Thanks to modern technology, businesses can be conceived, operated and grown using just a computer and internet connection. The number of self-employed entrepreneurs increases every year, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests the number of self-employed people in the U.S. has grown by nearly 150,000 since 2014 to 8,751,000.

As the number of entrepreneurs increases, so does the competition across all niches and industries. With more people fighting for a piece of the pie, it’s important to understand how to effectively market online if you want more than just leftover crumbs.

In order to help you succeed and take your marketing efforts in the right direction, here are four simple tips that you can start taking advantage of today.

1. Understand That Social Media Constantly Changes

Social media isn’t going away any time soon, as the increasing user numbers indicate. Instagram has more than 500 million active daily users, and more than 800 million total users. Facebook lost daily traffic for the first time recently, but a lot of that has to do with more users focusing their attention on Instagram.

It’s no secret that you need to be active on social media, but it requires staying up to speed when it comes to changes on the platforms and not just posting status updates. Facebook created quite the buzz when they began limiting organic exposure in an effort to drive more businesses to run paid ads. Instagram is currently making headlines for doing the same thing now. Snapchat is also making several changes, which were just capped off with a major user experience overhaul that most absolutely hate.

Spend a few minutes each day reading marketing and tech blog, like this one, to help you stay ahead of the social media curve.

2. Don’t Get Hung-up on Outdated SEO Techniques

SEO (search engine optimization) is also something that every business needs to tackle, but you can’t get hung-up on outdated techniques and strategies. What worked several years ago just simply isn’t effective these days, and in many instances can get your website penalized.

Adam Heitzman, co-founder of digital marketing firm HigherVisibility pointed out that, “Building a lot of low quality links and publishing thin content with no end-user value does nothing to help your business rank on Google.” For local businesses, the map has completely overtaken the organic results and now with voice search becoming a major player, there are no cookie-cutter SEO solutions.

Want to master 2018 SEO? Learn from people who are practitioners, not just talkers. Mastering SEO these days requires being in the trenches. When hiring an SEO company spend some time to perform proper due diligence, as the extra time can save you money and wasted time down the road.

3. Share Your Story and Leverage It to Connect with Your Target Audience

Your personal brand can be one of your most valuable marketing channels, but it requires putting yourself out there and sharing your story. Most consumers will connect with a person over a brand much easier, which is why you see entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk and Andy Frisella leading with their experiences and personal story.

This strategy can build a massive audience and following, which can then be leveraged to push the attention to companies and business ventures. The average consumer is going to welcome inspirational and educational lessons coming from a business owner, while blocking out messages that come from a company and reek of an advertisement.

4. Create Content That Delivers Value

Content marketing has been a buzz word for several years now, but the end goal of all content needs to be providing value. There are several components of great content, and you need to include them all if you expect to see results that move the needle.

Don’t worry about the search engines when creating content. Instead, focus on creating content your audience loves so much that they are encouraged to share it on social media. The referral traffic and social shares will positively impact your SEO naturally.

Sourced from Marketing Insider Group