The world of online reviews is polarizing. You love a company or you hate it — that’s why you leave a review. And this reasoning is why it’s not particularly surprising that 32 percent of our reviews for the logo design category are one-star reviews. If you have one negative experience with a company, you want to shout it from the rooftops. But what’s really informative — and sometimes surprising — is the reasoning behind these reviews. We want to save future consumers from the same headache, so here are our data and insights on the most common logo design complaints. *Because we will be reviewing general complaints, all specific company and reviewer names are removed. To better understand a specific company’s feedback, read their reviews. 52% of reviewers complain of poor design quality Most customers expected more bang for their buck; they wanted an eye-catching logo design that encompassed their brand message. It makes sense that quality is at the forefront of reviewers’ minds, and it’s the factor most likely to guarantee a one-star review if quality is poor. But a good logo design isn’t a shot in the dark, and poor quality designs aren’t unavoidable. Designers have portfolios for a reason. Here are some tips for avoiding this pitfall: If you’re researching a design team, look through their portfolio and see if their designs are up to your standards. If you can’t find designs related to your industry or similar to what you want, you could try reaching out directly to the team to ask if they have any examples of finished designs related to your company or idea. “Make sure that the contract they send you very clearly outlines the revision process,” Jared Cohen, Product Development Specialist of Falcon Marketing, warns, “and be wary of any companies that limit your number of logo revisions without switching to an hourly rate past a certain mark.” What you see is what you get. Don’t expect the designers to pull off a logo of much higher quality compared to their previous work. If you’re working through a crowdsourcing platform, research finished contests and selected winners. Are the designs good? Or does it seem like the client simply settled on the least terrible option? How much did the client promise for their contest winner? What other factors might have influenced their final submissions, such as a prize guarantee, a runner-up prize, or the client’s brand recognition? It’s a well-documented trend for crowdsourcing platforms holding design contests to yield poor quality submissions. Don’t be a victim of a site with amateur designers who provide bad concepts. But on the flip side, don’t offer insultingly low compensation, rude feedback, and few benefits for your contest winner(s) — more on this later. If you want to use a DIY logomaker, check with other reviewers and onsite info to see how customizable the templates will be. Can you add multiple colors? Adjust alignment? Use any font? It would be a shame to purchase a template only to realize later that it won’t allow you to transform it as expected. 38% of reviewers complain of refund issues Most refund guarantees, even “full money-back guarantees,” include fine print. Refunds may exclude posting fees or a percentage of the upfront cost retained by the company as a commission. Unfortunately, some companies aren’t transparent or forthcoming about this fine print, despite putting a money-back guarantee proclamation on their front page. In these instances, it’s up to you to read the fine print and reviews. Conversely, some consumers don’t perform their due diligence in researching the refund policy. It’s likely that many clients don’t think they’ll have to use it, and so they don’t pay attention to it. To avoid getting shortchanged in a refund, here are some pointers: Read your contract thoroughly. Not only will this help you better understand the refund policy, but it will also give you better information on turnaround time, the number of offered concepts, and what to do when dealing with an unresponsive designer. Ensure you’re working through a company with a track record of success. The goal is to require no refund for your logo design. Read reviews and look at the portfolio! Naturally, this won’t be able to save you from every mishap, but it’s a good tactic to avoid a bad refund policy. Know what fees are refundable. Some clients get themselves in trouble by outstepping the bounds of refundable offerings. Company FAQs often include information on what is refundable, so be sure to check this. If you’re ever unsure, clarify beforehand in writing what aspects of your purchase or package are refundable, and get a breakdown of your fees should you later need to dispute the matter. It’s unlikely you’ll work with a company that offers full refunds. “The amount that you can be refunded for shoddy work is also dependent on numerous factors,” Jaykishan Panchal of E2M Solutions Inc. explains, “and most likely you will need to offer some compensation unless the designer has refused to complete a project. . . . Unfortunately, just because you do not like something is not a reason to receive a full refund, especially if the designer put in a lot of hours to create a logo for you. Instead, it may be better to ask them for one last edit or to take their work to another designer and see what else can be done.” Read also: How to Use Animated Logos for Your Business [with Examples] 36% of reviewers complain of poor customer service We arrive at a universal complaint across all industries: poor customer service. Communication is key to a good logo design, and it’s understandable that poor communication in this industry is particularly frustrating. Some companies offer design services from creatives around the world, which can lead to language barriers and inconsistent response times. Other companies can’t be reached by phone, or their responses are delayed. And other companies can’t intervene when a designer on their freelance platform has failed to uphold a contract. Avoiding this one can be tricky. Sometimes it can depend on which medium you use to approach the company; other times it can depend on how well you explain the issue. Then again, there’s also the problem of a company’s fine print — some companies aren’t transparent about how they can help their clients if a conflict arises. While your results may vary by company, here are some tips to prevent a customer service mishap: Know what the company can fix. Some companies that host freelancers have disclaimers that they can’t intervene in all situations. If you’re worried that a company won’t be able to bail you out of a worst-case scenario, look for another service to help you. “If customer service is an essential factor in the logo design process or you have concerns about this issue, then it may be better to work with a design company instead of an individual,” Panchal suggests. “These businesses will have a designated department to handle any issues and answer questions you may have, which could result in a better experience.” Read reviews. At times, customer experience can be subjective. Read positive and negative reviews to see if the specific company you’re researching would give you a customized, positive logo design experience. Find available contact information and reach out to the company before you work with them. “Always before paying make sure to contact them to see how well and fast they respond and how good their customer service is,” Tzvi Fried, founder of Logomotive, says. “This is crucial as there will be a lot of back and forth for revisions.” Test out their response time through your chosen medium of communication. If you don’t like their phone trees or their automated responses, see what other companies can do for you. 1 in 4 reviewers of crowdsourcing platforms think they’re unfair for designers Clients aren’t always the ones being ripped off — sometimes