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5 Social Media Tips Every Small Business Needs [+ Free Tools]

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5 Social Media Tips Every Small Business Needs [+ Free Tools]

POV: You’re new in the market and you’re wondering just how your small business can stand out among the millions of brands currently on social media.

In this article, you’ll learn how to use social media for small businesses and which (free) software you should have in your toolbox.

Why social media is important for small businesses?

The biggest benefit to using social media is that it’s a low-cost strategy to increase your brand awareness.

While you, of course, have to invest time and resources in building out your content, you can create high-quality content with a reliable phone and a few tools at your disposal.

In addition, with social media, you have the potential to reach your target audience for a fraction of what you would pay in targeted ads.

For instance, you may spend $100 developing creative assets for a video that ends up reaching 100,000 users. To reach those same users with an ad, you will likely have to invest much more money.

In addition, social media allows you to:

  • Drive more traffic to your website and generate leads.
  • Promote products and services.
  • Build a community.
  • Connect with and learn from your target audience.

When you get down to it, the way you use social media as a small business isn’t much different from how you’d use it as a mid to large-size business. In both cases, you’re sharing, engaging, monitoring, and optimizing.

The key difference is that a small business is likely focused on growth while an established brand may prioritize expansion.

Social Media Tips for Small Business

1. Be consistent.

The best thing you can do as a small business when starting out on social media is to be consistent.

Too often, brands get discouraged if they don’t see results within a few weeks. The truth is social media growth can be slow but like most things, if you remain consistent, you will generate results.

This means posting high-quality content on a regular basis (at least once a week). You do this for a few reasons.

@thecraftghan Acrylic baby milestone signs in ‘Linen’ #acrylicsignstoronto #makeitwithme #tiktoktoronto #shopsmall #smallbiz #cricutprojects #babymilestones ♬ TO THE MOON – Jnr Choi & Sam Tompkins

The first is that when a user does land on your profile, you want them to get a clear picture of your brand. If you have little to no content, users will quickly lose interest and leave. The same is true for scattered posts.

Social media is an opportunity to tell a story. When you prioritize consistency and cohesiveness, users will know what to expect from your page, what your voice is, and what you offer. And that’s how you’ll attract your target audience.

2. Diversify your content.

On social media, there’s so much room to be creative and experiment. Too often, brands find one strategy that works and stick to that.

While there’s a lot of truth to the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” social media is constantly evolving. What worked yesterday may not work today, as these platforms implement new features and user behavior changes.

With this in mind, play around with content formats whenever possible. For instance, on TikTok, you can only post videos. However, on Facebook, you have the option of going live, posting images, conducting polls, and more.

Here are some formats you should leverage:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Illustrations
  • Stop-motion
  • Live streams
  • Polls

With content, the limit truly does not exist.

Our social media report revealed that small businesses get the best ROI from creating educational and relatable content. Meanwhile, mid-size and large businesses report better results with funny and interactive content.

Image Source

This data point makes sense for many reasons. Larger brands have likely already built a strong following and know what their audience likes. That’s why they’re able to do interactive polls and be creative with their content.

Small businesses, on the other hand, still have a lot to prove. They want to add value to their audience and grow a following, and the easiest way to do that? Make content that educates and/or resonates.

This isn’t to say that small businesses should stick to these two types of content. In fact, they should experiment with all content to narrow down what their audience likes. However, this can serve as a strong starting point.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • How-tos
  • Customer spotlights
  • Industry facts and updates
  • Behind the scenes
  • Trends (viral sounds and dances)
  • Product highlights
  • Q&As

3. Focus on quality instead of quantity.

This applies not only to the content you post but also to which platforms you post.

From a content perspective, while it is encouraged that you post often on social media, there’s a caveat. Everything you post should add value.

If it doesn’t meet that criteria, consider another strategy, such as reposting brand-related content from a non-competitor or sharing user-generated content (UGC).

In fact, 33% of small businesses surveyed (those with 1-25 employees) report getting the best ROI on social media from leveraging UGC.

Now onto the platforms.

If you’re a small business with limited time and resources, you may not able to manage an account on every single social platform. And that’s OK.

It’s much more valuable to focus on one to three platforms that have your target audience’s demographics and go from there.

According to our 2022 social media marketing research, small businesses are prioritizing Facebook and YouTube in 2022 (even though they report that Facebook and Instagram generate the highest quality leads).

However, if your audience is Gen-Z, you may choose to focus your efforts on TikTok and grow your audience there.

4. Find trends.

This is another piece of advice that relates to both content and platform.

Our research found that many small businesses are exploring live audio chat rooms and short-form videos for the first time – two of the biggest trends of the last two years.

Yes, trying out a new platform demands a lot more than trying out a new format or type of content.

social-media-trends-bar-graph (15)

Image Source

For a while, brands were wary of TikTok. They saw it as a non-serious platform meant to entertain Gen-Z. Now, brands realize that it’s another highly valuable network that can broaden their reach and increase their brand awareness.

This is all to say that you don’t have to jump on every trend when it first appears, that’s not the recommendation here. Instead, you want to monitor them and their evolution. Because while some trends die off, others turn into staples.

Social Media Tools for Small Business

1. Google Analytics for Analytics

When asked about the tools they use to track social media metrics, 75% of small businesses said Google Analytics.

social media tools for small business: snapshot of google analytics

Image Source

The platform allows you to track the impact of your social media accounts on your traffic, specifically:

  • How many visitors are coming from social media
  • How long their sessions are
  • Which landing pages are getting shared most on social media
  • Conversion rates from social media compared to other channels
  • Which social campaigns are generating traffic and conversions

There are both free and paid versions of the app – the free version offers so many features that as a small business, there is little need for the upgrade.

2. Canva for Graphic Design

Don’t have money to hire a graphic designer? Don’t fret – Canva to the rescue.

social media for small business: canva homepage

This graphic design platform offers thousands of free social media templates that you can use to build a consistent visual identity.

You can also find stock images and videos that are free to use for commercial and non-commercial use.

Note: While Canva is incredible for creating branded templates, avoid using it for logos, as you may struggle to find unique designs.

3. Asana for Content Planning

Asana is a project management tool that makes social media planning easy.

With the free version, you can:

  • Integrate it with 100+ tools, including Slack, Google Calendar, Adobe, Canva, MailChimp.
  • Create unlimited projects and tasks.
  • Tag social platforms, content, and more for easy sorting.
  • Have up to 15 users to facilitate collaboration.

1656440504 138 5 Social Media Tips Every Small Business Needs Free

Image Source

With all of these features, you can map out your content for the month and create tasks to track your progress. This makes scheduling a piece of cake and allows others to get a clear understanding of your plans.

Growing your social media presence as a small business is an exciting time. Use these tools to get you on track and remember, slow and steady always wins the race.

free social media content calendar

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MARKETING

YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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