4 Reasons Why You Need A Social Media Strategy.

If someone asked you what your social media strategy was, would you have an answer?

….or would you have a blank stare and mumble something about how you try to post once a day?

On the surface it seems like the people and businesses you follow are probably online all day sharing stuff as they find it.

And they might.

But most of them are not.

They are working smarter by planning their content ahead of time and using a strategy that encompasses all the platforms they are on.

Why can’t you just post a funny cat gif whenever the mood strikes?

Because you will always feel behind, that you are trying to play catch up, instead of having a solid plan in place.

If you are thinking that creating a whole social media strategy is a lot of work, you are right.

But it’s a lot less work that frantically searching the web at 4 p.m. trying to find some decent content to share.

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Here are 4 reasons why you need a social media strategy for your business:

1. Save time

I know it seems kind of counterintuitive, but here’s the thing, logging into all of your platforms every day and just posting something random is a lot of work.

Instead, you can plan out your posts for the whole month with a couple hours of dedicated planning. Then use a scheduler to load up posts and you can set it and forget it.

You may not even realize how much time you are spending on social media by not working out a strategy. A couple hours of monthly planning will allow you to make sure all your platforms are covered without having to get pulled away from more important things throughout your day just to post.

2. Allows you to post consistently.

Have you ever been done working for the day, or even gotten to the next day to realize you haven’t posted anything on social media in a while? While sometimes ROI of social media activity can seem unimportant, maintaining a consistent involvement in the platform is more likely to get these platforms to show your stuff.

It also shows your current followers that you want to deliver value to them as well as shows potential new followers that you are active and ready to engage.

Having a strategy that tells you want you're going to post when, takes the guesswork (and forgetfulness) out the equation and allows you to have a pipeline full of content ready to be shared.

Schedulers, like Hootsuite, also make it possible for you to schedule posts ahead of time so you can be off on vacation and everyone will think you are still hard at work.

3. Run campaigns using all platforms

There are a number of different platforms that your business could have profiles on. If you are posting different kinds of things on all these platforms, you are going to have a confused brand message.

Likewise, if you have a new product or service you are launching, you want to make sure that it’s being broadcast to all your channels, not just one. So say you are launching a new product, you can write an article that would be shared on Facebook, short videos of it being used in action on Twitter and Instagram Stories, as well of real life shots on Instagram. You can schedule these all out ahead of time. This allows you to make the most of your campaign by using all of the platforms in ways that complement each other.

4. Intentionality

Creating a social media strategy allows you to really think about the messaging that you want your business to portray. You are in control of what you are posting making sure it has high value for your followers and positions you as an expert.

This allows you to make sure you are sharing things of value. It also creates a measure for how you decide which content you will share. You will be able to tell if something misses the mark, which will only help your credibility.

5. Outsourcing

If you ever get to the point where you are ready to hand off the management of your social media, having a strategy in place will allow the manger to see what you are doing and follow in your footsteps.

It will cut down on training time, as well as allow them to understand how you operate. They can then help you evaluate what is working and what might be worth changing in the future.

Conclusion

Having a great plan will help not only help you have a strong brand awareness, but it will allow you to work smarter not harder on your social media growth. By taking a few hours a month to plan out what kinds of content you are going to share, you can be sure to provide consistent value to your followers and create brand awareness with little stress and more time to work on the things that truly matter in your business.

I’d love to know in the comments how you plan your social media strategy! 

 

5 Reasons Why Your Facebook Page Is Not Growing

Facebook is the biggest social media platform out there. It is also the trickiest.

If you have been growing a Facebook page for a while you know how frustrating it can be to post content day after day and have it reach little to no one. Having to understand algorithm changes doesn’t help either.

So you hit the web and search for ways to make your Facebook page more appealing. You join the share groups and spend all your time reciprocating favors with little positive result to show.

Now what?

Is Facebook dead?

No, it’s not dead. It more alive than ever.

According to Techcrunch.com, Facebook has now reached 2 billion users.

You know what that means?

Your target market is there, you just need to find them.

Let’s look at some things that are probably turning them off:

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1. Posting sporadically.