it’s the designers. Keep in mind that our Best Company reviews include reviews from both designers and clients. If we collected data separately from the two groups, the negative response toward crowdsourcing platforms from designers may be even stronger and more statistically significant. So what’s remarkable about this is that even among a mingling of client and designer reviews, there’s a significant negative response to this method of logo generation. And think about it: if you became an expert in your field and were asked to apply your skills with no guarantee of compensation, pitted against hundreds of other experts for hours of your time, with the contest judge being a client who might not understand or respect your work, it makes sense that you could be unhappy. Designers beware: design contests might not be worth your effort. You’re likely able to tell whether a client will be difficult or dismissive based on their brief, so read it carefully. And make sure you’re working through a site that you think respects your time and experience. But an admonishment for clients: you could try harder to make your contests worth the effort. Here are some tips for getting better results from a design contest (it might not always be the fault of the company that you received low quality submissions): Provide high compensation. Know what’s a reasonable price for a logo. Choose higher-tier packages that allow you to give the winner a bigger payout. Choose runners-up. Some companies allow you to choose second- and third-prize winners that will also be compensated for their time and design. Make a clear design brief. Companies will allow you to give clear instructions for your contest. Use this time to discuss your brand, its values, its services, and any style restrictions. You might even be able to include a mock-up to get designers started. Provide helpful feedback. On sites where feedback on concepts is possible, be positive and clear. Instead of saying, “Change the font,” it might be more helpful to say, “Change the serif font to a bubblier script font.” Specificity will be your friend. And to be specific and helpful, you’ll need to know something about design yourself. You can read some of our advice on the logo design blog. Choose the Contest Guarantee option. Some companies will let you “guarantee” your contest, which means you will award a winner and will not ask for a refund or declare no designer eligible for pay. This assures designers that their time is much less likely to be wasted, motivating higher-profile creatives to submit their work. Thinking you’re going to get a special deal on a logo design is not recommended. As the saying always goes, “You get what you pay for.” Other concerns: delayed responses, recurring fees, and lengthy turnaround time Beyond these primary concerns, reviewers also complained about some miscellaneous issues that occur in the logo design industry. Some logo design companies have subscription services or hidden, recurring fees that frustrate their customers. Make sure you receive an invoice you can archive, so you can dispute any charges that aren’t documented. Because communication is so important for creating a good logo, it’s frustrating when designer response is slow. Between concepts, feedback, and revisions, the design process could take months. Be clear about what schedule you expect, and ask them to be clear about what schedule they can deliver. Read also: 7 Ways to Protect Your Company Logo The takeaway Reviews are an important element of consumer research. They can steer customers clear of truly dishonest or unhelpful services. They can also give consumers a chance to air their complaints in a public forum where they are more likely to be addressed. But keep in mind that not every reviewer understood their service or performed adequate research before jumping in; not every 1-star review is the fault of the company, and many companies respond to these reviews to quickly solve any issues. Putting some data into your decisions will help you better understand your choice, and that’s what we’ve done for you. Knowing these factors, your review of any logo design company is likely to be more well-informed and balanced.
Guest Post by Shelley GrieshopSuccessful branding starts with a dynamite logo that promotes instant recognition. But even the best business logo can lose power and potential if you’re not careful. A compromised logo can give your company a black eye. The end result can be a loss of trust, authority, and sales. Here are seven ways to ensure your logo continues to represent you in a positive way: 1. Register your logo as a legal trademark for your business Obtaining a trademark gives you exclusive ownership and use of your logo. If you do not have the legal and sole right to your logo, it can be copied or similarly used by someone else to confuse customers and cut into your profits. You can complete the trademark process yourself; however, in some cases it’s advantageous to use the services of an attorney. 2. Pursue threats to your trademarked logo Monitor your competitors’ signage, especially advertising efforts by new startups, to stay aware of possible infringements to your trademarked logo. If you discover someone using your logo or something similar, a “cease and desist” letter may suffice to let them know you will not tolerate infringement. If that doesn’t solve the matter, you may have to resolve the issue in court. 3. Control your logo usage Only share the trademarked version of your logo with those you permit to use it for sponsorships, advertising or other purposes. This will deter them from pirating an unfavorable version. Ensure your logo is exclusively used by reputable sources in applications pre-approved by you. The use of your logo by unauthorized sources — even your own employees — can be harmful to your business. Use software programs such as Google Alerts that will notify you if your logo or name are used online. 4. Do not change the font or colors of your logo The only time it’s okay to alter your logo design is when you are making a permanent revision or update. This also applies to the use of your logo on social media channels where content is often less stringent. Consistency keeps your brand uniquely yours. 5. Make your logo scalable It’s essential that your logo can be resized to fit every needed application. Your logo must be clear and detailed whether it appears on a giant billboard or at the top of your letterhead. 6. Use it carefully in your marketing plan Choose high-quality promotional products when customizing giveaway items with your logo and name. Be sure to use items that make sense for your brand as well as the products and services you sell. 7. Get your logo out there Use your logo as often as possible. Frequent exposure of your logo reminds customers who you are and what you have to offer. Logo recognition prompts clients to place more trust in your company, which ultimately makes them feel more secure doing business with you. The bottom line Your logo is like your child. It’s important to keep it protected at all times. Your company logo lets customers know you are the authority for the products and services you provide.Follow these steps to safeguard your logo and your efforts will be rewarded with customer trust and brand loyalty.Shelley Grieshop is a creative writer at Totally Promotional. She currently writes blogs, edits company communications and gets to decide when exclamation points are really needed.
