By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
The Holidays are one of the busiest seasons of the year! A lot of people spend a lot of money on big and small businesses. And, I'm sure that this year you want to be ahead of the season with the current Pandemic affecting a lot of our typical holiday shopping traditions. So, in this post, let us go over how to create your social media marketing plan for your small business or brand. We will also go over blogging tips to get you ready for blogmas and for sharing your holiday posts.
Social Media Marketing Plan for Small Business
As a small business owner, you might not know where to begin your social media marketing plan. If you have the budget, I suggest hiring a social media manager to take care of your plan, content and posting. If you would rather do-it-yourself, then keep reading. It is one thing to know how to use social media to promote your products and connect to your target audience, but it is another thing to understand how to properly utilize it for an effective and strategic social media marketing plan that will help you in boosting traffic to your website and/or to your brick-and-mortar location.
So, what is social media marketing? Well, social media marketing (SMM) is the process of utilizing social media platforms and websites to promote products, content and services. But, isn't it just about posting a lot of pictures and getting followers? Well, that's a part of it but it is not as easy as it sounds. It is not easy to get followers and it is even harder to get good engagement on your posts. Think about it, how long have you been on social media, how often do you post, how many followers do you have, and how much engagement do you get per post? If you don't know the answers to these questions, then you are not going to be able to create a strategic and effective plan for your business.
The first thing you should know is that your profiles need to be optimized for the platform that you are using. You should also know that you do not have to be on every single platform. It is best to select the platforms where your target audience spends most of their time which can be two to three. If you focus on a few, you will be able to spend more time and be more consistent than trying to keep up with half a dozen platforms. For more on selecting the right platform for your business or industry, take a look at our post on the Best Social Media Platforms for your Business. Now that you have selected the platforms, let us move on with creating your plan.
Target Audience & Social Media Audit
After you have done a little research and know which platforms you will focus on, you need to do some research on your target audience. Think about who you are trying to target. Is your business targeting middle age adults, teens, senior citizens, women, men, children, etc? These are your demographics. A good strategy to use besides just thinking about who you want to target, is taking a look at who your competitors target. Your competitors should be those in your community (physical and/or virtual) that target the same group with the same products and services. You should also research the industry in general to find out some demographics. For example, you might be an online clothing brand that targets women. Depending on what you sell, you might be targeting females ages 15-40 that want trendy fast-fashion at affordable prices. You will need to research their income to understand how much they might be willing to spend. Another thing you need to look at is psychographics. So, what is the difference between demographics and psychographic? Well, demographics focuses on statistical data on a population including age, gender, race, ethnicity, income, education, etc. Psychographics focus on the classification of individuals in a population according to their attitudes, aspirations, behaviors, and other psychological factors. You can use all of this data to divide your target audience into your primary, secondary and tertiary audience. For example, your primary audience can be kids and teens who do not typically purchase their own things. So, your secondary audience is parents and your tertiary might be uncles, aunts and grandparents.
Understanding your target audience might take some time and research. But, after you have identified your ideal target audience you can move on to your social media audit. The audit will consist of analyzing your own social media pages. You will look at your followers, content, engagement, and analytics. If you do not have social media accounts yet, then you should take a look at the social media accounts of your competitors. You will not have access to their analytics, but you can determine their followers, engagement rates and you can look at what content they share. This can also help you decide the type of content that you will share on your own pages. If you already have social media accounts and you are conducting an audit, you should take a look at what type of content performs best. Take a look at your engagement rate, your followers' demographics, the times that they are active on social media and so on. This can help you determine the best posting and content strategy moving forward. For more help with analytics, visit our posts onunderstanding social media analytics for small business.
