5 Tips To Create a Superior Digital Customer Experience

Gaining a competitive advantage over the rest of your industry is both one of the thrills of running a business and a necessary part of your company’s survival. It all starts with getting to know your target audience. 

You can increase your revenue by 80% by focusing on customer experience (CX) alone. Your digital customer experience refers to every interaction potential clients have with your brand online. 

This is why it’s crucial to keep potential clientele incentivized to continue engaging with your brand. Myron has top-quality branded products that can help you engage users as you learn what makes them tick. Let these tips guide you as you look to create the superior digital customer experience that your business deserves.

1. Go mobile-first

In the United States, 85% of people have smartphones. Members of your target market are far more likely today to stumble across your brand on their iPhone rather than their desktop or laptop computer. 

Here are some mobile-first strategies to consider:

  • Research and use local search engine optimization (SEO) keywords
  • Optimize for voice search
  • Garner feedback from the mobile website and in-app surveys

Prioritizing smartphone traffic is an increasingly common and necessary practice in a web-centric world, as we continue transitioning to new digital horizons such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the blockchain, and other Web 3.0 tech. 

2. Focus on consistency

Anyone who is considering your brand needs to know that you’re consistent above all else. Having a similar tone, voice, color scheme, and presentation across all digital channels helps consumers to connect to and remember your brand throughout the decision-making process.

With your social media campaigns, focus on the brand mission and make sure it resonates with the same messaging on LinkedIn, Facebook Instagram, and other platforms. Use these platforms as a chance to host giveaways, contests, and other value-driven interactions with your potential and existing customer base. As often as you can, strive to cultivate opportunities to move their interest in your digital presence to something tangible. If you use branded items to market to consumers, place your logo in a prominent position and be sure to choose only quality, durable products. 

Here are examples of promotional swag items that achieve results:

3. Leverage customer loyalty and e-mail marketing strategies

Putting careful thought into lead generation and retention strategies helps to create a superior digital experience. Start collecting e-mail addresses when you process sales, sign up subscribers or give out free information such as downloadable informational content. Providing value for people upfront encourages them to opt-in to your loyalty program, resulting in an open channel for you to market to them on a regular basis.

Roughly 80% of companies heavily rely on e-mail for customer retention. Loyalty programs provide discounts and up-to-date news and promotions and help you stay on consumers’ minds. 

4. Use analytics research

Add some science to your brand’s digital experience by embracing analytics. Data analytics makes up a $231 billion industry because companies find it so valuable. 

Analytics software will help you research the most important key performance indicators for your online business, such as:

  • Page Views
  • Conversion Rates
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Net Emotion Score
  • Average Revenue Per Customer
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)

Understanding these metrics will inform everything from the multimedia you use to your choice of keywords and calls to action. 

5. Personalize whenever possible

When in doubt, personalize. We’re all bombarded with noise in our online experiences, so creating a valuable, unique experience for individuals is what helps you stand out.

Personalization keeps value at the forefront, holds people’s attention, and builds an emotional connection. This can be done in simple, but effective ways. With e-mail marketing, for example, program your platform to use your recipient’s first name in the subject lines.

Use freebies as part of your marketing strategy when you can, including sign-up forms or opportunities for users to receive tangible items after engaging with your digital channels. There are many ways to personalize promotional gift solutions. You can select custom colors or include your prospect’s name on ink pens, t-shirts, hats, and other branded items.

Focus on creating a high-quality digital customer experience 

In an increasingly digital-focused world, the online experience for your customers must measure up to their expectations.

You can strike gold in the form of increased sales, retention, and profits when you focus on the digital customer experience. The tips above will help you focus on strategies that set you apart from competitors by translating users from curious online searchers to long-term business partners.

5 Marketing tips for Navigating COVID-19

Marketing Tips during COVID-19

With the recent news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, like most business owners you are probably facing some tough decisions and even tougher times. Many are left wondering:  What should I tell my customers? Should I close temporarily? How do I show that my business cares without seeming insincere? Or, What can I do with all the promotional products I have, now that the event is cancelled?

