TikTok for business: A Beginner’s Guide (+Video Tutorial)

Are you curious about TikTok? or are you just wondering whether you should use it to grow your business?

This is an introduction for beginners. 

Do you get bombarded with TikTok videos everyday? They just seem to follow you EVERYWHERE! I know, it’s crazy!
I have downloaded the app myself and just can’t take my eyes off it.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock at the bottom of the Pacific ocean, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of TikTok.

  • What is this new app?
  • Who is using it?
  • Should I be using it?

If these are questions that you have, then keep on reading. 

What is TikTok?

TikTok was launched in 2017 in China and is a popular platform for sharing short-video content (15 sec – 1 min). The app took the global social media market by storm in 2019 when it became the no. 1 most downloaded app on Apple store (CNBC 2019). And for good reason, because it’s so fun to use and has some interesting and immersive content. And since kids & teens love it, and @GaryVee advocates it, I knew I had to write this article and fill you in on all the details.

A few PROs and CONs:

The PROs:

  • It’s the no.1 most downloaded app of 2019: 1.1 bil. installs as at Mar 2019
  • Popular among gen Z: 66% of users are females, aged 13 – 24 
  • The app has great video editing features (effects, free music library, filters, 3D effects etc.) 
  • Entertaining videos (focus on authentic content)

The CONS:

  • Most marketers (older than 30) have never heard of the app
  • Concerns over children privacy have lead to a ban in India (currently it was lifted) 
  • Although the app has international appeal, more than 40% of users come from India. 
  • It’s not going to work for every business (especially if you are in B2B, or your audience is highly professional)

How to create a TikTok video?

Watch this video to learn how to film and edit a video in less than 5 minutes!

TikTok Video Tutorial

Here’s a summary:

  1. Search for a viral/trending hashtag on your home page
  2. Find the music tune (you have an extensive library to choose from)
  3. Select your desired filters / 3D effects
  4. Shoot the video and be your authentic self
  5. Once you upload a video it will immediately start getting likes from other users which will see it on their own explore page

How popular brands use TikTok?

Do brands actually use TikTok for marketing? Yes, they do. Scroll through the carousel images to find out how they do it.

Popular Niches on TikTok

  • Make-up: Sephora posts make-up tutorials, shares clips of influencers, reposts other users’ content
  • Fitness: Gymshark shares meme videos, athletes & inspirational gym workout videos
  • F&B : McDonalds posts # challenges and encourage users to recreate them. For example, their #bigmactiktok is a challenge where users have to use gestures and “mimic” creating a big mac burger in 15 seconds.  

What Marketing Strategies Work on TikTok?

If you’re a business owner, or marketer THIS is the part you’re here for. And here are 4 marketing strategies that you need to use on TikTok if you plan to capture your audience on this platform.

  1. Hashtag Challenges – these are an essential part of TikTok and the users simply love taking these challenges. I remember the first video I posted on TikTok when I was testing it out was a #BobaChallenge which essentially, was a game-like challenge encouraging users to create their own virtual bubble tea. Great marketing idea, isn’t it? You can create your own # challenge (similar to creating an Instagram filter) and work with influencers to kickstart a campaign. Once a # challenge is created on TikTok, people can find it and post content which will boost your brand awareness. 
  2. User-generated Content – this works great on TikTok because gen Z loves the full immersive experience rather than watching TV. If you can encourage users to share clips of them using your products you are more likely to get a higher engagement. Ask users to film themselves cooking (recreating) a recipe, or recreate a make-up look, or anything that requires them to get involved.  
  3. Influencer marketing – similar to Instagram, you can work with influencers on TikTok and ask them to share videos using your product. The videos are typically more raw and authentic – which is something that the ten Z finds more appealing. So, don’t look for perfection – and just go with the trend. 
  4. Paid ads – currently limited to certain countries/regions. However, I’ve seen ads from a few brands on my page  – so it’s clearly working in Malaysia, which is my current location. 

Overall, TikTok is super fun and creative: you can use it to edit videos, create hashtag challenges and work with influencers to grow your audience. So, if you are a biz owner TikTok can be a valuable marketing tool for your business

Comment below: Are you interested to explore TikTok for your business?

Thank you.

ALLE, Social Media Strategist


While you are here, make sure to follow my Instagram page where I share daily video tutorials on most popular marketing trends & apps.


References:

CNBC (2019) How TikTok Took the World by Storm [Online], Available at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4uRVBFaYg8&gt;

TikTok (2019). [Online], Available at <www.tiktok.com/about>

How to Write Perfect Instagram Captions Every Single Time

Hi there! If you somehow stumbled on this post, I guess you are either:

  1. New to Instagram – Hi! Let’s connect: @allebusinesscoach
  2. Think that writing captions is HARD (*spoiler – It’s not!)
  3. Looking for new ideas/tips on how to write BETTER captions
  4. or you’ve been using the “Kardashian” method of posting single emojis like “🍑” and didn’t get any engagement

Let me know in the comments which scenario describes you best.

