How to Grow your Start-up Using PPC

  • By Ioanna Riga
  • 16 Sep, 2016

Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the quickest ways to attract traffic to your website. Everyone knows that building your following organically can take quite a while - and for start-ups in particular time is gold!

Most people who attempt to set up a PPC campaign, however, tend to feel overwhelmed and often give up. There is such a wealth of possibilities when it comes to PPC advertising and so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration – not to mention the industry jargon which confuses people – that most beginners feel lost before even starting.

Despite these difficulties, we have identified a few simple steps that can lead any start-up to create a successful PPC campaign quickly and easily.

  • Always start by defining your goals. Like everything in marketing, PPC starts by identifying your goals and objectives. Think about the results you want to achieve through PPC, the areas you are looking to target, the type of user who is most likely to engage with your ads and the product categories you would like to promote through that channel. Having your goals clearly defined makes you understand which of the available tools apply to you and which data to focus on going forward.
  • Identify the best keywords. Selecting which keywords to target is everything in PPC. When it comes to keyword costs, certain industries can be quite expensive. However, broader terms which are used more often are usually more expensive, whereas narrower, highly targeted terms often cost less. Narrow terms are great if you are in a niche market. Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner which is available for free through AdWords can be a great help in this area as it can develop keyword ideas but also produce a budget forecast. Brainstorming with your team is also a great way to generate keyword ideas that you could have missed if you were planning to do this all by yourself.
  • Set a budget you are comfortable with. One of the greatest benefits of PPC advertising is the fact that it allows complete flexibility in terms of selecting and adjusting your daily budget. Taking Keyword Planner’s budget forecast into consideration, choose a daily budget you are comfortable with investing. After your campaign has been live for a certain period, the daily budget can be adjusted according to performance.
  • Keep a close eye on your campaign. Be prepared to   invest time on a daily basis gauging your data and adjusting your ads. PPC advertising won’t work if you ignore it and that is because the factors affecting it keep changing constantly – remember, it is a live auction after all.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help. Not everything will make sense at first, undoubtedly. Fear not, as you are not alone. Google support is getting more and more user-friendly every day. You can now contact an AdWords Expert with the click of a button, via phone or online chat – personally, I prefer the latter as it is easy to use even when in the office without having to annoy my co-workers with lengthy phone calls.
  • Keep educating yourself. Make sure you keep yourself informed of any changes or new trends in the area of PPC. As a dynamic sector, PPC keeps evolving constantly. That requires a lot of reading on your behalf, so make sure you always stay on top of things. If you ever feel left behind, there are companies and experts who can conduct an audit of your ads and recommend the best practices to improve your visibility.

I would love to know what your thoughts are with regards to PPC. Are you planning to use PPC as part of your marketing?

BLAM Blog

By Grant Stain 18 Mar, 2017
One of the hardest parts of running a small business is staying motivated. This is particularly true if you work on your own or spend a lot of time locked in your office away from the other staff.

You may not like to admit it but how often do you find yourself feeling distracted, lack lustre or just plain lazy, despite there being a "to do" list as long as your arm?

Generating the motivational energy to get the job done when you have these unproductive days is tough. When you don't have a boss to be accountable to, who holds the threat of dismissal over you if you don't perform as expected, means that it's easy to become unproductive.


"Often, good people, who have had successful careers in employment,
struggle to find motivation when they go it alone"



Over the years I've seen this symptom many, many times, particularly with people who start their own business for the first time. Often, good people, who have had successful careers in employment, struggle to find motivation when they go it alone. Without the routine and the structure of employment, and the threat of not being paid if tasks aren't completed, performance can be well below what they are capable of achieving.

So how can we find the motivation that will help us achieve success, even when our mojo is low? I've put together this list which has helped me stay motivated over the years, and has helped many business owners who I've mentored.

1. Goals. Defining financial goals for the business year, then three years in advance that are achievable and within reach is a great way of staying motivated (if your goals are too ambitious they can have a demotivating effect).

