How to Build an Online Brand For Your Business

Entrepreneurs

Times have changed,  we are no longer fighting for space in the dailies, the days when superior brands used to ascertain their superiority in the dailies by posting myriads of posters is long gone, it is so five years ago.

Many Big names have chosen digital marketing as their new avenue for creating awareness for their bands, but is it a mediocre feat? Well it partly depends on how you approach it.

This is how you create a formidable online brand for your business …

Your online platform, be it Facebook page, twitter handle or a website needs to have a manifesto, or the goals that you need to achieve within a given period, the brand should then work towards attaining all the set goals- this may be achieved through relentless social  media campaigns or sponsorships. The goal should be clearly stated, the online surfers do not have all day to figure out what your brand is about.

Your brand logo should be clear and be bold on your platforms. Something about showing your online viewers what you are about, this is normally included in the logo.

Your online platform should be user friendly, it should bear an attractive background or the outlook which is appealing to the customers, the site can be customized to be easy to navigate through, this way you will have more visits to your site.

Quality content should be up loaded consistently on your site, the content should be user friendly as afore mentioned, nude photos should not be uploaded  to any of your platforms, the articles that appear on your site should be original, informative and interactive. This will keep visitor coming to your site if you are offering them something reliable and captivating.

Develop and accumulate a following for your brand, on Facebook and twitter, you can keep your fans loyal by giving giveaways at particular times, you can also hold online competitions and reward those that win, this will keep your fans involved as well as attract a following for your brand.

You brand should strive to be competitive for a business brand to be on the top it needs  to work towards being on top, this can be achieved through competition. A business can identify its competition and work towards doing what the competition is not doing, or making its brand better than the competition.

A brand should also consider exposure,  whereas there are few big  channels like Facebook, twitter, YouTube and probably google, a business should consider other avenues are related to social media, like Instagram, Pinterest, google plus… et al. these can offer a good platform for marketing your brand while closing that gap between big companies and small companies.

 

How The IoT Makes Your Home Smart

Entrepreneurs

The smart homes era is here, thanks to the power of the Internet of Things and the power it brings to how we manage safety and security in our homes while improving lifestyles. Smart homes are integrated by Internet of Things and Smart Systems which are driven by a combination of sensors and actuators, connectivity, people and processes.

In a little over a year just, there has been significant rise in the level of excitement about the smart home recent smart home research states that millennial’s (79%) and parents (76%) leading the pack, and 50% of the overall population excited about the technology.

Intent to purchase smart home technology is quickly following suit, with 50% of people saying they plan to buy at least one smart home product in the next year (U.S. intent is slightly higher at 54%).

 

It makes sense that home monitoring cameras and connected door locks are among the most popular devices when you consider that a burglary takes place every 14.1 seconds in the U.S. and 56% of break-ins are through the front or back doors. And with heating and cooling accounting for 48% of energy use in a typical home, we understand why connected thermostats topped the list of the most popular product last year.

 

Most consumers express a higher level of excitement around the following benefits of the smart home:

  • Greater productivity and ability to manage work-life balance
  • Energy saving through monitoring electric appliances.
  • Safety and security efficiently managed
  • Making it easier to enjoy music, movies and web surfing anywhere in the house
  • Helping anticipate needs; shopping lists, minor repairs
  • More interactive features that helps connect with the people in your life

Kenya has not been left behind with the smart home technology adoption, local products by Kenyan techies are designed with a key focus to protect your home, improve your lifestyle by touch of a button on your smart phone, plus it does come with high speed internet, which keeps you connected 24/7/365. Some of the products I got to experience in a Kenyan smart home with a attention to the following;

Safety

Imagine your kids are home alone, a gas leakage occurs and instead of an explosion a small gadget you installed detects the leakage and instantaneously shuts down the gas system preventing any major life threatening events at home.

This appliance can also detect smoke in case of a fire outbreak so you can take action in good time.

You’ll need smoke and gas sensors installed in your home which will be connected to your smart phone.

Security

Every home owner’s top priority is security; being able to manage security at the palm of your hands is a key component. A smart camera is not your typical CCTV but an actual smart version that helps you monitor your home while away, more so human sensors that can detect intruders, in every room in your house.

Energy Saving

Smart home appliances like smart socket for your light control, air conditioning controller will be highly efficient if you’re looking to save energy consumed by each appliance in your home.

