Using Twitter for small businesses and what you should tweet about

Twitter is a great resource for your small business. It allows you to have a direct connection with your customers. But many entrepreneurs don’t realize that it’s a good idea to have a personal Twitter account that is visible to your customers. When checking brands out, people like to get an idea of the “brains behind the brand”. It gives your customers the chance to connect on a more personal level. But it can be confusing as to what to tweet about.
Here’s our guide to using Twitter for small businesses.

Giving your customers a behind the scenes glimpse into your mind is a great way to cultivate a deeper relationship with your small business. But when it comes to small businesses and their owners, the two are closely linked. So how do you create a personal Twitter feed that is separate (but related) to your business Twitter feed? What sort of things should you tweet about? Here’s a few ideas on tweets for your personal Twitter feed.

Article links

Sharing information that you come across is a good way to shed some insight into how you operate. But only if you add your personal opinion about what is being covered in the article. Let the world know where you stand on certain issues related to your small business. But be careful. Don’t try to be too controversial or divisive in your opinions. Take a stand, but be cautious of how others might perceive your opinions. And keep your article subject matter relevant to your business. Stay away from subjects like politics or religion, unless of course that is what your small business deals with.

Snippets of your life

Sharing glimpses into you personal life can really resonate with your customer base. Share personal news with your customers, such as events, holidays and other things that you would share with close friends. It gives your customers the sense that they are closer to you and your small business. Also think about sharing unusual things that you come across in everyday life. If something catches your eye, then it will probably catch the attention of someone else. If you’ve made a fun purchase recently, then share it with your customers. These are great conversation starters.

Life outside of work

Sharing your personal work can be a great way to build those bonds with your customers. If in your spare time you write, or paint or have any other creative hobby, then by all means share your work. It doesn’t have to be about business all the time. Sharing quotes or slices of wisdom that you’ve come across is also a great thing to spread to your customers. Anything that will give a glimpse behind the scenes of your small business makes it more human. And it makes it more relatable to your customers.

The importance of visual identity in branding for small businesses

Branding for small businesses tips rule number one

Often times a company’s brand is mistaken for its visual identity when developing branding for small businesses. A brand is much more than just a company logo. But that’s not to say that the visual identity of a company is not important. The visual identity is what communicates the brand to the consumer. No one has doubted the power of imagery.
Cave dwellers figured out that they could communicate through symbols by drawing on cave walls. And us humans have been using symbols as a method of communication ever since.

Of course, the logo is one part of the visual identity in branding for small businesses. It is important that there is consistency in the application of that logo, along with the appropriate typefaces, colors and language, as to firmly implant the vision, mission and values of a brand in the mind of consumers. Inconsistent messages are confusing. And when we are bombarded with thousands of messages in any given day, it is critical that potential consumers aren’t confused by the messages are sending out. Customers have an overabundance of choice in today’s world and can easily take their business to a competitor. Lost customers equals loss of revenue. Not good.

A visual identity forms the foundation for customer relations

A well-designed and consistent visual identity forms the foundation for building relationships with your customers. It gives your staff a clear understanding of what the business stands for and works as a way to build allegiance to your company rather than pursuing individual goals. It acts as a way to attract a higher quality candidate in the recruitment process. Professionals want to join a company with clearly communicated values that reflect their own personal values.

Is your visual identity accurately reflecting the true essence of your organization? Often times in branding for small businesses, it is important to go through a brand refresh in order to update existing brand to reflect an evolved business strategy. Just like that wallpaper that seemed like a good idea at the time twenty years ago, a brand needs to be evaluated periodically in order to remain competitive in the market.
So don’t be afraid of the visual identity. Make sure that it properly reflects the true essence of your company, and the cost that comes with establishing the identity will pay for itself exponentially in the long run.

Un_Standard can help you plan a branding for small businesses strategy and create a robust visual identity to match your robust business idea. Contact us today for a free initial consultation with no obligation.

Unleash the rebels in your small business

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, Un_Standard is all about individuality. Our motto is to stand out by not blending in. And it takes a certain amount of rebelliousness in order to fully live by this manifesto. It’s good to shake things up from time to time. Those who disagree with the status quo can often see the future more clearly. And innovation is something that we are passionate about. After all, if there weren’t anyone around to challenge the status quo, we’d still be living in caves.

There are rebels among us in the small business world. And they are truly an asset to have. I’m not talking about the rebels without a cause or the ones that are willing to cross the line into being unproductive or doing anything illegal. But ones that can challenge the existing structure and propose a new and improved way to do things are the ones that we are talking about, and the ones to actively seek out for your small business.

Companies that fail to nurture creative opposition can find themselves behind the curve when it comes to innovation and remaining competitive. Rebels can serve as a catalyst for innovation. So when it comes time to make sone hires for your small business, be sure to be on the lookout for those agents of change. Those ones that are able to be creative and visionary enough to be able to shatter outdated policies and practices. Some larger organizations have even hired what they refer to as internal disruption units that can drive innovation. Just be sure to steer clear of management consultants that don’t fit the bill.

