93% of businesses now use social media in some form to market their business. With so much competition it’s more important than ever to be creative in order to stand out from the crowd.

The infographic below from Social Metrics Pro gives you 10 creative ways to improve your social media marketing and get ahead of your competitors.


posted in Infographics, Social Media



5 Ways to Promote Your Small Business Online [Infographic]

You’ve got this big idea and started planning to sell it out online. You are now considering starting your very own small online business.

So where do you start? How do you get your brand and product out there?

Help is at hand courtesy of this infographic from Grow With Trellis, which highlights 5 ways to promote your small business online.


This post originally appeared on Irfan Ahmad’s blog.



Are you using Pinterest to market your products or services or as part of your content marketing strategy? Need some help creating images, posting at the best times or monitoring your success?

The infographic below from Tell It Media gives you 6 awesome Pinterest management tools you can use. We’ve only used Pingraphy (now Viraltag) ourselves, it enables us to schedule our infographics throughout the day.


Infinite Digital Solutions understands the power of creating a strong brand. Your website is often the first impression a potential customer sees. IDS creates professionally built websites with exceptional appeal, strong brand messaging and search engine friendly architecture to successfully establish your online presence.

Click here to get started- http://goo.gl/PHYEfz



How successful is your content marketing strategy? Is your content converting your readers and followers into paying customers?

If your current strategy is failing and you need some guidelines to bring it back on track take a look at this infographic from Kayak Online Marketing.




Simple and affordable websites that help your business grow!  Find out more http://goo.gl/BO8yNh


Why You Need A Social Media Marketing Strategy & How To Start One

So, you’re about to take the plunge into blogging, but you have no idea where to start.

That’s okay because I’m sure you already know that blogging can:

• Generate a huge audience (and if you’re a well-known person, this can be immediate)
• Make you some serious money if you know how (want proof: check out Pat Flynn’s running total on his homepage)
• Turn a blogger into an influencer with a little bit of hard work and a great networking community
But, how can you achieve this with your new blog? With so many blogs around, you have little chance of getting noticed.

What’s the solution? Well, a perfectly defined social media plan and strategy is just what you need.
This post will walk you through why you need a social media marketing strategy and how to start one for your blog.

Is Adopting Social Media That Important?

Yes, it is.

Social media platforms have revolutionized marketing and blogging. Google too has adopted “Search Plus Your World” signaling how social platforms are crucial.
So, if you think you only need SEO to generate traffic, you’re dead wrong. Traffic via search engines isn’t the only way to generate a huge audience. Bloggers today are also leveraging social media for their targeted traffic.

With so many people today using smartphones and tablets, the digital world is everywhere. And with more people being online, social media has skyrocketed as a main form of communication for users.

Social Media Isn’t Just a Fad

With the popular social sites being mobile-friendly, this makes it easy to view your Facebook page, scroll through tweets and check out a pin from Pinterest – while you are out and about.
All these reasons suggest that engagement across social networks is never going to end; rather, users will keep on Instagramming, Tweeting or Liking – or doing whatever the next big social media platform will decide.

Hubspot claims that social media marketing is not just any fad, and if you want to be a part of the blogging world, you better be on social media. Almost every successful blogger is using social media platforms to reach a target audience.
So, as a newbie, you need to be on social media to get exposure, promote your blog and generate traffic.

Social Media is Easy and Inexpensive

As a new person to blogging, you may think you need a big budget to get your blog up and running. But, your social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to be expensive.
What’s great about social media is it’s easy to set up and once you’re on various social media platforms, you’ll find you can reach a wide audience without spending much on analytics.
Social media is here to stay and it’s not a passing phase.
So, now that you know how important social media marketing is, let’s uncover how to strategize a social media marketing plan step by step.


1. Add Social Engagement Elements To Your Blog
Have you ever come across a great post and want to leave a comment or contact the blogger, but you look around and find there’s no comment box or link on the blog?
If you’re new to blogging, the best thing you can do is make yourself available. Readers want to have the option of engaging on your blog. They also want to know that they can quickly contact you.

So, make it easy for your readers to get to know you. Here are some ways to do this:

• Add a Contact page to your website with ways to contact you (phone number, social profiles, email)
• Add Follow buttons on your site to make it easy for people to find you
• Make sure to enable comments on your blog. While you may get some negative feedback, don’t let that stop you from developing a relationship with your readers.

2. Add Share Buttons

You know you have great content on your blog. Heck, I’m sure you’re convinced you wrote a killer blog post. But, no one is reading it and the only people going to your blog are your best friend and brother.
Why is no one talking about your epic blog post? It’s because you forgot to provide a way to share it with their friends and followers.

Having sharing buttons on your blog, placed above and below each blog post makes it super simple and super easy for people to click and share.

Here are some great social media plugins to try on your blog:
• Ultimate social media and share icons
• Floating social bar
• Super socializer
• Shareaholic


Your blog is up and running.

You have engaging and easy-to-read blog posts that are ready to be shared across social media.
To get your content on social media where people are talking about it and to have engaging comments on your posts, follow these seven tips.

3. Automate Your Posts

It takes a lot of time to promote your blog post on social media. If you really want to leverage social media for traffic, you’re going to have to promote it on all the popular social media platforms.
Instead of manually tweeting or pinning each new post you write, why not use a social media tool to make your life a little easier? Here are some applications to automate your posts on social media:

• HootSuite
• Buffer
• Socialoomph
• Sproutsocial

4. Engage With Those Who Share Posts
The actual strength of social media lies in the engagement with your readers. If you’re not social on social media, then it’s pointless to be on Twitter or Facebook. This is a great platform to really get to know your target audience.

