Financing Your Small Business

If there is any logical reason as to why your business fails then it is either because of poor financing or another reason could be loopholes in the way you manage or plan your operations. It has been observed that people might pay attention to planning and managing but it is the financing which they ignore. this is something which you do not have to do because financing is something which you do not do once. In fact you keep on doing it throughout your business life whether you are expanding or modernizing or even purchasing stationary for your business. What you need to understand is how to utilize your capital in a better way. One wrong decision can lead to the downfall of your business.First thing you need to analyze is whether you want to get financial help from outside resources in the form of loans. If you really are out of capital and you believe your business is in dire need of expansion or upgrading then you should decide whether you should delay the operations or whether you should step into external financing.If you believe that getting external financing is something you cannot survive without then you need to understand the types of finances that exist.Equity Financing: equity financing is when you sell your shares and get cash in return. It’s like selling half of your business rights in profit. You can attain equity financing from a variety of resources ranging from venture capitalists to even private investors. And the best about equity financing is that it will not seem act as a loan towards you until and unless your partner decides to draw his investment out.Debt Financing: under debt financing you get a loan with a guarantee that you will pay back the money. The guarantee can be in the form of collateral i.e. handing over your property, inventory or equipment papers to the lenders till you do not pay the entire amount. If you are unable to pay the lender has full right over your collateral assets.These are the basic two kind of finances that you get in the market. Now lets discuss the sources from where you can attain the loan.The first and the foremost place you need to consider while thinking about external financing is family or friends. If the amount of capital that you need is small and you believe can be fulfilled by your personal resources then you should go for them.The second best option you have is to consult US Small Business Administration for debt financing. SBA does not finance anybody but arranges for lenders according to your needs. No matter which market sector you belong to SBA will always help you.

How To Write Engaging Social Media Posts

One thing to do on social media is to write content for your posts. Posts are what keep your social media active and your audience engaged. However, it’s imperative that you have a strategy so that you can get the most out of your social media interactions.

Understand Your Customers

You need to know who your target audience is so that you can recognize what type of posts will get more traction with them. For example, some audience members will be insulted by certain types of comedy. Others will respond very well to it. Know who they are so that your posts can be targeted.

Watch Your Competition

It’s always a good idea to check out what your competition is doing in regard to social media posts. Don’t just copy what they are doing. Instead, observe whether or not the competition is getting a result or not from their actions, and note how you can do it better or differently.

Know the Goal of the Post

What action do you want your customers to take when they read the post? Do you want them to click through to read more? Do you want them to like, follow and share? You need to be clear about what you want them to do in order to get action.

Add a Relevant Image

People respond best to relevant images on social media. You can make memes and infographic using free software like Canva.com for your social media posts. A nice image, watermarked with a relevant quote will do wonders.

Write Content that Gets Attention

When you share a meme or a blog post or other type of post write content about it, and what you want your readers to do about it.

Ask Your Audience to Share

Never forget to ask your audience to share your posts. You can also invite them to take memes and infographics off your website to share. Just set up a new page that lists all the watermarked images that your audience can share.

Respond to Comments

Don’t just ignore the interaction that is happening on your social media pages. Always respond, and add comments to the discussion. Answer questions, and be kind. Even if someone is rude, don’t respond rudely. If you have to, delete the rude comment and let it go.

Writing social media posts that get a discussion going and inspire people to share and interact is an art. You’ll need to try different tactics to see what works with your particular audience. But, be sure to always have a call to action on the post so that your audience knows what to do.

Selling on Social Media Without Driving People Away

5 Social Media Selling Tips & Warnings

Social media is one of the best marketing tools out there: you can grow and reach a large audience with content and ads, and people who like and/or follow you are your fans, so they’re already your target group.

However, people can be resistant to selling on these platforms. They see sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as places to share content and interact with friends, families-and nowadays, brands.

