Irene Fatyanova – Tweak Your Biz Business, Marketing, Entrepreneur Articles. Thu, 21 Jun 2018 21:30:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Irene Fatyanova – Tweak Your Biz 32 32 5 Simple Hacks To Creating A Popular Brand On YouTube Wed, 07 Mar 2018 07:00:33 +0000 If you’re a brand seeking to leverage the popularity of YouTube to sprout your business and become a popular brand too, here are five simple ways to go about it.

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Youtube is finally here to stay. From its first video uploaded in the first quarter of 2005, the number of its users has grown to about 1.3 billion, making it one of the most popular websites, and a phenomenon to be reckoned with globally.

While this might seem generic, there are verifiable facts which show that the social media platform is indeed a force to reckon with worldwide. According to

Here are some statistics to start with:

  • YouTube available in 88 countries and 76 languages
  • Over 1.5 billion monthly active users (amount to almost 1/3 of the Internet)
  • Over 500 hours of videos are uploaded every minute
  • 1 billion hours of YouTube are watched per day
  • 25-44 age group watched the most YouTube videos
  • 40% of YouTube view come from mobile devices

How YouTube Affects An Online Brand

If you’re a business, wishing to achieve great results with your brand, you need to pay close attention to YouTube. This is so because most millennials now prefer to stream and watch videos online, than reading content. Also, the platform provides an opportunity to describe in detail how a particular task is being carried out, stimulate people’s interests, and so much more. According to this report, about 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube every minute, and almost 5 billion videos are watched on the platform every single day. This means that the audience which your brand seeks are waiting on YouTube, all you need to do is to follow some hacks that can enhance your success.

In this post, I will show you five simple hacks that can help you create a popular brand on YouTube.

5 Simple Hacks To Creating A Popular Brand On YouTube

If you’re a brand seeking to leverage the popularity of YouTube to sprout your business and become a popular brand too, here are five simple ways to go about it.

#1. Design Your Brand

This is the first step needed to create a popular YouTube brand. In designing your brand, you need to own a YouTube channel hosted on the platform. This is where you post all the videos, get feedback, and achieve your desired results. After creating a channel, you need to design the kind of brand you want. Here, you have to ensure that it’s not only professional but also solves a particular problem. Take for instance, if you’re a Yoga start-up which wants to become popular on YouTube. All you need to do in this case is to design a brand that tells people about Yoga, its benefits, and possibly teach some Yoga lessons.

#2. Promote Your Brand

Once you have finalized creating outstanding videos for branding on YouTube, the next step is to promote your videos across your channel so that more and more viewers can see your video and know about you and your business. One mistake most YouTubers make is to create a channel and leave it like that, yet expect people to visit, watch and share their videos. Truth is, if you do so, it’ll be difficult to achieve any results at all. In attracting more real subscribers to your YouTube channel, you need to promote your brand. Tell your social media followers about it, advertise it, send out promotional articles, announce it on your website, and so on. When you promote your brand in this way, you’ll become more popular with time.

#3. Go Technical

The Internet consists of a lot of technicalities, and if you know your way around it, you’ll become a guru in no time. Similarly on YouTube, being technical is a sure-fire way to achieve relative success fast. One of the ways to go about this is to tag your videos appropriately. When you do, it’ll show up in searches, and more people will know more about your brand. In the same vein, you should work more on the video’s description professionally.

To do this, you need to understand the basics of YouTube SEO, and how it affects an online brand on the platform. When it comes to YouTube SEO, a lot of the optimization work can be encapsulated into a process that you can apply to all your old videos and then to each video as you publish it. And you’re about to learn that process.

#4. Be Unique

There are millions of YouTube channels today striving for relevance and popularity. In fact, for every niche you mention, there are thousands of YouTubers who also share their thoughts on the same theme/topic. In order to create a popular brand, you need to create a unique angle to a particular topic. For instance, you can decide that for every episode of your show, you’ll spend only five minutes. When you’re consistent with the number of minutes, you’ll become known with that. Similarly, you can create your videos to be witty, academic and so on.

#5. Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants

What happens if Donald Trump decides to share a video from your YouTube channel. I’m sure your brand won’t remain the same. While getting the US president to share your videos might be impossible, you can leverage popular names, and influential social media personnel to do that for you. When you do this, you stand on their shoulder, to become more popular.

Wrapping Up

YouTube is an amazing platform for individuals, brands, and businesses. With the increasing number of its users, it’s becoming a herculean task to create a popular brand on it. These simple hacks will help you to easily create a popular YouTube brand in no time.

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9 Growth Hacking Tips for Startups to Get Amazing Results Thu, 07 Sep 2017 06:00:44 +0000 Here we go through some of the most effective growth hacking tips that have been shown to work for startups across different industries.

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Growing a startup is no mean feat. The average startup must compete with established businesses for customers and networks while trying to work with limited funds. For most early-stage startups, marketing is one of those scary areas that determine the future of the business. Get it wrong and you risk joining the more than

Growth hacking is a modern marketing principle that enables startups to grow rapidly within a short time. It’s one of the main secrets behind wildly successful brands like Uber and Airbnb that grew their customer bases rapidly within what felt like hours.

Growth hacks typically require start-ups to think outside the box and away from typical traditional marketing strategies like paid ads. Below, we go through some of the most effective growth hacks that have been shown to work for startups across different industries.

#1. Content Repurposing

Great content is the lifeblood of a good marketing campaign strategy. It puts you in a good place with search engines and enables you to engage with your audience at different levels. However, coming up with original and inspirational content on a regular basis can be quite difficult, especially when your marketing budget doesn’t allow you to bring in content creators.

As the name goes, content repurposing lets you turn old content into fresh content that can be shared across different platforms. For instance, you can turn an old article on your blog into an infographic that can then be shared on Instagram, Pinterest, or other image-friendly sites. This way, you can revamp your content marketing strategy without spending a single marketing dollar for content creation.