The reality is, unless u are a celebrity/popular influencer, you need to be strategic with your captions! Even more so when you are in those early stages of growth 1 – 6 month old business.

Honestly, I spend a lot of time each month planning and writing Instagram captions – not just for my own page, but also for clients from different industries. And … one of my main struggles is actually educating my clients that “CAPTIONS ARE IMPORTANT”! and that “a short caption” will not help you build engagement or long term growth.

So, why are Instagram captions so important? 

  • They are a communication tool: you can share your promotions, discounts, latest news, events details, etc.
  • People love reading stories: it creates an emotional connection and builds trust in your brand.
  • Create engagement: you can ask audience questions and turn it into a two-way communication tool. 
  • Directs your followers to take action: want your followers to “buy”, click on your website, send you and email?

Now that you know Instagram captions are important marketing tools, you probably want to learn a few tips & tricks on how to write killer captions.

Here’s how to write a perfect Instagram caption

Step 1: Grab attention with your headline

Your headline (first line) will encourage your readers to click on your post and read more. There are a few ways you can start your post:

Grab attention

Examples: “Exclusive Offer!”, “FREE ….”, “GIVEAWAY”, “It’s not too late to ….”

Spark curiosity

Examples: “SHOCKED! Clear skin after just 1 use!”, “Thailand’s best kept SECRET is …”

For this post, I went for a catchy and intriguing statement.

Trigger an emotional response

Examples: “Are you proud to be American?”, “My parents don’t support my dreams”, or “Let’s talk online bullies!”.

Share statistics

Examples: “80% of businesses are failing due to poor strategy”, “60% of Americans use Instagram daily”, or “6 in 10 people in China prefer tea over coffee”.

Step 2. Include a call-to-action (CTA) or ask a question to encourage engagement

It’s no secret that IG favours posts with high engagement -> assumes people are interested in your content and it will categorise your content in the “trending zone” – aka. the ideal place you want to reach with every IG post.

So how to increase your post engagement?

You will need to master 2 types of calls-to-action: engagement CTA and conversion CTA. (I explain the difference between these in this article)

In this post, the CTA encourages people to enter a giveaway by leaving a specific comment.

Examples: ” Click the link in bio”, “Leave a comment”, “Double tap if you agree”, “Tag a friend who needs to hear this”, “Comment to enter my giveaway”.

Step 3. Format it with line breaks so it’s easy to read

The way you format your text on Instagram it’s important. A long caption can usually keep your audience longer on your page – but remember that people’s attention span is really short. So, the best strategy here is to keep your captions short, and format your text with emojis & line breaks.

  • Format your text: you can use bold, italic, ALL CAPS to emphasise your message.
  • Add line breaks between paragraphs to make it easier to read, because its really a daunting task reading a 100 words block of text on a phone.
  • Use emojis to replace some words, or just to give your text some character.
If your captions are long (mini-blog style), I would advise adding generous line breaks & emojis for a more interesting to read post.

I recommend using this link to format your text: https://apps4lifehost.com/Instagram/CaptionMaker.html

Step 4. Use trending hashtags

Here are my tips on how to write a perfect instagram caption that your audience will engage with!

An Instagram caption will never be complete without these babies: hashtags. What are hashtags? Read this article to find out more.

  • Research 30 hashtags specific to your audience
  • Pick smaller hashtags (hashtags < 20k posts work best for small accounts, with <1k followers)
  • Avoid using general hashtags (#love, #car #girl … etc)
  • Create long tail variations of keywords (eg. #smallbusinesswoman, #onlinemarketingsuccess)
  • Rotate your hashtags between 3-4 different hashtag groups

Step 5. Use a few content themes

Ideally, your captions should be concentrated around 1 – 3 themes. The most popular content themes for businesses are:

  • Motivational post
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Personal stories
  • Educational posts
  • Promotional post
  • Entertaining post
  • Announcement post
My main content themes are: educational posts, inspirational posts and personal stories.

If you want to learn more about content themes and creating engaging content, read this article.

Step 6: Proofread your captions and ensure they are:

  • in line with your brand
  • encourage the reader to take an action
  • easy to read – formatted with line breaks
  • educating, inspiring, entertaining or adding value to the reader?

Do you need help with writing engaging Social Media posts?


Download my FREE Copywriting for Social Media Guide.

What Value Does Social Media Bring to my Business?

It’s of no surprise that one of the most common questions business owners ask me is “What’s the actual VALUE social media brings to my business?”.

Everybody lives and breathes digital. So, if you are a business owner, you probably know by now that social media is no longer a choice … It’s a must! 

Some people, including Gary Vaynerchuk, even claim that social media is the new “word of mouth” marketing. So, you know it’s a powerful thing!

Without further ado, these are 4 ways, you can use social media to create value for your business:

1. Establish a Credible Brand

Want to convince people to purchase a product or service from you?

Let’s be honest, customers are getting wiser, and if you are a new brand on the market, the chances are nobody will be queuing up to buy a product from you unless they know you and trust you well enough. 