Lifestyle

Entertainment has also emerged as a new and powerful driver to smart home adoption. Nearly half of consumers (45%) in recent survey list the ability to remotely control and/or monitor their TV and sound systems as one of the top reasons to purchase a smart home system.

Imagine when you wake up in the morning, your shower heater is already turned on, your coffee make turns on, your favourite TV channel or radio station turns on, your curtains draw and viola! That’s your smart home experience.

 

Smart homes automation allows you a life of ease and luxury with everything automated entirely controlled and managed at the palm of your hands through your smart phone.

4 key pointers on making your Email marketing efforts more effective

Entrepreneurs

Email marketing is considered the most effective digital marketing channel with an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent; this proves that this medium is even more powerful than it’s ever been.

An explosion of new digital technologies pushed us to evolve. But those same technologies can leave a marketers’ head spinning. What’s the right marketing mix? How much should you invest in new channels? Which channel is most effective for acquiring new customers and driving revenue for your business? Even with the explosion of new technology, marketers keep coming back to email. The reason is clear–for ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers.

So how can you take it up a notch and make your campaigns more effective, a few pointers;

1.Subscriber Management

Managing your subscribers comes with a bit of toiling, you’ll need to do some data collection be it online or offline.

Key areas to collect data from include web signup forms , contact form, upgrading, customer care point of interaction, customer base and running a competition through your website or social media platforms.

Data Segmentation is vital to avoid huge number of unsubscribe from your audience, this will enable optimization and targeting the right audience with the right information. Consider categorizing your audience in respect to their demographic, geographical habitat, purchase history, relationship and their life cycle.

Database management would require frequent clean up, focus on quality and not quantity; a smaller amount of high quality interactions is better than a large amount of low quality interactions. Update with new information gathered through interactions with subscribers; remember every interaction of email marketing process is an opportunity to improve data quality

  1. Designing your template and the quality of content

When designing an email campaign put into consideration that youre designing for an email client and specific device; email client includes Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and Apple mail while the devices are mainly laptops, desktops and Smartphone’s.

Make your interaction process smooth and easy for the audience across all types of devices and email client. Users apply personal ‘relevance’ filter when considering spam thus is it important to prioritize your email send out with factors like best time, location, familiarity of the sender, what are the work  and personal priorities of the audience.

  1. Delivery Systems

In today’s very competitive technology space there are various options for your pick when selecting an Email Service Providers (ESP), some of the popular providers are:

  • Campaign Monitor
  • Active Campaign
  • MailChimp
  • Constant Contact
  • A Weber
  • Vertical Response

Scheduling your campaigns will save you time and improve the   performance and consistency of your email marketing campaigns. Most of the above ESP’s provide the option of designing your email template and automating it for send-out at the most effective time zone for your audience.

  1. Reporting & Analysis

Once you have your emails out, get your score card out to see how you performed, an instant report is shown on most ESP’s this enables you to analyze your campaigns effectiveness, the interaction scale for each campaign, subscriber and unsubscribe lists, open rate, total opened, unique open rate, clicks, bounce rate and delivered emails.

This may all seem like rocket science but trust and believe that once you get into the groove, you will enjoy the success of an effective email marketing campaign.

 

Why Your Business Needs a Digital Marketing Consultant

Entrepreneurs

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The online world happens to have a high speed rate of changes coming up now and then, and you as a business owner need to keep up with every improvement made online, in order to fit in to the trending marketing strategies and techniques. As it is, it is very difficult to have all the time to keep up with every recent upgrade and still run the business at the expected pace to make success. So, a digital marketing consultant makes the perfect fit for your business to lend you a hand on that.

DIgital consultant
But how will a digital marketing consultant be of help to your business? How will be able to take to your business to the intended desirable destination? Of what importance will he or she be to the online firm you have? Well, to simply and directly answer that, here are 5 good reasons why your business…

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BEGINNERS GUIDE ON HOW TO USE TWITTER FOR BUSINESS

BLOG, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurs, How to guides, social media

 

Creating a business page

Twitter is an undisputed social media giant, Its numbers triple by every heartbeat, if you want to see real time, instant results for your personal or business brand, Twitter is where you should be. It’s more interactive, easy to read and share. We are living in an information overload digitized world; twitter makes a summary of all the information in only 140 characters.