2. Vision board. Keep a vision board close to your work space and other prominent places (I keep mine as a screen saver on my phone). Seeing your dreams help remind you why you need to work so hard.

3. Weekly targets. Diarise and record weekly targets for all of your work behaviour that you know will get results-we call this a cook-book. All BLAM Partners have access to a cook-book in our resource centre.

4. Reward yourself. Give yourself a reward when you achieve certain targeted tasks. This could be as simple as a night out, family time or or maybe a short break if it's an important achievement.

5. Accountability partner. Find a person who will check that you are undertaking your weekly tasks. The fact that somebody is going to check that you are doing what you committed to is a big motivation. Sending your cook-book to them at the end of each week motivates us to make sure our tasks are completed.

6. Join a mastermind group. A group of like minded business people who meet at least once a month to discuss their business issues. They motivate, inspire and help each other stick to their goals. You can organise this yourself or join an existing group.

7. Get a mentor. Finding another business person who you respect and has a history of business experience can help you navigate the road to success by learning from their experience. Be bold and ask, you'll find that other business owners are keen to share their experience.

Most importantly, remember that we all have moments of self doubt when we struggle to find motivation. In these moments I always remind myself that being in business is the road less travelled and if it was easy, everyone would do it.
By Grant Stain 12 Mar, 2017
Ever since I was a boy I have been fascinated with cars. When driving along in the back of the family car I would challenge myself to call out every single make and model of car that drove past, and paid particular attention to the fast ones!

My main goal in life as a teenager was to buy my first car, pass my test and the world would then be my oyster. And so my first car, a customised VW Beetle, was my pride and joy and went through a series of incarnations as every penny I had went into customising it from top to bottom.

The real dream however was to have another rear engined, German engineered, piece of art, a Porsche 911. So in my early career as a graphic designer my main motivation to earn money was to fund my obsession with cars, in particular, Porsches.

I’ve now been lucky enough to own many fast cars over the years, and the number of Porsches has got into double figures such has been my obsession. I’ve joined the Porsche clubs, attended loads of Porsche rallies and sponsored a Porsche in a race series for a couple of seasons. And so when a friend and client of mine asked me to join him and his business partner in a venture founding a supercar experience business, it seemed like the perfect fit.

My role would be marketing and strategy, whilst the other two partners would run the day to day business and manage the cars. We all chipped in, donated cars and set about raising the funds to put together a fantastic fleet of vehicles and all of the infrastructure that goes with it.



"The first year was an exciting one,
but as new ventures always are, very, very hard work."



The first year was an exciting one, but as new ventures always are, very, very hard work. As I had other businesses to run as my “day” jobs, I would end up spending my weekends at race tracks all over the UK, presenting safety briefings and managing customer service issues. My family life suffered, and the amount of time that I actually spent driving the cars was minimal. It soon became clear that living the supercar dream wasn’t as flash as it seemed!

The biggest learning curve from founding and running that business for me was the effect that it had on my love for fast cars. Once you’ve driven a McLaren and a Ferrari back to back on a racetrack before you start work for the day, driving any sports car on the road feels mundane. By the time that I exited the business my love of fast cars had pretty much gone, something I would never have imagined possible only a couple of years previous.



"I found that turning my hobby into my
work actually took away some of the joy"



So, in my experience, I found that turning my hobby into my work actually took away some of the joy I found from having fun in my cars at the weekend. Driving a car that you’ve saved hard for, spent a long time searching for and then fastidiously maintained and cherished, is a far cry from running a fleet of supercars that need to earn their keep.

What I take away from this is not to confuse my hobbies with my work, as it can take the fun out of your weekend escapes, something that is vital when you push yourself hard during the week. I love my day job but I wouldn’t want it as a hobby, I now appreciate my hobbies more, but I don’t want them to be my job!

