forum questions

Getting effective answers to your online forum questions

The internet has become more than just something that was created to connect people. Over the years, it has also acted as a meeting point for knowledge. There are millions of articles posted on the internet daily, terabytes and terabytes worth of data being uploaded. Which begs the question, how do you access this data? Online forums!

Online forums have become such a strong and directional tool that has helped learners find useful information about different topics. However, asking questions effectively is central to the pursuit of science and posting questions to online forums is a great way to improve that skill. Furthermore, knowing how to use forums is a great asset for your career: it will help you overcome obstacles faster and connect with people who are doing similar things online. However, in order to get the most out of online forums, you must first learn how to ask good questions.

Asking questions on forums is somewhat of an art form: easy to try but difficult to master. It is easy because we have been asking questions from a very young age. On the other hand, it is difficult because it is not enough to ask any question; we must ask good questions so that other people will be willing to spend some of their time to help us.

The kind of answers you get to your technical questions depends as much on the way you ask the questions as on the difficulty of developing the answer. A well-crafted question attracts good answers like a magnet, while "hasty sounding questions get hasty answers, or none at all".

Here are a few ways to help you ask better questions;

Do your homework first

Read the knowledge base files, documentation and/or appropriate e-books first, search for similar questions/answers on the forum. Try both the forum search and the site-wide search. Also Google your problem. Then, try to solve the problem yourself, and describe what you have tried. It is much more rewarding to help someone who has tried himself first.

Use a short and descriptive title

The title is the only part of your message that most visitors will see, so make sure that a reader can understand the important part of your question only from reading the title. If needed also state some detail of the problem.

Post in the right forum, follow sub-forum recommendations

Make sure that you post your question in the correct forum category, and only post your message once. Cross-posting can sometimes be impolite and irritating. When you have identified the right category to post your question to please be sure to check for a sticky post that contains additional, sub-forum specific, "How to get help" suggestions.

Factual Questions

Factual questions are generally those questions for which there is a known and verifiable answer. These are often straightforward questions that are the foundations of more complex concepts.

Include enough details

Write a comprehensive question that includes enough details to understand your problem without having to ask complementary questions. Include important settings, source code or software used, physical reasoning, equations, error messages, etc. Write in clear English using punctuation and paragraphs when needed. Preview and proof-read your message before you post it. Clear and well formatted questions always get more answers. Describe what you have done to try to solve your problem. People are much more willing to help if you show that you have made an effort yourself first.

Give feedback

Say thanks when someone has helped you and summarize how you finally solved your problem. I mean, they are unpaid volunteers and it is much more fun to help people who show their gratitude. A final note on the solution also helps others with the same problem. Also take the time to answer other people's questions.

Problem Solving Questions

Problem solving questions can also range from relatively straightforward scenarios in which the recommended strategies and solutions might be known, or well accepted, to very complex scenarios in which answers and solutions are not known and in need of truly creative and innovative thinking.

Typical problem solving questions are generally good for the following situations:

  • Useful for serious thinking about complex issues
  • Useful for customizing learning and making it relevant to learners’ lives and goals
  • Can incorporate challenges from current events and multidimensional issues
  • Gets learners engaged and involved in real world issues
  • Good preparation for learner projects, either individual or group
  • Useful for critical thinking

Be sure to keep these tips in mind when posting on our digital marketing forum on this website.


online PR

Marketing for Beginners: An Introduction to Online PR

How do you build up your online presence? How do you enhance your brand equity? So many businesses have long discovered that having sponsored tweets and posts, conducting weekly giveaways and all doesn’t always translate to bigger sales. Online PR has become a very important part of this digital age for businesses. Building a brand presence online organically has become the bane of most brands. And online PR focuses on influencing digital venues and publications.

According to Smart Insights

[hcode_blockquote]Online PR activity is closely associated with improving results from many of the other digital marketing communications techniques in particular social media, SEO (link-building), partnership marketing and viral marketing / word-of-mouth marketing.[/hcode_blockquote]

Outside of the obvious benefits, there are few other things to keep in mind. Online PR also helps with SEO, the back links you get to your website from authoritative websites talking about you is good for Google. It can also help shape public perception about your brand. When people search for you, you need to try as much as possible to dictate the results they see. Online PR can help you do just that. So lets deep dive into how to go about this.

The Perfect Mix

To understand the concept of Online PR better, you only need to look at the traditional Public Relations Officer. Online PR is letting customers know what your brand is about. In managing your online PR, you need really great content, an audience and a strategy to reach them.

This is probably why most companies get their Online PR wrong, they go ahead and manage their brand excellently with no story to tell and no audience to reach. It doesn’t work that way. For your Online PR to be effective, you need a perfect mix of content and marketing.

Online PR goes beyond digital marketing, it’s not about generating traffic. It’s about your brand reputation and engaging customers. Keep in mind that you can get as much traffic as you want, and if you have great content, you can generate enough buzz instantly, but that’s the end of it. Online PR seeks to manage the effect of that buzz and turn it into a lasting impression for customers.