Posting sporadically means your audience will never know when they hear from you. They don’t have time to wonder whether or not you are going to show up. They are going to go find your competitor who is ready to interact  on a regular basis.

This doesn’t mean you will have to spend all day every day on Facebook. Your time is way more valuable than that. You can easily schedule posts in Facebook or with a third party scheduler, such as Buffer, and have the posts running for you automatically.

At minimum you should be shooting for a post per day. If you can create or find content to share more often, feel free to increase the amount, just make sure it’s regular.

2. Posting too much.

Its very easy to think that posting more often increases your chances of having your content seen, but that’s not true. Facebook wants to show people what they are interested in and if you are posting lots of content the chances are people are not going to engage with it.

And guess what, no engagement = not getting seen.

If people don’t interact with your content, Facebook assumes it’s not important or valuable and will decide to not show it.

Posting quality over quantity is going to be the key here.

3. Posting whatever you want.

One of the dangers when posting on Facebook is to post stuff that you find interesting that has no relevance with your customers. You want your page to be known for something. Do you want to be encouraging, informative, funny? Pick one theme for the type of content your readers/customers will find.

This will attract your customers to your page as they see that you are always going to be sharing that information they are interested in. Of course you can always throw in some other things to keep it fresh, but for the majority of your posting, you should be concentrating on one theme for your content.

4. You aren’t creating value.

Who doesn’t love a funny GIF?

Answer: Nobody.

If your page is only GIFs you are going to have trouble getting people to stay around and interact, because it’s not helping them in any way.

Entertaining, yes.

Adding value? Not so much.

Whether you create the content yourself, or you share content created by others, you want to be sharing things that will be helpful and add value. If you are a real estate agent, you could be sharing home improvement or decorating tips. Financial planner? Share personal finance tips.

Giving away value will position you as an authority, and keep your customers coming back as well as point their friends your way as well.


5. You don’t ask.

It is probably one of the most overlooked ways to increase your likes, but ask.

Ask in email, in your blog content, in the flyers you mail. This let’s people know you are active. In your Facebook posts, ask your customers to like, comment, or share your content.

If you have been focusing on providing valuable content, your readers will be all the more happy to interact with you.

Conclusion

There are so many different ways and tactics out there for growing your Facebook page but they all really boil down to consistently showing up and posting useful, relevant content.

Instead of focusing on tips and tricks, use your time to create a schedule and find great content that is relevant to your customers.

I’d love to hear your best tip for growing your Facebook page. Let me know below!

Why Every Business Needs A Website

In society today, everyone needs a website. We are in that day in age where your business needs a good amount of technology to be seen or heard. Now I’m sure you already know this, but do you know why you need a website? You most likely already have a website, but are you using it for its full capabilities?

Here I will discuss the top reasons why one should have a website and how it will help your business get recognized by your target audience. 

Easier To Be Noticed

Our society is all about the internet these days. With that in mind, every business needs to be online.  According to Google, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. That is a crazy amount of searches, but that is where our society has come to. Because of that, you need a website. Social Media has become a place for you to advertise your business, but a website helps you gives you more credibility. It gives your business a home online for people to be able to find you and see what you offer.

Display Your Products And Services

Are you answering the same questions over and over again about your business and the services or products that it provides? Do you feel like you forget about some of the services that you provide when talking to clients? A website is a perfect place for that. A website is the place for you to go into detail about what services or products that you offer. This also helps when you have a client referred to you and then can see everything that you offer in detail and help you make a sale!

Now I do believe that all businesses should have a website, but this doesn’t mean you should just throw up a bunch of stuff and call it good. It takes a lot of thought and time to figure out what you are wanting to communicate with your target audience through your website. You don’t need to have a ton of pages for all the pictures and content, you just need to have a crisp, clean, simple, and professional website that signifies what your brand is about.

Bond With Your Target Audience

One thing that is most important when having a website is connecting and bonding with your target audience. Even if you don’t have a blog, the content on your website is there to help you bond and tell your story with your audience. It’s a great place for you to have your contact information so that they can reach out to you. It also gives them links to your social media accounts so they follow along with you and stay updated with the projects that you are doing.