However, I didn’t learn my lesson, I sold my shares in the supercar business and bought a pub and brewery, but that’s another story!
By Grant Stain 05 Mar, 2017
It was World Book Day this week, and it was great to see so much fun being had, particularly from the kids, dressing up as their favourite literary characters. It prompted me to think about the collection of books in my library and the authors that have influenced me along the journey.

However, I don’t “read” much! I am an avid “listener” of books, preferring to consume my literature using my Audible app on my phone. This works for me as it means that the time spent every day in the car or on the train, is maximised by listening to a combination of my go-to business books, entrepreneur autobiographies and new business titles that take my fancy.



I don’t “read” much! I am an avid “listener”



I approach this time as my personal development time, and I really look forward to it. I commit to at least 4 hrs a week (usually quite a bit more) and at the moment I make sure that at least an hour of that is “Think and Grow Rich”, my number one, all time favourite personal development book.

I have over 80 titles in my Audible account that I add to each month and another large batch in my iTunes account. So if you fancy giving it a go, to help you save a bit of trial and error I have listed below my top ten favourite books that inspire me on my way to and from work.

1. Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill. This extraordinary book was written over a period of 25 years and then published in 1937, and it still stands out as the best template to leading a successful life. It defines the “mastermind group” model and effectively describes the law of attraction in a very grounded and accessible way.

2. Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh. This powerful book has influenced me in almost everything I do in business. Tony Hsieh's unique approach to customer service is awe inspiring, a must read for anyone with a business that has customers!

3. Start with Why, Simon Sinek. This relatively short book speaks directly to me in particular as it so closely describes the way I like to approach branding within business. It’s all about the “Why" not necessarily the “What" and full of lots of other really useful marketing theory.

4. Pitch Anything, Oren Klaff. Oren Klaff is now starting to get the recognition he deserves as one of the worlds leading authorities on how to present to an audience that isn’t that bothered about what you have to say. Using his techniques gives you the power to raise your authority in the room, helping you close the deal.

5. The Greatness is Within You, Les Brown. Another regular player on my phone, you cannot fail to feel uplifted after listening to presentations from this super-inspiring motivational speaker. 10 minutes a day is like medicine for the mind!

6. 28 Business Thinkers Who Changed the World, Rhymer Rigby. I love this book because it condenses 28 examples of amazing business stories, allowing me to draw from them in my day to day life without having had to read/listened a full book on each (although I have on a few of them!).

7. The E-Myth Revisited, Michael E. Gerber. This is the “go-to" book for any aspiring entrepreneur, it eloquently explains why most new businesses fail and how to build a business that won’t send you to an early grave!

8. The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss. Trust me, with only a few exceptions, any work week that is hugely profitable after only four hours will have been developed after years of tirelessly working 12hrs+ a day. However,the lessons described in this book are famous for short cutting some common business processes, particularly in the on-line arena.

9. How to Get Rich, Felix Dennis. This story is told with a twinkle in the eye, from a man who had lived life to the absolute full and had the scars to prove it. He sadly died in 2014 which make this read all the more poignant.

10. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho. I listened to this after seeing it recommended by Will Smith. It is an endearing tale that is full of metaphors about life, I’ve made both of my children listen to this one too, highly recommended listening or reading but you need to read it more than once for full effect.

This list could have gone on a while, and it was tough choosing just 10!

It would be great to hear feedback from you if there are books that have helped you in life, I’m always looking for another good listen!

Have a great reading week!
By Grant Stain 25 Feb, 2017
Working with a mentoring client recently, I was delighted to find that one of their personal goals was to smile more. It may sound like the simplest of things but just the thought of having "smile more" as a personal goal made me feel very happy, I smiled a lot!



"smile it does make you feel happier, even if it's a fake smile"



Smiling is what you do when you are happy, but does it work the other way around, can we smile and then feel happier as a result? I believe we can. And I’m not the only one who thinks this, there's been plenty of research that shows that when you smile it does make you feel happier, even if it's a fake smile.

