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Gone are the days when a business could succeed on foot traffic alone. Now 63% of consumers look up product information online before purchasing. If your company isn’t online, how will people know about your product or service?


For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), having an online presence is essential. What a potential client finds (or doesn’t find) on your company online, will ultimately affect whether they decide to do business with you.

Here are a few ways to effectively grow your brand’s online presence.

1. Establish Yourself as a Thought-Leader With Blogging: Blogging is a great tool for SMBs to demonstrate expertise in their given field. Focus on establishing yourself as a thought-leader with relevant content people can’t find anywhere else, much like The Sales Lion did. By sharing your experiences and insight, you’re connecting with your target audience and building trust.

Remember, to create trust, steer clear of blogging about your company and products. The key is not to sell your business, but instead sell your knowledge. People don’t care about your products, but they do care about themselves.

And don’t be shy when it comes to guest posts. Providing relevant content for publishers will help you gain additional exposure for your brand, too.
5 Proven Ways to Boost Your Brand's Online Presence
2. Boost Your Search Ranking With SEO: The higher up you are on a search engine result page (SERP), the more eyes that will see your business.To boost your search ranking, be sure to:

a. Conduct Keyword Research. Determine which keywords will help your brand rank higher on SERPs. There are lots of tools that can help you find the best keywords for your site.

b. Use Link Building. Achieve a higher ranking in search engines by getting legitimate and authoritative sites to build backlinks to yours.

c. Integrate Social Media. Share your blog articles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. As people like and share your posts, you’ll increase brand awareness.

d. Optimize for Multiple Channels/Platforms. Make sure you’re optimizing for mobile, tablet, and desktop users. And keep your keyword strategy consistent across social, email, and other forms of advertising.

e. Create Great Content. Produce relevant content people have a need for. Content should include keywords and links to help rank higher.

f. Analyze Your Performance. Track analytics for views, user engagement, leads and conversions, and keyword rankings and positions. By paying attention to your analytics, you can see what is and isn’t working, and eliminate or fix problem areas.

3. Have an Active Presence on Social Media: Social media is a great tool for building your online presence. With just one tweet, you have the potential to reach millions of consumers.

One of the many benefits of social media is the ability to create a community of followers who’ll vouch for your brand. Let’s say you’re a boutique. Ask your customers to post their #OOTD (outfit of the day) on Instagram and tag your boutique like Nicole J Boutique does.

Having your followers share photos and stories related to your brand, will show others how great your brand is, without you having to say anything. And should a customer have a question about a particular item, social is a great platform to communicate on, too.

4. Monitor (and Respond) to Others’ Feedback:
Customer reviews have the ability to both positively grow your brand’s online presence, and to negatively hinder it. What a customer says -- good or bad -- always has the potential to go viral.

Here, a customer shared her opinion about a cafe’s lack of electrical outlets. Clearly, she is peeved

Instead of responding to the customer’s concern in a professional manner, Dark Horse Espresso’s tweet was filled to the brim with sarcasm. Uh oh.

88% of customers read the reviews posted for a business in order to determine quality, and 72% are influenced enough by what they read to determine their actions. So, when responding to both positive and negative comments, always remain professional.

When you interact with a customer, you want them to know you care about their opinions - both good and bad. While you might not be able to rectify the situation, at least you can show you’ve acknowledged their issue in a compassionate way.

It’s also best to respond to comments within a 24-hour window. Keep tabs on what’s being said about your company in real-time, by using tools like Google Alerts and Mention.
5. Build Brand Awareness With Mobile Video: 52% of all mobile traffic is video. Using mobile videos to help boost your brand awareness is a no brainer. Plus, video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Create a video that resonates with your audience, and you’ll compel them to share your video.

A couple of months ago Burger King shared an Instagram video asking their American Sign Language followers to create a sign for the Whopper. Individuals used #whoppersign to submit their suggestions via Twitter.

Here, Burger King tapped into two hot social sharing platforms, and got more than 26,000 views and almost 300 comments.

Take a cue from Burger King and consider incorporating mobile video to increase your brand recognition.

Conclusion: Your online presence influences potential customers, possible business partners, other bloggers, and future employees. By employing these tips (blogging, monitoring, interacting), you’ll be setting the foundation for healthy online growth.

