The very first thing we do with our clients is always to figure out their target demographic, AKA their ideal customer (which we talked about in this marketing blog, if you want a refresher). This is such an important step because, depending on who you want to reach, the way you go about it will be completely different. If 75% of your clients are Baby Boomers… odds are, SnapChat is a waste of time, but ads on search engines and targeted email campaigns are a great place to focus your marketing efforts. If your target audience is Millennials or Gen Z, you virtually HAVE to be on Instagram. But we’ll get to more of that later… Basically, before you do anything else, you need to figure out who you are currently selling to and also who you want to reach, then determine where those people are buying products or booking services: digitally or in-store? And if digitally, what platforms are they using?

Where Is Your Target Customer?

One thing is true across every generation—consumers are buying online. According to a recent study, 2/3 of Millennials prefer buying online vs. in-store. While Gen X is about 50/50, and Baby Boomers are 60/40 in favor of buying in-store over online.

So everyone is online, but where exactly are they? The term “online” is too vague for today’s world. Where are they buying? Social media? Amazon? Google? Email?

Social Media use is declining across the board with Millennials and Gen Z except on one platform: Instagram. Gen Z is also continually present on SnapChat. However, Gen X is the most active on Facebook, while Boomers are also active on Facebook but make many of their purchasing decisions from emails or results on search engines.

While numbers may be down, Millennials and Gen Z are still absolutely using social media, mainly Instagram, to purchase products. And Gen X and Baby Boomers are also on social media, but they’re less likely to use it as a tool for shopping decisions. So where are the older generations purchasing online?

Here’s a closer look at different statistics and strategies by generation:

Baby Boomers

Many people assume Baby Boomers don’t buy online, which couldn’t be further from the truth. They absolutely do. In fact, the top 3 ways to reach them are television, search engines, and email marketing. Baby Boomers are actually way more likely to purchase from search results on Google or Bing than from social media.

While print-based direct marketing is often used to target Baby Boomers, recent studies show that they aren’t engaging with direct mail and brochures/catalogs like they used to. Print materials and radio are no longer likely to get Baby Boomers to move online to learn more. However, television has still been found more effective in getting Baby Boomers to find out more information about what they saw, and then purchase online.

So, if your target audience is between the ages of 55 and 75, you should absolutely be upping your SEO and email marketing strategies and using your marketing budget there rather than on print collateral or social media ads.

Gen X

Generation X is a fancy name for people born between 1965 & 1980. This generation has way fewer people than Millennials or Baby Boomers… but don’t count them out. Even though they’re a smaller generation, they have huge purchasing power. On average, their income is higher than the national average as well as the averages of all the other generations.

Gen X-ers still have a fondness of traditional TV and newspapers, but they also research online. So, if you’re running TV commercials or even newspaper ads, you’ll still want to make sure your online presence is strong. If your online presence is weak, Gen X won’t buy.

Here are some recent Gen X statistics:

Since such a high percentage of Generation X-ers use Facebook, this is the social media platform to use to market to them.

One great thing about Gen X-ers is that they are extremely brand loyal. So, if you can get them in the door and give them a good experience, they will stay.

Here’s a tip—make sure to reward loyalty in some way, whether it’s a discount or fee item after a certain amount of purchases, or just with a nice thank you email. This will go a long way with Gen X.


So, how do you get and keep the ever elusive Millennials?

Well, we can tell you for sure that sales isn’t it. Millennials are a tough crowd to please, and if you push too hard for a sale, they’re bound to pull away, because most Millennials are turned off by traditional sales and ads.

Millennials are definitely not going to be “sold to” easily. They need to believe in something to purchase it. And Millennials, more than any other generation, use multiple sources of information to form their opinions. For example, they’ll look to reviews, comments, friends’ opinions, and more to decide what products they can trust.

Millennials love to be involved and feel a part of a community with a brand. They often want to feel they are a part of co-creating something useful or relevant.

So find ways to include them…. Ask their advice via Instagram comments, engage in polls in your Instagram Stories. Maybe do a giveaway or contest for the best idea. Millennials will give you GREAT ideas, and they’ll also feel a part of a community. That’s a huge win for both of you.

So, whether you grab their attention via Instagram, Facebook, or email marketing, Millennials want to know your “why.” They want to hear your story because that’s largely what draws them in. Once you’ve drawn them in, they’ll stay if you continue to offer them great customer service and a great product.

Influencer Marketing is a great way to catch them because the influencer is often sharing your story with them as well as a personal note about why they love the product or service. Here’s a recent article on Influencer Marketing if you want to learn more about that. Influencer marketing is a new word of mouth tactic that has worked very well with Millennials and Gen Z. Additionally, brand ambassador programs are hugely effective if positioned correctly.

Gen Z

Speaking of Gen Z, AKA anyone born between 1996 and 2010, it is a BIG generation, outnumbering Millennials by about a million. Gen Z is also the first truly digital generation from birth. Gen Z-ers spend almost 75% of their leisure time online. Let. That. Sink. In. That’s a lot of time! They’re constantly bombarded by content and advertising and have been their whole lives, so a lot of it can easily become white noise.

Gen Z, more than any other generation, sees technology as a tool for social change. Unlike Millennials who have historically complained online, Gen Z makes moves.

Gen Z wants to change the world, and brands will need to take note. Social and environmental causes have been a big deal for Millennials, but they are almost necessary for Gen Z. Think sea turtles and plastic straws. Gen Z has made HUGE moves in changing brands, and we aren’t talking small companies. We’re talking Starbucks, American Airlines, and United to name a few.

All this to say, marketers must think about social causes when engaging with Gen Z-ers. They want to know you care about waste, fair wages, sustainability, and other causes. So show them that you do.

They’re not reading the paper or watching cable… but you can grab them on SnapChat, Tik Tok, and Instagram. And get some influencers on board with your team.


So again, where are your people? Go there. What works for one age can make another one run, so learn about them and meet them where they’re at. Here’s a recent article that highlights the amount of time each generation is spending on different platforms.

And as always, if you need help, you know where to find us. ????

“Influencer” is a huge buzz word lately. Some see it as a career, some as a joke, and others don’t really know what it means. Simply put, an influencer is someone who either gets paid to promote a product or service on their own social media channels, or someone who trades free goods/services for the same promotion. The bigger an influencer’s following, the more money they can potentially make. But what do influencers have to do with small business?

Using a micro-influencer—or in other words a niche influencer with fewer than 100,000 followers—could be a great marketing tool for your small business, depending on your industry. For example, we probably wouldn’t recommend anyone in professional services to use an influencer. However, a business selling physical products or services like estheticians, gyms, boutiques, and restaurants could greatly benefit from working with a micro-influencer.

It’s a newer marketing tactic, but one that seems to have a pretty good ROI, depending on the influencer you choose. Face it, word of mouth is the hands down best marketing there is with the best ROI (AKA: $Free.99). We happen to think that done correctly, working with an influencer could be a close second. After all, it is much like word of mouth, just with an added exchange of goods and/or money. Most people are more likely to use a product or service someone recommends over just simply seeing an ad. The combination of the two is also a great double exposure, but that’s a different blog for a different time. ????