If the recent rise in fear and precaution is having a negative effect on your business, you’re certainly not alone. The good news is this won’t last forever. In the meantime, you can still market smartly and make the most of your promotional budget—no large crowds needed.

Here are some ideas that will help keep your brand thriving during this unusual time:

1. Provide Work-From-Home Essentials for Employees

With the push to self-isolate, it’s pretty clear that business can’t go on as usual—but it can still go on. Employees across the nation are preparing to work from home, and you can help by providing some essentials to make their home office feel complete. Consider gifts to lighten the mood, such as earplugs to block out noise from the children, and helpful items, like the Gavle Paper Mousepad so they can organize their days in the most productive way. You might even throw in a nice quality pen they can use while working. Not only will your gift be helpful, but it can also boost morale.

2. Send Gifts To Your Customers

Just because people are isolating doesn’t mean you can’t continue to build strong relationships with your customers. Promotional products can help you do that. Consumers are 2.5 times more likely to have a positive opinion of promo products versus internet ads. Send them a small gift with a note and customers will feel valued. It can be something fun and useful like a MopTopper pen that’s handy with all the touchscreen devices they’ll be using while at home. Simply show a little compassion to your customers during this time and it will go a long way. Strong customer relationships lead to better loyalty and retention rates. When the health scare is over and everything returns to normal, they’ll remember your brand for taking the time to care.

3. Run An Online Contest

As you might expect the recent influx of news coupled with the closures of offices, schools and other places, has lead to an uptick in social media use. Your digital presence is more important now than ever. Your offices or storefront may be closed, but you can keep your audience engaged with something fun that drives interaction. Why not run an online contest with custom giveaways people want, like an insulated tumbler or a wireless power bank that keeps smartphones and tablets running strong. It’s a great time to give your customers a little escape from all the headlines.

4. Turn Cancellations Into Opportunities

Maybe you had to cancel an event? Or maybe an event you were planning to attend was cancelled? Either way you’re missing out on the chance to network in-person. Try sending your cancellation notice with a clever gift, for instance a box of tissues and a message like “There’s no crying in business! We’re disappointed that the event was cancelled too, but your health and safety are more important. Stay well!” You might even remind them that the CDC recommends coughing and sneezing into a tissue and then throwing it away to reduce the spread of germs. Recipients will appreciate a thoughtful, relevant gift and a lighthearted moment in times like these.

5. Show You Understand

Overall, remember empathy is key, especially now. Communicate with your customers and employees and attempt to serve them as best you can. Be accommodating with cancelled orders, appointments or plans, and allow employees the flexibility to do what they feel is safest. It’s a confusing time for everyone, but if you look for thoughtful ways to make things easier on your customers and employees they’ll appreciate that it’s not all about sales and profits for you. Your business will be stronger because of it.

Bonus Tip: Organize a Fundraiser

Marketing is as much about building up your brand image as it is about promoting or selling your services. The good news is that customers today—especially Millennials and Gen Z—are drawn to brands that do some social good. Why not organize a fundraiser to help out during this health crisis? You can donate money to organizations that help provide medical supplies, or to organizations that are working to supply food to families and children in need. It’s a scary time for many businesses, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to do something that shows you care about more than just business. Just think, the sooner we get through this, the better we’ll all be. Start a fundraiser online and mail small promotional products, such as custom mugs or tote bags, to participants as a way of thanking them for their donations. We will never forget this time in our lives; you can make sure they never forget how your business stepped in to be part of the solution.

3 common ways to ruin customer interactions on social media

Depending on how you use it, social media can be your small business’ secret weapon or greatest flaw. Modern consumers expect some kind of presence from your brand on their computers, phones or other devices, and if you’re not delivering content on a regular basis, you can be sure they’re paying attention to one of your competitors who is.