#2. Influencer Marketing

Over the past few years, the likes of Coca Cola, PayPal, and other big brands have capitalized on the power of influencer marketing to grow and expand their brands. Startups are also increasingly using influencers to boost their marketing campaigns, which can be wildly beneficial for start-ups with limited marketing funds. Influencers primarily work by promoting your products and services to their audiences, which makes it one of the most cost-effective growth hacks for startups.

 #3. Optimize Your Landing Page

Splashing your marketing dollars on social media campaigns and paid ads will get you nowhere if your landing page doesn’t captivate visitors who eventually come to your site. Your landing page should take precedence over every other page on your website and should be made as interesting and catchy as possible.

Use your landing page to provide snippets of easily digestible information about your products and services. Avoid the temptation to bombard visitors with excessive information here or they will bolt within seconds, driving your bounce rates through the roof. If you must include additional information on the landing page, create separate landing pages for new and existing customers because your current customers may be easily bored by excessive information on this page.

#4. Optimize Your Website for Speed and Uptime

Your website is among the first things that a potential customer looks at during the early stages of the buyer’s journey. As such, hosting your site on a slow and undependable server to save an extra buck can be detrimental to your business. In fact, your startup can suffer a 7% decrease in the conversation rate from just a second of delay in response for any of your pages.

Reducing the page loading times is one of the simplest growth hacks you can implement immediately. There are plenty of inexpensive ways you can use to cut down your page load times to under 2-3 seconds, which can help you increase conversions significantly. In fact, you need a complete guide to web hosting and cloud hosting for startups and small businesses to get the optimum website performance.

 #5. Take Advantage of Big Data

Big data has been transforming businesses for years. It’s been one of the most constant facets of growth hacking, which is why your startup can benefit immensely by using big data analytics to make marketing decisions. You can utilize marketing data to determine everything from site traffic and page views to revenue streams and the customer’s journey in the conversion funnel.

There are a handful of tools you can use to get ahead, including Google Analytics that can help you make sense of the tons of data your business will be collecting.

#6. Optimize Your Social Outlook

Never underestimate the power of a like, a share, or any action that involves one customer sharing their interaction with your product or service with another customer. This is the basis of social proof, a psychological concept that seeks to explain why people are more likely to conform to certain behaviors when they see others doing them.

Even though social proof as a marketing strategy has been around for ages, it became wildly popular with social media, which has made it easy for potential customers to interact. There are a ton of ways you can use it, including testimonials, logos, and customer statistics that have been placed strategically everywhere on your website.

#7. Create Interactive Content

Interactive content is one of the hallmarks of a good content marketing strategy, largely because it has one of the highest potentials for improving user engagement and brand loyalty. VenturePact, an online marketplace for software development, used a simple calculator that helped them bag over 11,000 leads within two weeks. With the right interactive tools, that can be you.

#8. Pre-launch Marketing

Creating a buzz before your startup goes live is one of the few ways that you can get customers for your product or service without an actual product or service. When run effectively, a pre-launch campaign can be the best growth hack for your business, enabling to bag emails, capture the interest of potential customers, and gauge the efficiency of your marketing strategy.

There are many ways you can go about the pre-launch campaign. You can run a contest, install a viral landing page that promotes referrals or create an engaging video to help build your client list.

#9. Add Video to Your Content Marketing Strategy

Speaking of videos, did you know that the average internet user will spend over 88% of their time on a site that has one or more videos than a site with no video? Videos are also poised to take up 74% of internet traffic within the coming year, which is why you should include video in your growth hacking strategy.

For maximum results, integrate elements of storytelling to your videos to make them more engaging. Engaging videos are easily shareable and have a huge potential of going viral, which can be a huge plus for your marketing campaign.

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Good Seller to Great Seller: 7 Key Online Marketing Tactics to Get Competitive Advantage Fri, 30 Jun 2017 06:00:48 +0000 Read the useful digital marketing tactics will help you gain competitive advantage within your industry on your way to becoming a great seller.

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Getting potential customers to trust your products and services and rally behind your brand has always been an uphill task. In recent times, this challenge has been further complicated by the increasing number of distractions, thanks in part to the broader reach of the internet. These have made it extremely difficult to capture the attention of potential buyers, which has, in turn, made an already challenging business environment even more difficult.

Plus, with the

The following digital marketing tactics will help you gain competitive advantage within your industry on your way to becoming a great seller.

#1. Don’t underestimate the value of social media

Even with its many benefits, many businesses still ignore the potential of having a solid social media strategy. Many of those that recognize the value of social media often get it wrong when designing and implementing strategies associated with social media.

Social media is a significant facet of digital marketing. In the U.S, for instance, over 70% of the population is on social media, with many of them on two or more social media platforms. This represents a huge opportunity for businesses, especially because businesses can use it for free and augment it with other facets of their digital marketing campaigns.

A good social media campaign starts with a solid definition of target audiences. This entails knowing everything about the target customer, including their preferences, demographic profiles, lifestyles, and needs. Additionally, with 1.7 billion people globally accessing their social media accounts on mobile devices, always ensure your social media pages are visible on mobile.

#2. Content still rules the world, now more than ever

There’s an explosion of content currently sweeping the digital world, which is also one of the key reasons why your customers are more distracted than usual. Content creators are fighting for the little attention available on the internet – from video-sharing platforms such as YouTube to blogs and social media platforms with varying levels of helpful content. As a result, customer engagement has become a challenge for businesses that fail to adapt to the changing needs of the modern customer.

Plus, with the explosion of gadgets witnessed over the past few years, marketers often make the mistake of splashing their messages across multiple devices and channels first without determining the core purpose of their content.

Digital marketers need to adopt a content-first strategy when designing their marketing strategies. Marketers need to determine what their brand is all about then infuse the brand’s message into the content before spreading it across different channels. Therefore, a great seller will start by optimizing their content for customer engagement before spreading the word across different devices and channels.

#3. Customize the cross-channel experience

Once you’ve determined the message and image behind your brand, it’s time to spread your wings, albeit smartly. Your marketing channels are probably the most dynamic aspect of your marketing strategy and should never be treated with the one-size-fits-all mentality. Each visitor who lands on your site is probably on a different stage of the buyer’s journey and should be treated differently.

