Take Control of Social Media in 2014- A Little Red Investigation

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{image courtesy of bryandigital.wordpress.com}

After spending 2013 on all the big wig social media platforms {and truth be told, enjoying Pinterest and Facebook the most}, I’ve come across some trends that I hope will prevail this year {oh dear God it’s a new year already and I was only just getting used to writing 2-0-1-3……}

Social Storytelling is booming. We’ve all read the “I can check in on Foursquare, Post a Photo of it on Instragram, post an update on Facebook, Tweet my details” etc posts floating around in Google. We can share EVERYTHING we do ANYWHERE at ANYTIME. How cool is that?!

We all know how huge Facebook is. We spend the most time on it. We connect with friends more there than we do text and call friends in Australia {are text messages almost as obsolete as the old ICQ chat thing? I never used it but it must’ve been quite intriguing}. Mobile-friendly Facebook is quite awesome. It’s not much more difficult to navigate than Desktop Facebook, probably because all the top developers know that wherever we go, we want Facebook to be right there with us. We want to tell our friends and consumers {if you are a business owner and Facebook-savvy} what we’re up to, where we are checking in and so forth. In other words, read our online diary to our friends and followers.

Tailored content and mobile/video ads {of which YouTube are already the masters} have made website browsing, searching and shopping all the more simplified through the likes {pardon the pun?} of Facebook advertising. Your business is instantly mobile friendly with the short ads that are now, well practically everywhere. Sometimes you don’t even know you’ve clicked on a sponsored ad {if you don’t happen to spot the “SPONSORED” sign on some posts}. Also, search high and low through iTunes and PlayStore this year for business-related apps. Every year is the Year of the App, but with most sites being mobile-friendly, how better to pair a mobile site with a few handy apps to get your business motor running this New Year.

My advice to small business owners and community page owners this year re: Facebook? Stop spamming people’s walls and connect. Make new contacts that you’ll actually engage with. I’m over the “like for like” experience. Most of the people i “like” won’t come back to visit my page. And frankly, I don’t want to be spammed with another “try this miracle body wrap and lose 2000 inches of your childbearing hips” page {whinge over}.

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Are you already onboard the S.S #facebookhashtag? Wondering how much it will grow in 2014. All my friends hash-tag and to be honest, I find it entertaining and thought-provoking. Especially to think that you have to come up with some very poignant, individual words for some otherwise mindless pics or updates. But to me, they always work and the random conversations where every word is hashtagged always makes me giggle {is hashtagged a word in the dictionary yet?}

For those who went to Kindergarten and for those who remember it, we all used to participate in Show And Tell- where we’d share an important fact, object, detail of our life. This can now be loosely translated into how we see social media now. So much more of our content this year should be visual and image based. We want to like what we see, we want to focus on detail and we don’t always want to read thousands of words strung together. B-O-R-ing.

Marketing will go full circle and come back to basics this year. 91% of marketing gurus in Australia {roughly} used social media platforms in 2013. Small businesses are all about social media. Social media has become a solid investment and is no longer about communication only. Factor in networking/collaborating, planning, processing and researching and there you have it my friends, your focus for 2014 {SOCIAL MEDIA, in case you missed it}.

Google+. SEO’s best friend. Now here lies an interesting social media network. Have you noticed that to access good old YouTube, you now need a Google+ account? Sneaky hey?! Thumbs up Google, well played. Join a Google+ Hangout, TV for social media and comment and share information in real-time. I’ve tried it and I love it. In the past two years, I’ve been led to believe that Google+ has jumped above Twitter in the number-of-users game. But the big question is- will it jump above Facebook? We’ll know soon enough. Jump on Google+ in 2014 and network like crazy. It’s good fun and well worth your time. 

