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How to Make Money on Social Media – Small Business Trends

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Social media be it Twitter, Facebook or YouTube have become the most popular platforms by hundreds of millions of users across the world. This has opened up opportunities for businesses to connect with customers, allowing them to maximize the income of their business. In addition, you can use social media sites to also make some money on the side. There are also opportunities to make money through social media without the need to sell anything. In his article, we will help show you the things that can help you make money on social media.



Why Small Businesses Should Use Social Media to Increase Income

As part of a marketing strategy, social media can help your small business interact with customers. With social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest you can build brand awareness, increase your customer base, increase sales, and connect with current and potential customers.

You expand your reach through social media: with an estimated 4.2 billion social media users, companies are capitalizing on it. You can use Instagram or Pinterest to showcase your products or even advertise your products and services.

More and more people are Buying on social media: By adding ‘buy’ buttons on their social platforms to generate more sales. This is because customers can buy directly without ever leaving the social media platform they are on.

Help create real connections with your brand: Through social media, you can create real human connections with your brand. With it, you can introduce your customers to your brand story as well as showcase the benefits of your products and services.

Drive traffic to your website/online store: Through social media posts and ads, you can drive traffic to your website or your online store. By sharing some great content from your website to your social channels you can encourage click-throughs.

Generate leads: Through social media, you can help increase lead generation by increasing interest among potential customers.

14 Best Ways to Make Money on Social Media

There is a lot of money to be made through employing social media business ideas. People are making a living without selling a single product. Those who have a large social following can use their profiles to get paid by brands, sell their knowledge, offer consultations, and more. Below are some ways where you can learn how to make money on social media.

1. Promote your Small Business Products and Services on Social Media

Social media accounts can help you interact with others by sharing and creating content through communities. With it, you can promote your brand and business; tell customers about your goods and services; find out what customers think of your business; attract new customers, and build stronger relationships with existing customers.

Promoting your business through social media platforms is cost-effective. You can use it to promote and drive traffic to your online store and also supplement sales to your brick and mortar sales.

2. Sell Digital Products Using Your Social Media Channels

Besides promoting your business social media can be used to sell digital products as well. A nifty way to make money is through selling digital products simply through social media. Unlike websites, social media platforms are designed to help you sell digital products with little fanfare within just a few minutes.

Plus, if the product you sell is digital you don’t have to worry about shipping or even inventory. With digital products such as templates, software, eBooks, photography, music and so you can sell them an unlimited number of times with little effort.

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3. Join Networks and Promote Affiliate Products

You can also expand your reach to potential customers by joining networks and make money through affiliate marketing. Through affiliate marketing, you can earn money by just adding tracked affiliate links into the text of your social media content. By joining affiliate network programs, you stand to get paid in commissions for new leads or sales you bring when visitors click on the links.

4. Sell Your Music on Soundcloud

If you are creatively inclined you can sell your music through SoundCloud. Here you can sell your original music through SoundCloud if you sign up on the platform’s SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited subscriptions. You get unlimited upload time, get paid for your plays, access to advanced audience insights, and more.

5. Collaborate with Brands

Social proof is the new word of mouth, more and more consumers today trust influencers over paid advertisements. Thanks to their huge following, bloggers today can talk directly to a company’s target audience. From posting product reviews, hosting video tutorials, bloggers have the power to influence large segments of consumers. If you have a unique niche, you can showcase your expertise to make your blog stand out while also collaborating with brands that might be tied to your niche in the process. Brands will benefit as their customers yearn for honest messages that speak to them from a user’s perspective.

6. Earn Money Through Selling Coaching Services

If you have a unique set of skills or are passionate about something perhaps you can offer coaching services. Many people are looking for self-development or learning new skills. You can tap into this demand if you have a specific niche that is of value to other people.

7. Make Money with the YouTube Partner Program

Through blogging, you can unlock your YouTube channel’s earning potential as well. By joining the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) you not only get a strong platform but also access YouTube’s resources and features which includes getting access to ads being served on your content. However, you will need to keep in mind that you will need to get lots of views and clicks on YouTube to make meaningful revenues from your content.

