Fueling Your Small Business Fire
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Fueling Your Small Business Fire

According to Forbes, on average during 2015 businesses with less than $5 million in annual revenue experienced 7.8% annual sales growth. Is your small business feeling that growth? Odds are if you are a small business retailer, the answer is not so much.

There are a number of strategies small retailers can employ to stoke online sales growth. Here are few ideas to get you going. Try them out and see which of these best help you to reach your ideal customer.
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You're Doing It Wrong
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Umm… You’re Doing It Wrong

If you have a habit of following people on Twitter, waiting till they follow you back, then promptly unfollowing them… YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

Two days ago, I was followed by two different digital marketing “experts.” I checked out their profiles, and they each seemed interesting, so I followed them back. The very next day I was unfollowed by both of them.

I hadn’t tweeted anything “controversial” in the 24 hours they were following me, so I knew that wasn’t the reason for the unfollow.

Then it dawned on me – these people only followed me to get me to follow them back. LAME. That’s not how any of this works!

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Bye Bye Birdie
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Bye, Bye Birdie

Have you ever had the number of your Twitter followers drop leaving you wondering which little bird flew off in another direction?

I’ll be the first to admit that I am curious about who decides to unfollow me. Ego? Maybe. But also I hope to be able to learn something from who decides to unfollow me and when.

Understanding who bails on me helps me evaluate my strategy. Is the content I am posting interesting? Does it provide value? Are my opinions too polarizing?

Understanding when they bail helps me assess my frequency. Am I posting too much? Do I need to spread posts out more?

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Social is Seriously Serious Business

I received an IM from a friend a couple days ago that got me thinking. He was asking for my advice because his friend’s 15-year-old son wants to start a social media marketing business. I asked my friend to send me this young man’s business plan, so that I could review and make recommendations. The response: “Um, he doesn’t have a business plan.”

WHAT?

Don’t get me wrong – there are teens who are capable of being businesspeople. Take Brooke Martin, for example, who created icpooch when she was just 12. This kind of magic can and does happen. But I can just see how this kiddo’s plan evolved… I want extra money > I like social networks > Local businesses use social networks > I could post for these businesses and charge them for it > I’ll start a social media marketing business! So easy, right? WRONG.

Clearly the first step would be to develop a business plan. But what that plan entails can really vary depending on the business. Creating and managing a business’ social media marketing could mean so many different things. A few examples? OK… a Facebook page, LinkedIn groups, a LinkedIn corporate page, a Twitter profile, a Google+ page, Tumblr, Reddit, Yelp. What about content driven social? Oh, how about… Pinterest, Instagram, a YouTube channel, Meerkat and/or Periscope and/or Vine, blogs. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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Social Channel Selection & the Content Sandwich

Back when the social media revolution began, there were few options available to businesses – blogs, forums and MySpace were the highlights. Shortly thereafter, Facebook, which began as a platform for college students became available to the masses and Twitter launched… fast-forward to today. Social media now takes the form of networks (Facebook, Google+, LinkedInMySpace), videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Vine), images (Instagram, Flickr), blogs (Blogger, WordPress), microblogs (Twitter, Tumblr), chats and video chats (SnapChat, WhatsApp, Skype), bookmarking/content-sharing sites (Pinterest, Digg, StumbleUpon, SlideShare), communities (reddit), music (Spotify, Last.FM, SoundCloud), Q&A forums (Quora, Ask.FM), location-based platforms (Foursquare, Swarm, Yelp), review sites (Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor), and shopping (Amazon, eBay).

Online social opportunities for each and every business are endless. Unfortunately, time and money are not. Think you can just choose your favorite platform and dive-in head first? Probably not a good idea. It’s unlikely that your entire target audience will be devoted to one social site (see below). In fact, they most likely use several different social platforms at different times for different reasons. So try to be everywhere, right? NO. You’ll spread yourself too thin.

Social Media Matrix

Pew Research Center, 2013

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