Defined Objectives

To have a spot on Online PR campaign, you have to clearly define you objectives. Your objectives must take into consideration your service or product offering, your customer segmentation and target market too. Some businesses prefer the basic online PR for their press releases and spreading their news to online newspapers. Others combine social media and content creation to that package. Your routine will change depending on your main objectives. Online PR campaigns need to be creative, social, and confident. Your Online PR manager must possess the technical skills needed to quickly adopt different tactics and recognize new opportunities. It’s a fast age!

Here’s a few steps on how to go about your Online PR

Reputation Management

What are people saying about you? Your brand reputation precedes every other thing about you. This is why two of the biggest online malls in Nigeria keep laying claim to being the biggest in Nigeria; Konga and Jumia. This is because you’re more likely to shop at the biggest mall in Nigeria, psychologically, it lends credence to their brand. Take an audit of all mentions of your brand on social media and classify each as positive, negative or neutral. Do damage control if possible on negative mentions and then build on the positives.

Social Media

If you don’t have a social media presence yet, start building up a few social brand pages on sites that your target audience mostly likely will use. You only need look at GT Bank to see what an active social media profile can do for you. GTBank created Ndani TV on Youtube, and they regularly come up with different ideas across their social media channels. They understand the peculiarities of different social media channels and generate content accordingly.

Press Release Optimization

Create the perfect headline. Include a keyword  that optimizes your press release for the page and topic it is linked to. Visualize your content when applicable with graphics, professional pictures and videos.

Build Relationships and Pitch to Online Gatekeepers (aka. Media Relations, Blogs, Paper)

Find out those who hold sway in your industry when it comes to online forums, build a media list for online venues in the same niche as your company. Add the journalist you will be building a relationship with to a Twitter list to keep track of them. Create and optimize a company blog and begin writing content that would attract potential consumers. Reach out to customers and encourage them to write a review of your product on their social media channels. A positive review about you on Nairaland or a popular blog will do you so much good than millions spent on Ads.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Make sure all forms of customer service online (contact forms, live chats, social media) is being monitored and inquiries answered in a timely and professional manner.

Find and Work with Brand Ambassadors

Find your company’s brand ambassadors, online celebrities who will actually create buzz about your brand. Always go for ambassadors with an engaging online presence. It’s not just about the number of followers, it’s about the number of impressions made. But not every brand needs an ambassador, so do this wisely.

Online PR Tools

There are dozens of tools on the web to help you with your online PR strategy. Some of the major ones are listed below.

Google Docs

Use this free program to record outreach contacts and other data, such as tracking published articles. Multiple team members can work all at once on a Google Doc, unlike an Excel spreadsheet. Google Docs is a great place to share a media kit or the research for a content piece. This way you won’t crowd your email with attachments when you need to send the information to a journalist. You can just send the link to the shareable Google doc.

Google Analytics

Another free, must have tool from Google. Check out this article about what to track in PR analytics to refine your PR campaign and track results. Online PR professionals should constantly be monitoring the trackbacks, assisted conversions and referrals in Google Analytics to better understand which tactics work best.

google analyticsSidekick

While sending out all your emails to the gatekeepers, it is important to know how they interacted with it. Knowing if your recipient opened and click on a link in your email can help shape the nature of your followup mail compared to someone who didn't open the mail at all. And that's where sidekick helps. You get notifications every time a recipient opens and clicks on your email links, providing valuable insights into the interest of the other party.

sidekick by hubspotGoogle Alerts

Keep track of what others on the web are saying about you. With Google alerts, you get an email anytime new results about keywords that you're tracking popup on the web. This can help you proactively respond to both good and bad PR as against waiting for your colleague to mention that they say a terrible article on your brand.

Hootsuite

If you are managing a client’s social media, Hootsuite will help you gather everything in one place to post and engage with users. Auto schedule your posts to go live during the prime times on each social network. Here’s a graphic showing each site’s best times to post.

Image result for hootsuite

In conclusion, these basic tactics and tools will help you get started in putting together your online PR strategy. Remember, the media space in Nigeria is relatively young, hence it can be swayed easily which is why you should always remain flexible and attentive for new opportunities to earn media and engage with consumers as every client will be different.


nstagram for business coming soon to Nigeria

How to setup Instagram for Business for your brand

Instagram recently upgraded their app to offers tools for businesses to help customers get in touch. Convert to a Business Profile on Instagram and get access to new features like contact information, Instagram Insights and promoted posts.

As a marketer, making the switch to an Instagram business profile will give you access to a number of features that will be helpful for your business.

In this article, you’ll discover how to switch to Instagram business and the vital icons you should get familiar with.

1. Update to the latest version.

To access the new Instagram business profile your app must be updated to the latest version. Then open your Instagram app, tap on your profile photo at the bottom right

Next, tap on the settings wheel icon at the top right.

You’d see “Switch to Business Profile”, this leads you to the new Instagram business profile.

Instagram for business

Set up your Instagram for business profile

Tap on the Switch to Business Profile option, and then the View Features link to learn about the features that come with switching to a business profile.

Instagram for business

3. Connect to your Facebook page.

Tap continue to your Facebook account,

Next, confirm you have authorized Instagram by tapping OK

Instagram for business

The next page connects you to the Facebook pages you admin. Click on the page you want to switch to Instagram business.

