How To Properly Package A Parcel – 8 Expert Tips

Packaging

How To Properly Package A Parcel

One of the most common questions we get asked at NI Parcels is: “How should I package my parcel?”

It sounds like a fairly obvious question with a straightforward answer – put it in a box, seal the box, put the address on it and Bob’s your uncle. 

However, there are a few little extra steps and precautions you can take to ensure that your parcel arrives in the best condition.

We Should Mention…

All of us, when we send a parcel with a courier, we like to imagine that our precious item is very carefully carried from A – B, as if on the wings of doves.

The truth is, your parcel is first sorted by a machine and then placed in van with tens or hundreds of other parcels and driven to its destination.

Of course, if you’re sending your parcel with a premium, reputable courier (like our providers), any damage to your item in transit is extremely unlikely.

However, it can happen on very rare occasions and for that reason, you’ll want to ensure you’ve done everything possible to protect your item and prevent any damage from occurring in the first place.

5 Tips For Packaging Your Parcel Securely

1. Choosing Your Packaging

At NI Parcels, we ALWAYS urge our customers to package their items in strong, double-walled cardboard boxes – particularly if the item is greater than 30cm squared, or over 5kg. A double-walled box is sturdier and less likely to collapse, tear or open under pressure. Crisp boxes are not suitable.

You can send your item in a plastic box, but we usually advise against this, as plastic is known to split. And, even if the contents of your parcel aren’t particularly heavy, if something heavy is placed on top of your item in transit, your box could break.

It is also possible to send items in suitcases. Again, we recommend that it’s a sturdy suitcase, and make sure that all wheels, handles and zips are either tucked in or taped up to prevent damage.

2. Wrap It Up

Once you’ve chosen your box, ensure that your parcel contents are held securely inside, by wrapping them in bubble wrap, polystyrene or packing peanuts. If you send a lot of parcels, you can buy these in large quantities on eBay or Amazon.

You can also use material or fabric – anything with spring that will cushion your item if, on the off-chance, it is knocked against a surface. Newspaper will NOT work; when flattened, it will offer no protection.

Insufficient packaging, leaving items to move around inside the box, is the cause of most damage.

3. Mind The Gap

And on the flip side, damage can also occur if you stuff your box to the point of being fit to burst.

A good rule of thumb is to first wrap your item in bubble wrap and then leave about an inch between the wrapped item and the box itself. You need to create a bit of a ‘cushioning gap’ between the item and the surface of the box. If not, the vibrations of the vehicle it’s being carried in might affect your item and cause it to break if it is particularly fragile.

For extra safety, you can line the inside walls of your box with bubble wrap.

4. Tape It Shut

Once your item is packed and secured, seal all the edges of your box closed with proper packaging tape; vinyl or nylon. Ordinary sellotape will not suffice.

5. Fragile!

If your item is breakable, use a fragile sticker. The use of a sticker like this won’t mean that your parcel is treated more carefully than others, but it may remind the driver, in particular, to be that extra bit cautious when lifting it in and out of the van.

Also, for fragile items, we recommend ‘double boxing’. This means placing your bubble-wrapped item in a box which is then placed inside another slightly larger box with a once inch filled gap between the surfaces of each box. If you do this, MAKE SURE this gap is filled with bubble wrap or polystyrene, otherwise double boxing is completely ineffective.

6. Out With The Old

If you are sending your item in a box which has been used before, make sure you remove all old address labels or barcodes from the box. The last thing you want is for your item to be missorted or delivered to the wrong address and therefore delayed.

7. Attach Your Labels

When you book a parcel delivery with NI Parcels, we will provide you with labels to attach to your parcel.

Make sure that these labels are attached securely and all details are visible. We recommend first placing the labels inside polypockets or plastic wallets and securing them with packaging tape.

8. Return To Sender

And finally, always include a return address on your item just in case.

 

So, those are our top, expert tips on packaging your parcel like an absolute pro. By following our advice every time, your items *should* arrive in the best possible condition.

If you have any questions about sending parcels with NI Parcels, give us a shout or find out more below:

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How To Save Money On Courier Costs – 10 Creative Tips

Save Money (1)

How To Save Money On Courier Costs – 10 Creative Tips

Sending parcels isn’t cheap.

