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The Total Image Group   ...Business Alchemists

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Posts Tagged ‘business’

5 Reasons Every Business Should be on Snapchat

Posted Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Snapchat is the newest social tool that lets you share photos and video, or “snaps,” with the bonus of adding drawings or captions to whatever you record. Here’s the catch: Snaps disappear after a few seconds, and the sender gets to choose how many seconds messages will be visible before they self-destruct. The concept basically blends photo and video texting with the age-old tradition of sending notes with disappearing ink.

What’s the appeal? Less pressure to be perfect than on other platforms such as Facebook, where content is more permanent. It’s a simple way to share simple things, and in a world where every social media lover has to become their own personal public relations guru, Snapchat offers a stress-free way to say — whatever. Here are five reasons your business should utilize the app:

1. People use it, and they’re going to keep using it. Snapchat first caught on among high schoolers, but now college students have checked in to the craze. The app, designed by Stanford students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy as part of a class project, launched in Apple’s app store in September 2011. By October 2012, the company tallied its billionth snap. The company is estimated to have more than 30 million users as of December 2013, although they’re coy about sharing the actual number.

Scoffers might wrinkle their noses and shrug Snapchat off as another passing phase. But skeptics were momentarily silenced in November 2013 when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg offered the infant startup $3 billion in cash and was promptly turned down. Whether you’re keyed in to Snapchat or not, Facebook knows Snapchat’s hot, but Snapchat knows it’s even hotter.

2. Prove you’re a “cool” company. If you hadn’t heard of Snapchat before Facebook’s stunning $3 billion offer (or before you started reading this article), you’re not alone. That’s part of what adds to the inherent allure of the app. The number of users is growing exponentially, but it’s still new enough to make those who use it “in the know.”

The Snapchat frontier is still wide open for adaptive marketers who are ready to start exploring. Those who hit the ground running will have the biggest impact, plus the chance to define the ways marketers will use an emerging genre. Can anyone say, “Innovator Award”?

3. You’ve already built the audience on other social platforms. Snapchat is part social hybrid and part revolutionary, but adding it as a marketing platform doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. After all, what about all those Facebook fans and Twitter followers you worked so hard to collect? Does Snapchat mean those metrics have an expiration date? Not at all. Existing social platforms can remain healthy even as they drive fans and followers to explore a new sharing tool with you.

Incentivize your audience to join you on Snapchat and you’ll not only gain an instant audience on an emerging platform, you’ll find a whole new way to interest them. Offer mobile coupons, the chance to take a sneak peek behind the scenes, and the promise to deliver hot brand news to Snapchatters before anyone else, and fans will follow.

4. Embrace a new wavelength of messaging. Remember when YouTube grew in popularity and politicians began to realize the simpler, less professionally-staged videos were ranking better with audiences than pristinely polished ones? Savvy marketers are realizing the same is true of Snapchat. The app is supposed to be less-than-perfect, and that’s why people love it. The bonus for businesses is that you have the chance to kick your shoes off at the edge of the dance floor and have a little fun.

5. This is the new world of advertising. Traditional radio commercials were zapped by satellite radio. Television ads were nuked when digital video recorders careened on scene. And now, even digital recorders are being outrun by instant streaming. Mute buttons, spam filters, pop-up blockers — all are ways audiences keep slipping through marketer’s fingers.

What if people actually wanted to engage with your brand? What if, instead of ducking behind junk settings and filters, people actually pushed a button of their own free will to watch your brand in action? Snapchat introduces a groundbreaking forum, one where people are interested in what you have to say and offer.

It may still be new, but it represents the new age of advertising.


Why Your Business Should Be on Google+

Posted Thursday, April 10th, 2014

There are some very compelling arguments in favor of including Google+ in a social media marketing strategy.

Google Plus has a huge user base
With more than 540 million active monthly users, Google Plus sees its number of users increase daily. Google is encouraging you to link your profiles on Google Play and YouTube and with more peopel using these platforms, more people will be using Google+

Make use of Google Hangouts.

With Google Hangouts, free live video conferencing can take place for as many as 10 people. The benefits for a small business are obvious: You can reach out to customers, dealers, vendors and social media contacts at no cost. You can also participate in Hangouts initiated by others and communicate with thought leaders in your niche.

Be cognizant of the Google connection.
Google is at the epicenter of all search engines. While Bing is also a player, Google is still the big daddy. There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that profiles that do well on Google+ get indexed quicker on Google. Add to that the fact that Google Plus business pages are beginning to show up on search engine results pages, and you have two very strong reasons to work on establishing a presence here.

