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Top 5 2021 Instagram Marketing Trends to Boost Engagement

Our 2021 Instagram Trends

Chances are you have your own personal Instagram account, or you know someone who does. This is because when it comes to building your network, whether it's made up of friends or potential customers, Instagram has had a spotlight on it in the past few years, and by the looks of it, will continue to burn brightly in the years to come. In Singapore alone, joining Instagram means access to over 75% percent of the population, or up to 4.7 million people according to Statista.

If you’re a start-up company and you haven’t figured out how to reap the fruits of this popular social media marketing hub, you can always reach out to your friends over at Jenfi to get your started with the capital you need of course, but here are some additional tips to reinforce your overall marketing strategy for 2021 and beyond.

Optimize Your Bio

So you’ve got your account set up, which is great, but you’ve written in a very generic bio that basically states what you do. Understandably doing anything else can be confusing, considering you’re only working with 150 characters, but your bio is going to be the “call to action” button of your whole account, leading them to important links as well as being a place to showcase your brand voice. 

Make sure to fill in every text box when editing your profile, including:

  • Business category
  • A clickable URL for your site
  • Contact information (email, phone number)
  • Add an action button along the lines of Book Now, or Reserve as it pertains to you. 

Establish a Brand Theme

When you sat down and developed the visual branding of your company, you more than likely had to take into account things like colors and fonts. Well, when it comes to Instagram, carrying out those brand consistencies is key to having a successful marketing strategy.

If you take the time to visit the accounts of similar businesses or any business, you’re going to see that the same colors are used throughout the page, creating a clean look that also distinguishes your brand from users’ feeds.

Whether you choose to go bold, or sleek, the more recognizable you are on the app the more trust you’re going to build with your ideal customers.

Videos Are Everything

Instagram has the capability to either film short-form video content called Reels, or deliver live video streaming on the platform. Videos give a face to your brand. Psychologically you now have so much more depth than the products you sell. Instagram lives in particular, are a great way to interact with your audience and potentially get some insight as to ways you can improve your strategy. 

Reels are an excellent way to hop on viral trends early on and get extra exposure for your account. Bottom line, during a time when face-to-face interaction is scarce, videos are essential in connecting with your customer base in a way just words or graphics could never accomplish. 

Marketing for a Cause

In the same vein as video marketing, incorporating philanthropy in your social media strategy is a wonderful way to emotionally reach your followers, and for a good cause!

Just back in July of 2020, Instagram unveiled a social fundraising feature as an answer to the devastation caused by the pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter protests in the US. The rise of digital activism has opened the door for companies to not only be vocal about social issues but also to allow crowdfunding to support those very causes. 

The public craves transparency now more than ever, and choosing to take a stand will earn your company the respect of all your customers. 

Instagram Shopping 

Instagram Shopping is a feature that’s blowing up in a good way. If you’re a direct-to-consumer company, long are the days of solely having to rely on customers directly visiting your site to purchase from you. This in-app shopping feature makes it possible for your followers to shop your products directly on the app, almost like having an additional home for your products aside from your website.

So if you’re having any doubts as to whether this is a feature for you, Facebook reports that over 70% of users use Instagram to find new products, so why not make it easier for them to shop without ever leaving the app?

Social media marketing is its beast, but certainly not one you can’t conquer. A major element of a solid marketing strategy is also includes paid advertisements on Instagram, Facebook, or Google. Accruing sufficient funding to hit the ground running shouldn’t be the most stressful part of your growth journey. Apply for Jenfi funding today, and get pre-approved with no obligations!

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Facebook Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Here are ten tips for success on Facebook.

The Asia Pacific region has the largest number of Facebook monthly active users with over 1.1 billion visiting the platform every month. The importance of Facebook for marketing your business is undisputed. Yet, in reality, it can be difficult for SMEs to reach a large audience organically.    

