Is your business struggling to stand out on social media? You aren’t alone: According to a survey conducted by Visual Objects, 93% of small businesses have difficulty with at least one aspect of social media marketing (e.g., engagement, lead generation, or follower count). Social media marketing has surged in popularity over the last five years, making getting noticed more challenging, especially for SMBs with limited marketing budgets. However, it’s still possible to achieve a strong social media presence with the right tools, a good strategy, and – most importantly – a compelling brand.
By working with a branding agency, Toronto small businesses can use proven brand-building techniques to carve out a unique digital niche. Below, we’ll explore several reasons brand building is crucial to social media success and provide practical tips for developing a memorable brand.
4 Reasons Brand Building is Important for Social Media Marketing
1. Your brand is your key to connecting with consumers
Your brand is more than a collection of logos, images, colors, and typography; it’s your business’s personality. It puts a human face on your company, allowing social media users to interact with it just like they would communicate with another person. This process encourages consumers to form an emotional connection with your brand, which establishes feelings of trust and loyalty even before a sale has been made.
2. Brand Building helps you understand your customers
An integral part of the branding process is collecting data about your business’s target demographic (i.e., the type of person most likely to become a customer). With this information, you can create more effective social media posts using the tone and graphic style that appeals most to your audience.
3. A strong brand makes you instantly recognizable – anywhere
The number of social media platforms has increased significantly in recent years, and it’s become common for businesses to target multiple platforms simultaneously. Ensuring your business is easy to identify across different networks is therefore essential to creating a successful social media marketing strategy. If someone can recognize who you are and what you do just from seeing your logo, it’s more likely that they’ll follow you on multiple channels and share your content.
4. Branding is important on social media because it gives you credibility
Branding is the first step toward building your business’s online reputation. Having a consistent, professional brand image on social media shows customers that you’re an established, reputable business – which helps them feel comfortable buying from you for the first time. It also encourages consumers to choose you over competitors who have put less effort into building their brand.
5 Tips for Building Your Brand Online
1. Before you start posting, create a plan
Because most social media networks are free to use and easy to join, many businesses start posting without setting specific marketing goals. However, because social media management is very time-consuming, this can lead to a significant waste of time and resources. Before you start trying to market your business on social media, set clear goals and figure out how you’ll measure your progress. Then, outline ways you can use your brand image to achieve your goals more quickly and effectively.
2. Check out the competition
For your brand to be memorable, it must be unique. As such, it’s crucial to examine your competitors’ brands and consider what you could do differently to stand out. You can also analyze your competitors’ social media campaigns to figure out what’s worked for them in the past (and what hasn’t), then use their successes to inform your brand strategy.
3. Find your target demographic
Knowing the average age, gender, and background of your customers will allow you to create a brand that appeals to their tastes, interests, and passions. It will also help you figure out the best social networks to focus on, so you don’t spread your digital marketing resources too thin.
To start collecting data, send out customer surveys with an incentive attached (such as product discounts or the opportunity to win a prize). Ask questions about your customers’ ages, hobbies, communication preferences, professions, and what problems they’re hoping to solve with your products or services.
As your brand grows, you’ll want to monitor more detailed customer data in real-time via analytics tracking. In-depth data analysis can be performed with online tools (e.g., Google Analytics), but using these tools requires time and technical expertise, so it’s preferable to outsource this task to a professional. By working with a branding agency of Toronto, small businesses can derive full benefit from advanced customer analytics without the hassle of using complex software.
4. Give your brand a personality
Your brand’s personality will set the tone for your social media content, so before you start posting, you need to know “who” your brand is. Sit down with your team and choose no more than five adjectives to describe your brand (for instance, “cheerful, energetic, strong, honest, and reliable”). You can also try using metaphors to clarify your brand identity; e.g., what kind of animal would your brand be? What kind of vehicle would it be? If your brand took a vacation, where would it go? Etc.
5. Invest in professional graphic design
Your logo is the ambassador for your brand; it’s the first thing prospective customers will see and how they will remember you. If your logo is poorly designed or optimized, your business’s online reputation will inevitably suffer. Don’t take this risk; collaborate with a graphic designer to ensure your brand’s graphical elements portray you in the best possible light.