Expansion Of Your Brand

Your brand expands across your social media, to your website, and to your services or products. A website helps improve the online presence of your brand. It tells your potential clients about what your brand is all about. With having a website for you brand, it’s a place for your potential clients to come learn about what you offer, become followers, and then eventually become customers. It’s important that your website is a good representation of your brand and communicating with your potential clients the message you want them to receive. Your website should be a true representation about your brand by focusing on the right people to help build your brand.

Do you have other reasons why one should have a website? Is your website helping you convert potential clients into followers and customers? Share in the comments!

5 Reasons Why I Only Use Squarespace

Everybody has their own preference on which website platforms they like. Many enjoy using WordPress, Wix, Weebly, ProPhoto, and many others. As a frequent Squarespace user, I absolutely love it. There are some other articles that talk about Sqaurespace and I thought I would add my opinion to the mix to shed some more light on how a Squarespace site can benefit you and your business.

Always Nice to Look at- Any Squarespace website I have seen has always looked nice. Squarespace has a variety of wonderful templates that are all customizable to your need. The templates give a fresh, clean, and bright look to help your business look professional. If you are just starting out, whether you are a business or a blogger, Squarespace will give you that professional look at an affordable rate.

Easy To Use- This is a huge benefit of Squarespace. For people who may not have a lot of design experience, this is the platform for you to use. Squarespace makes it easy to add pages, publish blog posts, different widgets to customize, and drag-and-drop features to help you customize the website the way you want it to look. I use Squarespace with my clients for this reason. When they need to update their website, it will be easy to teach them how to use the website and how to keep it updated. 

Affordable- Buying a website is expensive, especially if you are just starting out. Squarespace makes having a website affordable with starting at $12.99 a month. With it, comes 20+ pages, 2 contributors, fully integrated e-commerce, 24/7 customer support, and more. For a list and other plans with Squarespace, click here and learn more.

Great Customer Support- I know we all hope we never have to call customer service for anything. However, there have been a couple times when I first starting using Squarespace where I had to contact customer support to figure out problems. They answered every one of my questions, helped me through the process, and was just all-around friendly to talk to. I was on the phone for an extra 10 minutes because the customer support rep wanted to know about my business. Definitely a surprise and made me enjoy the experience I had with them.

Mobile-Friendly- This is a huge part of websites today. Having a mobile-friendly website is very crucial for your site as people today spend about 75% of their time on their phones. Having a mobile-friendly website gives your website that more professional look and easy to read. Other website platforms make you pay extra to have your website mobile-optimized. All Squarespace sites are mobile-optimized for phones and tablets. 

Are you still wanting to learn more about how to use Squarespace? Stay tuned for the launch of a FREE Ebook about how to use Squarespace for your business. If you have any questions or topics you would like see discussed in the EBook, leave a comment!  

 

 

4 Reasons Why You Should Hire A Designer

As a business owner, I understand the need to want to do everything yourself. The more you do yourself for your business, the more you save. However, that may not always be the best course of action. Designing your brand can be a very time consuming project if you don’t have the design skills, or want to learn design. There are so many aspects to building a business and having a well-designed brand will help you take your business to the next level.

Hiring a designer is a huge decision. It is something that you are investing in and should be taken seriously. You may be getting to that point where you need a designer to help you create your brand and establish an online presence for your business. There are many reasons to hire a designer, but I’m going to touch base on the ones that I answer the most often.

Time- This is the most common reason I see with small business owners. Starting up a business requires a lot of your time, and I know that from experience. And I said it before, you want to try and do everything yourself so you can save money. Even though you may save money, you may not harness the skills it takes to build and create a brand. You can most certainly learn to design yourself. But is that the best use of your time? By hiring a designer, you take that pressure off you and save yourself time. A designer will already know how to design and help you create a consistent brand for your business within a better time frame.

Professionalism- By hiring a professional designer, your brand will look more professional. This is a huge part that some small business owners overlook. Your audience will be able to tell if your brand was not designed professionally, and that could turn them away. You want to make sure it looks professional so that you gain the respect your brand deserves. By having a professional designer design your brand, your audience will take your brand seriously.