As a small business, your budget may not compete with larger companies, but there are powerful and budget-friendly strategies available to you. Without further ado, here are our top 10 tips for success on Facebook

1. Complete Your Facebook Profile

A simple but effective tactic, often overlooked. It doesn't take long to fill in all the sections of your profile. You are likely to have all the information at hand to do so. Customers use Facebook to check reviews, look up addresses or find a phone number. They should never struggle to find that information on your page.

2. Humanise Your Brand

Gone are the days of being a faceless organisation; people respond to people. Your audience wants to get to know your brand and the people behind it, helping them understand your 'why'. Especially in recent times with the push to support local businesses. By humanising your business, you build trust with your customers using your products, ideas and values too.

3. Create Content That Offers Value

You can't throw content on Facebook and hope for the best. You need to post with a purpose. Your content should aim to entertain, inspire, converse, educate or convince.

A great rule to follow is the 70-20-10 rule.

  • 70% of the time post content that supports building your brand
  • 20% of Facebook posts should be content from other sources; relevant business news or interesting articles.
  • 10% should be self-promotional content.

Think about the action that you want someone to take when you post. This will help write your caption and steer the audience to your desired outcome.

4. Create Content That Offers Value

It is best to plan your posts unless you are jumping on a trending topic. Deciding what and when to post should be part of your social media strategy. Posting should complement your other sales and marketing activities.

Devising a content calendar and scheduling your posts in advance will save you time. You can use the calendar to track company communications, social media holidays and sale announcements.

5. Track Useful Metrics

It is easy to get caught up looking at metrics that make you feel good, e.g. likes or followers. You want to focus on things that make a difference to your bottom line. Some vanity metrics are useful to track, engagement, for example; high engagement rate is a sign your audience enjoys your content.

Depending on your business, metrics such as click-through rates, and direct messages received are more meaningful metrics to track.

6. Consistency Is Key

To build a recognisable brand, consistency is key. From colours you use to the tone of voice. To gain traction with your audience, you should be consistent in everything you do.

Consistency extends from the aesthetics of your brand to the amount you post. Not only does your audience like to know when they can expect content from you, but the algorithm does too. Maintaining a predictable posting schedule helps you stay top of people's news feed. When you decrease your posting, Facebook decreases your views. Post regularly, and you get more exposure.

7. Post When Your Fans Are Online

A quick and easy win to maximise your reach. You can find this data in your page insights under the 'posts' tab. This graph tells you the days and hours when your fans are online. Post when your audience is most active.

 

8. Build Relationships With Your Audience

Use social media as a tool, not only to make sales but build relationships too. Don't feel shy about being social. Genuine engagement with others encourages brand trust and supports humanising your business.

Build relationships with other accounts for mutually beneficial growth; new and potential customers, influencers and industry experts.

9. Use All The Facebook Features Available

Use every Facebook tool to promote your business, providing they are relevant.

Facebook Live is a fantastic way to engage your audience in real-time. Your followers will receive a notification when you are live; they can then click to watch. You can host a Q&A or showcase a new product.

Video consumption is a growing and in-demand media type. By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. Focus on uploading video content to Facebook.

Facebook stories are another great tool to increase your organic reach. A story will expire after 24 hours; it's another way to humanise your brand by showing behind the scenes footage or giving an announcement in real-time.

10. Consider Running Targeted Facebook Ads

If you aren't getting the reach you want organically, try Facebook ads. Quickly and effectively target your ideal audience using Facebook's detailed targeting. Due to the data Facebook collects on users, you can target people by location, age, gender and interests. You can also reach people whom Facebook think are likely to be interested in your business because they're similar to your existing customers.

Fund your Facebook ads with Jenfi. Access fund to get your business in front of the right audience in as little as 24 hours.