Looking for Help With Branding in Toronto? Contact AllinBrand!
Creating a compelling brand from scratch is one of the most difficult tasks faced by small business owners. Brand building requires a diverse array of creative, technical, and problem-solving skills, in addition to digital marketing experience. For this reason, it’s better to treat branding as a team effort and seek out professional graphic design, content writing, data analysis, and online reputation management services. Working with a comprehensive branding agency will ensure your image is always consistent and on-target while preventing you from making costly social media marketing mistakes.
To get started with branding in Toronto, contact the team of experts at AllinBrand for a consultation. We offer a full suite of affordable, cutting-edge design, development, and digital marketing services, giving you everything you need to accelerate your brand in one convenient place.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has officially moved out of science fiction and entered our everyday lives. Though you might not realize it, thousands of AI tools are quietly streamlining routine tasks and operations, improving the speed, accuracy, and efficiency of the way we do business.
Nowhere is this more true than in the online marketing field, where AI has become an essential part of interpreting consumer data, predicting trends, and improving the user experience. Between 2018-2020 alone, the percentage of digital marketers using AI increased from 29% to 84%, marking a seismic shift in the delivery of digital marketing strategy consultant services.
What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
The phrase “artificial intelligence” refers to using machines to emulate human thought processes, such as learning and problem-solving. For example, where a traditional computer program could only store and organize data, an AI program can actively use data to identify patterns, make predictions, or solve problems.
These functions are accomplished by giving machines complex sets of instructions known as algorithms. Many AI programs are also capable of evolving; i.e., they can learn to produce better predictions or answers without human intervention.
Today, AI programs are all around us. If you’ve ever used a digital assistant, played chess against a computer opponent, or applied facial filters to your photos, you’ve interacted with AI.
How Can Small Businesses Benefit from Using Digital Marketing AI?
The advantages of using AI for marketing are particularly relevant to small businesses. By automating manual processes, AI gives companies the ability to perform advanced marketing operations despite having limited staff, time, and resources.
With assistance from a digital marketing agency, Toronto small businesses can use AI to gain insight into customer behavior, measure the success of marketing initiatives, and ultimately boost profits – allowing for accelerated growth and greater agility.
Below, we’ll outline four ways AI will improve the marketing strategy of digitally-savvy SMBs in 2022 and beyond:
1. Building better customer relationships.
In traditional businesses, sales representatives typically spend over 20% of their time managing customer relationships – and just 30% of their time generating sales. With AI-powered tools, businesses can significantly reduce the number of work hours staff dedicated to CRM (customer relationship management) while simultaneously improving customer retention and brand loyalty.
Two of the most important CRM utilities for small businesses are Predictive Analytics tools and Chatbots. Predictive Analytics software processes and interprets large volumes of data to understand and predict consumer behavior. For example, eCommerce giant Amazon uses Predictive Analytics to make personalized product recommendations based on users’ shopping and browsing history.
Walmart uses similar technology to predict consumer demand and stock products accordingly. Today, many simple, affordable point-of-sale systems exist to help businesses of all sizes collect customer data and use it to create better experiences.
Chatbots, on the other hand, use speech recognition and language processing technology to provide real-time customer service. Chatbots have several advantages over manual customer service:
They’re more affordable to operate and they’re capable of generating accurate answers instantly. Likewise, Chatbots can provide 24-hour service and answer multiple customers simultaneously, significantly reducing customer service wait times.
2. Creating more engaging content.
Content marketing continues to grow in importance as businesses shift away from traditional sales tactics and towards building customer trust and loyalty through information sharing. AI can aid in the development and delivery of targeted, useful content by performing the following functions:
-Making content recommendations (i.e., suggesting which videos or articles to view next) based on a user’s past browsing history.
-Collecting User-Generated Content about your products and services, so you can use it to develop targeted, helpful articles and videos.
-Improving the SEO value of your content. AI can tell you which keywords to target, how to structure a piece of content to rank optimally, and even rewrite paragraphs of content to be more SEO-friendly.