Just as preparing a solid social media strategy for your business is important, it’s also vital to avoid major pitfalls. Whether you are just starting your business or rebuilding your brand, you should create a solid social media strategy and make sure that you have a logo design formatted for profile pictures and cover photos. This will ensure that your company looks professional on social media channels.While planning and implementing your social media strategy, take the following pitfalls into consideration: Failure to invest Getting into controversial topics Fake followers, fake likes, fake comments Losing focus Posting the same thing Being too salesy Poor responses Not contributing Failure to invest Dewayne Hamilton, Director of Web Cosmo Forums“Social networks bring great results when run by an expert specializing in digital marketing and social network marketing. Do you think it's enough to publish anything, without any plan, strategy, and knowledge of the market and the public, and that results will come to you? Invest in good community managers.”Sandra Long, author of LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide and President of Post Road Consulting“The biggest pitfall is missing out on valuable opportunities because company leadership failed to embrace social media for business.” Getting into controversial topics Matthew Ross, Co-owner and COO of RIZKNOWS and The Slumber Yard“We have our employees complete social media training prior to gaining access to our accounts. Next, we tell our employees who have access to our accounts to never post or comment on anything related to ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, or disabilities.”Steve Pritchard, Founder of It Works Media“Companies should watch out for commenting on controversial topics or anything not relevant to their company. One bad post can damage a brand — so be positive, intriguing, and inspiring.” Fake followers, fake likes, fake comments Nate Masterson, CMO of Maple Holistics“A company can measure its success on social media by noticing a steady increase in followers. However, a company needs to be aware of “fake” accounts. Some people create spam accounts which are only used for the purposes of entering giveaway contests. This means that when you post content you might think you are reaching a bunch of people, when in reality, you are reaching a bunch of fake accounts. If you notice that this is happening, try to consider what real customers might be looking for, and then deliver that material to them.”Briana Marie, Founder of Tanzek Media“Many people have turned to auto-comments and auto-liking on social media for the sake of engaging without having to sacrifice the time. However, while automation is extremely important for your marketing plan, it should not come at the expense of authenticity. Robotic comments are a huge turn off and can really hurt your brand. Personalize your comments, and let your audience know that you really care!” John Frigo, Digital Marketing Lead at MySupplementStore.com“In regards to growing engagement and followers, many people use SAAS softwares and bots to do things like auto-follow people in the hopes of getting a follow back and then unfollowing whoever doesn’t follow back after a period of time. Many brands also use software to send out automated messages to anyone who likes their posts and follows them. Brands also use software to auto comment on posts using certain hashtags. While this can be effective, to me it comes off as spammy and annoying so I don’t like to utilize these methods.” Laura Wigodner, Content Marketing Manager at Nex Gen Dynamics “A huge red flag that companies should watch out for is websites or companies who try to convince you to buy your social media followers. While a large number of followers may look physically appealing at first glance, genuine followers cannot be purchased. Buying followers will give you a plethora of robot accounts who are not even interested in your company, products, or services.” Losing focus Luke Wester, Digital Marketing Analyst at Miva, Inc“Doing social media for the wrong reasons or in the wrong way can be a giant waste of time. Ensure social media initiatives will help you reach your business goals before you invest the time and money into it.”Janil Jean, Head of Overseas Operations at LogoDesign.net“One of the pitfalls of social media is that the audience is diversified and massive. Marketers can get lost if they're not focused. For this reason, it is important to have a plan in place before setting out. It's a good practice to have monthly, quarterly, and yearly plans so that you can see where you're going and what you want to achieve at the end of the period equipped with data to back your decision. When something goes wrong, you can easily retract and revise your plan.” Posting the same thing Mandie Brice, makeup artist, writer, and social media expert“Another tip is that if you are on different platforms, it's best to not post the same thing at the same time across every account. The reason for this is again, to make sure your posts are properly formatted for the right platform (another example is that "RT" makes sense on Twitter but is nonsense on Facebook, and even though clickable hashtags work on Facebook, they aren't as commonly used), and because you want to incentivize your following to follow you on multiple places, but don't want to bore or irritate them with the same thing over and over.” Ollie Smith, CEO of ExpertSure“Business should avoid treating their social media accounts like their own website, pushing their 'brand' into second place behind social media, posting identical content on different social media networks, and failing to track the results of their social media activities.” Being too salesy Katherine Rowland, Digital Marketing Executive at YourParkingSpace“A mistake a lot of businesses make is that they try to make every post a sales pitch. Their posts are essentially just broadcasts and are very one dimensional. The best thing a company can do is to make posts that open the door for conversations that they can then get involved in.” Janil Jean, Head of Overseas Operations at LogoDesign.net“Where there are opportunities, you can pitch for your products and services but make sure you don't overdo this as it turns off target audiences if not asked for. There is also the issue of being too eager and friendly when handling a brand social media account, which might raise eyebrows, resulting in people shunning your brand. That’s where you need to take a step back and be more professional in your approach.”Laura Wigodner, Content Marketing Manager at Nex Gen Dynamics“If your company is using social media to exclusively advertise products and services, that can actually be a red flag for potential customers. Following the 80/20 rule (80 percent entertaining and informative content, 20 percent promotional content) can help with audience retention, growth, and trust.” Donna Chambers, Founder and CEO of SensaCalm“Too many businesses focus on selling when creating a social media presence. This can be a big turn off for customers. Customers don't follow a brand to be advertised to; they follow a brand to become part of the community. If a customer found and followed your social page, there's a good chance they're already familiar with your product or service. So don't hit them over the head with it. Instead, highlight the differentiating characteristics of your brand.” Poor responses Kristen Dea, Social Media and Graphic Design Specialist at SEO.com“Be prepared for damage control. You may get negative feedback or customers leaving angry comments. It can be good or bad depending on how you respond. Think of social media as an extension of your customer service department, only it's public for others to see. When you handle negative feedback in a positive and helpful way, it reassures others that you have good customer service and care about your customers. It's also a great way to get direct feedback on how to improve your business.” John Frigo, Digital Marketing Lead at MySupplementStore.Com“As far as pitfalls and red flags, I’d urge companies to keep a level of professionalism. A lot of companies have done a lot of harm to their brand being inappropriate and treating customers poorly in a public forum like social media.” Matthew Ross, Co-owner and COO of RIZKNOWS and The Slumber Yard“We tell our employees to respond to both negative and positive comments. For negative comments, we tell our employees to simply tell the person to email us their complaints so we can take care of the issue. We don't want our employees arguing with consumers in the public eye.” Not contributing Lisa Fox, Digital Marketing Director for Lead Gen Hype“The biggest mistake businesses make with social media is not contributing to the overall conversation. They either just post about their own business or don't interact with their audience or the community around them. Businesses should try to encourage employees to interact with their page, and share and like posts on their posts and relevant groups.”