So what can you do as a small business to nurture this sort of rebel? There are a few things that you can do to make sure you give those rebels room to work their magic. Unleash the rebels in your small business to unlock their innovation and make your small business more competitive.

Create the right attitude for the organization

We’re not talking about forming committees or anything like that. We’re talking about tolerating those who might push against the status quo and let them feel as if there won’t be any fear of retaliation or discrimination. Factor in room for opposing voices when trying to launch new initiatives. Listen, and then learn.

Keep the opposition consistent

Many small business owners might read a book on inclusiveness and think that the best way to tackle resistance is to encourage participation. But opposition is ongoing, and should be welcomed and not tried to be silenced. Alignment is a moving target.

Creative opposition can raise the accountability of every employee within your organization. And your employees are your greatest asset. Make sure that your rebels have space to operate, feel like they are close and are immensely creative.

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Marketing plans to keep your business running smoothly

We’ve all heard the arguments and excuses on why a business doesn’t need to invest in marketing. After all, if you build it, they’ll surely come, right? Why not concentrate on other more productive areas, such as sales? After all, marketing is just an expense, right?

Well, if only that were true. And that we lived in a world where there was no competition and your business was the only game in town. If we believe that we are alone in offering a fantastic product coupled with great service, then there wouldn’t be the need to advertise. The reality is, that there is competition all around, and consumers have choices with whom to do business with. Even in the Business-To-Business arena. After all, businesses are made up of people, and people make purchasing decisions based upon emotion. Marketing gives those potential consumers the chance to get to know your business and soften the sales process. If you don’t control the messages that your business is sending out, then those messages will control you.

When developing a marketing plan, it is important to understand how your business is perceived, and how you would want it to be perceived. If there is a disconnect, then a solid marketing plan would help shape perceptions to move to where you want to be. Another important aspect is to understand what makes you unique. Why would a customer come to you instead of the competition? What sets you apart? What makes you special? The marketing strategy is the ideal place to communicate what sets you apart to your customers.

Marketing is designed to precondition the sale. It does not sell, but creates the platform for a relationship. It does not close the deal, but gives reason why your customers should choose to do business with you. Marketing can work hard on your behalf if you allow it to happen. Choose your tactics wisely, map out a plan, put it into action and watch monitor the results to see what adjustments need to be made. Marketing, when executed properly, has a profound effect on sales. We have experience in creating marketing strategies for a wide range of businesses all over the world, from startups to huge multinational corporations. We’ve been there and achieved results. Get in touch with Un_Standard today to nail that marketing strategy.

For a limited time, we are offering a free initial consultation without any further obligation. Be sure to subscribe to our Facebook page to receive a discount off of our rates. Don’t let your business fade into the background. Connect with your customers. Set yourself apart from the competition.

Think Un_Standard. Be. Un_Standard.’

traits of a great leader

What Makes A Great Leader

Soar to the heights of a great leader

Not everyone is born to be an entrepreneur, or to lead. If we were all born to lead, then there would be nobody left to follow. But anyway, great leaders tend to have certain characteristics that set them apart from the herd. Personality traits, that can often times be misinterpreted as weaknesses, but when properly channeled can signify the spark of an entrepreneur.

Are you easily bored? Perhaps the reason for that is that you’ve chewed through activities that aren’t up to your abilities and don’t present themselves as a challenge. This is generally one of the indicators early in life that a budding entrepreneur is coming into their own. Great minds need to be challenged, and when a great mind is placed amongst those that don’t measure up, then boredom sets in.

Constantly questioning the status quo? Remember, the status quo is for the common folk. Who wants to be average when you can be exceptional? If you think that it doesn’t make sense to keep doing things the same way over and over just because that’s the way they’ve always been done without explanation, then you have the power to change things. Or at least upset the status quo from time to time. You don’t get ahead by following the pack. Greatness lies outside of the lines of conformity.

Do you realize that you’re a bit different from everyone else? This can be the motivation that you need to acknowledge the entrepreneur in you just dying to get out.  Rebelling against the norm is a normal pattern in your life. It’s good to channel that sense of rebellion into a company and start innovating.

Always trying to make improvements on everything around you? Opinionated and always willing to offer your perspective on things, you constantly see ways to make things better. Here’s a perfect opportunity to channel that spirit in developing a product that improves the lives of those around you. Or better yet, expand into improving the lives of people on the other side of the planet.

Can’t switch off at night? Do you lie in bed trying to get some seriously needed sleep, but can’t quite switch off and drift into blissful slumber? Do those voices keep telling you about the next great idea that you need to start to work on in the morning? There’s just too much energy to burn to switch off and relax.

Depending on how you look at it, any of those traits could be thought of as a weakness. And it’s important to understand where your weaknesses lie as an individual. Understanding weak areas is in fact a strength. You don’t always lead with your strengths, but with your weaknesses. Make those weaknesses benefit your leadership style, and then you’ll come across as authentic.  Get those people in around you to compliment  your strong areas and fill in the gaps of where you are weak, and then you have the start of building a winning team.

