“No money, no problem,” says digital marketing consultant Ivan Louis Pinno

Lack of money could be a show stopper. Business owners who want to grow have to set aside time and funds — but what if there is no money?

“No money, no problem,” said digital marketing consultant Ivan Louis Pinno. The co-founder of Digital Woman Uganda dismissed the notion that — while helpful — money is everything.

“Brand outposts are things we all need to consider carefully to realize return on investment if one is to survive in this game,” Pinno said. “How do we do this with a lesser budget?”

He reviewed solutions during an Africa Tweet Chat, including answers that await online.

“Internet marketing — especially social media marketing — if well leveraged, seeks to engage clients in the online social locations where they naturally spend time,” Pinno said.

“This approach picks up on what people are talking about and interested in, then links back into businesses where the data can be processed,” he said. “That creates the next round of customer experiences and conversations.”

Always talk with social media fans.

“Communication leads to engagement and helps us understand our clients,” Pinno said. “This leads to audience segmentation to better serve them right.

“Engagement creates a long-lasting impression,” he said. “You’ll gain brand awareness plus clientele hunting and retention. Engaging creates a sense of appreciation and awareness, which makes clients feel deserving and listened to.”

Consistency inside and out

It has been said that the face behind the business is as crucial as the business as itself.

“Who you portray out there as a person both online and offline affects the brand image of a business,” Pinno said. “If people don’t like what they see, they will not interact with a specific brand.

“Follow hashtags, and participate with a lot of calculation before dropping in on engagements,” Pinno said. “This will get your brand in front of the right audience, keeping them guessing and talking. This builds a brand outpost.”

Beware of random acts of marketing. A well planned strategy will harvest great returns from social media platforms.

“A great strategy helps build visibility,” Pinno said. “On the right platforms this leads to a greater clientele base for a startup or business.

“Strategies provide startups more time to schedule their activities,” he said. “Companies can manage their online campaigns in a more meaningful manner with more return for investors.”

Pinno noted that getting involved in online competitions — or pitches — offers wider opportunities for growth of business, especially startups. The result is a brand outpost in the short and long run.

Apply pest self-control

As a core social media marketing tool, hashtags have their pros and cons.

“Jumping in on irrelevant hashtags to market your product is unhelpful,” Pinno said. “Likewise, relentlessly mentioning every person in your feed to draw their attention to a piece of content or offer is typically received as annoying.

“On the other hand, using hashtags exposes yourself to a wider audience,” he said. “Many people follow conversations using various hashtags. They might not connect right away, but decide to follow you later on during a chat.”

The most productive use of hashtags delivers concise messages in small packets.

“They’re meant as a shortcut to show your part of the conversation or explain what your tweet contains.” Pinno said. “If your brand is jumping into a hashtag, you should make sure you are contributing value to the conversation instead of just promoting your business.”

Blogs and websites help put a human face on businesses.

“They play a big role in making startups or businesses known to the outside world, generating more traffic to company websites,” Pinno said.

“Web analytics — if well leveraged — will show startups what kind of audience is visiting their sites to learn about the brand’s products and services,” he said. “That puts companies in a better place to serve their clients well.”

Focused and effective

As inviting as it is, resist jumping into global trends to be with the crowd.

“Don’t just look out for the big conversations, but rather the right ones,” Pinno said. “Instead of creating what you think your clients want, focus on giving them what they really want. That might not make your post go viral, but it will satisfy your clients.

“Brands need to favor relevance over reach,” he said. “That’s better than contributing to the growing noise online. Show that you prioritize being relevant.”

Listen to your audience for direction.

“The good news for brands is that consumers are already vocal about where their interests lie,” Pinno said. “While that might not be the next viral meme, knowing customers’ interests will contribute to your brand’s business goals.

“Look to your clients to learn what topics interest them and where they spend the majority of their time,” he said. “Social listening is the most effective way to surface what trends actually matter to your audience and what your followers want from your brand or excites them.”

Brands that don’t follow the herd have a better chance to stand out.

“Just because something is trending worldwide doesn’t mean it’s important to the core group of people your brand wants to do business with,” Pinno said. “Prioritize relevance over reach. It will go a long way in building stronger relationships with your customers.

“Equally important as listening to your audience is paying attention to what’s happening in your industry at large,” he said. “What are the trends impacting your industry? How are your competitors responding — or not responding?”

A focused message will matter most to those who want solutions.

“Don’t look for the trends that appeal to everyone,” Pinno said. “Look for the trends and topics that resonate with your core audience. By focusing on the most relevant trends, brands will build strong bonds with customers that stand the test of time.”

About The Author

Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services and worked in public affairs for the Air Force and federal government. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

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