 

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Stand Out As A Desirable VC Investment Opportunity

Breaking the mold in a pool of hopeful start-ups largely depends on catching the eye of a venture capital firm. When the odds are stacked against you and the most probable answer is “no”, it is pertinent you go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd. VC investments are hard to come by for a reason with over 65% of VC-backed startups lacking the income to return their capital, according to Troy Skalebund former CFO to the Walt Disney Company. The pay-out however certainly warrants the massive team effort it takes to impress the right people. 

Venture capitalists offer an abundance of not only financial backing, but business guidance from seasoned professionals that will give you the space to grow exponentially, as well as a competitive edge in the market. But to get money, the biggest undertaking will lie in your ability to prove that you’re capable of making that cash back tenfold. 

Being an enticing VC investment opportunity may feel like a cutthroat arms race with fellow direct-to-consumer businesses, but you may be surprised that the essential qualifiers to be considered an attractive prospect are things that should already be within your focus as a founder. 

An Exemplary Team

Investors look for a pairing of both good management and an accompanying team of skilled professionals that can demonstrate they function as a unit. Your business should be a well-oiled machine, with the employees, the moving parts, all working together to make everything run smoothly. 

But it takes much more than just skill to run a business. There also needs to be a harmonious blend of passion and a willingness to take criticism to be considered a worthwhile VC investment. This powerful combination of qualities tells investors that you have the grit and resilience to thrive during the growing pains of expansion. 

It’s imperative to remember the obvious but oft-forgotten fact that businesses are powered by people. When you have a team that exhibits the courage to take the bad with the good, you’re a shoo-in for a spot on a venture capital firm portfolio. 

A Promising Proof of Concept

As aforementioned, being an impressive candidate to investors means proving that you can make the big bucks so any evidence of positive early traction is going to great work in your favor. This is because early traction can tell them a lot about how your product is going to fair out in the real world, including if there’s a large enough market with the necessary problems for your product to be an undeniable solution. 

Luckily there’s a lot more than just compelling numbers that you can use to make your case as a viable VC investment. If you have: 

  • Customer testimonials
  • Admissions into competitive incubator programs
  • A beta creation of your product
  • Mentions in media publications about your company 

Together these will undoubtedly prove that you’re ready to take the next big step to scale your business. 

A Custom Customer Experience 

A great benefit to being a DTC company is the ability to obtain behavior analytics and collect data that will help you optimize and personalize your customers’ experience to ensure clicks are converted into sales. 

Proof of exceptional customer experiences for a company is measured by how difficult it is for customers to purchase your product, i.e., any barriers that delay your customer from making a final purchase. It’s also measured by how personalized the experience is. Tailored marketing, as well as tailored product recommendations, create convenience for your customers, thus making it more likely for them to continue buying from you. 

Utilizing customer segmentation is a great example of this. We see this commonly with e-commerce companies in the beauty, television streaming, and fashion industries. Venture capital firms will no doubt be dazzled by a company’s capability to maximize sales to segments of customers all unified by a common need. 

A Reliable Financial Strategy

Venture capitalists are there to give you the necessary funding to level up your company from the incubator to the masses, so ensuring you’re an expert in the numbers game will take you far. A favorable VC investment has a solid financial strategy that dictates when and where they’re going to spend their money and has proof to back up that they’re wise decisions. 

“A conversation centered on a company’s revenue growth, sales funnel, and customer churn causes an immediate connection with investors because when entrepreneurs position themselves as metrics-driven, it’s as though they’ve entered an investor’s mind”, says the founder of investment platform Patricof & Co, Mark Patricof. 

What This Means for Singapore-Based Start-Ups

If you’re a burgeoning start-up in the Southeast Asian market, you’re aware that there’s been a sudden rise in the emergence of companies in the past year racing to fill the gap for innovative, contactless interaction technology created by our post-covid world. 

Because of this surge, the pressure is on for start-ups to make a mark on investors as many companies seldom achieve take-off without substantial funding. Take these strategies and utilize them as a checklist to prepare a pitch-deck that will not only leave investors in awe but also set the stage for long-term success. 