8. Sell Rights to the Images on Your Social Media Accounts

If you have some great pictures or digital artwork of yours that people are interested in purchasing then you can use social media account to connect with people interested in purchasing your creations.

9. Join Influencer Networks

There are many ways to make money on social media. Sponsored posts are just one way that bloggers can earn an income from their blogs. Brands today are looking for influencers to market their products to their followers in an authentic way. Here influencer networks are a great way to start in sponsored posts and paid social sharing opportunities. If you are early on in your blogging experience it might be easier for you to start with using influencer marketing which are third-party agencies that will do the hard work for you.

These networks will help connect you to brands and acts as a middle man so you don’t have to be in direct contact with them yourselves.  This will potentially help open doors for you and give you sponsored post experience that you can include in your blogger resume. Influencers or bloggers will sign up to work with a network, and brands who work with that network have access to analytics regarding campaigns run within that single network of influencers. Some networks may require you to only work with them exclusively. Some influencer networks include:

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10. Run a Facebook Group

Facebook offers you a huge reach complements to its over 2 billion active monthly users. By creating Facebook groups of your own can be an inexpensive and effective way to reach your target audience. It helps you build a community around common interests or goals and drive can even help drive traffic to your blog or website.

11. Manage a Social Media Account for Another Business

In today’s market place no business can afford to overlook the value social media presents to your business’ success. If you are a successful blogger and can create content that lots of people enjoy and follow, you can use it to help other businesses in their social media outreach. You can use your talent to make a tidy sum on the side by offering social media management services in some you could earn somewhere between $14 to $ 35 an hour.

12. Charge for Sponsored Posts

Companies and brands are ever more looking for social proof to market their goods and services. You can help them achieve these by producing sponsored content. This is could be by way of product reviews, promotions, backlinks to a sponsor’s website but always remember to let your audience know that you are offering paid content. In terms of payment, several factors can play out that include your reach; your niche, and whether your posts include images, videos, and audio.

13. Advertise as a Blog Content Writer

You can also offer your services as a blogger by opting for social media advertising as well. For example, Google and Facebook ads offer an inexpensive option to get your targeted advertisement for your marketing needs as a blogger.

14. Become an Influencer

You can also try your hand as an influencer. An influencer is someone who has the skillset to influence people’s purchasing decisions through his or her authority, knowledge, or relationship with his or her audience. social media Influencers are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic and offer regular posts. Brands are more than willing to pay social media influencers as they help create trends and encourage their followers to buy products they promote.

Top Tips to Get More Social Media Followers and Drive Sales

It can be difficult to gather a huge following. As a blogger, you can only monetize your content when you have a huge following. When done right you can easily generate a good following and built a reputation of a captivated audience. Below are some tips to get more social media followers and drive sales.

Choose a Specific Niche and Target Audience

Your blog’s success depends on you finding your passion and create compelling content. Not only that your niche should not have too much competition as your blog will need to compete against highly rated sites. You should also avoid focusing on a smaller niche with little or no demand as it will impact your potential following. Look to strike a balance between an overdone niche and one with little room for growth. Choose a subject that you are knowledgeable about and one that people can take insights from.

Here you will also need to get an accurate picture of your target audience are whether in terms of age, level of knowledge of the subject matter, and other factors to make an impact.

Focus on a Single Social Media Platform

To start you will need to focus your content on a single social media channel or risk not capturing the right amount followers to make your blog worth looking into. You will need to identify your target reader and then identify the social networks that they prefer. If your blog post is geared more towards professionals and businesses you might want to consider using LinkedIn. If your target followers are more visual you may sway towards Instagram or Pinterest.

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Increase Engagement Rates

Part of increasing your fan base is to get more engaged followers. Make sure that your content is important enough or interesting enough that people share, link to, like, and even comment on them. Make sure to reply to comments as well as collaborate with other content creators

Build Trust

Building trust takes time. For readers, it is the little things that get them to trust you. It falls on your track record of creating useful content that serves them, and the consistency and reliability of your content.

