It's happened; I have finally reached that stage of retirement where I believe it appropriate to declare myself a technophobe. It all came to a head yesterday after permitting my iPad...
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Social media—such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others—serve businesses best in two broad areas: in public relations (PR) (by building and reinforcing awareness) and in advertising (by showcasing targeted paid ads). And the platforms have carved out a comfortable niche for small businesses looking for either service. Or both.
If you use social media mainly for the PR value, you might post pictures of your facilities, products or people; you might tease a promotion or sale; you might just use it to get your business name out in front of eyeballs and align your business with the community. Maintaining a social media presence for PR purposes is either free or highly affordable—but doing so requires discipline and attention. Someone has to research, write and manage an ongoing, regular content stream.
If you buy social media ads, you do it for the same reasons you buy ads in any other medium: to generate leads—and, hopefully, sales. Ads in social media can be an important element in your overall direct marketing mix, which can also include email marketing, direct mail, telemarketing and other channels. Producing and posting the ad is relatively easy but involves some capital expense.
Although advertising and PR are wholly separate activities, with separate goals and operating assumptions, they work well together on social media. It’s not an either/or proposition. Here are some ways to get the most out your social media presence without spending extra capital on paid ads:
Engage with readers: If you’re not sure what kinds of content your readers prefer, ask them. In both the retail and B2B spaces, clients and prospects respond well when asked for their opinion. What topics do they find interesting? How can you structure your media posts in a way that help clients and prospects most? One way to collect this information: Do a poll and announce the top winners. Or just encourage them to communicate with you directly. Consider adding a soft deadline or a premium to juice response. A dedicated URL or phone number can help you segregate those responses from your normal traffic. Those responses can build your contact list. If you cast the widest possible net by targeting your post broadly, you can raise awareness among prospects who hadn’t even heard of your business before—and cement existing client/customer relationships.
Leverage the medium’s immediacy: Host a live seminar or Q&A and promote it in advance. Encourage users to submit questions before or during your event. Choose topics that users find interesting, timely and related to your business. Such as: What items will be available at the reduced price for your upcoming sale? How is your business responding as the nation emerges from lockdown? How (and for whom) did you develop the most recent addition to your product or service line? What are some of the hidden features of your best-selling product or service? During the event, be prepared with questions of your own. These can stimulate other questions from attendees if there’s a lull. You can use data gleaned from the event as the basis for future posts. You can quote noteworthy comments in other marketing channels. You may also be able to leverage attendee contact information for use in your next direct email marketing.
Think in narrative terms: Even when consuming commercial content, people find narratives more compelling than simple declaratives. If you want your target audience to buy your product or service, you can generate better response by framing a social media post as a story than by simply asking for the order. This is one of the fundamental ways in which PR differs in execution from advertising. Structure your narrative posts to answer questions like: How can it improve the prospect’s life? What benefits do regular users get? Instead of declaring your product offers the following list of benefits (as you’d do in an ad), you can illustrate how specific customers derived added value from those same benefits. Make your pitch in terms that are experiential and person-focused, not product-focused.
Always include a call to action (CTA): Whether you’re running a paid ad or a social media post, it should always contain a CTA hyperlink or tap to call phone number. Including a CTA in an ad is easy: Just spell out exactly what you want the reader to do in the simplest possible terms: Learn more. Buy now. Register. Visit our website. Call for a free consultation. Visit our online store. View our new selection.
For a media post more focused on awareness than action, a CTA can be more subtle but should still answer the same basic question: What do you want the reader to do? Just remember to frame it in more narrative terms: “If you want to achieve results like Customers A, B and C, contact our sales specialists.” Or “I’m happy to explore ways we can work together,” etc.
By structuring your posts strategically, with a clear intent to build and maintain your base of followers, you can make social media presence work harder and deliver better results without spending significantly on paid ads. For more insights on getting the most performance for your money, contact our small business financing experts at 1-855-WHY-PANGO (1-855-949-7264).
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There is no denying that winter is finally here. The cold weather coupled with the fact that we are in the third wave is the perfect opportunity to spend time at home, reading a good book and eating nourishing and comforting food.
Sally Williams is not only famous for her nougat but also her cooking. One of Kim’s favourite recipes of Sally’s is her delicious roasted tomato and butternut soup. So give it a try and let us know what you think.
Sally Williams’ Roasted Butternut and Tomato Soup
Olive oil spray
2 onions cut into chunks
8 plum tomatoes cut in half
1kg butternut cut into chunks
12 cloves of peeled garlic
2 teaspoons of sugar
A sprinkling of ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1-litre chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup of cream (you can leave out if desired)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Mix all the ingredients together and toss.
Place in the oven at 220 for 45 minutes until soft and browned.
Put the mixture in a bowl (scrape all the bits from the bottom of the pan) and pour over the stock and mix – then place in a liquidiser and liquidise until smooth.
Return to the pot, season and add the chopped basil.
Before serving, add the cream.
Serve hot or cold.
We have such talented authors in South Africa, and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to genres. We highly recommend Hamilton Wende’s new book, Red Air. If you would like to win a personalised copy of Red Air, please email Lyndsay@charteredwealth.co.za, and we will put you in the draw.
Red Air by Hamilton Wende
War is an ugly business, no matter which way you look at it. The fact that people profit from bloodletting is ugly. That thousands of young lives are lost, oftentimes senselessly, is ugly. And the grief of those left behind is ugly. There are no real winners in conflict, although enough movies and books would have us believe otherwise. The casualties of war mean that even if one side triumphs over another, there are still parents mourning their sons and daughters.
SA combat journalist Hamilton Wende knows this only too well, having witnessed first-hand the tragedies that can befall families when man recedes into the darkest recess- es of his soul. It is the powerful theme he explores in his new novel, Red Air.
War correspondent Danny Morris has made the potentially fatal mistake of identifying in an article the hotel where he meets the son of an Afghan warlord, Azmaray Shah. Shah is a separatist who wants nothing to do with either the Taliban or the American forces in Afghanistan but views Danny’s error as treacherous. In an act of vengeance, he kidnaps the reporter’s father, Al Morris, a veteran CIA operative whose relationship with Danny soured years earlier when he walked out on the family.
Recognising that having both Danny and Al on the hook would also serve to bring the world’s attention to his political ambitions, Shah plays his hand carefully, understanding that he dare not come across as fanatical as the Taliban. Danny is required to wrestle with his conscience and assess where he might have failed in terms of the distance between him and his father.
Wende has covered conflict in Afghanistan, and knows that things are always more complex than they seem. Black-and-white perceptions of who the good and bad guys are entirely wrong since the country comprises any number of groups that carry their own views of what the country and the religion of Islam should be. His grasp of political dynamics comes across strongly in the narrative, giving authenticity to the novel. That is not to say there isn’t plenty of action.
Danny links up with a US Marines unit to rescue his father, and the fighting is bloody and frenetic. Wende’s descriptions of these scenes speak to his considerable powers as a journalist and give the book the fast-paced appeal needed to keep readers focused on the broader issues of family relationships, love and respect.
As far as modern war novels go, Red Air ranks among the more poignant.
Review by John Harvey in the Daily Dispatch
We love hearing from our Retire Successfully community, so if you have any recipes you love or books that you recommend please get in touch with us here.
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