You want to increase brand awareness.You want to drive traffic to your website.You want to engage with potential customers.You need social media.To get you started on your business’s social media strategy, here are some expert tips on developing, implementing, and evaluating your business’s social media presence. Social media strategy development Crafting a thoughtful social media plan will give your social media posts direction and increase your ability to have success.Steve Pritchard, founder of It Works Media, says, “Thought and planning needs to go into managing any social media presence. When it comes to your business you need to be consistent. Posting regularly and at the right time to reach your audience will give your posts reach and keep your brand in the forefront of people’s minds. Increasing your engagement and following will come organically over time and will be a reflection of the quality of your posts. Creating something genuinely interesting, relatable, or funny is going to be far more successful than anything overly promotional.”Here are some things to think about as you develop your social media presence: Brand purpose Personable brand voice Understand your audience Crisis management Social media advertising Brand purpose The first step of creating any plan is to set goals and put your purpose in words. This purpose statement will drive the rest of the decisions you make for your brand’s social media presence. Janil Jean, Head of Overseas Operations at LogoDesign.net, says, “When creating a social media account you’ve got to have a purpose. Ask yourself what you want to achieve, who do you want to target, and how will you measure these goals. Once that is established, then selecting the channel is easier. For example, Facebook and Twitter are more community oriented while LinkedIn is for professionals and B2Bs, and Pinterest is more targeted towards consumer goods.” Personable brand voice The next important step is crafting a social media voice and presence to enhance brand identity and awareness. Jean says, “Many people start out on social media with the assumption that they can post whatever they feel like on their business accounts. That's the biggest mistake they can make for their business.” Instead, businesses should focus on their brand. Jackie Kossoff, social media consultant and marketing strategist, says, “A business's social media presence should reflect the overall personality and values of the brand. Making sure the voice and visuals are consistent with brand messaging is key. One way to do this is to create a brand avatar; there's a lot of talk about creating a client avatar, but it can be incredibly helpful to have one for your brand as well.” However, being professional and staying true to your brand doesn’t mean losing the “fun” aspects of social media. “Connect to your audience on a more personal level. Allow your audience to see "behind the mask," so to speak, of your brand and aim to build a relationship with audience members,” says Kossoff. Afterall, the human connection created by effective social media managers can make the difference between a successful business presence and an unsuccessful presence. “If you are inconsistent with brand voice, it doesn’t give the audience a clear idea of what the brand is all about and it can create confusion. For instance, if your company is more on the serious side, a random humorous post can seem inappropriate and out of place,” says Laura Wigodner, content marketing manager at Nex Gen Dynamics. Understand your audience Understanding your audience will help you plan and create great content that drives the kind of engagement you want.“Know your prospect persona on a deep level. Understand what they care about and what social media platform they spend time on. Focus your efforts on providing valuable educational content to attract and engage these ideal clients,” says Sandra Long, author of LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide and President of Post Road Consulting.When it comes to choosing your platform, your audience is the deciding factor. Mandie Brice, makeup artist, writer, and social media expert, says “It's also key to compare your target demographic with the demographic that is using that platform! If you want a younger crowd, you may want to give Snapchat a shot, but an older crowd is more likely to be on Facebook.” Once you’ve figured out the platforms you’re going to use, it’s essential to learn more about how users engage with that platform. This will help you create highly successful content.Kimberly Dioszeghy, marketing manager of Reliance Foundry, says, “Different channels on social media are often known for having a particular style or voice. For example, companies on Twitter are often ironic or quippy; Facebook shares tend more towards clickable headlines.” While adapting to some of the styles and common practices of each platform, it’s important to stick to your brand.Dioszeghy cautions, “It can be easy to lose the heart of your brand by chasing after these styles and audiences. This makes some companies confusing or inconsistent across their social media accounts. Our top tip is to stay true to your company's brand identity and to your customer base. Don't be distracted by the swirl of voices and styles and get pulled away from your core concerns.” Crisis management As careful as you are with your business’s social media presence and reputation, public representation crises come up. “You must have a crisis management plan in place. It’s important to decide how you’re going to handle negative or controversial comments and messages. It’s not always smart to simply delete negative feedback; in fact, it can sometimes hurt a company to do so. It’s best to respond in a professional manner to assure that people can trust your company,” says Wigodner. Social media budget If one of your goals on social media is to generate revenue, then social media ads should be a part of your strategy. Bret Bonnet, Co-founder and President of Quality Logo Products, says, “Short of being there just to be there, an organic business presence on social media really won’t move the needle. You can offer free lifetime passes to Disney World to everyone who views your page, but unless you pay to promote your post, you can forget about reaching your own followers let alone attracting new ones. My best advice is to be prepared to pay to play. In addition, install the tracking pixel on your website now so the social networks can begin to assemble the audiences you’ll need and want. Start by marketing to people who have visited your website, and once that’s gotten enough impressions and volume, expand your campaign to target lookalike audiences.” Drive engagement It goes without saying that the first step of creating a successful social media presence is increasing followers and encouraging engagement with your content. Nate Masterson, CMO of Maple Holistics, says, “When managing your social media presence, there are two things a business should