Social Media Marketing Plan
To create your own strategic and effective plan, you need to first decide your SMART Goals and Objectives. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. For example, to gain 300 new Twitter followers by December. An objective is what you aim to achieve. Your goals can be overall business goals whereas your objectives can be specific to the campaign. Goals are the outcomes you intend to achieve whereas objectives are the actions that will help you achieve your goals. After deciding your goals and objectives, you can move on to your tactics and strategies. This is set of words which people typically confuse. Tactics are the steps/actions you will take to achieve your strategy. For more information on tactics and strategies, you can take a look at our Beginners Guide to a PR Plan.
One of your strategies when creating a social media plan will be to use social media platforms to share information or content about your business, brand and products. One of your tactics will be creating a content calendar. The content calendar will help you plan out when you will be posting what and on which platforms. This will also help you determine when you will be creating new content and when you will be curating content or sharing older content. This is particularly helpful for blogs and online based businesses. You can use a content calendar to plan when you will be promoting what products and services ahead of the Holiday season. A content calendar will also help you in creating your overall Holiday campaign.
Let's do a quick review before moving on to blogging tips. First, research your market and competitors. Second, research your target audience. Third, conduct a social media audit. Fourth, set your SMART goals. Fifth, set your objectives. Sixth, set your strategies and tactics. Seventh, create the materials for your tactics. And, if you are not a small business owner, you can always share these tips and support your favorite small businesses in so many ways. Read this post from Rach Talks Business for some great ways you can support your favorite small businesses!
Holiday Blogging Tips
Blogging during the Holidays is different because you will be busy. It is the time of year where you can make the most money from affiliate marketing sales, sponsorships and other monetization tactics. There are a lot of bloggers that offer great tips and even sell their guides to affiliate marketing for beginners. Some have a list of blogging resources that are perfect for beginners like this post from Rach Talks Business on the Best Blogging Resources to Transform your Blog. For this post, we will go over some of the tips I think will help you the most during the Holidays:
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Halloween or Ol'Hallow's Eve, is that time of year right before the big rush of the Holiday Season. It's busy but it is still the calm before the storm of Black Friday and so on. It is one of the busiest times of year for so many big businesses and small businesses. This year, these Holidays will be different due to the current Pandemic, but small businesses and online based businesses can still expect to make good profits. In this post, let us go over 6 social media marketing tips that you can use to boost your sales this Halloween and get you ready for the Holidays!
Optimizing your Website & Social Media Accounts
First thing is to ensure that your website and social media accounts are optimized. What do I mean by optimized? Well, when you optimize, you are ensuring that your website is accessible to search engines and that you are improving the overall chances that your website has to be indexed by these search engines. To do this, you need to make sure that you add the relevant keywords and phrases to your website's search engine optimization (SEO), edit your meta tags, edit your image tags, and make sure that you do not have any broken links. You will also need to optimize your social media accounts. Make sure that your accounts are easily found on your website, that you are posting consistently, that you respond to any customer concerns in a timely manner, and that you use hashtags to help you expand your reach. This is also a good time to audit your social media profiles to make sure that they are up-do-date, that your profile images are consistent and that your banners are consistent. Tip: Optimize your Instagram bio by separating important things into a bullet-style bio using emojis as your bullet points.
Prepare your Campaign
You might be thinking, I'm not a huge business, why do I need to prepare a campaign? Well, a campaign will help you organize your goals, set up your key performance indicators (KPI), and it will help you create a content strategy to use. Here is a good time to look at the Content Marketing Funnel to help you decide how to attract your target audience and at which stages of the funnel to implement which tactics. This is also the point where you begin to create your Content Calendar in order to plan out when you will post new content and at what times. At this stage, you are planning your content, designing some graphics and ads, and figuring out when you will be posting for optimal engagement. You can do this by taking a look at your analytics. If you do not have a service that gives you all of your analytics from different platforms in one place, then you can go to each platform individually. For Twitter, go to their Analytics tab, same goes for Pinterest if you have a business account. For Instagram and Facebook, if your accounts are linked you can look at certain analytics in the same place, but otherwise you can look at Insights on your business pages. Your analytics will tell you at what times of day your audience is engaging the most, where they are from so you can determine the optimal posting times, their interests, gender distribution, age, and other demographics. Use this information to guide your campaign!