Instagram for business

Add your phone number, email, or location/ address so customers can reach you directly from a button on your profile. Instagram will automatically pull information from your Facebook page. You can choose to use this information or remove it, based on your preferences.

Instagram for business

Once you’re finished, you’ll be taken back to your Instagram profile, which will now be a business profile.

PS: You won’t be able to successfully finish this page if you don’t have a Facebook fan page. You’d have to create a Facebook fan page to move to next stage.

4. Explore your Instagram insight icon

Once you convert to a Business Profile on Instagram, you'll get access to Instagram Insights. Insights will help you understand more about your audience on Instagram, it is very similar to Facebook insights.

Instagram Insights provide information on who your followers are, when they're online and more. You can also view insights for specific posts you've created to see how each performed and how people are engaging with them.

After you post something to your business profile, you’ll get engagement analysis like impressions and reach from your posts, and the number of website clicks from your business profile.

Instagram for business

Promote your posts.  

The Promote icon lets you turn well-performing posts into ads right within the app helping you connect with prospect customers.  The promote button is similar to the Facebook promote icon on Facebook fan page. Simply pick a post you’ve shared on Instagram before and add a button encouraging people to take action. You can select a target audience or allow Instagram to suggest targeting for you. After that, your post will be promoted as an ad for any length of time you choose.

Note that your Facebook page is linked to business accounts instead of your Facebook profile. Hence, if you want to promote your Instagram posts on your business profile, you’ll have to do that through your Facebook page and share the posts from Instagram to your profile.


optimize ecommerce

3 things you can do to optimize your online store

Shopping online is growing at an unprecedented rate in Nigeria, largely due to the sharp increase in internet penetration. A huge percentage of tech startups in Nigeria are ecommerce businesses. And this emerging market has affected other related businesses like payment gateway providers etc. Cheaper data, online payments and availability of smart phones in Nigeria have also played an important role in the increase of user buying pattern.

The problem is, even with that, we still see a lot of ecommerce websites struggle.

Don't you think it's interesting that a store like Shoprite for example, with so many chain stores, doesn't have a solid online presence. If you doubt me, do a Google search for Shoprite Nigeria, first result is the South African counterpart. And none of the other results make sense. And if you shorten the search to just Shoprite, you get a US based store. How hard can it be? Really?

I digress. Back to online stores. There is also a need to make changes to improve eommerce websites from time to time, building on analytical data. Renovating your online store should improve your customer experience, which makes purchasing easier and in turn, increases your sales. Optimizing your online store doesn’t involve you doing just one thing, i.e. there is no single fix rather it’s the combinations of many little things that add up over time. Every stage on the website that leads to a wonderful user experience has to be carefully monitored, tested and adjusted on a frequent basis. Here are some simple optimization fixes that will make a huge difference:

 1. LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION

Landing page

Your landing page is your main entry page. Every new visitor who comes to your website has to go through this page, so it’s important to pay attention to this page. Your landing page should have the necessary information you want to pass to your visitors with relevant call to action. Here are some ideas of things you can include on your landing page: important updates, announcing a contest, positive testimonial, discount offers etc. Good visuals and warm colors should be put in mind when designing your landing page, the more receptive your landing page is the higher the chances of conversion. Here's one half of a good landing page (we had to cut it because of the length). Check out the full page here

nortify landing pageIncrease your Website Loading speed

Every visitor’s experience of your site begins before it even loads on the screen. And the longer it takes to load, the less likely people are to stay. A fast website creates a better shopping experience, and they rank higher in search result. When your website has a quick loading time, it eliminates the chances of first times leaving on getting to your website. How can you check your website loading speed? Consider these tips.

2. PRODUCT PAGE OPTIMIZATION

With your landing page optimized, it's now time to look at the most important content on your site, your product listing pages. These pages are highly important not only for generating traffic but also for converting that traffic. Every product page must be optimized not only for your website visitors but also for Google and other search engines. The product page is also an avenue to showcase different offerings e.g reminder of an offer or discount, introducing a new product. So proper planned product titles, descriptions and call to actions should be included on the product page

Here are some important elements you need to consider when optimizing your product page.

Product Images

Your online store should have sharp product images, these images are a vital element in search visibility as well as conversions. You need to get original pictures of your products and make sure these images have relevant ALT tags and descriptions. Using the right ALT tags helps search engines understand what each image on you site is all about and also helps your product images show up higher in Google image search results. If your product images aren’t original, seek permissions for the images used and give photo credit to the source.

Product Descriptions

Your product descriptions are one of the most important assets to your store. As you go through each product listing, ask yourself these questions

1 Are all your product descriptions original or have they been copied from your supplier?

2 Do they contain all the important information and technical details a visitor would need to make a purchase decision?

3 Does the product description sound compelling and make someone want to purchase it?

If you answered no to any of the questions above you're going to want to spend some time working on your product description and making sure your it’s clear and original.