No matter whether you’re posting a birthday present to a relative abroad one a year, or perhaps a small business owner shipping products daily – courier costs are ones we could really do without.

With that in mind, we at NI Parcels thought it would be a good idea to write an informative post with our tops tips for saving money on courier costs.

We understand that, as well as being an expensive task, sending parcels is often a boring, frustrating and stressful one too. Few people have time or motivation to sit down and research how to spend less on their deliveries.

So as it is our area of expertise, let us do the work for you and take a read of our Top Ten Tips For Saving Money On Courier Costs.

1. Be organised

Being well organised with your parcel deliveries can help you save some cash. We always recommend booking your deliveries as far in advance as you can and selecting the courier’s Economy service instead of Express when possible, as it is considerably cheaper and in most cases, there is just one day difference in terms of delivery times.

2. Size matters

When booking a delivery with a courier, the price of your parcel will often be based on its size. For that reason, it’s a good idea to package your item in as small a box as possible to keep the costs to a minimum. Just ensure that the box is not too small and can withstand the weight of the item it’s carrying.

3. Weight matters too

Likewise, weight will affect the price, so remove any unneccessary items which may make your parcel heavier. For example, package your item with lightweight materials like bubble wrap or packing peanuts what will not add to the kilos.

4. Be accurate

You will need to be as accurate as possible when booking your parcel delivery with the courier. If your parcel is even just the slightest bit larger or heavier than you originally described, you could face unpleasant oversize charges or worse – the courier may refuse to collect your parcel altogether. We’ve seen this happen with parcels that are just 1kg heavier than they were claimed to be.

We recommend purchasing a set of shipping scales if you frequently send parcels as these are more accurate than other kinds of scales.

5. Buy packaging in bulk

Buying a single box every time you have a parcel to send can add up and contribute a significant amount to the overall cost of your deliveries. Buying packaging in bulk works out much cheaper if you do send items fairly frequently.

And, if you purchase quality packaging, you can reuse your boxes and save even more money in the long run.

6. Claim your VAT back

Taxable businesses should always remember to claim VAT back on deliveries at the end of the tax year. Just make sure to keep all your receipts!

7.  Mind the excess charges

Always make sure that the price you are originally quote by the courier, is the final price you pay. Some couriers may add in fees for compensation, VAT maybe excluded from the end total or there may be an NI surcharge. Do your research to avoid nasty surprises on the checkout page.

8. Take out compensation

Speaking of compensation – always take it out to ensure your items are protected from damage or loss. If not, you may not be eligible for a refund or be able to claim anything back, forcing you to lose money overall.

Many couriers will offer a level of free compensation. For example, at NI Parcels, we offer £50 free compensation cover per item, which you can increase up to the value of £500 for a small additional fee, if you wish. Before choosing your level of cover, always check out the courier’s list of prohibited items to ensure that your parcel contents are protected against damage or loss.

9.  Stop driving to the Post Office!

It’s not just the postage costs that put a dent in your wallet, when sending parcels, the fuel it takes to drive to the post office/depot and the time out of your day are also added expenses.

Avoid wasting time and fuel by using a door to door service that can collect the parcel directly from you.

1o. Use a courier comparison website

When we make a purchase of any kind, we tend to shop around (usually online) to find the best deals. Booking a courier is no different.

Never book with the first courier you come across –  see which company offers the lowest price and the best value for money. The great news is that there are websites out there who do the shopping around for you – like NI Parcels!

We provide a courier comparison service which allows you to enter the details of your parcel and view a list of reduced rate quotes from top providers like Parcelforce, DPD and City Air Express. Booking with a courier comparison website like NI Parcels can be up to 80% cheaper than booking directly with the courier.

 

We hope this money saving advice piece helps you cut back on your delivery costs and if you have any questions, please get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.

Got a parcel to send? Get a quote quote from us now to see how much you could save.

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Learn more:

Northern Ireland Parcel Delivery

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5 Things To Remember When Shipping Parcels Internationally

 Stockholm

When it comes to shipping parcels internationally, we know a thing or two here at NI Parcels.

