Great businesses are built by great people, and that’s why recruitment is such a critical part of growing a successful small business and creating the right type of company culture.
Innocent drinks co-founder Richard Reed talks about the challenge that Innocent Drinks has faced in recruiting the right people for their business.
What’s interesting about this from a marketing perspective is that a business’ culture is often a caricature of the people within the business. And likewise, the culture of the business, or the brand, will determine who you can attract in. How strongly do you focus on the culture of your business, and has it proved to be a worthwhile marketing strategy when you’ve been looking to get the right people on board?
In case you hadn’t realised, the Marketing Donut won two Golden Twit Awards for its Twitter feed last Thursday (26 November). My colleague James has already thanked everyone for supporting us (thank you!), so I won’t embarrass you with further grovelling. Instead, here are four things I learned from the Golden Twits award ceremony:
1) Social media are becoming an essential customer relationship tool for organisations of all sizes. Nominees and winners included mid-sized charities (Action for Children), professional firms (Ralli Solicitors), arts organisations (Scottish Ballet), family-owned businesses (Adnams), small businesses (us!) and – yup – bigger businesses and corporations, too (Manchester City Football Club). Social media are a great leveller – if you’re interesting and engaging, you can stand out as much as any big organisation, and just about any kind of business can benefit. Heck, I even know a burger van with 1200 fans on Facebook.
2) A meerkat may well be the future of corporate tweeting. One thing that really struck me was how Compare the Market.com is using its meerkat as the face of its brand on Twitter. I have mixed feelings about this; I admire their inventiveness, but I also know that, however spontaneous the meerkat’s utterances may seem, they are written by a team of creatives from a small agency every morning; the prospective tweets are then signed off by their boss and passed to the Compare the Market.com marketing folks, who amend, rewrite, reject, accept and sign them off again. Finally, much later in the day, they are posted on Twitter. The guys behind the character told us that a lot of corporates are now creating characters to represent their brand on Twitter. To my mind, this undermines the idea of Twitter as a medium for businesses to engage directly and spontaneously with customers. Is this controlled corporate messaging the first indication of Twitter’s loss of innocence? Of course, what it means for smaller firms is that you readily steal a march on your bigger rivals by being more personal and quicker to respond.
3) When you put Twitter users in a room together, they will spend a long time tweeting on their phones before actually saying hello to one another. But they do say hello eventually.
4) Online social networking will never totally replace actual face-to-face networking. I’ve been to three awards and a conference in the last month and absolutely the best thing about all of them has been meeting small business owners and other people from my industry and talking to them face to face. I now have more people to talk to on Twitter… @simon_editor
Last night the inaugural Golden Twits awards took place to recognise UK organisations and individuals that use the Twitter social media platform best.
There were sixteen categories to get through during the proceedings. The ceremony took place at the Fabric nightclub in one of the trendier parts of London and saw nearly 100 people attend the event itself and many more tuned in online.
BHP Information Solutions' @MarketingDonut account was nominated in a total of four categories, including the Public vote award which was made up of the likes of that pesky meerkat, Aleksandr Orlov and the world’s richest football club, Manchester City.
We were truly delighted to be the recipients of two awards on the night. The @MarketingDonut Twitter account has been recognised for its tweets in the Public service and Information service categories. Also, thanks to your votes, we secured 5th spot in the public vote and even beat the meerkat!
Of course we are delighted with our awards and fighting over who gets to keep them but we are genuinely grateful for the tweets, conversations and followers who put us in the position to be rewarded. In the spirit of sharing the best of everything online, we think these awards belong to the vibrant community we are forging online and hopefully will inspire you and your small business to give Twitter a go.
The Freemium model is a new concept for most businesses and changing to this system from traditional marketing is quite a turn-around. In this video, Peter Froberg gives his advice on how to tell whether your business is suited to a Freemium based marketing and profit structure.
The Freemium model is used heavily amongst web app companies as a way to attract customers. As a small business owner, what has your experience been? Do you think it's an effective way to market your business, regardless of the industry you're in?
At Econsultancy's Online Marketing Masterclass event in London on Wed 18th November, I listened to an excellent presentation by Craig Sullivan on website optimisation and testing strategies. It may sound like a dry subject but if a single button design change can lead to an increase in revenue of $300m in 12 months, surely dry suddenly becomes crisp and clear?
Firstly, read this article on the $300m button - it gives perspective and is the best way to make you focus on the value of testing.
Why should you take testing seriously?
How you can run simple testing yourself without having to spend £000s
My take on testing is that you need to prove the business case first - to do this, run simple A/B tests on your worst performing pages using a free tool like Google Website Optimizer. Test page variations, deploy the best performing option. Keep refining your tests until you have improved conversion and proven the investment model.
Once you've proven the business case it then pays to invest in an analytics and testing specialist who can run sophisticated MVT programs on your behalf. If you can manage this in-house and have the time/knowledge, excellent. Don't be afraid of using an expert, they really can deliver ROI. Just make sure you vet them carefully first and ask the right questions. A badly planned and executed testing plan will cost you money and deliver limited returns.
Before you start set your expectations - not every test works. Sometimes you will produce alternative page designs that decrease conversion. Don't panic. A negative test still provides learning and helps you evolve your testing hypotheses.
You can read more on my Econsultancy blog.
Marketing online, (which more recently has included a plethora of social platforms) is increasingly a popular way to attract new customers and achieve greater brand recognition for small businesses. One of the biggest concerns people have is how to successfully calculate return on investment to figure out which activities bring about the best results for the business.
One of the biggest investments you’ll make in social marketing is time. As a small business owner, how do you ensure that you’re not wasting time and money in your online activities? Are you satisfied that it’s working for you?