Types of Micro-influencers

1. Media Companies – There are a few media companies that utilize Instagram here locally in Greenville that we absolutely love. Their Instagram pages have a large, extremely local audience. So they’re a great asset to small businesses. A feature of your product/service could get a ton of local exposure using one of these. These are usually paid for and priced by the amount and type of posts you get.

2. Industry-Specific Influencers – These are influencers who focus on a single niche and stick to promotions and sponsorships that fit with their brand image. Athletes and beauty bloggers are a great example of an industry specific influencer. These influencers usually have fewer followers, but because their reach is so targeted, they can be a great fit for companies in their industry.

3. General Influencers & Bloggers – These are people who have a more broad audience and a more broad type of post/content that they offer. Their following usually comes from their public status. Typically these influencers focus on a few industries or interest areas, as opposed to just one. Both general influencers and industry specific influencers can be paid per post, or offered a trade/free goods and/or services in exchange for a post (and that largely depends on the size of their following, no pun intended. ????)

So, how do you know which person/type of person to work with? Or should you even work with an influencer at all? We’re here to help! Picking the right influencers is all based on a few signs of how well they do their job.

How to Choose A Micro-Influencer

1. Engagement – Do the influencer’s followers seem legit? Are they local? Real people? Are they regularly engaged on their posts? Thankfully, Instagram has been cracking down on “bots” and bought followers, so that may be less common going forward, which is great for a company using an influencer! Still, it’s a good idea to make sure their following is genuine. There are a few ways to tell, but the best way is to take into account the size of their following compared to the amount of likes/comments they receive per post. If they have a ton of followers, but not many comments, chances are those followers may be purchased. And if they aren’t, they still aren’t engaged enough to take a recommendation from that person.

You want to make sure their following is engaging with their posts on a regular basis by liking and commenting, for two reasons. First, if the audience really values what this person adds to their feed enough to stop the scroll and hit like, or to take even more time to leave a comment. Now for the second reason— if the audience values that person’s content so much, that means they would also most likely value their opinion on a product/service they might be promoting. And that’s a huge plus when working with a micro-influencer!

2. Authenticity – Try not to work with someone who has bought followers, if they have more followers than engagement, they probably aren’t very authentic. Try to steer clear of someone who seems overly salesy, lacks a personal touch, and/or may be inclined to do the bare minimum for each sponsored post.

Look at their feed and stories to see if they have promoted a product or service before. Did they go above and beyond? Was it personable? Genuine? Or did it seem like they were just trying to get through it for a paycheck or free stuff?

Honestly for this one, you have to use your intuition. If you have a weird feeling about a person and think they may not uphold their end of the deal, chances are you’re right. Here’s one example of a famous influencer not really holding up their end of the trade and a company suing them for the price of the product they gave them. This obviously may not be the scale of a product/service you’d provide to a local micro-influencer, but it’s still a good lesson in choosing an influencer with integrity!

3. Potential Interest in Your Product/Service – A really easy way to find a micro-influencer who will genuinely promote your product or service is to choose one who may have a natural affinity for what you offer! If it’s a fashion blogger who wears the type of clothes you provide, she’ll probably love working with you. See a fun mommy blogger? She may really love your kid’s accessories and clothes and be so excited to trade some posts for products… after all, kids are expensive! If it’s an athlete, they may love promoting your relaxation and healing massages. And a local foodie would be perfect to snap a pic at your restaurant. Get creative!

Most people can tell if someone genuinely likes something they’re promoting, so finding someone who would naturally want what you’re selling is just a plain win-win for everyone.


We think using local micro-influencers could be a really good move for small businesses, but make sure you do your research and follow your gut. A big following (even a super local one) doesn’t AUTOMATICALLY mean you’ve struck gold. Make sure that person is hard working, has integrity, and is genuinely going to keep up their end of the bargain and promote your product or service to the best of their ability.

As always, if you have any questions or if you need help finding a local influencer to form a relationship with, we’d love to help! Happy influencing!

Anyone ever made a cold call? ✋ Probably all of us. Anyone enjoy them? Probably a very small minority of people… extreme extroverts only. ???? So, that begs the question: if we all hate cold calls, then why are we doing them?

Put it this way— if you’re starving and someone offers you a fishing pole or a pack of seeds, which would you take? The fishing pole, of course. Cold calls are like fishing. They’re useful when you need a client now, and we get it. Cold calls let you survive another day, like fishing for dinner. That’s also the biggest issue with cold calls: If that’s your only real way to gain clients, the cycle will never end. You’ll be making sales calls FOREVER. But we’ve been there— survivor sales. Also known as a traditional Outbound Sales Funnel (AKA, fishing). At the end of 1,000 cold calls, you have 10 clients, a headache, and an emotional breakdown. Then you get to start over again.

Here’s a little quip from one of our owners Joanna about her time in that cycle:

“When we relocated from NC to Greenville, SC, I knew that I would need to do the hard work to find clients. Along with attending dozens of networking events, I spent hours upon hours making cold calls or sending cold emails. And I hated it. But I have three kids who eat a lot, so I had no option. But I refused to accept the fate of cold calling every day forever. So I made a choice. I would keep on ‘fishing’ but I would ALSO plant some seeds. I began putting a long-term plan in place that is paying off now. At this point, I literally can’t remember my last cold call but the clients keep flowing in.”

SO, what can you do to get out of the survivor sales cycle? Our suggestion is: DO BOTH! Keep fishing if you need to now, because you gotta eat. But also plant some seeds to invest in long-term growth. And you can do that through creating what’s known as an Inbound Funnel.

Goal of an inbound funnel is to, instead of going after clients, simply take steps. You plant seeds to attract clients, then you water them so they come to you, then you get to harvest the crops. (Can you tell we love a good plant metaphor? ????)

At surface level, the funnels can seem similar, but when you break them down, you’ll see the clear differences. Plus, perhaps the biggest difference comes in step 4. Stay tuned. ????

1. Create Awareness

Potential clients won’t come to you unless they know you exist. Crazy, right? So the best way to get your name out there is to use a variety of methods. The more methods you use, the broader your funnel will be. In the farming metaphor, think of planting a variety of crops. Ideas for exposure? Most exposure methods are free/cheap but you can amp up your funnel by paying. Check out our handy dandy graphic for ideas for free vs. paid exposure.

2. Build Value & Trust

After exposure is executed, potential customers may visit your website, visit your store, or follow you on social media. Caution: Do not try to switch back to fishing and scare them away. Step 2 in a sustainable inbound funnel takes time. Many people fear losing the customer’s attention so they jump to sales again. Yes, short attention spans are real and they may lose focus, so using forms to gather contact info is okay, but don’t start a hard sell just yet. The natural progression is awareness, discovery, interest. The jump from discovery to interest is difficult because no one wants to be “sold,” so the marketing/sales tactics need to be balanced with building trust/goodwill.