Offer Free Products

Nothing attracts people more than free stuff. Offer up promotional coupons, free templates, how-to guides, and other useful stuff to ingrate yourself with your audience.

Create Content Regularly to Build Social Media Presence

You will need to regularly churn out content that readers need. Set out a calendar for your content production and regularly and consistently produce content.

Use the Right Hashtags

Hashtags are important as it helps direct more followers to your blog. Posts with hashtags have higher rates of engagement. Makes sure that the hashtags are funny, interesting, easily recalled, and in good taste.

Provide Valuable Content

Never forget that readers come to you because you offer them something that they need. So create content that is of value to your reader and an easy way to do this is to think from your readers’ perspective.

Use Analytics to Understand Your Audience

Use social media analytics to understand your audience. Through it, you get insights on who your followers are to tweak your content to align with their needs. Also, use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technics to maximize your audience and income with ad sales.

Have a Social Media Strategy

You will need a social media strategy to help drive more traffic to your own website or blog. If done right a huge bulk of your readers can come from social media networks as such formulate a social media strategy that helps boosts your traffic.

What social media platforms can you make money on?

Twitter: you can make money by tweeting as a ghostwriter, affiliate marketing, sell products, or work as an influencer.

Instagram: you can make money by partnering with a brand, push affiliate links, get revenue from ads played on their IGTV videos.

Pinterest: you can make money by promoting a brand, promote affiliate products, sell your products

Facebook: You can make money by promoting other brands, affiliate marketing, sell your products.

LinkedIn: You can make money by placing ads for brands, use affiliate links and sell your products and services.

YouTube: You can use this platform to post video content of yours, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, collaborate with brands.

How many followers do you need on social media to make money?

To start monetizing from your social media you will need to have a huge following. For example, with Instagram, you need a minimum of 5,000 Instagram followers and 308 sponsored posts a year to generate $100,000. Youtubers will need at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year to start earning. With Facebook, you will need to have at least 10,000 followers and 30,000 +1 minute views.

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Social Media Marketing Trends To Watch In 2022

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Marketers aren’t clairvoyant but they can keep a finger on the pulse of trends. To help brands stay ahead of the competition, HubSpot Blog surveyed more than 1,000 global marketers from B2B and B2C brands and a handful of industry experts to create a 2022 marketing trends guide, covering privacy and AI to social media and SEO. Ahead we break down HubSpot’s findings on social media marketing trends.

As HubSpot notes, 79 percent of Americans have some type of social media account while there are 3.7 billion social media users worldwide, making it a regular part of people’s lives and a critical tool in enhancing any marketing strategy.

Live Content Will Be A Leading Social Media Format

Among the social media marketers HubSpot polled, 68 percent reported that audio chat rooms such as Clubhouse are the most effective social media content while 59 percent report the same for live video.

Ninety-six percent of those investing in live audio content intend on spending the same amount or more on it through 2022. Live video, on the other hand, is reported by 9 percent of respondents as driving the largest return on investment (ROI) of all social media formats. These formats enable brands to connect directly with audiences in a meet-them-where-they-are context while discussions range from current issues and events to the brand’s stance on those issues to the products and services themselves. 

The authenticity and dynamic nature of this format can’t be matched as heart-to-heart conversations may be interspersed with expert opinions, Q&A-style discussions, how-tos and entertainment.

TikTok Will Continue To Gain Brand Interest

TikTok began to go viral roughly three years ago, sparking a new medium through which brands can connect with audiences without sounding sales-y. The social media app now boasts 1 billion global users and caters to a vast array of audiences. Having recently launched a number of advertising and marketing features for businesses and creators, TikTok has positioned itself front-and-center in the race to secure the highest quality content, the highest number of users and creators and brands that will continue engaging with it for marketing purposes.

