Current trends in marketing and how they can benefit your small business

Chelsey Abrahams explores the holy trinity of PR, social media and content marketing as key methods of bringing exposure to your business.

As a qualified digital marketing and social media executive, I find the key aspects of marketing are finding your target audience and knowing how to draw them in. For a varied target audience, this can be difficult, but here’s hoping these top tips will send you well on your way to marketing success.


The word marketing is an umbrella term for a whole host of sub categories. PR being one, dates back to the 20th century, much earlier than our current trends of social media. Good PR is crucial to building trusting relationships with the public. For those who are social media savvy, you will notice that many brands distribute their products to celebrities in order for them to share with their thousands, sometimes millions of followers and gain exposure for the brand. Reality stars are huge in this day and age, keep up to date with the latest press and connect with those who will be a model influencer for your brand. Contact the influencer directly or through their agent, negotiate a low fee, if any, and make this strategy as cost effective as possible.

Similarly, contacting other brands that are complementary to your own can be a great way to network and share marketing tools. Find out the statistics, for example how many orders the brand dispatches a week or the extent of their mailing list, and find a partnership that works for you. Swapping leaflets to be sent out in product packaging or exchanging exposure on marketing emails is a simple and cost effective way to get your brand in front of thousands of people for such a low cost of a marketing email or leaflet order. If you struggle with this, media relation tools such as Response Source can help you access a large media database and put you in the firing line for any relevant PR opportunities.

Social media

The key with social media is to post things that you would want to see yourself. Note that images are a must. Try to minimise the amount of posts you share without images; 74 per cent of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing and 37 per cent of marketers say social media marketing is the most important form of content for their business. Use every type of social network you can, but choose which you prioritise depending on your target audience, for example if you’re aiming at a younger audience Instagram would be your main priority, whereas for professionals, LinkedIn would be the most important. It’s always good to keep up to date with current affairs, share posts from verified accounts, people are always interested in the latest scandals. Also try to post regularly on your social media accounts, even if you don’t have access, schedule posts using social media management tools such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Facebook so even when you’re not there, your social media presence is.

Another huge factor of social media is competitions. I would say this is the most cost-effective way to gain exposure on social media platforms. For example, here at Shade Station I ran four weeks of Christmas competitions, I negotiated free of charge products with distributors and carried out four simple like, share and follow competitions over the festive period. Overall this gained approximately 5,000 followers, all for the small cost of delivery of the prize. Keep your competitions simple, make the entry requirements clear and encourage likes and shares.

Content marketing

Content is everything. All aspects from blogs, campaigns and product text contribute to building your SEO and move you further up the search engine rankings. Key word enriched content is always valuable and links to different areas of your website gain a big yes from Google. In fact, link building all together is as great way to boost your website authority and market your business. Use marketing search engines and SEO backlink checker websites such as Majestic SEO and Open Site Explorer from to keep track of your backlinks and check the authority of those you are linking to. Google loves reciprocated links, so try to get a link back from those you are linking to.

Also see: What content should your small business be creating in 2017?

Viral Marketing

Another great aspect of content marketing is viral marketing. For those who have the budget, make this as fun and exciting as you can as word of mouth is one of the biggest forms of communication. For example, Shade Station worked with eyewear brand Dirty Dog to produce an interactive game whereby players can win a series of prizes. This was then shared causing the game to reach audiences worldwide, a great example of how a simple marketing tool can broaden the demographic of your audience.

On the whole, I would say the main thing is to know your audience. If you know who you are targeting then you can prioritise certain marketing tools to reach the widest audience possible. Social media is your best friend when it comes to cost effective marketing and building trusting relationships is the key to success.

Chelsey Abrahams is PR & marketing executive at Shade Station.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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