Social media marketing sounds easy to plenty of new entrepreneurs, yet they must perceive the contrast between individual online networking use and expert utilization.
Consider it like this: on the off chance that you bake a batch of cookies to serve your family, at that point that is something you can oversee without anyone else. Yet, in the event that you anticipate serving 1,000 cookies to peers over the course of a three-day business conference, at that point that is an altogether more complex issue!
Everything gets more complicated when you move from personal to professional, and the outcomes matter more, as well.
All of a sudden, you aren’t simply posting on your Facebook when you feel like it. Nor would you be able to enjoy occasional the reply and like. Instead, you’re actively trying to drive business goals and represent your brand in a likable way.
The emotional contrast between the two approaches finds numerous entrepreneurs off-guard. To help them out, here are eight secrets the masters utilize with regards to online networking marketing — and that numerous small businesses miss.
Write Down a Policy and Style Guide
Ask them to tell you what the business’s social media policy is, and you’re just as likely to get dozens of different answers. In fact, most employees may look you back blankly in the face.
A social media policy guides the brand voice as well as the decisions a business makes when posting. So, if you were trying to pick between two image types, the social media marketing policy could help you decide on the one that aligns better with your social goals.
Creating a social media style guide can similarly help make posting easier, especially if more than one employee handles the duties. Align everything in your policy and style guide so that your social media accounts can support both your brand and your marketing goals.
Target Your Content and Conversations Towards Personas
Some small businesses get HUGE social media followings …of people who would rarely buy anything from them.
There is a big gap between mass engagement and targeted engagement.
You want your posts to speak to a highly targeted audience based on the traits of your best customers. For instance, if you pitch your services to existing IT departments, don’t be shy about using jargon. Stay current on any discussion, too, so that your ideas don’t seem dated.
But if you want to offer managed IT services to regular businesses, they may not know a CAT cable from a cat collar. Feel free to post basic how-tos, and try to keep terminology approachable.
Decide upon the segments you want to speak to in order to raise your chances of success. Imagine traits of a single person in this segment, including their typical job role, the things they value most, and broad aspects of their personality. This is your “persona” for an idealized version of a target audience group.
You can even name them! That way, before you decide on a post to share or an image to use, you can ask something like: “Would Sarah the retired optometrist care about this post?”
Strategize, Set Goals, And Ditch Vanity Metrics
Always set goals for your social media usage. It should serve a concrete purpose that ultimately benefits your business.
Common social media marketing goals include:
Raising website visits
Generating leads through job quotes
Helping introduce new products to people
Getting more participants for events, contests, and things like webinars
Upselling existing customers
Reminding prior customers to return again
Promoting a specific brand value, especially through philanthropy
No matter what your goals are, ensure they actually help your business get more money or improve its brand.
For instance, having a certain number of “likes” or shares from a post promoting your content should not be a goal. These are vanity metrics. Instead, you should monitor the number of actual visits to the content on your website. Ideally, you will also have targets for the percentage of people converted from social to content to signup for your related offer.
Carry on Actual Conversations and Engage
Don’t just post into the void or post things you, personally, want to read.
Everything you post should be targeted towards the personas you have created and tied towards business goals.
You want your audiences to feel like your brand is carrying on a conversation rather than just talking at them.
Respond to certain positive comments or interesting ideas. Try to see if you can get the full perspective from people who have something negative to say. Make each response feel personal, not canned.
Give your audience opportunities to take center stage. Post a question for them, like “what are your favorite ways to save money?” Ask them if they would like to see more of certain content types, or less of certain post types.
Also, make your social media use broader than just posting on your own page. Use social listening tools to monitor brand mentions and jump in on messages when you think it’s worthy of a conversation. Find other business pages, and engage with them like you would want others to engage with you.
As Andrew Kucheriavy of web development company Intechnic writes, “make [sure] your interactions are meaningful! Networking is about adding value to a relationship.”
This is great! Having a schedule makes the social experience more consistent and professional for your audience.
But you shouldn’t be shackled to this schedule.
New articles and ideas will pop up on your radar all the time. Maybe something interesting happened in your industry this week. Maybe you just snapped a great photo of your team at the office.
