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What They Don’t Want You to Know: Top Tips From Successful African Business Owners

Africa is practically an economic goldmine, with thousands upon thousands of business owners, both big and small, revolutionizing various industries in the continent.  Countless countries have taken advantage of Africa’s flourishing economy and grew their start-ups into similarly flourishing enterprises. Whether in the East, the West, the North, or the South, running a business can be hard work, and you’re liable to face certain struggles. To mitigate these struggles, we have gathered several top tips from successful African business owners that ensure your business not only survives but thrives.

What They Don’t Want You to Know: Top Tips from Successful African Business Owners

1. Understanding the Market

To first become an entrepreneur, you must understand Africa’s market, consumer trends, and niches. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to dedicate several hours to scrolling endless web pages. No one likes agonizing over whether or not their next revolutionary idea will fit in a neat little box. Instead, look to your local sources, like your neighborhood, for example.

However, if you really are stuck on ideas, it wouldn’t hurt to check out market research in Africa and the surrounding area. SIS International Research has several reports on the subject.

It is no secret that the African continent is home to a plethora of natural resources. With that comes growing consumer markets or, potentially, untapped ones. As such, certain companies taking notice with a discerning eye for competitive advantages and opportunities for growth. Housing the second largest population globally, Africa’s economy largely depends on natural resources for its agriculture and mining sectors to function.

Regardless of whatever business you decide to go into, make sure that the market for it is neither too narrow nor too broad. Try to tap into a market that is stable all year round rather than seasonal. Google Trends could show you how stable these markets are.

Case study: This much is the case with Hephzibah Ijeje, a 19-year-old economics student, humanitarian, business enthusiast, and co-founder of Recyclift. With Africa being the most susceptible to environmental challenges, including deforestation,  land degradation, and extreme vulnerability to climate change, Recyclift hopes to bring about sustainable development to her community.

2. Start Small

One of the most ubiquitous examples of starting small is the foundation of Amazon. Amazon started as a humble bookstore in Bellevue, Washington. Once the profits were stable, the bookstore slowly expanded into a different market: toys. As time went on, Amazon continued to break into different markets, ensure its stability, and continue until it became the powerhouse it is are today.

It is far easier to start a business with a narrow scope than a broad one. However, it isn’t enough to branch out into any other market once you have the scope. Instead, it would be best if you branched into relevant markets. Otherwise, you risk being unable to capture that market.

Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group in Nigeria stresses this to young and budding entrepreneurs, in fact.”To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big.” He says, “In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.”

3. Developing Your Brand

A successful business owner, African or not, must always focus on their brand. It is often the first thing that potential customers notice, and it pays off to make a good first impression. Furthermore, a good brand will help set you apart from your contemporaries. It will also promote recognition and tells potential customers about the kind of company you helm. A strong brand can even help your company connect with your customers emotionally. This is especially correct if your brand and your customers hold similar values.

Tom Osborn, an African entrepreneur and community mobilizer, co-founded GreenChar, a social enterprise that provided clean energy for rural Kenyan communities and urban slums. In addition, he was named on the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in Social Entrepreneurship, among other awards.

Osborn emphasizes that young entrepreneurs do their best to develop their business and personal brand. In fact, he considers it half the battle.

“I think in Africa there are a lot of young entrepreneurs who have great ideas but never get noticed or past the small-scale level,” He remarks. “I think one reason is that they poorly position themselves and the organisation. They don’t know how to tell their story. They don’t know how to create their brand. And I think that is also very important. Entrepreneurs should spend a lot of time not only on their products, but also on working out how they are going to sell them.”

4. Choosing the Right Business Partner

Something that many successful African business owners have is a business partner. Having a business partner is critical when your business expands. In fact, it is even preferable when your business is just starting. As the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”

Whether through networking, job postings, or personal connections, finding a partner whose skills complement your own can help you and your business in all ways. It can help plan, grow and run your business and help mitigate the stress of running that business. In addition, a partner that shares your values, your spirit and your vision are guaranteed to help you. You will have an easier time communicating with this person, making decisions, setting goals, and overall ensuring the health and survival of your business together.

An example of this would be Thato Kgalhayne and her co-founder, Rea Ngwane. Friends since childhood, the duo have developed a rewarding partnership by ensuring their personal friendship does not get in the way of business.

“When you form a business partnership with your friend, act as though you met that person that day. You can’t say because you’ve known your friend since grade four, you’ll work well together in business.” Kgatlhanye suggests, “No – you have known them since you decided to start a company together. So get to know your business partner as a business partner, not a friend, because business and friendship is a different ball game. And I think that’s the best advice. Get a business coach, be honest, leave the ego at the door and hustle.”

5. Building and Managing Your Team

Building a productive team is often more important than you think. With a good team working with you, you’ll find that a lot of your success will equate with your team’s. After all, it is much more efficient to work with a team in entrepreneurship than to work alone. You will find that your ability to lead and inspire is critical to your future just as much as your business’s. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll also find that once your team shows growth, your business will inevitably follow suit.

Many successful African business owners realize this, choosing members of their team after scrutiny. Some partners are childhood friends while others are hand-picked, but one lesson remains: they made sure that their team was confident and skilled.

Togolese entrepreneur Sam Kodo, founder of Infinite Loop, also acknowledges the importance of a flourishing team. Explaining that he and his team have complementary skills to make decisions, Kodo is a prime example of why building and managing your team is useful for an effective business.

“Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg might not have particularly been good businessmen or good administrators or even good at marketing, but what they did was surround themselves with people who have the competencies and skills to turn their [innovations and computer skills] into a company. When you choose a business partner, choose someone who complements you – not someone with the same skills.”

6. Motivation, Failure, and Perseverance

A business owner must always keep in mind that if you fail, it doesn’t hurt to try again. Entrepreneurship is difficult. In fact, perhaps the easiest thing about entrepreneurial success is how easy it is to get discouraged.

However, there are countless stories of entrepreneurs whose businesses have ended in disaster, and instead of giving up, they go on with their next idea. Whether there weren’t enough interested investors, or a lack of capital or funding, or an inadequate management team, a faulty business model, or unsuccessful marketing campaigns, it is important, if anything else, to treat these failures as the lessons that they are. Take notes on the precarious pitfalls that made you fail, and be sure to work better at them. Use those discouraging situations as learning experiences, and take the opinions of those who doubt you with a grain of salt. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you must be brave to take that risk.

Chris Kirubi, founder of Centum Investment in Kenya, imparted a meaningful quote that has always rung true in the world of business: “Business is always a struggle. There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success has always been achieved by fight, every winner has scars. The men who succeed are the efficient few –they are the few who have the ambition and willpower to develop themselves. So choose to be among the few today.”

Are you interested in starting your own African business, or even just growing it? Contact PivotPath today to schedule a free consultation to improve your marketing strategy!

[Video] Top Three Reasons to Use Video Marketing

Video marketing has many great marketing benefits, but what grabs the attention of your audience? We spend the majority of our time on our phones, the internet, or watching television. Gifs and videos are all around us, on TikTok and Instagram stories, capturing our attention and shortening our attention spans. It is hard to escape the virtual world we live in, so might as well let it help your business.

Here are the Top Three Reasons to Use Video Marketing in 2021:

Growing Revenue with Extra Exposure

Companies put a focus on revenue within their company to determine their goals for the business. If they see a decrease in revenue, then they will make changes in their marketing style. Marketing teams have seen a growth in revenue with video marketing due to the access of videos within our society. People spend their time on social media platforms, with videos popping up on their feeds throughout the day, and often share interesting videos with their circles of influence. Studies show that 48% of people said they’d be most likely to share video content with their friends.

In addition, social media algorithms now recognize and acknowledge videos (like Instagram Reels) much more than standard posts, which can increase your brand’s visibility and reach. Unfortunately but fortunately, the more videos you have, the more likely social media channels are going to direct people to your page(s).

Increased Traffic to Your Website

Tailing off of the first reason, the main reason companies put a focus on marketing is to increase traffic to their website and business. Companies can do this in several ways, such as newsletters, blog posts, social media, and more.

However, According to WordStream, viewers retain 95% of a video message compared to 10% in text. Organizations need to take a look into what type of marketing tactics they want to use to attract their targeted audience(s). The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. Customers may not read the newsletters or emails, but they could retain most of the information from the video. 

Increasing Traffic

Search Engines for Videos vs. Posts

When companies plan their marketing, they want their company to be the first name that pops up on the search engine rather than their competitor. Studies show that Google owns YouTube–they love ranking their own site in number one slots. Videos tend to be the first links to pop up rather than a blog post due to the rankings. According to Mollica Films, You’re 53 times more likely to show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website. The best way to do this is with gifs and video marketing.  You can pair a blog post with a video for a better marketing strategy (like we’ve done).

Search Engine Benfits

Video Marketing is not a new strategy but definitely one that every company needs to try. Need help with your video production but don’t know where to start? Contact us at PivotPath for assistance from start to final product.

Check out some of our video productions over the years:

European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone

CDC Federal Credit Union

 

 

 

How to ensure that your branding efforts are successful

Branding is a strategic art. It communicates who or what your business is and can define its success. To promote a long-lasting presence, it’s important that your branding efforts are helping your brand advance. Keep reading to find out how to ensure that your branding efforts are successful.  

Persuade consumers to choose your brand over others.

Branding requires ethical persuasion. Rhetorical appeals, like pathos, ethos, and logos, are strategies that shape a communicator’s appeal to an audience. Your brand is the communicator to its specific audience. To maintain a presence in a competitive market place, it’s important to exercise rhetorical appeals.

Are your branding efforts meaningful?

Pathos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the emotions of an audience. When pathos isn’t achieved, your brand lacks meaning. Essentially, the goal is to create meaning by appealing to your audience’s hopes and ideas and addressing their fears and worries. 

Maintaining two-way communication is a sure way to gauge your audience’s emotions. What do they want? Like? Need? Encourage your audience to engage with your brand to get a good understanding of their emotions. Your job is to understand your audience to create the right emotional environment for communication. Frontiers in Psychology shows that audiences are more likely to commit to a brand when it sparks an emotional response. You must create a correlation between your brand and trust, value, and meaning to broaden the impact of emotions.

Are your branding efforts credible?

Ethos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the credibility of an audience. You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Mutually beneficial relationships are built on trust. A lack of credibility compromises the trust of your audience and therefore the success of your brand.

The best way to guarantee that your brand is credible is to be consistent in your branding efforts and seek feedback from your audience. Reviews on Yelp and Google are a good place to start, but consider other ways to secure feedback. For example, email questionnaires and social media polls are a great way to gather feedback from your audience. You’ll be sure to hit two birds with one stone by showing your audience that you’re interested in its feedback. Moreover, listening to your audience’s feedback will not only strengthen your brand’s credibility but also appeal to the emotions of your audience. 

Are your branding efforts meeting expectations?