So how do you do that?

  1. Offer Valuable Free Resources
  2. Testimonials & Customer Reviews
    • Ask your customers/clients to write you a positive review online. In fact, we wrote a whole blog about how to do this well and why they’re beneficial. Check it out here.
  3. Insider Info
    • Meet-the-team posts add a personal story and help viewers get to know you in a low-pressure setting.
    • Sharing industry secrets by blog or social media can be a huge advantage for you over your more tight-lipped competitors.
  4. Features v. Benefits
    • Keep touching on the benefits of your business or product rather than just the features. People make purchasing decisions based on benefits, not features.
  5. Nurture Interest
    • Whether through email, social media, blogs, etc., make sure your customers see a product that meets their need(s) several times.

3. Close the Sale

You are still not a salesman here. We repeat. Not a salesman. ???? This isn’t time to “reel them in;” it’s time to reap the harvest. BUT When the customer shows true consideration (fills out a form, adds item to cart, asks for price quote), you need processes in place to help convert them. Some things to consider here:

  1. Ease of purchase: Can they do so without having to call? Is it intuitive? Do you accept various payment methods?
  2. Incentivize purchase: This may include increased direct marketing (call or email), coupon codes, limited-time introductory offers (positioned as only ONE TIME).

4. Create a Sustainable Funnel

The initial sale conversion isn’t the end. It is simply the beginning of the customer relationship journey and start of constantly refilling your funnel. If your whole funnel ends after a single purchase, your funnel isn’t sustainable. Here are a few great ways to create a sustainable funnel through customer relationship and retention

  1. Multiple Purchases: Could customers buy more than one of your products? How about a subscription model? How about a discount on second purchases in the same month? A loyalty program.
  2. Replacement Purchases: If customers won’t need multiple products, how long until they need a replacement? Do you have a long-term marketing plan in place that keeps the customer in contact until that time? Should you offer loyalty incentives? Email marketing and social media work great in this long-term plan.
  3. Complementary Products: What complements your product? If you know they will need another product in conjunction with yours, selling that complementary product not only gives you another sales channel, but also it’s good customer service. People like convenience.
  4. Customer Service: Go above and beyond expectations. Create a culture so your employees know to do the same. Great customer service creates a sales force of brand advocates, because content customers just come back. Surprised customers tell others!


Speaking of telling others, word of mouth is the best way to get you inbound leads, and by the way, it has the absolute best ROI you can ever get. So, ask customers to leave you reviews. Ask them to share with a friend for them both to get an incentive. “Ask and you shall receive…” That’s a popular saying for a reason!

And if you go above and beyond to thank customers who advocate for you by sending a hand-written thank you note, sending a gift card, or mentioning them on social media, they will feel validated as an important part of your company story, which they are! And then they’ll be more likely to continue to advocate for you. Advocates help fill your funnel with potential customers that are not only aware, but already have trust and are ready to convert. This cycle will grow, and soon you will be done with sales. Woohoo! We’re so excited about the potential of that, we’re leaving you with another awesome graphic.

Social Media can either seem pretty straight forward or it can feel overwhelming (depending on the day, AM I RIGHT? ????), and Instagram may be the biggest culprit. With constant changes in things like algorithms, a need to curate the perfect feed, and a steady stream of new features, keeping up can feel like a full-time job! So we’re going to take a few minutes today to let you know about some new updates with Instagram and break down some of the most popular features.

Instagram started as a simple feed of photos with cool filters, meant for users to share their everyday adventures in real time. But it has morphed into a huge social network full of photos, stories, IGTV, GIFs, and video clips all fighting for attention. While it’s still used for personal documentation, it’s also become a huge platform for businesses, marketers, and influencers to interact with and grow their audiences.

In recent years it’s turned into probably the most “curated” part of social media, where presets, Photoshop, advertisements, and fake smiles can make a lot of people wonder if they measure up. But that could all be changing…

The Grid

If you don’t know what the grid is. It’s another way of saying your personal Instagram page, or profile. Here’s a look at our grid as of late:

When Instagram started, there really wasn’t any focus on how the grid looked. No one even thought of it, but as Instagram became a tool for marketing, whether to promote a business or to advertise as an influencer, there became this obsession with how the grid looked to potential customers. The thought was (and mostly still is) that if someone visits your profile and your grid is messy, you won’t attract them as a customer as easily as your grid is very cohesive.

The Aesthetic

Over time, a lot of people got tired of the perceived perfection from businesses, influencers, and even just personal Instagram users. And content creators got tired of spending so many hours thinking about exactly what order to put photos in to make the perfect grid. So now we’re seeing a steady change towards an “anti-Instagram aesthetic” from many popular influencers, especially younger ones. After a few years of perfect profiles with filtered presets, it looks like we may be experiencing somewhat of a shift, with an article in The Atlantic suggesting that the ‘Instagram Aesthetic’ is over.

This article in The Atlantic was really about influencers. But if you’re reading this, you’re probably not a famous influencer. You’re probably a hard-working small business owner, trying to put food on the table and grow your business. So how does all of this affect you on Instagram? The reason we’re mentioning popular influencers now, is because businesses and brands always tend to follow suit.

We found two great examples of businesses already moving away from the Instagram aesthetic.

Here’s the feed of Glossier, a beauty and skincare brand, 2 years ago:

And today:

Two years ago, their feed was only professional photos, shot in-house, all with the same color aesthetic and filter. Today, you see a mix of memes, user photos they’ve shared, and some professionally shot product photos. But why the change? I think they, as they should have, realized that users didn’t want to look at a professional catalog of their products, but they wanted to connect. People want to see themselves in what brands post.

We’ve seen a change in Nike’s feed as well. Here’s two years ago:

And today:

2 years ago, Nike’s feeds was all professional, stock-like photos with the same high-clarity edited style. Now we see a mix of videos and photos, and a more natural look on a lot of them. Especially for an athletic wear company, having everything purposefully curated is kind of a catch 22. After all, athletics are messy.

The main takeaway here is that businesses should be aiming to connect with their specific audiences, even if that means creating an “aesthetic” that goes against outdated Instagram expectations. But one thing we will note is, depending on your industry, the aesthetics of your grid may stay cohesive in some ways. And that’s okay. Obviously with creatives, designers, artists, and the like, your grid will still have one solid aesthetic because usually artists have one style, at least for seasons. So since artists have a style, the grid looks more cohesive naturally, without a ton of planning.

Alright, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about how the aesthetic of Instagram is changing, now let’s hit some of their ever-changing features. Shall we?


According to recent statistics, Instagram Stories have about 250 million daily users, and 33% of the most popular stories are posted by businesses. So stories are a great way to get engagement from your audience as a business owner. The statistics also show that 20% of stories posted by businesses result in direct messages.

Ever feel like your business is competing with a million stories to get seen by your audience? You’re not *entirely* wrong. So here are a few ways to get your story more viewership!