I once interviewed a potential developer for one of my companies who had on her CV an award that she had won whilst working in Tesco’s on the checkouts (whilst at Uni). To Tesco's great credit they recognised their staff by awarding an accolade for being the smiliest person in the store and Jini (who worked for me for some years after this) had won it. She had a great CV and turned out to be a great developer, but the thing that stands out in my memory about my decision making process for taking her on was the smiling award. It says so much about someone’s personality to have won an award like that and it proved to be absolutely true, I just new she’d fit in.



"I always ask my sales staff to smile when they are on the phone"



I am therefore a huge advocate of smiling at work, it has many so benefits. I always ask my sales staff to smile when they are on the phone. I’ve had some odd looks over the years and conversations along the lines of “but it’s the phone, they can’t see me!” but they can hear your smile. Just think about it next time you get a cold call from the ambulance chasers or the PPI call centre. If they were smiling (they usually aren’t) you could tell, it uplifts their whole demeanour, and I guarantee the ones that are smiling are the sales people that have the most success.

So give some thought to your smiling when working on your business. Practice smiling on the phone, in the car, on the train and watch the positive results, I guarantee it will make a difference :-)

Here is a list of some other benefits to smiling more:

• It’s contagious - you’ll get lots of smiles back, guaranteed
• Smiling boosts your immune system - it reduces cortisol
• Smiling is our 1st facial expression
• Forcing a smile will elevate your mood - try it, it really works
• Smiling makes you more attractive - 70% of people prefer a smiling face
• Smiling reduces blood pressure - yes, smiling saves lives
• Smiling is exercise for the face - 26 muscles are used in a smile
• Employers tend to promote people who smile often - unless you work at a funeral directors!
• There are 19 different types of smiles - can you name them?
• It’s easier to smile than frown - smile muscles are stronger
• Smiles can be detected from 300ft away - the friend or foe reflex
By Grant Stain 19 Feb, 2017

This weekend my wife and I have left the kids with nana and grandpa and we've travelled to Buxton in the Peak District, apparently England's leading Spa Town, nice. The weekend escape in February is an annual event that we commit to every year, visiting a different destination each time, we love it.

I do all of the planning. The research usually starts in November, and the challenge for me is to find an interesting town or city where Abby and I can spend a whole weekend not tied to the usual demands of a busy family and work life.


"I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood."


The break away from it all, is a very important event in our calendar and one that plays a significant role in my business life too. Don't worry, I don't spend the whole weekend working, quite the opposite in fact (except for this blog). But, as a certified, got the t-shirt entrepreneur, I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood.

When I'm away from the businesses (my staff and business partners know this) the constant contact that we get so used to is intentionally policed. That combined with the removal of family commitments (my weekend role is usually taxi driver, tutor and punchbag) my brain unwinds very quickly and I often have some inspired ideas that are implemented on my return with much enthusiasm.

The idea of taking a break away from it all to unwind is nothing new, but these days how much of a break do we really take when we have our phones in our pocket? Part of the ethos of our annual break is being disconnected from texts, LinkedIn, Facebook, What's app, phone calls and all the other distractions in our connected world. Here in Buxton for example, I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts. It was following one of my “thoughts", I felt compelled to write this blog as testimony to the power of the disconnected weekend break in Feb!


'I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts."


However, "embrace the beauty of technology" is one of BLAM's, and therefore my, core values and detaching myself from that technology in order to think creatively is something of an irony. The key thing for me is having the discipline to connect and disconnect to get the best results, something that doesn't always come easy to me.

I am writing this blog on my disconnected mobile, with relaxing music playing, in a clothes shop that has given me free coffee whilst Abby tries on several outfits. There's no signal so no interruptions, heaven :)

It's a well documented subject, the idea of intentionally unplugging and getting away from it all. My advice to our BLAM Partners is to make sure you diarise the breaks the same way you do with the work behaviours and consider the amount of connected time you allow yourself whilst you are there. Like me, I'm sure you will find hidden inspiration in your unconnected escape.

