The Power of Social Media

power of smSmall businesses in South Africa and all around the world have been discovering the many ways that Social Media can contribute to their success and growth. Many business owners I meet (and maybe yourself) are still skeptical of using Social Media, but with the explosion of Social Media over the past few years, you would find it rare to hear about a marketing expert who doesn’t recommend Social Media as part of a holistic Marketing Strategy.

That said, you may be wondering, what are the real benefits of Social Media for your small business, and is it really worth the time and effort to build a Social Media presence?

Well, let me invite you to have a look at the following benefits of Social Media for business…

  1. Cost Effective Marketing

Social networks provide a cost-effective way to get your brand advertised on the web, potentially reaching prospective customers.

Social Media also acts as a cost effective tool to interact with your clients and when managed well, Social Media allows you to respond to questions and queries in real time.

  1. Positive impact on your organic search results and website traffic

 If you didn’t know… organic search results are listings on search engine results pages like Google and Bing. By sharing content on your Social Media pages, search engines pick up your content and prospective clients may be lead to visit your website.

Not only does Social Media help you direct people to your website, but the more Social Media shares you receive, the higher your search ranking will be. For example, if your audience on Facebook shares one of your posts, it’s more likely to rank higher in Google’s search engine results page.

  1. Competitive Research

 Social Media makes it easy for you to understand your industry and what is relevant to your business. Social Media furthermore offers you key information on your competitors, therefore constantly improving your market intelligence.

  1. Share content easily and fast

With the help of Social Media, sharing content, news and information is easier and faster. Social Media allows users to post relevant content and stay in the loop of relevant stories or events happening around the globe.

  1. Customer relationships

Social media is great for creating meaningful relationships with your customers. You can keep your customers informed; get their feedback, run competitions and so much more.

SM

Social Media creates that personal interaction with your customers at all times and allows them

to get first-hand information about your brand.

Still not convinced about Social Media? We would love to give you clarity. Contact us today. www.nextlevelstudio.co.za

Earn before you spend

MONEYAs the rand continues to make headlines and with the interest rate forecasted to skyrocket, it is probably imperative to save more than you spend in 2016!

According to Clive Coetzee, the lead economist at the KwaZulu-Natal provincial Treasury, South Africans must prepare themselves for a rough year financially.

With that being said, we decided to compile a list of tips that will help you save money this year:

 

  1. Make savings a priority

Consider by starting a regular savings plan that could form the backbone of a fund from which you will be able to draw money to cover the necessities of life.

  1. Create a budget and make use of personal budgeting tools

Budgeting can be used as an effective tool to manage your money and gives you a clear picture of how to allocate your money. Budgeting will save you the grief of overspending, landing up in debt and gives you awareness of your income versus expenses.

There are many budgeting tools online, feel free to have a look at www.22seven.co.za as a guide.

  1. Plan your shopping in a structured way and resist the urge to splurge

Be responsible with your money. Try using a shopping list to help you remain focused on the items that you really need and resist the stores that you don’t need to enter to avoid impulse buy items that you maybe can’t really afford.

  1. Delay gratification

Give yourself enough time to think about purchasing those luxury items. Do you really need a new car or would you just like one? Giving yourself more time to think about a purchase means you’ll make a more informed, less impulsive decision.

Be wise with your money and stay focused on your needs.

  1. Save on your electricity bill

Electricity is a problem in South Africa and the cost keep soaring, so you have to do what you can to keep your electricity bill down.

  • Switch off the TV when no one is watching.
  • Turn off the lights when you are not using them.
  • Buy energy efficient products/appliances (this also saves the environment).
  • Unplug unused appliances – only have chargers plugged in when you are charging things.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water, and limit the use of a tumble-dryer.

Visit www.eskom.co.za for more tips on saving electricity at home.

  1. Food

Save on takeaway and restaurant costs by cooking bulk lunch meals on weekends that can be frozen in meal-sized containers for work. Also consider bulk shopping for food as it can work out cheaper than buying for single meals only.

  1. Don’t fund our lifestyle on debt

According to Financial Planner and Director of Galileo Capital, Warren Ingram, if you are funding your lifestyle with debt, you are making the shareholders of banks wealthy and limiting your chances of becoming financially independent. This is especially true if you have credit card debt, personal loans or overdrafts. In order to break this debt cycle, you need to eliminate this debt.

Start by listing all your debts with the percentage interest you pay on each. Pay off your most expensive debt first and then move on to the next most expensive debt. In future try to avoid all bad types of debt. These include store cards, overdrafts, personal loans and credit card debt.

Tell us in the comments below how you are planning to save money this year.

 

Website Under Construction

Paper-lightbulb-300x200The past few days has been filled with brainstorming upon brainstorming. Yes, we are making some changes that will be revealed in due time, but what I want to share with you is the fact that  it is not always easy to come up with even very simple ideas. Brainstorming with my colleagues has made idea generation a breeze!

Ideas are things that come and go and fairly frequently too. However, the really great ideas usually spring unexpectedly in moments of inspiration. It becomes easier to come up with ideas when we free ourselves from the ordinary, everyday, conventional thoughts that take up thought space in our brain.