1. Use a geotag for your location. Geotags have been shown to get 79% more engagement.
2. Use a hashtag for a 12% increase in engagement.
3. Get a friend, an influencer, or one of your employees to “takeover” the Instagram account. These stories get a lot of engagement and are a great opportunity to be more personal and add a face to a name.
4. Use a poll. Asking followers to help you make decisions here and there can give your engagement a boost as well as make them feel like an important part of the online community.
5. Offer them a sale exclusive to Instagram Story viewers.
6. Post Stories Monday & Thursday 7-9pm, and avoid 3-4pm.

Videos & IGTV

For a while, video was the new “it girl” in the social media world. And Instagram even prioritized video over photos in the feed. They got higher priority in the algorithm. Meaning, if you posted a video, your users were more likely to see it than if you posted a photo. Well, that is no longer true. Videos and photos now get the same authority. But recently, Instagram has introduced IGTV to the mix. IGTV is a great tool, allowing videos up to 10 minutes long. If you’re a business that sometimes utilizes YouTube, but haven’t seen high return there, this could be a way to reduce your workload and consolidate your content into one place!

Since IGTV’s release, it’s been common to see IGTV videos in the Explore tab, but recently Instagram also added the ability for users to add IGTV previews to their own Stories AND allowing users to post previews directly into the main feed. It’s a great way to share how-tos or any important stories behind your business!

The Explore Tab

The Explore Tab is a great way to grow your following. It’s a way for Instagram to suggest new accounts to people that they think they’ll like. Just like the feed, the Explore Tab has an algorithm that makes this all happen. And we’re going to break it down for you. There are 3 main factors to how your posts can show up on someone’s Explore Tab: Interest, Timeliness, and Relationship.

1. Interest: Instagram tracks what people like and comment on, which stories they watch, and they use that information via their algorithm to keep showing what they think you’ll like based on that information. So, if you want people to see your business’s posts more often, give them incentive to like or comment on the post!

2. Relationship: Instagram has an algorithm to understand your relationship with others. It’s mostly like interest but a bit different. Rather than liking and commenting, it has to do with tagging. If someone tags you in things, the algorithm thinks they might be your friend or family, so they’ll show you that person in Explore Tab, and vice versa. They’ll also show people or businesses also connected to those people. So, think about creative ways you can get your users to tag your business in their photos!

3. Timeliness: For example, newer posts get more authority on the Explore Tab rather than posts that are a week old. So post regularly!


According to digital strategist Taylor Cohen, the Instagram aesthetic hit its climax sometime in mid-2018, and since then, it’s slowly been changing. But again, what does this mean for your business? This means you can share what you want in the moment, what you think your audience and potential clients would like, without having to spend hours getting your photos in an order that will look a certain way when someone visits your profile. So you get some of your precious time back. (Yay!)

With all of these new features, the important thing is to not get bogged down in feeling like you have to do them all. Plus, things are always changing, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket, only to have the feature you’re using filter out after some time (pun intended). Figure out which features boost engagement and add value to your business. Don’t just use tons of your time with no return on investment. For example, if you don’t have any big stories to tell, or need to do how-to videos, IGTV may not be for you. And that’s okay! Stick to photos and Stories.

Alright that’s it for this breakdown on the ole Instagram. We hope this helped! Happy ‘gramming, y’all.

Our co-founder Joanna recently spoke about Online Reputation Management at one of our events, and since all of the attendees were super engaged, interested in learning more about OMR, and we got tons of follow-up questions, we figured we’d extend some education on this subject to those who couldn’t make it. Let’s get to it. Shall we?

You already HAVE a reputation online and otherwise, whether you manage it or not. Opinions will be formed. Reviews will be written. And word of mouth will be spoken.

So, what do you want your reputation to be?

If you’re anything like the small business owners we work with, you’re probably feeling like a marathon runner who (at the same time) is constantly juggling a bunch of different projects and deadlines, with a billion things to worry about every single day. (Sound familiar?)

You probably feel like there is no time to, I don’t know, have a personal life. (What even is that?) Let alone stop and “Google” your business and respond to any online feedback.

But we hope at the end of this that you’ve changed your mind and see the value in managing your online reputation because it is absolutely critical in today’s climate.

What’s in a Reputation?

It’s impossible to over-stress how important a good online reputation is today. Having customers creating a positive buzz around your product on Instagram can exponentially grow your business, while a slew of negative reviews could do a lot more damage to your business than you think… if you don’t handle it, or if you don’t handle it the right way.

But don’t fear. That’s where this article comes in. We want to equip you to drive more positive chatter about your business online and help you respond in a mature, professional way to any negative feedback you may receive. Because if you’re a business owner for any length of time, you WILL get a negative review. It’s going to happen. But you don’t have to fear it.

There’s definitely some confusion about online reputation management. To some it stops at just social media monitoring, while to others it’s a mysterious art that their marketing agency barely explained and just handles for them. And maybe others have never heard of it until now and have no idea how it can affect their business. We don’t know where you fall in that group, but it’s our hope that after reading this, you all feel informed and equipped!

So What Exactly is ORM?

According to Techopedia, online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of crafting strategies that shape or influence the public perception of an organization, individual, or other entity on the Internet. It helps drive public opinion about a business and its products and services.

With so many websites available for people to talk about and/or review your business—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Angie’s List, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Bing, etc, etc—managing your online reputation can seem overwhelming. But the reality is, ORM involves much more than just monitoring your brand across social media platforms and commenting back with some witty emojis (although that is fun… and important ????????). It’s more than just responding to negative reviews, driving more positive reviews, and having a clear plan in place for both. But we’ll start here because managing online reviews is a big part of the work you’ll do from month to month when maintaining your ORM.

Whether users are commenting on your latest Instagram post, leaving a comment on your blog, or posting a Google review about their experience, people are talking about you online. So, what are they saying? And why does it matter?

What People Are Saying About Your Business

Here’s a statistic— about 500 Yelp Reviews are posted every second. EVERY. SECOND. Wait, Whaaat? That’s crazy. But it’s true. And did you know that 88% of online users trust reviews as much as personal recommendations? And 50% of people from the age of 18 to 34 say they trust online reviews even more than the opinions of friends and family.

Driving New Positive Reviews

Not only do users value reviews, but so do search engines. Do you always feel like you’re trying to figure out the highly elusive “SEO”? Well here’s at least one piece of the puzzle you can bet on: search engines highly value positive, recent reviews. So the more monthly positive reviews you have, the higher you will rank in your local area.

Here’s the good news: if you’re a great business, people WANT to leave a review. But the bad news is, they get busy or distracted and may forget. So, it’s important that every business needs a strategy in place to drive positive reviews. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a great place— just ask for them. It’s that simple. Encourage employees to ask for them, and ask again (when customers forget). Make it personal, and thank every reviewer, either with a reply or with a gift.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Alright now to the doozy…. Negative reviews. Our number one piece of advice and biggest takeaway from this article would be: always reply to negative reviews. Always. But never reply while emotional. When answered well, negative reviews can work to your advantage, as they’re a great opportunity to show current and future customers that their feedback matters. Everybody makes mistakes, and your customers know that. But it’s up to you to show them that you know how to handle criticism well—to acknowledge your shortcomings, apologize for them, and communicate how you’ve learned from them.

