Your website is the go to authority for information about your business or organization for the inquiring public. The website does not only spread your message but also acts as an easily recognizable credible source of information. Another source of information is social media and if you manage your social media and website to work together this is a powerful combination.
Two voices or one?
Social media excels at driving conversations and interactions and allows you to meet your audience where they hang out. As a result of this social media can usually be a lot more casual than an official website. Even in this relaxed setting it is important to remember and use your brand voice though. By remembering your vision and core values on social media you can bring your message to a more casual setting while still remaining professional and consistent.
Wing it or be prepared?
While content for your website is usually well prepared and edited, on social media sites posts may be a lot more spontaneous. This is not a bad thing but you must be prepared to answer questions and respond to comments that may not always be flattering. This is where having a social media strategy helps with dealing with awkward situations. Having some policy for dealing with disgruntled customers or curious fans and followers allow you to know what is an acceptable response to avoid public embarrassment that may tarnish your brand.
How do I build my social media strategy?
The first thing you need to do when building your social media strategy is to outline your goals for your brand, business or organization on social media sites. Are you there to entertain, inform, interact or simply provide support for a product or service? This helps you to identify who your target audience is and allows you to tailor your messages to suit that specific group.
Once you know why you want to use social media sites and who you intend to address you need to figure out which social media sites you will use and who will have access to your social accounts. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media websites all have features that cater best to specific niches. You should also ensure that only designated individuals have access to post on your behalf on social media sites and that these designated persons are aware of your goals as well as your brand message and voice.
After you have sorted out who will handle your social media accounts you need to decide on what you want to share and how frequently you want to post content on social media websites. Your schedule can be as specific down to the exact times of day to post or as general as a minimum number of posts in a week. When your content is relevant and your frequency of posting is what your audience expects you have a better chance of reaching more people.
The final part of building a social media strategy is to be flexible and adapt to changing environments. Unlike your website where you have total control of the content and structure of your message, social media websites are more unpredictable. You never know when the rules for using the site will change or exactly who will engage with you on these sites. It is important to keep abreast of developments and changes in best practices and new features of whichever social media sites you are using to get the most out of it. Using insights and studying statistics provided by these sites will help you to improve your social media strategy.
It is very common for a website and social media to work together to achieve a common business goal. Social media is a great way of raising brand awareness and drawing attention to the content of your website. When creating your social media strategy remember that it should complement your website and not compete against it.The message from either channel can affect how the other is perceived by your audience.
One of the keys to modern web design is allowing websites to be viewed on multiple devices at different screen sizes with content and layout adjusting naturally to the size of the screen it is displayed on. This seamless adaptation can be achieved by responsive web design. The layout of the website can be manipulated depending on the size of the viewport on which it is displayed. This makes the website easier to use but also has many benefits for search engine optimization (SEO).
Imagine the websites that you use most often displaying in the same way on your computer and your phone. While the website may be well designed for larger displays if the layout is not optimized for the smaller screen size it may become cumbersome to use. Having to scroll a lot or zoom in to view website elements greatly degrade the user experience of visiting a website on a mobile device. These factors have been noted by major search engines.
Google uses how mobile-friendly a website is as a signal in ranking websites in search results on mobile devices. Considering the popularity of mobile devices and the popularity of the Google search engine having a responsive website is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Not only should websites fit on smaller screens but they should be optimized for use by touch enabled devices. This means navigation elements should be large enough for fingers to touch without activating neighbouring navigation elements.
Responsive web design is not just a fad but a best practice for designing modern websites. If your website is not yet responsive now is as good a time as any to upgrade. Although there are obvious benefits for search engine optimization the improvements in usability are the main reasons why your website should be mobile-friendly.
Google rolling out mobile-friendly update
There are numerous different formats in which digital audio files are stored. These different formats have their individual advantages and disadvantages, but they also create a compatibility issue. Not all software can handle all audio file formats. One option for overcoming this challenge of incompatibility is to use an online audio converter. Media.io is a useful tool for converting audio files to different formats.
If you have an audio file that you need changed to a different format you can use media.io to convert the file without downloading or installing additional software. You will have to upload the file to the website though then download the converted file. Once you are comfortable with uploading the audio file to a third party site this can be a convenient option for converting an audio file into a more convenient format.