consider: the content they post and the way they engage with clients.” The following expert tips will help you understand the best practices for driving engagement and interacting with potential customers and competitors via social media: Content choices Posting schedule Increase visibility Interact with people and other brands Content Choices “In order to increase engagement, you need to create content that people want to consume. Sounds simple but many struggle with this concept. Experiment. Test the waters with various ideas until something sticks, then reiterate. Additionally, use Stories and Live features! The reach of these features is greater than the feed,” Luke Wester, Digital Marketing Analyst at Miva, Inc, says. If you don’t have data from past social media posts or much experience in social media, there are some general trends to consider. Nedelina Payaneva, Digital Marketing Specialist at Asian Absolute, says, “Start with great visuals and relevant, informative text. When your content is simple, relevant, engaging, and makes your customers purchase your products or services, then it is a content that conquers.” “Video far outperforms all other types of content on the web, including social media. So get going with your video content. Put your effort into creating a repeatable and engaging video content strategy,” adds Wester. Another good place to start is by looking at the kinds of things people post on the social media platforms you’re going to use. Kristen Dea, Social Media and Graphic Design Specialist at SEO.com, says, “Remember to tailor your content to each network for the best engagement. Instagram is best for photos, Facebook is best for links and video, and Twitter is great for conversations and industry news.” Use what you know of your goals, brand voice, and target audience to create your posts.Dewayne Hamilton, Director of Web Cosmo Forums, says, “An incorrectly crafted message will not come up with any responses, and in time it can only harm the brand and lead to unplanned costs as a result of a failed investment in digital marketing.”As you continue to experiment and try new things, it’s important to keep track of how engagement changes. Widgoner says, “Keep track of what types of posts do well and which platforms are doing the best, along with the times and days you are posting. You can use these analytics and statistics to constantly improve as you plan monthly social media strategies.” Posting schedule Having a posting schedule and using scheduling tools can help you more effectively plan. It also frees up more time for the business to interact with other posts. Ollie Smith, CEO of ExpertSure, says, “I highly recommend establishing a social media calendar — especially if your business runs multiple social media accounts. Keeping a busy social media schedule on track is almost impossible without a calendar. A social media calendar will enable a business to plan ahead saving valuable time, help keep your team accountable for critical deadlines, and most importantly it allows for more strategic posting.” However, don’t be too attached to your schedule. It’s important to have some flexibility and be dialed into what’s going on in the world.“I strongly recommend pre-scheduling social media content, but keeping an eye on the news, for two reasons. One, is that if there are any relevant trending topics, you can take advantage of it to get more views and engagement. The second reason is not as lovely to think about, but it can be important to put normal marketing messages on pause in the event of tragedies to make sure that your company does not seem insensitive,” Brice says. Increase visibility Increasing visibility will help your content be seen by more people. The easiest way to do this is through hashtags and tagging people.Long says, “Add # hashtags to every social media post for greater visibility. People searching for a particular topic will find your content more easily with the tag. It’s like putting your post in a special digital folder dedicated to the topic. The @mention recognizes people who are featured in your post or simply draws attention to the content. This will specifically alert the person you have tagged about your post and highlight your content to their network.”Another way is to grow your followers. However, you should approach this process strategically.“Before thinking about increasing your follower count, you first need to know where your existing engagement is coming from. Using analytics tools such as Google Analytics is helpful in monitoring levels of engagement on social media and websites. Obtaining this rich data will enable you to initiate campaign changes and improvements so your message reaches your desired audience,” says Smith. Simply growing your followers doesn’t always bring the benefits you want. Payaneva says, “Followers who share your posts, comment, and react on your content, get involved and participate constantly — even if there’s only a thousand of them — are more valuable than hundreds of thousands more who don’t do anything. Yes, it’s an exciting thing to get lots and lots of fans and followers, but if they’re the kind who are inactive and don’t do anything with your content, then you’re simply keeping a hollow follower base. Also, avoid purchasing instant likes and follows (insta-like/insta-follow). They will not bring any real value or benefit to you and your business.” It’s also important to get your current customers to follow and interact with you on social media.Katherine Rowland, Digital Marketing Executive at YourParkingSpace, says, “It is important to promote your Social Media channels. Don’t expect customers to know about all your Social Media platforms and go searching for them themselves. Make it easy for customers to follow or like your Social Media profiles, and they’ll be more willing to take action.” Engage Be a thought leader Dea says, “Increase engagement by increasing your own engagement with the community. Follow relevant accounts in your industry, like and leave thoughtful comments, post consistently, and encourage conversation.” Respond to customers Masterson says, “Companies should not take customers for granted and should interact and engage with people who comment on their posts. Doing this makes customers feel appreciated, and it consequently boosts their tendency to be active on a company’s page.” Rowland says, “Social Media is now developing into the new platform for customer service, and with consumers wanting everything here and now, they are turning to social media to have their comments heard. So, by interacting with customers and responding to their messages as soon and often as possible, both sides can benefit with your brand looking very favourable to the public.” Encourage reviews Melissa Ong, founder of M&P International Freights, says, “Create an Instagram story highlight or a photo album on Facebook to feature any customers who have posted a photo with your product. By doing that, you are encouraging them to review your product, which will offer you free promotion to their friends. This will also help to gather useful feedback of your product that you can showcase to potential customers who are following you on social media but are on the fence of whether to make the purchase. Not only does this increase your engagement, it is also likely to increase sales as these customers were not paid to say nice things.” Have giveaways Bernice Quek, Content Marketing Specialist at Fixwerks, says, “Hosting giveaways will help to bring eyeballs and raise awareness of your brand and products. This can be held seasonally (for example, during Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc.) or whenever you are launching a new product or service. By giving away your items to a relevant target audience for free, they will be enticed to actively participate and share