Site Navigation

The simpler your site is, the better the user experience. Make it easier for users to navigate through your site and easily find what they are looking for. Product types should be categorized properly, the fewer the navigations, interactions and pop ups, the easier your site would look. A quicker experience of your website is often preferred by users to a more interactive one. Popup pages to suggest products to users should be minimal, to avoid users becoming confused and frustrated. Put in mind some users know exactly want they came to your site for. Every online store should be properly arranged in displaying its full market offering as clearly as possible. Strike a balance between showing the full range of products or services, and making them easy to find. Check out this website's navigation

mimismall navigation

3. Checkout page optimization

This is the main page that generates sales. All you do have to do on this page is remove checkout obstacles and simplify the buying process. The major goal is to convert website visitors i.e. get visitors to purchase from your store which is why you need to eliminate any hindrances or obstacles preventing visitors from making a purchase. Here are some ways to optimize your checkout page

  • Add a predictive product search function
  • Streamline your checkout to a single page and strip out irrelevant forms, reducing work on your customers’ part
  • Add your contact details. Be it an email, phone number or location, so users can quickly get in touch with you in case of any doubts about a product to be needs to cleared.
  • Present multiple trusted payment gateways like interswitch or paystack at the point of payment

Conclusion

One of the greatest obstacles to achieving a great online shopping experience in Nigeria is not necessarily accessibility of internet or a decline in user buying behavior but an outdated website or website not properly optimized. Online store owners sometimes underestimate just how quickly customer expectations are shifting with advancement of online platforms and processes and if a visitors first impressions of an online store is a slow, complex, tacky or a hard to navigate website which doesn’t display well on their mobile phone, then moving quickly to a competitor’s website instead wouldn’t be so hard

In other words keep your online store up to date, constantly follow up with changing online store trends, and consider getting a web master expert to optimize your site on a monthly basis.

Looking to optimize your online store for visitors to have a great user experience? Check out osazeosoba.com for an expert on website design and optimization.


common instagram mistakes

10 common mistakes businesses make on instagram

Photo credit: digitaltrends.com

Instagram is the new cool right now. Worth noting that Instagram has more users than Twitter, strange yeah? But it’s not really rocket science figuring out why so many people embraced Instagram quickly. I mean, no baggage, just post your picture and go. Well, as Instagram kept growing, more and more opportunities were opened. These days, people use Instagram for serious business, it has become the primary platform to showcase your product – people relate more with images than with long crafted words no matter how it was written.

As more people flock into Instagram, it’s almost inevitable that many of them jump on the bandwagon without taking the time to figure out what makes Instagram unique, this could prove costly especially to people who have turned Instagram into their marketplace. If you’re using Instagram for business you would want to come across as a professional and someone acquainted with Instagram. As a business on Instagram, here are some mistakes you should totally avoid.

Using the same name and username

Like really? Your username is funkytunde, and your name is also funkytunde. Common man! The name and username are two separate fields. The username is the @name you use and how you will be recognized on Instagram. When you comment, like, or post, it’s your username that will appear. This is all lowercase and one word (unless you use a dot or underscore to separate names/words). Please, your name is NOT your username. The name is the name in bold in your bio. This can have capital letters, symbols, spaces, and other simple formatting.

See how they’re different? They should be! They shouldn’t be the same thing. Even if your business name is one word/name, use the single word/name for your username but add another differentiation or descriptor to your name.

Source: Twitter.com/valaafshar

No bio description

You think this is child’s play? Instagram has over 400 million users and you think we will be patient enough to see your pictures load without your bio giving us a clue as to what to expect? Someone cannot play with you again? Is that how you used to do? Please never ever leave your bio empty. Include a well-crafted bio that describes your business and what you have to offer. Make it attractive, entertaining, and descriptive. Always add a web link to your bio, it should serve as your Call to Action button that is the only place where you can click on a link on Instagram, (Link in Bio) as they always say.

An irrelevant username

Worse than using the same name and username is having a username that is completely irrelevant to your audience. If you are using Instagram to promote your business but your Instagram username is some goofy name or variation of your own name, you look like an amateur. For example, if your username is “sexylekkibabe” or “jennyoyo” or something like this, you look completely unprofessional! Even if you want to cast your village people, take it to Facebook at least, not Instagram.

Posting images too close together

There is nothing wrong with posting multiple times a day to your Instagram account. But posting content too close together is one sure way to put off your followers. If your followers are scrolling through their feed and see back to back to back posts from your account, they will probably just scroll right passed your multiple posts -- which will kill your engagement. Or they'll just get fed up and click "Unfollow." To ensure this doesn’t happen, try to space out your content. Give your followers the chance to interact and engage with what you have to say. I mean, they didn’t pay for data to watch just you.

Hashtags in the bio

Your bio should be straightforward, tell us who you are and what you do. Simple! Hashtags on your bio aren’t clickable. There’s no point having a hashtag on your bio, unless it’s some proprietary stuff whose popularity can be traced to you, I mean Olamide can put #WhoYouEpp on his bio and it’d still look cool but don’t be deceived, headless hashtags on your bio will only succeed in telling us you need deliverance from your village people.

Not responding to comments

You need to respond to comments on Instagram if you want build a stronger relationship with your followers. Remember, the whole reason your business is sharing content on Instagram is to engage and inform your followers. Ignoring comments from them makes it obvious that you don't really appreciate their connection -- which isn't great news for anyone, and will probably lead to unfollows. To prevent that and make sure your followers get your replies, just “@ Tag” their Instagram handle in all replies. Then they'll get a notification -- and will probably even respond and engage.