If you’re a newbie in twitter and like most beginners I have interacted with who say they freeze the moment they think of what to tweet.

First things first, before you create an account you need to decide what is the purpose of the account is it for personal interaction or business. This will determine who to follow, what to post, what to re-tweet, what to favourite. In previous post I wrote about how to get started social media, read it here on getting started with twitter: https://vivienwamalwa.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/a-beginners-how-to-guide-for-social-media/

Branding your business page – Profile size, cover photo size, what images;

Once you have your page up if you have set up a business page, you can set the business logo as your profile photo, the cover page can either be your logo or a nice graphic image of your listed services, sales or offer, a relatable quote for your line of business or a photo of your workplace/business or staff. You can use visual resources like www.canva.com  or www.fotor.com to make beautiful and professional images for your social pages. See dimensions for twitter:

  • Header photo (recommended dimensions are 1500×500 pixels)
  • Profile photo (recommended dimensions are 400×400 pixels)
  • Bio (maximum 160 characters)
  • You can include your business/ personal Website
  • Select a theme color that you prefer.

Who to follow;

Once all the basics are sorted, consider searching for twitter handles with general interests like news, sports, entertainment, world leaders, thought leaders then narrow down to industry and sector information or news sources not forgetting your competitors. It is vital to check on what other people in your line of business are doing and borrow a leaf, but make it better. While picking whom to follow, consider following twitter accounts with most followers by checking out their profile and at least the last three tweets from their most recent posts.

What to do – Tweets, Hash tags , re-tweets, favorite, pin, lists;

Social media is all about being social, hence twitter is a give and take…you share information and read what other people have shared and re-share, favorite it to your followers.

Re-tweet is when you share a tweet posted by someone else, Favorite is mostly when you like a post and you want to bookmark it, show approval, acknowledge plus a dozen other reasons. For many users the favorite is a way of giving someone a virtual pat on the back, to say “good work tweep, I love what you’re saying”.

# hash tag is the icon you use when posting, this helps your #topic or #post be found by interested followers. This is what you use when you want your topic to trend.

You can pin a Tweet to your profile so that when others visit your profile page, it is the first Tweet they will see.

Twitter lists allow you to easily find people and posts of the similar interest thus you interact with followers who are keen on the same topic as you.

Using twitter overview

When using twitter you can manage a number of accounts while using the twitter app and several automating tools like www.tweetdeck.com app, www.socialbro.com

which gives you great weekly insights of your follower-ship growth what not , www.tweepi.com is great for managing your twitter account, it helps you find people who are following you but you don’t follow them back, people whom you follow but aren’t following you among other great functions.

Bottom line in order to see rapid impact, tweet as often as possible and follow back people who follow you, use hash- tags 3-4 # per post are ideal, check on trending topics and share your thoughts, re-tweet or favorite posts you agree with or like, participate on Twitter discussions/ chats for direct and real time interaction, reply to tweets and messages, appreciate people who follow you, mention people you’re talking to with their tweet handle, delete any damaging posts that you may have shared, your reputation online is everything guard it to your maximum. I recently started using www.brandyourself.com for controlling the results of your personal brand online.

A BEGINNER’S ‘HOW TO’ GUIDE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurs, How to guides, internet, Social Media Marketing

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Oh my? Which? What? Where? How? Why?…the jigsaw puzzle of  a social media beginner

 If you feel left out, lost, confused and need to catch up with the current social media lingo this is your article, it’s not too late, here’s my quick guide to get you started ;

The social media arena is growing rapidly at a lightening speed, if you go off for a month or two you got a lot of catching up to do, Yet there’s a large majority of people who have been totally left behind the social media transformation.

Here are just some of the benefits of using social media

  • Promote your ideas, work, art, music, etc.
  • Businesses and professionals can use it to gain customers and clients
  • Bloggers and webmasters can use it to gain readers and visitors
  • Decrease your Marketing Costs
  • Brand awareness
  • Generate traffic to your website
  • Generate sales leads
  • Better search engine ranking
  • Better customer experience/feedback

Key social networking sites;

Facebook is a social site mainly used to keep in touch with friends and lately a key online marketing tool for businesses. With over 1.3 billion users, the chances are pretty high that most of the people you know use Facebook. From chatting with friends and sharing your opinion, to creating events and making new friends, Facebook is one of the most important aspects to many people’s social life.