Instagram- the online photo album. #hash #tag #crazy. Take a photo of anything in good taste/good spirit and it’s out there for the Instagramers to “heart”. #idontliketalkinginhashtagsbecauseibelieveingoodgrammarandpunctuation but I do like seeing what celebrities are posting, it’s like a free version of NW Magazine. I expect that Instagram will only get bigger this year, especially with the new ads and “Flipagram”-style videos you can post. It was found to be the fastest growing social network in the world for 2013. {you probably should follow me on Instagram, really}. A friend told me on New Years Eve that over 70% of the top brands in the world now use Instagram. Now there goes the old catalogues in the mail that I used to read whilst having a hot cuppa. Everything goes out of style!

No matter which platform you’re on, you’ll always find those viral posts somehow. You know, the ones with a kazillion shares of that picture of a monkey riding greyhound in a cowboy suit or the “my girlfriend will marry me if this post gets a trillion likes”. Keep sharing them or even better still, use 2014 to create one of your own. You never know what will go viral! In my case, I always look at funny posts that will make me cry in hysterics. You’ll have my vote if you can make me laugh that hard.

My second favourite platform {well, favourite in my personal domain rather than professional} is Pinterest. Oh my Lord, the ideas that have come from this network are unbelievable. As a crafty person myself, Pinterest is like Heaven. Pinterest now has analytics and place and rich pins. Can’t go wrong this year with Pinterest, it’s as simple as pinning a pin.

Twitter is a digitally enhanced land I used to visit quite often but with my desperate need for human contact, I found it a little cold and uninviting in 2013. With tailored audiences, promoted accounts showing up in timelines and keyword targeting to hit the big{ger} time in 2014, don’t ignore Twitter any longer. Do what you can to get the hang of it. My business tip? You need to post a lot otherwise you won’t be seen. Simple.

If you want to network more and find more leads in 2014, head across to LinkedIn. It may not look as pretty as Facebook and as covered in beautifully filtered pics as Instagram but it’s worth it.

Social media advertising will become more complicated than ever in 2014. Just because I think there are so many outlets and new audiences to reach. Status updates can be “promoted”, you can DIY advertising packages now and it’s becoming easier for anyone to share their work and thoughts. I’d stay away from the “give me $5 and I’ll give your page 1000 new fans” packages this year. Let all those pages fizzle out. I’m sorry but if I pay more money, like $1000, and you’ll give me 100,000 new fans, do you actually have 100,000+ fans yourself and do you know these people? Are their pages reputable? Will they engage with me and my business? Nope. So no thank you, if you want to like my page in 2014, you need to be interested in what I do and who I am. Another Little Red tip: stop tricking your consumers this year, your SEO needs to be a brilliant display of online marketing.

2014 is all about pizzazz, personality. Guts and glory. Digital marketing is losing steam and people want to connect with real people. Not updates on autopilot. Recommendations from others drives up sales. I know I buy many things after being recommended them by friends and family. We want to know the truth from people we can trust and this is how we should want our consumers to see us and our products. They want to know about us and what we do. Not who we think we want to be and what we think we should be telling them to drive up our analytics figures {despite our society’s focus driven by performance}.

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This year, stop thinking about how Facebook and Twitter ads will earn you money. Question whether it is worth it and then think about how you can improve your social media profiles to offer more insight to your consumers. People want advice and information. People always seek out help. You need to know how to show people they need you without selling til the cows come home.

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Privacy and censorship has taken a back seat to the proliferation of social media in years of late. Do we care less? Why don’t we feel the need to restrict what strangers can and can’t do with our information? Because the more we share, the greater the reaction we get from people. We love being recognised and we love creating original and unique content. It’s free and we get a kick out of it.

My final thoughts? Pinterest will be amazingly helpful to personal and professional account holders {did you know you can have a business account on Pinterest now?} and survive huge growth spurts this year. Foursquare and Tumblr will be on the up but Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are where it’s at {again} this year.