Using a private account

If you don’t have very personal pictures with GPS induced-kidnapper-luring captions, please remove that padlock from your account! Private accounts are typically reserved for personal use so if your business is set to private, you look very unprofessional. Make your account public so that people can see what you post and determine if there is value in following you.

Bad Profile Photo

Poorly cropped photos, grainy photos, images where you are small or distant in the frame, or worse, no photo at all – are all bad options for your Instagram profile. If you’re using Instagram for business, your profile photo here should match or be similar to the profile photos you use on your other platforms. It should be clear, professional, and well cropped.

No or Short Captions

Yes! Instagram is about sharing photos, but if you leave out a caption, you are neglecting a huge portion of an effective Instagram strategy. Anyone who uses Instagram regularly knows the value of a good caption, a call to action, and hashtags. So, if you’re not writing effective captions and using this real estate to build your brand and audience, you look like a rookie who just doesn’t get it. Every caption should be at least a couple sentences, if not a couple short paragraphs. Hashtags are every important in captions, not useless routine hashtags, try to create a custom hashtag that will be synonymous with your account. Works well!

Low Resolution Images

The primary aim of Instagram is to show images. Please if your images are not very clear, sharp and catchy, you are already losing half of your target audience. Please get it fixed, if you can post only digitally enhanced images fine, or you can also use filters. The Clarendon filter is my favorite, it does a good job of papering the cracks. Please pay attention to the quality of your images!

These are some of the mistakes we found while checking some Instagram pages, do you think we missed out on anything? Let us know in the comment box below.


Google My Business

Business Description no longer editable in Google My Business

For businesses already using Google My Business, as of August 1st, Google dropped the ability to edit your business description. You can now edit all your business infromation on Google+

SEOs are suggesting that the reason for this change was because people stuffed keywords in these descriptions.

In the official statement by Google, the company says

The Introduction/Description field is no longer editable in Google My Business. It only displays to users in Google+, and may still be edited there. Editing of attributes, coming soon to all Google My Business views, will be an improved way to describe your business to users on Google Search and Maps.

If you run an agency and you help clients manage their Google My Business profiles, you'd do well to keep this in mind.

How to edit your Into/Description

To edit your business introduction or description, visit aboutme.google.com. Click on the top right to go to the right Google profile. Then where it says the story option, click on the pencil icon:

Image source: seroundtable.com

Once you do this, a popup dialog appears. All edits can be made on this dialog


How to run a successful online stores in Nigeria

Expanding your reach as an ecommerce website in Nigeria

Running an online store is just as challenging as running an offline store, even a little bit more challenging because generally people like to see what they are buying before making any financial commitment. As the popular saying goes “won’t you taste Garri before buying it?” There are lots of online stores today in Nigeria, and you have the well-known online stores like Jumia and Konga which people trust enough to patronize. So how do you stand out in a poll of  so many online stores? These few tips would guide you:

Influencer marketing

We all know someone famous or someone near famous. Celebrity or otherwise, ensure they are famous for the right reasons. Not to mention names but you don’t want someone that came to the limelight for the wrong reasons to be  your influencer, things could go south before you even start. Send them a free package of your product or services, and in return they say something nice about you. Or give an honest review of the product.

This usually has a ripple effect. Their celebrity friends might contact you and their followers will take the cue and either contact you for the same or luckily it do better and refer you to their friends but that is totally dependent on if your goods/services meet the hype.

Interview industry thought-leaders

This is almost the same with influencer marketing only that this is a more refined audience. Influencers usually talk to a wide audience, either in your target audience or not. But industry thought leaders talk to  our main target audience; the people your TA (target audience) will most likely refer to when they need related products or services. Also, this acts as a seal of approval i.e industry thought leaders get to endorse your products/services. Bear in mind that this sometimes or most times comes with a price.

Create a buzz or trend

There is a belief that there is no such thing as bad PR. Well for me that depends. If you sell a product that goes viral based on rumors that it causes cancer, well that’s bad PR, very bad PR! Even if it comes back not to be true, people would still stay away since prevention is better than cure, in this case there is no cure. Creating buzz or running a PR stunt should be carefully thought out. So get in the news for the right reasons, and when you do, milk it to the last drop. Sometimes you get lucky and trend for reasons beyond your control, be ready for such situations and use it to your advantage. An example was when Buhari declared his asset and he said he had just one bank which is Union bank and he had XYZ amount of money in it. The next day’s headline read "Even the President Bank’s with us, so what’s your excuse?"

Participate in events

Depending on your marketing budget, if you can single handedly sponsor a news worthy event, then by all means do, if not be a major part of one. Be a part of the sponsoring team, you don’t really have to make monetary commitment but you can be part by offering free products and services to participants in return for brand exposure or website exposure in this case.

Affiliate or referral marketing

You can’t do it alone. The earlier you realize this the better. Encourage customers and/or users of your shop to invite friends to buy through you and either get paid or get a discount on their next purchase. Everybody loves freebies so this is sure to work. Besides it is tested and trusted.

Optimize your website 

You run an online store so this is your best bet. Your site has to be properly optimized for search engines to crawl, also make sure when online users search for your products or services you offer, your website is listed organically on the first page of the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). This usually takes a while it’s advisable to start with a mix of SEO and PPC - Search engine marketing (SEM).