You need a Facebook page if you want to market your business online for brand growth, lead generation and customer feedback. I like the Facebook Ads for any business they are very effective. Facebook is ideal for personal and business use.

See this definitive user guide article on how to go about Facebook for you or your business; http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Facebook

Twitter is a micro blogging site with over 288million active users. Different social media sites have different uses, strengths, and advantages. Twitter is more like a ‘real time social networking’ site, a place for sharing information as it happens, and for connecting with others in real time, often resulting in lasting friendships and contacts.

Twitter is my personal favourite; I find it very strategic, responsive and interactive. The fact that it limits you to 140 characters, you get a lot of compressed information and plenty of it in seconds. It allows you faster fan base/audience growth from thought leaders, industry experts.

Twitter is useful both for personal and business, if you need to keep up with all the trending topics across the globe, this is your honeypot.

See this definitive guide to get started: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Twitter

LinkedIn is a great tool for professional networking, whether you’re looking for job opportunities or to recruit great talent. LinkedIn grants you a perfect online resume. This social site has over 300 million members and it enables you to manage your professional identity, build and engage with your professional network, access knowledge, insights and opportunities.

You can create a business page and group for your business and use it a marketing platform.

My best features are the personalized professional connections, direct and real recommendations from your connections, endorsements for core competencies and the publication of your articles on the site.

Here’s a how to guide on getting started with your professional networking: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Account-on-LinkedIn

Google plus is great social networking site, ideal for optimization of your online image, I love Google+ due to the diversity of ways to promote your interests especially using the communities.

Google began rolling out Google Plus, Google’s own social networking site, on June 28, 2011. Although Google+ has many aspects similar to Facebook, there are also a number of novel features. Google+ has approximately 540 million users.

Some useful information on getting Google plus for your personal or business use: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Google%2B

Pinterest is an image-driven social media network that allows users to create and share collections of visual bookmarks that represent their interests. Previously, Pinterest was an invitation-only social network limited to certain users, but now, anyone interested in creating their own pin boards can register and join Pinterest for free.

I love Pinterest due to the visual aspect of its layout, colourfulness and user friendly functionality, I use it mostly when searching for specific information, pictures and Infographics and I don’t want distraction, this social site provides you with thorough information on almost any topic and mostly in visual format.

Here’s how to get yours going: http://www.wikihow.com/Sign-Up-for-Pinterest

Here are a few pointers to consider when setting up these social channels, whether you want to use it for social personal or business use.

  • Why should I employ social media?
  • Who am I targeting?
  • What do I want to share?
  • How do I plan to use these social channels?

 

20 TIPS ON HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE PERSONAL BRAND

business, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurs, internet, investment, marketing, Social Media Marketing, Success tips, technology

Personal-BrandLast night while participating in a twitter discussion harsh tag #BIZCHATS organized by Mashable Business alongside expert contributors William Arruda, Lolly Daskal, Alexis Grant and Maria Duron, I learnt to a great extent…much appreciation to these Tweeps for the knowledge sharing.

The topic was personal branding online and offline, much to my realization, a lot of small business owners are just as keen on the topic as I was. There was exhaustive information for anyone keen on personal branding. I had plenty to learn from industry guru’s, social media experts, pro bloggers, digital marketing gurus and what have you. I thought I would share my take on the topic from my personal knowledge and key takeaways from the discussion.

The success of your online personal brand is dependent on the personal image throughout the digital platforms and offline, ever heard of the term if Google doesn’t find you, you don’t exist.

Tips on building a personal brand

1. Personal branding is a marketing strategy focused on your most important product….YOU.

2. Be Authentic – Personal branding is about being your true self online, don’t be anyone’s phony, be the best version of you be unique when creating an online persona and voice.

3. The best personal Brands are REAL: Reliable, Engaged, Authentic and Listening.

4. Take a stand and stand out, personal branding is not about pleasing everyone strong brands please many just much repel most.

