How to Use Social Media Creatively for Your Small Business

When you consider that there is about 1.3 million small and medium sized businesses located in North America alone and they generate an astounding $5.5 trillion each year, it is no wonder that a large number of them use social media as part of their overall marketing campaign.

It’s safe to say that the internet has revolutionized the way many businesses are formed and how marketing has changed. What was once the domain of newspapers, radio and television has now grown to the superhighway of information that the internet provides. Within that scope, social media has taken on a powerful new way to help businesses and entrepreneurs reach new customers and keep ties with those who have purchased before. In fact, over 80% of businesses today use social media in some form while most of the rest plan to do so in the near future.

The Changes to Social Media

Unlike traditional means of advertising, the internet and social media in particular are subject to changes on a rapid basis. Techniques that once worked like gangbusters before fade quickly and are replaced by other means. As part of your marketing budget and resources, you need to keep track of upcoming trends and incorporate those that are beneficial to your efforts.

For example, the largest social media outlet, Facebook, has put in place changes to their algorithm which has reduced the amount of followers that may see your posts. That trend is expected to continue which means that business which rely solely on Facebook will be facing diminishing returns.

You need to be more creative, open and flexible with your social media marketing strategy. This means opening up your marketing efforts and applying resources that can better take advantage of new trends as they happen.

How to Creatively use Social Media

There are a number of ways that you can creatively use your resources when marketing on social media pages. The trick is to be open to new ideas and understand how to correctly evaluate their promise.

Diversify your Social Media Investment: It’s easy to understand why so many businesses rely on one or two social media outlets to get out their message. Even the best in advertisers are creatures of habit and relying on the “tried and true” simply takes less work and imagination than exploring new options.

However, the recent changes to Facebook and rising prominence of new social media sites is prompting a change for many businesses. You need to select several social media outlets to market your business effectively. Fortunately, there are software programs that allow you to post the same messages on different outlets at the same time, but you will also need to take advantage of what each has to offer.

So think about the new social media sites that are rising up and the different group of customers that they can bring to your business.

Google+ is Here to Stay: After a lukewarm opening, Google+ has become one of the biggest players in the social media scene. There is a very important reason for that as Google has incorporated many of their other services into their social media business.

However, the most important reason is that the Google search engine which dominates the internet takes into account Google+ into its organic ratings. This means that you can get more from posting on your Google+ account which should automatically be one of the social media networks you use regularly.

In addition, Google+ allows access into Google Authorship which is playing a stronger role in search engine optimization. This is because it allows the search engine to identify the content and give it the proper attribution based on the author. The more you publish, the higher your author rank will be which in turn helps your SEO efforts.

Think Visual: You have probably read about how video and images are playing a much larger role in social media, especially in terms of advancing the ability of companies to reach new customers. However, the true potential of video has simply not been fully reached as of yet.

Incorporating more video content to your social media marketing, even in more subtle ways may greatly expand your base of followers especially if the use of the video is clever, funny and to the point. Instagram and Vine have greatly expanded the potential use of video and every day businesses are using it more as well.

When planning out your posts, think about how video can enhance the message that you are trying to deliver. The more you can effectively incorporate video, the better the chance that your followers will pass it on to their friends.

Build up your Brand: One of the most overlooked aspects of social media is how it can effectively build up your business brand. Your brand helps sell your products or services just as much, if not more than your other marketing efforts. This is because the public sees internet businesses as a “dime a dozen” or in other words, they have no reason to buy from you over your hundreds of competitors unless you provide one.

Building up your brand means enhancing what you do so that people feel more respect and are comfortable in purchasing from your business. So use your social media outlets to build up your brand and reputation so that it can best serve your needs as well as your customers.

Diversifying your approach and being more creative with how you employ social media is not easy and the fear of making mistakes is ever-present. However, the things we find difficult are often the best means in which to raise our talents and create new opportunities for success. In expanding your view of social media, you also open up your business to creating more profit potential.

Overall, social media is an ever-changing, ever-growing part of your marketing efforts. To understand its full potential means expanding your approach and incorporating different elements so that you can maximize the potential of your business efforts.

Website Development: Going From Designer to Manager

It’s a catch-22 for creative people in all areas of marketing communications. The better a creative productive you produce, the sooner you’ll be asked to stop creating and start managing; something your probably not in the slightest bit trained for. Managing the transition from creative person–be it designer, programmer or writer–can be a sticky and difficult situation. One day you’re one of the team and the next day you’re the boss. There are ways to bridge the gap and the trust of your co-workers.

Website Development: Going From Designer to Manager

There’s a natural progression that occurs in the career of almost every talented Web designer. It’s when your competency with coding and your creative flair coupled with your problem-solving abilities lands you in the position of manager. Sure you’ve trained in HTML and CSS. You may even have a graphics design background. And, of course, you’ve developed many excellent solutions for difficult online problems. But does any of that qualify you to lead others? Many otherwise extremely gifted and skilled Web designers wrestle with this conundrum. So how exactly does someone who’s used to “doing the work” become someone who “manages” the work?

Let Go and Lead

Let’s face it: It’s just plain instinct for creative people such as Web designers to dig in and solve the problem themselves but that’s exactly the opposite of what’s needed in your new role. You need to learn to step back and help guide others down the path so that they can come up with the right solution themselves. This is easier said than done. After all, you’ve been rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty for years. So how do you go from being a “doer” to being a guide? Put plainly, you stop doing. Instead, focus on providing the people you supervise with the information and the tools they need to solve it themselves. They may fail at first. And the solution they create may not be the one you would have come up with. But that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. You need to learn to open your mind to ways of thinking other than your own.