Social media provides you with multiple channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram to interact and engage with your ideal customers (did I mention for FREE?). 

Pro Tip: The secret is to be authentic and give your audience the chance to get to know you on a personal level.

Don’t just put a general statement in your bio “I do renovation works”. Show your customers what you ACTUALLY DO. And WOW your audience with photos (or videos) of your most recent projects. Once they learn about your work, they are more likely to call you or inquire about working with you. 

2. Fine Tune your Business through Feedback

Don’t just use social platforms to share one-way communications like:

  • “buy my latest product”
  • “launching new product soon!”
  • “my employees are amazing”
  • “promotion!”

Eventually, you’ll build a reputation of an arrogant brand. You wouldn’t want this, do you?

One company that failed to research its customers is Starbucks. To be specific, Starbucks Australia marketing strategy was a failure simply because they focused to much on pushing “me, me, me” content which has build them a reputation of an arrogant brand. (read the case study here)

Instead, use social platforms to ASK for your customers’ FEEDBACK.

You’ll get valuable insights on what you are doing well and which areas you need to improve. And don’t be afraid of negative reviews, respond to them! – it shows your existing customers that you value their opinion and you care about their experience! This is what builds trust.

One company that takes customer feedback seriously is #NYX. Below is a poll they created on Twitter asking their audience to rank their favourite lip products.

Source: Nyx Cosmetics / Twitter

#SweetDaze also uses Instagram posts to get valuable insights on their new cake flavours.

Source: @swwtdazetx / Instagram

3. Build Customer Engagement

Social media is meant to be social. I know. Obvious, right? But, it’s amazing how many businesses still get this wrong.

Social media engagement is not when someone stops by and leaves an emoji comment on your social post. You want to develop the most meaningful relationships on social with your potential customers.

Customer Engagement is achieved over time.
(Source: Sproutsocial 2018)

Imagine social media engagement like inviting a group of friends to a dinner party where you are the host.

Your guests, and potential customers want to get to know you better and engage in two-way conversations. Nobody likes getting a standardised reply from a robot. So, don’t treat your followers like that!

Here are some examples of how brands use engagement on social media:

  • Nike has a Twitter account dedicated to answering questions and provide support. 
  • Starbucks is creating engagement on Instagram by asking their audience questions and using it to develop new products. 
  • Dove is using branded hashtag campaigns to encourage conversation (#mybeautymysay)

4. Link Social Media to Business Objectives

Did you know that 56% of marketers find the “inability to tie social media to business outcomes” as the biggest challenge when measuring social media ROI? (source: Altimeter research 2012)

That’s why, I always advise my clients to add a CTA to all their social posts. You are posting with a purpose, aren’t you?

What is a CTA?

It’s a call-to-action that is aimed at directing your potential customers and followers (usually through a strategically placed clickable link) to your conversion site where they can complete a purchase. This can either be your online store, a subscription list, a physical store, direct them to make a phone call, message you on Whatsapp etc. 

But how do we measure VALUE? 


I get it. The biggest challenge with social media is finding a quantifiable way of demonstrating the importance of engagement and justify the time spent doing it. That’s why you need good social media analytics tools. The metrics will vary from platform to platform.  

However, some common metrics are:

  • Likes
  • Follows
  • Shares
  • Impressions
  • Website clicks
  • Page Views
  • Comments
  • Followers
  • Retweets
  • Click-through

Conclusion

But remember, social media benefits you from more than a pure ROI stand point. It’s not only about measuring the value of a “like” or a “retweet”, you need to also take into consideration social factors like: customer engagement, reaching new leads, being present where your existing customers are and so much more…

You already know that your customers are present on social media, whether you are present or not.

So, ask yourself: “can I afford to lose business by not being on social media?”.

Have any questions?

Let me know in the comments!

To learn more about copywriting and want to write social media posts that convert, DOWNLOAD my FREE “Copywriting for Social Media“.

Related articles:

Hootsuite (2019) “How to Increase Social Media Engagement: A Guide for Marketers” [online] Available from <https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-engagement/&gt;

Sproutsocial (2017) [online] “How to measure Value from Social Media” Available from: <https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-value/&gt;

Social Media Bakers (2019) “Social Media Advocacy: How to Develop a Powerful Program for Your Brand” [online] Available from: <https://www.socialbakers.com/blog/social-media-advocacy&gt;

Ceambur A. (2018) “Why Starbucks Failed in Australia?” [online] Available from:<https://alexandraceambur.wordpress.com/2018/11/10/why-starbucks-failed-in-australia/&gt;

Copywriting for Social Media (Download Free Guide)

How to write articles that people want to read?

The truth is, copywriting can be very scary even for the most seasoned writers. Not because copywriting is technically difficult, but because people worry to much of how their article is going to be received by their audience after it goes live.

Do I sound too “salesy”? Not genuine enough? Not informative? Am I boring my audience? are just a few common thoughts amongst copywriters.
⁣⁣⁣
But there’s one thing that’s even worse: The fear that NOBODY will ever read your article. And with so much social content published daily – this is very likely to happen to you. ⁣⁣⁣

Do you often feel trapped when you need to come up with new content ideas?

