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Recession Proof Your Business

Does the recent stock market volatility, trade war with China, and continuous news about a pending recession have you feeling jittery? Don’t fret! There are several ways to prepare so that your business not only survives, but thrives, should the economy soften. It’s crucial to have a long term plan to build a sustainable, strong business whether your company is new or has been around for several years. Take this opportunity to carve out the budget to improve your branding, marketing, and maybe even your product. Devote some attention to your brand, your competitors, and your audience. Maybe you have relaxed your marketing initiatives during the strong economy. It’s likely your competitors have too. Regardless of your business size, develop your brand strategy while competitors are looking the other way and neglecting marketing because they are too busy. Why not get after it while times are good, so you are positioned for prosperity? You can leave your competitors in the dust; forcing them to attempt to play catch up without a solid strategy in place.

Knowing your customer profile and the best ways to reach them is key to securing a leading edge. Honing in on a clearly defined brand is as well. Understanding what your competitors do better than you is another way to gain an advantage. Here are some strategies to implement so you can capitalize on greater visibility and thrive in any market conditions.

Bad Ass Branding

Your brand is more about how you are perceived than how you define yourself. And there are many aspects of it to conquer, so that your brand is truly bad ass. Consider the following when building a strong brand identity:

Are you proud of your logo? Does it reflect the personality of your business? Is it memorable, sharp, and professional looking? Or does it look dated? If you think it needs a refresh, now might be a good time to do so. An overhaul is often unnecessary. Sometimes a few tweaks to the existing design can do just the trick.

Have you clearly identified your target audience(s)? Engaging a branding agency can help you understand your customer profiles, which in turn can help you better communicate to them. It’s important to know their lifestyle, age, income, activities and interests, where they get their news, etc.

Who are your competitors? Take some time to get better acquainted with them. Analyze what they do well and what you do – or can do – better.

Is your messaging clearly defined? Does it resonate with your target audiences?

Do your printed marketing and promotional materials need updating? They certainly will if you revise your logo and tweak your messaging.

Website Wow Factor

Your website is often what makes a first impression to your potential customers or clients. Is it dressed to impress? Characteristics of successful websites include:

– Accurately reflects the brand and its personality
– Visually appealing with a modern, clean design that is easily viewed on any device
– Clear and concise messaging
– Search engine optimized
– Updated Google Business listing
– Strong call to action
– Engaging photography and video

Social Media Sensation

Now, more then ever, social media plays a significant role in staying top of mind for existing customers and gaining exposure to potential new customers. It is critical to post consistently, engage with your audience, grow your followers, respond to reviews and comments, use relevant hashtags, and create winning content and photography. Social media can also help your website’s organic traffic as it is an important referral source. Depending on the nature of your business, teaming up with influencers can also increase your brand awareness. Your social media activities should reflect your brand’s voice. It’s important to have someone dedicated to managing your social media who isn’t overwhelmed or distracted by handling other aspects of your business. Remember, just because your employee has a personal Instagram or Facebook account doesn’t make them a seasoned expert in social media marketing.

The Power of Public Relations

PR is more than the excitement of seeing your company’s name in print. These days, savvy marketers understand how public relations is an essential aspect of SEO. News stories feature links that generate traffic to your website. Google loves that, and will reward your website for it by ranking it higher in searches. Editorial placements also provide content for your website and social media. As always, public relations efforts allow you to raise awareness of your product or service and elevates your credibility.

We understand that many businesses do not have the bandwidth or knowledge to tackle the tactics mentioned above. That is why we have assembled a tight team of high-level experts in various marketing disciplines to help clients successfully market themselves. Redhead Marketing & PR has developed a proprietary brand analysis strategy that is an enlightening, productive journey for all types of businesses. Our approach is comprehensive and customized to efficiently meet clients’ needs and goals. Redhead’s business model is also more nimble, streamlined, and affordable than many. View our services to get acquainted with our offerings, and meet our amazing team! Regardless of who handles your branding and marketing, ramp up your efforts when your business is prosperous and have a clearly defined brand strategy if launching a new business. It will be easier to continue your initiatives and remain highly visible during slower periods.

Redhead Top 25 Public Relations Tip

Public relations is a great, cost effective marketing vehicle for small businesses. The problem is many don’t know where to start or have the time or skill set to effectively execute a public relations campaign. Fit Small Business asked 25 public relations professionals to offer up some public relations tips for small businesses. We were pleased to be included (see #17). As a marketing and public relations firm, our suggestion for the article was to have a synergized approach to social media marketing and public relations.

Too frequently, we see businesses of all sizes outsourcing these important initiatives to multiple parties which makes it difficult to stay on message. It also poses a challenge for small businesses to manage and interact with different firms or individuals.

For this reason, and a host of others, Redhead Marketing & PR manages both public relations and social media marketing for our clients. Let us know if we can take this off your plate with a personalized approach that will make us part of your team! In the meantime, check out these handy public relations tips:

Redhead Marketing & PR was included in a story that offers up tips from PR pros for small businesses to follow. Check them all out – we are #17! Thanks Fit Small Business!