Analyse your website data

Data is everything, in this case, data is king. You need to be able to properly read, analyse and take necessary action from results gotten from your data using various monitoring and tracking tools. No data in traffic is a waste. So get reports from social media platforms, social listening tools, web tracking and so on, making sure that after analyzing your report, necessary actions is taken. E.g. if your most followers on Facebook are men and you run a clothing store, more of your Facebook posting should focus on male outfit as opposed to female clothing.

Be a thought leader (create content)

There is a notion that Nigerians don’t like to read, well maybe, but we like good informatio. Make your brand a relevant source of information in your industry. If you are in the clothing business, your content should include mix and match, fashion for church and so on. Create and latch into trending and industry related hashtags like #FashionFriday. Create yours hopefully you might be known for it.

Complement your brand

Build the right relationship for your business. E.g. if you run a clothing store then you should have shoe store to complement. This is tricky because sometimes complements become competition; the trick is to build relationships with others that are closely aligned to your business but not direct competitors. While it lasts partner up with similar business that complement your products or services.

Conduct Contest and promotional activities

This is a no brainier, I did not want to mention this because I think everybody should know but not mentioning it means undermining its importance and how much it will boost sales. We all like freebies and occasional discount at intervals won’t hurt anyone.

Be active on social media 

If I have to explain why you should be big on social media platforms...Well let me. Everybody is there your target audience, potential target audience and more. Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + Snapchat, Pinterest and linkedin. You have to understand what goes on which platform, the frequency of post, tone of each platform and so on.

Have a brand identity

Starting online does not mean you should stay online. Some physical interaction or a face to your brand would help build trust. Payporte did this sometime in November 2015 it was tagged #PayPorteDoubleBlack which was a huge success; in one sentence they sold out.

Finally, make sure your prices aren't too high compared to that of your competitors or the quality of your service. Unreliable prices only leads to low conversions. Stay slightly below competition but still within a safe profit margin.

I hope you were able to gain some few things. If you did, share your thoughts in the comment box below.


strong visual images

5 Tips to Strong Brand Messaging through Visuals on Social Media

PHOTO CREDIT: BELLANAIJA

What do people in your community think about your brand? Do you think the message passed is the message received? How best is your message conveyed either by text, images, videos or a combination of all three?

From experience visual is key. If you can relay all your messages through images (motion or still) then that’s very good, you will most likely be seen more than your competition and other brands on social media. But good visual just doesn’t cut it anymore you need very strong visuals to stand out from the pool of other brands having good images upload every day.

Imagine scrolling through your Facebook page and you see really cool images of your friends on vacation, others getting engaged or some showing off their kids, and then a brand’s post pops up its more likely for you to just keep scrolling without soaking anything the brand has to say. Well same is the case for your followers, you need visuals that’s cool enough to get their attention and strong enough to pass a message. Here are some proven tips that would help you achieve this feat:

1. Have a consistent colour palate

This has to do with your overall branding. Take a look at some of the well known brands locally and internationally, you will notice that they use the same colours over and over and over again. In their logo, text (font type and size), pay off, website and any where their brand is represented. Take a cue from this choose two (2) to four (4) colours to use consistently throughout all of your social media post and general marketing communication. Using the same colours over and over again will help consumers become familiar with your brand. E.g Anywhere you see a combination of Orange and white what first comes to your mind is GTB, not because it’s the only brand with that colour combination but due to consistency over the years, they have successfully achieved brand recall, recognition and also top of the mind awareness i.e even if the communication is not a GTB ad or placement the first brand you think of is GTB.

GTB

 

2. Use the right Images

In combination with a consistent brand colour and font, finding images to bring it together is critical for the success of a visual brand. A picture they say speaks louder than a thousand words, so be sure it’s the right 1000 words you are saying. The style, type, tone of the image used can help you build brand awareness and proper communication. Also, bear in mind what you are selling when using images. Foe example, a brand that makes different variation of African print should not use a man wearing suit as an ad image even if the copy justifies the image. Remember people might not be patient enough to read the accompanying copy.

3. Tell a story

Every brand has a story; it’s up to you to create yours. When you are trying to grow your brand, be intentional in what you post; don’t just add to the clutter, your visuals should be able to communicate the message with/without the ad copy. The trick is a lot of times people are not patient enough to read, so make your visuals the story.

4. Ensure your visuals have a plan, purpose and promise

There has to be a reason why you need to put the visual out there. Before doing this, it must have gone through some thought process. Which includes when, why you want to send it out and, the expected call to action (like buy, register, download, like or share). Your Visuals must have a goal, either to engage your audience, promote your brand, boost sales or just simply to create awareness. Also, it should hold a promise (not necessarily tangible); maybe consistency, fulfillment, or efficiency. This assures your audience that your brand is human.

5. Tackle each medium differently

Your content will be displayed on different platforms with their unique features and so visuals should be designed for each platform uniquely. The best size for Facebook post is 640X640px, Instagram is 1080X1080px and twitter is 2:1 e.g 1000X500px or 800X400px. Text and images will be adjusted appropriately to fit each image size.

