Strategies for Businesses Online

Strategies for Businesses Online

As we take time this month to count our blessings and be thankful, let us not forget our followers. Doomed is the business that does not interact. By nature, social media is a platform for discussion and interaction. We find all too often that businesses are collecting followers but not utilizing them as people. The following suggestions and strategies are great ways to show followers the gratitude they deserve.

Strategy 1: It’s Not About the Number

Numbers, especially large numbers, are awesome but what do they mean without engagement? In short, nothing. A large number of followers without comments, shares or likes is akin to shouting into a room before the party begins. Businesses will be much more successful if they have an active following versus one that is silent. Advertisers looking for new influencers are becoming savvier. They are starting to notice not only follower number but engagement as well. A company may well have thousands of followers, but one or two ‘likes’ per post isn’t going to cut it.

Strategy 2: Variety is Key

Variety is the spice of social media. This refers to platform usage as well as types of content. A business will want to have a presence on several platforms for many reasons. The biggest reason being that algorithms and platforms change. One day a business’ content could be performing well and the next it disappears. Whether this is due to a glitch or bug, or if it is due to a new algorithm rollout, a business’ social presence should have other avenues to share its content. When this happens, let the platform rest- post as necessary, but don’t obsess over the changes. Take the time to explore and beef up the presence on another platform.

Strategy 3: Relationships Equal ROI

Any decent digital marketer will stress the importance of storytelling and building relationships within the content. A stronger presence of content that resonates with the audience help followers to connect with a business both online and in the real world. Social media will not create new clients or be a magic money-making button. A strong digital presence will support a business’ thought leadership and subject matter expertise. It will help to build trust and create an emotional relationship with potential clients.

 

Social media is a necessary part of a business plan, but it will not be the only thing a business must do to bring in new business.

If you’re looking to promote your digital presence, identify strengths and weaknesses in your platforms or jumpstart your content, take part in the MOKup Media Free Digital Diagnostic. Email [email protected] to get started.

Business Netiquette and Digital Presence

Business Netiquette and Digital Presence

How do you promote a positive digital presence as a small business or brand?

-Restaurant Berates Customer for Bad Review
-Local Business Spars with Customer Over Quality of Services
-New Brand Makes Waves with Sub Par Products

These could very well be similar headlines to some seen online just this week. Businesses could avoid these eye-catching taglines with a quick lesson in online etiquette or netiquette.

There are many opportunities on the World Wide Web when it comes to small businesses, but those opportunities can turn toxic quickly. Often, netiquette goes straight out of the window when it comes to small businesses online. Having a plan and a comprehensive understanding of internet etiquette can serve to save a business from undue criticism in a digital world.

The following tips can serve as reminders for companies and brands to improve their digital prowess and avoid common pitfalls online.

Be Present Online:

A business should have a digital presence on whatever platform makes sense for them. They should choose the platform with which they can consistently engage. Avoiding social platforms may be detrimental as customers and clients often head to the internet first when researching new brands. Companies want to ‘show up’ in more ways than simply a website.

Be Intentional:

What businesses post online should align with their brand and the goals for their digital strategy. If a company is looking to promote transparency in a behind-the-scenes approach, the published content should reflect that feeling. If they are seeking to educate, the content should be consise, clear and informative. One of the biggest blunders made by businesses is muddying their messages with an overabundance of disjointed content. Stay consistent. Stay Concise.

Be Professional:

Most business owners would not choose to have a knock-down drag-out verbal altercation with a customer in their establishment, yet we see the online equivalent all too often. In our current landscape of connectivity, the chances of a negative review or perceived experience are high. If a business is on the receiving end of such a review, defending, arguing or negatively engaging is a poor choice. On the other hand, completely ignoring the review is also a poor choice. Striking the right balance in responding can preserve a positive digital presence.

Be Patient:

Consistent and on-brand content will help to promote the overall presence of a business. It may also serve to create new warm-leads as potential customers get to know a brand. The practice of sharing content consistently and positively engaging with followers will help to genuinely and authentically build an audience. Patience is the name of the game.

Overall, netiquette follows a few golden rules: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” as well as “Say it forget it*, write it regret it.” If businesses don’t want words to haunt them, they shouldn’t post them online. *Companies are best not to say things they don’t want online as well with the abundance of video popping up online.

If you’re looking to jumpstart your business’ presence online or have questions regarding the creation of a digital strategy or netiquette guidelines, email [email protected] for a complimentary Digital Marketing Audit. MOKup Media

Debbie Cabala of John Marshall Bank Talks about Small Business

Debbie Cabala of John Marshall Bank Talks about Small Business

By Robin Suomi, Founder, Startup to Growth, LLC.
I recently interviewed Debbie Cabala, Vice President, Business Development Officer of John Marshall Bank, asking her about her experience working with small business owners in Leesburg and the surrounding Loudoun County, Virginia area.

When I first met with Debbie, I was struck by her friendliness and savvy small business banking knowledge.  I knew I wanted to tap into that expertise, so I asked her to help me launch a project I was working on at that time, a series of blog posts titled, Ask the Experts.  She jumped right in.  Not that that surprised me, because all the bankers at John Marshall Bank have shown equal professionalism and enthusiasm in my interactions with them.  Read what Debbie says about how she works with small businesses and learn more about John Marshall Bank.  Don’t miss Debbie’s Top Tips to help you improve your business, and read her Top Mistakes so you’ll know what to avoid!