Take advantage of Google+ reviews.
With Google+ reviews showing up on search results, potential customers might be influenced to choose your business if they come across positive reviews. Therefore, provide great service and proactively solicit reviews on Google+. Nothing beats a favorable reference from one human being to another.

Explore Google+ Ripples.
Google Plus is a feature-rich social media platform; you can leverage Circles, Hangouts, Hangouts on Air, Communities and Ripples. The latter category can be particularly useful for small businesses. It is a data visualization graph that lets you take in at a glance the manner in which your content has been shared.

Are you on Goolge+ or is your business? How do you think it compares to Facebook, Twitter or Linked?


5 social media metrics that your business should be tracking

Posted Friday, November 1st, 2013

1. Reach

Metric to track: Audience Growth Rate

Tracking benefit: Directly connect social media data with business’ profits

Related metrics: Audience Growth, Total Followers

One item you should pay attention to is your Audience Growth Rate. A refinement of New Followers or similar stats, expressed in percent-change over time, the growth rate of your audience depicts your social media momentum

2. Engagement

Metric to track: Average Engagement Rate

Tracking benefit: Make engagement numbers meaningful and actionable

Related metrics: Reach, Overall Engagement, Audience Growth Rate

As your Audience Growth Rate follows a positive level of growth, you also need to ensure that you’re speaking to the right people – and that those people are listening.

3. Acquisition

Metric to track: Visitor Frequency Rate

Tracking benefit: Optimize targeting of new and returning visitors

Related metrics: Click-Thru Rate, Impressions from Social Media

Although total acquisitions from Twitter and Facebook are far lower than from organic Google search, the Return Visit % demonstrates these network’s unique value to your business.

4. Conversion

Metric to track: Assisted Social Conversions

Tracking benefit: Directly connect social media data with business’ profits

Related metrics: Last Click (Direct) Conversions

Beyond getting visitors to your brand’s website and then getting them to return, you should clearly define goals for how you want these visitors to convert into sales or other desired actions.

5. Activity

Metric to track: Customer Service Savings

Tracking benefit: Show impact on business’ bottom line

Related Metrics: Customer Service Costs, Social Media Posts

Go beyond post counts and content types to connect social media activity with profits. Combine your social media data with other data related to your business, and derive information like Customer Service Savings. Your business’ savings from social media equal the average time to complete traditional customer service, multiplied by hourly cost of customer service. Repeated 100 or 1000 times over, this translates to significant savings for your business.

Avg. Time x Costs Per Hour x Customer Service Inquiries Completed = Savings

(If you’d like to get even more precise, subtract out the costs of answering those inquiries through social media)


Phones 4 everyone!

Posted Monday, July 18th, 2011

While the explosion of mobile use is no new phenomenon, what continues to amaze is the appetite for smart phones and the onus on making them indispensible to the consumer. The smart phone was impressive alone, let alone the continued progression of technology that is making it the most modern form of communication far beyond texts and phone calls. In fact, in terms of social media use, it’s easier to use a smart phone that it is your desktop.

Currently, 25% of people in the UK own a smart phone but by 2014 this number will rise to 75%, a staggering increase in such a short time. Social media will play a key part in this growth, consumers want to access their Facebook or Twitter accounts, or watch YouTube videos where ever they are, at any time of the day. In the UK 50% of all mobile internet traffic is on Facebook the key platform driving mobile internet usage, followed by Google and YouTube.

What does this mean for your business? The key aspect is that your customers are constantly talking about your brand with more ease than ever before. A consumer having a coffee mentions where they’ve been and how good it was, a service they’ve used and their reflections on it. In many occasions it’s not even a conscious effort to name the brand and give their opinion; it’s just sharing information and updating the people in their community.

Businesses need to get smart. They need to be aware that in the past they discovered what their customers thought by handing out testimonial cards. That’s long gone. They’ve almost lost control of who says what and when, but as a result, businesses need to be at the top of their game every day. It’s no longer enough to produce a good dish when a restaurant reviewer visits; every customer is now the reviewer with an equal opinion. They need to embrace social media rather than continue to run from it.

Facebook, Twitter and no doubt Google+ have been developed with the mobile device in mind. Facebook’s places and Twitter’s geotagging are developments that use smart phones to give information beyond an update. The idea is for the micro-blogging sites to be immediate and convenient. It captures their thought at that moment which can then be shared with incredible ease. Experiences, good and bad are shared by consumers every minute of every day.

