Social Media Street Smarts – Build a Plan to Grow & Protect your Brand

As of July 2015, the world’s population was 7.3 billion. There are currently over three billion internet users and of that 2 billion with an average of 5.54 active social media accounts per user (Source: brandwatch). Social media users rose by 176 million between 2015 to 2016 (Source: brandwatch). Popular social media platforms have become a significant marketing asset for companies and although some would like to avoid the inevitable, it is no longer optional for businesses.

With an in-depth knowledge of this distinct communication channel, businesses may reap the benefits to which social media provides. Such benefits include: increased customer engagement, informal market research via customer comments, community formation, search engine visibility, sale acquisition and the ease of connecting with new audiences. Creative and effective campaigns have the power to foster strong communities and thus, have the potential to create a strong brand presence in a matter of a few months.

But what happens when campaigns don’t go according to plan? The backfire caused by social media disasters can be all too painful, public and may indeed harm the future success of your brand. As internet and social media users, we have all been witness to the dangers of the social media environment. An “oopsy-daisy” can be viral instantaneously and result in a social media disaster which may harm a company’s image, reputation and following in less than 12 hours. Frequently (or Many times), a recovery plan is in our back pocket for every scenario except for social media. If we’re not active social media users or have a weak social media presence, are we deemed safe from the dangers of the social media environment? No. Hence, an effective social media recovery plan is of the utmost importance in protecting your brand against the power of virality and social sharing.

In the  webinar, Social Media Street Smarts – Build a Plan to Grow & Protect your Brand, Kevin Smith, Chief Marketing Officer for Selectcom  informs, educates and directs small-medium businesses on the most effective way to successfully approach, build and influence your social media audience. As well, he discusses the imperative topics of social media recovery planning, the impact of recent social media disasters and provides important takeaways for your business.

Grow your social media street smarts by watching this webinar here: https://youtu.be/NDDcbYrChbw

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Kevin Smith is the Chief Marketing Officer at SelectCom.  Previously he was the Chief Story Architect for TheStoryArchitect.com, Kevin helps start-ups, small businesses, and social enterprises unleash their story to secure customers and investors, by helping them understand what their core customer story is and then helping them get their story to market.  His services include branding, messaging, marketing strategy, SEO, Content and Social Media marketing, presentation and pitch design, web design, lead generation, sales coaching and business development.  Kevin is also an educational workshop facilitator at MaRS, a volunteer advisor at the RIC Center, HumberLaunch, and UTM i-CUBE, as well as a frequent speaker at Small Business Enterprise Centers.  He previously worked at Dell for 14+ years in enterprise sales and marketing

 


Social Media Street Smarts – Build a Plan to Grow & Protect Your Brand

Engaging with customers over social media is a fantastic way to enhance your brand, and make authentic connections resulting in more business. To do so effectively you’ll need to ensure that your employees and contractors can speak on your behalf, follow your brand values, and convey your sense of personality and tone.

You’ll also need to be able to give them guidelines of what they should and should not do.  Regardless of how much you prepare them, you don’t have control over the internet and how it responds. What you can do is prepare in advance for when a social media disaster strikes.  In this webinar, we will cover how to build a social media policy, and what to do when a social media disaster strikes.

CFIB is pleased to introduce Kevin Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at SelectCom.  Kevin has spent over 14 years in enterprise sales and marketing, and after thousands of pitches, he has perfected the art of storytelling. He specializes in using story and strong visual elements to craft and deliver powerful messages that get attention and results.

This webinar is 45 minutes in duration, plus 15 minutes Q&A.  Registration is free but capacity is limited. Please sign up via the preferred link below:

Social Media Street Smarts – Build a Plan to Grow & Protect Your Brand

Tuesday May 16th, 1pm EDT
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1480562058143449345

Wednesday May 17th, 1pm EDT
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8519520050444498177


Crossing the Digital Divide: How Policy Makers Can Help Entrepreneurs Grow Online

Last Friday, I posed the question, are Gen X entrepreneurs missing the mark on social media? The stats I presented, based on CFIB’s latest research, Embracing technology in a digital age, appear to show that there certainly is a digital divide. Age of business, however is not the only factor. Larger rather than smaller firms seem to more eagerly embrace technologies that they believe will keep them competitive and agile.

Believe it or not, according to CFIB research, 34% of small business owners are still not using any kind of social media at all, and only 48% of those whose business has been running for 10 years or more view the ubiquitous technology as important to their operations.

