Posts

Reasons Why Social Media Can Help Your Businesses

Android Social Media AppsSocial media are internet  services that allows user to interact with each other and generate content using online communities. It has the capacity to open marketing opportunities for small to large businesses.

Think about this, you can spend a few hours in social media to increase your sales with no extra cost. Here are some of the reasons why social media has been a useful platform for businesses:

 

  • Using social media is easy. You do not have to be a computer genius to participate in them. All you need is a basic know how, and you are off to market your product or services. If you need help on marketing your product, you can read this social media guide.
  • Social media is the fastest platform to reach millions of users all over the globe in a personal basis. You can definitely increase your business visibility thereby increasing the recognition of your brand. Just write a social media profile for your business and then interact with consumers. Get people to like and share your page. Posts that are shared only means your brand will be introduced to new individuals who can be your potential clients.

    If you do not use social media, you will be limited to your usual clients. You will then have a hard time reaching people outside of your immediate circle. Using the social media platform will increase your inbound traffic.

    You should join as many platforms as possible to let individuals reach your business. If an older demographic tries a particular keyword on Facebook then you can easily be reached. On the other hand, if a millennial tries to search your business in a different social media, it can still be found. Syndicating your content in different platforms is good. It will enable the different demographics to access your business.

  • Your search ranking will improve if you have in the social media for more than a year. If you are able to move on top, your traffic will surely give positive results for your business.
  • When your brand is interactive, meaning you share content, post statuses, comment on social media, it becomes personalize. Users would do business with you, not your company.
  • Social media is a communication venue and consumers appreciate when you answer their comments on your page rather than getting the automated message which is very impersonal. This shows that you are seriously being attentive to your audience. And that will assure you not only of sale but loyalty to your brand as well. The millennial in particular are known to be the brand loyal of all demographics.
  • Posting well-written content is the best way of telling the users that you are an expert and a leader in your field. To do this, use social media platforms and make your presence felt. Connect to your audience and your followers will look up to you.

There is no reason for any business not to use the social media as a platform of communication. Get started now and see the growth of your business.

How to Increase your Sales with Better Product Photos

camera lensGood quality product pictures is the key to increase your sales online. Amateur product shots wears down the consumers trust. Showing your product online tells people what your product is, how to use it, so user can decide if they need the product. Fortunately, you do not have to spend thousands just for the equipment alone. No need to hire a professional photographer. There are simple steps to take product pictures.

 

  • People think that using a good camera is enough. Remember to invest on decent lenses too. If all you have is a phone, then that will do. There are point-and-shoot cameras that are very affordable. Whatever you decide on, get a camera that can also capture video.  Remember that even the most modest equipment can give you great results as well.
  • Think of your background. Shooting products in a continuous background which is neutral in color like white or grey will look great. You can buy craft paper or poster board. Buy clamps to make sure that the end of the paper can be attached to a table or whatever you want to use for your shoot.
  • Nothing beats natural lighting. When you think of good lighting, there is Mother Nature to depend on, which can give you good results. You can set your product near a window. The down side of it is that the sun could decide to hide itself giving you poor lighting. But there are other options like using the lighting kit available in the market. Just make sure it operates in a continuous mode compared to flash only. This allows taking videos as well. On the other hand, if you are working on a smaller budget, all you need are at least two lights attached on top of a clear plastic container. Get the same right wattage and color for both your lights.
  • Shaky hands will not produce excellent photos. You need a tripod so you don’t have to hold your camera by hand. If your camera has slow shutters, when your hands moves, this will produce blurry images. Everything should be clear and sharp down to the smallest detail.
  • Aperture is a hole or opening that lets the light travels specified by an an “f-number” like “f/4” or “f/16”. To produce a narrow depth of field, use a wide aperture (small f-number). Your product photos with look richer and more professional. Set your camera in the “aperture priority” mode. Check your manual for this.
  • Be careful of the shadows. Do not use harsh backlighting or setups that can bring shadows on the product. The lights should be on the same side of the product as your camera, or even a little off to one side.
  • Make sure there are no dirt or fingerprints on your product. A dust on the lens will likewise produce poor results. Have a microfiber rags to wipe everything before shooting.

The best way to master product shots is to practice, be creative, and be patient. Keep on clicking until you get a good result. Be bold enough to experiment. Know that if you take good product shots, you are likely to increase your sale.

Online Business Etiquette

business agreementDo your online “handshake” by answering your email well and carefully speaking on social media. Your manner can affect people’s perception of you. Learning the technical side of your business is not enough, but knowing how to deal with people can create a long term relationships with your clients.

