By Satta Sarmah Hightower
Small business owners (SBOs) don’t have to be world-class marketers or award-winning designers to make their businesses shine online.
To help inspire and empower SBOs, Adobe has teamed up with Meta to create Express Your Brand—a training program that provides free education and tools to help anyone confidently grow their business online. One key tool covered in the program is Adobe Express—a unified collection of web and mobile tools that make it easy to create and share beautiful content, from social media posts and stories to invitations to marketing materials like logos, flyers and banners.
Veronica Belmont, senior product manager for Adobe Express, spends a lot of time talking with SBOs to understand their key pain points. She says there are a number of ways they can supercharge their marketing, even without significant budgets.
Here are six of them.
1. Be a part of the regularly scheduled programming, not the ad breaks.
The first task is to determine where your customers are spending their time online and what they are interested in seeing from you.
“Different types of businesses will have different types of customers across platforms, and figuring out which platforms play to the strengths of those customers and the message that you’re trying to get across is going to be really key,” she says.
If you’re a B2B company, an employment-oriented social platform may be the best place to focus your marketing efforts. Does your business have a good-humored reputation? Then you might try a platform known for hosting amusing short-form videos.
Whatever your business’ identity, figure out where your customers are having conversations online. Then use a platform such as Adobe Express to create accessible content that speaks to them and is appropriate to the platforms where they gather.
2. Create a unique and consistent look and feel for your brand.
When it comes to communicating their messaging visually, small businesses will find that consistency can pay off. Consistent branding can help separate a business from the online pack.
“When users are scrolling through a lot of content on social media, you want your content to be recognizable and stand out compared to other businesses that are out there,” Belmont says.
“If you have a consistent color scheme, if you have a stylistic choice that you make in terms of how you frame your images or how you compose your images, something very strong visually or consistent branding with your logo, for example—all of those things are going to really create those kinds of thumb-stopping moments.”
The Shared Templates featured in Adobe Express make it easy for teams to collaborate and create content with brand consistency. The feature allows members to share logos, fonts and other brand elements across designs to ensure everyone is always on the same page.
3. Create thumb-stopping moments.
Consider using animation to catch users’ eyes, even “if it’s just a subtle movement or scrolling text,” Belmont says. Don’t be intimidated. Adobe Express can help you add such effects with just a few clicks.
Video content can also engage users. Ninety-one percent of active Instagram survey respondents say they watch videos on Instagram weekly, according to an Instagram Trends Research Study.
“We have microseconds or nanoseconds to grab the attention of people as they’re using social content,” Belmont says. “So anything you can do to stand out a little bit is going to help.”
4. Create anywhere.
SBOs have jam-packed days, and they’re often working off-site. That’s why it’s beneficial to use a creativity tool like Adobe Express that lets you do your marketing while you’re on the move.
Adobe Express offers a mobile app that allows users to create content from wherever they work and easily “go from an idea to publishing on social within minutes,” Belmont says. There’s no need to wait until you’re back at the office.
5. You don’t need to start from scratch.
Not every SBO will have design skills. But with Adobe Express, that isn’t a barrier to developing high-impact marketing.
If you’re not design-minded, Belmont says, templates can “give you great starting points to figure out visually how to compose content for social.” And if you are someone with a penchant for design, templates will make getting started even smoother.
In addition to templates, Adobe Express gives users access to 20,000 premium Adobe fonts and 175 million licensed Adobe Stock images.
6. Take back your calendar: Plan your content in advance.
As an SBO, making content is only part of the battle. You also have to get it to customers and followers in the most effective way.
Belmont says Adobe Express makes this simple with an easy and intuitive content scheduler solution that saves you time by letting you plan, schedule and publish all in one place. You can devote just a few hours at the beginning of the week to creating content, then schedule everything to land at exactly the right time to reach as many people as possible—and forget all about it. As a business owner, you’ve got other things to think about.
“That way it doesn’t have to be something where you get up at 9 a.m. and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to create social content today,’” Belmont says. “You’ve already figured that out, so you can move on to other important parts of running your business.”
What’s more, Adobe Express allows users to publish posts to multiple social sites from one platform.
Tech To The Rescue
The statistics tell the story.
According to a recent Adobe study, 82% of SBOs say creative design helps them stand out online and drive business—but 45% say they lack the time, tools or skills to bring their ideas to life. And 42% of SBOs say the most time-consuming aspect of digital and social media is posting and managing their channels.
Luckily, great tech is coming to the rescue. One-click tools like Adobe Express can make creative work hassle-free and more effective, giving each SBO the power to make a splash on social.
Satta Sarmah Hightower is a former journalist turned freelance writer who produces financial services, technology and healthcare content for leading brands.