Simplify- A good designer will be able to help simplify your thoughts. You may have a vision of what you want and your designer will be able to put it into action and implement it into your brand. You may only know what you like and don’t like. You may have some ideas in your head but can’t get them out on paper the way you want.  A professional designer will be able to help you figure out your thoughts, the styles you like, what you don’t like, and move your brand in the right direction that it should be going.

Consistency- Having a cohesive and consistent brand is what will make your business soar. A designer will be able to help with that by making sure your logo, website, and marketing materials are all align with the same consistency of your brand. Once you and your designer talk about your vision and mission, they will be able to take it and form one flawless design.

If you start to notice that you are spending way too much time on trying to design your website, create a logo, and design graphics for your website, it may be time to hire a designer. By hiring a designer, they can take that stress off you and help you take your business to the next level.

Have you discovered other reasons why you should hire a designer? Share your experience! 

Why Branding Is Important

Many people believe that branding a company is just in your logo. Branding does include your logo, but there is more to it than that. Branding is the image of your company. It defines your company to your clients. 

What are some of your favorite companies that you are loyal to by brand? For me, Apple is a brand that I know for exceptional products and service. Chick-Fil-A, I know for amazing chicken nuggets and chick-fil-a sauce. Bed Bath & Beyond, I know for all my kitchen essentials. Think about all the brands that you love and think about what they offer you to gain your loyalty to their brand. 

Through my years in branding, I have learned 4 components of Why Branding Is Important.

Professionalism- When I have conversations with people of why branding matters this was always the first answer to come up. You want your brand to give the image of professionalism. When people see professionalism in your brand, they will take you seriously and respect your brand. You could be new to the business, but depending on how to present your business and brand, people could think you have been in business for years and wouldn't know if you were just starting out.

Recognizability- What brands do you recognize most without having their logos present? Is it your favorite restaurant? Your favorite store? If you walked into this particular store, you would see red polos with khaki pants, and red shopping carts. Target is known for their employees to be wearing red polos and khaki pants. As soon as you walk in, you see the red carts too. If your brand is consistent with its colors, fonts, etc., people will be able to recognize your brand without your logo.

Memorability- We live in a very visual society. We remember brands by their appearance. I know for me if I saw a well crafted video for a brand, I will remember it. Think of any well crafted commercials you've seen for brands and remember to this day. What stuck with you about it? I know for me, the first Gatorade commercial I ever saw was featuring Michael Jordan dunking a basketball. So immediately when I think of gatorade, I think of basketball and Michael Jordan. If your clients have a great experience working with you, they will remember when they are talking to others who might be in need of your services.

Trust- I know for me, I can trust a brand by how consistent they are throughout their business. If the company's website, logo, social media, and marketing materials remain consistent, I know that I could trust them to do the same for me if I were to be a client in need. By having a company that people trust, you will gain more sales, clients, and followers.

Share your experiences with branding and why you think it is important! 

 

 

 

5 Lessons I Learned As A Young Business Owner

In my first two years of business, I have learned many lessons. It has been an adventure to learn about business, how to market, protocols for how to do business, and learning from other entrepreneurs in the field. Of course there were many times at the beginning where I would want to give up and think that I can't do it. Honestly, that is part of the process. It's getting past the fear that you have when you start a business.

I'm sharing the 5 most valuable lessons I have learned and that have helped me to where I am today. 

You can't always get what you want....unless you work. We all know that song and there is some truth to it. You can't always get what you want.....unless you work for it. It takes a lot of hard work to get a business off the ground, make a profit, and keep going. It can be very hard to want to keep going when you find out all the stuff that you need to do to succeed. Don't let that scare you. Being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding times of my life and I know that it can be that way for you too. Your hard work will pay off. 

People may try to take advantage of your services at first. When you start a new business, your main focus is gaining a client. When you start out, your prices will start off at a certain point until you gain more credibility and business and then you can raise your prices. At the beginning, people may try to get you to lower the price because you may be a young entrepreneur that they think they can negotiate with. One of my biggest mistakes was lowering my prices to get the client. If you have a starting price and you know that you are worth it, don't back down! You are worth the price you set and if they want to pay you less then what you are worth, they may not be the client you want in the first place. Stick to your pricing. You will find clients that are worth your time and will pay you what you deserve. 