I get it. I’ve been there. ⁣⁣⁣

Here are my tried-and-tested copywriting tips to help you write articles your audience ACTUALLY wants to read: ⁣⁣⁣

STEP 1: RESEARCH CONTENT IDEAS

Isn’t it awful to write content that nobody wants to read?

Now you don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Here’s how to make your content, ads and marketing go viral every single time:

1. Use Google Keyword Planner. ⁣
This is the best way to see which keywords are gaining popularity, and you can plan your topics around those keywords. ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
2. Use Buzzsumo and Ubersuggest. ⁣Nowadays, people don’t search for single keywords like “kindergarten”, they are more likely to type “what is the best kindergarten in East London”. These sites are great because they will show variations for your search terms and they even break it down by platform – so you know what it’s going to perform. ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
3. Use Quora⁣.⁣
If you want to find out what are the most popular questions related to your industry – just type the keywords in Quora. I love this tool for a quick validation or inspiration. ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
4. Survey the competition⁣⁣.⁣
If something is working for them, most likely it will work for you. After all, you’re trying to attract the same audience, aren’t you?⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
5. Link to other popular (and highly credible) articles or magazines in your industry. If you are a small blogger in the economics niche, link your articles to major magazines or newspapers like the Economist. This will help your post rank even higher on search engines and more people will be able to discover your post.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣

Question: What is your biggest challenge in writing articles for social media? Let me know below

STEP 2: LEARN A COPYWRITING TECHNIQUE

So now that you’ve done your research and chosen a topic how do you actually write it down in a compelling way?
⁣⁣
If you are new or just starting with copywriting for social media, this formula will take your social media posts to the next level!⁣⁣

Just follow these 4 easy-peasy steps and you will master a popular copywriting technique that is being used by the biggest brands (including Coca-Cola).

AIDA (Attention – Interest – Desire – Action) model: ⁣⁣

AIDA formula for copywriting works well for a variety of marketing and advertising materials, including websites, blog posts, newsletters, Instagram and Facebook ads, as well as printed media.

Attention – choose a captivating headline that speaks to your audience and hints at solving a problem. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Interest – highlight a problem your audience is facing + how it affects their lives negatively. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Desire – show exactly how your product/service/idea can solve their problems. You can discuss features + insert before and after photos. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Action – direct your audience to take action by either subscribing, commenting or visiting your store.

STEP 3: ADD A CTA

So now that you know how to research and write marketing content for social media the last step is conversion: how can you convince your fans, audience and followers to take immediate action? ⁣

You may want them to sign up for a free trial? Download an e-book? Drive more traffic to you e-commerce site or Call you? ⁣

This is what a solid call-to-action (CTA) can help you with! ⁣

There are 2 types of CTA: engagement CTA and conversion CTA.

1. Engagement CTA ⁣

Ask your audience a question, request for their opinion or let them know that you’ll appreciate if they decided to share your content⁣.

ie. “What’s your opinion on this?”, ” What’s your experience with this product?”, “Are you likely to implement the strategies discussed in the article?” ⁣

2. Conversion CTA⁣

Add a CTA button to your conversion site and encourage your followers to take action: ⁣

ie. “Sign up today”, “Subscribe”, “Download a free guide”, “Book an appointment”, “Start your free trial today”. ⁣

Just keep in mind that a good CTA answers 2 questions for the reader, “What’s next?” and “Why should I?”. ⁣

Why? ⁣Because readers only care what’s in it for them. ⁣

Conclusion

The takeaway is simple: before writing a social media post do your research! I typically spend at least 4 hours reading the top trending articles in my niche. Also to keep in mind when deciding on a topic, remember who is your audience that you are trying to reach. ⁣⁣⁣Next, pick a writing template or formula that works best for your audience. Lastly, don’t forget to include a call-to-action to your posts!

So, the next time you are writing for social media try to follow these steps – and don’t forget to share the results with me. ⁣⁣(You can tag @allebusinesscoach on Instagram)


Download your FREE PDF GUIDE to copywriting here


Interested to learn more copywriting tips? ⁣⁣⁣⁣
Let’s connect on Instagram @allebusinesscoach


References & related articles:

The Daily Egg (2019). “Aida Formula: How to Apply it And Drive Results with Your Copy [online] . Available from <https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/aida-copywriting-formula/&gt;

Feedough (2018). “Aida model – Explanation, Examples and Variants” [online]. Available from <https://www.feedough.com/aida-model-explanation-examples-variants/ANYA UPADHYAY>

Hootsuite (2018). “How to write effective CTAS” [online]. Available from: <https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-write-effective-ctas/&gt;

Neil Patel (2018). “How to write the perfect CTAs” [online] Available from: <https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-create-the-perfect-call-to-action/&gt;

5 Branding Strategies for Long-Term Success

What is Branding?

So you’ve probably learned by now that “BRANDING” is the single most important thing in business – as Gary Vaynerchuk said it multiple times. But do you often find yourself thinking “So what, exactly, is branding as opposed to marketing”? and “Aren’t they the same thing?”.