Logos is a rhetorical communication technique that involves appealing to the logic of an audience. More importantly, logos works to strengthen ethos, as it provides logical evidence for credibility.

Your brand’s credibility largely shapes its reputation, trustworthiness, and the confidence of its audience. Clear and concise messaging is a great way to instill trust, but put your money where your mouth is and give your audience a logical reason to trust your brand. Ask yourself: Is your brand delivering the products and/or services that its messages communicate? Your job is to instill confidence in your audience. 

We can help you apply these strategies.

In conclusion, rhetorical appeals have played an important role in persuasion efforts since Ancient Greece. Your branding efforts will inevitably provoke some sort of response. Ask yourself the questions above to ensure that those responses are positive. 

Don’t fret if you find yourself at a crossroads on how to apply these strategies. PivotPath specializes in strategic brand planning. Contact us today for a free consultation to ensure that your branding efforts are successful. 

5 Signs Your Agency Needs a New Logo ASAP

A logo largely defines how consumers will perceive a brand. In other words, it can make or break a brand’s success. Here are five signs that your agency needs a new logo ASAP.

It doesn’t reflect who you are.

Branding is the representation of your agency as a personality. An effective logo design must communicate who you are.   

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • Who do you serve?
  • What makes you different?

Imagine your brand as a person. What does that person look like? What does that person sound like? Develop your design with consideration for how you want your brand to be perceived. 

It doesn’t consider all aspects of visual communication.

A brand’s logo is easily the largest component of its visual communication. 

Visual communication involves using visual elements to tell a story. For instance, the color, shape, form, place, proximity, and typography of your design should readably illustrate your agency’s identity. Is the shape distracting? Is the font readable? Ask yourself these questions. Ineffective visual communication can cause potential consumers to deter.

Its colors don’t communicate.

Color influences perception. Color theory recognizes that each color communicates a different meaning. Once you understand who your brand is and what it looks like, your logo should include colors that reflect that identity. 

Warm colors like red and yellow evoke action and urgency, whereas cool colors like blue and green communicate peace and calm. When using more than one color in a design, it’s important to understand that some colors work together, while others do not. 

It’s not consistent. 

Your logo must be consistent across all channels. 

All of your branding materials must have your logo on them, from your website, to your social media, and even your letterhead. A brand compromises its credibility and the trust of its audience when it fails to consistently display its visual identity.  

It doesn’t motivate.

An effective logo will add value to a brand and influence its audience to engage with the brand. 

Your design should communicate the emotion and personality of your brand in efforts to persuade. Your brand’s image can motivate your audience to act. Audiences are more motivated to act when they identify with a brand. Motivating action will bring more business, and more business will bring consumer loyalty, which is crucial for a long-lasting presence.

Restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult.

Branding involves creating an image that markets. A logo motivates consumers to recognize and engage with a brand. 

If you’ve read this far, the odds are that your agency needs a new design. It may sound overwhelming, but restructuring your logo doesn’t have to be difficult. Contact PivotPath for a free consultation today, our team of innovative creatives can help your agency develop a logo that is sure to entice your audience and promote growth.

What Makes a Brand Future-Proof?

Advancements in technology, coupled with shifts in consumer trends, can threaten a brand’s sustainability. The future is inevitable. However, there are ways to embrace the changes that accompany it. Keep reading to find out how to make a brand future-proof. 

Be relevant.

An audience analysis is an examination of a brand’s consumers. A thorough analysis will consider the age, race, gender, class status, and location of a brand’s audience. By gathering this information, your brand can assess the likes and dislikes of its audience. This will help it deliver products and/or services that are relevant to its consumers

A brand should frequently conduct an audience analysis to align with changes in consumer trends. This can help a brand withstand the test of time. 

Be unique. 

Make your brand future-proof by defining what sets it apart from other brands.

Your brand may offer the same products and/or services as other brands. It is essential to create and identify the je ne sais quoi that distinguishes your brand from others. Your brand’s unique quality should consider of its audiences. A unique identity can spark consumer interest, increase consumer commitment, and drive employee motivation.

Be consistent. 

A brand is more than just a name and logo. A brand is an identity. Your brand’s identity must be consistent to leave a long-lasting impression. 

What does your brand look like? Visual identity refers to the visual elements that define a brand. For instance, the color, shape, form, and font make up your brand’s visual identity. 

What is your brand’s voice? Consider how you want your brand to be perceived. Then, make that voice heard across all channels (social media content, website, interactions with customers, etc.)

Every service, caption, visual, and email should communicate your brand’s identity. Consistency helps build consumer commitment to a brand. Once consumers commit to a brand, it must meet consumer expectations to maintain long-lasting relationships. 

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. 

Unfortunatley, success doesn’t make your brand invincible. A brand that is successful today can easily weaken overnight.

Your brand’s presence and performance promote its longevity. However, it can be difficult for a brand to maintain a relevant, unique, and consistent presence without assistance. This is where we come in. Schedule a consultation with PivotPath today. Our team of innovative creators can help you ensure that your brand withstands the test of time.

A Guide to Spring Marketing

When developing a spring marketing plan, you may notice that there is not a lot going on during this time of the year. With the passing of several major winter holidays and events, it may seem difficult to create clever and relevant marketing strategies for the spring. But, do not fear, this is where we come in! PivotPath is here to provide you with a detailed guide to marketing during the spring. Continue reading to uncover helpful tips and strategies when marketing this season.

