There’s so many ways to develop a brand, and so much advice on how to do it. It can be hard to distill the enormous amount of information available to small businesses who need help letting people know why their company is so important. Here are my four best tips for growing your business and your brand.
Get to Know the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is quite amazing and most people don’t realize how many resources they have. In addition to connecting small businesses that need funding with lenders, they offer tons of information on every aspect of running a business, including developing a marketing plan , the relationship between marketing and sales , and how to set a marketing budget.
Use Social Media — but Don’t do Too Much Too Soon
Entrepreneurs getting started with social media marketing often make the mistake of overdoing it. You don’t need to be everywhere, and your messaging doesn’t need to convey all things to all people. Begin by picking a small number of social media channels that are going to help your business. Then stick to messaging that’s closely related to the core value proposition  of your business. Facebook is great because it can target customers based on local geographies and other parameters. Sure, it’s a little old fashioned, but it’s basically the yellow pages of the internet age, and it’s also a way to connect people directly to your business. Others like Twitter can be used in a similar way, but Facebook is a great starting point.
Take Advantage of the Cloud
The great thing about being a newer, smaller business is that you’re not handcuffed by the same technology investments as your older, larger competition. You’re free to invest in all kinds of cloud services that place the burden of technology management on someone else. Cloud services are easy to get up and running, and they give you near infinite room to grow. On the marketing front, cloud-based services like Canva , allow you to create graphic designs for social media and other marketing efforts. Constant Contact  can help you send email newsletters to current and potential customers. And there’s certainly no shortage of cloud-based marketing automation applications  to choose from.
Protect Your Most Valuable Marketing Asset — Data
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in: You’re going to be generating lots of data about orders, seasonal spikes in sales, customer preferences, contact information and much more. That information will fuel all of your marketing efforts going forward — and it needs to be protected. That’s why you should consider a cloud backup service like Carbonite . With cloud backup, your data is easily accessible from any internet-connected device — and cloud backup protects your business data from malware, computer theft, accidental deletion and natural disasters.
Norman Guadagno is Chief Evangelist and Senior Vice President of Marketing at Carbonite , a provider of cloud backup and recovery solutions for small and midsize businesses.
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