So if you have a few bad reviews, don’t stress. It’s not as bad as you think. Did you know that 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores? So, embrace the bad reviews. Respond to them in a professional and meaningful way, and drive those positive reviews up as best you can to outweigh the bad!

Here’s our rule of thumb: always comment back publicly to every review, whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral. But for negative reviews, first filter if the review is a legitimate one. If you did something wrong, own it. And we’d suggest publicly and privately messaging the reviewer and offering to make the situation right. However, if it’s an over the top, troll-like negative review and you believe it to be not legitimate, comment back anyway, but you don’t necessarily have to go above and beyond unless you want to! Viewers can generally filter those out themselves as invalid.

Comments on Your Own Posts

So, we’ve gone over reviews on review sites, but what about when people are commenting negatively about you in the comment section of your own posts? Anyone remember the Taylor Swift snake emoji situation…?

Listen, Taylor Swift went from thousands of people flooding her comment section every day with snake emojis, to then spinning it and even capitalizing on her bad online reputation by turning the snake into her brand for a massively successful album and record-breaking world tour. Here’s a fun article about all of that if you’re into that sort of thing.

But what does this have to do with you? You may not even have a thousand followers. But the principal still applies. Taylor Swift didn’t comment back or really ever even address those comments. When it comes to commenting back or not, that’s a judgment call you’ll have to make. If someone is unfairly blasting you in your comments, it may be best to simply delete the comment. However, if it’s legitimate like a review, don’t delete it and treat it exactly how you would a negative Google or Facebook review.

To sum up, in general you want to respond to comments just like you would reviews, but in some extreme cases, when responding Misty likely won’t do any good, you could make a judgment call to delete the negative messages and private message the user if there’s no way to resolve it well publicly.

Are People Posting About You?

Besides reviews and comments on your own content, a great way to build a good reputation is to have followers post about you, also known as User-Generated Content.

Today, user-generated content is a must. If you’re a really awesome company and have a great service or product, people will go a step beyond just leaving a positive review on your page and even share about you on their own page. This is the user taking on a role of actively promoting your product for you. Hello, free advertising. You can literally just rock so hard that people post about you for free.

If you have a shop or restaurant, you could give users an avenue like a cool backdrop or a very visual area to post on their own social media. When you provide a place for them to take a photo and post it, it’s very likely that they will. If you don’t have a brick and mortar shop, a great way to get users to post about you is to share posts that people are tagging you in. It will make them feel important and seen, it will give them an incentive to keep posting, and it’ll also show others that if they post about you, it could get shared, too! It’s a win-win for everyone.

What You Say About You

So we’ve talked a lot about what others say about you online and how it attributes to your reputation, but what about what YOU say about you?

Business Account Vs. Personal Account

A big part of your business’s online reputation has to do with your own personal reputation. As a business owner, you’ve tied yourself to your business, so whether you like it or not, how you represent yourself personally (both online and offline) will have a direct effect on your business.

You may think that since you have a separate personal social media account, you can compartmentalize that as separate from your business account. That’s true to an extent, and we applaud you for noticing a difference between what you should post on your own account vs. a business account. However, keep in mind that what you post on your personal is always going to impact your business as well. Like, if you’re slamming people on your personal account, that could greatly affect your business.

Knowing what to post on a personal vs business account can be tricky. For your business account, be sure to develop your unique brand voice and always stick to that. Your brand voice should be distinctly different from the voice of your personal account. And we’d say keep personal posts light-hearted and fun, more behind-the-scenes content on your business account, whereas you can share a lot more on your personal account.

If this is all confusing for you, there are a lot of professional and freelance social media consultants who would love to help you develop your business’s brand online, so feel free to utilize one on a consulting basis for that if you have further questions!


Basically, we’d say online reputation management is a must. Make time for it, even if you don’t feel like you have the time. What are people saying about you? What are you saying back? These are both wildly important to the success or failure of your business.

If people aren’t talking, get them talking! Your customers love you and they may just need a little push to get out there and let the interwebs know just how much they love you!

Good online reputation management is about reacting the right way and at the right time to what people say about your products and services. Sometimes an emotional or a “too late” reaction can cost you. So breathe, and remember, one negative review won’t hurt. You’ve got this. And we hope we’ve helped you get started!

A blog about budgets? Really, Tangible Strategies? REALLY?

Alright, alright. It’s not the most fun blog topic we’ve ever tackled, per se, but budget doesn’t have to be a four letter word. If marketing budgets lead to more prospects (spoiler alert: they do), and more prospects lead to more revenue, and… do you see where we’re going with this? Increased revenue is pretty great. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want in on that. So let’s do this…

We talk about how hard it is to run a small business all the time… because it’s true. But it’s not all hard. It’s also so rewarding to offer a product or service you believe in, and to be your own boss! The problem is that just because you’re an expert in your specific field, you’re not necessarily an expert in accounting or marketing, and well, those are kind of necessary to growing a successful business! One big mistake many small business owners make is engaging in reactive marketing instead of proactive marketing. An example of reactive marketing is taking out a Facebook ad because your sales are low one month. Proactive marketing means making your efforts a line item in the budget rather than something you think about when your sales aren’t where you want them to be. To ensure more consistent sales and growth, it takes consistent planning. [Insert cheesy inspirational quote here.]

A good way to make sure that your money is being well spent is to develop a solid marketing plan before you set your marketing budget. Following a plan will help ensure you’re focussing your efforts in the best way possible. We wrote a blog recently on creating a comprehensive marketing plan, so you’ll definitely want to read that if you haven’t already!

If you don’t have time to read that and want a 3000ft view, the basis of your marketing plan should include an understanding of your target market and your competition, how you’ll reach your market, as well as how you’ll set yourself apart from your competition to make sales.

One of the most important facets of your small business marketing plan is—you guessed it—the budget. Your marketing budget is the cost of how you’re going to achieve your marketing goals within a certain timeframe (usually a year).

Many small business owners and managers aren’t sure how much to spend or if the money they do spend will even be worth the investment.

Let’s breakdown the process of how to create a small business marketing budget, so it doesn’t seem as cumbersome or mysterious, and so you can feel confident that your marketing budget will propel you towards your business goals.

1. Start With A Goal

In order to have a great plan or a great budget, you need to know what you’re working towards. So, what do you want? To increase your revenue by 10%? Establish 3 new accounts per month?

Once you have a goal, the next step is to calculate how much money you may need to spend on marketing each month to reach the goal. Whatever it is, it’s going to give you clear direction when deciding on a marketing budget, as well as the KPIs needed to measure your efforts, things like how many customers you’ll need to acquire to hit that goal, or how many leads typically turn into prospects and then customers. (KPIs? It’s all laid out in our Key Performance Indicators Blog.)