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Sixty-seven percent of marketers intend on increasing their TikTok investment in 2022 and 10 percent of marketers who employ some sort of social media into their overall marketing strategy intend on investing the most in TikTok throughout 2022.

Most Marketers Will Concentrate On Three To Five Social Media Platforms

Of those social media marketers polled, 64 percent use three to five platforms, 11 percent use one or two, and 7 percent use seven or more. Managing three to five platforms allows brands to expand their reach to a variety of audiences while allowing for their marketers to engage with each one without exhausting their bandwidth or producing low-quality content.

In order for a brand to determine how many platforms to be on, i.e., how able a social media marketing team will be at building an effective and engaging strategy, HubSpot suggests answering the following:

  • How many social media marketers are on your team?
  • Which social media platforms have audiences that best align with your brand’s targets?
  • How much time will it take to master a strategy on each of the platforms?
  • Which platforms, if any, will not benefit the overall marketing strategy right now?
  • Which platform’s content, if any, can be easily repurposed? (such as TikTok and YouTube Shorts)

Influencer Marketing Will Evolve From Trend To Common Marketing Tactic

When HubSpot asked global marketing professionals which trends they planned to invest in for 2022, 34 percent said influencer marketing, ranking it first and above other trends like mobile web design and short-form video marketing.

While 57 percent of respondents that currently leverage influencer marketing say influencer marketing is effective, 46 percent of them plan to increase their investments in 2022. Additionally, 11 percent say influencer marketing is the top ROI-generating trend they’ve tested.

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More than 56 percent of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro-influencers, according to HubSpot.

Video Marketers Will Keep Content Short

HubSpot found that short-form content is the second most effective trend marketers are currently utilizing. Short-form content requires less bandwidth and aligns well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences in a variety of demographics

More than 31 percent of global marketers currently invest in short-form video content, 46 percent of them consider the strategy effective when it comes to performance and engagement. In addition, next year 89 percent of global marketers plan to continue investing in it or increase their investment.

Permanent Social Media Posts Could Overtake Ephemeral Content

Brands have observed that permanent social media content—namely standard posts, videos and live events that live on a platform’s feed and can be viewed again days later—might be more effective than ephemeral content such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat.

HubSpot’s survey results show that 44 percent of global marketers plan to increase their investment in permanent social media content, while 8 percent say it generates the most ROI compared to other marketing strategies they leverage. Meanwhile, 25 percent of respondents cited ephemeral content as the “least effective” trend they invested in.

Lastly, 37 percent of marketers said they plan to decrease their investment in ephemeral content.

However, HubSpot cautions against writing off ephemeral content completely as it can still provide other brand awareness benefits and unique content experiences.

According to Kelly Hendrickson, a social media marketing manager at HubSpot, Instagram Stories’ fleeting design and fun editing options give brands a new strategy for producing content that varies from their other social media content.

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“Instagram can organically serve up a wall post across a wide span of time, so there’s less of an opportunity for brands to be timely (who wants to see New Year’s post when they’ve already given up on their resolutions?!). Since Instagram users are more active on weekdays, during the standard workday, it seems users are looking for a break,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson urges marketers to remember that the combination of a running clock and a lively audience presents a big opportunity for brands to lean into quick, in-the-moment content that showcases the light-hearted side of their brand, adding that succinctness and clarity are key in content.

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Getting the Most Out of Shopify

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The growth of your online business in Shopify significantly depends on how well you use the e-commerce platform. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of competition in the e-commerce industry itself, and it requires patience, intentionality and transformational skills to move to the top right in the categories where you compete. Many marketers who use Shopify for eCommerce encounter strategic and tactical issues using the platform. At TopRight, we’ve studied the most common issues facing marketing executives and we provide tips and techniques to help you get the most out of Shopify. Here are a few of the most common marketing challenges you could encounter while using Shopify:

  • Mediocre sales conversion
  • Insufficient traffic to your site
  • Difficulty interpreting Shopify analytics
  • Unrealistic predictions of sales and traffic
  • Misalignment of inventory management
  • Failure to target and identify customers

