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To think that you can build a brand without establishing an online presence is a recipe for disaster. No matter how hard you try, your efforts will only go in vain if you decide to overlook the power of digital media.

If you are ready to capitalize on the online platforms and tools, the following 5 tips can help you in building a powerful brand and expanding the reach of your business:

  1. Social Media

Branding has a lot to with human behavior and society as a whole, which is why social media plays the biggest role in creating an online brand.

Your customers want to connect to your brand on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other popular social media platforms. So, not only you should start sharing good quality content through your handles on these platforms, you should also try to deliver excellent customer support.

When a company listens to the feedback/complaint raised by a customer, they feel cared for, and it helps in deepening the connection they have with it.

  1. Creating a Good Logo

If you are using different profile pictures and social media banners for different accounts, then you are doing more harm than good for your own brand.

Learning how to maintain a consistent message across a variety of platforms is an important part of the branding process that must never be underestimated.  So, what you need is a good but affordable branding and logo design suite that can help you create all things branding- company logo, business cards, watermark files, etc.

You need to create a simple yet unique logo that shows the world what your business, your brand is all about.  You also need to make sure that you use it wherever your company communicates with the public. Examples include emails, social media profiles, website, etc.

  1. Start a Blog

One of the best ways to connect to the public, learn what they feel about your brand, and convert leads into customers, is by creating an informative or entertaining blog that the people will genuinely love to read. As you will publish new posts every few days or every week (ideally, the frequency shouldn’t exceed it), it will automatically jump positions on the search engine rankings and help attract more and more unique visitors to your blog.

  1. Optimize Your Website

Did you ever conduct a thorough assessment of your company website? Is navigation on it easy or complicated? Are its search engine rankings satisfactory? These are some of the questions that you must ask yourself if you want to create a good company website.

SEO and UX (User Experience) are some of the most important things that you should learn about and update your website accordingly. You will be surprised to see how simple things within these can have the greatest impact on your online presence.

  1. Check into Alternative Branding Platforms

It’s not easy to secure a sizeable portion of the market which is quickly becoming saturated with other strong brands. So, to create a name for yourself and to stand out, you need alternative marketing models.

Instead of simply booking digital advertisements, think of other ways you can generate the maximum ROI. Will your product sell well if you ask famous YouTube channels to promote your brand? Will popular influencers on Instagram be able to increase your customers in a rapid manner? Look into the options like these. They might do wonders for your brand.


 
 

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Business travel doesn’t always have mean to work.  In fact, if you plan ahead and schedule your stay for the weekend: It can be a vacation.  If you’re not lent the time it takes to really relax, at least plan to make your business travel impactful.  Here are 6 ways you take the time to relax on your next business trip:

Make it affordable

Have a conference in Hawaii? Hawaiian flights are way more affordable with ticket deal sites like Expedia or Travelocity. They make sourcing the best budget reflecting tickets quite the simple task. Save on the cost of tickets and rooms to increase the available time you have in the island. That is, if you were coming of  your own needful will. If you were summoned by an employer and they don’t pay the cost, it’s better to have doable last minute costs than not be able to attend.

Take your meeting to the beach

Don’t hold up in a frumpy office on a business trip. Take your meeting to an outdoor beachside cafe that has wifi connection. That way you will have the ocean as the backdrop of this meeting. The peace of this most natural of white noise sources will make your meeting minutiae pass with natural fluidity. Then, when all the work is done, you are already at your beach destination. Bring your swimsuit along in your work bag. You can go straight to the water and waste no time on cashing in your downtime.

Local networking is good for business

Your team should agree to do some local networking. Have another meeting you need to do at night or early in the morning? Consider doing it at a local business oriented restaurant or in the lobby of the hotel one or more of you are staying at. Your presence should be non-invasive, but the scene you construct will be enough to showcase your brand to the locals. Consider asking the hotel staff if they would like to keep some of your information.

In other words, a good productivity comes from a good stage to conduct your performance in.

Everyone loves coffee

There is a common correlation between business personnel and coffee drinkers. If this fits your team, you might like to conduct some of your meetings in local coffee shops.  Not only does it help everyone break out of routine, it’s a great way to take in the local scene on a time constraint.

For that business conference in Hawaii? Lion Coffee in Honolulu. For a brief stop-in, Lion Coffee has some menu lattes and cold brews for the price of McDonald’s regular coffee. This would be a perfect place for you to relax and prepare your presentation before meeting up with the rest of your team at your respective conference or other event.