I’d love your help on this project, too.  In our Ask the Experts series we will also interview attorneys, accountants, marketing professionals, insurance brokers and other small business professionals to get their advice for entrepreneurs.  Is there someone you recommend we interview?  Do you have a specific subject or question you would like us to ask an expert about?  Great!  Please contact me at [email protected] so we can discuss it.

Finally, are you or a friend thinking about starting a business or re-energizing a company you started a while back that has been ho-humming along?  Look for our How to Start a Business: Your Successful Launch online course launching July 2017.  Make your summer count.

We’re all about small business here at LoudounSmallBusiness.com.  We love watching YOU start and grow YOUR business!

Happy blogging!
Robin Suomi

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Q: Debbie, thank you for giving us your time to help educate small business owners about banking.  Let’s start by giving our readers your name and telling us a little bit about your company and how you work with small business owners. 

Debbie:  How many community banks can claim they are one of the Best Performing Banks in Virginia?  Or how about a local bank claiming a national “health” rating of an A+?  My name is Debbie Cabala, and I work at that bank – John Marshall Bank.

Our bank’s corporate culture puts the customer first, offering a hefty dose of personal attention while tailoring the latest banking products and services to meet your financial needs.  We are local bankers, at a local bank, working with small businesses to customize the right package of banking products to suit their unique needs.   I am interested in the business you run, and working closely with you, developing a banking plan that I am confident will kick-start your business to the next level.

Major points about John Marshall Bank:

  • A Northern Virginia-based community bank with assets of over $1B.
  • Corporate culture is “customer first.” Personal attention in all departments.
  • We have an A+ rating as one of the healthiest banks in the USA
  • As a community bank, our bankers live in, work in and enjoy the same community as you
  • Decisions are made locally and quickly, with all customers – no matter large or small – having easy access to top executives
  • We customized banking solutions to satisfy the needs of individual businesses and individuals
  • Our online and mobile banking products are robust and secure

Q. Thank you. Those are excellent points.  Now let’s talk about you.  List three words that best describe you and why. Yup, just three!

Debbie:  Persistent because I will not be content until my customer is satisfied with the products and services I have recommended;  Confident because I know our bank and my expertise will set us apart from any other bank in the area; Cordial because we will work together for the benefit of your business with a cordiality that will lead us to a long-term banking relationship.

Q. And to continue in that vein, tell me why you enjoy working with small businesses.

Debbie:  Small business, when supported by the right bank and other professionals like CPAs and lawyers, often grow into success stories.  I enjoy the challenge and the satisfaction of working towards that success with my customers.  There is nothing like participating in the success of a small business owner’s hard work and sacrifice.

Q. Great.  Let’s talk about the entrepreneurs you serve.  What is one entrepreneurial trait you like to see in clients you work with?

Debbie:  The ability to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.  I also like to see an entrepreneur who understands banking and the spreadsheets that bankers like to see as the business grows.  For those entrepreneurs who have a great idea and start their businesses, but don’t yet fully appreciate the importance of accurate bookwork, I enjoy the opportunity to work with them on their financial literacy goals.

Q. If you could give small business owners, specifically startups, your top three tips, what would they be?

Debbie:  First, get a banker you can relate to; one who gives you personal attention and who you can easily reach.  Your banker can be your best advocate and free consultant. Second,  though your banker can provide you with bank services, such as full reconciliation, hire a CPA, accountant or bookkeeper, who will keep your books straight and reconciled at least once per month.  This will benefit your business and your banking relationship, and you will have an easier time of it when April comes around.  Third, engage a lawyer and hope you never need to use their service.  In today’s litigious atmosphere, you just never know when you need to move fast, and it’s good to have a relationship already in place with a lawyer you’ve met and who understand you and your business.  A fourth tip is that I encourage companies to pay for adequate insurance with an umbrella policy that protects both your business and your personal assets.

Q. Conversely, will you share the top two mistakes you have seen startups make? We are hoping to save our readers a ton of pain!

Debbie:  Poor Bookkeeping/Cash Flow.  Poor cash flow management is the number one cause for depleted operating balances.  When balances drop and trigger overdraft lines to kick in, banks generally charge for non-sufficient funds.   By simply consulting with your banker, solutions to avoiding NSF fees can help businesses stay ahead of this asset drain and help to establish more reliable financial practices.

Hiring the wrong personnel.  I have seen fraud on business owners’ accounts by handing over full control of the bank accounts to an employee gone rogue.  Your banker can provide fraud prevention services to eliminate this risk.  However, the business owner should always stay involved in the finances.

Q. Debbie, I used to work as a court reporter and I can personally attest to your comments about fraud. Small business owners think it will never happen to them, but it certainly can.  I love your suggestion of getting your bank involved with fraud prevention services to eliminate this risk.  

Now, on a lighter side, what one book/blog would you recommend small business owners read?

Debbie:  Live Free or DIY by Justin Crawford.  This book is perfect for the small business owner pressed with too many things to do and faced with too little time.  Live Free or DIY reveals the obstacles small business owners face in every industry, and reveals how to overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship.  The book walks the reader through budgeting, time management, work-life balance, how to build a team and how to grow your business.

Q. Debbie, thank you again for sharing your time and expertise to help small business owners! If our readers would like to get in touch with you, please let them know the best way to reach you.

Debbie:  I can be reached on my cell or email, at 571-447-3919 or [email protected]. You may also visit the Business Banking website page for John Marshall Bank.