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Creating Engaging Social Media Images : Part 2 of 2

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

We all realize just how important it is to have top-quality, clean, clear, images as well as entertaining video or gifs to accompany our business messages. Part one of this blog article provided you eight very cool sites to help you create and share images, gifs, videos, templates, and more on your business social media accounts. These next eight free or inexpensive tools are ones you should also bookmark and consider using to create your next social media campaigns.

 

iStock

iStock is a collection of royalty-free photos, illustrations and videos. They offer a lot of great, less mainstream, items that can be collected into boards for easy retrieval or organization. Royalty-free doesn’t mean that the images are free however, this service does cost money to use.

 

Over

Over is a popular free mobile app (for phones only) that allows you to add text, overlays, and blend colors on images.

 

PicMonkey

PicMonkey offers easy-to-use tools to create attractive social posts, cover photos, ads, and more. Boasting over 6,000 graphics and textures, hundreds of fonts, thousands of design templates, and even collages. They currently do not offer a free version.

 

Piktochart

Piktochart is another place where you can create infographics, presentations, and printables. You can begin this service for free of charge as well, which allows you to create a limited number of items, or choose one of their paid packages.

 

Placeit

Placeit helps you generate mockups or demos of your website or product being used in real life as well as logos, videos, and other designs. They currently do not offer a free version.

 

Skitch

Skitch is an Apple-only mobile phone app that allows you to add comments to any visual. Basically you take a snapshot of your screen and use arrows, text, stickers, and a handful of other tools to make your point.

 

Stencil

Stencil is another image creation/editing site that has both free and paid options. They currently boast of over 2,100,000+ photos, 1,000,000+ icons and graphics, 100,000+ quotes, 2,500+ fonts, and 730+ templates that users can access.

 

Venngage

Venngage offers a large library of social-media-ready templates and has a great user-friendly editor that is easy for just about anyone to use. The site is free for all basic functions and also has a paid version with access to select features.

 

 

Words are great but a high-quality image will get noticed and shared more than text alone. Bookmark, download, and utilize these great tools to help your social media posts make more of an impact.

 

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Our last blog article discussed asking for testimonials, making it easy for people to get in touch with you, and how important it is to provide excellent customer service. Moving forward, we will discuss the importance of engaging people on social media, monitoring your online reputation, maintaining a positive image both in person and online, and how making donations that will improve your business reputation.

 

Engage People on Social Media:

Social media is important. The challenge is to get people talking about your business. Social Media is an excellent method to use for customers to talk positively your business. Ask people for their opinions, reviews, and thoughts. Remember that social media is an active conversion and respond in a timely manner.

 

Actively Monitor Your Online Reputation:

As you spend time actively engaging customers or potential customers online, it is important to monitor what is said about your business and what platforms that you are being talked about.  You can do the searches yourself to see who is talking about you and what they are saying or you can utilize online reputation monitoring tools to help. Some tools you can use are:

 

Maintain a Positive Image:

As a small business you are never off the clock. You need to work hard to maintain a professional, helpful, and friendly appearance at all times; especially if you drive a vehicle with your company logo or are wearing company branded clothing. Your behavior in public, when not directly in front of customers, can affect how people view your business.

 

Clean and Pleasant – In Person or Online:

This one goes hand in hand with the past point – your office, vehicles, attire, and online presence all must match the atmosphere and brand of your business. You want people to have their best experiences working with you. You want them to view you and your business as experts in your field that are professionals who are approachable, helpful, friendly, and clean. Would you want to eat in a dirty or see the chef with a crusty, dirty apron and dirty hands? You would only NOT eat there; you would tell everyone what you experienced. It works the same with positives.

 

Obtain Positive Publicity & Contribute Visibly to Your Community:

As a small business, it makes sense to invest in your local community. It helps both your community and helps your business grow.  Contributing brings your business front and center in the minds people’s minds of those who may need for your products or services. These contributions not only enable you to do good and be part of your community, but they provide your business high visibility and very positive word of mouth    from supporters. It improves the reputation of your company and is very good for business. Consider donating your time or money to things such as:

  • Contributing financially to a local charity
  • Participating in holiday charity events
  • Sponsoring local tournaments, school sports, or other competitions
  • Sponsoring community or charitable events
  • Joining a public board of directors
  • Working with community organizations
  • Donating time to city council committees

 

Provide Free Public Lessons or Seminars:

This can take more time to plan and execute properly but giving away your time at very public events provides an opportunity to showcase your expertise and gain positive publicity.  It also sets you up as an expert in your field.