If you typically make sales through your website, you can start by identifying and describing your visitor personas. For instance, if visitors land on your site from an ongoing sales or discounts campaign, then you’d most likely want these visitors to view the most discounted products first when they get to your website.

You can even achieve a 20% increase in conversion rates by simply spreading the optimization on your landing page to other pages on your website. Plus, you don’t have to spend tons of cash doing it – tools such as Google Tag Manager can be very effective for customizing content according to visitor personas.

#4. Stand out

Apple is one of the few companies that still manage to turn a simple press conference into a global event. Apple has managed to build a formidable brand around being different and going north when everyone else is headed south. When everyone else was building standard applications for standard hardware, Apple concentrated on challenging the status quo by reinventing design standards. As a result, you have one of the biggest name brands globally.

Being different means that your products and services will remain etched in the minds of potential customers even when you’re not actively promoting your brand.

#5. Optimize your ad spend

There’s been a general increase in the average ad spend by brands online, largely due to many brands switching from offline advertising to digital ads. For instance, Adobe frequently spends close to 70% of its overall marketing budget on digital campaigns. Therefore, as competition grows, the cost of a generic online ad campaign has become expensive, which places additional strain on marketers to deliver.

This is why great sellers must optimize marketing channels to ensure only the most effective platforms are included campaigns. Additionally, because paid campaigns are impractical in the long term, marketers need to invest in referral and repurchase programs that promote deeper customer engagement and loyalty.

#6. Build a community

In a noisy digital world where everyone is hungry to connect, smart marketers can benefit immensely by building a community around their brands. Taking advantage of community networks can be a good way of acquiring brand ambassadors and 3rd party advocates made up of satisfied buyers who are already loyal members of your customer base.

When building your community, remember to stay as authentic and original as possible. Build and nature your voice as a brand and a seller and always avoid the temptation of sending sales messages just because you have the platform. These will make you come off as too sales and might make your customer base lose trust in your brand.

#7. Embrace tech trends

Finally, always remember that technology is your friend. With tech trends such as big data and IoT becoming more ingrained into everyday life, it’s important to use the tools available to you to make better decisions for customer engagement and retention. When used correctly, these tools can have a lasting impact on ROI and overall customer satisfaction and engagement for online businesses.

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How Poor Digital Marketing Can Destroy Your Brand Effectiveness Fri, 05 May 2017 06:00:24 +0000 Outdated, un-optimized, ineffective digital marketing can be counterproductive and even harmful to businesses because of poor digital marketing.

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Have you ever noticed that videos and images of failure are popular online? It’s almost easier to become famous for producing terrible ads and marketing copy than it is to grow a brand that is actually effective. Some companies even capitalize on the phenomenon of “watching a train wreck” by intentionally creating and sharing poorly-done materials.

Of course, poor digital marketing can also be a huge problem. Outdated, un-optimized, ineffective digital marketing can be counterproductive and even harmful to businesses because of poor digital marketing.

Distracts from the Brand’s Offerings

Poor digital marketing can destroy brand effectiveness, reducing actual products and services to objects of mockery. When this happens, brands may or may not be “known” to audiences, but the poor digital marketing distracts from the actual business behind the brand.

For instance, HMV-All Access is largely known for a controversy played out on their Twitter account. The company fired a large number of employees at once — forgetting that their Twitter account managers had access to the businesses’ account still. The disgruntled employees posted angry tweets in the company’s name revealing insider issues and internal unrest. What is HMV-All Access? It’s likely more people know they had a controversy online through employees’ #hmvXFactorFiring campaign on HMV’s account than know what HMV actually offers as a business.

This is just one of many examples highlighting how businesses get lost behind branding that is bad. In HMV’s case, fame for poor digital marketing choices that distracted from and trashed the businesses’ reputation resulted. Many businesses, however, are simply never well-known at all. If digital marketing is bad enough, so few consumers will care to find out what the business is about that the brand will never be more than just a poorly-done brand.

Creates Negative Associations

Even businesses that generally have a good digital marketing strategy can destroy their brand effectiveness if one campaign or message majorly fails in an offensive or negative manner. An Entrepreneur article highlights, for instance, five marketing fails that associated major companies with negative emotions and offensive ideas.

Bud Light, for instance, released a digital (and tangible) marketing campaign about being “up for whatever.” Much of the branding pointed to making poor choices and removing people’s ability to say “no.” The company had to discontinue the campaign as a result of the negative associations with their brand that resulted.

Other companies have had to spend money issuing public apologies or even facing lawsuits over poor digital marketing choices. Some companies have lost massive amounts of business, even facing boycotts, because of digital marketing that offended consumers. Negative associations are powerful and they are hard to erase once they have formed.

Ruins Credibility

When poor digital marketing marks a brand, consumers don’t believe the company is credible. Credibility is a driving factor in whether or not consumers choose to engage with or support a company. Characterized by trust and a sense of legitimacy or relevance, credibility depends on your business coming across to consumers as worthwhile and risk-free.

Consumers tend to assume that outdated digital marketing strategies and appearances indicate a business is outdated. Likewise, if a digital marketing campaign is unclear, confusing, or even distasteful, consumers will likely assume the company will also be difficult or offensive in their interactions.

These assumptions cause consumers to believe companies are not credible. Since there are so many businesses offering similar services that can easily be found online, consumers often choose to support companies with higher prices or fewer products if they believe the other companies are more credible.

Gets Lost in the Shuffle

Nesquik’s brand effectiveness was diminished (as was their bank account) when the company invested in a massive digital marketing campaign that no one cared about. Nesquik chose to encourage consumers to participate in an online marketing activity to celebrate a holiday few people ever heard of or cared about. The self-involved campaign had Nesquik pay to create an app that very few ever used. They also paid to advertise the app and campaign, only to receive very little ROI.

One of the major issues contributing to poor marketing and getting lost in the shuffle is bad SEO marketing. What is SEO marketing? SEO is a form of online marketing that utilizes keywords, tags, and strategic elements of online content to make digital marketing visible to consumers through search engines, optimized ads, and more. SEO only works, however, when keywords and optimization elements are relevant to audiences.