Jamie Chaffin is a junior Media Communication student at Wilmington University. She is eZanga’s summer Content Marketing Intern. In her spare time, you can find her scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, transfixed in new movies (trying to pick the next Oscar winners), playing with her new puppy, reading a good book, or taking acting classes when she can.

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Influencer marketing is huge. With brands trying to target a digital and social media savvy generation, it's becoming more common for brands to advertise with influencers. 

Rather than placing ads on pages where they might not be acknowledged, advertisers are taking to social media to promote their products.

There’s something about influencers’ trustworthiness and genuine attitude that attracts customers. Without even knowing it, you’ve probably scrolled past paid advertisements by influencers (and maybe even liked a few, too).

Social media influencers are definitely changing the marketing game. But how exactly do you become a social media influencer? Here are five tips.
Check These 5 Tips on Becoming a Social Media Influencer
1. Find Your Niche: First things first, decide what you’re going to do. Base this off of your passions and what you enjoy doing, and become the go-to person in that industry.

More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve bought new makeup or clothing because I saw an influencer on social media promoting it. Maybe Desi Perkins just loves MAC’s “Give Me Sun” bronzer, or Sarah Lindner absolutely adores her new sweater, which just so happens to come in three colors and is on sale! The influencers I follow tell their audience about new makeup products, recommend Caribbean resorts, and spill on all the amazing sales Nordstrom is having (get ready for the #nsale!).

It doesn’t have to be something common like makeup or fitness either. Perhaps you enjoy DIY projects or have a cute dog that travels everywhere with you. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’re always providing value. That takes us to my next tip: Be unique.

2. Be Unique: Focus on a new way of doing things, or do something in a way that hasn’t been done before. There are so many upcoming influencers out there, that you don’t want to get lost in the mix. Find a way to make yourself stand out from the rest. To be successful in a world of influencers, you need to be different than your competition.

A great example is Accidental Icon, a unique influencer.

Accidental Icon is changing the game. She’s not your typical fashion and lifestyle influencer. She’s fashion forward, keeps it fun, and isn’t afraid to take risks and show off her lively personality. It’s obvious why she has almost half a million followers, her bright character just shines through each image she posts.

3. Choose Your Platforms: There are so many social media platforms out there, so take your pick. Decide who your target audience will be and choose channels that will reach your audience best.

Narrow in on two to four main platforms and use them simultaneously. Make sure the platforms you choose can be used together to achieve your goals. For example, makeup influencers often use YouTube along with Instagram. They might post a picture of a recent makeup look and then encourage their followers to head over to their YouTube channel to see how they created the look.

Many fashion bloggers use Instagram along with the LiketoKnow.it app. It’s common for fashion bloggers to host giveaways in which you need to follow them on the LtK.it app and follow them on Instagram and “like” their three most recent pictures. Notice the caption of this giveaway post.

It’s all about promoting yourself and your other outlets through different platforms. The trick is to get all of your channels to work together.

4. Plan Ahead and Be Consistent: To get attention, you need to plan your posts in advance and remember to post regularly. For platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s best to post once or twice each day. For YouTube, you might want to post once or twice per week. (Although I have seen some YouTubers post every single day.) Your consistency determines how visible you will be to your audience.
Check These 5 Tips on Becoming a Social Media Influencer

Make sure you have a strategy; don’t just wing it. Use a feed planner to plan weeks, or even months in advance. Planoly is a great app for planning your Instagram feed, but if you’re using other platforms, Hootsuite is another great program, too.

5. Engage With Other Influencers: Influencers want to engage with others! Even accounts with a million followers have made it a priority to engage with their audience. If you “like” and comment on their content, you’ll increase your exposure to more people. Influencers love to interact with their followers, and if you’re upcoming in their same industry, it’d be beneficial to stop by one of their photos and chat.
Tag brands and other influencers in your content. If you’re a makeup enthusiast, you could get recognition by tagging the makeup brands you used in your look. Many popular makeup brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, build their Instagram feeds with reposted photos of customers wearing their products.
If you’re a fashion influencer, tag boutiques or stores you shopped at to complete your look. If you’re a travel influencer, tag resorts or hotels you stayed at or services you used. This method might get you noticed by big brands, and could land you on their pages, giving you exposure to millions more people.