Arm yourself with knowledge in 2014. It’s your greatest weapon and ally. Only 39% of Aussie have some type of social media strategy in place when it comes to small and online business operations. In a time where B2B connections are more important than ever, get yourself with a top-knotch diary, some longlasting pens and get writing. Plan the heck out of 2014 and you’ll see the light.

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Lauren @LittleRed

 

Little Red’s Guest Book- Interview with Rachel De Oliveira (Cheeky & Sweet)

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Tell me about your small business- your products, your delivery information for customers, how long have you been in business and why did you start your business. 

My products so far are boys and girls beanies, hats, headbands, boots, bandana bibs and soon to arrive leggings. They suit babies to young children. It is very small at the moment as I just started 1 month ago. Delivery is australia wide and range from $3.90 to $6.95, all trackable, which is the most safest and convenient. I started the business as I was always looking for cute accessories for my little one (now 7 months old) and couldnt find it, or it was too expensive.

Describe a typical week in the life of Cheeky and Sweet. 

Busy! I spend my days looking after my little man, maintaining the house, cooking and cleaning, and looking after my husband! haha! In between all this I manage my business, marketing on facebook, managing orders etc, and I also manage to squeeze in some time to catch up with friends and mothers group.

Your favourite thing about using Facebook to sell your products. 

The broad audience. I love that my products can be seen by anyone, and it reaches so many people in such a short time, its great. I also get a great sense on what products are popular.

Advertise your business to the Little Red’s Readers in one sentence

Gorgeous accessories for your CHEEKY little boy and SWEET little girl.

Any advice for Mums who are contemplating starting up a small business? 

I’m still learning myself, being very new at this, but do your research, and just keep at it. The start is always going to be the hardest!

Do you market yourself in the community? How? 

So far only on community Facebook pages.

How would your best friend describe you? 

Perfectionist, happy, generous, and very organised haha!

Describe your business in three words.

Cheeky, sweet, cute!

What are two of your weaknesses and how do you overcome them? What are two of your strengths and how do you use them to your advantage? 

Self doubt would be one of my weaknesses, its hard to say I overcome this, but getting praise and and hearing good things from others brings me back up again. Organisational skills is definitely one of my strengths, it helps so much in terms of running a business, a home, and looking after a baby!

How do you wind down after a long week?

 I get lots of help from my hubby! He helps a lot with bubs and cleaning around the house on the weekends which allows me to have some ‘me time’! A glass (or two) of wine also helps

Describe three things you’ve achieved in the last 12 months and three things you want to achieve in the next 12 months.

 In the last 12 months would have to be getting through labour and having a beautiful baby boy, getting this new venture going, and keeping my marriage strong are my 3 biggest achievements. In the next 12 months it will be returning to my full time job as a Financial Planner, keeping a healthy work/life balance, and who knows, maybe baby number 2!

What or who inspires you in your every day life? 

My biggest inspiration is Max. He is my reason for everything that I do. All I want is the best life possible for him, and its up to my husband and I that he gets it : )

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Rachel and her little Max

(Image courtesy of Rachel De Oliveira at Cheeky & Sweet)

If you had 6 months free of financial and time pressures, what would you do with the time? 

Get our backyard finished haha! There is still so much to do, and I cant wait for it to be finished so when Max is old enough he can enjoy it.

What is your favourite small business on Facebook right now? 

Yuppy Puppy Dog Grooming in Macleod VIC. There is no other Dog Grooming Salon like it. They are unique in which they do not cage or restrain the dogs, which is so important. A lot of people dont realise the trauma that can happen to a dog when they are not treated right when getting groomed. I have so much respect for this business, and their love for dogs can really be seen

Any famous last words for your fans? For the readers of Little Red? 

Babies and children grow so fast, so take in every moment, and take a million photos!

Thank you to Rachel for her time in being part of Little Red’s Guest Book!

You can visit Cheeky & Sweet on Facebook here 

If you’d like to be a part of Little Red’s Guest Book, don’t hesitate to contact me via littleredwriting@outlook.com or comment appropriately below

LEJ