While this might seem like a Gen Xer’s stubborn refusal to more fully engage with the digital world, there are some practical reasons for this apprehension. According to the survey, more established small businesses simply can’t prioritize social media on account of it being too time-consuming, too costly and too difficult to keep up with and fully understand.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas the Canadian Federation of Independent Business recommends policy makers think about implementing to help these older firms connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs:

  1. Make it easier to adopt digital technologies by encouraging the development of simple, cost effective, “off-the-shelf” digital tools for small businesses: CFIB already offers its members such services for web development (Bark Builder) and email marketing (CyberImpact) at discounted prices.
  2. Introduce a “Digital Technology Deduction”: Allow claims up to $100,000 per year spent on new equipment or technology, in the year of purchase.
  3. Reintroduce a 100 per cent Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) rate for technology purchases: This would spur new investments in new digital technologies and help drive innovation.
  4. Improve competitive options for high speed/wireless services: Require incumbents to provide competitors with wholesale access to Ethernet lines at fair prices, or allow foreign providers to access rural markets.
  5. Create an “innovations lens”: When implementing new regulations, policies and taxes, ensure these do not negatively impact a firm’s ability to innovate or adopt new technologies.
  6. Consider creating a website of digital tools to enhance digital literacy: Government could take the lead on creating a website that contains a database of tech guides and tools to develop digital skills that would help SMEs deal with daunting technology tasks quickly and easily.

By carrying through on some or all of these ideas, the government can help a generation of business owners who didn’t grow up with a smartphone in their hands, but are still a vibrant part of the entrepreneurial community, overcome their concerns and begin to see the massive benefits derived from creating an effective and indelible presence on social media.

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John Studd

With over 15 years of experience in communications, John has spent most of his career in Europe and Asia working with a long list of clients on a large number of projects. He particularly likes working on behalf of small- and medium-sized enterprises in his present role as Media Writer for the Canadian Federation Independent Business (CFIB). He’s also been a small business person himself, establishing a rather successful translation company in Prague that in its heyday employed three teams of translators.


Are Gen X entrepreneurs missing the mark on social media?

We hear a lot about the generational divide when it comes to digital technologies. As it turns out, this digital divide is not just a feature of individual relationships anymore. The same gap can be seen in how young and old businesses relate to the public, and each other.

Like my millennial nieces and nephews rolling their eyes at their Gen-X uncle’s stubborn ignorance of the intricacies of Tinder dating, younger businesses are far more digitally-savvy than their older counterparts as well.

Whereas I’m a proud denizen of Gen-X slackerdom prone to dismissing earnest new applications ironically (yet still ready to adopt them if convenient), the younger members of my family see nothing strange in marketing themselves in multiple ways on various platforms, collecting ‘likes’ and mutual swipes as obsessively as I used to collect vinyl records. And while I am aware that there are a few hipsters out there who might be interested in my dusty old LP collection, I think it’s fair to say that my nieces and nephews could have found a market for those old albums long ago.

Young business, like those young men and women in my family, seem to have the edge when it comes to fully embracing digital technologies. But don’t take my word for it! This is but one of the take-aways from a new survey put out by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) that’s sure to light a spark in the minds of Canada’s budding young entrepreneurs.

According to the survey, Embracing technology in a digital age, businesses less than 5 years old are more likely to think of social media as integral to their start-up, with 72% thinking of it as an important part of their business model from the get go, whereas only 48% of firms that have been around for 10 years or more feel the same.

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This could partially be explained by the fact that younger firms are extremely focused on marketing their business and are more familiar with social media tools and their benefits, whereas older businesses may be more established and already have a strong client base, and therefore do not feel the need to publicize their activities quite as much.

Like the common refrain that the youth of today spend far too much time, money and mental energy on their phones checking Facebook, Twitter and the like, some of the barriers to digital adoption, according to older firms, is that they find these digital tools too time-consuming, too costly and (surprise, surprise – for us ‘old timers’ anyway) too difficult to understand.

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Millennials view technology as a critical part of their life and work. They are constantly “on,” and connected. They tend to embrace new technologies for socializing and working, and adapt quickly. By contrast, Gen X’ers mainly use technology for purposes of convenience, such as online banking and shopping. This same disconnect regarding the purpose and use of new technologies can be applied to younger and older firms respectively.

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Not all differences can be chalked up to age though. One interesting item from the survey that goes beyond that particular divide is the type of social networking sites certain businesses use. Businesses that deal directly with consumers, such as retailers and those in hospitality or recreation, are much more likely to be using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Alternatively, businesses that primarily deal with other businesses, such as those in finance, insurance and professional services, are much more likely to use LinkedIn.

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Size matters too. Larger companies of 50 employees or more make use of social media platforms like Twitter more than smaller businesses with less than five employees (see chart). This may be due to the fact that larger businesses have the capacity to hire younger, more linked in social media experts, if needed, to set up and manage these accounts compared to a smaller business that may find it difficult to access such resources and therefore may choose to focus on just one social media platform if they choose to engage in social media at all.

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As the study reveals, 34% of respondents are not using social media at all, and while this figure has been trending downward for many years now, it shows that there’s still more that can be done to assist older, smaller firms in adopting the technologies that will keep them competitive, agile and safe from the collective eye-rolls of the younger crowd.

Join us Friday when we outline some of actions CFIB recommends policy makers take to help older, smaller firms connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs, such as providing simple, cost-effective, “off-the-shelf” digital tools for small business, creating a website of such tools to enhance digital literacy and introducing a “digital technology deduction” so a business can write-off their investment in the year of purchase.

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john-cropped

John Studd

With over 15 years of experience in communications, John has spent most of his career in Europe and Asia working with a long list of clients on a large number of projects. He particularly likes working on behalf of small- and medium-sized enterprises in his present role as Media Writer for the Canadian Federation Independent Business (CFIB). He’s also been a small business person himself, establishing a rather successful translation company in Prague that in its heyday employed three teams of translators.