You really have to approach this the right way or you could alienate your audience, causing them to unfollow or unlike you because they expect a two-way conversation and engaging content, not to be marketed to.

It’s also important to clarify that social selling doesn’t mean advertising your product or service online for people to buy.

Social selling means you’re using social media to connect with sales prospects and nurture relationships to hopefully convert them into customers.

For example, I recently did a Tea Time Tip about things that you need to consider before you start building your website. People could comment and asking questions in real time, and the Facebook Live had a lot of information about hiring a professional web development company.

So, I wasn’t simply talking at people to hire us for their website-building needs; I was sharing pertinent information and nurturing those leads who might be looking for a company to help them out.

Now that we’ve defined social selling, let’s discuss what you can do to increase your odds of success:

1. Think relationships, not dollar signs.

Make sure you’re posting relevant, non-sales content. You want to become an expert resource in your industry, so focus on adding value to your users’ feeds.

According to a study performed by LinkedIn, buyers who are active on social media welcome input from industry experts. In addition, 76% of buyers are ready to have a conversation with potential providers.

Get to know your potential customers by asking them engaging questions, answering their questions in a timely manner and responding to comments. The more trust and loyalty you build, the better your odds of converting a follower into a paying customer.

Read: The Power of Social Media Storytelling

Once upon a time your strategy was probably largely focused on sharing links to third-party content with your audience. Well, those days are over, and if you want to stand out in the crowded and noisy online environment, you need to focus on content marketing storytelling.

2. Take the time to build out your accounts.

Make sure that your bio and profile are filled out on all the platforms you want to use for social selling. You should include your website URL, About Us, phone number and any other relevant contact info.

It can also help to pin relevant posts, make sure your branding stands out and have high-quality images to attract followers’ attention. Again, this builds trust and loyalty, making people feel more comfortable and secure doing business with you.

See how one of our clients, A Family Law Firm, has taken the time to not only fill out their contact info, but also the “Our Story” section on Facebook.

3. Choose your messaging wisely.

What works on one platform may not work on another. Where do your potential clients hang out? Where do they talk business, or go for restaurant recommendations? Generally:

* LinkedIn is more business-focused, so people are more comfortable with marketing messaging there.

* Twitter has a great search function, so you can more easily connect with prospects, and find relevant topics.

* Facebook has many communities that you can join and network in (remember, don’t be pushy!)

* Instagram and Pinterest is for visuals, not long content pieces.

By tailoring your messaging for each platform, you’ll be more likely to attract the right kind of customer.

4. Let user-generated content sell for you.

You don’t have to do all the work of social selling alone! There are so many ways to use user-generated content (UGC) to your advantage, including:

* Contests and giveaways that encourage followers to share your content, hashtags and/or messaging.

* Ratings or reviews for your product or service

* Testimonials

For example, J.Crew posts user ratings and reviews on their website, so when they post a dress or shirt on their social media account and someone clicks on through, they see other people’s votes of confidence.

Not only does user-generated content help you, but it helps your customers. Almost 80 percent of people say that UGC drives their purchasing decisions. It’s a win-win situation!

5. Try, test and try again.

Every business owner should be tracking and measuring their efforts, whether it’s a digital Newsletter push or a Google AdWords campaign. Look at your data and stats to determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Maybe people are being referred to a page on your website from your Facebook post, but they’re only spending a few seconds on it.

You need to look at why that is: is your messaging unclear? Boring? Is there a broken link? By tracking your visitors’ paths, you can see where you need to take a closer look.

Google Analytics is a free tool you can use to measure your website statistics, and there are also paid tools out there that can help you break down and understand your data.

The more you test and tighten your social media selling attempts, the better your ROI will be (and the happier your followers will be).

While social selling is different than traditional methods, it’s still about building relationships and credibility. Focus on the person behind the platform, not on converting them into a sale or guiding them down a marketing funnel. Take the time to build connections and you’ll create a community of prospects who will welcome hearing from you.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.