There are so many factors to consider when sending a parcel abroad – whether you’re a small business exporting internationally or simply an individual sending a gift to a loved one across the globe – whatever your reason may be, doing your homework is super important.

Sending items overseas can be a little bit daunting, whether it be the cost, the shipping times or mind-boggling country specific regulations – it can be quite a lot to get your head around.

Thankfully, we’re experts at this kind of thing and we’re here to shed some light on sending parcels internationally to ease your worries.

Here are 5 things to remember when shipping parcels internationally.

1. Researching country specific restrictions and regulations is so important.

One of the most important factors of shipping items internationally is doing your homework on country specific restrictions and regulations. For example, you’re not allowed to send a pair of matching shoes to South Africa, Mexico or India. That’s crazy, right? But these are the kinds of things that you should make yourself aware of before sending any parcels.

If you’re sending a parcel outside of the EU, it’s absolutely essential to complete and attach a customs declaration to the package – and it’s just as important to fill in the declaration correctly. Not doing so could cause major problems for your shipment.

2. Understand international shipping costs so you don’t pay more than you have to.

One of the most off-putting factors about sending parcels internationally is the cost – but would you be surprised if we told you that you shouldn’t be so scared?

You absolutely do not have to break the bank when sending items overseas. Courier comparison services (such as NI Parcels!) is a guaranteed way to save money on international deliveries – no matter who you are or what your reason for shipping may be.

We work alongside some of the best couriers in the industry such as DPD and Parcelforce. We have negotiated fantastic low cost deals with these couriers, so that means you get the same high quality service for a fraction of the price! In fact, you can save up to 80% on your international courier costs, by booking with NI Parcels.

You can get a quote for your international parcel delivery any time from NI Parcels!

3. Secure packaging is absolutely essential.

It’s a no brainer that you want your parcel to arrive at its destination safe and sound. If you’re using a reliable courier renowned for their high quality services, the chances of damage to your parcel during transit is incredibly low – and most would offer some sort of compensation cover in the unlikely event that it would happen. At NI Parcels, we provide £50 free compensation cover on every single shipment, which can be increased during book if you feel it necessary.

However, for peace of mind, always remember to select appropriate packaging that best suits the contents of your packet. Hard, double-walled cardboard boxes are usually the best option if you’re shipping items in a box, as they’re sturdy and are less likely to come undone during transit. Consider the items inside too, ensure that they are fastened securely and enclosed from damage.

4. Don’t forget a return address.

In the occurrence that your item can’t be delivered and needs to be returned to you as the sender, it’s vital to include a return address on the parcel. This way, it’ll be returned to you free of charge and you will avoid any kind of hassle.

5. Research restricted/prohibited goods.

Relating back to the first point about country specific restrictions and regulations – when sending a parcel anywhere in the world, ensure that you’re not sending any prohibited goods. Not every item can be carried on every service – and all countries have their own individual rules and restrictions. For example, a general rule is that liquids and perishable items cannot be sent abroad – so be sure to check your chosen courier’s list of prohibited items before booking your shipment.

Need to send a parcel overseas? Get a quick quote from NI Parcels today!

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Learn more:

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Why Start A Blog For Your Small Business?

Why Start A Blog For Your Small Business?

Starting a blog on your small business website is a no brainer, really.

Blogging is an extremely low-cost form of marketing that many are far too quick to dismiss. It’s just one more thing to add to your never ending list of things to do, you don’t have time, along with a whole plethora of excuses that might be stopping you, right? However you would be surprised to learn that simply devoting some time and effort per week into creating fresh and exciting content on a blog on your website can do wonders for your traffic and your brand as a whole.

There are numerous reasons why small businesses should consider starting a blog on their business website, and it all starts with creating consistent, helpful and exciting content. This content brings with it an abundance of brand new traffic, creating new leads for your business which can potentially result in future sales. Regularly publishing new, quality content can keep your customers coming back for more, and you’ll have a world of content to publish to your other social media networks, too. Writing a blog on your business website gives your brand another dimension – it portrays personality and opinion for the brand which is ultimately what people love to see in today’s digital world.

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Not to mention there is an endless list of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) advantages to writing a blog on your business website – you can evolve what may just be a standard article into a goldmine for keywords. Well-placed keywords will make your website Google friendly and you will see long-term results of this effort as your articles begin to rank in search engines and new customers start discovering your business through organic search.

