It’s my pleasure to welcome Ryan to the Ensightium podcast. Ryan is an award-winning marketing strategist and brand consultant that transforms communications into mission-driven and results-oriented solutions for a wide array of creative projects.

Ryan mixes strategy with creativity, technology with graphic design to produce inspired and unique identities, collateral and marketing materials, as well as social media marketing, and digital properties.

In this episode, Ryan shares his strategies for employing graphic design in your communications and social platforms.

Is graphic design important to create effective digital, print and social communications?

I truly believe first impressions are everything, and visual communications play a vital role. Design goes far beyond just first impressions though, it helps to give your audience an understanding of what you are trying to communicate and actions you wish them to execute. Additionally, when you align your look and feel across all mediums it helps to establish stronger brand recognition with your audience.

How can business owners improve their social media results?

The social media landscape has changed drastically over the years. Before, it was simply enough to have a Twitter account and Facebook page. Now, everyone is fighting for space.  If you find you are not getting the results from your social media program, take a step back a review a few things.

  • Evaluate what spaces are you playing in. More is not always best. Perhaps focus on one or two social media channels that you feel most comfortable with and see the greatest engagement.
  • Look at the data. Use your social media insight tools to see how your posts are doing. If your reach and engagement is consistently low, re-evaluate the types of content you are putting out. Make sure you are sharing and creating compelling content that your audience would be interested in and motivated to share. You may need to look to paid content on the network to re-establish a foothold.
  • Develop your network. Get people talking about your brand.  Reach out to individual or brand influencers relating to your business to help put a spark in your social strategy. These influencers will feature you amongst their network or simply share your content to help drive additional engagement and awareness.  In a survey by eMarketer, 84% of marketers said they would launch at least one influencer campaign within the next twelve months

What are your three to five top strategies, tips or tools to help grow small businesses?

  • If your organization has not taken a look at messaging, social messaging in particular, do so immediately. I believe the conversational economy is the next big thing and has engagement that blows email out of the water. Social commerce is only going to grow and in particular, through messaging and in app purchases. One tool to help with this is a current favorite of mine, ManyChat that integrates directly with Facebook Messenger to create your very own bots. Essentially automations for messages that are received to your business. From these interactions, a subscriber list is created that allows you to message and interact with the audience much like sending out an email. Keep the messages real, exclusive and personable. 
  • I know, all the hype about bots and automation, who needs humans anymore right? You are missing the mark if this is where you are coming from. Individuals are aggressively seeking human interactions with brands and if you are not readily available, your leaving revenue dollars on the table. People expect a response from a brand within an hour on social media so utilize automation to bring back one-to-one conversation. While you can’t be readily available all day, these automations can at least give you a buffer until the next time you or a team member can respond. Use messaging and email automation to encourage direct interaction with a real individual at your business or when they can expect an immediate follow up.
  • If you look at a paid influencer program, be sure to look at their engagement and not just their numbers. Many people are getting caught up in someone having thousands of followers and not how their audience is engaging with their content. If there is an influencer with 30,000 followers but their average likes and comments are only 1,000, that is only a 3% engagement rate! It means to me they bought their followers, or they are at a complete disconnect with them.
  • Continue to seek testimonials through online reviews, most importantly, Google, Yelp and Facebook. As a small business, it should be a priority to have a review strategy for your business. I utilize a tool from Spread Effect called Spread Local that allows us to send email automations and text messages to contacts we put in the system. It directly evaluates how many reviews you have on the various sites online and send the user a link to those of the greatest importance in your industry. Once your reviews reach a certain level, their algorithm balances them out by sending reviews to the others once it feels it is in good standing.
  • Be sure to manage your leads and tie back your marketing efforts to revenue. It’s important to know your return on your investment, and what is helping to grow your bottom line.

Would you like to share any final thoughts or key takeaways?

At the end of the day, if your social media program gets the back seat to the other items on your to-do list, you will not have the success you desire. If it is becoming overwhelming to manage, try to create a social media internship program for your business with local schools in your area.

You may even want to look at bringing on someone on to manage your social media program part time. This individual can be responsible for posting, managing engagement and creating ideas for new content. It will be vitally important to make sure your social program is getting the attention it needs and this person can be responsible for doing just that.



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