70% of people will buy products/services even if it has been recommended by a stranger and 90% buy after recommendations from friends. For businesses this means that with the spread of social media and the rise of smart phones they need to be at the top of the game and value every customer. Companies are being discussed, whether it be positive or negative feedback and they need to be on top of it. Social media isn’t going away, it’s only going to grow as smart phones make it easier to post and the consumer now gets their voice heard.

See also- How long until you’ll be buying your groceries with your phone?


Social networking is now Britain’s favourite pastime

Posted Friday, March 18th, 2011

Facebook and Twitter have overtaken popular sites such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Sky Sports.com.

Whilst probably not surprising, Experian Hitwise have made it official. At the start of 2011, Facebook consumed 12.46% of all internet activity, compared the entertainment sites which had 12.18%.

The figures are huge considering in 2008 social networking accounted for 8%.

In January 2011 alone, 2.4 billion visits were made to social networking sites. Facebook topped the charts whilst YouTube and Twitter came second and third.

Importantly, users don’t just use Facebook and then log off, in most cases, users then logged on to other social sites such as Twitter and foursquare.

Robin Goad, research director at the online intelligence firm, said businesses need to embrace the move toward social media- and fast!

‘Successful websites will be those that learn to harness the power of social networks, driving traffic to their own websites’.


Business Blogging Tips – The Art Of Subliminal Advertising

Posted Friday, November 26th, 2010

Business blogging isn’t much tuned to the practice of blogging, as it is to the art of subliminal advertising. These are tips to better the advertising layered intricately within every single post on a business blog.

Any business only maintains a blog for lead generation and boasting brand image. There are no two ways about – even the Google blog attempted to sooth over concerns of net neutrality to maintain their “do no evil” image. Impressions don’t matter, the number of comments doesn’t matter – all that this blog (and company) is concerned with is to get across it’s message to the right people as best as possible. Think of it like Inception – the purpose is to plan an idea and watch it mature. Establishing that, let’s get down to…

Business Blogging Tips To Get Your Message Across
Create Content About Business, Rather Than YOUR Business
Create posts about your industry, its best practices, guidelines for new entrants, the trends it follows – basically, write about the everything relevant in your industry. The idea is to become somewhat of a inspiration and/or a guru to people in your industry. Let them know how things are done, while remembering that you’re doing so merely to establish two important facts: you know the business and your business knows the industry it belongs in comparatively well.

Referring a specific brand too often causes readers to read between some very thin lines, and realize the intentions of a business blog. Allow them to gain knowledge, insights and exposure, but do NOT expose them to the brand behind the blog. That’s a connection you want them to make on their own.

Make A ‘Somebody’ Write Your Business Blog
This is an important one, and it continues to surprise me how many businesses continue to get it wrong – the blog needs a blogger, an identity. Your blog needs a face. I went through the top 25 results on Google for “business blogging”, and it’s amazing to see all of them resonate with a lack of online identity. Understand this – every business needs a face. Everything from the logo and font on your business card, to the architecture of your office(s), is part of that. To forget that essential attribute of brand image building is (at least to me) sacrilege.

Understanding Blogging – Regular Posts Are Essential
I’ll make this business blogging tips short – if you don’t make regular posts, comments and additions to a blog (any blog), it will fail. Without regular posts, expect not to get any of the following:

RSS subscribers
Followers’ on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, etc.
Consistent visitors + Free word-of-mouth advertising.


Tips for Making a Fortune from Selling Your Business

Posted Friday, July 10th, 2009

FT.com, June 10th 2006

‘You must know you’re own business inside out because all buyers crave information – know your business well and represent it accurately.’ Marcus Markou of BusinessesForSale.com

‘Most private businesses are not run for profit, they are cash-driven. Businesses are typically sold and valued on multiples of profit. Private businesses may need to be restructured to sell for the best valuation.’ Howard Leigh, director of Cavendish Corporate Finance

‘Recognise that often a trade sell isn’t a clean exit – management may be locked into the company for 6 months to 3 years and some portion of the money isn’t paid until completion. Plan for when you want to sell accordingly.’ Steve Batch of Ventura Business Brokers

‘Must haves: Absolute self-belief, focus, drive and determination.’ Andrew Morris of HSBC Private Bank

‘In creative businesses, where human capital is relativelymore important than in other industries, the crafting of contracts is a core skill for retaining people.’ Professor Chris Higson of London Business School


 
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