Give yourself the chance to actually share content during opportunities like these rather than hoarding it all until next month. If you set aside, say, an hour each week to make time for unscheduled postings, then you can flesh out your existing content and make your page feel more organic.
Just remember to stick to your policy, goals, and buyer persona (avatar) guides. Also, proofread twice! Want a really awesome way to create, schedule and automate your social media marketing? Try our free tool, MySoPro today!
Promote Content Posts to Put Them in Front of Targeted Audiences
Start experimenting with promoting certain posts and using custom audience building features. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook even offer the ability to target specific companies or hyper-local areas.
If you put just a small budget behind a few key posts a month, then you can quickly multiply the number of people who see your messages. You also generate valuable data based on who does and doesn’t interact when they see certain posts.
Don’t Assume Social Media Marketing Is Easy to Do Yourself
There’s a reason “social media manager” is a full-time job at most big companies. Even for small businesses, managing it all and doing it right can be tough.
On top of that, you may not have the time to dig into your data or revisit your strategies and guiding documents.
So seek out help. Share the burden with others who are qualified and whose judgement you trust.
As Social Media Week observes: “Long gone are the days when you could rely on an intern to manage your business’s social media accounts. Either hire an in-house expert or outsource to a social media management firm.”
Crawl Before You Walk, Walk Before You Run
Similarly, as with anything in business, don’t take on more than you could possibly deal with. Stick to one or two social networks at first. Otherwise, your pages could feel like soulless cookie-cutter copies or, worse, ghost towns with nary an update in months.
Be that as it may, if you stay focused on your goals and your principles, at that point you can begin little to discover progressive achievement. Just once you get the hang of it should you begin to scale out and accomplish more.
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Take a look at your business. What is it that determines whether you stay afloat or go under? Is it the same thing that motivates you to do better every day? To phrase it simply, what is it that drives your entire operation? The answer is simple and quite obvious: customers.
Every auto repair and auto body shop owner out there will tell you the same thing: getting customers is not easy. Obviously, that isn’t something you want to hear when starting your own auto repair business.
Unfortunately for many of these auto repair and body shop owners, the importance of digital marketing strategies, especially in a world where the internet exists, is either lost on them or entirely unacknowledged. Fortunately for you, however, you are about to learn the three essential auto repair shop marketing strategies and how they can help you gain more customers no matter how big or small your business is.
1. Reputation Management
What is it?
When a customer searches for your business online, the results will include every bit of information that Google considers relevant to the search(SEO). This includes websites with positive and negative reviews about your company, forum posts, articles, and blog posts.
Reputation management, or online reputation management(ORM), is what businesses do to control what their customers see first when they search for their company online. The most efficient way to achieve this is by boosting the positive search results so that they are ranked higher than the negative results, giving the company lots of good publicity.
In as much as reputation management revolves around publicizing good news about your company, it is also about learning how to respond to criticism swiftly and appropriately.
How it will help your business
So how will reputation management help you gain more customers?
a) By giving your business an online presence – some of the key components to online management such as keeping your websites updated (or creating one for those who haven’t), posting articles and media, and publishing to your social media pages can make your business an authoritative presence online. This means new customers will find it easier to trust you.
b) By making your business easier to find – very few people go past the first page of the search results. If your company has established a good online presence, Google will rank it higher on the first page and make it a lot easier to find.
Reputation management allows you to present the most relevant or accurate information about your business first, giving you the chance to put your best foot forward and become more visible on the internet. Neat, isn’t it?
2. SMS Marketing
What is it?
Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is a permission-based marketing technique that businesses use to distribute promotional messages to their customers. This strategy requires your customers to opt into an automated texting service, usually by sending a text to a predetermined shortcode. Customers who opt in receive a confirmation message alongside instructions on how to opt out of the service.
The scale of your operations will determine whether you will need SMS marketing software for this strategy. However, it is a lot less labor-intensive to automate the process.
How it will help your business
SMS marketing plays a massive role in many business’ marketing campaigns for one particular reason: it is a fantastic close range marketing tactic. When it comes to increasing customer loyalty and growing your database, it is a very potent marketing technique.