Next week, I will be refreshed and technology will be fully embraced once more and I'll be loving it! Now, where's that awesome little bar with craft beer on tap I spotted earlier, that looked really inspiring...

By Grant Stain 13 Feb, 2017
Over the years I've tried all sorts of different ways of organising my “to-do" list. It's one of the most important tools that we use every day to get stuff done. And lets be honest, there's something really satisfying about looking at a to-do list with all of the items crossed out, heaven!

When I was a boy, my dad had his own business, and I was fascinated by his to-do list method. Even though he's retired, I still see him using it to this today for his daily tasks. Way back before laptops and mobiles, my old man had a lined notepad with a list of to-do’s that he wrote up early every morning at his desk. At the end of the day, all of the items that he hadn’t crossed out were carried over to the new page the next morning, to start all over again. He went through loads of these pads over the years and the habit stayed with him his whole working life.

Similarly I’ve always used a writing book for my to-do list, and I now keep three on the go at any one time. One is a lined A5 pad for staff related notes and mentoring clients, the next is an A4 plain paper pad for drawing my mind maps and ideas that I have (my favourite book) and finally a quality A4 lined pad for the daily notes and briefs etc, including a lot of my to do lists.

Now that the technology we have at our disposal keeps us all so well connected to our cloud of data, my main to-do list is now kept in the Apple App “reminders”. I love this app, as it integrates with my calendar and can trigger reminder alerts based on time, date and location in the form of push notifications which I find brilliant. This has lessened the need for me to make a hand written to-do list every day and helps me keep more accurate deadlines of my goals and objectives each week. However, I still can’t get out of the habit of writing them in my book, it gives me the chance to enjoy crossing things out :)

The debate about which is the best way to organise a busy “to-do” list is an old one, and I love the story from 1918, about Charles M. Schwab, who was one of the richest men in the world at the time. A notoriously creative businessman he would try all sorts of things to give his steel business the edge over the competition.

So, he hired a well known productivity consultant called Ivy Lee, to see if he could get more out of his executive staff. Lee, a very successful guy in his own right, offered to spend 15 minutes with each one of Schwab’s team and that the fee would be decided by Schwab after three months, based on what he thought it was worth!

Here’s what he told them to do:

• At the end of each workday, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.

• Prioritise those six items in order of their true importance.

• When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.

• Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.

• Repeat this process every working day.

Sound familiar?

This made me smile when I first heard the story a few years ago, as it is very similar to the method my dad used for so many years. And guess what? It really works well!

Remember, the way we prioritise our time is one of THE most important systems in our working lives, but I have found that one system does not fit all people. The Ivy Lee method may be your cup of tea, but if not what is? Whatever your method ( Tips here ) the points that are important are:

Prioritise, always have a deadline and try not to add other people’s to-do's to your list, especially if you’re really busy!

So, how much did Schwab pay Lee for the method? Well, after three months, Schwab was so pleased with the progress his business had made that he paid $25k, which is $400k in today's money. In reality, generous as it was, that was only a fraction of the value of that particular to-do list method!

By Grant Stain 05 Feb, 2017
I must be a really annoying dad. My teenage son in particular cops for my long winded lectures nearly every day. Much huffing and eye rolling is involved on his part but I persevere, it's all part of my plan.

I've always taken being a dad very seriously and was amazed when 15 years ago when I had my 1st child that he didn't come with an instruction manual! This is madness I thought, surely there must be some common, universal strategies that are provided by the midwife, doctors etc, it's seems like quite an important thing! Up until the birth there had been loads of advice, after that, you're on your own.

Baffled by this, my wife and I set to reading every book we could to ensure we were doing our best (I can highly recommend, The Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg and Raising Boys/Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph) and so our education began and we found the strategies that seemed to fit with our values and ideas.

Moving on 15 years, my eldest is now receiving the full dad treatment from me and I try my best to educate him about life in the hope he can make mistakes quickly and learn from them each time. Hence the lectures, mostly along the lines of "So what did you learn from that experience and how will you change it next time?"