-Tracking what type of content receives the most engagement.
3. Reaching more customers with email marketing.
Email marketing remains relevant in 2022 thanks to its excellent ROI (marketers typically earn $42 for every $1 spent on email) and high conversion rate (40% higher than social media posts). With AI, brands can push the success rate of email marketing even higher by personalizing campaigns to reflect user needs and preferences.
Instead of sending out a generic bulk email newsletter every month, businesses can use AI to deliver custom emails triggered by specific actions. For example, this technology can send emails with personalized subject lines, product recommendations, images, and text copy after customers complete purchases. (Post-purchase emails have double the open rate of bulk emails.)
4. AI will find the right influencers for your brand.
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to connect with potential customers, build brand trust, and drive conversions. However, many small businesses have difficulty finding the right influencers to represent their brand, in part because SMBs are best served by highly-targeted, niche-specific “micro-influencers.” (Micro-influencers are social media personalities with between 10,000-50,000 followers.)
Fortunately, several inexpensive AI tools – like Upfluence and SocialBakers – exist to help businesses locate qualified creators who match their target audience and brand image. Many of these tools also provide valuable information, such as the influencer’s posting frequency, follower count, and engagement metrics, that marketers can use to guide their hiring decisions.
Get Expert Advice From a Digital Marketing Strategy Consultant in Toronto
Though many AI tools are inexpensive and easy to use, implementing a comprehensive AI marketing strategy still requires experience and technical expertise. To leverage the full power of AI, small businesses should strongly consider working collaboratively with a digital marketing strategy consultant to create effective campaigns.
A marketing professional can help business owners clarify the goals they want to achieve with AI, choose the most effective tools, and set up data collection and analysis systems, among other services.
To learn more about the benefits of working with a Toronto digital marketing agency, contact AllinBrand today. As smart marketing technology innovators and leaders, we have the skills, insight, and tools needed to transform your marketing strategy to meet the demands of the future.
Influencer marketing may seem like a trendy new concept, but it actually draws on one of the oldest truths in advertising: Consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than any other form of promotion.
The overwhelming majority (90%) of consumers say they’re much more likely to purchase from a brand endorsed by someone in their circle, even if they don’t know them personally. For this reason, influencer recommendations typically result in five times more sales than paid ads.
Currently, over 80% of businesses are using influencer marketing to help them build brand trust and reach more consumers, and the industry is expected to grow to over $16 billion this year (up from $13.8 billion in 2021).
Brands are investing more in influencer marketing partly because it’s a natural fit for short video platforms (e.g., TikTok and Instagram Live), and also because it offers the following advantages:
A very high return on investment (ROI).
Influencer marketing is highly affordable because the influencer takes an active role in creating, publishing, and promoting content, reducing upfront marketing costs. At the same time, it generates impressive long-term sales figures: Data from TapInfluence shows that the ROI of influencer marketing typically doubles after three months (without further investment), quadruples after four months, and increases sales 11 times over one year. Similarly, brands earn approximately $11 in revenue for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, compared to the $2 earned for every dollar spent on AdWords.
Excellent brand reach and visibility.
Influencer marketing is highly effective because it quickly cuts through the “noise” of social media and positions your products in front of interested consumers. Unlike paid ads, which most people quickly scroll past, audiences actively seek out (and pay attention to) posts from their favorite social media personalities.
Influencer marketing also boosts brand awareness over the long term by improving search engine optimization. Working with influencers increases traffic to your website, generates high-quality backlinks, and creates unique content featuring your brand, thereby improving your site’s rank.
Increased brand authority.
Influencers are trusted, respected, and liked by their audiences. When an influencer endorses your products or services, they lend their credibility to your brand, giving its reputation a significant boost. This bump in brand authority is invaluable for small businesses that have only recently entered the online marketplace.
Improved customer retention.
