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Business: Do you know where to find your target market online?

Business: Do you know where to find your target market online?

The internet is wonderful for searching — just a few keywords and you have millions of results at your fingertips. But what about businesses searching for the right audience? That’s a bit less cut and dried. Do you know if a majority of your target audience is on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest? Understanding where your audience spends most of their time can help boost your social media marketing, from ads to organic content. Here’s who’s on each of the top five social networks: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media network, boasting numbers in the billions. The size means that Facebook probably has some section of your business’ target audience, though there may be better networks depending on who your audience is. Around two thirds of the network is Gen Xers, so this is the primary network to use for reaching those born before 1980. That’s not the only generation on Facebook though — Millennials are more likely to hit the share button here. The network also has slightly more women than men, but not enough to be crazy significant.

YouTube

YouTube has a higher percentage of men than women — but the ten percent difference suggests not ignoring the platform entirely for female target audience. The video-focused platform is also the most popular among Generation Z, youth born between 1997 and the current day. That means YouTube should be a serious consideration for anyone targeting anyone under age 21. (Along with Snapchat, a network that’s heavy towards younger users.)

Instagram

Instagram is also more popular among the youngest demographics, though with a billion users, the network reaches many types of people. The network is also slightly skewed more towards women, but like most of the other networks, gender isn’t big enough to deter a business with products focused towards men. Remember, Instagram is a visual network — which makes the network well suited for visual ads and products.

Twitter

The micro-blogging platform is most popular among users between age 18 and 29. More than 90 percent of users on Twitter follow a business, so it’s a good network for creating organic content campaigns. The network is most popular in Japan, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. The short and sweet nature of the network is great for businesses that are witty or well-spoken.

Pinterest

Pinterest is likely the network where gender plays the biggest role — 45 percent of women in the U.S use the network while only 17 percent of men do, though the male demographic is growing. Pinterest’s idea board style makes it ideal for brands in home decor, fashion, weddings, parties and food, as well as anything that can be part of a DIY project. The age group most likely to look on Pinterest for something to buy are the millennials.

Social media marketing is a must, whether through organic, unpaid content or ads, the networks serve as a way to quickly get a message out to potential customers. Social media also helps consumers continually see a brand, rather than a one-and-done approach. For the best results, however, you need to determine what network is most likely to reach your audience.

4 Myths (and Truths) About Websites - And Why Your Small Business Needs One Today

4 Myths (and Truths) About Websites – And Why Your Small Business Needs One Today

The World Wide Web is an endless portal of information — and businesses without a website are missing out some big opportunities. For many consumers, if you’re not online, you don’t really exist. But the prospect of designing a website from scratch can be scary for businesses, especially small businesses. Still holding out on that website? Here are four myths about building a website for your business — and why every small business should be online.

Myth: Websites are expensive.
Truth: Websites can be as little as a few dollars a month — and most earn back several times their cost.

Hiring a professional web designer to maintain a large website can be expensive. But, the cost of a website can often match the size of the business. Small businesses don’t need the big, expensive websites of a large business. Hiring a freelancer (or another small business) to launch your website is often very affordable. DIY website builders are also getting better at helping small business owners build their own site — even an eCommerce site — with little technical experience and often for less than $20 a month. Once that website is up and running, most will result on a big return on investment by driving new customers to your brick and mortar location, opening another revenue stream through eCommerce or serving as another marketing strategy.

Myth: Websites take too much time.
Truth: Websites can often save time.

Say a potential customer wants to know what your hours are. More often than not, today, customers Google it first. Without a website, basic information isn’t easily accessible, which turns into time spent fielding calls about basics like hours and location. While a website takes time and occasional maintenance to stay up-to-date, making all that information easily accessible allows businesses to stop answering the same questions over and over.

Myth: My business is doing just fine, so I don’t need a website.
Truth: Traditional businesses can still benefit from the 24/7 availability of a website.

Many family-owned businesses were open for years before the internet became popular. But not opening a website is a mistake even for traditionally based businesses. Besides not attracting younger customers, current customer miss out on being able to access details 24/7 and the helpful insight that a blog could provide.

Myth: If my business has a Facebook page, I don’t need a website.
Truth: Social media marketing is great — but how do customers that hear about you from social media find out more if you don’t have a website?

Social media marketing is a great tool — but it’s not a replacement for an actual website. One recent study suggests that as many as 84 percent of consumers think that a small business is more credible when they have a website. Besides giving your business more credibility, having a website gives social media fans a place to go for more details. While you can put your location and hours on Facebook and even photographs displaying what you do, it’s probably not the best place for pricing information and company history — and it’s also not as good for popping up in those search results.

Creating a website for a small business can be a daunting task — but today, it’s a must. Even a simple website with just a page or two offering basics like hours, location and a business description can add credibility and drive more sales, all while saving time and costing less than the additional revenue a website creates.

4 Ways To Keep Customers Connected To Your Brick-And-Mortar Store

4 Ways To Keep Customers Connected To Your Brick-And-Mortar Store

The internet is rapidly changing the way retailers conduct business — and yet more and more consumers are looking for connectivity to enhance their experience while inside physical stores. A recent study conducted by Google showed that two out of every three customers cannot find the information they need in stores, with almost half leaving frustrated. By merging the online experience with the digital one, retailers can help drive traffic with more social media followers and email subscribers — and prevent customers leaving in frustration. But how? Here are four ideas to help retailers keep in-store customers connected.

Host a photo contest.

Nothing quite helps drive traffic like the possibility of a prize. Photo contests not only encouraging interaction, but also get customers sharing your brand with the social media followers. Requiring an in-store photo takes that brick-and-mortar and online connection even further. Use something iconic about your store — even something as simple as a kiddie ride that’s at all of your locations or a favorite product — or create a photo booth area specifically for the contest. Create a hashtag so that you can monitor the entries. Require a “like” or follow on your social media in order to enter, and you can continue reaching in-store customers online.

Create a rewards system.

Rewarding customers every time they shop in store — and not with a giant prize like with a photo contest — is another way to both encourage repeat visits and help track of customer data. Stores often use rewards programs requiring the customer’s email, allowing the store to research and track how the customer shops, and what they shop for. In return, the customer receives discounts for participating in the program. This merges the ease of online customer data tracking with in-store shoppers.

Merge online and in-store with an app.

As the Google study showed, 2/3 of customers cannot find the information they are looking for in stores. One way to combat that is to develop an app not for online shopping, but for in store. Store apps can show that location’s sales, what aisle the item is in and even make the online reviews for a product easy to access in the store. Target, for example, merges both the rewards system and app with Cartwheel, a coupon app that also tells customers what aisle to find that discounted item in at their local store.

Make the online information easily accessible in-store.

Some businesses are taking a simpler approach and just putting more effort into providing information in stores, in an easy-to-find way. Electronics retailer Best Buy, for example, puts the product’s online review ranking on the in-store tags, making it easy to compare similar products. To merge the in-store and app-available information, allowing customers to scan the barcode to access full text reviews and details is another option.

Today’s customers are more connected then ever — and yet most still have a difficult time finding the information they want. By finding new and innovative ways to provide the plethora of internet-available information in an in-store experience, retailers can enhance the customer experience. Connecting the retail and online system is also a way for retailers to gain insight into their in-store customers, but with the simplicity of online tracking.