Before someone will buy from you they have to: know you, like you and trust you. So how do you develop this full spectrum relationship with consumers online? With social media, of course!

Creating and faithfully maintaining your social media accounts will help customers find you online. You can tell your story, share your products or services and keep customers updated on specials and sales. But social media is about more than just awareness, it’s about building relationships.

Once they know you, you also want them to trust you. Most businesses build trust by being dependable, honest and professional. You can be sure to project professionalism online by using high quality images, well written content and staying away from internet drama. Make sure that anyone representing your brand online, especially when engaging with customers, is kind and professional at all times. They should have good grammar and be very knowledgeable about your brand, products and services.

A web developer optimizing a site.

Presenting yourself as all work and no play however will alienate some customers and keeps you from building that final stage of the sales relationship – getting people to like you. How can you bring creativity and individuality to your business posts?

  • Use an authentic voice, sound personable and friendly.
  • Use fun images; create beautiful free graphics at or for free.
  • Show a personal side. Customers love getting to know the people behind their favorite brands. Tell some personal stories, share some behind the scenes photos and you’ll be amazed at how much your level of engagement increases.

Many brands have built a successful and loyal social media following by being funny, hip or unique. The key really is to know your audience and use what you know to create posts worthy of their time. Craft each post with your key audience in mind like you’re talking directly to them.

It’s easy to get excited watching the number of “likes” and “re-tweets” accumulate. You feel important, like someone is listening to you and agrees with your brand. But does the number of “likes” you get on a social media post translate to brand recognition and more sales?

Counting your follows and tracking the amount of “likes” or “favorites” you get is an easy way to track success but it’s missing a few key metrics like, why people liked the post and whether or not the post converted anyone from a prospect to a sale. There are a lot of reasons why someone might click the like button on your Facebook business page or post including things that have nothing to do with your business, like the fact that their friend liked it or maybe because they thought the image you used was cute or funny. You’re not really going to find out if your social media accounts are making an impact until you start engaging with your followers.

Engagement is the conversation that happens about your brand online, it could be between you and your customers or it could be between your customers and their sphere of influence. With engagement an intentional action takes place that raises awareness about your business, your article or your post. Interaction is a much better validity test to your social media endeavors.

So how is engagement measured? There are several paid services out there but you can do some research yourself for free as well. Here are three easy and cheap ways to track your engagement:

  • Track individual accounts yourself. Facebook has a tab called “Facebook Insights” that makes tracking engagement a snap. Remember you are looking for comments and shares as well as likes and post clicks. For other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram you can track the number of “@ mentions” and comments your posts generate.
  • Klout – Klout is a free web app that helps you track your posts popularity and level of engagement all in one.Klout logo.
  • Cloze – also free, this web app will not only track your engagements but also your online relationships, alerting you when you’ve been neglecting people and posts that you should be paying better attention to.Cloze logo.

Web Design has gone through many transitions over the years and recent trends have many website owners opting for flat images, lots of white space and simplicity of design and there is a clear reason why. Your customers are highly visual and there are some basic psychological principles that influence how much they like your design and therefor how long they stay on your website.

Less Is More – The Power Of White Space

The buzz of the internet is so busy and aggressive that it can be overwhelming. Make your website a calm and professional place where white space is allowed to fill the gaps. Make your visual content simple yet powerful, your words inspiring yet concise and allow consumers to relax as they browse your website. Cut the clutter and get down to business!

Focus On What’s Important

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Draw attention to headlines, key phrases and calls to action with creative headlines that are bigger and bolder than the rest of your text. Take snippets of important text and highlight them by adding color or changing font, just make sure not to go overboard, remembering that simplicity is still key.

Use Color To Influence Perception

Colors inspire emotions and for a majority of people there is a clear connection between specific colors and specific feelings. Make sure to keep the psychology of color in mind when choosing your brand colors and your web design colors. For instance, yellow is seen and friendly and fun where is red is attention grabbing, black is authoritative and green is calming. There are many color connections and combinations so do your research and combine the right colors with the right amount of white space for a killer website that people want to visit over and over again!

It can seem kind of tedious right out of the gate with a brand spanking new Instagram account. You post all these fantastic selfies but no one is liking them, what gives?! Have no fear, if you’re in this situation, this blog will really help you.

Content is king

Screenshot of Instagram app displaying a photo from user daniel_kruzel.

Just because you’re posting A LOT of content doesn’t mean you should be getting likes. Even though the latest selfie at the beach may be glamorous to you, does it really look great to others? Look at the composition of the shot, is it flowing or is your face the ONLY thing in the frame? A good reference when composing shots (yes, even for Instagram) is to follow the rule of thirds.

The other thing to consider in relations to content is make sure that the lighting is good. Yes, you have lots of filters and third-party apps you can use to correct the image but without a strong starting point, you won’t be able to succeed.

Short and eloquent description

Screenshot of Instagram app users photo.