2. Figure Out How Clients Find You

One of the best ways to gather user data is through analytics. Most web hosting platforms will provide you with complimentary data, like how many monthly unique views your site gets or which search terms are leading the most traffic to your site. So check with your developer or hosting site to see if you have access to analytics. Online advertising will also provide you with insight into how people are connecting with your ads. Or you could also go straight to the horse’s mouth, aka – just ask your customers!

Include a question like, “How’d you hear about us?” on an interest form for prospective clients, or have your team ask those who call in, or even add a pop-up to your website. Wherever people keep telling you they saw you, focus more money there in the future.

3. Consider Your Revenue

Once you’ve created your fiscal plan, it’s time to determine the size of your marketing budget and allocate your funds. A common practice is allocating a specific percentage of your gross revenue to your marketing costs, but there are also a few other factors to consider when setting your budget (like your growth stage).

As a part of your overall small business strategy, you should always create projections for your yearly sales. These projections will help you decide on a marketing budget that feels doable. According to a recent industry survey, most small businesses spend around 10% of their annual revenue on marketing. However, if you have a new business, you’ll likely need to spend more than a company that’s already established. A bigger budget in the beginning helps build brand awareness and get your name out there!

4. Pick Your Platform(s)

If you’re a business owner, you know you’ve got to have an online marketing presence, but the options can seem endless… between Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media (a number of platforms), AdWords, and more, the marketing dollars can add up really quickly.

It’s unrealistic for a small business with limited budget to compete in every area, so you’ve got to figure out which one works best for you. It’s so much better to focus your efforts and resources heavily in one or two areas, rather than trying to do it, which most often results in minimal results or success.

So, where do you fit in online? Good question. Well, if you’re a restaurant, you need to be on Yelp, but a Snapchat account isn’t so necessary. Who are your customers? If the majority is older than 40, we’d go with Facebook. If under 35, Instagram is where your customers are most likely to be!


We hope this made you feel LESS overwhelmed and not moreso. ????

Putting together a marketing budget will help you in the long run to stay on track with spending. It will also help you see which efforts have a better ROI, so you can adjust accordingly as your audience changes or grows.

Regardless of where you spend your marketing dollars the main takeaway is to plan for your marketing in advance instead of treating it as a last minute thought.

If this all still seems overwhelming, there are some great online resources that can help to point you in the right direction, like free online marketing budget templates. We’d also love to help answer any questions you have, or help you map out your KPIs and budget for marketing, if you don’t feel like you have the capacity for that!

But the end of the day, you need to know that Ryan Gosling thinks you have what it takes. And we do too.

Notice that we didn’t say, “4 EASY Steps to a Legit Marketing Plan”? That’s because creating a successful marketing plan takes time and a lot of thoughtfulness. But, it could be the secret ingredient that you need to take your small business to the next level, so it’s definitely worth it!

As a small business owner, you may already be thinking about how this won’t apply to you because you’ve got one thing on your mind: your budget. But stay with us, because even if you have a small budget, it’s still super important for you to create and execute good planning for your marketing. We’d even argue that it’s MORE important to have a plan if you have a small budget. No business is too small to have a marketing plan, because if you have customers or clients, you’ve gotta communicate with them about your products or services somehow. That’s where a good plan comes in.

A good marketing strategy will be multi-faceted, actually doable (!!!!), and executed consistently over time. We’ve put together a list of some good steps to take in developing a plan that will hopefully help you get started.

1. Market Research & Profiling

The first step is to do extensive research on your industry, as well as on local and regional B2B or B2C trends. This step ensures that the planning and development of your strategy is as well-informed as possible. Once that research is complete, the next step is to create target client profiles. Before you spend a ton of time and money marketing your small business online, it’s important to know who your ideal customer is. Who do you think would be most interested in, but also able to afford your product? This will help with directing your planning and marketing towards your specific target audience.

You can categorize your ideal customer by demographics and lifestyle. Some examples are: What age, sex, income level, and geographic location is your customer? Are they trend setters or trend followers? (or neither?) Conservative or liberal? Spenders or savers? How often do they purchase what you have to offer? Once you answer these questions, you can begin to notice patterns that will be really helpful with narrowing down and properly targeting your advertising. This step is about getting the biggest bang for your advertising buck, and let me tell you, we are ALL about that life.

2. Branding & Communication Audit

When constructing a plan for future marketing and advertising, it’s a good idea to step back and take a 10,000-foot look at your past and current communication. Haven’t done much communicating with your audience yet? Take a look at other successful companies in your industry. A communication audit will analyze all correspondence on social media, on your blog, on your website, and anywhere else online or in print.

During this audit, it’s crucial to be honest and objective about your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and competition. This is necessary because in looking at the big picture, you may find things that you’re currently doing that you absolutely love and some things you really don’t. Try to view your company’s communication the way a customer would—imagine being in their shoes. This will help you to find new ways to strengthen communication about your brand, your mission, and your products or services. And you may even discover a make-or-break hole in your communication that launches you into new success.

3. Draft a Marketing Plan

After you’ve got all your research, profiling, and communication audit done, it will finally be time to create a plan for the marketing efforts. (Yay!) During this step, you’ll detail the exact methods you want to use to reach your audience going forward. In addition to typical methods, your plan should include detailed descriptions of high-level and low-level KPIs, how those will be measured, and an implementation timeline. If you’re not familiar with KPIs and what we just said seems like it’s in another language altogether, we wrote a blog outlining some important KPIs for small businesses to measure that you can read here.

A typical marketing plan will be a projection of 6 months’ to 1 year’s time and needs to be revisited after that period to see how things are going and to make any necessary adjustments. Keep in mind that your plan will be a living document with the intention of being revised and strengthened as various efforts are executed from month to month. So don’t forget to review your plan on a regular basis.

4. Set a Budget

In theory everyone knows to only spend what you can afford. But in reality, many businesses spend way more than their means on things like advertising thinking it will all eventually pay off. Maybe it will, but often times it doesn’t, and this is especially true for people who move forward without a set plan and a strict budget.

I know it’s hard, but try as much as possible to be as objective as you can about the costs you can expect. It’s best practice to over estimate rather than under estimate. (Isn’t it funny how things always add up?) Your budget should include and all aspects of your marketing, including ad spends, implementation costs, and production costs for any collateral.

Once you start figuring out how much each marketing campaigns and tactic you chose is going to cost you, you MIGHT realize that you don’t actually have the dream budget for your dream plan. (Womp womp.) Hey, that’s okay. The reality is, you should be spending somewhere between 10-15% of your overall revenue on marketing. And meeting that budget requires adjusting your plan until you have a mix that you can afford! Once you’ve set your marketing plan budget, it should be set in stone. I know that seems so obvious that we shouldn’t have to say it. But sticking to a budget is HARD. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it will pay off in the long run.


