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How Social Media Can Benefit Your Business

Social media is very much a ‘new age’ phenomenon. It’s something that not everyone feels will benefit them and their business. However, there are a number of ways in which you and your business can benefit from using social media.

When it comes to social media, you’re not short of different social media networks to choose from. If you’re a company that would benefit from a more visual social network, then there’s things like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook to an extent.

If it’s news, views and opinions that you feel would benefit your brand and your business then Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are the way forward for you. Regardless of what it is that you’re looking for from social media, here’s some great ways in which social media can benefit your brand and your business.


Social media is a great way to learn about your audience. Regardless of the industry that you’re in, the key to success is knowing your audience.

Social media allows you to understand your audience and what it is that they want. Using tools like Facebook Insights in Hootsuite, you can learn about the languages spoken by your social media audience, their ages, gender and where they are in the world.

This can enable you to cater specific campaigns to certain parts of your social media audience and target audience, it will give you a better idea as to what you should be doing and who you should be targeting in order to provide you with a bigger and better return on investment.


Social networks such as Twitter allow small businesses to locate their current customers and to seek out potential customers.

For example, if you open a new clothes shop in Manchester, you can create a ‘geo-search’ Hootsuite which would locate anyone who is tweeting about needing new clothes in the Manchester area.

This gives you the opportunity to reach out to local people that could, provided they like your product or service, turn into repeat customers!

Improved Brand Loyalty

According to a report, brands who engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers.

This report concludes that “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.”

Another report found that 53% of people who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those particular brands than others.

Decreased Marketing Costs

According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic.

Now, if you compare six hours in terms of an investment to a channel such as social media, it’s hardly a ‘significant’ investment when you look at the potential returns.

If you were to start some paid advertising through Facebook and Twitter, it’s relatively cheap, and if you start small, you’ll never have to worry about going over budget and once you get a feel for what you can expect, you can look to increase your budget and with that will come increased conversions.

Better Search Results

As I’m sure most of you are aware by now, SEO is the best way for a website to capture relevant traffic from search engines but in order to be successful, you need to keep up with the ever changing environment.

It is no longer enough to just update your blog, ensure that you’ve optimised your title tags and meta descriptions and hope that you move up the rankings. Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines could very well be calculating their rankings using social media presence as a factor.

It’s because of this alone that it’s worth investing some serious time and effort in your social media campaigns because a strong brand will always have a strong social media presence.

Whether you’re a local accountant in Preston, a glass design firm or a huge brand with a big social media presence like Paddy Power, it’s always worth investing time in your social media campaigns as your social presence and brand can only get bigger as you develop strategies and reach a new audience.

6 Fresh Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses have a lot of common obstacles to overcome in order to be successful, which amount to so much more than just competing with big businesses. Every small business has to work around their specific difficulties in order to find stable and lasting success.

One common struggle that a lot of business owners face is finding successful marketing and advertising plans. Advertisements that grab people’s attention and get customers in the door are essential for every business. Here are six fresh advertising tips for small businesses to help anyone get back on the road to success.

Use local momentum to go global

Small businesses often think small and local when it comes to their marketing campaign. Even though this may have been a good place to start, in order to grow and reach more customers, every business needs to think bigger. Use tools like local DIRECTV to spread the message across the globe.

Do not underestimate the traditional methods

Everyone knows of the traditional methods that can be used for advertising. Radio and newspaper ads are just a couple of the most popular advertising systems that retain their popularity today for small businesses. These methods can still be very effective and are worth looking in to.

Be consistent

One method that a lot of business owners have tried in the past is to put their entire budget into a couple advertisements that they think will be successful. Though this may occasionally work for some businesses, most often, it is better to spread out a lot of smaller ads through different advertising channels to get the most consistent exposure with the customers.