Promotions & Giveaways
Halloween is a great time to run some flash promotions and plan some giveaways! If you are a convenience store, with a physical location, then this is a good time to decorate your store for Halloween and have some candy sales. Otherwise, keep reading! For online based businesses and other small businesses that are not convenience stores or large warehouses like Costco and BJ's, your strategy will be different. For example, a hair salon will use social media to run special promotions like doing Halloween makeup for a lower fee, doing new hair color changes for the fall for a special discount, etc. It really depends on your business. You will need to use social media to share your discounts with your audience and promote your giveaways. It's important to take quality photos of your products or examples of your work, or make engaging graphics using tools likeCanva to design. Talking about giveaways! I will be giving away a free physical version of my planner, The Blogger's Planner. If you would like to enter this giveaway, subscribe to my monthly newsletter, follow me on Twitter and share this blog post with your followers. I will be selecting the winner on October 31st! Good luck!
Affiliates, Public Relations & Influencers
You are a small business, but you can still have affiliates, send PR packages and contact influencers. This is all a part of your overall social media/content marketing strategy! You can use affiliate marketing to get your products and services out to larger audiences by partnering with bloggers and other influencers in your industry. For example, if you are a small beauty/skin care brand, you can always contact beauty influencers and bloggers. Another example, if you are a small lifestyle brand or a small candle maker, you can always contact and partner with lifestyle bloggers and influencers. Make them affiliates and gift them your products. This way, they can try out your products and share their reviews with you and their followers. Remember, if a person sees another person that they follow give a good review of a new product or brand, then that person is more likely to become aware of the new product/brand, visit their website and purchase. This is called word-of-mouth marketing even if you hear about it on social media. And, it doesn't have to be expensive to send out PR packages. For example, with my new planner, I've sent out email style PR packages with my planner and a nice thank you note. If you have a physical product, you will want to send out physical packages, just limit the number you send out if you do not have a large budget due to shipping fees being pricey.
Create Great Content
This might sound harder than it is. Creating great content does require some skill, creativity and inspiration. With the right tools, you can create your own graphics, write your own content and plan when to share it. For a small business, you might wear many hats and might want to hire a social media manager to create the content and share it for you. They will also be able to create your strategy and help you increase your website traffic and boost your sales. If you want some information and tips on graphic design and creating your own content, visit my previous graphic design blog posts including 5 Graphic Design Tips for your Logo! To create great content, you need to know some of the basics of design, how to pair fonts, select color palettes and so on. You should also be aware of what type of content your target audience prefers. You can figure this out by taking a look at your analytics on your social media pages. Another way to figure out what type of content your target audience prefers, is to do some market research including a competitor analysis to see what your competition is sharing/promoting to their audience.
Social Media Ads
The sixth tip is to use social media ads. I say this all the time because they work, especially if you have a good budget and a good strategy. My strategy is to promote/boost my social media posts that already have good organic engagement. I do this because I know that they will receive more engagement and impressions than boosting a post that does not have good organic engagement. When boosting posts or creating social media ads, you will need to select geo-targeting if you are trying to reach a local audience, you will also need to select the demographics, your call-to-action and your budget. When promoting something to a broader audience, you do not have to select geo-targeting locations. If you are an online retailer or online small business, it's better to select a broader audience. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, then geo-targeting is better because it will show your ads to local members of your target audience which can guide them to visiting your physical location.
When you are creating your holiday campaign, you need to remember these tips. These social media marketing tips will help you boost your website traffic by increasing your reach on social media and guiding leads to your website. If you follow the Content Marketing Funnel, you can successfully guide them to your call-to-action which will be to subscribe, purchase or hire. If you want a more in-depth explanation on creating a social media marketing strategy to boost your website traffic, get Denelia Storm's new e-book Social Media Power (Affiliate) and her Free Social Media Roadmap guide today!