There are many different ways of idea generation and one way that really works in this office is brainstorming because it gives a fresh set of eyes and more than one person’s opinion. After working on a project for a long time, it’s easy to fall into a bit of a rut; this is when you need a good brainstorm…just to keep a fresh perspective!

Suggestions for a successful brainstorming session:

  1. Work in a team: Teamwork requires engagement and more opinions, which helps with coming up with better ideas.
  2. Get out of the office:  Get everyone’s creative juices flowing by changing up the scenery.
  3. Leave the computer behind: Get out from behind that desk and disconnect for a bit.
  4. Make sure everyone knows the goal of the session: This will help you stay focused.
  5. Be creative and have fun: Even if the team does not like any of your ideas, stay positive and remember to have fun. The more creative I am in sessions like this, the more I look forward to the next one. It gives me a mental break and allows me to just bounce ideas around.

According to Climaxmarketing.com, pre-brainstorming prep is quite important too, so the next time when you prepare:

  • Have a list of topics you want to discuss.
  • Jot down notes about each project as you’re working on them so you can hit the issues or trends that you’ve seen in the past.
  • Always have clear vision of what your goals are with each project.

I think that meetings like these make employees more productive overall. If your team has a fun way of doing your brainstorming and creative meetings, let us know in the comments below!

From Analogue to Digital

There’s no denying it, the world is rapidly shifting from analogue to digital. People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis, on mobile phones, laptops and desktop computers. If your company has not yet recognised this by now, you need to adapt fast.

Light bulb with colorful Social Media icons

Why is digital marketing so important?

Because it is not only a rapidly growing force in the current marketing playing field, it is set to be the future of marketing, and it seems likely that digital media may soon replace more traditional marketing forms.

While older generations will no doubt grieve the decease of paper-based newspapers, books, communication methods and traditional TV, those who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones are already embracing the world of digital marketing.

Here are 7 reasons, according to Contentfac.com, why Social Media should top your to-do list:

  1. You can monitor and study your target market
  2. You can respond to problems immediately
  3. You can monitor your competitors
  4. You will find customers you didn’t know existed
  5. It’s free
  6. It’s fast
  7. It’s versatile

So, if you are still confused or overwhelmed by the word Social Media, do not hesitate to contact us. We will not only setup all the Social Media platforms suited to your business but we will also manage your platforms to ensure continued business growth.

SMART Business Goals

As 2015 is coming to a rapid end and we are standing at the threshold of yet another silly season, it is important to not lose focus and keep business goals top priority.

You and I both know that setting goals is easy but achieving them is not always that simple, that is why setting “SMART” goals is the first step in making your business goals a reality.

During my days as a Marketing Intern, I found that SMART goals are one of the longest-lasting, most popular goal-setting frameworks for business, especially in the marketing industry. I personally find SMART helpful because it is easy to understand, to act on, and to follow up with.

So what does this mnemonic acronym stand for?

 

SMART-goals

S – Specific: The more specific you can be with writing down your objective, the easier it will be to clearly see what it is you need to accomplish. Answering the five “W” questions, namely Who, What, Where, Why, and Which can often help in achieving specificity.

M – Measurable: Can your goal be measured? How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Tools such as Excel Spreadsheets, Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can be used to help measure and track business performance.

A – Attainable: Always keep business and personal goals realistic to avoid disappointment.

R – Relevant: Realistic goals are achievable goals, unrealistic goals are just dreams. Take time to honestly evaluate whether you’re being realistic.

T – Time Based: Give your goal a deadline and include all 12 months of the year.

I would like to learn from your comments. Let me know how you go about setting business goals? Do you use any frameworks to come up with your goals? Which statistics do you focus on?

Good luck and all the best with your Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2016!

Marketing through storytelling.

Social Media Marketing

We’ve been told that we live in the information age. Following this, businesses has pumped a lot of energy into pushing content  for their audience, yet forgetting to listen to what their audience truly wants.

Social Media  the trending marketing tool , has huge reach for a two way communication system.  Yet so little time is invested in Social Media by companies. A huge part of Apples Inc success was due to the ability that Steve Jobs was such a good storyteller. So here’s a few tips for your fairy-tale.

 

 

 

 

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere sign on white background.

 

There are 4 E’s that every business should implement in their Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Entertain

Your customers have a very short attention span, roughly 10-20 seconds. Throw some humor, interesting fact or an image to grab their attention.

Educate

Got something valuable to share with your audience? Don’t hold back (completely). Sharing knowledge is beneficial for business, it lets your audience know that you in the “Know how”.

Engage

Have your audience feel part of your brand. This might lead to them being your brands ambassador. Social media allows businesses to tap into a crucial part of Marketing, that is feedback.

Empower

Nothing feels better than given the ability to do something. Whether it be an inspirational quote or a challenge given to your customer. Let them feel like they can take on the world.

Remember, Knowing what your customer wants would help you with the chapters of your story. We live in a social age. We would like to hear your thoughts on ways you implement your Social Media Strategy to take it to the NextLevel .