Try some new social media methods

Social media is a tool that more and more businesses and entrepreneurs are beginning to use. There are a lot of different ways to use this tool that everyone can try out for instant results. This could mean buying ad space or simply updating a profile to gain more exposure. Be consistent with social media use to maintain followers and build a reputation to be proud of.

Take over the mobile world

Mobile apps are growing every day in demand and everyone who wants a piece of success is following the mobile app world to learn the latest and greatest in mobile app development. Any small business today can create their own mobile app to create a new and diverse way to connect with customers and tag along with the success of the mobile app market.

Avoid fruitless promotions

It is common for small businesses to put out advertisements that are just a list of what promotions or deals they have happening at the time are. Though these items should be included in ads, there should be something more to add to it. Every small business should find a way to not only inform customers through their ads, but also inspire and excite them to help more people feel passionately about working with the business.


Basic Budgeting Tips for Low Income Families

For low income families, managing money can be a difficult task. But when your income is restricted, it becomes even more important to learn how to effectively manage the money you are earning. Even now, the Conservative Party is pushing for a further cap on benefits, and if it goes through many low income families will feel the pinch. But all is not doom and gloom, there are some steps that low income families can take to stretch their budget, and get the most out of their family finances.

Draft a Family Budget

The first step is to draft a family budget. Before you can do anything about your family’s finances, you need to know exactly how much money is coming in to the household, and how it is being spent. A clear, and honest, family budget will help you balance incoming funds with all of your regular outgoing expenses. Once you run the numbers, you will have a clearer picture of your family’s finances. Then, you will be able to find areas where you can economize so you can save a bit of money.

Cut Costs

With your budget in front of you, it’s time to start looking at ways to cut your expenses. First, look for any non-essential spending that can be cut from your monthly expenses. Cable TV, broadband and even telephone costs can be reduced if you opt for basic packages as opposed to premium services. Next, take a hard look at what you are spending on essentials like food and utilities. Are there ways to reduce these monthly bills? For example, you may be able to save some money by switching to a different utilities supplier. Take a look at your monthly food expenditures. Are you spending too much on brand name items when you could be purchasing low cost alternatives? Are you taking advantage of sales, and are you using coupons and food vouchers? Remember, every little bit adds up. Saving a quid here and there will put money in your pocket.

Claim Any Benefits to Which You Are Entitled

Every year, billions of pounds in benefits go unclaimed. Some people are too proud to apply for any state funded assistance, while others are simply not aware that they may be eligible for those benefits. If your family is struggling on a restricted income, look into any benefits for which you may be eligible. There is a wide range of government supported benefits available to low income families, and you shouldn’t hesitate to claim your share if your family meets the income requirements. Some benefits are one time payments like a winter heating allowance, while others help to supplement your regular income.

Borrow with Care

It’s a fact that low income families struggle the most in an emergency. Whether it’s an unexpected car repair or a plumbing disaster, when there’s not much in the family bank account it may be necessary to borrow money to get through a difficult patch. If you’re on a low income and claiming benefits you might be eligible for a Budgeting Loan form the Social Fund. That being said, not everyone can be approved for a no-interest Budget Loan. In which case you may need to consider other options. Appealing to family and friends should be your first course of action. Barring that, you might consider a short term payday loan to get you through a tight spot. Despite any negative press, payday loans do serve a purpose, and if you are in a financial bind they can come in handy. However, think carefully about how much you borrow, how much interest you will be paying, and how soon you need to repay the loan. Compare lenders, and look for the best deal you can find before signing any loan agreements.

Low income families typically find it difficult to make ends meet. But even when your finances are low, it is possible to save a bit of money and make that family budget work for you rather than against you. If you’re living on a low income, use these tips to help you get more out of your money.

Why Facebook Is Good For Your Business

If you are wondering where most of your prospective and existing customers are, we can tell you with a great deal of certainty that they are probably on Facebook.  If your business is not currently on Facebook, then you are missing out.  While it is true that there are a lot of specific businesses and companies that need Facebook when it comes to reach out to their audience and marketing their products or services, it is hard to ignore the fact that there are well in excess of 3 million people worldwide who spend a few minutes each and every day on Facebook.