To help you more on your online etiquette here are some rules to follow:

  • Be neutral. It is wise to be unbiased when communicating with another person. Do not be sarcastic, aggressive, make innuendos, and most of all, never try to be funny. These tactics could lead to escalation or even misinterpretation.
  • Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation when texting, posting, emailing, or blogging. Write complete sentences and use words that are real and credible. Do not use emoticons. That is good for social media but not in business virtual communication.
  • Do not use social media as a space to write an essay. Post brief messages. Do not use emoticons, shorthand, or other web-friendly irritants that will make you less professional. Also make sure you are familiar with the operational rules before using these tools. Practice self-control at all times. Incorporate important details in your business profile which includes contact information and company news.
  • In all your online dealings, consider the receiver. Know that another person is on the other side. Be civil; show your character but make sure that you are honest.
  • Think about your identifiers for yourself. Choose a professional user name. Never try to be cutesy. It is better if you use your business name as your user name. It is wise to have an email address that has your own domain name.
  • When a conversation needs clarification, it is time to use the phone. Too much text messages may create confusion. Should you need to email, be respectful by making it simple and easy to read. You can use the important information first and then use short paragraphs. The use of bullets can likewise make it look short but organize.
  • When you need to video call your client, do not allow yourself to be distracted. Turn off everything like your phone or your email. Pay attention to your client and look at the face not just the screen. Be interested in what your client is saying or what the client is asking. Be present at all times.
  • Email messages should not be lengthy. Be concise. Again, check your grammar and punctuation carefully. Your salutation should be polite using proper titles such as Mr. or General unless, of course, you are now in the first-name basis. Stay professional and never send chain letters, forwards, and jokes. If you need to send a large file, ask permission and cross-check the software compatibility.
  • Never use negative marketing to showcase your competitor’s shortcomings. Consumers know that you are using the tactics to bash your competitor. Besides, consumers can research online and know if it is true or not. Focus on how your product can meet the needs of the consumers.

Four Best Mobile Apps for Business

Smartphones with notifications

Mobile apps that will help you work.

Who said you can only work on a desktop computer? Work is now doable on mobile. You can collaborate with your colleagues while you are on the go. As long as you are connected to the internet, these applications will help you work using your very own mobile device. This list varies from security, communication, and social networking applications.

Flowdock

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: FREE!

Flow dock is a great team chat app. You can stay connected with all your colleagues at work. The wonderful thing about it is that you can create several chat groups. There is no need for the whole team to crowd in one single channel. You can divide the chats by department (or it is really depends on you.) The people under the marketing team will not be notified about updates on the HR department and you can tag the people involved in that specific task. It is near impossible to miss an urgent chat when you focus on your designated channel. You can also integrate Twitter to it. This is an excellent choice if your business is active on Twitter. You will get notified when your scheduled tweets go live. Flowdock is perfect if your focus is social media. Best feature of all? It is free!

Hootsuite

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: FREE!

There are so many social media platforms nowadays. When you are away from your desktop computer, it is hard to keep up on the latest news. You need to download various applications on your mobile phone and you have to constantly switch from one app to another. Thank God for Hootsuite because you can now integrate your social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn – in one place. You can stay updated and post status updates in all your accounts simultaneously. The remarkable feature of HootSuite is that you can schedule posts for Twitter and Instagram. If you want to get more of your content out there, Hootsuite is a fantastic business social networking tool.

Hotspot Shield

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: FREE with in-app purchases.

When you are always on the go and working at different public WiFi spots, security is a main concern. Hotspot Shield will take care of the WiFi security for you. You can disguise your online identity with this encryption app. You do not need to worry for hackers snooping into your business. This is a free app, but there are other features available when you choose to purchase it. Aside from keeping your mobile activities safe, hidden, and anonymous, Hotspot Shield also allows you to access blocked sites like YouTube or Netflix since it utilizes most of the bandwidth allocation.

Blue Jeans

Available on GooglePlay and AppStore

Price: You can try it for FREE.

With Blue Jeans, you do not have to worry about video conferencing. This is a universal app allows you to conduct video calls with your colleagues even if  they are using a different system like Cisco, Microsoft Lync, Skype, etc. You can host a call or join an existing conference from practically anywhere. With the free service, one conference call can have 25 participants and you can have up to 100 people if it is premium service.

Must Haves for Mobile Commerce Sites

Person Shopping using Mobile Phone

Shopping online at mobile websites

Smart phones and mobile devices are changing our lives. These devices are becoming a substitute for the big and bulky desktop computers. Mobile users are slowly moving away from the conventional ways of online shopping. They prefer to use their mobile phones to buy things they need, schedule appointments, and pretty much everything.