Treat yourself

There is nothing more important than eating your way around a new place.  Even if you’re on a tight timeline, you’ve got to make the time to eat.  The fact that Julia Childs wrote an entire book around eating and travel should be proof enough.

Lunch outside the commercial scene

You may be tempted to keep everything convenient and eat only chain food while on this trip. That’s fine if you like that best. For those who are always interested in getting a taste of what the local land has to offer, do a Google search to find the unique cuisine around you.

Not convinced?  Check out this video from squareship.com to get a taste of what it’s like to eat your way around the world.   Chances are, you’ll quickly get a craving for one of those local specialties.

Conclusion

No matter where you travel, go with the mindset that all the means will lead to a productive end. Make your experience of the island reflect upon your work to instill passion in both. You will come away with a new aesthetic. It will show in your progress reports.


Article Contributed by Harris Scott

Whatever the type of business you are running today, it is possible to harness the power of Instagram to achieve your objectives. This is the fastest growing social media networks with over 700 million monthly users (MAUs). Within 7 years, this photo and video sharing platform has grown by leaps and bounds and it is now one of the most powerful business marketing tools.

Whether you want to grow brand awareness, increase conversion rates, improve engagement levels or target millenials, this is the platform you should be using. According to eMarketer, 48.8% of brands in the U.S already have an Instagram account and this number is expected to grow to 71% by end of 2017.

Most marketers jump headfirst into Instagram marketing with the belief that you just need to post nice photos to get followers for Instagram. Well, this doesn’t work out for most of them and today, you should learn from the most common mistakes they make to tweak your IG strategy early enough. Here are some of these mistakes with ideas on how to avoid them:

  1. Lack of strategy – This is the most common mistake because business owners mistakenly think that all IG accounts are the same. For a business IG account, you have goals to achieve and as such, your posts should be goal-driven. Lack of strategy is what drives brands to share any picture they come across. If you have no Instagram strategy, your marketing campaign is bound to fail.
  2. Private account –This is a mistake that you would expect no one to make but surprisingly, many brands don’t take time to check their account settings. By setting your account to private, you are limiting the opportunities you can enjoy on Instagram.
  3. Random posts – This closely relates to lack of strategy but it is even worse. Just because you had an office party doesn’t mean those photos should end up on your Instagram account. You must have a theme/shtick that guides the kind of content you publish. It is by having a theme that you start getting a regular flow of people liking your posts.
  4. Failure to optimize your bio – if you don’t have a link in the bio, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to drive traffic to your website. This is the only place where you can have a link and therefore, make sure you have one. It could link to a landing page, social profile or any other relevant platform.
  5. Poor use of hashtags – For starters, you have to appreciate that hashtags drive Instagram and as such, you must use them. To do this, you should come up with the best hashtags because you are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags. The idea is never to use too many and only use those that are relevant to your marketing campaign.

There are many other Instagram marketing blunders you should avoid and it is important to keep learning.

Author Bio

Harris Scott is a leading blog writer and content marketing professional with thousands of real Instagram followers for his postings.

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Article Contributed by Ashley Wilson

Many business owners view competition in the marketplace as a negative factor, but the reality is that a healthy dose of competition on a regular basis can actually benefit your business in several ways.

Competition is good in moderation because it inspires and even requires you to work more efficiently and intelligently, make use of all of the collective talents in your team, and more. The most successful entrepreneurs are motivated by the opportunity competition presents to do better and to think more creatively.

Here are some of the prime benefits associated with the competition in the business world:

1. Increasing Customer Satisfaction

When your customers have multiple products or services to choose from, you are required to improve your company’s customer satisfaction rating. Your customers must be satisfied with the overall experience they receive from your business, or they will quite simply take their business elsewhere.

Competition forces you to be the best that you can be and to find ways to get even better. Not only it helps you provide a better customer experience, but it also helps you deliver more at a more affordable price. After all, customers need to see value in the products or services that you offer in order to feel satisfied.

2. Driving Innovation

When your business faces tough competition in the marketplace, you are forced to find new and better ways to complete your tasks and serve your customers. On the other hand, if there were no one to compete against, you would feel less inclined to innovate and improve.

Competition drives you to innovate in different ways, such as by adopting new technologies or improving your products and processes. For instance, it helps you identify which product features are more or less appealing to your target audience. This gives you an easier and more cost-effective way to test the market before making revisions to your own products and services.