Pick a relevant spring theme for your marketing campaign:

Springtime is associated with many things: growth, renewal, blooming flowers, spring cleaning, longer days, and rain. So, capitalize off of these associations, and make your marketing campaign spring-themed. Using a spring theme can help give direction to your content, and create a more cohesive and appealing campaign. For example, a non-profit food bank that is focusing on the theme of “spring cleaning” could have content that looks like this:

“Jump into spring cleaning by cleaning out your pantry! And when your pantry is organized and cleaned out, give back to your community by donating the food to us!”

Using spring colors, fonts, and photos will also help to create a cohesive marketing campaign. Bright, pastel colors like pinks, yellows, greens, and teals, are very popular in the spring! Use these colors along with floral graphics to create eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing content.

Incorporate contests/giveaways in your campaign:

Many businesses see spring as a lull in their marketing plan, but one way to rejuvenate a marketing plan is to incorporate contests and giveaways. Contests and giveaways, which are typically run on social media, can be a great way to engage and grow your audience.

A contest or giveaway usually incorporates rules, qualifications, and a prize/reward. Rules outline exactly what the viewer must do to enter. Including rules such as “tag a friend,” “comment and tag a friend,” or “share this post” help expand your brand’s reach and audience. Other rules like “follow our page” and “like this post” will boost your brand’s following and engagement. Most importantly, choose rules and qualifications that are the best for your business and the goals you hope to achieve.

When choosing a prize or reward, it is important to choose one that is desirable and relevant. Your prize should always reflect the effort required to win it. For example, if you ask viewers to fill out a long survey, enter personal information, and follow your social media accounts, you must choose a high-value prize to incentivize people to put in the effort. The prize or reward should also be relevant to your business. This will encourage continued interaction with your business and your products/services.

Research unique national or international holidays:

Spring can seem spiritless when compared to the busy winter holiday season. Use this opportunity to give your audience a reason to celebrate! Amidst the better known holidays in spring:

St. Patrick’s Day: March 17th
April Fools Day: April 1st
Easter: April 4th
Earth Day: April 22nd
Cinco de Mayo: May 5th
Mother’s Day: May 9th
Memorial Day: May 31st

…there are many unique holidays that your business can also mention when marketing! Conduct research on national or international holidays for each month, and choose which holidays are most applicable to your business. For example, here are some unique holidays in March:

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day: March 1st
I Want You to be Happy Day: March 3rd
Employee Appreciation Day: March 5th
National Frozen Food Day: March 6th
International (Working) Women’s Day: March 8th
International Day of Awesomeness: March 10th
Plant a Flower Day: March 12th
National Pi Day: March 14th
Everything You Do is Right Day: March 16th
Awkward Moments Day: March 18th
International Day of Happiness: March 20th
National Goof Off Day: March 22nd
National Puppy Day: March 23rd
Make Up Your Own Holiday Day: March 26th
Something on a Stick Day: March 28th
National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day: March 29th

Your business can incorporate these holidays when crafting content, planning promotions, and creating contests. Implementing unique holidays into your marketing strategy will help you stand out, create excitement and celebration, and engage your audience.

Focus on your community and give back:

Because springtime is seen as a time for growth and renewal, many people associate the season with community events and giving back. When looking for marking opportunities, search on community groups and pages to get your business involved, visible, and to give back to your community.

Getting involved in community events can offer your brand an opportunity to interact directly with potential customers and heighten your brand awareness. Set up tables full of relevant swag, like branded fans on a hot day, to encourage people to get to know you, your business, and your products/services.

Another marketing strategy to increase visibility in your community is to give back. Consider devoting a day for your business to volunteer at a local charity. This will benefit your community and benefit your business by making your brand more recognizable and positively received.

When preparing for your spring marking plan, do not hesitate to reach out for help. PivotPath offers a wide range of services to help your business spring into the season. Contact us for a consultation today!

Using Instagram/Facebook/LinkedIn as Marketing Tools

A brand’s social media presence influences 73% of those that engage with the brand. When used efficiently, social media platforms are proven to be effective marketing tools. However, many brands misinterpret their functions, which often results in ineffective marketing.

You don’t always need an account on every social media platform. In fact, this can produce adverse effects. When using Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn for marketing purposes, it’s important to understand that each platform delivers information in a unique way. Here are some insights on how to effectively optimize these social media platforms as marketing tools for your brand.

Instagram is an image-driven platform.

Instagram’s character limit is relatively large, but that doesn’t mean that your text should be. To maximize Instagram as a marketing tool, limit your brand’s bio and captions to two sentences. Including a call of action in your text will prompt your audience to participate in authentic engagement. Hashtags are also a great way to encourage audience participation while simultaneously increasing your brand’s visibility.  

Visual elements are meant to replace text. Use Instagram’s function as an image-driven platform to complement the message you aim to communicate with your post. Images and text should be clear, compelling, and consistent with your brand’s image.   

Instagram also has a story feature that allows your brand to post content that is visible to viewers for 24 hours. Stories offer the ability to directly engage with your audience through question forums, polls, and more. Instagram stories are a great way to enable audience participation and further your brand’s engagement. 

Instagram Reels is Instagram’s newest feature and closely resembles the social media platform TikTok. Its algorithm is currently driving more traffic than any other Instagram feature. Instagram Reels is helpful for those looking to increase brand visibility.

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world.

Facebook has more users than any other social media platform. This poses both an opportunity and a threat: Your brand’s range of communication is highest on Facebook, but this places a great deal of power in your audience’s hands. 