Jenfi understands how stressful obtaining the right funding can be for new start-ups. Luckily, now more than ever there are myriad resources to access funding that’s the perfect fit for your unique needs. For instance, with Jenfi, you can use us to supplement your VC funding or make you look more attractive when it comes time to present to investors. Apply today to discover if you’re eligible for Jenfi funding!

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4 Tips for Better Small Business Networking

Love it or hate it, networking is a key attribute of successful business owners. Building the right relationships can open doors for future customers, employee hires, investors, partners, and more. However, unless you’re a natural born seller, many people do find the networking to be stressful. Learn how to boost your small business networking confidence today with these tips.

Find your own authentic story

People are captivated by stories, especially ones that are genuine and personal. Rather than saying boasting a laundry list of your accomplishments, go for story telling. These are usually the most memorable and allows you to build strong rapport with others. You should have a few personal go-to stories on hand, especially ones about your early days starting the business and the inspiration behind your idea.

Go alone

It may seem counterintuitive but having familiar faces in a networking environment stops you from moving out of your comfort zone. When you are alone, your survival instincts kick in and forces you to mingle with others. You’ll end up meeting significantly more people this way.

Help others without asking for anything in return

Most people go to networking events with the intention of finding people that can help them. Instead, go with the attitude of how can help others. Look for mutual interest and see what knowledge or resources you can offer. This allows you to have meaningful dialogue and leaves a favourable impression to those who interact with you, setting the foundation for a meaningful relationship. After all, who can forget someone that treats them well?

Follow up regularly

The initial legwork of meeting new people helps open many doors and opportunities. However, these contacts quickly go cold if you do not seek to nurture these newfounded relationships. Work on following up immediately after the event and set reminders to periodically check in on key contacts to maintain relationships. This will give you the confidence to reach out when you really need help on something.

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How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business

Choosing the right domain name for your business is extremely important as this is the online identity that customers will associate your business with, which may differ from your company’s brand name. With over 100,000 new domain names registered daily, knowing the right strategy requires careful planning. Below are some things to consider.

KISS

The age-old adage of KISS (“Keep it simple stupid”) is ever more important when it comes to domain names. Pick a domain name that is easy to spell, one that even someone who is not familiar with your brand can remember easily. Your website domain should be easy enough that a 10 year old would be able to spell it out for you.

Pro tip: Start by searching for domain names with the least number of characters. While most domain names with 4 or less letters are taken, there are still a small handful of 5 or 6 letter domains. Avoid domain names with hyphens as they are more complicated.

Use .com unless there’s an absolutely good reason not to

Despite the growing number of new domain extensions, the gold standard for domain name extension remains .com for good reason (think of the last time you went to a website of a major brand that did not use this extension). Always go for this unless there is a strong legitimate reason not to. Remember that if the .com is taken, using a different extension will make it harder for your visitors to find you as they may accidentally type in your domain but with the .com extension, ending up on that site instead!

Pro tip: If your business will only be based in Singapore and focusing on Singapore based customers, you can also consider using .com.sg extension as it may improve your search engine ranking and visibility in Singapore in certain cases. Note that you will need to be a Singapore based company registered in ACRA in order to be able to do this. You can always get both .com and .com.sg if they are available to ensure you have secured the most important extensions for yourself.

Social handles

A common oversight is not researching whether the domain name you choose has the same handle available in the relevant social media channels that you will be using. The reason this is important is that this allows you to maintain a singular name in order to communicate with your visitors and customers, regardless of channel. Don’t overlook this as the last thing you want to do is spend money registering the domain names only to find out that you cannot get any of the social media handles.

Move fast

Lastly, it is important to move quickly when you find a domain name available as it is first come first serve. If someone else has taken a domain name you like, you may want to enlist the help of a broker or domain registrar to help facilitate a deal. However, it may be much more expensive.

With these tips, you are ready to choose a domain name for your business.