There is no other way to expose your business to that amount of people for free, with little to no hassle without your business having a Facebook page.

In the following post, if you need to be convinced further, we will look at other great reasons why you should consider setting up a Facebook page for your business.

55 Minutes to an Hour

Did you know, according to recent statistics that the average Facebook user spends roughly about minutes to an hour on the social media site every day?  That means there are ample opportunity and enough time to grab the attention of your target audience and customers.

Facebook Pages Are Easy and Effective To Use

When you set up a Facebook Page, one that is different to a normal profile page, you can categorise your business very precisely, all auto-accepts from fans (Facebook Page fans) and create a completely interactive area where people/potential customers and clients can come to engage with your business.

Offers Increased Visibility Online and Improved SEO

If you don’t like to take advantage of any free marketing tools that you can get your hands on, you should and Facebook is one of the most effective.  When you create a Facebook Page you improve your chances of getting better rankings in search engines.  By using informative and engaging content on your business page and some basic SEO, you will rank higher and this in turn will improve your business’s level of visibility online.

Real Time Search

If you allow the content on your Facebook Page to be available to the public, as well as fans of your page, real time search results will display your page when a relevant search is performed.  This can help improve your Business’s reputation and SEO

A Typical User Has Around 130 Friends

As statistics show that the typical Facebook user has roughly 130 friends, this can be a great way to further improve your exposure.  If your page is liked by one person, it shows up on the Facebook News Feed of their friends, which may lead to their friends clicking through to your page and liking it or better still, spending money through your business.  This is like a virtual version of the old fashioned and very effective ‘word of mouth’ marketing that can determine whether businesses sink or swim.   If you want your business to be a success, you should take advantage of Facebook.

Twitter For Business

With millions of users worldwide Twitter is a very effective form of communication.  It would be wrong though to think that it is reserved for just celebrities and teenagers who want to share the ups and downs of their everyday life.  Hundreds and thousands of small businesses have found realised the potential of Twitter to help their business grow.  If you still need convincing that setting up a Twitter account is a step in the right direction for your business, check out the following benefits and tips.

Connects You to Your Customers

As mentioned above Twitter has millions of users and each and every day that number is multiplying.  This is why it is one of the best places online and offline to find prospective customers.  If your business is catering to a very specific market or niche you can use Twitter to connect and communicate directly with people who are in your target audience.  It also enables you to interact with existing customers to help you understand what your business is doing right and wrong.

It Helps To Build Relationships with Clients and Customer

It is important though that once you have followers on Twitter that you continue to keep a line of dialogue running between them and you.  While it is possible to setup and even buy automatic tweets so that your account appears very busy, you need to post relevant tweets and updates that your customers will find useful, interesting and maybe even entertaining.  Many businesses that use Twitter make the mistake of bombarding their followers with sales and promotional tweets, or send too many tweets out too often.  Scale it back as much as you can and remember that as long as you are posting every day or every other day, less often means more.

Creates Awareness OF Your Business/Brand

While big brands do not need to introduce themselves to get followers on Twitter, you should be using Twitter to build awareness of yours.  For instance, unless your brand or logo is well known it is better to create a personal profile as your audience will prefer interacting with an individual rather than a faceless business.

Provide Your Followers with Information

As you are probably already aware, news travels much faster via the internet than it does via TV or radio.  Therefore, Twitter is often the best place to share news or make special announcements with your customers.  While radio and TV might do the same, Twitter is less expensive and allows you to speak directly to your audience and customer base.

Helps You Collect Customer/Client Feedback

Twitter can not only be a good platform for communicating and promoting your products and services to your customers, but can also be used to gather vital feedback from your customers and clients that will help you to improve your business.  You can do this by simply looking at your followers conversations and tweets without asking them directly.  However if there are specifics you need to know, you could ask directly or run a poll from your account.