In Nesquik’s case, a campaign rested on a keyword pertaining to holiday no one was looking for or celebrating. That’s an SEO fail that cost them plenty as their poor marketing for lost in the big, wide world of the internet.

Ultimately Dissuades Potential Customers

What poor digital marketing ultimately leads to is less consumer engagement. Since the main goal of brand effectiveness is to turn consumers into customers, poor digital marketing can be damaging to and even destroy companies. Businesses rely on costumers for their business, support, and loyalty. If people are dissuaded from even becoming customers, a company stands little chance for survival.

Watch Out for These Common Poor Digital Marketing Choices

To improve your businesses’ odds and ensure your brand effectiveness isn’t destroyed, watch out for common digital marketing mistakes. Even as you strategize to make your digital marketing the best it can be, be aware of these common mistakes as just one marketing fail can be costly and damaging.

Common traits of poor digital marketing include:

  • Malfunctioning sites and links
  • Misuse of hashtags and social media sites
  • Distasteful or offensive messages
  • Poor response time online
  • Outdated ideas and visuals
  • Sharing irrelevant messages and images
  • Not using SEO in digital marketing

Whether you are marketing on social media or running an SEO campaign across multiple sites, remember that brand effectiveness is directly linked to how well you market and how current your marketing strategies are. Pay attention, keep up with best practices, and put the effort and time to make your digital marketing high quality. Otherwise, your business might suffer the consequences of poor digital marketing’s side effects.

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How to Convert Your Smartphone into A New Virtual Reality System Wed, 19 Apr 2017 12:00:11 +0000 Read how you can engage with the next big technological advancement and turn your smartphone into a virtual reality system.

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Just one century ago, people

Here’s how you can engage with the next big technological advancement and turn your smartphone into a virtual reality system:

Step 1: Select Your Virtual Reality Gear

Although relatively new technology, virtual reality gear such as headsets for smartphones is already available widely. Differences you will need to choose between include:

  • Software platform
  • Hardware platform
  • Sensor types
  • Controller traits
  • Headset types
  • Connection options

For example, you will need to decide whether you want a headset that is tethered to your cellular device or a mobile version. Other details are minor but may matter to you, such as the field of view provided by each headset or the headset’s refresh rate and resolution.

Some of the most popular types of virtual reality gear systems available today include the Samsung Gear VR or the Google Daydream View. Another newer and even more specialized form of virtual reality gear for smartphones is the NOLO VR Tech. This system sets up users up to play popular Steam VR Titles on their smart devices. One of the unique traits of this system is that it is being developed and funded through a Kickstarter campaign as it is intended to be a more affordable option for gamers interested in virtual reality.

Step 2: Link up Virtual Reality Gear with Your Smart Phone

Once you have selected and obtained your virtual reality headset and any other necessary gear (such as charging devices or cords for tethered models,) you will need to link the gear to your mobile device. Most virtual reality gear kits will indicate which mobile devices they are compatible with. For instance, some are compatible with iPhone technology and others are not.

Assuming your VR gear and smartphone are compatible, you will need to follow directions including in your VR kit. The first step is typical to download software. Then, you will need to fit your phone into the VR headset. Most VR systems simply have you slide your phone into the headset’s slot.

Once your phone has been fitted into the headset, complete the instructions provided through your device. Most will require you to move your head or body in particular directions to calibrate the visuals and make selections for setup.

Many virtual reality gear sets will also offer basic apps (sometimes called “native apps”) to walk you through the basics of using and mastering VR. These may be simple games or basic instructions you will just need to follow. After you’ve completed these basic steps, your mobile device VR system should be ready for enjoying.

Step 3: Install Virtual Reality Apps

Since VR is a relatively new technology, especially for use with mobile devices, there aren’t as many apps available as there are mobile games and other app options. However, the mobile devices apps for VR that do exist are diverse.

Some of the most popular apps for VR on mobile devices include:

  • YouTube – Many YouTuber stars are taking 3D videos and then uploading them for enjoyment through VR headsets. The variety of videos available in this format is extensive.
  • Google Cardboard – Rapidly growing, Google Cardboard offer geographic 3D peeks into places on Google Maps. Other downloads are released regularly as well.
  • VRSE – A new perspective on news, VRSE allows users to enter into news stories images and video with a 3D view. Other VRSE downloads include music videos and short documentaries.
  • Sisters: A Virtual Reality Ghost Story – tory-based, this app invites you into the 3D telling of a ghostly tale. It is quirky, fun, and a peek into the types of VR entertainment that are likely to explode in coming years.
  • InCell VR – Blending educational science and games, this app explores human cells structure and the way viruses operate in a fun way. Expect much more educational game apps in the future as they may change the way kids interact with classroom material.

These apps and several like them are forging new ways for people to envision using VR to enrich their everyday lives. As the technology improves and becomes more popular, it is reasonable to assume that many more apps and use for VR will be developed. Look for options available through popular distributors like Steam.

Step 4: Master Virtual Reality Skills

As new technologies like virtual reality for mobile devices become popular, they also shape the way the world works. Video games, popular for a few decades now, are even beginning to be considering legitimate competitive sports. Some colleges are forming eSports leagues and offering students video gaming scholarships to compete. Many colleges are also offering degrees for gamers who want to design, test, and invent new technology related to VR.

Given the potential of VR to revolutionize technology for education, news reporting, exploring the world, gaming, and much more, it’s smart to master your VR skills. They may come in handy in the ever-changing future. Just think, 100 years ago no one could have imagined we would enter virtual reality on mobile devices that function as computers, phones, and televisions all at once. 50 years from now, you might be surprised by what comes when you say what will be next?

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7 Valuable Team Management Tool Features That Boost Employee Collaboration Tue, 21 Mar 2017 13:00:41 +0000 Read 7 team management tool features can significantly improve employee collaboration and project success.