Due to the platform’s considerable audience, it’s difficult to get traffic and engagement without paid Facebook advertising. With paid social, you will expand your reach and impressions while targeting specific audiences to ensure you attract those you seek to engage with the most. Bear in mind that the process to create Facebook Ads changes periodically, so be sure to review the guidelines within the Facebook Ads Manager

Facebook allows its users to post text, images, and videos. When utilizing such a wide range of features, it’s crucial to understand that the text of a Facebook post shapes the success of its visual elements. Keep your text brief and informational. Consider the who, what, when, where, and why of your message. An unclear text will confuse your audience and may cause them to deter.

Facebook was the first social media platform to introduce the “like” function. The platform has since developed by offering additional reactions to posts. This tool is especially useful when assessing your audience’s likes, dislikes, beliefs, and values. Use this information to your advantage when crafting future posts. The share feature allows users to share posts with their Facebook friends, which offers a promising avenue for increasing your brand’s visibility.

LinkedIn is the professional network.

LinkedIn operates as a professional social network. It allows users to disseminate and engage with information that advances their professional prospects. LinkedIn remains an invaluable platform for increasing brand awareness and establishing relationships with businesses and consumers alike. 

LinkedIn’s professional nature requires careful attention to credibility and expertise. Therefore, your brand’s content must evoke professionalism. This is best achieved through using both visual and textual elements together. Your text should be concise yet informative and grammatical to complement clean and compelling visuals.

The use of blog posts and articles on LinkedIn allows for even greater use of the platform in that users can highlight their expertise while increasing their reach. Make sure your content illustrates your brand’s capabilities to expand your audience, strengthen your brand’s identity, and encourage consumer and business partnerships.

Maximize your brand’s potential.

Social media has changed the way we operate both personally and professionally by providing individuals and institutions with the ability to communicate to large audiences.

When using social media platforms as marketing tools, it’s crucial to acknowledge that your content is a representation of your brand. Through understanding the functions of each platform, you can help your brand nurture audience relationships, maximize its reach, and achieve its goals. Contact PivotPath’s team of innovative creatives to help your brand maximize its potential.

Not Every Social Media Platform is Needed to Promote Your Brand

Social media is a large part of everyday life, even more so now that COVID-19 has taken away the ability to connect in person. People are beginning to rely on social media platforms to make meaningful and impactful connections.

This can be intimidating for businesses. Promoting a brand on social media is difficult enough, but relying on social media platforms for all communication with your audience is a new challenge. Many businesses are scrambling with their social media strategies, creating accounts on any and every social media platform possible. Though this may seem like a reasonable option, branding on every social media platform can be ineffective, disingenuous, and a waste of time. 

Here, we outline why you do not need every social media platform to promote your brand and ways you can effectively use social media to make meaningful connections for your business. 

Your audience is not on every platform:

Not many people have an account on every social media platform, so why should your business? Your target audience is a specific group of people. They have unique characteristics and traits, and each social media platform attracts distinct groups of people.

Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all popular platforms, but each is used for a different purpose. Most of Instagram’s users are female and between the ages of 13 and 28. In contrast, the majority of Facebook users are above 30 years old. LinkedIn users range in age, but use the platform for work and business related purposes. 

The data collected on each social media platform will help your business understand where to connect with your audience. Whether your business wants to build connections with other businesses, community members, fitness junkies, gamers, etc., it is important to find which platform(s) they are primarily on. This way, you can meet your audience on the platform they use to further enhance your brand awareness and engagement. 

You do not have the time to devote to every platform:

Creating content and a social media plan takes time and organization. Your business is working hard to cover all your bases. But, when you try to cover every social media platform, your work can become sloppy and ineffective.

Without meaningful content, your audience could perceive your communication as disingenuous and calculated. This is not how you want audiences to perceive your brand. If you are going to be spending the time creating content, campaigns, and promotions, don’t you want them to be meaningful and impactful?

Always prioritize quality over quantity on social media. To do this, you need to allocate your time to the most important platforms for your audience. This way, you can spend your time creating purposeful and engaging content that will create a brand image that is heartfelt, personable, and authentic.

How to make a meaningful social media strategy without every platform:

  1. Evaluate and research your target audience– Ask yourself, who are you trying to reach? Where is your audience spending their time while online? What kind of content does your audience seem to enjoy? Does your audience even have social media? Thoroughly research your audience and their behavior. This will help you to alter your social media strategy to include the most effective kinds of content to post on the most applicable platforms.
  2. Focus your time on key platforms– After choosing which platforms are most effective for your business, focus your time on building quality profiles and accounts. Because you have less platforms to work on, you can spend more time constructing unique and substantial content. If your business is large enough, consider creating multiple specialized accounts on the same platform. This will allow you to hyper-focus on each group within your audience to create personalized content that is more relatable and powerful.
  3. Concentrate on building connections– Your business should be creating connections and relationships, not just partnerships or associations. A focused social media plan will offer the ability to create a marketing strategy that is sincere, personable, and authentic. Whether that be by conveying similar interests, interacting with customers, or using relatable humor, audiences are more likely to interact with a brand they feel personally connected to.
  4. Do not hesitate to reach out for help– Above all, do not hesitate to ask for help! Promoting your brand can be a difficult, meticulous process. Use resources that are available to you, like PivotPath, and contact us for a consultation. Our marketing focuses on building connections and relationships. We will be sure to help your business create a brand strategy that is meaningful and impactful!

5 Ways to Promote Your City or Town to Increase Tourism

At a time when travel restrictions are implemented, cities and towns are frantically searching for ways to increase tourism.