The whole website should be scannable.

Give your website visitors an overview of your entire website. Allow them to freely browse different sections of your online shop. Provide a category list of the products that you are currently selling. Most users do not scroll down while browsing on mobile. They just mostly scan. They do not read things on screen the way they read other printed materials. People browse on their mobile because they already know what to buy. Mobile purchases should be quick and easy.

Homepage should not be too crowded.

Your homepage should provide easy access to everything, but do not put too much photos. Most importantly, there should be a search box. You should highlight the search box so that first time visitors can easily find the products they wish to purchase. If they cannot find a search box, they will abandon the page. It is no more complicated than that! Other than that, you can advertise the latest deals and promotions like a discount coupon, a free shipping deal, or something that can entice them to buy more items.

Pagination links should be clickable with your thumb.

Add pagination links to each page of your mobile website. Searching a website without pagination links is like finding a needle in a haystack. These links are helpful when you are browsing for a certain product in a huge pile. These pagination links are necessary for your customers so that they can browse your website conveniently. Your website will also load faster because the pagination links divided the items into pages, and when you have a speedy website, customers are happy. You would be helping your customers if you provide large clickable areas. Give these links some space and do not put the page numbers too close to each other.

Notify customers on restock.

When people are shopping online, it cannot be avoided that some items get out of stock. Most websites do not have an email function for these unavailable items. (Personally, it is such a hassle that I would have to constantly check a website if they have restocked the items that I want.) If you cannot notify via email, at least, tell the customers if the current inventory is low.

Customers can shop as guest.

Mobile e-commerce sites are helpful when customers are doing their last minute shopping. These people just want to buy something and the registration form is a huge barrier to be honest. Do not force them to register or to login. Instead, highlight benefits of registering – like free shipping, detailed package tracking, and exclusive perks – so that they will be more compelled to register. If they had a satisfying shopping experience, they themselves will decide to register and buy more items at your website.

Five Ways to Make your Website more Functional

computer, searching, buying

online shopping

Websites have been a great tool for sales and marketing. Now, people prefer to shop online than go to an actual retail store. They search for directions and contact numbers online before they actually decide to drive for miles just for one product that they have been anticipating for a long time. If you are business owner, this list will give you an idea on how to make your website beneficial and useful to your target audience.

 

  1. Have clear Call-to-Action buttons.
    What are these CTA buttons? These are the “Shop Now”, “Buy Now” buttons customers can click to access your available products online or they can be “Contact Us Now!” sign wherein you added your business’ phone number or email address. Give those important details and make sure they are within reach. Do not make customers click several pages just to get answers.
    Having an FAQ page also helps. You can list all the frequently asked questions in one area and give it a concise answer. Adding fluff and flowery words will not help. These are your action items. You want these items to help your customers and hopefully, they will end up buying something from your store.

 

  1. Do Not Require to Sign Up.
    Websites these days have an option to “Shop as Guest”. Registering before you can buy online is not necessary. If you require customers to sign up, you just made a stumbling block for potential sales. Impulsive buyers will change their minds if the buying process is tedious. Let your customers shop with ease and with less textboxes to fill.

 

  1. Provide Guides.
    You have now a “Buy Now” and customers can shop as guest. The next tip is to educate your customers. Provide tutorials on how to shop smoothly. Help them on how to achieve the product’s fullest potential. For example, if you are selling beauty products, you can include make up tutorials perhaps. You can also provide style guides if you are selling dresses. Give out visual guides on outfits for various seasons. Whatever your business might be, set a page for customers to learn.

 

  1. Simplify your Site Design.
    I have always said this in my previous posts, too. You do not have to choose a colorful design. Embrace the white space so customers can see your products clearly. Allow them to click on images for better viewing experience. Keep the design simple. However, you can make your CTA buttons vibrant. You make these buttons stand out. Make customers want to click that “Shop Now” button. Do not focus on the design; focus on the buttons.

 

  1. Make sure your links work and make sure customers know that these are links.
    Check all your buttons. It would be a shame if someone decides to buy and then, your “Shop Now” button did not work. Verify that these important links get redirected to the correct path. You would not want to see an HTTP 404 or the page not found notification.
    If the customers are searching for a particular item, make sure that these links are visible and that they know it is a link. These links will help them get to a product that they want. If you want to find out if your website has 404 errors, check this out. (I hope I made that link identifiable or else, I failed at following my tip. In case you missed it, this website will help you catch 404s!)