With time and effort, your blog can become an industry resource if you really want it to – the possibilities are endless. Regardless of how far you want to go with it, you can be sure that a blog will bring increased traffic to your website, heightened awareness of your brand and an inevitable increase in sales if it is well executed.


New to NI Parcels? Learn more about our low cost courier services…

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3 Tips For Small Businesses Collaborating With Bloggers

3 Tips For Small Businesses Collaborating With Bloggers

Bloggers nowadays are hugely influential individuals who have the potential to take a brand’s reputation to soaring new heights.

The opportunities found in the world of blogging are endless. What started as merely a popular hobby has become a lucrative career for many. Bloggers are now viewed as a majorly reliable source of information, vastly out-shining many traditional forms of advertising. And so, many brands have seized this opportunity with both hands and managed to harness the power of bloggers to better their brand.

However, if you are new to the world of blogging, it can be difficult to figure out exactly how to get bloggers on board with your brand. So if you’re feeling like you don’t know where to start, here are our top 3 tips for small businesses collaborating with bloggers.

1. Offer a mutually beneficial, lasting relationship.

Quite possibly the most important point of all. Working with bloggers can be highly cost-effective for your small business – however it can’t be forgotten that blogging is a career for many and therefore a source of income – not to mention something that takes a lot of time and effort. It is a huge turn-off for a blogger if a company expects them to work for free, so be clear on what the gain will be for them. It’s absolutely vital to have a mutually beneficial working relationship with a blogger. Partner with them on multiple campaigns and start to develop a true relationship, which in turn allows that blogger to develop a true passion for the brand and become your strongest brand advocates.

2. Take the time to craft personalised pitches.

If you’re a company that sells insurance, there’s really no point sending a pitch email to a fashion blogger. Your email will likely be ignored, and so you have wasted your own time and the blogger’s time. When reaching out to bloggers, it’s so important to make sure that the idea you’re pitching to them is relevant to the content and tone of their blog. Read through their blog and get a feel for whether it’s right for both your brand and for them. Furthermore, there is nothing more off-putting for a blogger than receiving an email that looks like a template – so take that extra bit of time to craft each email for the specific person and it will be worth it in the long-run. And for goodness sake, don’t forget to address them by their (correct) name!

3. Be specific, yet flexible.

Chances are, the bloggers you are reaching out to receive numerous pitches from different companies on a weekly basis. It’s important to be as specific as possible in your pitch, otherwise you’ll be wasting time on both sides. Be clear on what exactly your brand is, the specific campaign you have in mind and what you would like the blogger to do, and identify their gain in return. At the same time, leave room for the blogger to add their own creative flair.

 

New to NI Parcels? Learn more about our low cost courier services…

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Learn more:

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NI Parcels on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn

 


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17 Valentine’s Cards For Northern Irish People

ni parcelsRoses are red, violets are blue, Norn Iron is a wile romantic wee place, so it is…

As well as providing the best courier service on the planet, us NI Parcels lot fancy ourselves as a romantic bunch.

So, we thought we’d put together some special Valentine’s Day cards strictly for Northern Irish folk. Feel free to print out your favourite and send it to your significant other. We’re sure their face will be a picture when they open that envelope…

1. One for the Corrie fans. 

I love you more than Jim loves Our Eluzzabuth

2. For the Trainspotters.

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3. An old favourite.

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4. For the thrill seekers.

Wanna take a ride on the big dipper-

5. For modern lovers.

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6. For the cultured. 

The Causeway isn't the only GIANT attraction around here...

7. This will melt even a frostbit heart. 

Yer the gurl fer me

8. For those with a flare for politics.

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9. For those with an eye for this UTV heartthrob.

Guess where my Weather Watching Camera is going to be tonight-

10. For food lovers.

We go together like...

11. Anyone for dessert?

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12. Now that’s love.

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13. You’ll do WHAT? 

I'd butter your fadge any time

14. Couple goals.

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15. NSFW.

A picture of my favourite balls...

16. Talk about crazy in love.

Our love is more passionate than a Nolan rant.