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Creating a strategic content marketing funnel is important in growing your business, getting leads and closing sales. An important aspect of content marketing is adding value. You can add value by creating content that serves a purpose, not just selling a product. Create content that entices people to spend more time on your website, whether that be reading a blog post or taking a look at your products. In this post, we will go over the content marketing funnel: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.
In this stage of the content marketing funnel, you are trying to get your target audience to become aware about you and your services/products. This is the stage where you are attracting those target audience members that have a problem they need solved or a question they want answered. Typically, in this stage you aren't really getting their sole focus on what you do or what you stand for. In this stage, you are creating brand awareness by sharing content that adds value. You can share content that adds value by making sure it answers a question, helps to solve a problem or helps your potential customers/target audience in a way that adds value. This is the process of value creation. A good way here to get your content out to your target audience is by sharing your content on social media or any other owned media channels. For example, you can share posts on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also post articles you've written on LinkedIn or on your company blog. Another way to get your products or services out to more people is to have affiliates. For more information on affiliate marketing for small business, see my linked blog. These are great ways to increase the reach of your content, earn some engagement and shares, and bring awareness to your brand.
This is the second stage in the content marketing funnel. Here you are trying to earn the interest of your target audience. They have now heard about you and maybe have gone as far as researching your company or visiting your website. There is something that they need or want and this is why they have developed an interest in your brand. The key here is that you are trying to build a relationship with your potential customer. You have already added value to them which is why they have gone as far as visiting your website whether that be to view your products or to continue reading your blog post. For example, in this stage, you use your blog posts to spark a deeper interest to guide this lead further down the funnel. You can also use whitepapers, webinars, e-books, guides and email nurturing to continue guiding the lead further down the funnel.
The desire stage consists of your potential customer being aware of you and understanding that you have something that they want. In this stage, your potential customer is really considering purchasing your product or hiring your services. You can continue to attract them here by giving them an offer that they can't refuse. For example, think about free trials and free versions of software. We see companies like Canva all over the place, especially bloggers and content creators. We see reviews about them, people recommend them for our purposes through word-of-mouth and we become aware of the brand. Then, we become interested because we are seeing what others are doing with the platform and we want to try it ourselves. So, Canva offers a Free version which we try. We really like the free version, but we want to have access to the cool features on the Pro (paid) version like the background remover, more stock photos and stickers. Now our awareness and interest has turned into desire, and we have finally moved down the funnel to the final step: Action.
The action stage is where your customer makes that final decision to purchase, subscribe or hire. This is where you have successfully turned your lead into a paying customer, you have closed the sale! Some tips here to get them to take that action step, to hit that call-to-action button, include: Offering a Free guide for their subscription, offering a free social media audit before they hire you for your social media marketing service, offering that free trial that turns into a paid account, or offering a free gift with the purchase of a product on your website.
To conclude, the content marketing funnel is a four stage process. In some cases, you might see a different marketing funnel consisting of three stages. They are essentially the same funnel. The four stages we discussed are Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. The three stages of the marketing funnel are Attract, Engage and Delight. Or, you might see some other depictions of the marketing funnel with different names. They are all essentially the same. The point is that you have to create brand awareness, add value, interest your potential customers and guide them towards the action stage where they purchase, subscribe or hire.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Graphic Design is at the core of many of our favorite brands! From the logo to the ad graphics to the promotional videos, everything needs to be in unison. And, the one marker that helps us immediately recognize a brand we love is the centerpiece, the logo. In this post, we will go over some of my graphic design tips for designing your own logo for your small business, influencer brand, and blog. You don't have to be a designer to design something amazing if you follow tips from the pros.