Which brings me on to my main point - REPS. In the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger "it's all about the reps".

My son and I are listening to the audio book "Total Recall" (following in from the hugely inspiring Bear Grylls autobiography, Mud, Sweat and Tears), Arnie's autobiography as it is full of brilliant lessons in life. He learnt very early on that if you want to grow big muscles you have to repeat the exercises over and over again to slowly build them up. He took this philosophy and applied it to many other parts of his life and has achieved incredible things as s result. Here's a few:
•  The greatest body builder ever, winning Mr Olympia 7 times, responsible for taking the underground obscure cult and turning into an internationally recognised sport.
•   Before he ever became a film star he built up a multimillion dollar portfolio of property, whilst competing as Mr Universe and running a mail order publishing company.
•   Despite not speaking very good English he became the one of the highest paid Hollywood actors of his time and now has a net worth of over $300 million dollars.
•  He became the Governor of California (if it was a country it would be the 4th wealthiest in the world) in 2003 serving until 2011 making huge progress with climate change and physical fitness legislation.

This impressive list (very brief, he's achieved so much more) has been achieved by implementing the philosophy of repetition. Each time the reps have been completed the next time you have to complete them a little bit better, always growing always improving. I love this idea as I can see it work in so many instances in life, especially in business.

When in the gym exercising with weights, doing the reps actually breaks down your muscles. If you push your muscles past their comfort zone into the part when they're struggling, when they rebuild, they will build a little bit bigger each time. If however, you don't push past the pain barrier, they won't grow bigger, they'll stay the same.

It's only when we push ourselves past the point we thought we couldn't reach, that we achieve greatness, and the "reps" are the route to getting us there.

When applied to all aspects of life, this idea can't help but deliver results. Constant repetition, each time tweaking to get better, at the activities that we need to improve and excel in equals success.

My favourite example of this is the time Arnold delivered his most important speech on climate change to the United Nations. It was a 40 minute speech that he had to write and he practiced it 50 times - 50 times! When he went on stage, he didn't need any notes, the reps had embedded the entire speech into his head, he new it off by heart, awesome!

So I would ask you to consider what it is that you need to apply the "reps" to. Your sales pitch, your cold calling, your cook book or like me, is it lecturing your kids over and over knowing eventually it should stick?
By Ioanna Riga 16 Sep, 2016

Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the quickest ways to attract traffic to your website. Everyone knows that building your following organically can take quite a while - and for start-ups in particular time is gold!

Most people who attempt to set up a PPC campaign, however, tend to feel overwhelmed and often give up. There is such a wealth of possibilities when it comes to PPC advertising and so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration – not to mention the industry jargon which confuses people – that most beginners feel lost before even starting.

Despite these difficulties, we have identified a few simple steps that can lead any start-up to create a successful PPC campaign quickly and easily.

  • Always start by defining your goals. Like everything in marketing, PPC starts by identifying your goals and objectives. Think about the results you want to achieve through PPC, the areas you are looking to target, the type of user who is most likely to engage with your ads and the product categories you would like to promote through that channel. Having your goals clearly defined makes you understand which of the available tools apply to you and which data to focus on going forward.
  • Identify the best keywords. Selecting which keywords to target is everything in PPC. When it comes to keyword costs, certain industries can be quite expensive. However, broader terms which are used more often are usually more expensive, whereas narrower, highly targeted terms often cost less. Narrow terms are great if you are in a niche market. Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner which is available for free through AdWords can be a great help in this area as it can develop keyword ideas but also produce a budget forecast. Brainstorming with your team is also a great way to generate keyword ideas that you could have missed if you were planning to do this all by yourself.
  • Set a budget you are comfortable with. One of the greatest benefits of PPC advertising is the fact that it allows complete flexibility in terms of selecting and adjusting your daily budget. Taking Keyword Planner’s budget forecast into consideration, choose a daily budget you are comfortable with investing. After your campaign has been live for a certain period, the daily budget can be adjusted according to performance.
  • Keep a close eye on your campaign. Be prepared to   invest time on a daily basis gauging your data and adjusting your ads. PPC advertising won’t work if you ignore it and that is because the factors affecting it keep changing constantly – remember, it is a live auction after all.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help. Not everything will make sense at first, undoubtedly. Fear not, as you are not alone. Google support is getting more and more user-friendly every day. You can now contact an AdWords Expert with the click of a button, via phone or online chat – personally, I prefer the latter as it is easy to use even when in the office without having to annoy my co-workers with lengthy phone calls.
  • Keep educating yourself. Make sure you keep yourself informed of any changes or new trends in the area of PPC. As a dynamic sector, PPC keeps evolving constantly. That requires a lot of reading on your behalf, so make sure you always stay on top of things. If you ever feel left behind, there are companies and experts who can conduct an audit of your ads and recommend the best practices to improve your visibility.