the giveaway with their friends. If the giveaway winners like your product, it is only natural that they will spread the word to their friends — that way, you would be gaining free word-of-mouth advertising for your brand.” Evaluate “Success is hard to measure on social media, and this can be very frustrating for businesses. While you can look at followers and retweets, the ultimate end goal of social media is to increase sales. Unless there is a huge spike in sales when your brand takes off, it’s difficult to know how well your social media presence is doing. For this reason, many businesses invest less in marketing their brand on social media, which can be potentially damaging for your company’s online presence. As a free marketing platform and a great way to directly engage with your audience, social media is worth investing in even if it’s difficult to quantify its success,” Pritchard says. When you’re evaluating your social media performance, it’s important to center your evaluation on your goals. Wester says, “Social media success is a subjective term. It depends on your goals. Social media can drive sales or be used as a brand awareness tactic — it’s up to you. The cookie cutter answer is likes, comments, and shares can help measure success but your goals will dictate the KPIs you should focus on.” While determining social media effectiveness can be challenging and vary based on your goals, there are a few elements that business should be actively tracking. Stacy Caprio, Founder of Growth Marketing, says, “Businesses should measure success on social media by looking at both engagement on posts and by looking at traffic and conversions on their site.” As you set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and measure changes over time, you’ll be able to stop practices that aren’t working well and try new ones. Tracking engagement “If your goal is engagement, look for how many likes, comments, and shares you're getting. Measure that growth over time using either the network's insights or a third party app,” Dea says. Tracking visibility “Monitoring audience growth with volume — how many people are talking about your business, your reach — or how many people have seen your content and building influence with your audience are all great measures of social media success,” says Smith. Tracking website traffic Donna Chambers, Founder and CEO of SensaCalm, says, “One of the biggest advantages of social media, besides engagement, is boosting your site's SEO by generating more web traffic. We create a report using Google Analytics every month to track how many clicks went to the site through each of our social channels and compare it to the previous month. Then we tweak our strategy accordingly.” Tracking revenue “Measure every time your company can convert an online connection, like, or comment into a real-life sales conversation. This may mean asking each new prospect or client how they found your company and then recording it into your CRM system,” says Long.Having a clear sense of your brand’s voice and purpose on social media will keep you focused. Carefully creating content and crafting posts will help you increase your followers and drive traffic to your website. As you try out new things to increase engagement, it’s important to track results to understand what works well and what doesn’t. Read about social media pitfalls to avoid.
A successful company rebrand requires careful consideration and preparation. You need to think about when to rebrand and how to rebrand. After your efforts, it’s important to evaluate customer responses. When to rebrand Rebranding is a process, so it’s essential to be strategic when deciding to rebrand. Tim Parkin, President of Parkin Consulting, says, “Rebranding should only be done when there is a valid business case for doing so. Some examples include establishing a stronger position in the market, refining identity and messaging to be more competitive, or revitalizing an aging brand.”Nigel Sielegar, principle of Corse Design Factory, shares other reasons why a company would choose to rebrand: “A company usually decides to undergo a rebranding due to some fundamental changes within the business. For example, there's a change in leadership which usually leads to changes in the trajectory of a company or there are changes in customer behavior and culture that renders their old brand irrelevant. It could also be because they just outgrew the old brand which doesn't reflect what the company is in the present role,” he says. Clearly understanding the why of your rebrand will help you plan and execute it. Wade Meredith, marketing and design consultant for WM Consulting, says, “Know why you’re rebranding and clearly define those goals. Brand goals should be broad or abstract, so that you don’t pigeonhole yourself and require further rebranding later in order to take advantage of currently unforeseen opportunities.” How to rebrand There are several important steps involved in a rebrand: Determine goals and strategy Create your team Do the research Logo changes and adjustments Plan the timing Determine goals and strategy The purpose and goals of a rebrand will help keep your team focused as it moves through the rebranding process. Michelle Chuang, Principal for MMS Brand Consulting, LLC, says, “Whatever the reason is to rebrand, the company should thoroughly understand the intention and define business goals behind the rebranding initiative and measure its marketing executions carefully to ensure that the return on investment (ROI) can be yielded from the investment. Once the intent has been defined, the organization should follow the trails of that intent to identify what the new brand is, as well as is not. This process will help ensure clarity in distinction in the rebranding effort.” The intensity of a rebrand all depends on your goals. Sielegar says, “A stale brand usually just needs a refresh without having to overhaul the entire brand foundation. A fresh update on the logo, different treatment to the brand expression, and updates on messaging usually is more than sufficient. Meanwhile, a company that is ridden with stigmas would be advised to do a more aggressive measures, such as completely changing their logo, create a completely brand new messaging and visual language, and some even go all the way to change their name.” Create your team As you start setting your goals and strategizing, it’s important to have a clear picture of who will be involved in the process and at what junctures. Stephen Jackett, COO of All Things Media, says, “Once the purpose of the rebrand is known, the next important step is to identify key stakeholders who will need or want input or final say in the process. Having a clear understanding of who will own each aspect of the process will save you a lot of trouble down the line and allow you to proceed on a set schedule. Concurrent with these steps, businesses should decide whether they have the in-house creative team to execute the design and copy-related aspects of the rebrand, or if they need to enlist the services of a third-party agency. In the latter case, they will need to find an agency with a proven track record in helping companies build or rebuild their brand.” Do the research Research will help you make the most informed decisions concerning your rebrand.