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Just a few decades ago, team projects in work environments were managed in person. Team members shared office space, tracked progress on public boards, and relied on a task master to organize and oversee the comprehensive success of a project. Today, teams are often spread throughout regions of the world, work different shifts, and may never meet in person.

That’s where team management tools come in. Offered for free, for monthly fees, or as downloadable software, team management tools allow teams to work together digitally. Most

For instance, these 7 team management tool features can significantly improve employee collaboration and project success:

#1. Mobile Device Connectivity

Just like it’s rare for all team members to regularly work in the same office, it’s also increasingly uncommon for employees to always work from any office at all. People work on the go. Team members collaborate at differing hours and often across time zones. They may work from home. That’s why it’s important for your team management tool to offer an app for mobile devices.

If employees can work with the team on their mobile device, they’ll able to collaborate more efficiently. Check that any team management tools you are considering offers apps that are compatible with a variety of devices as well. Some of your employees may use iPhones, while others may choose to conduct work on a Microsoft tablet. It’s important that everyone have access.

#2. Project Analytics

Instead of trying to keep track of all the tasks involved in completing a project yourself, let your team management tool do it for you. Many tools offer built-in project analytics or can be connected to separate analytics software.

Use project analytics features to:

  • Track the timeline of a project start to finish
  • Evaluate inefficiencies
  • Project due dates and milestone timelines
  • Understand how and on what employees are spending their time
  • Compare projects’ progress
  • Stay on track and on time

Some tools offer visual representations and graphs of analytics information. Others may offer a way to connect to apps that will do this for you. Automated visual representations can help keep you organized and on task. They can also save you preparatory time when you need to update employees or superiors on what’s going on.

#3. Prioritization Options

Sometimes project priorities change and shift as they progress. Rather than figuring out whose work is affected and individually contacting them all, some team management software tools allow you to prioritize conveniently. For instance, some tools will allow you to select a certain task and mark it as a priority. The tool then notifies all affected employees of the new priority for you.

Prioritization features are organized differently in each team management tool or software program. Some have sidebars for priority tasks. Others use color-coding. Some are organized by due date and move “priority” action items up to the timeline.

#4. Secure Communication

Often, team projects involve interaction with sensitive or private information. Everything from an employee’s personal schedule and contact information to a client’s sensitive material may be stored, accessed, and discussed online by teammates on a project. It’s important for team management tools to offer secure communication features.

Some tools, for instance, offers secure chat and messenger options. A few also allow for secure screen sharing. Screen sharing can be crucial to project success. As a result, secure sharing is essential since teammates often collaborate through screen sharing, which opens up outside access to their personal or work devices.

#5. Organization by Task Dependency

“If this, then this” is part of the everyday logic for every person. In the workplace, it plays a part in just about everything. Task management is no exception. Employees often cannot complete their tasks on a project until another employee completes their task. Being able to see what’s already done, what’s in progress, and who needs to do what first is crucial to keeping project progress organized.

Most team management tools will have some form of task dependency organization. When selecting a tool, find out how setting up dependent tasks works as different systems may work better for your team and industry.

#6. Comments Drop-Downs

Communication is key to any collaborative project. Unfortunately, keeping track of emails, messenger conversations, and phone calls can make communication messy. There is a good chance things will get lost in communication if interactions are not directly connected to tasks and easy to track. Comment drop-downs offer a convenient communication organization.

Typically, comment drop-downs are a feature team management tools integrate into task assignments. They allow teammates to comment directly on the tasks which they are communicating about. Comments are saved and attached to the digital task location. As a result, anyone granted access can keep track of communication regarding each task.

#7. Color-Coding Features

Timeless and classic, color-coding has been employed for decades, if not centuries, for organizing information. Many team management tools use color-coding features to:

  • Indicate stage of completion
  • Highlight who tasks are assigned to
  • Differentiate between types of information

Some tools will allow you to customize your color-coding preferences. Others are already integrated. When you select a team management tool, keep this in mind and find out ahead of time how color-coding is integrated.

Choosing A Team Management Tool

Traits like these 7 valuable features are what make most types of team management tools unique. As you learn about different tools, keep in mind other unique qualities like:

  • Cost
  • Support
  • Available Plug-Ins
  • Upgrade Options
  • Industry Specifics

Your team management tool choice will make a big difference in the success of your collaborative team projects. Take the time to learn about and identify which features are important for your business. Choose wisely.

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7 Effective Business Controls That Will Boost Business Performance and Efficiency Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:00:07 +0000 These 7 effective business controls are a great start for boosting your business’s efficiency and performance.

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Long before businesses begin to recognize they are out of control and functioning inefficiently small issues in consistency and accountability are at work. Business controls are measures that naturally safeguard against inconsistencies and unaccountability to keep your business in check and on track for efficient performance and growth.

Whether it’s a procedure, a visual, or any other

#1. Automatically Backup Data

Gone are the days of employees having to backup their digital work on floppy disks or CDs. Today, the most popular form of backup is online. Using automatic online data backup helps guard your company against the accidental loss of information due to forgetfulness or staff being technologically illiterate.

There are a variety of options for automatic data backup. Many businesses use third party service providers. Providers offer unique backup packages and systems. Be certain to verify the security measure such providers offer. If your company stores financial information for individual consumers or private information like social security numbers or health records, verify whether or not third party backup providers are legally secured for such sensitive information.

#2. Create Signed Checklists

Whether digital or paper, creating checklists for your employees helps ensure continuity, consistency, and even safety. Checklists also create a paper trail of records so you can more easily track and assess how your business is functioning.

Checklists can range from outlining closing procedures, cleaning schedules, or even accounting measures. Having employees sign checklists once they are completed also ensures accountability. If you suspect certain procedures are overlooked or carried out improperly, requiring employees to complete and sign checklists can be a useful solution.

#3. Standardize Budgeting Forms

Keeping track of budgets is a chore for businesses both big and small. The more departments there are with operating budgets, the more complex financial tracking and management will be. To make it easy to use, track, and review budgets, standardize the forms employees use.