You can design your logo on any platform that you feel comfortable using. This can be Adobe InDesign, Canva, Visme, and any other graphic design platform that you want to use. So, let's get into these 5 tips:
1. Font Styles: There is an anatomy to typography. Different parts of letters signify different things. We will not get into this because it is a post all on its own, but there are certain markers on letters that help us distinguish between fonts. The Serif fonts are distinct because they are the oldest font styles we know since the printing press was created. Some of these fonts include Times New Roman, Baskerville, Didot and Archer. The Sans Serif fonts came after and they don't have the same accent markers that the serif fonts have. What do I mean with this? Well, if you look at a typical serif font, you can tell that it has certain ears, tails and loops that make each letter distinct from any of the other two font styles. When we look at a sans serif font, we don't see the typical loops on lower case letter g or the distinct old-fashion lower case letter p. And, the third style is the script or cursive style of font. This is a more illustrative and creative type of font. When selecting font styles for our logos we need to decide which style fits best with our brand. For example, if we are a young, modern and hip brand we might select sans serif fonts like atrament or script fonts like coquette and artifact. Likewise, if we are going for a dark and moody feel we might go with antique olive nord d or cubano fonts. To go a step further, some approachable fonts will include archer pro and avance pro while some high-end fonts include azo sans black and bodoni 72. Just think about the typical fonts we see with brands we love like Nike, Adidas, Azos and Zara. Below is a quick Canva font styles guide to help you when selecting your distinct font:
2. Harmony of Colors: The psychology of color refers to the ways in which we see colors, how they make us feel, what memories they bring up and how they affect the way we think. First, we will discuss the harmony of colors. For graphic design, color is very important, so we need to understand color itself. The primary colors we know are blue, red and yellow. Secondary colors are orange, green and violet. From there, we can create different hues, tints, shades and tones to get the colors we want. We also need to understand the harmony between colors to create color palettes for the logos we are making. There are analogous colors which are next to each other in a color wheel, complementary colors which are opposites to each other, semi-complementary, triad and monochromatic colors as well. Split-complementary colors are defined as color schemes that use one base color and two secondary colors. On the color wheel, you can see this with the secondary colors being placed symmetrically around the base color. Triad is a color scheme that is a special variant of split-complimentary colors, but this time they are equal distances from each other on the color wheel. Monochromatic colors are different shades, tones and tints of the same hue. See the examples below for the differences in color and visit Adobe Color for more popular color combinations and palettes.
3. Psychology of Color: Like we discussed in the previous tip, the psychology of color refers to the ways in which we see colors, how they make us feel, what memories they bring up and how they affect the way we think. By understanding color, we can decide on how we want our audience/customers to feel when they see our brand. Of course, you can select your favorite colors, but it is good to have some idea of what these colors signify before finalizing our logos. For example, if we want our audience to think of our brand as a happy brand, we will use yellow and orange colors. Likewise, if we want our brand to stand for being vibrant and romantic, we will use shades and tones of pink. Think about why most sustainability brands and organic brands use the color green. The color green makes us think of words like growth, natural, organic and peaceful. So, it makes sense to use green in the logos and graphics of sustainability and organic brands. See the chart below for some more colors and for what purposes you can use them. Remember, to use this as a guide to help you when designing your logo.
4. Consistent Spacing: When it comes to branding, you can use grids if you are using InDesign to help you with ensuring that materials have consistent spacing throughout. You can always check on other platforms like Canva if your spacing is consistent by making sure everything looks equally spaced. When it comes to spacing between letters, this is called kerning. For example, Canva has a spacing tool that lets you select and experiment between different letter and line spacings to determine which space lengths work best. Click the link for a great kerning explanation from Canva. Spacing and grids can also help with the placement of different elements and texts in different materials. You can use this for posters, flyers, invitations and even product designs like a bottle of lotion or a candy bar.