Here, travel instagrammer Jay Alvarrez relaxes at this exclusive oceansideresort. But did you see what he did there? He tagged the resort in his caption and in the actual photo, giving that resort exposure to his almost 6 million followers. Like every influencer dreams, he was probably paid a decent sum of money to advertise this resort.

Influencing is hard, and you have to climb the ladder to become as established as the influencers I mentioned here. It takes time and dedication, but it can be done. Use these five tips to help you gain success in the influencer world and build your personal brand like you always imagined.
Check These 5 Tips on Becoming a Social Media Influencer
Source - www.ezanga.com

Alexis Short is the Digital Content Specialist for Anura. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and a minor in Legal Studies.

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Over the last decade, we have seen social media grow rapidly in importance. According to the August 2017 Global Digital Statshot from We Are Social and Hootsuite, 3.028 Billion people actively use social media - that’s 40% of the world’s population. 

Inevitably these people look up to influencers in social media to guide them with their decision making. Influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a particular topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic engaged people who pay close attention to their views.
What Is A Social Media Influencer? — Oudney’s Studios with Oudney Patsika

Brands love social media influencers because they can create trends and encourage their followers to buy products they promote.

Types of Influencers:

The majority of influencers fit into the following categories, with the last category rapidly becoming the most important:
1. Celebrities
2. Industry experts and thought leaders
3. Bloggers and content creators
4. Micro Influencers

The bulk of social influencer marketing today occurs in social media, predominantly with micro influencers, and blogging. Industry experts and thought leaders such as journalists can also be considered influencers and hold an important position for brands. Then there are celebrities. These were the original influencers, and they still have a role to play, although their importance as influencers is waning.

Bloggers and influencers in social media (predominantly micro-bloggers) have the most authentic and active relationships with their fans. Brands are now recognizing and encouraging this.

Types of Influencers:


1. Celebrities

Influencer marketing grew out of celebrity endorsement. Businesses have found for many years that their sales usually rise when a celebrity promotes or endorses their product. There are still many cases of businesses, particularly high-end brands, using celebrities as influencers.
What Is A Social Media Influencer? — Oudney’s Studios with Oudney Patsika
The problem for most brands is that there are only so many traditional celebrities willing to participate in this kind of influencer campaign, and they are unlikely to come cheaply. The exception will if a firm makes a product that a celebrity already likes and uses. In that situation, the celebrity may well be prepared to use his influence to say how good he believes the product to be. I am sure many musical instrument producers benefit from musicians playing their instruments by choice.

One problem with using celebrities as influencers is if they may lack credibility with a product’s target audience. Justin Bieber may be highly influential if he recommended a type of acne cream, but would have little chance of influencing the buying patterns of those looking for a retirement village.

Celebrities may have many fans and gigantic social media followings. However, it is debatable exactly how much real influence they hold over those who follow them.

2. Industry Experts and Thought Leaders

Industry leaders and thought leaders gain respect because of their qualifications, position, or experience about their topic of expertise. Often, this respect is gained more because of the reputation of where they work. For instance, a journalist at a major newspaper is probably no expert on the subjects he writes a news report on, but he is respected for being a good enough writer to work as such a prestigious publication.

These experts include:

i. Journalists
ii. Academics
iii. Industry Experts
iv. Professional Advisors

If you are able to gain the attention of a journalist in a national newspaper, who in turn talks positively about your company in an article, then you are using him as an influencer in much the same way as you would a blogger or a social media influencer. There is an added bonus in this situation in that the journalist will most probably write his report for free.
What Is A Social Media Influencer? — Oudney’s Studios with Oudney Patsika
Bloggers and content creators often work with industry leaders and thought leaders, and it is not uncommon to see them quoted in blog posts and even used in social media campaigns. The line between traditional media and social media is blurring.

3. Bloggers and Content Creators

Blogging has been connected to influencer marketing for some time now. There are many highly influential blogs on the internet. If a popular blogger positively mentions your product in a post, it can lead to the blogger’s supporters wanting to try out your product.