One of the challenges of running a business that sells services is that you do not have the physical products that can be examined and compared with those of competitors. This affects both your marketing efforts and the experience a potential customer has in making a purchasing decision. It is more difficult to assure customers of the quality of services they have never tried before and a simple purchasing decision becomes a huge risk in the eyes of the consumer. All is not lost though, there are many ways of reassuring a potential customer with the proper marketing strategy.
Focus on customer service
Every contact with a customer is an opportunity to make an impression. In the service industry there is no great product to distract potential customers from the quality of service provided. Customer service can usually be analyzed on par with the quality of the service that is on sale. As a result of this it is important that emphasis is placed on customer service as well as providing support to customers. The experience of the customer could determine whether or not the service is recommended to others or not.
Offer a limited time trial
The problem of the potential customer not being able to inspect a service like a physical product can be mitigated by allowing customers to try the service for free for a limited time before making a purchasing decision. This is a popular method which helps reassure the customer that the service will satisfy and allows the service provider a chance to make a good first impression. The trial period has to be long enough to allow the customer to get accustomed to using the service and get “hooked” into making the purchase while short enough to encourage the customer to make a timely decision on whether or not to purchase. While providing the service for free, even for a limited time, incurs costs these costs can be offset if conversions to long term customers increase.
Use multimedia to engage your customers
When things are difficult to explain or put in words graphics and videos can tell a wonderful story. Pictures of the service you provide in use or pictures of satisfied customers can go a long way in convincing others to use the service. Photos or videos of your service being used in-house also helps your business look professional and unashamed to stand behind its services. Videos showing how to use the service also help eliminate some of the apprehension potential customers may have to making the final purchase.
Share customer testimonials
Referrals are a very powerful tool since we value the opinions of others who have tried a service in deciding whether we should try it. This is especially true for services that cost money. Testimonials are a way of having current or former customers share their experience with others. This adds credibility to your business and helps potential customers know what to expect. It may address some of the concerns customers have about making the purchase without requiring any reassurance from customer service.
Most businesses realize that they need an email address in order for people to be able to reach them online. Small businesses usually have one generic email address to manage all email communication. While this may be suitable for some businesses for others it may be quite restrictive. The problem becomes apparent when the business experiences growth or a great increase in communications. Someone then has to sort through various emails addressing various topics in a single inbox and determine appropriate follow-up actions. This can lead to more administrative work that diverts attention from core business functions to managing emails.
When one size does not fit all
As much as a business may desire the simplicity of a single email address, whether this is the right solution is a question that needs to be asked. Who will have access to this single email address? Are any of the emails received of a confidential nature? Are emails overwhelming people who they do not directly pertain to? Businesses tend to departmentalize work in order to be more efficient and utilize resources effectively. Email addresses can be departmentalized in the same way regardless of whether a business has 1 employee or 20.
Generic plus personalized
Many enterprises allow all employees to have a personalized business address to conduct business activities. The benefit of this approach is that it allows for personalized communication and the generic company email address can be avoided if the customer already knows who the information needs to be addressed to. This encourages the building of relationships between customers and the business which seems more natural than an email to a random company representative. Those who know who they want to communicate with can email them directly while a generic business email is still available for general inquiries. The business can publicly advertise the generic email address and selectively distribute individual personalized email addresses if they so desire.
Group Email Addresses
Another alternative to using a single email address is to use group addresses which departmentalize emails. The sales team can have a single email address while customer support can also have a different email address. This helps customers in deciding which department that they should address and speeds up the processing of emails. It also allows the customer to specify the functional group of the business they intend to respond to the communication. Allowing the customer to do this sorting for you allows you to focus on other tasks such as following-up on the emails.
Where your website comes in
One of the great things about creating a website is that it comes with the option of creating business email addresses that use your business domain name. SeizerStyle Designs can therefore create email addresses using @seizerstyle.com. This allows us to add our branding to our email addresses and also serves to help people remember our website address. If you already have a website or are thinking of creating one remember that an additional benefit of your website is that it allows you to departmentalize your email addresses. This can help reduce the stress of email overload and allows you to prioritize certain email addresses more than others.
Designing websites and graphics usually produces beautiful and useful end products that help solve a problem. These solutions may often be obvious in the design but are sometimes more subtle and difficult to identify. Running a successful website or designing effective graphics both require an understanding of the people who these solutions are intended for.