Enables You to Watch Your Competitors

Twitter search, when used properly, can be a great way to not only track your own company’s reputation on Twitter, but your competition’s reputation and operations.  By learning what the completion is doing, you can improve your own strategies by adopting techniques and methods they are using effectively and avoiding mistakes they have made.

Read Business Related Books Every Month

Whether your business is successful or not, you should never stop learning new things.  One of the best ways to keep learning about business is by keeping to having good reading habits.  Our recommendation would be that you should try to read a new business related book every month – to ensure that your business skills are razor sharp.

In the following article we list some of the best business-related books we have come across that you should consider reading and why.


Why it’s Important – It will teach you an easier, faster and better way to be successful in business.  When you read it you will understand why plans can be harmful, why it is best to just ignore competition and why you don’t need outside investors.  In fact, you will learn that you don’t need as much as you think you do.

Inbound Marketing

Why It’s Important – It will teach you to how you can stop pushing your message out there and start actually pulling your customers in.  It is a “how to” guide to getting noticed trough social media, blogging and Google.

Awaken the Giant Within

Why It’s Important – It includes practical guidelines on how to concentrate your emotions and thoughts to reach your goals.


Why It’s Important – It teaches you that instead of paying as much attention to what successful people are like, that you should be paying more closer attention to where they came from.  For instance, their generations, family, culture and the various idiosyncratic events and happenings they experienced during their childhood.

The Dip

Why It’s Important – It teaches you whether your business goal is worth bothering with at all.  If you feel as if you are in the Dip, a temporary slump that you think will improve if you keep pushing at it, it could be that you are actually in a Cul-de-sac that will never get better.  This book helps you understand which situation you are in.

Good to Great

Why It’s Important – This book helps you understand how and why bad, mediocre and great companies have success.

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Why It’s Important – It teaches you the business related principle that all income creating assets will always produce more profitable bottom line results than any of the best traditional jobs.

E-Myths Revisited

Why It’s Important – This book teaches you all about the life of a business from its infancy, through its growing pains to its maturity.  It also helps you distinguish between whether you are working ON or IN your business.

War of Art

Why It’s Important – This book aims to show you the resolve you need to identify and get past or through the many obstacles you will face when trying to reach your goals and how to reach the highest level of discipline related to creativity.

4 Hour Work Week

Why It’s Important – This book is the blueprint for enabling yourself to work less hours.  Whether you want to live more, work less, earn a figure income without any management, travel around the world or just escape the rat race – this book is for you.

The Lean Start-up

Why It’s Important – This book is inspired by lessons you can learn from lean manufacturing.  It relies on rapid scientific experimentation, validated learning and many other counter-intuitive practices that shorten the development cycles of practices and measure progress without requiring vanity metrics.  It helps you learn what your customers really want.

Networking – 5 Great Reasons Why It Is Essential

Although you may consider attending trade conferences, business networking and business breakfasts to be a waste of time, there are many reasons why it is vital for building relationships that will improve the productivity and growth of your business.

It is a wise to remember that all human beings thrive on having interaction with other humans.  That is why networking is one of the oldest tools used by successful business who remain successful.

Cultivating useful and good relationships is crucial to the success of your business, including relationships with businesses or individuals who operate with in the same field as you.  It’s interesting that a lot of people think that you should only have competitive relationships with people working in the same field or niche, however there are many ways in which networking with them can be of benefit to your business.

In the following post we will look at just 5 possible benefits of networking.

Present You with Opportunity

Every single time you leave your home and get out there, you have the chance to meet new people.  You need know the type of people you might meet and what they may be able to offer you and your business.  Prospective partners, customers and clients are everywhere and you should seize every opportunity you have to network with as many people as you can.