Many bloggers have built up sizeable followings in specific sectors. For instance, there are highly influential blogs about personal development, finance, health, childrearing, music, and many other topics, including blogging itself. The key thing successful blogs have in common is the respect of their readers.

A variation on having a blogger write something that recommends your product is to participate in guest posting. If you can grab a guest posting spot on a large blog, you can control the content, and you will normally be allowed to place a link to your own site in your author bio.

If a blog is large and influential enough, you may be able to buy a sponsored post on their site. This allows you to either write a post yourself or heavily influence the blogger to write a post on your behalf. Unlike a casual mention in a blogger’s post or a guest post you have written, you will have to pay for a sponsored post (and it is likely to be labeled as such). However, this hasn’t harmed the results for many firms who have sponsored posts on blogs. Generation Z, in particular, seems to be immune to the Sponsored Post tag, and as long as the product aligns with the blog’s core audience, there shouldn’t be a problem.

Of course, a blog is not the only type of popular content on the internet. Another popular type of content is video. In this case, rather than each videomaker having their own site, most create a channel on YouTube. Brands often align with popular YouTube content creators.
Of course, bloggers and YouTubers rarely rely solely on their existing audiences to just turn up to their site hoping there is new material. They usually promote new posts or videos heavily on social media - which makes most of these bloggers and content creators micro influencers as well.

4. Micro Influencers

Micro influencers are normal everyday people who have become known for their knowledge about some specialist niche. As such, they have usually gained a sizeable social media following amongst devotees of that niche. Of course, it is not just the number of followers that indicates a level of influence, it is the relationship and interaction that a micro influencer has with his followers.

It is possible that a micro influencer is not aware of the existence of a company before that company tries to reach out to them. If that is the case, the company will have first to convince the influencer of its worth. Micro influencers have built up specialist followings, and they will not want to harm their relationship with their fans if they are seen to promote a lemon.
What Is A Social Media Influencer? — Oudney’s Studios with Oudney Patsika
This requires that any relationship between micro influencers and brands having to align with target audiences does mean that influencers are often picky about who they work with. Some micro influencers are happy to promote a brand for free. Others will expect some form of payment. Regardless of the price, an influencer is unlikely to want to be involved with an “inappropriate” brand for their audience.

The nature of influence is changing. Micro influencers are becoming more common, and more famous. Some have risen from virtual obscurity to being nearly as well known as traditional celebrities. This is particularly the case for Generation Z who spend more time on the internet than watching television or going to sports or movies.

In all reality, micro influencers are the influencers of the future. The internet has led to the fragmentation to the media into many small niche topics. Even if you are into something relatively obscure, you are likely to find a Facebook group or Pinterest board devoted to it. And it is in these niche groups and boards that micro influencers establish themselves as genuine influencers.
What Is A Social Media Influencer? — Oudney’s Studios with Oudney Patsika
DEFINITION: (Social Media Influencer) A Social Media Influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.

ABOUT OUDNEY'S STUDIOS: Oudney's Studios helps brands to market and sell with real customer photos and videos. We work with multiple brands to develop a more authentic marketing experience and create stronger relationships with their most passionate customers.

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We live in a world of pretence. A world where many people work so hard not for their own happiness, but for that of others. 

The "I belong too" syndrome has eaten so deep into the fabrics of our society. Men are pretending, women are pretending, boys are pretending, girls are pretending, the aged are pretending. The list goes on and on.

Let's begin by defining "affordability". In the context of our discussion today, affordability simply means being able to have, purchase, live within your means without any form of inconvenience.

The idea behind affordability is not what one could have or buy, but living within one's means. Living beyond one's financial means have made a lot of people go broke, be indebted unnecessarily, beg, land into troubles, etc.

I still can't understand why on earth someone will go borrow just to have an elaborate naming ceremony, birthday party, wedding and the likes. That's unwise. No one says one should not celebrate events and moments in our lives, no. But that should be done within our financial strength.
Can You Afford It with Oudney's Studios
Statistics and sad experiences in society have shown that many people are not good managers of financial resources. It takes an understanding of what life truly is and self-discipline to live within one's means.

Effective personal finance management requires prudence. Wisdom requires that one learns to differentiate between needs and wants, very important things and unimportant or less important things. Questions such as: "do I need this very expensive phone?", "can maintain this car?", "can I afford this house rent?", "can I sustain this lifestyle of mine?", "am I not going for this gadget just to show off, or show that I belong too?". The list goes on and on.