Importance of a Clear Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy acts as a playbook for your business and how you make investments in you Shopify store. It helps keep your business pointed in the right direction and allows you to make informed decisions. Without a strategic marketing playbook, it’s easy to get lost and encounter obstructions. A stragegic playbook can help guide you to responding to challenges and navigating barriers you may encounter with your Shopify store. Specifically, it can help you:

  • Estimate sales potential
  • Promote your goods and services better
  • Attract new customers
  • Maintain good connection with existing customers

Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Shopify

Of course, understanding the analytics on your store isn’t sufficient to assure success. You need to turn data into insight and devise strategies to drive traffic and conversions. Here are a few tips to guide you through the development of a winning marketing strategy to get the most out of Shopify.

1. Invest in Your Own Shopify App

Most successful Shopify merchants have optimized their app to tell their brand story. A Shopify app is a powerful way to give customers a reason to care about your store and the products you offer. Your brand story also helps you build connections and engage with other prospects on other ecommerce platforms and social media sites. Making this simple investment enables you to connect, reach and engage more potential customers.

If building your own app is an obstacle, you can use tools like Pocketfied – an easy app builder that lets you conveniently manage your store. You can have your own published app within a day, even if you don’t have any design and coding skills.

2. Use Shopify Resources

Shopify offers resources to help you become a more effective marketer and entrepreneur. It provides guides, podcasts, and even an eCommerce University to learn new skills. Use these resources to learn more about the Shopify platform and get ideas on how to work on the platform more effectively and efficiently.

3. Promote Your Store on Social Media

Social media networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter represent significant opportunities for you to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your store. However, social media marketing is highly saturated – it take a lot to stand out from the crowd. Many Shopify merchants use social media to showcase their goods and services. You need to develop a good and structured approach to get an edge and drive results.

  • Make a business page or account on all relevant social platforms.
  • Follow accounts and market to users within your target audience.
  • Integrate your shop in your accounts so shoppers can easily buy without leaving the social platform
  • Post meaningful content regularly including: videos that showcase your products; special pricing promotions; new product launches; and private/ exclusive store events
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4. Leverage Email Marketing

Email remains one of the best ways to connect and engage with customers. When properly used (not abused), emails can serve as the backbone of your customer conversion strategy customer conversion strategy. Here are a few tips on how to use it appropriately:

  • Be creative with your emails so you can easily attract interest and give people a reason to care
  • Send out cart abandonment details to remind customers about incomplete or unfinished transactions.
  • Be professional and respectful – don’t send too many promotional emails. Thoughtless interruptions drive customers away.

5. Create a Website and Start Blogging

Write compelling content that will attract and encourage readers to go to your store and check out your products. Don’t just focus on your products and services. Make content about related topics and issues where you can smartly and smoothly promote your products. Think about topics that would be of interest and value to your audience. Content can be a gift if it is positioned properly with your customers.

Research what your customers care about, what they want or what unmet needs they may have. Again, don’t overload your blog with sales messages and stories about your business. Instead, focus on the relevance of your products to your customers’ lifestyles. What can you do to make them the hero of your brand story?

6. Invest in Paid Advertisements and Affiliations

Depending on your budget, be sure to set aside some money for paid advertisements. Online advertisements, clickable or not, will drive traffic to your store and boost your store’s visibility. These are usually posted on online platforms like social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Additionally, you can use Google Ads to get your store to appear on the top page of search results.

You can also develop affiliations with other Shopify stores and businesses so they’ll help promote your store and products. For a small percentage of a transaction, an affiliate marketer with help will drive traffic and potential customers to your store. However, remember that you’ll be sharing your revenues or paying them for their cooperation!

The Takeaway

Story, Strategy and Systems alignment can be a heavy lift when you launch a Shopify store. There are many pitfalls and issues you may encounter. But if you focus on telling a simple story, formulating a clear strategy, and leveraging Shopify best practices, you can navigate these challenges and successfully give your customers a reason to care, listen, engage and buy from your store.

