page about 10 percent of the time.

Social Media Advertising Examples - Get On the Front Page of Reddit

6. Become a Trending Story on LinkedIn Pulse

The biggest factors in the LinkedIn Pulse algorithm are traffic and engagement. Pulse will highlight posts have gotten the most views, likes, shares, and comments in the past few minutes.

There are two things you can do to help your LinkedIn posts start trending.

Become Associated With A Channel

LinkedIn Pulse has more than 100 channels for topics including entrepreneurship, leadership and management, productivity, and marketing and advertising. No matter what you write about, you’ll find a channel that’s right for you.

If you want to help your LinkedIn article become a unicorn, more people need to see it and engage with it. Your personal network is limited, but some of these channels have millions or hundreds of thousands of followers.

So in addition to doing some basic optimization as you write (using the right keywords to help Pulse as it analyzes and categorizes your article), you’ll want to tweet to @LinkedinPulse and ask them to feature your post in a specific channel.

Use Social Media Ads

Being featured on a Pulse channel isn’t enough to start trending. You also need a catalyst to drive lots of traffic and engagement to your post.

This is where Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn promoted posts come in. You can use these ads to quickly drive lots of traffic to your LinkedIn article.

Social Media Advertising Examples

Again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on these ads. You can even target your ads so they only show in countries you normally don’t care about to make it even cheaper – all LinkedIn cares about is traffic, not where that traffic is coming from.

You just need to spend a few bucks until the ads provide enough of a surge to push your post to the top. Once your post starts trending, it will be self-sustaining as people visit the channel and read the day’s top stories. Yours!

TL;DR

If you’re lacking in influence or name recognition and want to appear bigger than you currently are, try out these ad ideas. For a small investment, social media ads will help you get noticed and viewed as a serious force in your industry so you can grow your audience, influence, and business.

Images: WordStream

More in: Publisher Channel Content

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

50 Small Business Ideas for People Who GET Social Media

50 Social Media Business Ideas for People Who GET Social Media

Social media is an essential tool for many different businesses. But for some, knowledge of social media is an absolutely integral part of running a business. If you really GET social media, here are some potential small business ideas you can use to build a business around your social media expertise.

Social Media Business Ideas

Social Media Consultant

50 Social Media Business Ideas - Social Media Consultant

Use your knowledge of social media to help other businesses. As a consultant, you would help other businesses evaluate their social media plans and determine a strategy to use going forward.

Social Media Manager

Or you could go even farther than that and actually manage the social media accounts for different business clients so they don’t have to manage those functions in house.

Social Media Marketer

You might also have other accounts on social media that you can use to market products and services for other brands, either on an ongoing or per-post basis.

Social Media Merchant

You can also use social media to actually sell products. You can have an ecommerce store and connect it to sites like Facebook and Pinterest, or you can actually start a dedicated account and list products for sale directly on platforms like Instagram.

Social Media Influencer

If you’ve spent time building up a personal following on social media, you can potentially use your own personal accounts to work with brands to promote their products or initiatives for a fee.

Blogger

50 Social Media Business Ideas - Blogger

There are many different potential topics you can blog about. And regardless of your topic area, social media is likely going to be a major part of the strategy you use to grow your audience.

YouTube Personality

If video is more of your format of choice, you can also build a business by posting videos to YouTube and making money off of the ad revenue.

Videographer

You can also potentially build a business by helping others film and create videos to post on YouTube and other social platforms.

Vine Personality

Vine is more of a niche platform. But if you’re skilled with video creation and want to specialize in shorter form videos, you can become a popular personality on Vine, Instagram or other short video platforms and then build a business around that notoriety.

Community Manager

You can offer your services on a freelance basis to companies that have strong online communities and need someone to help manage the community features on their websites and social media.

Content Marketer

Content marketing is a larger marketing concept that can include social media along with some other activities. You can provide content marketing services to businesses, including social media strategy or management, along with other functions.

Content Strategist

You can also serve a more limited role in the content marketing efforts of your clients by simply providing input on strategy decisions regarding social media and other content.

Marketing Consultant

Or you can opt to share your expertise in an even more general role. As a marketing consultant, you’d likely help businesses with a number of different functions, but social media would almost certainly be an important consideration.

Social Media Graphics Designer

Graphics are important on many social media platforms, including Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. So you can build a business by providing specialized graphics for businesses to use as part of their social media campaigns.

Flat Lay Photographer

On Instagram especially, but also on other platforms, flat lay photographs are very popular for showing off products and styled images. You can style and photograph some flat lay images and sell them to brands to use in their posts, or even work with brands directly to create custom flat lay images.

Stop Motion Videographer

50 Social Media Business Ideas - Stop Motion Videographer

Stop motion videos are also popular on platforms like Instagram since they can tell a story in a fairly condensed time frame. So you can specialize in this area of videography to help businesses with their video content on social media.

eBook Author

If you’re especially knowledgeable about social media, you can write an ebook about it. And then you can use social media to promote the book as well.