It’s important to establish a strong marketing plan for the future direction of your company’s advertising, branding, and PR efforts. First you want to identify the audience you want to target, then you need to outline specific methods you plan to act on to market toward your audience. Don’t forget to specify how you’re going to measure success, and most importantly, be flexible enough to allow adjustments when necessary.

We can’t stress enough how important this is if you’re a small business with a small budget. Creating a good marketing plan will set you up to grow. And as you grow, your marketing efforts will grow too!

If you have any questions, we’d love to meet with you for general consulting, to assist you in your research, or even help with marketing execution!

If you’ve been a business owner for long, chances are you remember when the buzz about search engine optimization began. When internet databases like Google and Ask Jeeves first gained popularity in the late ‘90s, these search engines ranked pages by keywords, page titles, and inbounding links. Pages often gained high rankings by “keyword stuffing” and other simple on-site tricks. But by the time the mid-2000s rolled around, search engines began ranking pages based on the quality of content provided. And that’s when the topic of SEO took off. Major search engines like Google implemented huge changes to weed out websites that prioritized advertisement-based revenue over user satisfaction. And similar changes to Google’s algorithms are still happening today.

With all that said, we’re naming 2017 the year that traditional SEO is dead. So here are four reasons you should be thinking more about how your website performs and less about how it ranks on search engines.

1. The Internet is More Than Just Words

The intention of every major search engine is to create an easier way for website users to find the content they’re looking for. And in the early days of search engine optimization, the only tangible way to analyze content for its relevance was through words. But a website is more than just words, right? It’s made up of graphics and videos and links and structural elements. The limitation of traditional SEO is that it focuses on only one piece of an entire website: the words. While search engines may only analyze a percentage of the big picture, internet users don’t interact with websites the same way. Visitors see and experience every element of a website at the same time, and while the words are a huge part of that experience, they’re not the only element that matters.

Focus this year on establishing a holistic approach to the way you build or maintain your website. SEO is important—there’s no doubt about that—but at its best, SEO is only responsible for getting people to your site. It’s up to you what they do when they get there.

2. User Experience is Everything

While the latest Google algorithms consider more than 200 factors for ranking on its search engine, there are only a handful of factors that correlate with significant results. Many of these significant factors are used to determine the quality of a site, which directly affects page rankings. Factors such a dwell-time (how long a user stays on your site), bounce rates (when a user lands on your site and then immediately navigates away), and page views per unique visitor have major influences on page rankings. Now more than ever, user experience (or how users interact with a website) is critical.

Creating a website that is both easy to use and engaging will boost repeat traffic, increase conversions, and grow your word-of-mouth referrals. And doing so establishes the quality of your website with Google and other search engines by increasing dwell-time and page views and by decreasing bounce rates. At the end of the day, both your page rankings and your website conversions will increase, which means growth on both sides without any sacrifice to either.

3. Organic Traffic from Social Media Increases Every Day

Very few business owners doubt the power of social media anymore. In an age where the average person spends more time in a day on social media than they do eating or drinking, there’s no denying that social media matters. Social media is responsible for a massive amount of website traffic every day, and the percentage of website traffic from social media is constantly increasing. Many industries experience a large percentage of revenue coming from traffic that originated with social media, meaning that users are becoming more and more likely to find your business on social media than they are on major search engines. This is especially true for e-commerce businesses, who report an average of 26% of website traffic coming from social media.

A strong social media strategy creates an opportunity for a business to tell its story to people who would normally never get to hear it. Being active on social media is a proactive approach to raising awareness about your business because you’re meeting people where they are rather than waiting for them to look for you. It’s always important to have a great website, but getting people to your website is a major undertaking. Often times, a strong social media strategy is far more effective for driving website traffic than SEO.

4. Google Has Trust Issues

Remember what we said about “keyword stuffing” and other outdated methods for ranking pages on Google that became popular years ago? Turns out Google has developed some major trust issues since then. Now, Google uses an extremely complex system called PageRank to determine the trustworthiness of a website and its domain. This calculation analyzes factors such as backlinks, domain age, and domain reputation to establish how trustworthy your site is. SEO expert R.L. Adams says gaining Google’s trust can take years, especially if your website is relatively new, and gives some great tips of building that trust over time.

The bottom line is, boosting your page rankings (especially in a competitive industry) can be an overwhelming undertaking. Think of establishing strong domain authority as a 5-year long play. There are things you should be doing to increase it, but it’s not the only way (or even the best way) to grow your business.


It’s easy to get roped into SEO schemes that guarantee first-page placement for relevant keywords, but be cautious about placing too much value on paid methods for boosted page rankings. Many SEO companies charge more than $1,000 per month for their services, and while they often deliver on their promises, first-page rankings don’t always translate to increased revenue. If your website is not user-friendly and your content is not high-quality, chances are that all that extra traffic your website is getting is wasted effort. Prioritize creating a site that engages users and delivers an unforgettable experience, and you’ll quickly see your website traffic resulting in increased conversions and growth for your business.

If you’ve got questions about your digital strategy and how to best grow your business, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

The lowdown: Since December, Tangible Strategies has moved from its office space in the Village of West Greenville, launched its brand new website, and undergone a good bit of internal restructuring. Needless to say, it’s been a crazy few weeks, and we want to make sure you’re caught up on all things Tangible as we ring in the New Year. So here are a few thoughts from our Founder and Creative Director:

Laying the Groundwork

We seem to be talking a lot lately at the Tangible office about the idea of settling—settling for just three cups of coffee in the morning because we’re trying to avoid caffeine overload (seriously, guys, turns out this is a real thing), settling for a tiny desktop Christmas tree because we were too busy with the move to fully decorate the office, settling for a presidential candi—wait, no, we’re not getting into that again. I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was a more-than-hectic year (for us, it marked our first full January-to-December succession in good ol’ Greenville). But honestly, for all its craziness, the last month of a rather long year was one of the most exciting and encouraging 31 days we’ve ever had. Which has got us thinking, maybe settling isn’t such a bad thing.

As many of you know, Tangible Strategies has been around since 2011, but for most of its existence, the business was a simple husband-and-wife venture with big dreams of far-off grandiose. In July of 2015, we moved the business to Greenville, SC from Western North Carolina and quickly realized that the demand for small business marketing in the Upstate was much larger than the two of us could handle on our own. So in January, we began building out our team, getting settled into an office space in the Village, and building a reputation as a true-to-its-name agency in a marketplace still entirely foreign to us.

A Year in Review

We’ve learned a lot since then, as you might imagine. In particular, we’ve learned that doing business in Greenville is all about who you know—and getting to know the right people is no easy task (in fact, this realization has been the primary inspiration behind our networking series GVL Connect). We’ve learned that project workflow for a team of two people looks nothing like project workflow for a team of three people. Or four people. Or five people. We’ve learned that possessing the capability to do everything does not mean one should actually try to do everything. We’ve learned that following through on promises really is as impactful as we always knew it was. And we’ve learned that partnership and collaboration are two things we simply cannot live without. Which is one of the many realizations that persuaded us to rethink our processes—and our work setting—a bit.