Research and Analytics
To serve your target audience well you have to first know who they are then identify what they want. This requires market research and the result of this research can be both what is expected or something unpredicted. In any case acquiring this knowledge helps you to target a particular group specifically in your marketing endeavors.
Website analytics work hand in hand with market research to determine how well your business or organization is performing online. We have been experimenting with different ways of presenting the results of collecting statistics about website visitors to our clients. From April we will be offering detailed reports to our website design customers which will help them better understand their website’s performance.
March 2015 on SeierStyle Designs Blog
Invest In You Special Offer (March 2015)
In March some of our clients benefited from as much as 25% off on website design and graphic design jobs. This initiative was meant to encourage businesses and organizations skeptical about purchasing these services to experience what it is about for a fraction of the cost.
Tech Tip: Make video calls through Firefox – Use Firefox Hello to start video conversations right from your browser
Tech Tip: Try Google Inbox – A new less obtrusive user interface for Gmail.
Update: Firefox Hello has been discontinued as of Firefox 49
There is an interesting new feature in the latest versions of Firefox that allows you to make video calls without installing any additional software. With Firefox Hello you can invite others to a video call right from the Firefox browser. You do not need to sign up for the service and the person being invited does not even have to be using Firefox either.
Simply click on the smiling conversation icon in the Firefox toolbar to start a conversation. You can then email the person that you want to talk to the link to the conversation. You could also copy the link and share it via an instant message.
This is a quick and easy way to get a video conversation started directly from the browser. Simply download and install Mozilla Firefox or update your Firefox browser to the latest version to try this feature out.
SeizerStyle Designs is running a special promotion throughout March 2015 to provide new and repeat customers with discounts on all the services we provide. In line with our Invest In You initiative we hope to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to get online and take advantage of the opportunities to promote their business and build an effective branding strategy.
With a website developed by SeizerStyle Designs and hosted on Isle Cloud you get a quick and effective online presence suitable for customers on the go. We know that price is usually a barrier to entry for those who know they need a website but keep putting it off. Take advantage of this opportunity to get your professional website designed for a fraction of the cost.
To promote your business and website you will also need to focus on branding and promotion. We provide graphic design services that help you send a uniform message through all your visual promotional material. Our digital marketing solutions help you to decide the most appropriate medium of getting your message to your intended audience.
Find out more about the Invest In You special offer.
Update: April 5, 2019 8:43pm
Google Inbox has since been shut down. So links taken down. Find out more.
If you use Gmail but are not satisfied with the user interface Google Inbox may be the right alternative for you. It is a different interface for Gmail that is supposed to organize your email better and reduce the clutter in your mailbox. It is also more in line with Google’s new Material Design philosophy. Trying it does not affect your access to the traditional Gmail and you can easily use either service to access your email.
You can request an invite to use Google Inbox but you will have to download the Google Inbox app on your phone before you can get access to the web interface.
Carnival is over, the shortest month of the year has passed and it is time to get back to work. As you strive to end the first quarter of the year on a positive note let SeizerStyle Designs help. Whether you have had a breakthrough year or a terrible beginning to 2015 make March the month that you get things done.
Design of the month (February 2015)
Invest In You 2015 Poster
For our first special offer for 2015 we are acknowledging the entrepreneurial spirit of the small businesses trying to establish an online presence. With a website designed by SeizerStyle Designs and website hosting provided by Isle Cloud getting your business online is fast and easy. Visit www.seizerstyle.com/specials/investinyou to find out more about this limited time special offer.
February 2015 on SeizerStyle Designs Blog
Getting someone to visit your website is hard enough, but getting that person to visit again is an even more difficult task. This is where trhe content of your website has to shine. It has to give visitors a reason to want to come back and leave them feeling like they have not wasted their time.
If you are interested in finding out what kind of work we produce our portfolio is the ideal place to visit. We recently updated our portfolio to include more samples of our work so feel free to check it out.
Simulate an Android tablet with BlueStacks – Don’t have a tablet but want to try one out? Need to see whether you should update your old tablet? Try out an Android tablet from your computer with BlueStacks.
Use different profiles in Google Chrome – It’s now easier than ever for different people to use the same Google Chrome browser while keeping settings separate.