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Do I Need a Legal Entity for My Business?

It is getting harder and harder these days to obtain adequate capital as a small business owner. Only half of SMEs were even eligible for financing last year.

In most cases, the lack of cash flow and low annual sales volume lead to automatic disqualification for the small business loan applicant.

If your business generates less than $300,000 in revenue and you have less than a $100,000 cash balance, you may need to seek alternative financing options as your likelihood of obtaining business credit is low.

Click here for the original story from the Singapore Business Review.

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110 Resources to Spark Your Small Business

Are you struggling to keep track of all the recommendations for different services and resources for your small business? Fret not, there’s now a curated list of must-use of over 100 resources to power your business.

small-business-resources

The guide covers resources for:

  • Creating and managing your own website (no coding required)
  • Time tracking and invoicing (great for freelancers)
  • Tools for project management and to be better organised
  • Tools for collaboration and communication
  • Social media tools
  • Digital asset libraries (recommended stock libraries for photos and videos)
  • Freelance job boards (not all are applicable for Singapore. You may also want to check out Freeboh for a local option)
  • Books to add to your reading list
  • Freelance and lifestyle blogs to follow
  • Online education resources to expand your skill set

Check out these highly recommended suggestions for your small business today. Be sure to bookmark this down so you have a handy reference guide at your disposal.

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Do You Know What Your Customers Really Want?

How well do you really know your customer? Although you face them everyday, sometimes you just don’t know what they want. Fear not, you’re not alone as even the customers themselves sometimes do not know what they want. As Henry Ford once said, 'If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, “A faster horse!”'

Experience first and foremost

Customers are demanding and expect a delightful experience irregardless of the end product. Whether you are selling a luxury good or bargain product, having a good experience is crucial for customers. In some cases, it is the key brand differentiator among similar product offerings. Align your staff around a winning culture of “Experience first”. Afterall, creating goodwill does not cost money.

Stop listening to your customers

You need to know your customers better than they know themselves. Regular feedback, customer surveys, are all important parts of the discovery work on getting a pulse of your business. However, it’s crucial to take a step back as well and avoid over-analysing every single customer feedback as it can lead to “analysis paralysis”. Keep in mind that feedback comes from your existing customers, so innovation comes from opening your horizon to a broader addressable base of users.

Hi [name]

Imagine if you can tailor your offering to each individual based on their tastes and preferences. This is the holy grail that marketers often dream about. As a small business owner, you will not have the resources to run machine learning AI algorithm to match user preferences. But you can start somewhere with the basic touchpoints. Go through the customer journey and look for opportunities to add an element of personalisation. This can be as simple as using their first name instead of a generic salutation. Also, when responding to customers, using your name (eg. John from ABC Company) is better than a generic person such as “Customer support rep”. Simple things can go a long way. Try reaching out to a customer with a personal note on their birthday. Think about the last time (if ever) you received an email like that from a company. Show that you genuinely care.

With these pointers, you are ready to set out to innovate and build a car instead of a “faster horse” and give customers something they really want.

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Bacon ipsum dolor amet prosciutto cupim strip steak boudin. Drumstick shoulder alcatra porchetta. Bacon shoulder short loin drumstick. Rump landjaeger pork loin, brisket pork sausage leberkas spare ribs beef ribs tri-tip pastrami alcatra prosciutto buffalo.

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How to Become a Tech Enabled Business Owner

It’s no secret that using technology effectively can significantly benefit your small business by a wide margin. Yet, in a recent survey run by Deloitte, 40% believe that digital tools are not relevant for their business.

Do you know the level of digital engagement of your business?

Source: Deloitte Access Economics (2017)

Source: Deloitte Access Economics (2017)

If you are “Basic” or “Intermediate”, it’s time to put some serious thought into technology investments for your small business. On average, digitally advanced small businesses earns twice as much revenue per employee and experience revenue growth that is four times higher.

