Now that we’re a few weeks into 2017, you may have noticed that some of the fervor of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions has begun to fade. It’s not even February yet, but gyms aren’t quite as crowded anymore, and you’re not seeing nearly as many Facebook posts of your friends sharing their oh-so-healthy dinner plans. The good intentions are still there; it’s just that change can be hard to maintain long-term.
Luckily, when it comes to making marketing resolutions for your small business, it’s a lot easier to implement changes that will have a lasting impact on your business’s success. By strategically focusing your marketing plan on the tools, channels, and tactics that will achieve the most dramatic effects for the least amount of extra time and effort, you can scale your marketing up painlessly this year, and ensure that the results don’t disappear along with all those diets and 5 a.m. jogs.
Here are three easy tweaks in particular that I’d recommend making to your digital marketing strategy in 2017 in order to make a long-term difference and reach your goals.
1. Make real connections with Facebook Live video streaming
Video has long been recognized for its unique effectiveness as a marketing tool, but the cost and effort of producing a high-quality video could often be prohibitive for small businesses. That’s why Facebook Live is such a game changer. Packing even more power for your punch than prerecorded video, live streaming gives viewers a sense of immediacy and personal connection that is key to creating the kind of customer relationship that promotes real brand loyalty. And it’s accessible to anyone with a smartphone – no expensive equipment or extensive preparation required.
Showing your customers around behind the scenes at your business, sharing your story from the intimate setting of your home or office, or even just goofing around on live video are all easy ways to connect with your audience that can pay off in spades when it comes to creating lasting results.
Related article: 6 Productivity Hacks for the New Year
2. Reach a millennial audience using Snapchat
The messages sent on Snapchat may only last for a few seconds, but this social media platform looks like it’s here to stay. And with a user base composed mainly of younger demographics, it’s the perfect tool for targeting millennials in a new and wildly effective way.
The fleeting nature of Snapchat posts makes them perfect for extending exclusive limited time offers, and the popularity of the platform makes engaging with customers easy - ask your audience to share short videos, pictures, or doodles in response to a question or to enter a contest. You can even hold a Snapchat takeover, in which you allow someone popular with your audience to post on your account for a specified amount of time to draw in new fans. Any and all of these options are effective when trying to reach millennials and even Generation Z, and an investment in these demographics now can make for lifelong relationships.
3. Grow your audience exponentially through influencer marketing
Whether you’re just starting to build up your online audience or you have an established group of followers but are looking to expand your reach, influencer marketing is hands down the most efficient and effective way to gain access to large new swathes of your target audience - and create a favorable impression on them. People trust word-of-mouth advertising much more than anything a company itself produces, so tapping into the trust that influencers already enjoy within their audiences is a powerful way to gain attention.
From writing an informative guest post on an industry expert’s blog, to partnering with a celebrity on social media to boost awareness of your brand, different tactics work for different target audiences. Find out who your audience trusts and follows, and approach them with a mutually beneficial offer in order to build a relationship. Even just one such connection and collaboration can earn your brand a significant new following that will stay loyal for the long haul.
By making these three additions to your marketing strategy this year, you can achieve dramatic results that have a true, lasting impact on your bottom line. And if that’s not enough motivation to stick with your resolutions, then I don’t know what is!
About Shama Hyder
Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015. LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.
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