Online Course Creator

You can also potentially build online courses to teach other business owners or professionals about various aspects of using social media.

Infoproducts Seller

There are a number of other information products that you can sell related to social media, from workbooks to helpful documents.

Niche Website Operator

If you run a website for a niche interest group, you’ll almost certainly need to include social media as part of your strategy for promoting the site. You might even integrate some social features directly into the site.

Podcaster

50 Social Media Business Ideas - Podcaster

Podcasting is another area where you are likely to need social media to connect with your potential audience.

Online Newsletter Writer

If you prefer communicating with your audience via email, you can start an email newsletter and use social media as a way to promote it and further connect with members of your audience.

Online Magazine Operator

Likewise, online magazines often use social media as a way to really drive engagement with readers and members of the community.

Live Streamer

Platforms like Periscope and Facebook Live offer you a way to stream live video content to your audience. So if you’re building a business as a speaker or expert in your field, you can use those platforms as a way to share your expertise online.

Social Media Advertising Specialist

Many social media platforms also offer advertising options. So you can build a business by helping other businesses create ads and advertising strategies for their social media ad campaigns.

Analytics Specialist

Analytics can also play a major part in the success of social media campaigns. So you can help business clients make sense of their analytics data on social media.

Event Promoter

If you promote events, you’ll almost certainly need to use social media on a regular basis to reach out to potential attendees.

Meme Marketer

It might sound a little strange, but memes can actually hold a lot of potential for marketers. So it could make for a unique specialty for a social media marketing professional.

Animal Celebrity Manager

Likewise, it might sound strange to build a business around posting photos of a pet on social media. But animal celebrities like Grumpy Cat have proven that you can build a business in this area, if you’re social media savvy.

Recruiter

As a recruiter, you have many potential functions. But social media can be a major tool for job hunters. So you can even build a business by specializing in recruiting candidates on social media.

Social Media Tutor

You can also teach others about social media using all of your knowledge and experience. As a social media tutor, you can work one-on-one with others who want to learn how to use various platforms.ss

Workshop Teacher

Or you could opt for a setting where you can teach more people about social media at one time. Offer workshops to teach different aspects of social media to members of your local community.

Social Media Platform Founder

Of course, you can also build your own business by starting your very own social media platform.

Social Media Sales

Social media holds a lot of potential for sales professionals. So you can offer your services to companies that want to leverage those platforms to reach out to potential prospects and even close deals.

Youth Outreach Specialist

Social media is especially popular among young consumers. So if you want to build a business that specializes in reaching out to young consumers on behalf of brands, you could use social media as a big part of your strategy.

Social Media Customer Support Rep

Brands can also use social media as part of their customer service or support strategy. So you can offer your services as a customer support rep who provides assistance to those who reach out on social media.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants can handle a variety of different tasks for businesses. But social media is often at least part of the job description.

Public Relations Rep

Public relations is another area that can encompass a lot of different functions. But social media has become a growing part of this industry.

Digital Marketing Specialist

You can also serve as a marketing specialist that works with brands specifically to develop and carry out online marketing strategies, including social media.

Social Media Copywriter

There are also plenty of different opportunities for writers to contribute to the success of social media campaigns. You can offer your services to people who want help crafting their social media posts or ads.

Video Ad Creator

You can also specialize in creating video advertisements for brands that want to advertise their products or services before YouTube videos or on other social platforms.

Affiliate Marketer

If you have a sizeable following on social media and other online platforms, you can earn money from becoming an affiliate for various brands and then getting a portion of the sales you drive to those businesses.

App Developer

It takes a lot more than a knowledge of social media to be a great app developer. But many apps do have social features or integrations, so social media expertise can certainly help.

Social Game Developer

In addition, social media can be a great way to promote games. And some platforms, including Facebook, even offer a platform for actually hosting those games.

Traveling Photographer

If you want to build a business as a photographer, you can use social media as your main way of promoting your services and interacting with potential clients as you travel around the country for different jobs.

Business Coach

If you want to build a business as a coach for other entrepreneurs, you’ll need to have a solid handle on social media so you can help your clients succeed in that area.

YouTube Coach

You can even get really specific with your coaching business and offer services designed to help people who want to build businesses on YouTube.

Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, you’ll also likely need to use social media as a way to promote your services to business clients and to share your work with relevant audiences.

Online News Reporter

Likewise, social media can be a great way to share local news updates if you start a website or even newspaper in your local community.

Crowdfunding Consultant

Social media can be an essential tool for businesses that want to use crowdfunding to raise money. So you can build a business as a crowdfunding consultant to help those businesses promote their offerings on social media and beyond.

Friends Watching Phone, Blogger, Photographer, Podcast, Man Working on Tablet Photos via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]