Here are some ways to use technology for your business in 2019.

Improve your team management

Use a tool such as Monday.com to simplify the way you work with your team. The tool lets you manage workload, track projects, and communicate with people more efficiently, unblocking back-and-forth processes.

For a free alternative, you can get Process Street, which is available absolutely free for a limited time only (compliments of AppSumo).

Fix your inbox

If you have more than zero emails in your inbox, you are not practicing proper email management (that’s right anything more than zero). Inbox Zero is an email management technique that allows you to declutter and keep you organised so you avoid wasting time unnecessarily (think of the number of times you keep opening the same read email). Consider using the Gmail app on your phone. They have a nifty feature that allows you to “swipe” your emails to quickly archive them. You can also set certain emails to automatically come back at the appropriate time (eg. to follow up with someone).

Manage your finances on the cloud

If you’re still juggling manual journal entries or financial spreadsheets, you are dealing with unnecessary complexity. Xero is a cloud based accounting service that provides full suite accounting. As a small business owner, you can get started with their entry plan, which is the Xero Early Plan, which comes with invoices and quotes, monthly bills, and bank reconciliations. Larger small businesses can consider the Xero Growing Plan.

Slacking off

Use Slack to avoid slacking off. By far, one of the most important tools for any small business, Slack allows you to collaborate faster and more seamlessly within your team and with external vendors. Their numerous integrations allow you to pull in any other services you use (eg. Dropbox, Xero, etc.) seamlessly.

It’s time to start embracing technology and becoming a digitally-savvy business owner. Consider the above areas as a launching pad to improve your overall productivity and gain back control of your time.

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How to Be Self-Employed

Over 223 thousand residents in Singapore consider themselves self-employed with more increasing every day. Structural changes in today’s economy is making the move possible. Whether you are making the leap to self-employment from your current employer or looking to start something on your own straight out of university graduation, here are some key things to do before you make the plunge.

Interview yourself

While being your own boss means you can throw your CV in the rubbish bin, you would be inadequately prepared for the real challenges of running your own business if you do not ask yourself these 3 key introspective questions.

Are you able to work alone?

Especially in the early days when things are tough, you will be constantly second guessing whether you are doing the right thing or not.

Do you offer something where there is a demand?

Supply and demand are in balance even in the self-employment market. You need to assess whether you have something to offer with your self-employed occupation. It never hurts to sharpen your own skill set by spending a few years at someone else’s small business so you gain the confidence and experience that’s needed.

Can you handle rejection?
Having thick skin is crucial as you will face rejection, whether you are raising funds from investors or selling to customers. Turn every rejection into an opportunity to gather feedback and learn more about how you can improve.

Prepare for a rainy day

Becoming self-employed means you abandon the comfort of a steady paycheck from an employer. While everyone hopes that things go according to plan, real business work is often volatile with ups and downs in cash flow coming into your pocket. Be sure to calculate a realistic budget for yourself, that covers both your personal expenditures as well as business ones. Do not cut your budget too drastically, otherwise, your personal satisfaction and quality of life may deteriorate if you go from eating out to making ramen for yourself every meal.

Look to set aside a minimum of 6 months of cash before you even consider moving to self-employment.

Do your homework

You need to understand everything when you are on your own, from business licenses to tax filings.

At a bare minimum, understand how business taxes work. IRAS offers a start-up kit for new sole-proprietorship and partnerships.

If you are a foreigner, be extra careful not to flout the rules on manpower regulations. Freelance work is only applicable to Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents. If you wish to set up something on your own, you will need to apply for an Entrepass or set up a local company (requires at least one director who is an ordinary resident of Singapore).

Being your own boss is extremely rewarding.Taking the first step is always the hardest part but rest assured you’re in good company. This is the reason why the number of people seeking self-employment keeps increasing.

So start now by interviewing yourself, preparing for a rainy day, and doing your homework.

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