But the “corporate social media” industry is still fairly young, and businesses large and small run into problems with customers every now and then. Mucking up these encounters can give your brand a black eye, but handling them with grace and respect can serve as more effective word-of-mouth advertisements than you ever thought. If you find yourself making any of these common customer interaction mistakes on social media, take the time to fix them now.

How do you handle customers like this on social media?How do you handle customers like this on social media?

1. Silence isn’t golden
If you have a blog or Facebook page and regularly populate it with content, odds are that you’re going to draw your fair share of customers. However, when these people leave comments on your posts, letting them fall by the wayside as you move on to another post is a mistake many small businesses make.

Whether you choose to avoid or forget to respond to comments left on your social media accounts, you fail to engage your client base in an active relationship with your brand. Your customers might even start to see your social media accounts as a cash-grab instead of the place for meaningful conversations about your company.

2. All work and no play
On the other side of the equation, responding to every single customer has its own drawbacks. If you trawl through the list of comments and make sure to like or reply to each individual, you run the risk of looking like you’re just checking items off a list. While a good-intentioned “Thank you!” can help customers feel appreciated, posting the same message over and over again is just going to expose you for a fake.

“Try to vary how you respond to each user.”

Instead, try to vary how you respond to each user that visits your social media accounts. Different platforms offer multiple options that small businesses can use to like, retweet, favorite, share and do any number of other actions to a particularly likeable post or comment. Don’t fall into a pattern and your customers will stay engaged.

3. Fire from the hip
There should be many ways that your small business’ official blog differs from that of the average housewife or basement dweller, but one of the most important is content strategy. Bloggers might have the freedom to write about anything they want as it comes to them, but if you want to outdo your competitors, you need to plan out your social media content like any other form of marketing.

Planning out a few months’ worth of content allows you shape posts to consumer opinion. When you have nothing to write about, you’re more liable to write about your business, and this might not appeal to consumers in quite the same way as material targeted toward their interests. This part of the process is where you should come up with keywords, linking strategies and any other technical elements that can help you write content that isn’t just engaging to your readers, but actively draws them in by influencing search engine results to appear higher in the rankings.

As long as you don’t make these three social media mistakes, you’ll have a much easier time keeping customers around.

Thank your IT specialists on National Techie Day

Make sure your tech-savvy employees don’t just hear from you when the internet crashes! Oct. 3, 2014, is National Techie Day and the perfect time to show your information technology specialists how much you appreciate their hard work. A study from Bersin and Associates showed that personal recognition goes a long way toward motivating employees and keeping everyone engaged in the workplace. Plus, without your technical staff, the email system would always be crashing and the website would be a mess! Use these easy ideas to show your techies (and other workers) that they’re an integral part of your business.

Host an employee lunch
If your IT department is a reasonable size, treat the team to lunch. Take an hour and head out to a local restaurant, or take orders and have food delivered. Make sure to eat with them and keep the conversation away from work (as much as possible). Ask about their personal lives and let them know your door is always open if they have any problems. Fostering open communication will help establish a trusting relationship and keep staff happy in the workplace.

Designate special parking spots
If your office has a huge parking lot or mostly relies on street parking, give the best spots to your tech staff for a week. Post signs with each employee’s name and position. Make sure all your staff knows that those parking spaces are reserved for the week and the policy will be enforced. It’s a small gesture that will go a long way in thanking your techies!

Hand out great gadgets
You can also put together gadget baskets for your techies. Include some standard goodies like gift cards to Best Buy or Wal-Mart and the team’s favorite snacks. Spruce up the baskets with Silicone Smart Phone Wallets and Phone Holders with Screen Cleaners. Giving personalized gifts that your IT workers will use is a great way to say thanks.

Write personal notes
Handwritten thank you notes will never go out of style. Write a small note of thanks to each of your dedicated techies on a Thank You Business Greeting Card and hand deliver it to the recipient. Employees may appreciate the effort and have a little pep in their step for the rest of the day.