Not only does influencer marketing generate more sales than traditional advertising, but it’s also better at establishing long-term customer relationships. Research shows that customers created through influencer marketing tend to remain loyal to brands for longer periods, giving them a higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
5 Tips For Getting Started With Influencer Marketing
One of the most common misconceptions about influencer marketing is that it’s only suitable for specific niches (e.g., the beauty industry or products catering to younger consumers). However, virtually every business – big or small – can benefit from this marketing technique, as long as they target the right demographic. Below, we’ll share six tips for setting up a successful influencer marketing strategy:
1. Set measurable goals.
What do you want to accomplish via influencer marketing? Do you want to increase traffic to your website, generate sales, or showcase a particular event, promotion, or marketing campaign? Clarifying your goals ahead of time is essential to ensure your efforts are focused, measurable, and deliver maximum ROI.
2. Identify the right influencers for your brand.
The right influencer for your brand is someone who is already popular with your target demographic and who creates authentic, relatable content. They should also be a good fit for your marketing budget and align well with your brand image.
For most small businesses, micro-influencers (those with between 10,000 to 50,000 followers on social media) are a better, more affordable option than online celebrities. Micro-influencers may have a smaller reach, but they’re usually highly engaged with their followers, which means their posts have more impact. Micro-influencers are also perceived as being more trustworthy than influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers.
3. Define the rewards you’ll offer your brand ambassadors.
Due to the popularity of influencer marketing, many influencers receive numerous partnership offers from brands. To ensure your proposal stands out, consider offering special perks in addition to financial compensation. These perks might include promoting the influencer on your social media channels, providing free products or services, or giving the influencer a commission on sales they generate.
4. Start building relationships with influencers you intend to collaborate with.
Promoting the wrong products or services could potentially damage an influencer’s reputation, so it’s normal for influencers to want to make sure the brands they work with are trustworthy. Before you approach an influencer with an offer to collaborate, help them get to know you by following their social media profiles and liking, sharing, and commenting on their content. Once you’ve established a rapport, formally introduce yourself and ask if they would be interested in working with your brand.
Before you can successfully promote your products or services on social media, you’ll need a memorable, well-defined brand image, a marketing plan that aligns with your business goals, high-quality marketing materials, and a responsive, engaging website.
If you lack any of these assets, consider hiring an online marketing consultant before you start approaching influencers. A digital marketing professional can help you build your online presence and increase the chances that your collaboration offers get accepted. They can also find the most relevant influencers for your niche, reach out to them on your behalf, and help them create content that converts.
Get Expert Help With Influencer Marketing in Toronto
To discover how marketing consulting services can help you connect with influencers and grow your brand, contact the team at AllinBrand. Our diverse portfolio of web design, data analysis, social media marketing, and Online reputation management services will empower you to achieve your business goals – Affordably and on time.
Creating content can be time-consuming, challenging, and costly – that’s why most businesses choose to hire a creative content agency instead of producing content themselves. Regardless of whether you outsource content creation or take the DIY approach, however, it’s crucial to maximize the ROI of your content.
In addition to producing evergreen content and periodically updating old articles, posts, and videos, one of the best ways to improve your content’s value is to optimize it for multiple platforms. Creating content that drives engagement across different social media networks will ensure you get maximum exposure for every marketing dollar you spend.
8 Effective Content Optimization Strategies for Social Media
Different social media channels can vary substantially in tone, etiquette, and target audience. For this reason, creating content that works for every platform requires research and a carefully tailored approach. Below, we’ll break down eight ways to make sure your content is suitable for cross-platform publication:
1. Create short videos.
Short videos have a universal appeal because they’re fun, engaging, and a natural fit for busy lifestyles. They’re also one of the most effective forms of marketing: According to research from Hubspot, 81% of marketers report that video marketing directly increased their sales, while 94% say videos have helped their customers understand their products and services.
Short-form videos are also easy to produce; in most cases, they can be filmed on a smartphone without special equipment.
Publish short videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok and YouTube for maximum exposure.
2. Make your content more interactive.
Encouraging viewers to interact with your content is a guaranteed way to get more comments, likes, and shares and boost the ranking of your posts. Some ideas for creating interactive content include:
User-generated content is another excellent strategy to get people involved with your content – and your brand – across multiple social media networks. As the name suggests, UGC includes photos, posts, and videos submitted by users, typically in exchange for the opportunity to win a prize or receive a discount on your products or services.