Get Your People Involved

I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who bounds out of bed excited by the prospect of the weekly staff meeting. However, as much as you and others may dislike meetings, they are a necessary evil in running a business. One hand needs to know what the other is doing. Without that knowledge, chaos ensues along with a lot of wasted hours. As a new manager, you can make meetings work harder for you by getting your team more involved. Resist the urge to dominate the conversation; this makes what should be a weekly or bi-weekly update on various projects a lecture series. Consider having your teams present their progress on a given project. Encourage comments and suggestions from everyone. Other ways to involve and engage people is to ask team members to present a site they were impressed by or summarize an article they recently read, perhaps even share the processes of other companies they’ve worked at. Getting everyone involved not only stimulates new and better ideas, but also fosters a sense of teamwork.

Improve Your Listening Skills

When you’re the one doing the work you listen to input and almost instantly begin formulating ways to execute that input. As a manager, you need more information than that to make the best decisions for the client, the project and the company. Be prepared to hear points of view that vary wildly with your instincts. Don’t feel pressured to make instantaneous rulings; that will come with time as you become more comfortable in your new role. And remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “…you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Making business decisions that may not be popular is part of being a manager and something else you will get used to as time goes on.

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How to Choose Your Niche Online Business

One of the most common pieces of advice given to those who are trying to find their niche online business is that they should follow their passion. Well, if you don’t exactly know what your passion is when it comes to having an online business, the advice is rather meaningless.

However, there are ways to develop a successful niche online business, even if you are not exactly sure what your true passion when it comes to selling products or services. If you understand what a niche is and how it can be exploited and you develop a genuine interest in the topic, then you can be very successful.

What is a Niche?

Essentially, a niche online business is one that exploits a narrow, but dependable customer base thanks to their common interest in a particular subject. For example, if your website is dedicated to movies that is a very broad subject. However, if it is dedicated to classic 1930’s horror films starring Boris Karloff, then you have a niche.

Given just how many people are on the internet, your niche can be quite narrow in terms of subject, but there still may be more than enough people who share that interest which can make you a considerable amount of money. Here are a few good tips in finding the right niche market for you.

Avoid the “Cool”

One of the biggest mistakes people make is trying to find topics for their niche that are “cool” or trendy to take advantage of the times. That is a red herring in terms of building up a successful online business because what you really need is longevity. The subject matter of your niche should be just as good five years from now as today. Trends can come and go very quickly and you’ll be stuck with a losing niche.


Open up a blank document and type down all the different interests you have which range from casual to passionate.

  • What subjects do you like to read or talk about?
  • What are your general interests?
  • What are your hobbies?

Most of what you write down may not translate into an online business, but some will. While you do not have to be “passionate” about a particular subject, it must hold your interest and you must be willing to write and talk about it.

Escape your Comfort Zone

One of the best ways to find your passion or at least a subject that is of real interest to you is one that you find a bit embarrassing to take about. While the subject matter needs to have universal appeal, it also should make you a bit nervous to share. That is your emotions telling you that this subject matter is somewhat personal and a prime candidate for a niche business assuming it applies.

Once you have found something of real interest to you, then you should move as quickly as possible. Take just enough time to properly set up your website and go because this is the first day of enjoying a niche online business that may provide you with the financial independence that you really want.

5 Internet Marketing Tips Using Little or No Money

Starting your own online business can provide you the path to financial freedom. However, most people start with a limited budget and do not fully understand all the marketing techniques that are available. Fortunately, the internet does not operate like traditional sources, such as newspaper, TV or radio advertising where lots of money is needed to make an impact.

On the internet, there are several ways you can effectively market your business without having to spend much in the way of money. In fact, some of the most effective techniques require very little, if any money to start. Still, you will need to budget your funds and spend them appropriately if you want your online business to succeed.

What follows are 5 effective internet marketing tips that use very little to no money which can find you the customers needed to grow your business.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) costs relatively little compared to its potential return on the investment. SEO can be done by anyone if they spend a little time learning the skills and basics. Essentially, SEO is the process of creating targeted content that emphasizes on search queries that a potential customer might type into a search engines. These search queries are commonly called “keywords”. Incorporation of targeted keywords can help lead to search results pages in which the targeted content is prominently displayed. Typically, the more relevant, reliable and authoritative the content, the higher in the search engine rankings the content will appear.


Effective branding begins with a good logo, motto and reaching out to the community at large. You’ll want to build your marketing efforts around your business that improves who you are while selling products. What branding really does is set your business apart from the rest. This form of identification helps potential customers identify who you are more readily.

Blog and Guest Blog

Blogs are still highly popular and cost next to nothing in terms of their use. Still, not enough people utilize the full effect of their own blogs. Plus, you can also gain a great deal of marketing traction by writing for other blogs as well. Being a guest blogger opens up your business to new potential customers. Just be sure to write good, engaging content that gets readers to respond in a positive way.

Social Media

This is where most online businesses fall down in their marketing efforts. Being active and most importantly, interactive on social media builds up your business without having to spend a dime. You can do a great deal of promotion, but the real way that social media works is by staying in contact with customers and potential customers. Furthermore, strategies such as viral video marketing are tailor-made for social media and can greatly expand your business.

Viral Videos

Have you ever seen a silly video on YouTube that got a ridiculous number of views? There is no question that videos have exploded in terms of marketing in the past five years and many of the most successful were shot under natural light with a smartphone or tablet camera. You can employ viral video marketing as well by creating short, funny videos that promote your business. All it takes is one that your customers share on social media for your business to explode.

All of these tips cost very little money, but can provide you with a powerful marketing platform for your business when done right.