Each month we are inviting a successful business mind to share insights and advice helpful to SME owners. This month we have Miss Milli B - blogger, writer, trend consultant www.missmillib.blogspot.com.
Here she answers some of our questions:
What is the hardest lesson you've had to learn?
"Don't start a business with a friend. Rather let your business partner become your friend than the other way around."
In your opinion, what is the best way to market a small business?
"It's important to plan. Take it step by step and implement incrementally. While it's important to always attract new customers and gain new interest, it is equally important to cherish the relationships of your existing customers by building loyalty and trust."
Tell us 5 steps to using Social Media to market your business:
- Choose the right channels for your customers. If your audience is on Facebook, use Facebook. If they are more likely to be on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, consider those channels.
- Write down your objectives and a content strategy so you get a clear focus of what you want to use social media for and how it can help you.
- Think of different content types you can use on your channel - product news, company news, your key thoughts and opinion pieces on your industry, or interesting content you have seen on other websites
- Make a content calendar, where you allocate one topic per day that you will write about. This will help you plan the month better so you spread out your ideas, and prevent you getting into a rut.
- Understand that your channel will be used as a Customer Service line, and be prepared to answer questions and provide support to your customers.
What are the Top 3 things to consider when choosing the right channels for your business?
- How experienced are you on that channel? As you will be responsible for managing the profile, you have to be sure you are comfortable with the platform and how to use it optimally.
- How much time can you spend on the channel? Twitter is good for quick, punchy updates with a short shelf life, but if you like to spend time crafting your posts and your images, you want them to live on through Facebook or Pinterest.
- Which channels do your customers use? It will be easier to speak to them in the environment they are already in, as opposed to trying to recruit them to the channel you choose to use.
What are the 4 most handy websites every small business owner should use and why?
- Google Alerts: so you know when people are writing about your brand or your business on the internet
- Hootsuite: for managing all your social accounts from one place and reviewing what other people are saying about you
- Alexa: for comparing your website ranking against your competitors
- Google Analytics: to track all your website data - how many visitors you've had, where they came from, which pages they searched for, etc
What is the hardest part about starting your own business?
"Starting your own business means sacrificing comfort and security, but when you are driven by that kind of passion, you rebuild your life around new ideas of comfort."
Visit our business advice page for more useful tips.