These types of promotions are easy to host across several social platforms at once, and they’re ideal for building customer loyalty because they make customers feel recognized and appreciated.
4. Draw on the power of emotion.
Creating content with impact is all about making your audience smile, laugh, or get involved with a cause. To use emotion effectively in your social media posts, think about your brand’s image, tone, and values: Is your brand lighthearted, trendy, or socially conscious?
Align the emotions conveyed by your content with the feelings you want your brand to evoke.
5. Use analytics to fine-tune your content.
Social media analytics track how many likes, shares, impressions, and comments your posts receive, allowing you to see what type of content and which social media networks work best for your brand. You can then use this information to create more effective, targeted content.
Online tools like HootSuite Analytics and Google Analytics provide an overview of your content’s performance across multiple social media networks, saving you the effort of checking each network’s analytics individually.
However, using these tools (and interpreting their output) can be challenging for beginners, so you may want to consider outsourcing data analytics to an online marketing agency instead.
6. Comment, reply, like, and share.
One of the most common mistakes businesses make is passively waiting for users to discover their content. Regardless of which social media platform you’re using, one of the best ways to draw attention to your posts is to actively comment on, like, and share other users’ content.
Similarly, you should always reply to others who engage with your posts. This practice makes your brand more visible and helps other users relate to you on a personal level, thereby establishing a meaningful connection with consumers.
We recommend hiring a social media management company once your content gains traction to prevent social media management from interfering with other business operations. A social media agency can help you plan your content, generate high-quality traffic, and monitor your accounts, so you never miss a post or comment.
7. Give your audience an inside look into your business.
Detached, impersonal content quickly gets lost in the crowd, no matter which social media network you’re using. To build lasting connections with consumers, you’ll need to put a human face on your brand by highlighting your history, mission, and what goes on “behind the scenes” at your business.
Some ideas for this kind of content include staff profiles, posts about giving back to your community, workplace tours, and “how-to” videos created by your staff.
8. Use images to get your content noticed.
There’s a reason most social media networks include a solid visual element: Posts with pictures typically receive 650% more engagement than posts without images. Make sure you enrich your blog, Facebook, and Twitter content with images and post on image-based networks like Instagram and Pinterest.
You can also turn your pictures into short-form videos for TikTok or Instagram live using a simple video editor or an online tool like Animoto.
To select compelling images to promote your brand, avoid bland, generic stock photos. Instead, consider shooting photos yourself (or hiring a photographer) to give your visual content a unique, personal touch.
Get Help from a Content Marketing Consultant in Toronto
Creating a highly successful content strategy takes time, resources, expertise, and specialized marketing and analytics tools. If you’re new to digital marketing, a content marketing consultant can help you explore content strategy, discover the best marketing techniques, and avoid costly mistakes.
Or, if you would prefer to focus on growing your business, a consultant can connect you with an agency capable of managing content production on your behalf.
Are you interested in learning more about how a Toronto creative content agency can help you understand your customers and maximize the ROI of your content? Our experts offer affordable guidance and a wide range of branding services. Contact AllinBrand today to start developing a successful content strategy for your business
Over the last decade, voice assistants have become a part of everyday life. From Siri to Google Assistant and Alexa, these services give consumers an easy, convenient way to answer questions, find products and services, and improve their homes with innovative technology. As a result of these innovations, voice search has significantly increased in popularity, particularly among younger consumers. Today, over half (55%) of young adults use voice search daily, and shopping via voice search is expected to generate $40 billion in revenue this year.
The bottom line? If you aren’t optimizing for voice search, you’re missing out on a critical growth opportunity. Read on to discover how to ensure your business website ranks high in voice search results:
What is Voice Search?
The term “voice search” refers to giving commands or asking questions by speaking directly into voice-compatible devices, such as mobile phones, desktop computers, and smart home systems, rather than using text. Voice search first entered mainstream use in 2011, when Apple introduced its voice assistant, Siri, with the iPhone 4.