3 ways to integrate promotional products in your social media campaigns

Social networks are some of the most important and influential tools small businesses have at their disposal. While several sites have features specifically tailored to businesses that may cost a small fee to utilize, the majority of these networks are free for companies to join and develop profiles for.

Chances are, your business currently manages one or more social networks. Joining these sites and setting up basic profiles are simple, but developing enriching content that will inspire consumers to interact with your brand may be more difficult. One of the best ways to garner a greater virtual following and get consumers speaking to your brand is by posting about promotional giveaways that can be accessed through the various sites.

According to the Pew Research Internet Project, more than 73 percent of online adults are active on at least one social network, and 42 percent of those on the Internet use more than one. While many of these platforms target similar audiences, each individual site offers benefits and features that are unique from its social media sisters.

As you start examining your social network strategies, consider the following ways promotional products can greatly improve you chances of connecting to consumers.

1. Instagram
The photo-sharing site has exploded in popularity since its creation in 2010. Currently, Instagram has more than 200 million active monthly users, many of which are young adults and those under the age of 18. If you’re searching for ways to reach consumers on this site, it’s important to appeal to the younger demographic while showing the characteristics of your brand. With this site, consider promoting a contest among Instagram followers, asking them to post an image relating to your business. Ask participants to use a hashtag pertaining to your company to easily classify entries. Be sure to promote a prize that relates to the industry, picking a promotional giveaway that will remind consumers of your brand.

2. Vine
Though Vine has only been a player in the social network game for little over a year and a half, it has emerged as one of the most influential social sites on the Web. Popular users on this site have millions of followers, many of which revine or save favorite clips. Posters on Vine may only post six-second videos that loop endlessly, so adventurous businesses who wish to join should be sure to strap on their thinking caps when developing creative clips. If you’re searching for ways to promote products on this site, consider posing a similar challenge to the one from Instagram. Choose a product your brand sells and develop a Vine that demonstrates a creative use for that item. Then, ask followers to develop their own six-second film using the product. Consider giving the winner an item that will help them develop more vines in the future, such as a Custom Soft Phone Case that features your business’ logo.

3. Facebook
While many other social networks have emerged as frontrunners in the social network popularity competition, Facebook remains the most popular site among online adults, with Pew reporting that more than 71 percent of this demographic is active on the site. Since this site reaches a vast array of ages, locations and people, it’s important to generate content that any consumer who happens upon your page can use. Instead of offering a competition, consider distributing online coupons to followers. Present a digital coupon that consumers can redeem in stores, adding that the first 10 customers who mention the Facebook deal will receive a complementary promotional product.

Planning the perfect Pinterest strategy

Social networking sites are valuable tools for those working in small businesses, especially for individuals looking to reach a wider consumer base on the Internet. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram present numerous opportunities for executives to post new content and contests specifically catered to consumers.

While Pinterest does not have the same user base as some of its larger sister sites, the number of people on the network has risen over the past several years. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 21 percent of online adults were active on Pinterest in 2013 – a 6 percent increase since 2012.

Businesses looking to optimize their Pinterest strategies should consider integrating the following in their methods.

Displaying new products and services
One of the best things about Pinterest is that it allows users to post succinct descriptions of links or websites using only an image and short tagline. Companies who are about to unveil a new product or service can use this format to show interested consumers a visual of their new function. Once visitors to the site click on the picture, they are directed to the original website. As you start picking pictures for your Pinterest boards, choose visually compelling images that will draw the consumer’s eye.

Tailor your pins to your industry
As your business starts branding itself on Pinterest, you may develop several boards illustrative of your company and its offerings. Certain boards can be specifically tailored to one individual sect of your industry. For example, if your business sells beauty products, you may have one board dedicated to makeup tutorials and how-tos, and another that only features links for certain products your company provides.

Pinterest also offers your company the chance to cement itself as an industry leader. Since myriad other brands have profiles on the site, social media strategists can repin posts from other companies, especially those that feature information pertinent to your industry. Take advantage of the many experts on the site and link to their content on your tailored boards as well.