I would love to know what your thoughts are with regards to PPC. Are you planning to use PPC as part of your marketing?

By Ioanna Riga 18 Aug, 2016

Perhaps you’ve just had this crazy idea. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it for ages. Whatever your situation, this article aims to help you realise why now is the best time for you to start your own business.

By Ioanna Riga 06 Jul, 2016

First, let’s define the term social media ‘strategist’, ‘expert’, ‘specialist’ or whichever title you prefer to use to describe that particular marketing specialisation because I understand it often causes confusion. I have picked the term ‘social media strategist’ for this post’s title as for me it is the most accurate to describe the role. A professional in this industry will never proceed to manage anyone’s social media platforms without properly planning a detailed strategy first, and that is usually the main difference between those who are qualified to do the job and those who aren't.

A social media strategist, therefore, is the professional behind any successful social media business page. That person is responsible for aligning a company’s social media activities with the overall marketing direction of the business. For some, this might still seem generic and difficult to understand, but hopefully, the rest of this post will shed some light into this role’s specifics while answering some common queries I often hear from clients.

  • Do you think you can do it yourself? The main problem with small business owners and their view of social media nowadays is that they believe they can run it themselves. People often think that because they know how to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect with friends, they can do the same for their business. However, it is one thing to use social platforms for personal purposes and a whole different story to run a successful business page. If you honestly think you can understand the rules of engagement, what creates value for your target audience, the different dynamics in each platform, and how to translate all that to business growth, then, by all means, go ahead and do it yourself. If not, you should probably think twice before endangering your firm’s image.
  • Do you think social media are not a good fit for your industry? While it is true that not all types of businesses should expand their presence on the same level all social networks, some social media presence is still required. Think of it this way. Chances are your customers – and competitors! - are already on social media. Don’t you want to be where your customers are? A social media strategist will research the market and tell you exactly which platforms would benefit your particular type of business.
  • Do you think it is still too early to invest in social media? New business owners often think that hiring a social media specialist is something only large businesses can afford. Others might choose to postpone social media altogether until the brand grows in popularity. Both these views are wrong. Do some market research and you will discover plenty of affordable solutions available depending on the level of management or the number of platforms you are looking to have managed. The right social media manager for your firm will tell you it is much easier and cost-effective for a new brand to gain awareness through social media, than any other channel. Therefore, social media are an essential tool for the future success of any start-up.
  • Do you know what exactly you are trying to achieve? On the other hand, I often meet clients who are more than excited to create a strong social media presence for their start-up. And that is great! However, when I ask them what their social media objectives are and what exactly they are trying to achieve through that, they don’t know the answer. Most people would reply something like ‘getting followers’ or ‘likes’ or whatever. If you are not able to tie each social media activity to at least one business objective, though, you will be wasting your time without a doubt. That is where a specialist will come in handy once again.

Having said all that, and even though social media are a powerful tool, people should never make the mistake of thinking that a solid social presence is all it takes to ensure a good level of sales. The purpose of your social media strategy is to complement and augment your overall marketing and sales strategy. One cannot do well without the other, and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted.

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