Voice search is a natural fit for mobile devices because it provides users with a quick, hands-free way to conduct searches while driving, biking, or walking. For example, if a user is driving home and decides they want to pick up dinner on the way, they can initiate a voice search and say, “Where can I get dinner?” Then, their device will provide them with a list of options. This search method is more practical and convenient for the user than pulling over, typing the same query into their phone, and manually scrolling through search results.
According to research from DBS Interactive, 46% of those who use voice search on a daily basis are searching for local businesses. One of the most important voice search optimization strategies is making sure your website effectively targets local traffic. There are several ways to accomplish this, such as:
-Claiming and completing your Google My Business profile.
-Listing your business in local online directories.
-Including your business location in strategic places on your website, such as title and anchor tags, headings, body text, meta description, and footer.
–Optimizing Keywords for local searches (e.g., “near me” searches).
-Creating content that focuses on your local Service area.
-Incorporating local dialects into your website and ad copy.
2. Use more long-tail keywords.
When people input text queries, they typically use the fewest words possible (especially if they’re typing on a mobile device). With voice searches, on the other hand, many people employ a more conversational style. For instance, instead of typing “best restaurants Toronto,” they will ask, “Where are the best-rated restaurants near me?”
To target these kinds of searches, you’ll need to incorporate long-tail keywords into your content. Long-tail keywords are more specific and detailed than conventional short-tail keywords (also known as high-volume or “head” keywords), and they often answer a “what, who, where, or how” question. For example, instead of the competitive short-tail keyword “home gym,” a long-tail keyword will include extra information like “best home gym for apartments” or “how to set up a home gym.”
To discover the best long-tail keywords for your business, you can use an online tool like Google Keyword Planner. Alternatively, if you’re not sure how to conduct keyword research on your own, you can hire professional SEO services to optimize your keywords and content for voice search.
3. Update your FAQ page.
Your business’s FAQ page is the perfect place to answer the type of questions frequently asked via voice search. Properly optimizing your FAQ page will also increase the likelihood of your business earning the top spot in Google’s Featured Snippet, which caters to voice searches. (The Featured Snippet is the short search result blurb that appears at the top of the search results page when users input a question.)
To improve your FAQ page for voice search, write questions and answers in a conversational tone, using short, concise sentences. Likewise, make sure the topics you address match the most common questions asked by your customers. Feedback forms, customer emails, reviews, and customer surveys are all great sources of information regarding popular customer inquiries.
4. Use simple, direct language for your website and marketing campaigns.
People using voice search want instant results. To meet this demand, you’ll need to avoid using technical or complicated language on your website and ad campaigns. Generally, experts recommend using sentences no longer than 20-30 words. Your copy should also be written in a friendly, approachable style that can be understood by someone with a 7th-grade reading level.
5. Build your online reputation.
Having multiple positive reviews on Google (and other online directories) is an excellent way to improve your voice search rank. To encourage customers to review your business, consider hosting events or promotions customers can enter by leaving feedback on Google. Or, you can offer discount coupons in exchange for reviews.
To generate customer feedback organically, promptly and helpfully respond to all of your business’s online reviews. If customers see that leaving a review will be met with recognition and improve their purchasing experience, they’ll be more likely to comment on your products and services.
In addition to taking the steps above, you may need to improve the functionality of your website to get it ready for voice search. Factors like your website’s page load times and responsiveness, for example, can significantly impact your page rank. To make sure the technical aspects of your website are up to modern standards, ask an SEO professional to perform an audit to identify performance issues and make recommendations.
At AllinBrand, voice search optimization is just one of the many online marketing consultant services we offer. In addition to performing keyword research, creating locally-relevant content, and improving website design and functionality, we provide comprehensive, data-driven branding services that help businesses stand out online and connect with their target demographic.
Contact our team today if you’re interested in learning more about how we can prepare your business for voice search. At AllinBrand, it’s our mission to ensure Toronto small businesses thrive in today’s dynamic digital marketplace – and beyond.