I know you are smart, and by now you have figured it out that they are used to define different concepts within the business realm.

Let’s first look at the definitions:

I like the way Neil Pattel, in his blog post Where Marketing Ends, Branding Begins, explains the key differences among the two concepts. According to him, marketing is a series of techniques you would typically use to attract new customers (like, using your landing page to say: “Heeeey, I’m here!”) , while branding is that unique thing that draws them to you in the first place and will keep them coming back for more.

Think of your brand as being comprised of your personality, your voice, and your message; essentially, branding is the process of establishing these traits that make you stand out and be remembered.

Branding Strategies

Based on that notion, here are five branding strategies to help you create a powerful brand that will stand the test of time:

1. Choose a Unique Brand Name

Today, the biggest tech companies have memorable names such as Google, Amazon, Apple, etc.

  • Stay away from complicated names that may be difficult to pronounce
  • Research whether your chosen brand name may have racist, negative or vulgar connotations in certain cultures or other languages – and avoid it.

2. Solve A Issue That your Customers are Facing

Instead of hard selling, promote what is it that you do to for your customers/ what you help people accomplish. According to Mr. Adams, VP of Gartner Inc., “consumers (…) want you to help them get something done.” In the end, the best brands are able to help customers either do something or feel something and in return they win customer loyalty. So, start thinking of what problems are you helping your customers solve!

3. Use Appealing Design to Stand out From Competitors

There is no denying that aesthetics play an important role when it comes to creating a brand for your business. From your colour choices to logo shapes, there is a psychological interpretation that your customers pick from what they see. Making sure your design is very appealing to your target niche can help create that appealing brand image that will make you stand out from competitors.

4. Use Analytics to Understand your Customers

In the social media universe brands are actively fighting to capture their ideal customer’s attention. This is becoming increasingly harder to do as more players are joining the social platforms every single day. Even the most successful brands have taken decades to get to know their target audience better. Big data and analytic tools are here to provide powerful insights into your audience such as the taste or preferences, income levels and age group. Use this market intelligence to understand your customers better and develop a brand image in a way that appeals to your audience.

5. Develop an Authentic Brand Identity

People tend to identify more with companies that share their values and ideals. A company owner that is authentic and relatable such as Gary Vaynerchuk, who takes pride in failing his school exams and embraces his failures is able to inspire a large number of followers and builds trust. Your customers should also be able to identify with your brand by how it is presented and what it says about itself. This means your brand’s culture should resonate with the personality you put out and build customer-brand relationships based on trust.

Pro Tip: Use The Brand Identity Prism

One way brands can create a strong brand identity is by using the Brand Identity Prism model developed by Jean-Noel Kapferer. According to Kapferer: “Strong brands are capable of weaving all aspects [of the prism] into an effective whole in order to create a concise, clear, and appealing brand identity.”

  1. Physique. This is the visual image, the physical features of a brand from packaging to colour palette.  
  2. Personality. This is the brand’s character, created through a specific writing style or by using a person’s image. Chanel projects a classic, timeless and understated brand personality though a minimalistic approach.
  3. Culture. This is a system of values, usually linked to the country of origin. Apple’s uses a set of values centred around diversity, empowerment, and transformation through technology (American values).
  4. Relationship. This aspect differentiates brands based on the type of experience/relationship with customer they create. It can include personalised brand experiences, limited edition releases, VIP treatments and so on.
  5. Reflection (of the consumer). What are the characteristics of the consumers you are trying to attract? For instance, Coca Cola is projecting a fun-loving, sporty and lively image – based on its teenage target group.
  6. Self-image. This is the exclusivity your brand offers to the customers. Are you a Porsche owner? then you belong to this exclusive luxury car community. Similarly, Rolex owners see themselves belonging to a unique status club because they can afford luxury watches.

Conclusion

When you’re a new business, you need marketing to get the word out. But once people know about your brand, only your branding will keep them coming back as customers.⁣ If your brand doesn’t represent anything, or it doesn’t resonate with your audience’s taste, customers won’t keep coming back. Sure, they might try you out once or twice, but that’s it. Customers stick with companies they like and can relate to their stories through values, brand image, culture or personality.

If you are in it for the long-run, invest in your branding. It’s not enough to just produce and market the best quality and most affordable product or service in the market.

What are your thoughts? Which of the branding strategies above is the most appealing to you?

References:

Kapferer, (2016). “Brand Identity Prism”. Available at: <http://www.eurib.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Documenten/PDF/Identiteit_en_Imago_ENGELS/v_-_Het_Brand-Identity_Prism_model_van_Kapferer__EN_.pdf&gt;

Lung H.J. (2016) “5 Rules of Branding That Will Make You A Sought-After Superstar”. Available at: <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/285558

Patel, N. “Where Marketing Ends, Branding Begins”. Available at: <https://blog.kissmetrics.com/where-branding-begins/&gt;

Onibalusi S. (2017) “5 Branding Rules Your Business Needs to Follow”. Available at: <https://www.huffpost.com/entry/5-branding-rules-your-bus_b_10371430&gt;

How to create a Branding Board? FREE Template Included

A branding board typically represents a brief portfolio of your unique brand elements from your logos, key fonts through to your colour scheme and aesthetics.

