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At the beginning of May, we told you our plans for helping small businesses thrive. A month has passed. So, did we pull it off?

We think so. Today, our content team is recapping three of our workshops, giving you all the resources you could want, and sharing tips from speakers who took part in our small business series at the Microsoft Store.

So if you work for a small business, you’re into the startup scene, or you just like seeing a couple computer companies work with their community—this blog’s for you. Worst case scenario? You learn something new. And that’s not so bad.

Anyway, here are those 37 takeaways you read about in the title.

How to navigate social media and use it to grow your brand

Takeaways by Ikey Ajavon

The first part of our small business series focused around social media tips and tricks. We had a panel discussion with some of Buffalo’s social media heavyweights: Kevin Heffernan from Rise Collaborative, Pat Fisher from Lloyd Taco, and Bak USA’s very own Lindsay Riggs from Buffalovebirds. Our lead content creator, James A. Colombo III, moderated the conversation, and there were nearly two dozen people in attendance. Check out some takeaways from the chat.

  • 10 Takeaways for Social Media Management
    1. To find out how much you should post on each social media channel, test out different timetables.

    3. Once you find a posting schedule that makes sense for you, stick with it. Consistency is key. Here are some benefits of social media scheduling.

    5. Set reminders or use a scheduling platform to help ensure you don’t miss posting content. We mentioned some of these 15 social media management tools.

    7. Use analytic tools within the social media apps to find out when the best time to post are.

    9. The algorithm is very real. Stay on top of changes that might affect your social media reach. Here’s how the Facebook algorithm works and how to make it work for you.

    11. It takes just a little bit of effort to make an average picture great. Some tips we talked about:
      • Natural light is your friend
      • Always have light come from behind the camera, not the subject
      • No fancy equipment? Your phone should work
      • Determine which platform requires horizontal or vertical orientation
      • Use a tripod if you can
      • Upload the steadiest-looking video possible
      • Practice composition
      • Invest in inexpensive props if necessary
      • Dogs and babies are “like” and “share” machines


    12. Video: How to take great pictures for social media

    14. Plan out video or live content as much as possible to ensure it goes smoothly. Here’s a fun video about how to plan your livestream content.

    16. Practice! Shooting video or taking pictures will get better and easier the more you do it for your different social media sites.

    18. Because of algorithms, you might be forced to “pay to play.” But even with a small budget, you can achieve results in a short time.

Bummed about missing this workshop? No worries. Watch the workshop on Facebook Live.

Small business recruiting: Tips and tricks for finding the best talent

Takeaways by Carly Battin

In our next workshop, our senior recruiting manager, Jen Delair, talked about hiring practices. If you work in job recruitment, you’re going to need digital tools to expand your reach. And if you’re looking for a job or new career, how will hiring managers evaluate your candidacy? Whichever side of the equation you’re on, you can use these takeaways to support or advance your career.

  • 11 Takeaways for Job Recruiting
    1. When you write a job description, list goals, duties, and requirements clearly and concisely. You can miss out on candidates if your descriptions are too wordy.

    3. Understand the difference between minimum and preferred requirements. Overloading requirements is unrealistic and ineffective.

    5. Looking for a job is like shopping. People are drawn to attractive job postings; quick, light, cool language works best. Here’s an example from Bak USA.

    7. Talking about salary? Be upfront and honest. Ask candidates what range they are looking for. It may be illegal to ask about salary history.

    9. Advertise your job on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Facebook (in that order of importance).

    11. Use an applicant tracking system (ATS). Here are some ATS tools people are using.

    13. It typically takes six weeks to fill a position. This is due to having to write a job posting, advertise the position, interview a candidate, and hire the new employee.

    15. Passive sourcing is when you spark interest from people who are not actively looking for your job opportunity. This approach is sort of like dating because you need to woo your audience.

    17. Instagram is actually a great tool for recruitment. At Bak USA, we use Instagram to give people a glimpse inside our workplace. Here are 5 ways to recruit on Instagram.

    19. There’s a lot of information out there. Switch up your search engine to increase your results. Here’s a infographic for 10 recruiting trends in 2018.

    21. Some questions that can expose a person’s personality:
      • “Tell me about your favorite boss”
      • “What’s the difference between a good day at work and a bad day at work?”
      • “What motivates you on days when you’re tired?”

Have questions? So did our audience. Watch the workshop on Facebook Live.

Search engine optimization: Impactful tactics for small businesses

Takeaways by Kristen Johnson

Last week’s workshop was hosted by our friend Vince Marcello, digital marketing manager from the marketing and communications firm 19 Ideas. Vince and his crew help us out with our search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, which is the process of affecting your website’s visibility. Here are some valuable takeaways for you to boost your web presence.

  • 11 Takeaways for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    1. Over the last decade, SEO has become a major factor in the perception of your business’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Check out this quick video: 20 SEO tips for beginners.

    3. Including links to other sites and content on your website, in blogs like this, for example, should create more traffic on your website.

    5. If you make changes to your website (keywords, tags, links, copy) it takes about a week or two to for your SEO to refresh.

    7. Approximately 80 percent of consumer research is done online before making a purchasing decision. This is why your website needs to be easily accessible.

    9. High-quality content and link building are key factors to where you rank on Google searches.

    11. To create valuable content, know who your audience is, what they want, and how to give to them. Your content marketing strategy should support all three of these stages.

    13. Search engines evolve, and so do people’s searches. Understand what your audience is searching for and reflect those needs in your content.

    15. Video is 50 times more likely to get organic PageRanks in Google than plain text results. Organic results come from what people enter into search engines.

    17. Stay active on social media. Sharing web content on social media is a great way to drive traffic to your website.

    19. Boosting a social media post for $5 or $10 on Facebook, for example, can go a long way because it helps you target your audience, which boosts engagement.

    21. Provide a good mobile experience. How can you do that? Here’s a photo-friendly look at what makes a good mobile site.

Something we missed in this rundown? Watch the workshop on Facebook Live. 

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