 


Attention Canadian Entrepreneurs: Start Your Small Business Checklist here!

Like many people with an idea and ambition, there are probably a lot of questions running through your mind about diving into entrepreneurship. Financial resourcing, finding customers, creating a logo and building a website, are just a few examples. All questions that come to mind are not to be feared, but they have to be prioritized. Do not be afraid to admit that the journey to success can seem intimidating.

Starting a business can seem simple when you’re still in the concept stage. This is partly because many well-meaning friends and family like to offer advice like, “…it just takes registering a business, a website and social media accounts! Go for it!” There is, however, much more to it than that.

This is where I come in. I have heard from countless small business owners concerned about the impact that regulations make and the toll it takes on their daily operations – simply because they may not know where to start. Take for example, did you know that there are rules relating to marketing, advertising and sales?

So what can I offer you?

Over many years CFIB business counsellors have written amazing web posts regarding these issues. For the next several weeks, we will be providing you with a list of 7 important considerations that can help you regardless of how many years you have been in business .

Take some time to share it with your business friends and hashtag #MyStartUp #SmallBizChecklist.

Add this week’s topics to your to do list:

☐ Do you understand the rules relating to marketing, advertising and sales?

☐ Have you considered the risks if you post an image online without permission?

☐ Not sure where to begin with your social media? Click here.

☐ Do you understand what misleading advertising is?

☐ Do you need more information about Trademarks and Patents?

If you are a member of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and have questions regarding this information  call your regional business counsellor.

If you have been in business less than two years, sign up today for six months free membership to CFIB through the CFIB MyStartup program.

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CesarCesar Gomez-Garcia has been with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business for six years. His current role at the CFIB is helping members with their questions on compliance. These questions can range from employment standards to health and safety, as well as complicated red tape situations that small businesses face. His passion is reading and writing about entrepreneurship. Learn more about Cesar via LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @josuegomezg.


Win the B2B Social Media Game

In the world of social media, your business has seven seconds to convey your story. Can you pass the test?

Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. Vine. Snapchat. Every week there seems to be a new social media network to be a part of.  How do you decide where to put your focus in order to connect with customers?

In this free webinar for CFIB members and guests, we’ll help you develop your B2B social media strategy by answering the whos, the whats, the wheres, the whys and the hows of social media. You’ll learn which networks to focus on, what tools to use, and how to craft a B2B social media strategy in a way that supports your brand and your business goals.

CFIB is pleased to introduce Kevin Smith, owner of The Story Architect.  Kevin has spent over 14 years in enterprise sales and marketing, and after thousands of pitches, he has perfected the art of storytelling. He specializes in using story and strong visual elements to craft and deliver powerful messages that get attention and results.

You will have an opportunity to ask Kevin your social media marketing questions towards the end of the webinar.

Simply click the date preference of your choice to sign up now. Space is limited.

Win the B2B Social Media Game

Tuesday May 31st, 1pm EDT UPDATE: This session fully booked

 Wednesday June 1st, 1pm EDT

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Kevin Smith is a Story Architect.  In his career in sales, marketing, entrepreneurship, and politics, Kevin has done over 10,000 pitches.  As the Chief Story Architect for TheStoryArchitect.com, Kevin helps start-ups, small businesses, and social enterprises unleash their story to secure customers and investors, by helping them understand what their core customer story is and then helping them get their story to market.  His services include branding, messaging, marketing strategy, SEO, Content and Social Media marketing, presentation and pitch design, web design, lead generation, sales coaching and business development.  Kevin is also an educational workshop facilitator at MaRS, a volunteer advisor at the RIC Center, HumberLaunch, and UTM i-CUBE, as well as a frequent speaker at Small Business Enterprise Centers.  He previously worked at Dell for 14+ years in enterprise sales and marketing.

 


Exclusive to My StartUp/CFIB Members: FREE Social Media Mastery Webinar

social-mediashutterstock_vector_78037192CFIB Business Resource counsellors have been getting a lot of questions about social media marketing lately. In response, we’ve invited Bobby Umar, one of Inc Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers and Amazon #1 Best-Seller author of “How to Network Anytime.” He is also a four-time TEDx speaker, personal brand, networking & social media leadership advocate, and Huffington Post writer. With over 320,000 Twitter followers, Bobby will cover the topic of social media mastery for small business owners.

If you have questions about social media marketing, please join us for this free webinar, exclusive to CFIB members, in which Bobby will cover the following topics:

  • Understanding how social media works for your small business
  • Top 5 business strategies each for Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • How social media and networking work together to generate revenue
  • Building great content and thought leadership

You will have an opportunity to ask Bobby your social media marketing questions towards the end of the webinar.

Social Media Mastery: Ramp Up Your Business, Impact and Life
Tuesday November 3rd, 1pm EDT
Friday November 6th, 1pm EDT

If you are a My StartUp/CFIB member, check your inbox for an invite with a link to this webinar. Call 1-888-234-2232 if you did not receive your invite.