What did they like about your content? What would they like to read more of?

The power of using various social platforms can be leveraged to create maximum benefit only if you engage with your readers and especially with those that share your posts.
If you’re using HootSuite, there is a search box where you can paste the URL of your blog post and it will list tweets about your blog post shares. Just start out by re-tweeting those tweets and posts to start building relationships.

Google+ and Facebook allow searching options using your blog titles to find out who is sharing your posts.
So, connect with people on social media and keep them engaged. This can generate traffic on your blog when you reciprocate by acknowledging people’s tweet and tweeting their posts as well.

5. Know The Right Time To Share Posts

You can hit the social media jackpot if you correctly time when you share your posts.
For example, Google+ users are most active in the morning, while Twitter users seem to prefer afternoon. Combined with the social automation tools mentioned earlier, you can time your shares perfectly giving you huge competitive advantage over some of your less-savvy competitors.
You can also check trending topics and using those hashtags across Facebook and Twitter. This will present you with optimal times to share relatable content that users are currently talking about.

6. Plan Future Posts

Almost every social networking platform provides analytics. You can find many free analytics tools to help you with this.

Using a social media analytic tool can help with getting ideas about future posts that perform best across networks and help you elevate your social media marketing plan. This will help you in:

• Writing your next post
• Providing topics for your content calendar
• Understanding trends across networks

You can also get new and exciting content ideas by analyzing the comments on your blog posts. Check out what people are saying on your posts, or keep a close tab on what people discuss across your social networks.

You may find that people want to know a specific answer, so use this information to write your next blog post. After all, you are writing for your audience, and understanding what type of information they are seeking can help you in creating content specifically for them.

7. Connect With Influencers
Social platforms allow connecting with anyone from any location. So, why not follow expert bloggers in your niche? These influencers have the ability to help boost your blog to more traffic and social shares.

You can also learn from these influential bloggers by seeing how they use social media to their advantage. Maybe you noticed that they spark engagement by posing a question to their followers every morning. This is something you can do in your social media marketing strategy.

8. Be Socially Responsible
It’s a great feeling to write a blog post. You want to share it all over social media and tell everyone about it. But, don’t get in the habit of spamming timelines and flooding them with links to your posts 24/7.

Try not to tag people with your post without appropriate context.

For example, if you write a post and very briefly mention Jon Morrow’s name and then tag him with a link to your post, this would be considered inappropriate. Only include influencers or other people in your social media status if it relates to your post.

For example, if you wrote about them extensively in your post, or if it’s something you know they want to read about then go ahead and tag or @mention their name.
The best thing to do is just be social. Comment on other people’s posts, share other people’s content and engage with your readers.

9. Have Useful Content

All the effort you put in to marketing your blog will be useless if your content is not original, useful and engaging.
People want to read your experiences, opinions, thoughts, and advice. When you provide this type of content, people will come back to read more and share it on their social media channels.

How do you make your content useful?

• Have supportive information by providing internal and external links in your blog post.
• Be honest. Tell people your failures and what you are doing to start over, whether it’s trying to monetize your blog or trying to score that next job interview.
• Tell a story by using facts and stats that back up what you are trying to say in your blog post.

Are You Ready to Start Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

Starting a blog is exciting. You have the potential to create great content that people want to learn about. With the right social media plan, you can find your target audience and tailor your content to them.

Take the time to learn as much as your can about social media to leverage it for your blogging success. These tips should help you start your social media strategy and get your blog noticed.

So, tell me, which tip do you find the most useful in having a strong social media plan?

Source: http://www.twelveskip.com/

How to create a holistic brand

To be successful in business you need to create a holistic brand experience. If you don’t, you are losing money.

Branding your business is just as important as your business plan, your storefront windows and your personal style. This is especially true for retailers on and offline. Think about getting dressed for a VIP meeting with a potential client. You wear your best outfit, right? Something appropriate for the meeting. When you leave the meeting what does that potential client do? They go to your website. Imagine the horror if your website is underdressed or your last twitter update was ages ago, maybe you don’t even have a twitter page! In the web world – thanks to tools like Pinterest, Instagram, and RStyle.me – you are outdated in 5 years. It’s like a pair of shoes you have worn out – it’s time to get a fresh, more current pair.

Your followers are sophisticated enough to recognize when they are being taken for a ride, and a bumpy one at that. To be successful in business: fashion, retail, professional services, you need to create a holistic branding experience for your clients, customers and social media following. If you don’t, you are losing money. How do you get started with the perfect client experience? Evaluate what works and what doesn’t…do some brand spring cleaning. We can help you get started with a free 30 minute phone consultation today.

Take a look at online personalities as an example of great holistic branding. Think Marie Forleo with The B-School, Gwenyth Paltrow with GOOP, our Bright Lady Alexa Von Tobel with LearnVest – I heard her on Sirius XM radio giving advice this morning. She’s got her act together. Pop over to her website – she is walking, talking proof of well rounded branding. Her incredible website backs up her work and her respectable brand.

You may be able to piece together a top from Anthropologie or a full skirt from J.Crew  – but how does that translate into a complete outfit? Just as you take your business and your wardrobe seriously, take your brand just as seriously–this is what your potential clients and customers interact with everyday. Beautifully thought out design is an investment, an investment in the future success of your brand and product, even if your brand is just you! This is exactly what Step Brightly does for small to medium-sized businesses with incredible ideas.

Together we can make your brand sing your personal style with ease. Our branding services are tailored to fit your needs, specific to your industry. Pick up the phone and let’s have a chat about design, style, taste and the future of your business. We’d love to learn more about you!

Source: http://stepbrightly.com/