If you are a business owner or marketer, I’m sure that by now, you have probably come across a few of these documents online. If you haven’t figured out why do you need them for your business or how to create them, I’m writing this article to help you. Just follow my steps below and you’ll see how easy it is!

Why you should have a brand board:

  • Firstly, a #brandingboard comprises of all visual elements that make your brand recognisable to the public and help your brand persona stand out from your competitors.
  • Secondly, having a brand board helps you maintain consistency throughout all your marketing materials including web graphics and printed copy. Having a consistent brand message is a major factor to consider especially when you are marketing a business to millennials.

As Tim Minnium wrote: “Consistency is key to authenticity. In today’s fragmented social media environment, […], it is vital that brand messages be synchronised, because consumers expect their experience to be consistent across all devices and platforms.”

Tim M., Marketing Land (2018)
  • Lastly, it helps you visualise your brand image as a whole and makes it easier for you to make changes as needed. By labelling different design components and arranging them on a single page document, you can roughly gage the overall look and feel of your brand. DoBased on this, you can make future modifications and add-ons to your branding elements.

What should you include in a brand board?

There are various online templates that you may use, however, most of them will comprise of a variation of the following:

1. Primary Logo

This logo entails the main image / icon of your brand. It’s the first thing your customers will see when they discover your brand. If you aren’t comfortable with using graphic design software yourself, you may ask the help of a graphic designer to help you out. Once are pleased with your main logo design, you will publish it on your website and all other corporate stationery such as: letterheads, invoices, brochures etc.

2. Logo Variations and Submarks

Based on the main logo, you can create a few alternate logos by making slight modifications in textures, colors or backgrounds. All in all, these logos still need to be recognisable as a representation of your main brand, but you may want to use them to communicate a different idea or for a particular sub-brand project. Submarks are usually a simplified version of the main logo that are used as watermarks in certain corporate materials.

3. Fonts

Fonts are an important part of your brand image. They can communicate the company’s vibe and overall character (is your brand a serious brand? or you wish the audience to perceive you as a fun brand?). Research your industry and see what kind of fonts deliver the brand image you aspire. Typically, every brand should have at least 2 font styles: title and body. Choose a charismatic title font and select subtitle and body fonts that are easy to read and suit your brand.

4. Colour Palette

Typically a colour palette consists of 3 to 6 colours which are strategically chosen to reinforce a company’s brand image. There is an entire psychology behind how colours affect consumers’ perception of a brand, so I will discuss more on this topic in another post. As a start, choose a colour palette that reflects your personality and will also stand the mark of time.

5. Inspiration Images and Patterns

These are inspiration images that will give your brand an aesthetic value. It can be made up from different images that together help to tell the story of your brand. A good way to start is by creating a Pinterest board of images that are in line with your brand.

Okay, now to the fun part! Scroll through the images below to see how a brand board brings all these elements together:

For a simple brand board template, you may download the FREE template below and fill out the details with your own branding elements!

If you like the template, feel free to share with me your brand boards! I’d love to see how it turned out. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @allebusinesscoach


This is a template for Branding Board

References:

Tim M. (2018) “Brands Strive for Authenticity as Audiences Turn a Skeptical Eye Towards Ads” [online]. Available from <https://marketingland.com/brands-strive-for-authenticity-as-audiences-turn-a-skeptical-eye-toward-ads-236295&gt;

CrowdSpring (2018) “Brand Authenticity: Is It Important and How Can You Increase Your Brand’s Authenticit? [online]. Available from <https://www.crowdspring.com/blog/brand-authenticity/&gt;

Inkbot Design (2017) “How to create a Brand Board” [online]. Available from <https://inkbotdesign.com/create-brand-board/

Entrepreneurship Tips: 3 Things To Consider Before Starting A Business

In my career as a Business Development Consultant I have had a fair share of working with first-time entrepreneurs, listening to their main challenges, and eventually helping them come up with sustainable business and marketing plans.

Based on that, I’ve synthesised here a few considerations for young entrepreneurs – so you know the main challenges involved in starting a business from scratch:

1. Entrepreneurship is HARD

A lot of first time entrepreneurs that i’ve spoken to fail to understand that starting new business demands A LOT of sacrifices. And even then, it doesn’t mean that your business will fly off and you’ll become the next Amazon in a few weeks time!

In fact it’s common that most businesses will fail within the first 18 months.

“The number one reason why so many businesses fail so quickly is because they don’t realize how hard it is, how “all in” you have to be, and how much talent it takes to be a successful entrepreneur”

Gary Vaynerchuk

In business if you make a commitment, regardless of what happens, you have to deliver. Not only is your business’s image at stake, but also personal brand and reputation. As an entrepreneur, you have to deal daily with making hard decisions – which could put your status as an entrepreneur at risk.