Spending on impulse is unwise. Learn to prioritize. Stick to your goals. Live within a budget. Stop impressing others. Invest in your dreams and assets.
The fact is that many people don't have a life of their own anymore. They are prisoners of a wicked society that cares less about their own well-being and happiness. One can never satisfy the world, so why don't you live your own life. Maturity is being able to be your own self, do your own thing, dress your own way, live where you love, without apology to anyone. Everyone is responsible for his/her own happiness.

Stop leaving in fear of what others might say or think about you. If you can't afford it today, you will tomorrow or in future. Don't compete with others: it unhealthy and unwise. Don't get out of your way to impress others, consequently putting yourself in debt, or any other kind of trouble. It is your own life, please take charge of it. Not having now doesn't mean you won't have it tomorrow. Don't feel inferior to anybody. Tell yourself "it is time" and remind yourself "my own time is coming".

Friends, your best days are still ahead. Therefore, get a life for yourself today as you start living within your own financial means. 

You will succeed in Jesus name! Stay blessed.

See you at the top!
Your friend!

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One big challenge most people have is lack of discipline. As simple as it may sound, not many have mastered the art of controlling themselves. Whatever one's aspirations in life, the lack of discipline will never let any indisciplined person actualize their goals.


I am glad to tell you, my friends, that one doesn't have to take a degree course in banking, finance, economics, accounting, etc at the university before they can manage financial resources well. Let me share briefly with you some tips on effective personal finance management.

1. The right perspective: The right knowledge and understanding is crucial to anything. You must have a balanced notion of money. The subject money means different things to different people, hence the different individual outcomes in our finance management prowess. Money, among other things, is a means of investment. That's why the business people invest it from time to time.

2. Set and pursue a financial goal: No matter your income, have a yearly financial goal, broken into a monthly achievable target.

3. Cultivate the habit of savings: Learn to save something out of your income no matter how little it might seem. We do not all have the same financial strength, however, we can all save.

4. Live by a budget: Whether as a single or family person, you must live by a budget. Budget helps to control our spendings. People without one spend recklessly, and most times on impulse.
Effective Personal Finance Management with Oudneys Studios
5. Be self-disciplined: Self-discipline helps to control our emotions and actions. Disciplined folks don't spend on impulse. They don't seek to impress others. They don't purchase what they don't have need of. Their spending is timely and purposeful.

6. Don't compete with others: There is no need competing with others. It's unhealthy. All you need to do is to define your financial goal and go for it.
7. A saver is always better than a wasteful spender: Many years ago I went to a microfinance bank to make a transaction. There also was a young man who wanted to pay into his account a paltry sum of N2,500. While looking at him, an insight came to my mind, "savings is savings no matter how little it might be". What that young man did is actually what many of us are lacking. "I will save when I have enough" is the excuse we all give.

8. Don't spend beyond your means: A person earning $5 000 that saves something out of it, is better than the one earning $1,000,000 without any savings year in year out. Or better still, the one who earns $5 000 and can save $2 000 out of it is better than the person who earns $200,000 and can only manage to save $10 000 monthly.

You see, it's not about one's income, but about one's savings, investments or assets.

9. Your life is about you, not about others: Many are too bothered by what others say or think about them. Their lives and spending are determined, defined or controlled by their friends, associates, colleagues, relations, etc. No, it's your life, not theirs. It's about your happiness, not theirs. It's about your future, not theirs.

10. Remain focused: Focused people are hardly distracted. They mind their own business. They are committed to their life pursuit till they achieve their goals.

Therefore, in 2017, you will require a lot of self-discipline in handling your personal finance as God will be blessing your life. Learn to save and invest more and spend less. That's the secret to effective personal finance management. Stay blessed.

See you at the top!
Your friend!

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Contact Us

For Further Details Please Contact Us:

Oudneys Studios Offices
Suite 227
Robinson House
Corner Kwameh Nkruma and Angwa Street
Harare, Zimbabwe
+263 775 740980
info@oudneysstudios.com
@oudneysstudios
@oudneysstudios