 

 

Word of mouth happens whether you pay attention to it or not. It is such a powerful marketing tool that you would be remiss to ignore it and allow it to flourish without your guiding hand. Take the time to tune into to what people are saying about your business and help them spread positive words about you, you won’t regret it.

 

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful advertising methods.  People highly value and trust the opinions of those they know and love. If you can get them to speak positively of your business, odds are good their friends and family will be knocking at your door as well.

 

Even word of mouth from strangers can have a huge impact on a person’s buying habits. Online reviews are very important with approximately 9 of 10 people reading and being influenced by online reviews. Most people use online reviews to determine whether a business is trustworthy and deserving of their business. This is consistent with all types of businesses including doctors, attorneys, restaurants, tradespeople, brick and mortar retail stores, E-Commerce stores and more.

 

What can you do to get people to talk positively about your business? Below are some ways to help you foster more positive word of mouth endorsements and grow your business.

 

Ask for Testimonials and Display Them Prominently:

Customer testimonials are powerful endorsements. Make sure that your business is in the habit of asking for testimonials and make sure that you display prominently where others can find and read them. Share the testimonial on your website, on your social media channels and you can even print and post them in your place of business.

 

Make It Easy for Your Customers to Contact You:

Poor communication will frustrate people and drive customers away from you. You need to be reachable across multiple platforms and in multiple ways. Make sure that your website is easy to read and navigate.   Being responsive can make a huge difference. Make sure contact numbers, emails, or a contact form are all easy to access and use. It is important that your phone connects, that someone answers courteously, and that your voicemail has space to receive new messages if no one can pick up the call. Answer all voicemails, emails, and messages received through social media in a timely and professional manner.

 

Provide Excellent Customer Service:

Excellent customer service is the most important thing you can focus on to gain positive word of mouth as well as set yourself apart from your competition. If someone is unhappy with your customer service, they are even MORE likely to tell their friends and family than if they have a positive experience with your business. They will also take their own as well as the business of those near and dear to them elsewhere.  It is critical that you demonstrate to your customers how important they are to you. Treat them as you would want to be treated, with kindness, courtesy, respect, and show that you are interested in their needs.

 

Stay tuned for the second part of this series which will discuss engaging people on social media, monitoring your online reputation, maintaining a positive image both in person and online, and how giving your time or and/or donations that can greatly improve your business reputation.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter
Advertise your business:

In order to build customers, they need to be cognizant that you exist, and they need a reason to engage with you. Advertising allows new customers to discover your brand and reminds current customers of your offerings. Your competitors are advertising and if you are not, you may lose business to them. Depending on your business and your offerings, you may want to go with traditional print ads in newspapers or magazines or online ads with search engines and social media platforms.

 

Create a professional brochure for your business:

Even though this seems like an outdated marketing strategy, it is still a good idea to have a strong, professional brochure created for your business. Brochures are cost effective and provide a lot of information while simultaneously personalizing your small business. They help your customers build trust in you and build awareness with your brand.

 

Send press releases to relevant media outlets:

Press releases are a great way to highlight important company events, new products, or awards you’ve received. Press releases allow you build brand awareness and communicate directly with your audience.

 

Host an event or open house:

Hosting an event or open house helps publicize your business, bring awareness to it, and allows you to show it off. You can sponsor your own even or join with other local businesses to showcase specific products, introduce your staff, or even provide free samples.

 

Offer a deal or discount:

Everyone loves a good deal, especially if they get something for free. Offering a coupon, discount, or some other special deal helps your business in multiple ways. It can help increase the number of new customers you receive, increase sales in general and for specific products, increase brand awareness, provide rewards to loyal customers, promote your social media accounts, show customer appreciation, increase your market influence by motivating customers to travel for your deals, and even help move inventory that has been sitting on your shelves.

 

Offer a Referral Fee to Existing Customers:

Referrals are golden and there is nothing better than a customer referring you to someone else because they hold a high opinion of your products and/or services.  Perhaps offer clients a special discount or referral fee to tell their colleagues and friends and spread the word about your business.

 

 

Regardless of the type of business you are running, whether you offer products that are tangible or intangible or series, you can make it successful right from your home. Just make sure that you spend the time researching your ideas and target market thoroughly, put together the right environment, build a strong team, and market your brand effectively.   Using a combination of online and other marketing is a recipe for success.

 

We encourage Veteran and Military Business Owners to join VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association.   There are not any dues or fees charged to our members.  Here is a link to join:  https://vamboa.org/member-registration/

 

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