5. The Golden Ratio of the Spiral: The spiral is a graphic design term that in geometry stands for a plane curve generated by a point moving around a fixed point while constantly receding from or approaching it. The point is that the fixed point is the center of your design (not necessarily the actual center). In graphic design, the fixed point is the attention grabber, it is where our eyes focus when looking at any particular design like a logo. From there, the less important elements are placed around that fixed point. In essence, this is the golden ratio which is a scientifically-proven number that makes something aesthetically pleasing in a deep level within our brains. The golden ratio gives us a specific number to use to structure designs. How do you find these numbers? Well, you multiply the size of any element by 1.618 to get what the size of another element should be. We see this in typography on posters and flyers all the time with the largest text being the headline or what we want people to see immediately. For a more in-depth explanation of the Golden Ratio, click the 99 Designs link.
I really hope that these 5 tips are helpful to you when creating your unique logo. You can use these tips when designing anything. And, if you need more help feel free to reach out to me by email, Twitter, LinkedIn or comment below.
By: Johana M. Caba, M.A.
Designing Pinterest Templates is one of the many tasks that bloggers have on their daily schedules. Many design and schedule them in advance to avoid rushing to post every single day. Pinterest is one of the best platforms to use to increase website traffic because the majority of users go there to find what they need and purchase items. You need to remember that Pinterest is a search engine, so you need to have good designs and attention-grabbing headlines. My favorite tool to use to design my own templates and to access pre-made templates is Canva. They have a lot of pre-made templates that make the designing process easier and faster. Click the link to see what Canva has to offer for your Pinterest needs!
You do not have to be a graphic design expert to design amazing graphics with Canva. They have a whole team of graphic designers that do that for you. All you need to do is edit the pre-made templates to fit your brand and showcase what you are trying to share. With Canva, you can also schedule pins in advance as soon as you finish designing your template. You can also schedule your pins in advance through Pinterest, HootSuite and other social media content calendars. See my Content Calendar How-To Guide for some more tips on creating your own Calendar.
If you want to create your own templates from scratch, there are many platforms that you can use. These include Adobe InDesign, the Over App, Canva, Photoshop and many others. When designing your own Pinterest templates, you need to have the following things in mind:
1. Font Pairings: You need to make sure to pair the right fonts. It can take time to decide what fonts fit best to use for your brand and for the template. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than 3 different fonts. Some good font pairings include sans serif fonts with cursive fonts, and sans serif fonts and serif fonts. The difference between the ones you will choose depend on your brand. For example, if you are a fun and young brand that focuses on more modern aspects, I would recommend to use sans serif and cursive font pairings. If you are a more structured and an older brand that just wants to refresh the aesthetics then try sticking to serif and sans serif fonts. Take a look at the differences below between the 3 font styles:
2. Color Palettes: Selecting the right color palette is also important. You need to make sure the colors you are selecting match with your brand. For example, if your brand color palette consists of different shades and tones of pink, then try designing templates that match the aesthetics. This is important even when you are editing pre-made templates because you want to ensure that when people see the template they know it is from your brand. When selecting color palettes, it is important to understand the psychology of color, but more on that on our next post!
3. Logo: Every time you are editing a pre-made template or designing your own, remember to place your logo or website somewhere within that template. This will ensure that others don't just copy and steal your design. It also ensures that when others save your pins to their boards or share them on other platforms, that people know it is from your brand. This is crucial when it comes to branding your content and developing your personal/small business brand. To learn more about the importance of branding and other social media tips to grow your business get this great ebook, Social Media Power, explaining everything you need to know to get website traffic and make sales!
4. Pre-Designed Templates: When you don't have the time to sit and design a template from scratch, it is best to go with a pre-made Pinterest template. Like I said before, there are many pre-designed platform-specific templates on Canva, but there are also many bloggers that create their own packs of templates. Some good template designs made by other bloggers that I've seen and can be edited to fit your brand include: New Lune's 100 Pinterest Templates, Amber Page's 45 Pretty Pinterest Templates, and Sarah's 21 Pinterest Pin Templates for Canva.
These are my main tips for creating the best Pinterest Templates. I hope you guys find them helpful along with my other graphic design posts on the JM blog. Let me know in the comments if there is any graphic design topic you would like covered in the future. Thanks for reading!
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