See also  Social Commerce Market Expected to Deliver Dynamic Progression until 2028| Facebook ...

The growth of your online business in Shopify significantly depends on how well you use the e-commerce platform. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s a lot of competition in the e-commerce industry itself, and it requires patience, intentionality and transformational skills to move to the top right in the categories where you compete. Many marketers who use Shopify for eCommerce encounter strategic and tactical issues using the platform. At TopRight, we’ve studied the most common issues facing marketing executives and we provide tips and techniques to help you get the most out of Shopify. Here are a few of the most common marketing challenges you could encounter while using Shopify:

  • Mediocre sales conversion
  • Insufficient traffic to your site
  • Difficulty interpreting Shopify analytics
  • Unrealistic predictions of sales and traffic
  • Misalignment of inventory management
  • Failure to target and identify customers

Importance of a Clear Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy acts as a playbook for your business and how you make investments in you Shopify store. It helps keep your business pointed in the right direction and allows you to make informed decisions. Without a strategic marketing playbook, it’s easy to get lost and encounter obstructions. A stragegic playbook can help guide you to responding to challenges and navigating barriers you may encounter with your Shopify store. Specifically, it can help you:

  • Estimate sales potential
  • Promote your goods and services better
  • Attract new customers
  • Maintain good connection with existing customers

Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Shopify

Of course, understanding the analytics on your store isn’t sufficient to assure success. You need to turn data into insight and devise strategies to drive traffic and conversions. Here are a few tips to guide you through the development of a winning marketing strategy to get the most out of Shopify.

1. Invest in Your Own Shopify App

Most successful Shopify merchants have optimized their app to tell their brand story. A Shopify app is a powerful way to give customers a reason to care about your store and the products you offer. Your brand story also helps you build connections and engage with other prospects on other ecommerce platforms and social media sites. Making this simple investment enables you to connect, reach and engage more potential customers.

If building your own app is an obstacle, you can use tools like Pocketfied – an easy app builder that lets you conveniently manage your store. You can have your own published app within a day, even if you don’t have any design and coding skills.

2. Use Shopify Resources

Shopify offers resources to help you become a more effective marketer and entrepreneur. It provides guides, podcasts, and even an eCommerce University to learn new skills. Use these resources to learn more about the Shopify platform and get ideas on how to work on the platform more effectively and efficiently.

3. Promote Your Store on Social Media

Social media networks like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter represent significant opportunities for you to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your store. However, social media marketing is highly saturated – it take a lot to stand out from the crowd. Many Shopify merchants use social media to showcase their goods and services. You need to develop a good and structured approach to get an edge and drive results.

  • Make a business page or account on all relevant social platforms.
  • Follow accounts and market to users within your target audience.
  • Integrate your shop in your accounts so shoppers can easily buy without leaving the social platform
  • Post meaningful content regularly including: videos that showcase your products; special pricing promotions; new product launches; and private/ exclusive store events
See also  Women-first dating app Bumble to float at $8.2bn – live updates

4. Leverage Email Marketing

Email remains one of the best ways to connect and engage with customers. When properly used (not abused), emails can serve as the backbone of your customer conversion strategy customer conversion strategy. Here are a few tips on how to use it appropriately:

  • Be creative with your emails so you can easily attract interest and give people a reason to care
  • Send out cart abandonment details to remind customers about incomplete or unfinished transactions.
  • Be professional and respectful – don’t send too many promotional emails. Thoughtless interruptions drive customers away.

5. Create a Website and Start Blogging

Write compelling content that will attract and encourage readers to go to your store and check out your products. Don’t just focus on your products and services. Make content about related topics and issues where you can smartly and smoothly promote your products. Think about topics that would be of interest and value to your audience. Content can be a gift if it is positioned properly with your customers.

Research what your customers care about, what they want or what unmet needs they may have. Again, don’t overload your blog with sales messages and stories about your business. Instead, focus on the relevance of your products to your customers’ lifestyles. What can you do to make them the hero of your brand story?