5. Know your superpowers by doing what you do better than anyone else.

6. Learn from OPE – other people’s experience research and network.

7. Discover what makes you unique and measure if you’re communicating well online/offline.

8. Invest in yourself….your personal brand is a personal investment.

9. Identify who you are, what you value and what you have to offer.

10. Focus on quality of connections and content not quantity.

11. Have fun, your readers want someone relatable and likeable.

12. Be selectively famous, focus on your target audience.

13. Keep evolving to remain relevant and real, everything changes, you change.

14. Network offline; keep yourself active in relevant company.

15. Make a difference wherever you and whatever you do.

16. Don’t aim to be a though leader, aim to be the best at what you do.

17. Be willing to help others in your trajectory, be an advocate for a cause.

18. Be clear; be consistent and constantly visible to decision makers and influencers online and offline

19. Build your brand in bits and bytes, first impressions have gone online.

20. Personal branding is answering your own WHY and then teaching/showing others the HOW.

Do you have any other personal branding tips to add? Please share…

When male chauvinism and miniskirts go as well together as ice cream and bacon

Entrepreneurs

Have some Kenyan men refused to evolve? I hope not and it’s not fair to generalize in that broad manner but the recent incidents in the streets of Nairobi where a growing number of Kenyan women have been violently stripped and sexually assaulted by a gang of males did bring doubt to my mind regarding how far Kenyan men have evolved!
I am an African woman, I have been raised to be respectful to other people, have self-respect and act as a role model towards my younger sisters and my children. In the last 60 years Kenyan society has changed so much and overall to the better though we still struggle with corrupt politicians, inequality, poverty and tribalism. We have managed to gain independence and we pride ourselves for being a power source/locomotive in our region leading the way when it comes to economic growth, creating a modern society and a democracy that is actually functioning and growing stronger every day.  Then why is it that some men in the 22nd century believe that undressing a woman in full daylight and worse still, sexually abuse her is perfectly all right?
My first impulse when I heard about the incident was utter disgust and angered sadness then when thinking about it I started to ask questions because we cannot change fundamental wrongs without trying to work out what the cause is in the first place.
A word that is thrown around is indecent. But in a democratic society doesn’t make sense unless you want to violate the concept of freedom of speech and the right to express yourself. Unless you have a group of people (men) who have constitutional right to exercise over another group of people (women) last time I checked men and women are equals and both have the right to vote. Which means that men cannot deem a woman indecent based on her dressing as long as vital “indecent” body parts remain covered. When men fool themselves to believe they have every right to exercise that kind of power they actually show that they are living in the past and more or less share the same views on women and their sex(uality) that are more common in a fundamentalistic Islamic state it has nothing to do with modern societies.
Some men with whom I’ve spoken to about this incident all with good jobs well into their middle age all mentioned that a woman in a mini arouses them by the mere look.  This argument is so flawed that it’s almost hysterical and when you follow the logic or rather lack of then it speaks volumes about males simply being incapable of self-control and being so out of touch with their own sexual desires that a woman can cause such a friction. It also have more to do with fears and anxieties turned outward towards women that actually handling and its always easier to set someone else straight than bringing balance into your own chaos. Then there is not a long way from such thinking to actually do something harmful toward someone else that seems to trigger that inner unbalance.
A wise man has once said: Hatred is a statement that leads to the extinction of values.
So there is much more at stake here than certain pitiful men who seem hell bend to attack women who somehow manage to arouse them.  We are talking civil rights here, we are talking equal rights between men and woman something that still has a long way to go apparently but that doesn’t change the fact that if we gave way to such actions and don’t respond to them in a proper manner then all the values related to being a democracy with a modern mind set in terms of true tolerance and equality of the sexes that can push the society ever forward will be lost.

So when the streets of Nairobi were filled by women and some male sympathisers in the protest “My dress my choice” which pulled a large audience and attracted international media from Europe to USA, we were not only exercising our constitutional rights but fighting any of those – isms that at their roots are related: racism, chauvinism and sexism. All of those share an ignorance that give birth to ill-fated stereotypes and notions that one group of people either gifted by ethnical background or having the right sex is superior in moral and intelligence among other virtues than enables them to rule and educate the inferior part. We need to be aware of those –isms and literally “fight” them in the streets whenever any of those isms raise their ugly ignorant head and boot them back to the past where they rightfully belong!
What form of justice would heal this lifetime psychological torture, embarrassment, shame of being publicly stripped nude for the whole world to see, mental state and dignity grabbed from these women?

“I think the devil doesn’t exist, but man has created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness.”- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
“Everything is permitted…”- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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