Lets start by saying that every person has their own unique style of content writing. Some like short and direct while others like to tell stories. For the case of Instagram it is important to remember the saying “a picture says a thousand words.”

SEE MORE: Why blogging is still important in a world of micro-blogging.

With that being said don’t have the description describe the image. Individuals are looking for the users unique perspective on what this image invoked within them, pushing them to create a caption that holds the emotion behind what they saw before the lens.

Hashtags – Yay or Nay

There is a lot of debate about hashtags currently among social media marketers. To many and you’re pushing limits, to few and you’re breaking a rule. The typical agreed upon number of hashtags for a  post now is between 2-3. With Instagram however, you can push that a bit. Don’t hashtag so much that your content disappears but between 5-10 hashtags are appropriate. If you can use less though, do so!

SEE MORE: Three things to KNOW about hashtags

When choosing hashtags pick ones that will add value to your content. For example, a photo of a cup of coffee from a local coffee shop in Santa Monica, CA, make sure to utilize #local or #santamonica. People search for hashtags all the time, which is how they will discover your posts and you.

Screenshot of Instagram photo.

When it comes down to it, all these things will help you gain followers! However the other important factor here is to go out and discover others photos on Instagram. Yes, finding your friends and liking them is great, but search for hashtags of niche interests you may have and start liking photos from there you like and following repeat IG’ers that you like.

It is not a quick thing to grow your following organically but following these tips will certainly help get you going in the right direction.

Looking to grow your online presence with Instagram and other social networks but not sure where to start? Contact us today for a free consultation.

Have a question for the author or want to add your own tips, do so below in the comments. 

People develop websites for different reasons and use them for various functions such as for eCommerce, blogging or simply as  a portfolio for freelancers. These days, many have made the switch from working in the office to working from home as an online freelancer. There are a lot of jobs you can take online and there’s a big competition for these jobs too. If you’re a freelancer, you know that having a portfolio prospective clients can easily access is very important.

So, how do you stay ahead of the competition? An effective way to do this is by having a website where clients can see your profile and check out your portfolio. If you want to have a successful online career, you should consider having a website that will showcase your skills in your chosen online industry like web design, web development and content creation.

Your online portfolio is where you may put all your previous works and your skills. Instead of having to explain what you have done when applying for a job, you can just direct them to your website and let your online portfolio do the talking for you. If an employer or contractor happens to land on your page, they can simply contact you if your skills and experience meet their requirements. Many contractors even prefer this method because it makes the speeds up the application and recruitment process.

An online portfolio will also provide protection to freelancers against dishonest contractors. There are those who ask for samples or ask you to submit a sample for specific projects only to take advantage of this free service. In the pretext of knowing if you have the skills, they make you do the work without paying you. But if you have a portfolio, they can just look at the samples or previous works you already have.

Aside from displaying your skills and past works, you may even use your personal website to advertise various services, you may offer ad space in the sidebar for a fee. This way, you  earn passive income from your website too, which is great if you are not getting enough projects.

For an online portfolio to do its work, you also need to be careful with its content. Put your best foot forward. You want to make a good impression if you want to increase your chances of getting a job. In order to connect with those who will be viewing your page, add a personal touch to your portfolio. Your page should be attractive but not too complex that visitors will have a hard time navigating through the page.

Speaking with a professional who has experience in web design and web development will allow you to have a website that is impressive and professional-looking. When your website is up, you may eventually consider search engine optimization. This is a method that will help your website have better rankings in search engines, so you get the exposure you need to succeed in your career.

For all your web development and search engine optimization needs, you may contact eBizUniverse at 1-800-379-2829 or fill out our contact form.

 

 

Do you trust online reviews? If you’re like the modern internet user who Googles just about everything before they make a decision, then you are no stranger to online reviews. Reviews that are found online are posted by users just like you and me. The review sites like Yelp, Insider Pages, Cityserach.com are the front runners where their die-hard users come together to talk about their experiences (good or bad).

In this day and age, your online reputation matters more than ever. Regardless of the field of your business whether you’re a Doctor, Dentist, Chiropractor, Restaurant, Sandwich Store or a car repair shop, reviews can mean more business or lost business. Today your online reputation matters more than your offline reputation. A happy customer can rave about your services but a customer who isn’t happy can do exactly the opposite and it becomes published on the internet forever. Patients are relying on online reviews when selecting a medical practitioner (Doctor, Dentist, Chiropractor) more than ever before.

What about book reviews that you read on Amazon? I’ve found some reviewers with no reputation on Amazon give 5 star reviews to a book and have left no other reviews at all. Some books by not so famous ones have hundreds of reviews. How do I know which ones are real and which ones are fake?

How much do you trust what people are saying? Do you trust online reviews when it comes to making a decision. I found a great post that I thought was interesting: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nina-badzin/why-i-dont-trust-book-rev_b_1757048.html