6. Invest in Paid Advertisements and Affiliations

Depending on your budget, be sure to set aside some money for paid advertisements. Online advertisements, clickable or not, will drive traffic to your store and boost your store’s visibility. These are usually posted on online platforms like social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Additionally, you can use Google Ads to get your store to appear on the top page of search results.

You can also develop affiliations with other Shopify stores and businesses so they’ll help promote your store and products. For a small percentage of a transaction, an affiliate marketer with help will drive traffic and potential customers to your store. However, remember that you’ll be sharing your revenues or paying them for their cooperation!

The Takeaway

Story, Strategy and Systems alignment can be a heavy lift when you launch a Shopify store. There are many pitfalls and issues you may encounter. But if you focus on telling a simple story, formulating a clear strategy, and leveraging Shopify best practices, you can navigate these challenges and successfully give your customers a reason to care, listen, engage and buy from your store.

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Ifeoma Ozoma: US tech whistleblower helping others speak out

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Being a whistleblower comes down to careful preparation but also an eye trained for dirty tricks, said Ifeoma Ozoma, an ex-employee of several Silicon Valley giants turned revealer of tech world wrongdoing.

“I planned it like a program or product launch. Obviously the experience is something very personal, but I approached it like work,” she told AFP.

While Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has become a figurehead for the fight against social media’s faults, there are others in the tech world, like Ozoma, who have also taken big risks to stand up.

An African-American, former policymaker relations specialist for Google, Pinterest and Facebook, she continues to work for ethics in tech, but from the outside, via her consulting firm Earthseed.

She has marked a first big success via the recent adoption in California of a law she co-sponsored, called “Silenced No More.”

Starting in January, this law will prohibit employers from using confidentiality clauses to prevent victims of harassment or discrimination in the workplace from speaking out.

In mid-October, she posted online a guide for whistleblowers.

“The difference with tech companies and other industries is on the power that they wield, but also they pretend they’re better for workers, consumers, society than more traditional industries,” she told AFP. “That’s just not borne out in reality.”

– Keep the emails –

A Yale University graduate in political science, the 29-year-old was born in Alaska to Nigerian immigrants.

She left Pinterest at the end of May 2020, with six months of salary, after months of making complaints internally and also to the state of California, accusing the social network of discrimination and racist retaliation.

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She said the company paid her less than if she had been a man, but she also complained about their lack of action after a colleague posted her personal details online to expose her to anonymous harassment.

In mid-June 2020, as the Black Lives Matter anti-racism movements were in full swing in the United States, her damning account on Twitter of her experience sparked a scandal for the company that had largely avoided controversy.

“Pinterest, told a number of reporters that the CEO had no knowledge of me being doxxed… and I was essentially making up a story about him being aware,” Ozoma said.

“I knew that it was something that would probably come up later. And so I had the emails,” she added.

The accused firms try to discredit whistleblowers by many means, said Libby Liu, the director of Whistleblower Aid which is working with Haugen.

“They will throw up against the wall every discrediting thing they can think of, through like every media organization on the face of the Earth,” she added.

– Losing their health insurance –

The whistleblowers that come forward often have a lot to lose.

“Just one example here in the United States — because our health care is tied to our employment — when you decide to whistle blow, you’re also making a decision for yourself and for your family to lose access to your health insurance,” Ozoma said.

“That is not a small thing to ask of people,” she added.

Whistleblower leaks and damning media reports have tarnished Big Tech’s image, but they have had limited tangible consequences for Silicon Valley.

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In fact, Haugen’s oft-repeated accusation that Facebook puts profits over safety is not entirely new.

“There are countless nonprofit organizations and reporters, who reported on the exact same thing for years,” said Ozoma. “It remains to be seen whether anything fruitful will come of it.”

But from anti-sexism protests at Google in 2018 to warnings from former top Facebook officials, the pressure for change is steady.

After Ozoma spoke out at Pinterest, other female workers did too.

The company paid $22 million in December 2020 to Francoise Brougher, its white, former COO to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit.

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