Gives Your Business Exposure

In order for your business to get out there and for people to learn about the products and services you offer; your business needs exposure.  Whether you are launching a new product, struggling to attract customers and clients to the services you provide or anything else related to improve your business’s productivity – the more people you know, the better your chances will be of success.  Customers, clients and partners will not only communicate with each other but may even communicate outside the social and business circle you are in, which could yield new clients and customers for your business.

Builds Contact Lists and Relationships

Whenever you are a little reluctant to participate in networking remember the old saying ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’  The more names and numbers you have in your contact list, the people you forge relationships with, the more likely it will be that you know the right person.  As the ‘right person’ for one thing relating to your business will change often, it is worth making as many contacts as possible; rather than worrying about discretion.  Stay in contact with people in your phone or address book as this will give you a good pool of people to dip into in the future.

Discover Common Interests

When people share common interests, they enjoy being in the company of each other.  Therefore, when you are networking, look for commonalities with the people you meet and use these shared interests and opinions to build relationships with them.

Learning Experience

Networking is a great learning experience because when people build relationships with one another, they like to share news, information and tips with each other.  It is very likely that through networking, you will find someone who offers new insight or ideas that could benefit your business.  As mentioned further up the page, knowing who the right person to go to for help is vital.  The only way you can learn what people are capable of is by networking and building proper relationships with them

Need To Improve Productivity? There’s An App for That!

It is very likely that, as a modern business owner, you own at least a smartphone and maybe even a tablet of some kind.  Remember the tagline for App Store products “There’s An App for that”?  This is actually very true when it comes to business.  You can use your smartphone or tablet during your working day for more than just idle mucking around and playing games; in the following post we will look at some of the great apps out there that can help improve your productivity.

Daedalus Touch

If you don’t like to be stuck behind your desk in the office or at home all day you can use Daedalus Touch for any written work you want to get done in a more comfortable setting.  It features a whole host of handy features, but keeps the focusing on the actual writing and not the app.


Sunrise is a very comprehensive, but very easy to use calendar app.  Not only does it look good and offer all the functions you would expect, but it also integrates locations you have entered for particular days and times with Google Maps.  This is handy if you need to be somewhere at a certain time next Tuesday for instance, but also need directions on how to get there.  You can find all the information about your appointment, business meeting etc. from the Sunrise app.


If you are forever thinking up ideas on the go or at times when there is no pen and paper handy to jot them down, Scraps is a great app to download.  It enables you to organise your thoughts and record them, so that you can look over them at a more convenient time.


Do you love making up “To Do” lists or find it hard sticking to them?  Carrot might be the app that helps you make better use of your time and stick to those lists.  It alerts you every day to your current to-do lists, encouraging you to tackle them.  It is a very unique and in some ways quirky app in that it gets cross with you if you don’t do what you are supposed to do.


Thinglist should be seen as more than a simple “To Do” list.  It can be used to store and organize products you want to try, people you want or need to speak to and books you are planning on reading.


If you have a more creative mind, you may find Inkflow very useful.  It allows you to sketch you’re your ideas and enables you to export your Inkflow creations into JPEG and PDF file formats that you can access later when you are at your computer.


Cue is an app that can help you organise your day so that you use your time in the most efficient way.  It links and syncs up all your accounts including Dropbox, Twitter, Calendar, Gmail and various other networks and platforms to give you a clear view of what needs to be done on a specific day.

Don’t Be Lazy

If there is one piece of advice any expert will give you it is not to be lazy.  Procrastination is a big word and a big problem, particularly when it comes to small business owners.  Many people have great ideas, maybe you do a well, but for one reason or another, do nothing to actually work on them and put them into practice.

Some Reasons That May Be Holding You Back

It could be that you are in denial about your procrastination and laziness.   Therefore, we have listed some of the most common reasons why people hold back from doing the work they to make their business a success.  Be honest and identify your own reasons.