17. And finally…

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New to NI Parcels? Learn more about our low cost courier services…

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Courier To Northern Ireland

courier to niCourier To Northern Ireland

As well as providing quality courier services within Northern Ireland and from Northern Ireland, NI Parcels also offers low cost parcel delivery to Northern Ireland….

As most of us Northern Irish people know all too well, getting parcels delivered to us can be an unnecessary hassle.

You see, despite technically being part of the UK, NI is not part of the UK Mainland (Geography lesson) and that tiny bit of water in between us, can create shipping issues.

For that reason, shipping to Northern Ireland is often more expensive and delivery times can be considerably longer.

student storageNI Parcels Courier Services

So that’s where NI Parcels can help.

We offer low cost and fast shipping to Northern Ireland,  from ROI, the Mainland UK and 200+ international destinations.

We offer same day collections on many routes (if booked before 10am) and Express next day delivery.

You’ll also receive full online tracking and door to door collection and delivery, to make your experience as convenient as sending a parcel can possibly be!

Our Couriers To Northern Ireland

NI Parcels uses a trusted network of top couriers to carry out our deliveries. These couriers include Parcelforce, DPD, City Air Express and Captain Courier.

We offer their services at a discounted rate, so you can expect the same great quality associated with these esteemed names – just at a much lower price.

In fact – booking with NI Parcels is up to 80% cheaper than booking directly with the courier.

UK To NI Courier

UK to Northern Ireland is one of our most popular parcel delivery routes, with many small businesses on the Mainland exporting their products to the NI shores. For those businesses, we provide an affordable and stress-free shipping solution. You can read more about our small business courier services here.

Worldwide Courier To Northern Ireland

As mentioned, we also provide courier services to Northern Ireland, from all over the world. We ship from 200+ countries across the globe.

This can be hugely useful for those with family members living across the world, in countries like Australia, Canada or the USA.

Read more about our international courier services here.

Our Features

As well as a great low cost, when booking with NI Parcels, you’ll also benefit from our top features:

  • Quick and easy online booking.
  • Fast shipping. Same day collections and next day deliveries available.
  • Door to door collection and delivery.
  • Pay as you go system – no bills or invoices.
  • Full online tracking.
  • Dedicated customer support via phone, email and live chat.

Need to send a parcel? Get a quick quote now!

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Learn more:

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Student Shipping Services

uni bag

With My Parcels you can send a parcel anywhere in the world quickly, safely and cheaply…

Our services offer the perfect shipping solution for small business users and individuals who have an item to send.

If you are a student, however, who needs to send their belongings to uni or home again every single term, we recommend using a specialist Student Shipping service – like My Baggage.

My Baggage – Smart Student Shipping

My Baggage is the UK’s No.1 Student Shipping Company, specialising in transporting students’ belongings to and from uni.

Their low cost shipping service is perfect for those on a student budget and their huge 30kg weight allowance means you can send a huge amount of belongings.

My Baggage is the perfect alternative to student storage and is also much cheaper and more convenient than sending your luggage as airline baggage.

How Does My Baggage Work?

With My Baggage, you simply book your shipment and pay for it online. Once you’ve booked, you will be sent labels to print off and attach to your item. Then one of My Baggage’s drivers will collect your luggage from you and deliver it to where it needs to go.

How-does-it-work

As well as full door to door service, My Baggage also have full online tracking and SMS and email notifications to keep you updated on the whereabouts of your shipment.

They offer fast delivery times and flexible booking. You can book your shipment up to 10pm the night before or as far in advance as you like.

My Baggage delivers to all universities in the UK and 200+ countries worldwide. It’s an extremely popular option for Northern Irish students studying on the Mainland, international students or those going on a year abroad.

Watch the My Baggage Instructional Video

If you’re a student who could use some help with your luggage, visit Mybaggage.com to get a quote now.

More information:

College Packing List

Website: Mybaggage.com

My Baggage Scholarship, you can read more about it here.

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3 Common Shipping Mistakes Small Businesses Should Avoid

3 common shipping mistakes small businesses should avoid

It’s no surprise that the two most important things small businesses consider when shipping their products to their customers are 1) the quality of the product and 2) the customer’s satisfaction.