2. Starting a business requires COMMITMENT

Imagine this: 

You come from a family of entrepreneurs (your grandpa started a trading business when he was 28 years old), you’ve probably gone to business school and in your free time you watch #AskGaryVeeShow on Youtube. By now, you might feel you know everything there is to know about running a business you are ready to start your own business.

Sounds like a great idea, isn’t it? 

If you are passionate about being an entrepreneur, you have to first understand the level of immense commitment it requires. By starting a business you are making a decision that won’t allow you any time, in your first year, to do anything except growing your business. Bye-bye hours spent watching Netflix, no more late night partying and certainly you’ll be spending less time with friends and family. Hello working 18 hours a day, working on weekends or late at night. 

In fact, you have to ask yourself are you ready to make that level of a commitment? 

3. Financial considerations

Starting a new business, particularly one that requires an upfront financial investment and not just your time, drains money. Before you even start it, you have to make sure you have enough cash to sustain your business operations before you even turn a profit. Depending on your industry, most startups can run a for few years before they break even. 

You need to be practical and understand financially what it takes in order to pay for bills like rent, inventory and staff salaries. Do a cashflow projection for at least 1 – 3 years and see if it makes sense for you to venture into this business. 

Then, ask yourself:

Do you have enough money to stay afloat and for how long? Do you have one year’s worth of rent and operational expenses?

The fact is that starting your own business is a daunting task and with a high chance of failure within the first 2 years, is it even worth it? I know this may not sound ideal and a little harsh, but this is the reality of business. I want you to read carefully and understand the above considerations before venturing into a business simply because I want to see you succeed. 

Are you a business owner? New entrepreneur or just seeking further advice? You can send me an email to start the conversation. 

Follow me on Instagram. I am an experienced business consultant and i’ve prepared numerous business plans and feasibility studies for various business ventures in the field of property development, education and online retail stores. 

2019 Instagram Stats: What You Need to Know

#Instagram has grown immensely over the years, from once being a photographer’s favorite app for sharing travel pictures to now appealing to all kinds of influencers, advertisers, and brands.

At this point, it’s safe to say that your audience is using Instagram, and your competitors too. Knowing who uses Instagram and how they interact on the platform can help you business to plan a better Instagram marketing strategy.

So, if you are still unsure of whether your business can benefit from this app, check out these Instagram statistics will convince you why you should be using it.

1. Instagram has 1 billion of monthly users

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This makes Instagram the third most popular social media network, following only Facebook (over 2 billion monthly active users) and YouTube (1.9 billion monthly active users). Is your business selling directly to customers? If you are not marketing on Instagram YET, you should reconsider your strategy. 

2. Instagram has a young audience 

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Despite its diverse user base, Instagram is undeniably most popular among young people. 

According to Sproutsocial market survey, 72% of teens and 35% of adults are using the platform. Is your brand targeting Gen Z and Millennials? then, Instagram just might be the perfect spot for you. 

3. Leading platform for engagement

Based on a market study by Sproutsocial (2018), Instagram is ahead of Facebook with an average engagement per post of 1.6%. If you have you been neglecting your business’s Instagram account, it’s probably time to start building your community and improving your engagement through the social media platform.

4. Businesses are using Instagram

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An estimated 71% of US businesses claim that they use Instagram for business (Mention, 2019). Market data also indicates that 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded. Not only is there a huge market active on Instagram daily, but there’s an interested audience that you can reach without spending large sums of money.

5. Instagrammers follow businesses

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With almost half of Instagram users following at least one business account (Mention, 2018), brands have a great opportunity to increase their reach through Instagram. Whether you’re a local based store or ship globally, you have the potential to improve your market reach by using Instagram. If you’ve got an Instagram Business profile you also have access to Instagram analytics which can provide you data about impressions and reach per post, as well as more information about your demographic. This can help you understand what type of content your audience likes the most. So, whether it’s F&B, apparel, or any niche that you’re interested in, you can be hopeful that there are users who are willing to follow your brand on Instagram.

6. The best times to post on Instagram 

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According to Instagram analytics, the best days to post are weekdays from 10am – 3pm. These windows of high engagement can likely help to generate even more likes and engagement, especially for brands just starting out.

  • Best day to post: Thursday
  • Best hours to post: 8am – 11am

7. Videos get more interactions than images

Videos receive 38% more engagement than image posts and 2 x the amount of comments. Since 81% of marketers agree that engagement is the most important metric of social media success, it’s no surprise than many of us want to figure out how to improve these numbers. So, using video within your Instagram feed could certainly be worth testing to see how your audience reacts.

8. Instagram has a strong influence on shoppers

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According to Oberlo (2019), Instagram helps 80% of Instagrammers decide whether to buy a product or service. Instagram users report making a purchase decision based on something that they saw while browsing the app. So, if your brand is not including Instagram to your social media marketing tool kit, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. 