Nervous and Afraid

It is normal to feel a little nervous or afraid when you setup your own business.  The fear of success and now knowing what that will be like can often be as powerful as the fear of failure.  This is why so many people may have good ideas that they like to talk about all the time, but never actually put into action.

Feel Unqualified

Perhaps you have great ideas, but do not feel as if you have enough qualifications, abilities or skills to put those ideas into practice; so skirt around it all and do as little as possible, hoping that you never have to push yourself.

Lack Confidence

This is intertwined with the reasons above but can be seen as a separate reason in itself.  Confidence in your business and your own capabilities is obviously important if you want to be successful, so when you are not it definitely holds you back.

Get Off Your Arse by Brad Burton

If you are having trouble finding the necessary motivation to put your business plans into action, we can’t recommend the book Get Off Your Arse by Brad Burton enough.

The book is a very real, frank, and honest but also hilarious book that includes helpful and insightful advice that will have you rolling about on the floor laughing your head off on one page, while filling you with emotion on another.

Why Should You Listen To Brad Burton?

The above question can easily be summed up in Brad Burton’s hilarious 140 character Twitter-esque description: ‘Born Manchester 1971, adversity, brilliance, adversity, heroic failure, dole, dotcom leader, marketing genius, pizza delivery, MD of 4N!

In case you are not familiar, 4Networking is the fastest growing joined-up business networking organisation in the UK.

The book is Brad Burton’s warts and all lessons that he has learned the hard way from trying to be successful in business and is written in a very uncompromising – take no prisoners – fashion.  It would be wrong to completely spoil the book on this page, but to briefly explain one of the major streams of thought with regards to business that runs throughout the book – being successful in business is actually only about 1% having a great idea and about 99% actually doing something about it.

Delegation – Hiring Online Workers Via oDesk

Although you may think of your new business as your little baby, your project that you want to be involved in every step of the way; you can’t do everything by yourself.  Even if you manage to convince yourself that you can do everything yourself, it may go well for a while but eventually you will find that you are spreading yourself way too thinly and in trying to do everything, certain areas of running your business – more often than not  the most important ones – will suffer as a result.

The Importance of Delegation

That is why any good business owners, regardless of size, logistics or even the industry they are operating within, knows and appreciates the importance of delegation.  There seems to be a misconception that delegating means that you are either too lazy or incapable of doing those particular tasks by yourself.

Frees Up Your Valuable Time

While it makes sense to delegate jobs that require skills that you do not possess, hiring dedicated workers is more important in the sense that it frees your time up.  This means that you are able to use your valuable time more productively to concentrate on the areas of running your business that are more important, such as growing your customer base or working on your products and services.

Hiring Online Workers

Whether you work online or not, one of the best ways of hiring extra staff is using the internet.  There are a selection of websites out there that enable you to have jobs and tasks, regardless of whether they are regularly occurring or one off projects.

If it is just that you need content written up for your blog, you can find writers who are willing to work for competitive prices to take that load off your mind.  Similarly if you a website or logo designer, someone to carry out monotonous PA tasks like phoning a list of businesses to make appointments or simply just dealing with your email – hiring online workers through a site like oDesk is perfect for this.

Easy To Use

ODesk and other sites like it are very easy to use, regardless of what you are looking for in online workers.  It is free to register an account with the site and you are then able to post jobs, in a similar way as to how you would advertise jobs offline.  ODesk users then have the opportunity to post their proposals that explain why they feel they would be right for the job you have posted.  You are not obligated to work with any of them, but can choose the individual(s) that meet your criteria and who fall within the available budget you have for paying extra staff.

You can then contact them either through oDesk itself or another preferred means of communication.  There is no need to worry about whether or not they are going to be as productive as you would like them to be or not, as you can set things up so they have to track their work and have screenshots taken of their work automatically and you only have to pay for work that they did and not if they waste time doing other things.

It may take a little getting used to, working with others and managing them, but once you get the hang of it you will wonder why you didn’t do it from the start.