Additionally, this social network is ideal for posting content that relates to contests or giveaways currently happening in your company. If your brand is hosting a competition among virtual fans, you may upload an image of the prize – such as a promotional product – that links back to the page on your website that explains contest rules and regulations.

Optimizing mobile strategies for small businesses

Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the realm of small business – from providing easier ways for consumers to connect to their favorite brands to allowing brick-and-mortar stores faster and more efficient ways to protect their data. As technological corporations continue to unveil new advances and mobile devices, people find new ways to implement these devices in their everyday lives.

According to a recent study from ComScore, smartphones and tablets account for 60 percent of all digital media time – a 10 percent rise from 2013. Specifically, the source noted that social networking has driven this recent interest in mobile devices, as consumers have found accessing their profiles on smartphones and tablets to be easier than reaching desktop or laptop computers.

Looking for ways to revamp your mobile strategy? Consider the following while you’re optimizing your business for these devices.

All about the apps
According to a 2011 report from analytics firm Distimo, 91 percent of the top brands in the world have apps available for consumers to download. While small businesses may not have the funding or technological capabilities to develop complex apps, there are several options for those who want to create their own for their individual consumer bases. Small business owners could either enlist the assistance of a freelance graphic designer or they could utilize sites that have app templates from which they can work. Companies do not have to develop apps that serve a variety of functions – they can create one that merely sends coupons to users or allows them to view products currently offered by the business.

One corporation that found unique use for its apps, for example, is Sherwin-Williams. The paint retailer created an app – ColorSnap – that allows consumers to pull up their cameras while they’re on the go and digitally store certain shades they encounter on their journey. The app then allows the user to examine which colors from Sherwin-Williams are similar to their selected shade, showing them how much money it would cost and where they can find the nearest store.

Digital promotions increasingly popular
Unlike desktop or laptop computers, smartphones and tablets can be easily transported from location to location. Because of this, more companies have started sending coupons over digital forums, allowing consumers to bring these mobile coupons into the store. Instead of scanning tangible pieces of paper, the stores can access bar or QR codes to give the visitor a discount.

Implementing this type of strategy can save companies significant amounts of cash, as the business no longer has to rely upon purchasing advertising space in printed publications, like newspapers or magazines. Additionally, this practice can reduce the amount of paper waste from a company, as it eliminates the overall amount of paper brought into the store. Companies have several ways they can distribute these digital coupons, including sending them through an app, emailing them to consumers or promoting them on social networks.

Promotional products to supplement mobile use
As more companies and employees find ways to further implement mobile devices in their practices, there are a variety of promotional products that can help enhance their overall experience. If executives are searching for items to help their workers become more efficient in the workplace, they should search for items that will make navigating these devices much easier, such as the Mobile Stylus Pen.

If companies are looking for products to distribute as part of a promotional giveaway, they should consider those that consumer will most benefit from. A Promotional Phone Case/Holder is an ideal option, as it can not only provide protection for consumers’ prized possessions, but also allow customers to become mobile brand ambassadors, showing off your company’s logo anywhere they go.

4 Social Media Marketing Sites that are Must-Haves for Businesses

Social media marketing is a must-have for businesses these days, but not everyone knows how to use it effectively. Some businesses may not know all of the platforms available and others might not know how to tie them in with already established marketing practices. Digital interaction can even help put promotional products to greater use through contests.

According to Entrepreneur, LinkedIn and the market research firm TNS asked decision-makers at roughly 1,000 small and medium businesses about their social media practices. Results showed that 81 percent of the companies use social media to drive growth. Additionally, 94 percent of respondents use it as a marketing tool.

One mistake that businesses make in regards to social media is forgetting about the first half of the name; it’s supposed to be social. Forbes discussed the book, “A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media” by Mikolaj Piskorski, in which the author looks into why social media is so popular. What’s important for businesses to glean is that content posted on social networks should be engaging. The goal is to create relationships and interactions between consumers and the company, as well as fellow consumers.