Set Your Small Business Up On A Fast Track For Success

Nobody said that starting your own business was going to be easy. You’re forced to face your limitations and accept that sometimes what looked great on paper can be not so great in real life. But establishing successes early on in the course of your startup can lead to even more success. It can be a huge morale boost, add credibility to what you are doing and encourage potential customers to check you out. But how do you set your small business up on a fast track for success?

It’s not difficult to get your small business on the fast track for success. With the right mind set and realistic expectations, your startup can flourish. Here’s a few ways to start the fast track for success for your small business.

Aim low

We all know that an entrepreneur is passionate about what they do. Otherwise, they’d do something else. Their little fledgling startup is going to change the course of humankind. And there is a possibility that it might just do that. And Oprah might just be calling you up to see if you’re free for lunch. But if your ambitions are lofty once out of the starting gate, even moderate successes won’t seem up to snuff. It’s best to take a pragmatic approach and set those goals at a realistic level so that you are able to recognize and appreciate the good in your startup.

Start small

Chances are that your startup won’t have offices in every corner of the earth. It would be nice, but it’s going to take a lot of startup capital. And if Warren Buffet isn’t your uncle, then it’s a good idea to scale those ambitions back and concentrate on your local market. Startup costs will be lower, operations costs will be lower, and you’ll have the chance to test your ideas out before taking them to a wider audience. If there’s a chance that things need to be tweaked, then you’ll have the chance to make those revisions. And that saves time and money in the long run.

Go for the easy targets

Sometimes, it’s best to go for those opportunities on our doorsteps. When planning for your startup, you would have already identified the easy targets. The ‘low hanging fruit’. Concentrate on getting results from the easy target, and that will give you the confidence to go after the progressively more elusive (but still relevant) targets.

Make friends

We here at Un_Standard are huge advocates of partnering up with other businesses. After all, two heads are better than one. See if there are any businesses out there that seem to be a natural fit and complimentary to your startup, and see if this new partnership can go after new clients/customers. If the fit is right, then everyone benefits. Time to dust off the Rolodex!

Small Business Website Design Tips: Avoid The Deadly Sins

As a small business, it is critical to make a good first impression. And your website is often times the first place where your customers and potential customers will go for information about you and your company. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s critical that when customers arrive on the frontpage of your website, that they instantly understand who you are and what your business does. And if you neglect your frontpage, then you’re potentially losing customers.
Here are a few basic small business website design tips that every small business needs to double check against. Is your small business website committing any of these deadly sins?

Small Business website design tips number one: make sure that all of your links are working correctly

Have you ever been on a website and clicked on a link only to be taken to the dreaded 404 error page? If a company can’t be bothered to check to see if their website is functioning properly, then it’s probable that they pay the same sort of attention to their customer service, products or user experience. At least, these are the signals that broken links are sending out to potential customers, sending them off to more reputable businesses (i.e. your competition).

Small Business website design tips number two: make sure your contact information is clearly accessible on the home page

A recent survey indicated that over 75% of small businesses don’t have an email link on their homepage. And nearly three-fifths don’t have a telephone number. Customers like having options on how to contact particular companies, so make sure that this information is easy to access. If you’re asking your customers to dig around for ways to get in touch with you, then they’re going to give up and take their business elsewhere.

Small Business website design tips number three: make sure that the images on your home page actually represent what your business does

If you are in the business of paper products, then it’s probably not a good idea to have images of butterflies or family portraits on your home page. As basic as this seems, you’d be surprised how many small businesses elect to put up irrelevant images on their websites. Confused customers can immediately think that this website isn’t what they were looking for and head to the next search entry, immediately taking their potential sale with them.

And also, think twice before you make the images on your homepage do things like shake or spin or play music. They may grab someones attention, but they have a tendency to annoy and irritate, sending those customers away just a quickly as they came.

Small business website design tips number four: be sure to include social media links

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years, you would know that social media can be an extremely powerful way to promote your business. So make sure that you include links to your social media sites on your home page, as well as with your blog articles. It’s a great way to get your name out there, regardless of what you do.

Discover new music by listening to the radio

America turns to the radio as a way to discover new music

Nielsen released their Music 360 report, which found that radio is still the place where the majority of people go to discover new music as opposed to YouTube (48% for radio and 7% for YouTube). Well, those people must be tuning in to other radio stations than I’ve come across that seem to have only twenty songs in their playlist. Or perhaps, Americans are discovering the same twenty songs over and over again.
Anyway, Nielsen discovered that once Americans have discovered that new song, the majority of teens then listen to it on YouTube. iTunes is another hot destination for playing music, running a close third (behind YouTube and the old-fashioned radio). Around half in the survey still listen to their music on CD (remember those?). But interestingly, only 36% bought a physical CD in the previous year compared to 51% who purchased a digital download.

The moral of the story is that people still seem to listen to the radio according to market trends and demographics. And they still seem to discover new music. The results of the survey can be found on the Nielsen website.

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