3 Tips for Translating Your Creativity into Your Online Presence

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An important part of my role at Meta is to talk to small business owners about their gains and, more importantly, the challenges they face, so that we can take advantage of these lessons to better serve the SME community. And while all small businesses are unique, in many cases the challenges they face are the same — whether they’re in San Francisco or Sao Paulo, just starting out or they’ve been in business for decades.

This is especially true when it comes to marketing, with new tools and trends constantly emerging. A common thing I hear from business owners is that instead of feeling empowered by the new digital tools available to them, they can feel intimidated.

In fact, 40% of small businesses say a “lack of experience and understanding of digital marketing” is a major marketing challenge. Plus, in our work with small business owners, we’ve learned that time and budget constraints are major barriers when it comes to creativity. Although entrepreneurs are creative by nature—the ingenuity of small businesses throughout the pandemic proves beyond reasonable doubt—many business owners have shared that it can be difficult to translate that creativity into their online presence.

I believe it is essential to help business owners embrace their creativity, allowing them to showcase their companies and connect with customers both online and offline. I’m here to break the myth that you have to be a creative pro to build amazing creations online.

Here are three tips to help entrepreneurs leverage their creativity and effectively market their business online.

Related: 10 Small Business Marketing Strategies That Actually Work

1. Made for mobile

Although “mobile first” has been a buzzword for years, this word is worth repeating. So what are the keys to success when creating mobile content? I recommend following some best practices.

First, we’ve seen that vertical videos perform the best, allowing you to take advantage of more real estate on people’s phone or tablet screens. Some other highlights: Content that shows people (rather than just product shots) tends to perform better. Think about how you’ll incorporate humans into your content, whether you’re using employees, paid models, or clients who have given you permission to use their image. You also want to communicate clearly and concisely. Our research found that ads with short text overlays and captions under 300 words are optimal.

Take the Prose brand of subscription-based hair care. I found the application of mobile best practices to their content very useful. After seeing an increase in results, they went further, creating an ad specifically for Instagram Reels, using what they learned. This combined strategy and mobile first mindset allowed us to increase reach of unique audiences by 52% and increase delivery of impressions specifically for the 18-34 age demographic by 20%.

2. Add the video to the mix

For Haraj Kalbjian, co-owner of Henry’s House of Coffee in San Francisco, mixing video with still images in his digital campaigns has produced strong results – increasing his return on ad spend by 139%. We’ve seen this across our platform as well, with the majority of video-only or video+image campaigns outperforming static-only campaigns in both increasing conversions and raising mindfulness-priority awareness.

When experimenting with embedded video and video content as well as static, remember that short is sweet. Overall, we find that 15-second videos perform the best. Given this limited time, don’t try to do too much – highlight your brand and focus on an individual message. If possible, conclude with a clear call to action that indicates what you want your audience to do next, such as visiting your website, purchasing a specific product or service, or contacting you for more information.

Related: Components of a Marketing Plan

3. Inform your audience

Instagram Reels already make up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram, so we know there’s a desire to explore the brand’s story like this. When creating this type of content, think of it as “informational entertainment.” You want your content to be useful and engaging while inspiring your audience to learn more about your brand.

For example, think about some of the most common questions you ask customers and create video content that answers your three most common questions. If you’re launching a new offering, develop a video that previews the new product or service, and shows how it benefits customers. Make sure you are entertained and informed of optimal results.

When global gardening app PlantIn wanted to increase their demo app subscriptions, they decided to campaign independently online, hoping to connect with its audience in a fun and dynamic way. According to Anastasia Karlova, Head of Marketing at PlantIn, this format has allowed them to revive the brand while educating people about its offerings. In the end, PlantIn was able to reduce the cost per app install through this campaign by about a third. If you have similar goals to your brand, an infotainment campaign on Reels could be a great way to go.

Related: 4 Ways Small Businesses Can Master In Marketing

From making mobile devices, educating while informing and entertaining the audience and understanding how to add video to the mix, there are a variety of ways business owners can expand their marketing horizons and tap into their creativity. Aside from implementing these tips, I also encourage small businesses to experiment and explore their creative skills to take advantage of new avenues of marketing and to consider working with Meta business partners like Adobe and Vimeo to get started. Starting this month, Meta is launching a new initiative to support small businesses with free in-person trainings, events and online resources, giving them the tools and inspiration needed to translate their creativity into their online marketing and branding efforts.

Finally, I want to remind all business owners: Do not doubt yourself. You are creative and your work is unique. Now, you have the tools and skills to continue showing the world.

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