At the end of your design, your visuals should have the following:

  • Streamlined look and feel: refer back to the GTB example in point one
  • Tone: whether your tone is bold, vibrant, playful, clever, cool, fun or authentic it needs to humanize your brand, connect with your audience and have a clear personality.
  • Clear Message: straight to the point, with a clear representation of your brand
  • Build trust: People only buy from brands they trust, so if you are not running a monopoly business then retaining and attracting trust through your communication should be one of your priorities.
  • Quality: images, videos or GIF should not blurry, skewed or in any way not rendered properly. This is not only offensive to the eyes its gives your brand an ultimately bad reputation.

How do you ensure strong brand messaging across your social media channels? Let us know in the comment box below.

 


brands on Instagram

8 Brands In Nigeria Using Instagram to Showcase Products the Right Way

Over the last couple of years, brands are learnt the effect on social media in the sustenance of their business. Also they are learning everyday how to get better at it. While some are catching up really fast others are playing catch up, doing what others have done and playing safe while others are taking bigger risk which over time has been working for them.

A lot of Nigerian brands still fall in the catch up category of social media marketing, doing things other brands have done and in most cases waiting till one brand tries it before they do the same. While others are waiting, there are a couple of Nigerian brands that are doing it better than the others. Top 10 on my list are:

1. GTBank

Basically, GTB dominates the social platform on the Nigerian finance sector. No other financial brand does social media as well as they do it. For GTB the mantra is consistency. Even when they have no campaign running they try as much as possible to use the platform as a source of information, entertainment and subtle products promotion.

2. Dooney’s Kitchen

Ok, you don’t have to like food to follow Donney's Kitchen. You just have to be human and be Nigerian who eats (we all eat to survive). The brand posts images of really sumptuous homemade meals. Behind all of this she runs a catering service but that’s not the focus on the platform. The focus is to show you all of her skill set. She doesn’t need to tell you to call her for services, you have to initiate contact. Now that is good marketing when your customers have to look for you not the other way round.

3. So Fresh

This brand understands the power of great visuals; which is what the platform is about.  But So Fresh does Instagram marketing with a twist. The business is itself is latching on to the trend of healthy living (suddenly Nigerians are living, eating and doing everything healthy) and they do it so well. What’s social media marketing without influencers? They try not to make the page boring by posting images of different combination of their meals and fresh (as the name implies) but occasionally they throw in a little bit of influencer marketing without rubbing it in. Sending surprise meals to artist during their studio sessions, or just an influencer gushing about how good & healthy the meals are without writing an address or contact info all they do is tag and mention the page. Naturally you’ll be convinced when you get to the page and see other quality and refreshing images.

4. Don Jazzy

Yes! Don Jazzy. When I was writing this my colleagues asked if Don Jazzy is a brand and we are argued for long and eventually agreed he has a personal brand. Well he has gone from being just an entertainer to a brand. He is a brand that promotes brand. He single headedly shut down MTN’s #Itswhoweare campaign in May (the campaign started in twitter and found its way to Instagram because people needed to express who they are in more than 140 characters. In less than 2 hours the campaign had garnered over 28Million impressions. He just doesn’t sing and produce music, he lets his consumers in this case fans into his life; the funny side of him (Judge Jazzy series amongst many other skits). He develops content all the time even if there is no story to tell.

Thanks to @wovenblends for dinner. Check out her page to order lovely naija meals when u in ATL. ?? #PinkGang

A photo posted by DONJAZZY ?? (@donjazzy) on

5. Fashion Designers

Well this is a big classification, but a lot of them are using this platform so well it’s hard to pick out which one does it best. They immerse their fans into their world literally. They show their craft from start to finish (production process).  Fashion designers like April by Kunbi, Mai Atafo, Yomi Casuals, Toju Foyeh and many more have taken the fashion scene in Nigeria to a whole new level and they do this by constantly displaying their visual works on Instagram. They also use influencer marketing by showcasing their outfits on popular celebrities and have them promote their brand on social media.

6. Photographers

I mean the platform was designed with them in mind and yes I grouped them all together too. Great, good and magical shots; that’s what they live for so why not showcase it on their ‘own’ platform. Bayo Omoboriowo got a political appointment by just showcasing their good work on this platform, he became the official photographer for the president. Others dint let that slow them down instead it became a silent competition.  Photographers like TY Bello, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Prince Mayson, Jide Odukoya to mention a few have set the standard so high. It’s no longer just about taking great pictures but also engaging your audience and making them feel like a part of your inspiration or success.

7.Cold Stone

Nothing but absolutely stunning images of Cold Stone ice cream in various sizes and toppings. They will definitely make you crave in this diet conscious community, you literally find yourself wanting one just be looking at one of their images and discount offers on Instagram. They not only post images of treats but they offer special discounts, timed promo, store locations and freebies on the platform.

After I got my first Cold Stone Ice cream ......I was hooked!!!!! #hookedoncoldstone

A photo posted by COLD STONE CREAMERY NIGERIA (@coldstonecreamery_nigeria) on

8. Style Pantry

With close to 450k followers on Instagram, StylePantry stands out among all fashion retail brands. Notice the level of quality on every single post put up on the Instagram page?

Fitted Denim x Tulip Front Slit Skirt. Link in bio for outfit details...