Entrepreneur provided a breakdown of the various social platforms and which are most essential for businesses. There are four key questions to ask when deciding which networks to put time and resources into. Consider what sites the target audience is enrolled in, what sites it is active on, where it searches for information and  any niche sites that fit the industry.

Read more about four of the most dynamic social media sites and how they can enhance the business.

As the largest and most popular social network, Facebook seems like an appropriate place to begin. There are over a billion Facebook users, more than half of which are active daily. It’s the most versatile platform because posts from every other website can be added to a company’s Facebook page. It also incorporates text, video, photo and links while encouraging sharing, liking and commenting. Because there are so many ways to engage on Facebook, opportunities for contests are endless. A company page can be used for people to enter anything from a writing competition to a photo challenge in exchange for promotional items.

Twitter is great for getting little bits of information and links out to followers. Entrepreneur found that Twitter is more of a brand loyalty platform than a way to increase sales because users reported feeling more attached to a business they interact with online. Reach out to fans on Twitter about new sales and custom promotional products being offered.

As a strictly photo and video platform, some companies may wonder what they could post. It may take some creativity and it isn’t appropriate for every industry but consider how visuals could be conducive to the business. Keep in mind, liking and commenting on other posts will help build a following. Contest ideas include posting mysterious pictures and asking followers to guess what is shown, or accept photo submissions for a contest and post the winners on the business’ page.

Another very visual website, YouTube is also extremely visible. It has been dubbed the second largest search engine, following Google, and reaches more adults than cable networks do. Use the company’s YouTube channel to host video contests. Choose a theme and have participants email videos or message them using Facebook. Depending on the response level, either post all of the videos or sift through for the best ones. Ask people to vote for their favorite video and reward the winners with unique promotional products.

Using Pinterest to effectively promote products

Spreading awareness for business promotional items on social media allows companies to reach an array of potential consumers, whether they’re virtually sending coupons on Facebook or posting savings opportunities on Twitter. Each social networking platform offers various benefits specific to the site, and while the most popular ones remain Facebook and Twitter, one site has emerged as capable of changing the way companies market toward specific groups of consumers.

Pinterest, an online resource that allows users to catalog their favorite pictures, website and links on one comprehensive profile, has gained in popularity since its launch in 2010. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 21 percent of online adults used Pinterest in 2013, up from 15 percent in 2012. When users log into the site, they are greeted by colorful pictures, or pins, that represent different corners of the Internet. Companies have the chance to take advantage of this site by creating pins that cater toward their brand, whether they’re coupons for promo giveaways or artistic renderings of products they offer.

Best platform to promote fashion, decor
Pinterest reaches a largely female audience, according to an infographic compiled by Leverage and featured in Business 2 Community. The source reported that 68 percent of the site’s users are female, while only 32 percent are male. Additionally, the greatest presence among pinned items fall within the categories of home decor, babies, weddings, recipes and fashion. Businesses that want to market within these areas, such as those that wish to give away laptop bags, personalized mugs or shopping totes, may experience the greatest success on this site. Since the site boasts around 70 million active users, items promoted on this page have the potential to reach a large number of people all around the globe. Things that are pinned can be quickly and easily shared, meaning that businesses looking to spread awareness are likely to experience swift success.

New technology may let companies track effectiveness 
Small Business Trends recently highlighted a new tracking software, Discover, that would permit companies to judge exactly how effective the site has been in spreading brand images throughout the Internet. The company that created the program, Tailwind, explained on their website that the analytical technology can compile conversations occurring about a company that are distinguished by hashtags, monitor company and competitor campaigns to see how other businesses are faring, compile the most popular pins relevant to the industry and list posters who are most powerful within an area. In a company press release, Danny Maloney, CEO and co-founder of Tailwind, described how important tracking user information is for a company to understand its effectiveness.

“In a visual world, real insights come from understanding the complete context of an image – including accompanying text, as well as image analysis and factors such as where the content originated,” Maloney said in the release. “Tailwind provides such insights, helping marketers engage customers in meaningful ways that drive awareness, purchase intent and brand loyalty.”