There’s a bunch of different tactics that you can use to impact the buyer decision on Instagram. So whether it’s Instagram ads, engaging users with creative stories, or including the relevant Instagram hashtags to be more discoverable, it all can matter if you do it right.

Summary of Instagram Stats 2019

  • 1 billion monthly active Instagram users.
  • Instagram is the most engaged network.
  • 71% of the billion monthly active users on the Instagram app are under the age of 35.
  • Instagram users spend an average of 53 minutes per day.
  • 500 million Instagram accounts use Instagram stories every day.
  • 83% of Instagram users discover new products and services on Instagram.
  • Instagram can generate over 4x more interactions on Instagram compared to Facebook.
  • 71% of US businesses use Instagram.
  • Instagram helps 80% of Instagram users decide to buy a product or service.
  • 50% of Instagrammers follow at least one business.

Is your business using Instagram efficiently?

Is there anything else you’d like to know about Instagram statistics and wish was included in this article?

Let me know in the comments below!

Source: @Sproutsocial Market Survey (Sep. 2018), Mention.com (2019), Oberlo.com (2019)


Behind Every Successful Brand is a Great Story

Do you ever ask yourself why certain brands have more success than others? What makes them so likeable?

Major brands like Apple, Amazon or Alibaba have become iconic due to their compelling storytelling. If you don’t want to become another “me too” brand that isn’t able to differentiate itself from the competitors you have to stand out. 

According to Business Insider (2014), part of Alibaba’s success is part due to Jack Ma is a “true rags-to-riches” story. The Chinese businessman grew up poor, failed his college entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs, including one at KFC, before “finding success with his third internet company”, Alibaba. How can someone not be moved by this inspirational story?

Here’s how you can also stand out as a brand:

1. Improve your storytelling

Stories are the best way to distinguish yourself from the other brands in your industry. Why? Because people always remember a good story. 

Remember that famous phrase “behind every successful brand there is a story great story, a person and a family”. Your audience wants to know who you are as a person, they want to see the face of the person who is running the business. Once people both understand and believe your story, they become advocates, helping to spread your message. 

I know you’re probably thinking that your story isn’t interesting enough to share, aren’t you? 

I disagree.

Your story is interesting because it’s uniquely yours. Nobody else will have the exact same story as you. This is what enables your audience to connect with you instead of other companies. You need to tell stories that touch the hearts of your customers. It’s the only way to stand out from your competition.

According to Julie Schwartz from ITSMA.com, a good brand story should:

  • Be short (you don’t want to bore your audience)
  • Be simple, easy to understand and remember
  • Be authentic, genuine and uniquely describe you
  • Be relatable enough to create an emotional connection with your audience
  • Build trust and fill the gap between reality and perception

2. Be authentic, real and genuine

“You have to understand your personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”

– Gary Vaynerchuk

And always keep this in mind: your audience isn’t stupid. If they think or feel that you’re fabricating stories and falsifying your brand, they will find out and you can loose their support. 

So, what’s your story?


References:

Business Insider (2014) [online]. Available from <https://www.businessinsider.com/the-inspiring-life-story-of-alibaba-founder-jack-ma-2014-10?IR=T&gt;

Huffpost (2017) [online]. Available from: <https://www.huffpost.com/entry/4-fantastic-examples-of-b_b_9852356&gt;

Shoutmeloud.com (2019) [online]. Available from: <https://shoutmeloud.com/&gt;

Schwartz J. (2019). ITSMA. [online]. Available from: <https://ITSMA.co/&gt;

What is Content Creation?

If you’ve known me online for any length of time, you’ll know that CONTENT CREATION is one of my favorite things to talk about. And yes, as you can see from my bio, it is a service I offer as well. I know you are clever enough to figure out that it involves, well, creating content.

But what does that mean? What kind of content? And for whom?

⁣Whenever I tell people I create content, often people will ask me: “umm, what even is content creation?”. And when I explain what I do and how I help businesses grow their presence online through content marketing they usually end up saying something like “Hey, I need someone like that too!”.

Content creation has many ways of being defined. It may refer to anything from designing graphics, taking photos and filming videos to writing newsletters, creating podcasts, designing offline prints and so much more. You’ll often find that people will specialize in just one or few types of content.⁣⁣

Me? I’m passionate to help bloggers, start-ups and small businesses create bold, eye-popping and posts full of character for their Social Media, including: ⁣⁣

  • Social Media Graphics and Quote tiles⁣
  • Instagram Stories Graphics⁣
  • Instagram Short Videos
  • Highlight Reel Cover Photos
  • Caption Writing⁣
  • Website Copywriting ⁣
  • Blog Articles and Newsletters
  • Presentation Slides⁣

Scroll across to see a few examples of some of content I’ve created.⁣

Still unsure if you need a Content Creator? Here’s a few reasons why should consider it: 

  1. Content tells the story of your brand
  2. Content connects you to your audience
  3. Content increases search engine traffic
  4. Content take the customer on a journey

And hey, if you are a new business or you just need help designing and creating any of the above – please feel free to get in touch with me on my instagram page: @axc_socialmedia or email axc99@yahoo.com.