The internet is filled with travel guides and firsthand accounts of visitors detailing their experiences. It’s more difficult to come across tips from a local—someone who knows the ins and outs of the area. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury of knowing someone within our destination’s limits. Consider these five tips when communicating your community’s charm to increase tourism:

Highlight the history and culture 

Every destination has its own unique story.

Aside from the well-known attractions, consider sharing some of your community’s lesser-known treasures. This may involve obscure facts about your town’s early settlers or the spooky tale about the mansion on Main Street. A picture of these treasures with a description of their significance is an opportunity for you to highlight your community’s unique history to increase tourism.

Share your tasty tips

There’s no feeling better than a full stomach after a day of exploring.

Food largely defines a community’s culture. When promoting your city or town, be sure to discuss local dishes and the best places to try them. Consider explaining the flavor profile of the dish and the best way to eat it. With ketchup? With a root beer? At midnight? Who knows, maybe visitors will find their new favorite food or restaurant and come back for more!

Offer visitors a breath of fresh air

We all crave a breath of fresh air.

Provide visitors with the best spots to catch their breath and revel in the wonder of your community’s natural beauty. Be sure to detail the best seasons and times of day for visitors to capture the full essence of the landscape. Also, include any materials that they should consider bringing or leaving behind for their visit.

Catch your breath in nature

Suggest local stores and businesses

The word souvenir is French for “to remember.”

Tokens of remembrance can be as simple as a keychain or as complex as a scarf woven by natives. Present visitors with an opportunity to remember their visit to your community with recommendations for local stores and businesses. This is also an opportunity for you to help local businesses during these difficult times.

Local stores and businesses

Include your personal testimony

They say that home is where the heart is.

Share the little things that you love about your city or town. This may include how you love the transition between one season to another, or your favorite road to drive down in the summer. Personal testimonies appeal to an audience’s emotions. Provide insight into the small and special things that define your love for your community.

Tip: Include hashtags (i.e., #NewOrleans, #ExploringTheCity, #GetInMyBelly) and/or create a page for your city or town. This will help potential visitors easily locate your stories and recommendations.

When implementing the tips listed above, be sure to consider all audiences (independent travelers, couples, families, and seniors). By showcasing your community’s local treasures and adding a personal touch, you can offer visitors valuable information on what to experience when visiting your community.

Enlist PivotPath’s team of innovative creators to help you fulfill these tips and increase your city or town’s tourism. Contact us today for a consultation. 

How To Attract Students To Your Institution With Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that, if utilized properly, can promote your institution.

Studies show that Generation Z is more connected to social media than any other generation before them. Making sure your institution has a recognizable and relatable social media presence can give students a glimpse into what life is like at your institution and potentially show them that your institution is the right fit for them.

But attracting potential students isn’t as easy as simply having an account; you need to make sure you’re appealing to the right audiences and using social media to your full advantage.  

Why Does Social Media Matter?

Social media can be an added boost to promote attention towards your institution. However, it can also be a direct way to introduce your institution to potential students. The right social media presence can have a huge impact on attracting new students and retaining current students. 

If a student sees an outdated or barely-used social media page for an institution they’re considering, it could deter them from exploring your school further. On the flip side, a savvy, fun social media presence could peak their interest. 

It’s important to be relatable in your posts, and that starts with understanding the wants and needs of your targeted audiences. For attracting students, make sure you are highlighting all the best features of your institution, social events and campus culture. All students know what a typical institution is like, so what makes yours recognizable? What makes it stand out?

Making sure your social media presence is recognizable and engaging can help your institution stand out to potential students. Beyond attracting students, using the stats on social media can help you determine if you’re reaching your target audience. It can also show you how many people are interacting with your posts and if your social media strategies are effective.

What’s the Best Social Media To Use?

The three main social medias that will give you the most traffic are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But how can you use them? What’s the best strategy for each one? 

1. Twitter

Twitter is great for written content as well as sharing others’ posts. Use Twitter to livetweet campus games and use hashtags to increase engagement and visibility. Use a LiveTweet App to create a Twitter wall for your events to show potential students what others are saying about your institution.

2. Instagram

Instagram is one of the most creative and customizable apps to attract students. This platform has a ton of features that can help your institution. Features such as Instagram highlights and stories can make information about your institution more accessible. The photo grid on each Instagram account creates the opportunity for you to craft a unique look to attract new students. 

3. Facebook

Facebook should be the most professional presence you have out of all the social media platforms mentioned. Studies show GenZ doesn’t use Facebook as much as older people do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Even if your content doesn’t reach a potential student on Facebook, it may reach a parent or relative. It’s generally a good idea to share your Instagram posts to Facebook to make sure you’re reaching all your audiences.

Facebook is a good social media for older adults.

4. TikTok

TikTok has the potential to be a great social media platform for institutions because of its “For You” page. The “For You” page uses an algorithm to show the user videos similar to ones they’ve interacted with. It can also show content related to topics they’ve shown interest in. TikTok’s algorithm may help you reach your target audiences quicker. It also means you don’t need to have tons of followers for your video to gain views – giving your institution more visibility.

Not all social media is created equal when it comes to reaching your targeted audiences. It’s worth noting which ones may not be the best platform for your content.

  • Snapchat

Although this is a popular social media platform, your content isn’t accessible to people who aren’t following you, making it harder to reach potential students. Instead, try adding geotags for people to use when they’re in the school’s vicinity. 

  • Pinterest

Research shows that Pinterest is popular with older generations. While some older adults go back to school, it usually isn’t your target audience. Pinterest is also not ideal for content creation.