In case you’ve missed the details, Tangible Strategies now lives inside The Wheelhouse, Greenville’s newest cowork space along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The Wheelhouse is a collective office space specifically created for marketing professionals and agencies, where freelancers and creative teams alike can work together on projects while maintaining their own brands and unique identities. A rather unique business model as cowork spaces normally go, The Wheelhouse acts as an agency itself, bringing in a steady stream of marketing projects and then turning to its tenants for executing the work on those projects. At its core, The Wheelhouse is designed to support the growth and development of other businesses while sustaining the same for itself. It’s ingenious really.

Making the Move

In October, Wheelhouse co-owner Jeff White approached our team after several recommendations pointed him in our direction. I was immediately enthralled with his idea for a new kind of cowork space and, after a few conversations, realized that the business philosophy behind The Wheelhouse lined up quite nicely with what we had been building at Tangible for the past five years.

And so there we were, faced with the prospect of an opportunity that would help grow our business, allow us to work on larger scale projects, and connect us with other local marketing professionals. You can imagine how long and hard we had to think about our decision. (I’m kidding; it was a no-brainer.) I’ll admit, we had our reservations at first, as none of us are particularly keen on big change, but the more we thought about it, the more this move made sense.

Experiencing the Benefits

After more than four weeks of working in The Wheelhouse, the Christmas-morning-like excitement has worn off and the new atmosphere is beginning to feel more normal. We’ve introduced the space to a handful of our clients, and we’ve even hosted a few networking events here. In the few short weeks thus far, we’ve formed new client relationships and watched the interior of the building continue to develop (re: the new garage door behind our table). A lot has happened in 40-ish days, but most importantly, we’ve been able to experience exactly how moving into The Wheelhouse is going to benefit our business, and we are super excited to share our findings with you.

Better Focus

Hands down, the biggest benefit to moving into The Wheelhouse is that we are able to spend more time doing what we’re great at doing. In the Village, we operated a full-time art gallery, a passion-driven project that allowed us to support emerging and student artists in the area, something we truly loved. In moving, we closed down the art gallery, which was bittersweet in every way, but in transitioning away from our role in the arts community, we’ve only now begun to realize just how much time and energy went into maintaining that presence. Redirecting that focus toward client relationships and toward our own needs has made us better partners of the businesses we serve on a daily basis.

Stronger Service

In addition to prioritizing our own business needs, we’re beginning a shift toward narrowing down what services we offer, focusing on the things we’re best at doing, such as websites and branding. We’re not a one-strategy-fits-all kind of agency—and we never will be—which means that our services are vastly different from client to client. This was never an accident on our part. We knew many small businesses were tired of trying to maintain relationships with half a dozen freelancers—one for their website, one for their social media, one for their graphic design, one for their email marketing, etc., etc.—and so why not offer to meet all those needs under one roof? At The Wheelhouse, we are surrounded by marketing professionals of every kind, which in essence means our team just got a lot bigger. We are able to offer the same solutions to businesses we always have, but we’re able to pass off the execution of services that we’re not as familiar with. Which means we are able to dial in on the services we do really well.

Richer Networking

Because of the structure of our new office environment, we meet new people every day who are operating businesses of their own in the Upstate. Meeting the entrepreneurs around us leads to a bigger network, which really means a bigger community to collaborate with. A larger, more inviting office space means more opportunities to do what we love more than almost anything: connecting people. We couldn’t be more excited to see how our networking grows in 2017, and we hope you’ll be a part of it.

Looking to the Future

So in many ways, moving out of our own office that was occupied by just our team and just our ideas can be perceived to many as a downsize in business—or, like I said before, settling. We do share spaces with other business professionals now in a way we didn’t before, but to us if this new space and workflow is “settling,” we’ll take that and more in 2017. For us, settling has taken on a new meaning. It’s requiring us to focus on what we are best at, rather than trying to do it all. Our choice to narrow down who we are as a business has led to a stronger team, a more precise focus on serving clients, and a substantially larger opportunity to connect with other small businesses in Greenville.

Growing Your Business with Facebook Live

Last year, you may have begun to see certain large, geologically-named celebrities (looking at you, The Rock) streaming live content in your Facebook feed. Then your friends may have begun streaming their everyday journeys. In March, you may have noticed the opportunity to watch live videos more prominently in your newsfeed. More recently, you might have tried reacting to live videos and found that you can now “love,” “laugh,” and “appear shocked,” to name a few. This month, you might have seen the new video hub on Facebook mobile. And then of course, you may have read about the F8 summit and Facebook’s announcement that live streaming would now be open to all devices, including drones and hi-def cameras. But what does that mean for you, a small business or individual?

Choose Your Content Wisely

The algorithm change announced in March to show live-streaming videos more frequently in your followers’ newsfeeds is only helpful to you if you have meaningful content to share. So as an individual or small business, you need to be more selective and deliberate in choosing what content you stream live, rather than less. Because the algorithm will show live content at a higher frequency, your followers have a better chance of seeing it. Meaning, if you’re putting out content that’s not your best, your followers have a higher chance of seeing it, which could lead to unfollows. Your best bet is to choose deliberate, meaningful content to stream live in order to garner the best reactions. Announce your live-streaming times beforehand to help grow your audience and be sure to follow up your live stream with a recap and link to the video.

Do Your Research

Before beginning a live broadcast, look up best practices for creating live video, and make sure you understand how the platform works. Facebook allows you to take live video using both the front and back cameras on your phone, and with the advent of other devices, your options are pretty much unlimited. Similar to a regular post, you can also add copy to your live broadcast describing the topic. Once the video is live on your wall, you can go back and edit your video. Learn what your options are and how to make the most out of your live broadcast. Check out these tips from Social Media Examiner to help you get started.

Know You’re Not Competing with TV

Although there’s been some buzz about Facebook Live eventually attracting live-streaming television, director of product at Facebook responsible for overseeing Facebook Live Fidji Simo says that Live is not competing with traditional television. The focus now is on user experience, says Simo. She did note that Facebook Live could potentially supplement traditional television. For example, there have been a number of cases where TV journalists have gone live after their traditional broadcast to expand on a story they were covering. Currently, however, there’s no ad play to tempt TV marketers, and Simo doesn’t see that happening any time soon.

Founder/CEO of Deep Focus Ian Schaefer agrees. Although there may be some demand for certain live events, like sports (Twitter has already nabbed the rights to live stream Thursday Night Football in the fall in conjunction with the NFL), Schaefer is unclear whether there is any interest in premium live content beyond that. “The push for live is bizarre,” he says, “because there’s not really much precedent outside of sports for there to be any kind of money to be made from streaming live video. There’s not much that indicates to me that a generation that’s going mobile is going to be doing more live-show watching.”

So rest easy. You may be competing with larger brands and bigger marketing budgets, but Facebook Live hasn’t reached the deep pockets of TV advertisers, yet.


The takeaway: Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to see what we’re doing with Facebook Live! Share your live journeys with us and we might just return the favor.