“The process needs to undertake rigorous quantitative and qualitative research to fully present what the new brand architecture (brand attributes, personality, voice, positioning, etc.) and brand promise represent. When the brand architecture and strategy has been established, then utilize that as your framework to create the logo design,” says Chuang. Your brand identity is for your customers as much as it is for your company.Parkin says, “Rebranding should be done carefully and with consideration for the customer's perception. A new identity, including the logo design, must resonate with customers or else the brand will fail. This means that customer sentiment and feedback must be included in the rebranding or logo design process.” Considering customers’ perspectives and potential reactions can help you narrow down your design options. Dana S. Hewling, Owner and Creative Director of B.ID LLC, highlights an important research advantage that comes with rebranding. She says, “The difference with a rebrand is that you have the advantage of having data and insights that you could only wish you had access to during the startup phase.” Using what you know about your current brand and logo will help you develop a successful rebrand. “With your rebrand, it is extremely important to approach it with these insights in mind: What from your previous brand did work? What didn't work? Who is your target now and how do they differ from who you thought they'd be? Who is your company now and how has it grown and shifted to best serve its audience within its space? Also, based on this, where are you planning on going over the next three, five, or 10 years? Keeping these things in mind is key when rebranding as it's not a cheap process and if you're going to do it, it should be done thoughtfully and strategically,” Hewling says. Logo changes and adjustments “When it comes to rebranding, we recommend businesses don't try to reinvent the wheel. If you already have an established business and customers are familiar with your logo and brand image, then it's important to not change too much of your company's image as this can lead to brand confusion,” says Cyr.The nature and number of changes you make to your logo depends on the purpose of your rebrand. Consult your brand style guide to redesign with consistency going forward. Or if you haven't made a style guide for your brand, take the time now to make your brand's style guide.“We recommend only changing up to 30 percent of your logo design if you are rebranding in order to make sure customers still recognize your brand. Think about updating your font to make it more legible or professional, or perhaps you want to opt for a more minimalist icon that still represents your industry or services, or maybe you want to drop the 'LLC', 'Co' or 'Inc' from your business name,” says Cyr.It’s also important to do some focused reflection and research when changing or creating a new logo.Lori Ramas, Business Efficiency Expert from Relezant, says, “Before you pay for a new logo, step back and do a couple of exercises to really uncover the purpose of your company and who you serve. Ask yourself, what demographic do I not want to work with? What am I not offering or no longer offering as a part of my products/services? Get clear about the no's so you can really enjoy discovering your yeses. Only then can you get a logo that embodies what lights you up most about why you're in business and taking the time to rebrand.” Understanding what the competition is doing can help you know what kinds of things work and make your company stand out. “With any new logo design or update, do your research, explore other designs within that industry, brainstorm ideas, and create lots of rough layouts. One of the simplest things many designers fail to practice is, "sleep on it" before you submit your work to the decision makers. This is an important step in the process. You'd be surprised at the perspective you gain by simply walking away and revisiting your work with fresh eyes. Lastly, be your own worst critic and keep an open mind to other people's criticism. You will know in your heart of hearts whether or not the designs you're submitting are the best they can be,” says Richard Maharaj, Managing Partner and Founder of All Things Media, LLC. Plan the timing Parkin says, “Rebranding must be done in the right timing. Changing the identity of a business doesn't happen overnight. It takes time for customers and the marketplace to become familiar with the new identity and accept it. This timing must be planned carefully and accounted for as part of the rebranding process.”Stacy Cyr, Marketing Manager of LogoMix the parent company of FreeLogoServices and LogoMaker, provides some insight into what kinds of things to do to promote and time your rebrand:“Always have a plan of action in place for the rebranding effort. For instance, announce on your website's blog and social media pages at least three to four months in advance that you are going to be making some improvements to your brand. Boost the posts on social to capture a larger audience and encourage others to share the news. Run a PR campaign and submit a news article to the top PR outlets.Next, make sure you have firm dates as to when the rebrand is going live. You will want to make sure that your new business logo, slogan, company name (if applicable) is changed across every online channel, including business directories, social media, your website, and you can even go as far as to contact webmasters of your most highly valued backlinks to see if they will update their content and images to reflect your rebranding,” she says.There are additional ways to enhance new brand recognition. For example, Shelley Grieshop, Creative Writer and Public Relations Director at Totally Promotional, says, “This can easily and cheaply be achieved by placing your new logo or tagline on quality giveaway items. Distribute them at community events and give them to employees, clients and potential customers. If you choose useful items such as sports bottles and cell phone chargers, your brand will get plenty of long-lasting attention. Many of our clients regularly hand out giveaway items to customers as a way to say thank-you for shopping. This is an excellent idea for a company that is rebranding on a tight budget.” Evaluate customer responses Cyr says, “Finally, the days and weeks following the rebranding effort, make sure you have all hands on deck listening for feedback from investors (if applicable), employees, customers, and the local community. Not all rebrands go smoothly (remember Gap's incident and now the backlash Slack is getting?), so you always want to gather feedback and have a backup plan just in case you need to go back to the drawing board.”
Guest Post by Kamy Anderson Did you know that 90 percent of startups fail? There are many reasons for that, such as no business model, bad core product, no market demand, fierce competition, lack of funding, poor marketing, etc.This statistic isn’t here to discourage you, but rather to make you work harder and smarter. You can’t build success overnight, but you need to know how to take effective steps for growth.Building a successful startup takes a lot of hard work, commitment, motivation, money, and focus. All your efforts must always be aimed at growth, which will take time.But if you continually take steps for growth and don’t give up, it will lead to sustainable growth and take you exactly where you want to go.Here are the most effective ways to grow your startup in 2019: Secure your funding According to a study by U.S. Bank, 82 percent of businesses fail due to poor cash-flow management.Without appropriate funding, you won’t be able to get your startup off the ground. Even if you’ve secured initial funding to start basic operations, you’ll eventually need more money if don’t grow fast enough.You need to choose appropriate funding using the financial statements you’ve drafted when creating your business plan, that is, your sales forecast, cash-flow statement, and profit and loss statement.Once you determine how much you need to raise to accelerate growth, you’ll know which funding option to choose: self-funding, crowdfunding, angel investors, venture capitalists, or help from friends and family. Create a professional website You need a digital location for your startup to build an online presence and effectively