  • Tumblr

Tumblr isn’t as commonly used as other social media platforms. While it may work to use as a website to promote a service, using a similar photo-sharing app like Instagram will generate more engagement. 

How Can You Promote Engagement on Social Media?

Promoting engagement on social media can help your page gain more traction, and with more followers comes a more recognizable presence..

To promote engagement, make your page as interactive as possible. Instagram stories are a great way to pose questions, create polls or quizzes and interact with your followers. 

Giveaways on social media for school swag are another way to promote engagement. Try making some rules for the giveaway that will increase engagement. Ask followers to tag a friend in the comments or add the post to their story. 

Using hashtags can help get your page on more screens, but be weary of having too many in your captions. Use a few simple hashtags at the end of the post or incorporate them into the caption itself to make it look more aesthetically pleasing.

Gen Z uses social media more than any other generation.

Features To Take Advantage Of

  • Twitter/Instagram Polls

Polls are a great way to promote engagement. You can use the poll feature to ask institution-relevant questions, such as whether your team’s going to win the next game. However, to attract new students, make sure to keep some questions more broad to keep potential students involved.

  • Live Videos

The live video feature is on multiple platforms and is a great way to show prospective students what your school is like in real-time. Whether you want to record a game or other campus event, use this feature to highlight campus culture.

  • Instagram Highlights

Instagram Highlights are a convenient way to organize and archive past Instagram stories. You can use this feature to give a potential student a quick way to access information. Take some time to make well-designed stories that highlight all the best parts of your institution and answer some FAQs. Be sure to keep your Instagram highlights up to date.

There are benefits and drawbacks to any social media you may choose, but each post is a chance to attract a new student to your institution. If you’re looking to create a Real, Recognizable and Relatable social media presence to attract more students, PivotPath can help! Check out our social media management services here.

Alison Roller is a recent graduate of the West Chester University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism. When she’s not writing, she can be found wherever her cats are. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

5 Ways on How Podcasts Can Boost Your Brand

This year, about 155 million people listen to podcasts every week. Podcasts are transforming how people gain and retain information. You can listen to podcasts while exercising, driving to work, or simply listening for leisure. Now that you have that in mind, it is important to understand how this form of digital marketing can boost your brand.

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is an audio program that consists of a series of episodes that discuss a particular topic. For instance, that can range from either lifestyle, religion, politics, social sciences, etc. You can subscribe and listen to a podcast on your phone either through headphones, through speakers, or in your car.

Developing connections with host speakers build your credibility when using podcasts.

Many podcasts are quite familiar with how they sound due to their conversation-like style of speaking about a focused topic. Digital marketing continues to rise with the use of social media, videography, and SEO. In fact, podcasts are reshaping the art of storytelling by showing audiences that conversations are powerful. They are designed from an idea or passion to draw attention and inspiration. Essentially, implementing podcasts into your marketing strategy can help gain more prospects for your business and boost your brand awareness.

So, what should you consider when choosing to go on a podcast platform?

Before creating any type of marketing strategy, it is important to identify your buyer persona.

  • What are their personal interests? 
  • What do they need to know about your business’s missions and values? 
  • How will podcasts help serve your customers’ needs when they engage in your content?
  • Why would they want to listen to your content?

Identifying and researching the characteristics of your buyer persona is vital when crafting a podcast to ensure that your content will be engaging and beneficial to your audience and to generate leads.

So how do podcasts boost your brand?

1. Helps Personalize Your Brand

Inevitably, your main pursuit when beginning to create your podcast is to build relationships with your customers – which includes building trust. Uploading an informative series relating to your products and services helps your audience get a better understanding of your brand’s personality. Also, podcasts help represent who you are to the world. Podcasts are highly engaging which breaks the monotony of overloaded information.

  • You can break the monotony of overloaded information by allowing guest speakers onto your platform to discuss topics that represent your brand.

Podcasts are highly interactive because they convey a simpler and direct message to your audience with the means of storytelling altogether.

2.  Grows Thought Leadership

When delivering a message to your audience about your experience as an entrepreneur, it is vital to establish credibility on how you have executed your passions. Podcasts are beneficial to grow you as a thought leader when sharing your insights to your audience. Conveying topical information to your audience that is tied with well-researched evidence of building your business shows that you are able to provide helpful resources for your audience. 

Podcasts create relatability between hosts and the audience.

3. Builds Consistency and Awareness for Your Brand

Implementing podcasts for your brand creates a sense of community and awareness about where you stand to make your community a better place. When presenting your content, your audience connects to the authenticity you display to them. That said, using podcasts helps build a relational connection with your brand. Adding podcasts to your marketing strategy boosts your brand awareness by clearly having your voice heard about your passions for your business and customers.

4. It’s a Growing Media Platform

In light of the COVID-19 circumstances, many companies are resorting to audio and video platforms for their audiences to learn more about who they represent, and to educate their audiences on their missions as a business. Since podcasts are another medium of digital marketing, you can use them as an alternative for storytelling. Hypothetically speaking, say if your business does not have the equipment to shoot a professional video, using podcasts is an inexpensive approach to distribute your storytelling content. This is done by using high-quality audio software to record your “conversation-like” content. You can then promote episodes through a variety of distribution channels such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

5. It’s Simple to Setup

Setting up a podcast is not complicated, thank goodness. To set one up, all you need is great WiFi, high-quality earphones/headphones and a microphone, and a good audio editing software.