You will make mistakes....and that is a good thing. My motto is: 

"If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough."

Being an entrepreneur is a hard job and you will learn about what works and what does not. We learn from our mistakes and that makes us better entrepreneurs.

Don't be afraid to ask. This was hard for me at first. I didn't want to show weakness by asking for help, which made this one of my first mistakes. Asking for help gives you insight on how things will turn out and help prevent you from making mistakes. Asking helps you learn more from people who have experience in your industry, and that will benefit you in the long run. 

You won't see results happen overnight. This was another issue I had a problem grasping. I'm an optimist. So immediately when I come up with an idea, I expect to it to happen and show results right away. I learned the hard way at the beginning that I won't make money overnight. It takes time to build up a business, gain clients, create a process on how work is to be done, and overall make a profit from doing something you love. It may take time, but it will be worth it in the end when you can make money doing something that you love. 

Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. I can finally vouch for this saying now. I'm extremely blessed by all that I have learned and now everyday I get to do what I love. 

What are lessons that you have learned from being an entrepreneur?

How to Find Your Style of Photography

Everyone has a different style of photography that they like. Some people prefer the light and airy look, some like a more crisp and clean look, and some like a more dark and shadowy look. You name it. 

In the creative business, everyone looks at your style of your brand. They will look at your colors, your logo, and they will look at your photos. Whether you are a blogger, event planner or a photographer, photos is what captures your audience attention. 

So how do you create a style that you love and want to be recognized for? 

Photography Style
  • Research. One way to find out what kinds of photography that you like is to look at photos. If you search on Pinterest for the type of photos you are looking for, you will get plenty of examples of photos from other photographers. Maybe you even like a certain photographers style. Look and see what aspects of their photography you like and don't like. Maybe you like that they are bright but you would like to see more color. Write down your notes for you to fall back on.

  • Practice. Practice makes perfect. After researching the aspects of photography you like and you don't like, going out and capturing photos will help. This way you are getting hands on experience with figuring out if want more exposure in your photographs or if you want them a little darker. This also gives you a chance to work with posing your objects, whether they be people or an object you designed or are recommending.

  • Editing. Editing gives you the chance to really play around with what style you are trying to achieve. I use Lightroom as my main editing program and it is by far one of the best editing programs I've used. Lightroom gives you the tools to create your style. You can adjust exposure, contrast, different colors you might want standing out, and more. You may end up trying a few different styles until you find the one that represents your brand the most.

When I first got started with photography, it took me 6 months-1 year to really find my style and what I wanted my clients to receive. For some it comes easier, for some it can be more difficult. Just remember. Once you find your style, make sure you keep it consistent throughout your whole company. Your work will be noticed by how consistent your brand is.

What are some other principles that helped you find your style?

The Start of Aleta Marie

Hello and welcome to the blog! I am excited to introduce, Aleta Marie, formerly known as Four Seasons Media. Aleta Marie provides branding services to help business owners thrive in their industry.

This first started as Four Seasons Media back in 2014, which focused on branding, social media management, videography and photography. The more I was working with clients, the more I realized that most businesses struggle to keep their brand consistent and are in need of a brand stylist to help them. Earlier this year, I decided it was time to rebrand my company to focus on branding and helping businesses understand how having a consistent brand can help them succeed.

I still enjoy all the aspects of social media, videography, and photography. With my knowledge in those categories, I can't wait to write about how they can also keep your brand consistent. 

I've redesigned my brand so that I only take on a limited number of clients at a time so that I can give them the attention they deserve while designing for their company. With this process, the client will get their  whole branding package at a much faster turn-around time than other designers.

This is a very exciting time for Aleta Marie as well. My husband and I are expecting a little baby girl due this October. I'm so glad that I can work from home to be with her everyday. 

Very exciting time around here! Feel free to contact me with any branding questions you may have!