promote your business. It’s the only way to grow quickly, as you can extend your reach even on a global scale.Building a website will help your target customers find you easier, and you can even start making additional money with ads. Since almost everyone is online now, a website is an absolute must. It’s a place where you can tell your brand story and help people get to know you. It should reflect your brand values and convey your ultimate message, engaging people and making great first impressions.Be sure to create a blog to share your ideas and expertise, regularly enriching it with fresh content relevant to your target audience, providing them with real value that will effectively solve their pain points. Design an impactful logo We all know how important it is to make a good first impression. This is true also in business. Businesses of all scales and types have to compete in their niche markets. Therefore, they need marketing strategies to overcome the hurdles created by their rivals. A memorable business logo design becomes a useful tool for business owners for driving the customers. A unique logo design is perhaps the most visible element of a business. Therefore, you need to make sure that your logo is creative enough to leave an impact on your target customers. Build a great team You need to have a team of experts to help you grow and achieve your goals. Apart from a financial advisor, a lawyer, a consultant, and a business insurance agent, you need a team of great employees.Take time to find the right people who’ll help you grow, but the most important thing is to provide proper training for everyone you hire, which you can accomplish with online training software.This software will enable you to create courses and allow your employees to train anytime and anywhere, while you’ll be able to track their progress and gain insight into their strengths and weaknesses.Be sure to also get LMS software, which will help you create and deliver training programs to employees, as well as document and track all their efforts so that you can effectively improve performance. Harness the power of marketing Marketing will help you build a strong online presence and promote your startup. If you don’t have enough funds yet for a marketing team, all your employees could pitch in and help you out with social media.Social media marketing is one of the most crucial forms of marketing these days, as people use social platforms daily to connect with brands and find products or services they need. You need a content marketing expert to write useful and interesting pieces for your blog, and you need to invest time in optimizing your website for search engines (SEO and SEM).According to the latest email marketing statistics, 73 percent of marketers say that email is their number one channel for ROI, and 86 percent of consumers want to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands.Use email marketing techniques as well, and consider affiliate marketing and PPC. You can also take advantage of TV and radio ads, billboards, and print ads. Build strong customer relationships The ultimate key to growing your startup is building strong relationships with your customers. Without them, you simply cannot thrive, so make every effort to meet their needs.Always provide them with excellent customer service to give them a reason to come back time and time again. Be where they are and showcase the benefits of them engaging in your brand.Social media will allow you to communicate with them daily and connect with them on an emotional level. Listen to them, take their feedback into consideration, follow up, and you’ll inspire brand advocacy and loyalty. Key takeaways Growing your startup may seem intimidating at first, but taking the right steps will springboard you to success.Secure appropriate funding to keep your business running smoothly, and build a team of experts who’ll help you achieve your goals and build sustainable growth.Use online training software to train your employees and help them hone their skills, and use LMS Software to deliver training programs and track your employees’ performance.Build an effective website to showcase who you are and what you have to offer, and promote it with traditional and digital marketing techniques.Most importantly, connect with your target customers and build meaningful relationships with them, so that you can engage them in your brand and inspire their loyalty, compelling them to keep coming back.Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing for the consumer market in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. Having a knack for writing and an editorial mind-set, he is an expert researcher at a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools such as ProProfs Quiz Maker.
Today's economy and the ubiquity of coding and computer science in schools makes it easier than ever to fly solo and create your own business. However, those same advantages are also disadvantages when it comes to competition. Odds are someone's already thought of your idea. Being the first mover and taking advantage of the marketing tools you have are essential to startups. One of the first things an entrepreneur thinks about is his logo. There are a few different avenues you can travel on the way to having one. Here are my thoughts on them. The Cheapest Way The internet makes it easy to get what you want, and that rings true for freelancers looking for clients. The most inexpensive way to get what you want is to hire someone to do it for a low price. You can find extremely low prices with freelancing sites like Fiverr and logo contest sites like hatchwise. The thing is, sometimes you get what you pay for. You're not going to get a semiotic evaluation with, for example, a $5 logo design from a Fiverr freelancer. You won't get one with the $105 product from hatchwise, either. With that product, you get dozens of designs from which you choose a winner. If you already know exactly what you want and you can explain it simply, Fiverr might be a good way to go. The same is true if you just want something to serve as a logo until you have money to spend on another one. If you want to make sure your brand aligns with the meaning of the logo, read on. The Inexpensive Way If you want to take a step up from the cheapest logo design options available, consider BestCompany's top pick in the logo design category. Deluxe is a marketing company employing a number of logo designers. You get everything Fivver and hatchwise give you in addition to "a brainstorming session to develop ideas about how best to visually communicate your business brand and create a lasting impression through your logo." There are a number of logo companies that offer similar products. To learn about a few, click here for more BestCompany reviews. You might be able to get away with waiting a while to earn some cash before you get a logo at all, depending on what you do or sell. In that case, this option might work out best. You can always save for a while longer and then get an evaluation and redesign of your logo by a company that would fit in then next section. The Expensive Way The expensive way to get a logo involves an experienced brand strategist or people with expertise in a science that relates to branding, such as psychology. Take Spellbrand as an example. Its "corporate identity" package ($697) is very similar to Deluxe's basic package. The only difference is that Spellbrand offers an expert brand strategist to personally help you. This is important if you really want to compete with established brands. And no, $700 certainly is not the ceiling of logo design pricing. According to a few sources, Symantec paid over a billion dollars for its logo. On the other hand, one of the most recognizable logos in the world is said to have been created for just $35. That logo is Nike's.