Second, create cover art and clickable subject lines that appeal to your audience when they are searching for topics to listen to.

Last, outline a decent and organized script that sounds conversational, relaxed, and informative. Not only are these steps simple, but they are also inexpensive when you are branching out a new marketing strategy to promote your brand.

It is important to understand how podcasts have grown through the use of smartphones.

As technology continues to advance, it cannot eliminate the human element of connecting with your audience. Using podcasts boosts your brand to appeal to your audience personally which lets you focus on why conversations matter. Using podcasts effectively helps execute your goals to serve your prospects, customers, and audiences altogether.

  • Discover how PivotPath can boost your brand identity with its brand strategy development here.

Your audience is the heartbeat of building your business success. Reaching them through a portable and mobile-friendly medium boosts your brand and grows your target audience demographic. Inevitably, how you sound to your audience makes a lasting impact on how your brand is perceived. Expand your research on podcasts to see if it can best fit your marketing strategy needs, to become a better storyteller and thought leader for your audience.

Thalia Rodriguez is a Communications major with a double minor in marketing and professional writing at Grand Canyon University. When she’s not practicing writing, she can be spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, or cooking delicious plant-based dishes. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.

Why Branding Should Be the Focus of Your Social Media

In the world that we live in today, almost all businesses use social media channels to promote their brand. What are some social media channels you utilize that build your brand awareness? Are you using them effectively? Using social media to grow your business helps consumers remember you and your brand based on what you present to them. This is why understanding the tools of different social media platforms help you to focus on letting your audience know who you are and what your business stands for.

Watch the video for tips!

Social media is a vital tool to get the word out about your business.

Inevitably, social media is the heartbeat of our digital marketing world. Thus, marketers use social media to increase brand awareness and grow their consumer base at an accelerated rate. Your business thrives on what your customers perceive about you. That said, how you design and present yourself through social media is a key factor in how customers will remember your brand.

How can you use social media to know who’s interested in your brand?

First, it is important to establish your marketing goals before thinking too ahead of your social media presence. It is important to understand the “why” behind your social media platforms because this will impact your overall brand. Here are some useful benefits of using social media.

  • Measures your key performance indicators (KPI).
  • Gives you a platform to connect to your growing audience.
  • Provides user-generated content.

These are a few tips on how social media can measure your consumer base as you execute your marketing goals. In addition, they help serve you to bring awareness of what is trending on the market.

How can you use social media to promote your brand?

Be active on social media.

When using social media, it is imperative that you are consistent with the content that you post. Posting on a daily basis tells your customers and audience that you are active and it makes you stand out from your competition. No one wants to follow a business that rarely posts content let alone interact with its consumers. Also, being active daily gives the opportunity for consumers to reach out through direct messaging. They can reach out on anything regarding their consumer needs/wants and questions about your products or services. Choosing to be attentive to your customers’ needs will help set you apart from your competitors.

Grow your consumer base by answering their questions on social media.

Focus on how your design attracts consumers.

What attracts a consumer, when scrolling through a business’s social media page is its design. Your design should ultimately represent what you are selling to your audience. It has been proclaimed by interior designers, artists, and color psychologists that color absolutely affects moods.

  • Does your color scheme match your brand’s values? 
  • What type of mood or emotions do you want to demonstrate to your brand? 
  • Does the design complement the mood of your social media page?

In short, these are a few questions to consider when forming the layout of your social media pages. Consider how your business’s values can influence your graphic designs on social media.

So, why should you focus your branding on social media platforms?

We live in a world where we are constantly connected to many different networks. In the business world, social media networks are a valuable asset to build on your communications with prospective buyers. In this case, using multiple social media platforms helps build your brand identity so that other networks notice your business.

Having a strong social media presence establishes credibility.

When a consumer is looking into buying anything of good quality, it is important that factors of trust are established between the business and consumer to influence the purchase of that product or service. That said, having a professional presence on social media establishes credibility on your end as a business.

Standing to your missions and values and actively participating in those factors are noticed by whom you are trying to reach. When posting content for your audience, remember that you are also representing your company’s values. So, everything that you demonstrate through your social media platforms represents your organization’s efforts and overall brand.

Having a strong social media presence makes your brand recognizable.

Today, some brands that are recognizable in social media are GoPro, Nike, and Spotify. They implement effective strategies on each of their social media platforms that influence their consumers’ future spending habits. Here are a few tips on how to make your brand more recognizable to various audiences:

  • Use multiple accounts for different audiences.
  • Do research on which platform is geared towards different age groups.
  • Choose one platform that can build on customer service.
  • Again, stay consistent with your social media accounts.
  • Tailor your tone and voice that fit different social media platforms.
Did you know that 81% of small and medium businesses use social media platforms?

Knowing the similarities and differences of each social media platform gives you strong awareness of whom you should reach that fits your buyer personas. In the world that we live in today, social media networks are one of the fastest-growing industries. It’s important that your business uses social media to gain the following network. We access information at our fingertips which revolutionizes how we perceive our networks. Posting sharable and valuable content helps your audience understand what you stand for. By doing so, it helps create lasting connections with your consumers that increase creative and effective strategies based on what your customers want out of your social media pages.

  • Check PivotPath’s services on how we can boost your social media branding.

Always strive to learn different effective marketing strategies that increase your brand awareness in an influential and impactful way. 

Thalia Rodriguez is a Communications major with a double minor in marketing and professional writing at Grand Canyon University. When she’s not practicing writing, she can be spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, or cooking delicious plant-based dishes. Check out her LinkedIn profile here to connect.