Expanding Your Social Media Horizons

If your social media strategy is limited to throwing up occasional posts on your social channels, it’s time to rethink and expand your approach to keep up with the competition.

Since 2010, Redhead Marketing & PR has implemented and managed customized social media strategies for several different types of clients in various industries, including hospitality, retail, politics, and real estate. We have found that one aspect of a successful social media strategy is to develop partnerships with social media influencers. This means working with brands and media whose followers belong to your target audience. These partnerships coupled with consistent, engaging content and a social plan that integrates with the overall marketing strategy are crucial to a successful online presence that also complements SEO efforts.

We see countless businesses missing the mark on their social media and not implementing it as a consistent part of their communications efforts. This is typically due to lack of time and/or lack of social media expertise. As marketing becomes more specialized, so too does social media as just one component of the communications mix.

Below are some examples of social media partnerships we created for Southern California (Epic Pictures, a film production company) and Utah (glamping resort Conestoga Ranch) clients over the summer. The desirable end results included increasing the following for and reach of our clients’ social media accounts and improving engagement. All of this requires time and consistency that many businesses can’t devote in house staff to, which is, of course, where Redhead Marketing & PR comes to the rescue. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you improve your social presence.

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Social Media Best Practices for Businesses

Honored to be invited to give a presentation about social media to the Utah Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Organization this week in Salt Lake City, we thought we’d share some of our best practices advice for managing your business’ social media accounts. On average, companies are spending 15 to 20 percent of their marketing budget on social media; that percentage will continue to rise. Social media is now the number one activity for internet users, so it simply cannot be ignored when it comes to marketing your business.

overwhelmedHere are 16 tips for managing your company’s social media effectively and successfully, which will hopefully keep it less overwhelming.

Pick Your Platforms
Social media is a huge space these days with so many different platforms available. It’s not necessary to overextend yourself by having a presence on all of them. Instead, choose the social media sites you believe your audience is using and that are appropriate for your business.

Define Your Goals
Are you planning to use social media to raise awareness of your brand, enlighten and inform your followers or increase sales? Maybe you have a multitude of goals, but be sure you know what they are and the type of content that will support those goals.

Be Highly Selective of Your Social Media Manager(s)
Make sure your social media manager understands your company’s strategy and approach. Whether you are outsourcing or managing it in house, this individual should be well versed in social media, knowledgeable about your products and services and be able to engage your followers. He or she should also be committed to posting regularly and consistently.

Commit
When it comes to social media, not much is more mind-boggling than a business that goes dark for extended periods. As such a cost-effective form of marketing, these companies are truly missing the boat and losing their audience. Social media is a dynamic way to entertain, inform, sell and engage, so commit to having a regular and captivating presence.

Integrate…or Disintegrate
Your social media strategy should be an integral part of your company’s overall marketing plan. Make sure your social media campaign complements your public relations, website and advertising. It’s nearly impossible for businesses to survive without an active online presence.

Treat Each Channel Individually
Each social media channels requires a slightly different style of communication. While it’s important to be consistent in your messaging, we recommend tailoring how you communicate it to the specific platform and its audience.

Calendar and Schedule
Personal trainers often advise their clients to schedule their workouts as they are more likely to commit to the regimen. The same holds true for social media. Plan and plot your posts on a calendar, and you’ll use your accounts much more regularly. Be sure you are also flexible as unanticipated information or opportunities will arise that you’ll want to share with followers.

Avoid Constant Promotion
If you really want to engage your followers, do not be overly promotional or self-serving, or you will turn them off. Sure, you should post your sales, events and new products, but do so in a compelling manner that inspires feedback and engagement.

Diversify Content
Mix it up to keep your followers interested. Share different types of content. Posting news stories that are relevant to your business, sharing interesting posts from other companies, profiling a new staff member, and introducing new products are examples of ways to keep your content varied.

Use Images & Video
Posts that utilize photos and videos are far more likely to get a response from your followers than posts that consist of text only.

Engage with Contests
Contests can be a hugely successful way to engage your followers, gain brand awareness, drive traffic to your website and increase sales. Is your business a restaurant or hotel? Invite your followers to post photos with a particular hashtag while enjoying your establishment and offer the winner a gift certificate.

Drive Traffic to Your Website
Your social media accounts are a great way to drive traffic to your website which in turn boosts your search engine optimization. Likes, comments and shares also help enhance SEO…another reason to be engaging!

Be Responsive
Social media is real time marketing. Be sure to regularly monitor your accounts to respond to inquiries and other posts from followers. Tactfully address negative comments in a timely manner, and do not ignore them. Social media allows you to demonstrate exceptional customer service.

Avoid the First Person
Keep first person narrative to your personal social media accounts with few exceptions like celebrities, private practice physicians or attorneys etc. Third person narrative conveys a higher level of professionalism and that there is a team behind your brand.

Be Grammatically Correct
While social media is typically a more casual form of communication, it is still important to be grammatically correct to convey professionalism.

Analytics is Your Friend
Posting regularly is just half the game. The second half is measuring and tracking. Because of its real time nature and the analytics readily available, it is not only easy to see what type of content resonates with your followers, but you can also modify on the fly.

We hope these dos and donts are helpful. Feel free to contact us with questions!

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