A photo posted by Folake Huntoon (@stylepantry) on

Note; one thing they all have in common is great, high-quality images. That’s the start point of building a solid brand on Instagram.

P.S: Instagram is not a game of numbers. It is in depth analysis and strategy. Having a million followers doesn’t yield a million sales, if you don’t say the right things.

I am sure there are still more brands in Nigeria doing justice to their Instagram pages. lnow any? Share with us by commenting below.


low-budget-marketing-strategy

3 Low-Budget Marketing Strategies for small businesses

Are you up against competition that has deep pockets and can outspend you using a combination of online & traditional advertising methods? Does it seem like a losing battle to go head-to-head with them to get new prospects? Particularly for start-up companies, using traditional advertising and marketing methods can get expensive…especially if you’re up against an established company with more money than you.

This is why you need to use marketing channels that will bring the attention and customers you need without breaking the bank. Fortunately you have an entire group of channels that you can use thanks to inbound marketing.

Traditional outbound marketing can end up being a poor investment. You have to rely on channels like cold-calling, paid branding and print advertising. All of those channels can get really expensive really fast. Inbound marketing, on other hand, will help you capture attention, generate leads, convert customers and keep those customers…all at a lower cost to you than your competition.

So, if you need help getting more traffic, more leads and retaining customers, then let’s look at a few steps you need to take to get there.

#1 – Ignore Sales and Focus on Marketing

Hiring a killer sales team is very important but your efforts should be focused on building a marketing team. A team with excellent marketing skills guided by an in-depth marketing strategy that will achieve results once properly executed. With a strategy, your sales team avoid spending their time chasing down un-qualified prospects and following up on bad leads.

Hire brilliant marketersLook for talented men and women who have a reputation for building a huge fan base, generating qualified leads and using the tools that are involved in inbound marketing (SEO, social media and content marketing) to bring brand exposure. It’s also better to find those who have worked with a start-up company before.

Focus on tightly targeted markets – Understand your audience, break them down into relevant segments and then create tailor-made campaigns for each segment. This narrow approach will also raise your conversion rates.

Close qualified leads –What does a qualified sales lead look like? It comes down to the answer of these three questions: Do they have the authority to buy? Do they have the budget to buy? When do they plan on buying?

You want your sales team to avoid leads that are NINAs—no influence, no authority. You want to just send them mostly 'A' leads (leads that are ready to buy in 3 months or less), some 'B' leads (a lead that is ready to buy in three to twelve months). The C leads marketing can keep.

#2. Focus On Multiple Inbound Channels

The key behind an effective inbound marketing strategy is to create and deliver valuable content. This strategy gives you a lot of different channels to use.

Blog – Your team should focus on publishing quality content two to five times a week. By quality I mean it is search-engine friendly, highly-researched and compelling.

Engage in comment marketing – Someone on your team should focus on visiting sites within your industry to interact with bloggers and readers in the comment section. Commenting is a great SEO strategy too, but more importantly it will bring you attention, help build you up as an authority and prepare you to write guest blog posts.

Publish guest blog posts – Guest blogging is one of the fastest ways to grow your subscriber base. Fortunately, because of the high demand for content many blogs are looking for guest writers.

Produce online video – Video can help improve your search rankings, raise the amount of time people stay on your page and even boost conversion rates on your landings pages.

Establish authority on forums – Naira land has really established itself as a place for exchange of ideas. And localized digital also has a digital marketing forum. Search for topics related to your industry, leave thoughtful answers and interact with other contributors. This process will help build your credibility.

Build a social media audience – Focus your audience-building efforts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. If your target audience is on Pinterest or Tumblr, then use those sites as well. Keep in mind—don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick two or three that you can maximize your exposure.

 #3. Seminars, Conferences and Meetups

If your industry has a lot of these shows, you may be tempted to attend a few. Why not? They're are a great place to meet new people, build relationships and build your brand. And sometimes you're tempted to setup a booth at these shows. But it can be very expensive. From buying the ticket to the show (which can be quite expensive) to setting up, there are plenty operational costs.

There is a more effective—and cheaper—way to leverage the power of these shows without even going or paying. In fact a lot of these conferences share so much content during the show that you can tweet about it as if you are actually there, using the conference related hashtags, of course.

social media week lagos

PHOTO CREDIT: socialmediaweek.org

Here’s what you could do also:

Blog about the main points of each speaker – During an event you can check the website and pull down the points that he is sharing. Then publish a blog post as soon as possible and promote it on your social site. This will engage you with those who are actually at the conference!

Summarize the conference – The day after the event create a blog post or white paper about the conference. Include points from each speaker and even offer take away lessons that you learned. This is effective because you were building a captive audience while you were tweeting and blogging during the event.

“Attending” conferences and trade shows via the internet (if live streaming is available) will probably give you more insight than those who are actually attending since you’ll have a wider view. Make sure you are engaging both attendees and speakers at these events, and notifying them when you share content.

Conclusion

Inbound marketing is truly a gift to startups who are strapped for cash. Depending on how big your team is, you will all probably end up working like a slave to get it all done…but it will be worth the effort.

Dozens of companies like Uber Nigeria and Truppr got tremendous exposure for their companies from their tireless inbound marketing efforts.