For example, create a standard form for employees to date, sign, and fill out whenever making a purchase. Keep it simple, but include all the vital information you need. For optimal safeguarding, assign one employee in the department the job of organizing the information from each budget form into one standardized monthly and annual document. You will then improve accountability and the ability to track expenses.

#4. Have Two Tier Financial Tracking

Preventing finances from only ever be managed by one person is smart. Individuals make more mistakes when natural accountability isn’t in place. Set up your financial system so that every piece of financial data must pass through two tiers of review.

Your first tier department, for example, might make a record of all purchases made each day and be responsible for making calculations entered on a standardized sheet. A second tier department might be responsible for inputting the same information into an analytics form as well as making the same calculations. If the two tiers don’t produce the same numbers, you will be aware of the issue and can track down the incorrect information before your business sees the money slipping through the cracks.

#5. Keep a Scoreboard

Visual controls that employees interact with serve many purposes. Offering incentive, competition, accountability, and a reminder of company goals, scoreboards are a great visual control for many businesses. Often, scoreboards are used to track:

  • Sales goals
  • Project progress
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Lead generation
  • Competition among employees
  • Days without incident
  • Department budgeting

Scoreboards can be digital, paper, or even made out of creative materials. For instance, some companies track goals using a giant mock thermometer. Create a custom scoreboard for your business to get your staff involved in the analytics aspect of operating efficiently and competitively.

#6. Establish a Procedural Database

One of the most important controls you can set up to safeguard your business is a procedural database. The database may be a shared network folder or it may be on a website or located on software everyone uses. What’s important is that your employees have a way to easily access information about procedures.

A procedural database typically includes documents about:

  • Human resources policies
  • Pay periods and methods
  • Whistleblowing protection
  • Who to contact about what issue
  • A staff directory
  • Sales expectations
  • Approved vendors
  • Budgeting guidelines and standards
  • Standardized forms

Your procedural database should reflect your business’ unique needs and services. It should be available to staff so that everyone operates by the same rules. This offers advantages like consistency, accountability, and even protection for both your staff and your company. Once your procedural database is established, send the information to your staff and offer regular reminders in meetings and communicative documents so that everyone is informed.

#7. Use Time Tracking Software

Many employers lose time to hourly employees, freelancers, and other staff who are paid based off a time schedule. Rather than waiting to deal with lost time until human resources has to get involved or until your company has lost many, take preventative measures. There are several types of software that offer time-tracking.

Unlike work surveillance or micro-management, time-tracking is part of having an accountable workforce. It helps increase pay transparency and ensures that money is not slipping through the cracks. Employees using time-tracking also have a safeguard against being underpaid for time spent on tasks.

Identifying Additional Controls Your Company Needs

There are many other helpful controls besides these 7 effective controls that can boost your company’s efficiency and performance.

To identify which controls would be most helpful for you start by considering where money or quality is most likely being lost in your business. Then, find controls to put in place to improve the process. Procedures, standards, and other controls benefit both staff and the business overall.

Image: Shutterstock

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7 Key Tactics to Convert Customer Awareness into Customer Engagement Thu, 12 Jan 2017 07:00:15 +0000 Building customer awareness is essential for success as businesses must be known by customers. Read these 7 important tactics of customer conversion.

The post 7 Key Tactics to Convert Customer Awareness into Customer Engagement appeared first on Tweak Your Biz.

One of the first battles a business faces, building customer awareness is essential for success. Businesses must be known by customers. Of course, knowledge alone does not lead to profit. Customers must be

The key to successfully converting consumers into engaged customers is being approachable and personable. As a business, this is accomplished through seven important tactics:

#1. Be Present on Social Media

In the new age of the empowered consumers, businesses are expected to shoulder more of the connection burden. Successful businesses, for example, are present where consumers are already spending time. Social media, used by 78% of United States residents in 2016, is a smart place to meet consumers where they already are. At the same time, social media naturally provides means for interaction, making it easy for businesses to engage customers interpersonally.

#2. Host Online Activities

Through social media and modern technology’s connectivity, consumers are regularly offered opportunities to connect, engage, and interact with businesses and institutions as well individual people. Don’t expect consumers to seek opportunities to engage with your business. Instead, create and make convenient opportunities to encourage customers to engage with your company.

For example, host online activities that are naturally engaging. Post polls for consumers to participate in. Host contests with real prizes. Create online clubs and membership to offer engaged consumers discounts and sneak previews. Livestream news about new products being launched.

#3. Share Relevant Content

Since empowered consumers have so much access to information and options, it makes businesses like yours stand out when you offer unique, relevant guides. For instance, posting “best and worst of” lists and other buying guides that are useful to your consumers will make your business memorable and personable.

Other relevant content to share may include new stories related to your industry or even stories about something great your business is doing. Restaurants offering food to people in need, for example, can benefit from sharing content about this practice. Everything from humorous memes to practical how-to videos qualifies as relevant content to viewers who look to businesses for connection, entertainment, and opportunities (not just advertisements.)

#4. Earn Helpful Reviews

Many consumers rely heavily on reviews when selecting items for purchase and businesses to make purchases from. Reviews include everything from a numerical rating to a commentary on the pros and cons of a product or a business. If you want customers to actively engage with your business, you need to have helpful reviews that make it clear your business is worth the time.

Making reviewing easy by offering customers links to review sites when they make purchases. If your business is based in a physical location, loan an iPad to happy customers and ask them to type a review on the spot. Offer incentives like discounts for those who leave reviews. Host an event where you provide free samples in exchange for reviews. Whatever you do- establish yourself with reviews that are helpful, honest, and legitimate.

#5. Respond to Feedback Publicly

Besides being helpful for establishing your business’ credibility, reviews create an opportunity for you to engage customers publicly. Respond to reviews –positive or negative- whenever possible. This demonstrates that your business values its customers and personal interactions.

If customers post anything about your business on social media, reply and share. When a customer posts a review relating a bad experience, publicly apologize and show how your business is making an effort to correct any issues. Thank customers for positive reviews.

By responding publicly to feedback in ways like these, your business engages with customers. Your current customers may reply again, share what you share, and otherwise interact. Potential customers, on the other hand, will be encouraged to engage in reviewing and associating with your business as well.