  1. Improving Business Performance

Your competition may help you clearly identify your own strengths and weaknesses. By paying attention to what your competitors are doing, you can learn from their mistakes and determine similar areas in your business that need to be improved. Your competitors’ own trial and error situations are a valuable learning experience and provide you with the information you need to get the best possible results.

Once you have a good idea of your own strengths and weaknesses, you can begin streamlining your business in cost-effective ways. After all, in order to stay competitive in the marketplace, you need to find ways to improve your business operations and supply services at a lower price than other companies. Fortunately, your competitors will be there to keep you on your toes and motivate you to constantly strive to do better.

  1. Helping You Develop a Competitive Edge

Without competition in the marketplace, you may feel comfortable keeping the status quo. However, the great thing about your competition is that it pushes you out of your comfort zone and encourages you to develop a competitive edge.

For instance, you may find a way to appeal to more consumers, make your products more appealing or even find a new niche that you can focus your efforts on. Alternatively, you may decide that your best course of action is to focus on a smaller segment of your target market. Whether your competition forces you to find new opportunities or nurture the existing ones, in either case, it helps you push your own boundaries.

Final Words

No business or its products and services are perfect and even the most successful and profitable businesses can be improved in different ways. Not being perfect is what drives competition and competition, on the other hand, is what drives innovation. Once you focus on the positive sides of having a healthy competition, you will find the motivation to make your business even better than it already is.

Author bio: Ashley Wilson is a freelance writer interested in business, marketing, and tech topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can reach Ashley on Twitter @ashleygwilson.

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Article Contributed by Elizabeth Lee

A data leak is potentially terrifying. Your ability to respond to and resolve the situation can quickly become your ability to save your business. It’s a trying time, but it doesn’t need to be the end of the world. If you approach the situation calmly and with a plan, you can overcome anything.

  1. Step Back for a Second

A panic response isn’t going to help anyone in a tense situation. Though it may be counterintuitive, you need to step away and clear your head before you start talking. Impulses in a tough time rarely provide the right response. Take a minute to breathe when you learn of your data breach.

  1. Notify Your Customers Immediately

The moment you realize confidential data got out, you need to put all of your customers on notice. It’s a better idea to inform everyone than it is to wait and find out who was affected. Damage can continue to be done in the meantime. Don’t take any risks, and make a direct announcement by email or phone to everyone whose data you have stored.

  1. Provide Frequent Updates

Every time a significant development occurs, let your customers know. This includes details about what actually happened and where you are in the process of creating a satisfactory resolution. The worst thing you can do is keep your customers in the dark when you’re planning a fix – they’re worried, and silence on your end doesn’t look good. They need to be able to trust you with this situation.

  1. Offer What You Can Offer

If you have the means to offer credit protection or resolution services for your affected customers, make it available as soon as possible. It may take a little while to allocate resources and implement something that will satisfy everyone, but doing what you can to make things right will make long term customers less inclined to disrupt their relationships with you.

  1. Catch the Culprit

If hackers intercepted your data, you need to pursue them for their crime. If it was a poorly managed policy or a mistake made by an employee, it’s time to make some changes in your office. Your customers are going to want some sort of justice for what happened to them, and you need to protect your business against anyone who has done it harm – even if it was internal.

  1. Make Sure You’re Safeguarded

Reinforce all of your security measures. Check how your backups are stored and change your policies on how long you retain data – you might be storing data you no longer need, and this puts more people at risk. Make sure you’re always connected through a secure network, especially if you aren’t sure whether or not the breach is still active.

  1. Prevent it From Happening Again

There’s always something to be learned, even in the darkest of times. Even if the breach wasn’t your fault, you need to learn what you can do to avoid putting your data in the crosshairs. You might need to change the way you handle data entirely, and implement new security policies that you didn’t realize were necessary before. The most important thing you can do is minimize future risk – in the end, you won’t walk away feeling like you’ve taken a beating and didn’t get back up.

Let your data breach bring your company and customers closer together. Customer service is more important during a breach than it ever has been before. Make sure to reward your support staff and IT professionals for all the hard work they’ll be doing on your behalf.

Author’s Bio

Elizabeth Lee is a business blogger, deeply interested in logistics, customer relations and marketing. Currently, she is supporting PACK & SEND, experts in the field of logistics. Feel free to visit PACK & SEND on Aubiz.

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GetEntrepreneurial.com is a small business blog dedicated to providing business advice and resources to our community of aspiring entrepreneurs. Our specially hand-picked panel of GetEntrepreneurial.com Network experts regularly contribute entrepreneurial content and professional tips for small business owners worldwide.
 



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