Companies using Pinterest to discover consumer trends
One business that has already seen success in implementing Pinterest within its operations is Nordstrom, which, according to Business Insider, has close to 4.5 million followers. By releasing pictures and fashion trends on its different boards, the company has been able to identify which items are most popular with its target market. The source notes that Nordstrom has begun to mark frequently liked and shared clothing and beauty items with a small red flag, indicating to shoppers that products have been both featured on the website and proven to be highly shared on the Internet. Bryan Galipeau, the company’s social media manager, told the source that communication between consumers and companies has become easier with the site.

“The customer is voting with their pins to tell us what they think is hot – and we’re listening closely,” Galipeau said. “It’s always really exciting to see what they pin.”

Tips for savvy small business tweets and Instagram posts

Social media has been the talk of the town for years now, and recently, that talk has centered on the short and sweet forms of digital marketing. Forget friending – the real intriguing aspects for small businesses involve followers and flocks.

Organizations that learn how to use the likes of photo-sharing site Instagram and blurb-ridden Twitter could have a fun and easy way to promote products, advertise events and announce promotional giveaways. To promote the right way, however, small businesses should familiarize themselves with the programs and the way they can help them, and the pitfalls that could hurt.

Know your media
For those uninitiated, Twitter is a popular blogging site where posts are limited to 140 characters or less. Instagram, meanwhile allows instant photo-sharing, letting users snap photos with their phones and upload on the go. With both forms of social media, users can attract followers, who then have the option of reposting comments – known as retweeting – or “liking” images. The simple interface of these social media sites make for an alluring means of promotion, as businesses stage artistic photographs of their products or announce upcoming events or releases.

Business Insider has regularly posted about particularly successful Instagram accounts, usually ones that are sometimes beautiful, sometimes funny, but always clever in their means of the photo sharing website, ranging from Oreo to Starbucks. Twitter, meanwhile, is a blogosphere so seamlessly intertwined with advertising and promotion that the website itself offers tips to small businesses on best tweeting practices.

Photo right
While Instagram is relatively easy to use – just point, shoot, edit and post – using it for advertising purposes can be a little trickier. Small Business Trends has provided users with a comprehensive guide to getting started with Instagram, but the main points generally adhere to any form of marketing. First and foremost, businesses should give plenty of thought about their brand – basically, their company’s voice and style – and how Instagram can be used effectively as an extension of that brand.

If a business has a more playful brand, such as Oreo or Taco Bell, then Instagram posts should reflect that sense of humor. More serious companies that want to convey a straightforward tone should opt for photographs that speak to that brand. For example, a travel company that specializes in the wonders of adventure may want to post grand, panoramic photos. One that aims more at family travel will want pictures of parents and children laughing and enjoying themselves. Brands should stick to a theme, so that the culmination of an Instagram profile is coherent. The more creative, the better.

Instagram can also be used as a springboard for customer-submitted advertising. Businesses may announce that the first 10 Instagrammers to photograph themselves with their product in an interesting place receive promotional items. Small Business Trends, however, warns users not to use Instagram solely for advertising, as companies want to provide images that people will share with their friends.

Tweet happy
The Twitterverse is always abuzz with promotional tactics, and Twitter has encouraged businesses to use the microblogging site to launch products, announce their presence at trade shows and interact with customers. Much like Instagram, organizations will want to give each tweet serious thought as to how it contributes to the company’s brand. Twitter also noted that the platform may be used to incentivize followers into sharing a company’s tweet. If, for example, followers repost a piece of content enough times, companies can give them access to exclusive content or send promo items.

The importance of regular use
In this age of the hyper-expanding digital universe, companies have the best chance of making an impact if they use these social media sites regularly. That way, not only will they be getting their names out to the public more often, users will come to expect regularly posted content and potentially check in more often. As Inc. Magazine wrote, don’t be shy.

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