#6. Offer Branded Freebies

People love freebies. Thankfully, they don’t all have to be expensive and many types of freebies can double as advertisements or ways to get business. For example, creating geotagged filters for social media is an affordable process. Customers have to come to your actual business to get the filter. The free filter, when customers use it, then advertises your business while making current customers happy.

Other branded freebies might include creative coupons, small items, free samples of products, and other social media favorites. Branded freebies usually take some creativity, but the fun pays off as customers get engaged with your business to participate and get their freebies.

#7. Participate in Trends

Your business isn’t the only one looking for ways to convert consumers into engaged customers. Trends accomplishing this task may come and go, but they can be effective in the long run. Many businesses find it is worthwhile to participate in trends in order to engage with customers.

For instance, Pokemon Go was utilized by many businesses while it was possible. Businesses offered freebies to players of the game or advertised the Pokemon Go characters present at their physical location. Some hosted simple contests or events related to the trend. In the process, new customers engaged with their business. Many of those customers, if satisfied with their experience, continued to return even after the Pokemon Go trend died down.

Be on the lookout for big and little trends. Show support for community issues and causes that your customers are likely to care about. The more you engage with others as a company, the more approachable your business appears.

Making the Conversion Last

If the first step in succeeding as a business is building brand awareness and the second step is converting aware consumers into engaged customers, then the third step is retaining customers. Referred to as gaining loyalty or a following, this third step of making conversions last is essential. As you seek to engage customers using the tactics described, be sure the actual customer experience of service and purchasing is actually satisfying.

Image: Hand drawing Customer Acquisition concept on white notebook

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7 Ways to Create Better Brand Awareness to Your Target Audience Fri, 07 Oct 2016 12:00:48 +0000 Successful businesses build their brand awareness for a specific target audience for a reason. People remember best what is relevant to them.

The post 7 Ways to Create Better Brand Awareness to Your Target Audience appeared first on Tweak Your Biz.

Failing to brand your business is a way to guarantee your business does not succeed. In this age of digital marketing, average adult consumers are exposed to about 360 brands through advertisements per day. Only about 150 of those ads are even noticed by consumers. Make your branding count: build brand awareness with your target audience.

#1. Brand Specifically for Your Audience

Name ten brands you clearly are not the target audience for. Chances are that you cannot come up with ten. Successful businesses build their brand for a specific target audience for a reason. People remember best what is relevant to them. According to

To effectively brand your business or product, you must know your target audience well. Common factors to consider when creating a brand that appeals to a specific group of people include the target audiences:

  • Values
  • Preferences
  • Unmet needs
  • Interests
  • Humor
  • Social sensitivities

With these in mind, professional brand development is intentional in selecting logo colors and design. Facets of branding like setting a tone and selecting a clear message to represent the business are essential as well.

#2. Be an Authority Figure in Your Field

One of the best ways to stand out to businesses is to present the brand as authoritative. Brands bearing authority carry weight in consumers’ minds, especially among target audiences seeking the best available to meet their needs. A simple first step to begin creating awareness of your brand’s authority is to write informational articles.

For instance, a small healthcare business AirNeeds published an article based on reviews and guides about a perfect essential oil diffuser, that was informing consumers on the options available to them for purifying the air they breathe. This establishes AirNeeds as an authority on air purifying, not just as yet another business trying to sell their products without helping the consumer decision-making process. Consider what types of questions your target audience may have and write relevant articles that are informative in nature to present your brand as an authority on topics within your niche.

#3. Establish a Presence Where Your Target Audience Already Is

It’s hard to build awareness for a cause on an empty street. Likewise, businesses are ineffective at building brand awareness when they advertise in places their target audience isn’t visiting. A business advertising to young adults is unlikely to build brand awareness advertising in newspapers, for example. Promote your brand in places your target audience is likely to be anyway.

As part of your target audience identification and selection process, determine where your audience sees advertisements most. If you are using social media to advertise, build connections with others in your industry. AirNeeds, aforementioned example might connect with local businesses or public service providers whose audiences match their own. For example, they may connect with a non-profit sharing about the importance of air purity in the environment or a hospital teaching locals about respiratory care, because both groups will have similar audiences to AirNeeds’ targeted demographic.

#4. Use a Multi-Pronged Approach

While reaching out to your target audience where they already are is essential, limiting branding to specific advertising mediums is equally risky. Repetition is part of the process of creating brand awareness. Consumers in your target audience are more likely to remember your business, for example, if they see your brand on a social media platform and on an advertisement on a news site.

A multi-pronged approach to branding has several benefits besides repetition, though. Some of the benefits include:

  • Reaching more members of your target audience
  • Expanding your target demographics
  • Demonstrating the versatility of your brand
  • Creating a presence as a legitimate brand in various venues

Through such a diverse approach, your target audience will also be diversified. Benefits like these have the potential to grow consumers’ awareness of your brand as well as your consumer base in general.

#5. Be Consistent In All Branding Efforts

To master your multi-pronged branding approach, you will need to maintain a balance of consistency and adaptability. Every venue for advertising has a specific appeal and method of reaching target audiences.

Twitter, for instance, runs on a different algorithm than Facebook or Pinterest. More than that, each of these social sites has its own best practices for reaching consumers. An infographic is likely to be bypassed by consumers on Twitter but engaged with on Pinterest. You should adapt your advertisements to each of these venues accordingly.

At the same time, you must present your brand consistently. Though your content strategy will differ from venue to venue, building brand awareness requires your brand to be recognizable everywhere you advertise. Use the same logo on all social media channels, as well as the same (or a very similar) “about us” description.

#6. Make Clear Link Backs

Along with the importance of consistency in branding, even while adapting content for different venues, you must be consistent in linking back to your website. Your website is where your target audience will be converted to your customer base. When consumers click on a brand they recognize on Twitter and end up on a different landing page than when they visited the same brand from Facebook, their awareness decreases. They might even be confused.