However, there are an entire array of factors controlling how quickly, carefully or cost-effectively products travel from point A to point B – these factors can ultimately impact the customer’s satisfaction, regardless of the quality of the product.

In small business, logistics and shipping mistakes are inevitable. However, when considering these carefully, they’re often easy to spot and even easier to prevent for the future. Here at NI Parcels, we’ve got your back. Here are 3 of the most common shipping mistakes to help you look out for them and do everything to avoid in the running of your small business.

1. Inaccurate Product Specification.

It’s absolutely essential that dimensions and weights of items being sent are correct. If you input them incorrectly into booking systems, you run the risk of it leading to unwanted surcharges and increased shipping costs. Taking that extra bit of time and care to measure items accurately can save an enormous amount of time and money.

2. Poor Packaging.

This may well be one of the most overlooked steps when it comes to small business shipping. It can’t be emphasized enough how important it is to ensure your goods are packaged properly. If they are not, you run the risk of returns and very disappointed customers when the items arrive damaged on their doorstep. Ultimately, trying to save money by sending items in boxes that are too small, too weak or without good internal packaging could end up costing you much more.

3. Shipping Internationally Without Doing The Research.

Particularly for small businesses, international sales are super exciting. However doing the research is key. If you haven’t prepared and don’t know what to expect from each country’s tax code and regulations, it may result in a very awkward experience on your customer’s doorstep – and ultimately, that isn’t going to have a particularly great reflection on your business. Taking the time to research international shipping carefully and properly informing your customers will be wholly worth it in the long run.

New to NI Parcels?

Find out more about us…

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4 Benefits Of Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses

4 benefits of social media marketing for small businesses

These days it’s very hard to find a holistic marketing strategy that doesn’t involve social media.

However that being said, what actually are the benefits of having social media channels for your small business? Building a social media presence for a brand certainly isn’t a quick and easy job – in fact it demands a lot of time and a whole lot of effort. So in the end, is it really worth it?

The short answer: yes. There are one hundred and one benefits of social media marketing for small businesses. To sum it up, here are 4 main benefits of social media marketing for a small business that are sure to get you thinking.

1. Social media increases brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Having social media channels for your brand gives you more opportunity to give your brand a voice and personality. When you develop and humanize your brand in this way, it makes you much more accessible to customers and unveils the opportunity for connections and customer loyalty. After all, people like doing business with other people, not necessarily companies. Additionally, having your brand’s presence across multiple social media channels makes you more familiar and recognizable. A customer may be better acquainted with your brand after seeing your social media presence. For example, you might create a high-quality piece of content that will be shared by your followers for others to see, who may not have otherwise known about your brand.

2. Social media can help increase website traffic and enhance SEO rankings.

This point really speaks for itself – without social media, traffic to your site is limited to those already familiar with your brand and individuals searching for the keywords you currently rank for. So without it, it can be difficult for potential customers to find you and become familiar with your brand. Each of your social media channels are a new path leading back to your website – and that is why it is so important to produce quality content on your channels as opposed to just having it for the sake of it. The more social media shares you receive as a result of producing quality content, the higher your search ranking will be.

Social signals now factor as an indicator in search rankings, and so being active on social media, engaging and producing quality content indicates to search engines that your brand is credible.

3. Social media allows you to get to know your customers.

Using social media gives you the opportunity to gain valuable insights about your audience and potential customers. Being able to see this behaviour is extremely valuable information to have as a brand. You will be able to monitor things such as comments to see what people think directly. Also, using tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics (see here for a few more) for example, gives you the opportunity to see what type of content you are producing generates the most interest. In turn, this gives you the chance to strategically plan your content as per this behaviour.

4. Social media allows you to do all of the above with little to no budget.

Building brand awareness and increasing traffic to your website while producing quality content and engaging with your customers can be achieved at very little to no cost with the help of social media marketing. The key is to start small and not feel overwhelmed with the likes of advertising through Facebook and Twitter (which is relatively cheap). Once you get the hang of it, you can increase your budget how and when you like – so you’ll never have to worry about overspending. And in correspondence, you’ll see an increase on your conversion rates.

New to NI Parcels?

Find out more about us…

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6 Useful Tools That Make Social Media Marketing Easy

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