Likewise, if your branding does not conveniently point consumers directly to your business’ website, consumers are unlikely to take the time to mentally connect your brand with your business or product. Consumers count on proper link backs make those connections for them.

#7. Host Interactive Experiences

As an individual, you are more likely to remember that someone was at a party if you interact with them there. Consumers find the same to be true online. The key to digital marketing is hosting interactive experiences to make your brand come to life for your target audience. Successfully branded, well-known businesses do this by:

  • Hosting contests
  • Replying to social media feedback
  • Sharing human interest stories online
  • Creating shareable, relevant images for consumers
  • Posting content clearly related to brand messaging
  • Encouraging interaction through digital sales, specials, giveaways, and online events

Forbes’ expert, Sharon Michael’s, recommends hosting a Facebook group or operating a blog as additional methods for interacting with your target audience online. Experiences like these are memorable for your audience and encourage them to feel loyalty to your brand, which, as a bonus, boosts their awareness of your brand.

Image: Brand awareness improvement concept. Brand manager draws growing graph with text brand awareness.

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5 Financial Mistakes that Small Businesses Make Wed, 07 Sep 2016 18:00:10 +0000 Some financial decisions may fall flat because of lack of knowledge or poor planning. However, small business owners can easily avoid them if they can identify their financial mistakes.

The post 5 Financial Mistakes that Small Businesses Make appeared first on Tweak Your Biz.

Your financial circumstances are a mix of each monetary choice you have made so far. Most people do not have any knowledge on money management and they just learn it as they go.

Business owners always make decisions with good intentions. But, some of them may fall flat because of lack of knowledge or poor planning. However, small business owners can easily avoid them if they can identify their financial mistakes.

As a business person, you can commit numerous financial mistakes. Once you know the potential slip ups, you can find a way to stay away from them. Here are the main five money related mix-ups small businesses make and how to avoid suggestions:

Mistake Number 1: Starting Big

Many small entrepreneurs think they need to spend a lot of cash to get everything done simply just before they open their new business.

For example, they lease space for the business they imagine and the same big ideas for employing workers.

Possible Solution

We’ve all heard the persuasive stories of large, profitable organizations that began in a carport or at the kitchen table. In a hefty portion of those cases, the reason they went ahead to end up so successful is that they began small and just extended when it was supported by their profit.

Note: Appoint somebody in the business to be accountable for credit control. It is key that somebody is in charge of conveying statements and invoices.

Mistake Number 2: Failing to Financially Plan Properly

Many small organizations have budget and income figures which are moved over on a quarterly premise. Accordingly, they settle on choices in view of guesswork. Sometimes they have no clue whether their business’s performance is better or worse than what they expected. A strong financial plan is important to run your business smoothly.

Possible Solution

  1. Setting up money related arrangements gives you the chance to audit all expenditures you made a year ago and figure out whether there are any potential funds that could be accomplished through more prominent operational efficiency or changing to lower cost suppliers.
  2. Make sure to audit genuine financial results monthly against the numbers in the forecast. This examination will give you crucial data about changes you could consider making, for example, cutting expenses if incomes are below forecast.

If your credit score is very low, then you should follow the methods that can help you raise your credit score.

Mistake Number 3: Not Keeping the Business Books

Keeping in mind the end goal to get an idea of where your business is going, you need to know where it’s been. What’s more, the main dependable approach to get this information is with your budgetary records. Some new entrepreneurs are so busy maintaining the business that they put off keeping their books altogether, and this can prompt missed open doors or even a financial disaster not far off.

Possible Solution

In case you are going to try to get your books done yourself, employ an accounting person proficient in getting your books set up appropriately. They can prepare you on your chosen bookkeeping software and show you how to legitimately accommodate your records every month. You will additionally have a trusted asset to call with inquiries.

For other people, the counsel is the same – contract an accountant or bookkeeper. There are a lot of clerks that work with small organizations.

Quick Tips

  1. Never hire a new bookkeeper who does not have any experience in this field.
  2. Ensure the person is licensed.
  3. Several parts of your business funds are time-delicate. Ensure somebody can act as backup when your bookkeeper is not around.

Mistake Number 4: Not Separating Business and Personal Finances

It is one of the greatest mix-ups you can make. What’s more, on the off chance that you keep on doing it, and the IRS begins poking around, you could confront some serious tax implications. It is important to keep a safe distance between your business and personal spending.

Possible Solution

  1. Open a separate bank account for business. You will need your business formation records and an EIN relegated by the IRS.
  2. Talk to a CPA. A CPA can explain the IRS rules for sole part LLCs and enterprises and how to handle partition of funds.
  3. If you have more than one MasterCard, assign one that is entirely for business.

Mistake Number 5: Ignoring Your Taxes

It is very common not knowing what taxes need to be paid, due dates and IRS penalties. Smart business owners know their tax obligations. If you do not recognize what taxes you should pay and when you should pay, then ask for help.

Possible Solution

  1. Meet with a CPA. It is never a bad idea to get a tax expert’s assistance with your business accounts. Survey your present practices and ensure you are meeting each one of your commitments on both your state and neighborhood level. At that point set up frameworks to ensure you are meeting commitments on time.
  2. If you do not have any idea about your tax obligations, then call the IRS and request your complete tax picture. You cannot settle it unless you realize what you are dealing with.

Other Common Financial Mistakes

  1. Not having a correct account receivable system. Print installment terms on the back of each invoice.
  2. Shorting yourself on remuneration. In the early phases of business, it might appear like a good choice to redistribute any of your profit back into the business. In any case, not remunerating yourself along the way could hurt your own funds.
  3. Not having enough money saved. Start with sufficient working money. Try not to trick yourself with the unrealistic feeling that the cash will somehow be there.

Bottom Line: It takes numerous people a lifetime to build wealth, yet it is quick and easy to lose it. It won’t be one bad decision, yet a combination of good intentions followed by poor execution. It may make it difficult to recover. To maintain a strategic distance from significant pitfalls, start tracking where your cash is, making arrangements for issues, making the profit and spending less.

Do you have any tips to share about financial mistakes small businesses can make?

Image: Author’s Own

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