Because many of these consumers feel that text messages:
· Are more likely to grab their attention sooner (98% of SMS messages are opened and read within the first 3 minutes);
· Are easier to read and respond to;
· Make it easier to communicate with businesses like yours, and most importantly;
· Do not make them feel like their identity and personal data is at risk of being exposed.
A general rule of thumb to be observed when implementing this tactic is that the platform should primarily be used to serve your customers and not to promote your business.
What does this mean?
Simply put, you should use the SMS communication channel to relay information such as appointments, service reminders, and important events. Promoting your business using SMS marketing, while still allowed, should be done with tact. The last thing you want is your customers to feel pestered or annoyed by incessant text messages about discounted auto servicing rates. A general rule of thumb is to keep the total number of messages to less than 5 per month.
Keep it short and straightforward, and most importantly, keep it relevant.
3. Promotional Marketing
What is it?
This kind of marketing involves the use of promotional tools such as contests, raffles, and sweepstakes to create awareness about a brand/company and to attract customers. This tactic is usually deployed with one primary goal in mind: to create a buzz.
How it will help your business
Promotional marketing can help your business in the following ways:
a) Creating awareness about your company – everybody loves to win, which is why promotions get a lot of attention from consumers. You don’t have to bend over backward to get your customers interested either; a prize as simple as free service or repairs for a specified period is enough to get everyone in a competitive mood. The more competition there is, the bigger the buzz generated.
b) Providing a platform to conduct market research – Contests and promotions are also crucial for market research. You can use them as a platform to carry out short but useful surveys on your existing customer base. For example, a series of brief questions on the participants’ registration forms can give you crucial insight into your clients’ driving habits, their preferred type of engine oil, and various other pertinent things that you can use to better your services or to promote your products.
If organizing promotional events sounds too hectic for you, worry not. Online contest management software such as the one offered here (https://www.jvimobile.com) not only lessens the load for you, it also encourages your customers to share the contest on social media by rewarding them with more entries for every person that enters the contest through their recommendation.
Remember, you don’t have to go over your budget when organizing contests, sweepstakes, and other promotional tools. A single prize is usually enough to attract several participants. However, if you can afford it, there is no harm in offering multiple prizes, especially when you’re promoting a new product.
Thus far, here is what we have learned:
· Reputation management is all about making your business more authoritative and easier to find online;
· If you can help it, don’t bother with email marketing or push-notifications; SMS marketing is the way to go, and last but not least;
· Promotional marketing is a double-edged sword that can be very useful when used correctly.
Now that you’re armed with three vital digital marketing strategies, you’re probably wondering how to implement all of them at once. To be honest, it can be quite a task to juggle the three strategies on your own, especially if you run a small business.
Can it be done?
Fortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding YES! Thanks to the innovative and easy to use software that you can find here, you can take care of your company’s reputation management, SMS marketing, and promotional marketing needs in an easy and highly efficient manner.
Let’s face it – social media took the world by storm. And while it initially captured most of consumers, it also paved the way for the businesses to take part in the action too. And that is exactly what is happening on Instagram right now.
As of April, this year, Instagram launched a completely new feature to the platform – the Instagram business profiles. And just like Facebook there will be a lot of advantages for businesses who embrace it sooner than later.
So, What Are the New Instagram Business Profile Features Like?
Basically, the Instagram algorithm for businesses is mimicking the Facebook for Business idea of advertising to a local audience and getting the best bang for your buck. You can reach your target audience and get exposure for your business for even a small ad spend.
However, a lot of people would agree that the new Instagram algorithm for business is even more personal than the Facebook algorithm that is already used by businesses worldwide. The difference is basically in the personal versus the public use.
In short, the new Instagram update filters the advertised content according to two factors – engagement and interest. That way, when a user that you follow engages with the advertised content (likes it or follows it) – you automatically see that content higher in your feed.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
The best way to answer this question is simple. This new Instagram algorithm for businesses is like music to the ears of every marketer. More so, marketers see this content positioning as extremely helpful when promoting on Instagram.
So… What’s so great about it?
Well, before this update, business profiles were hard to find on Instagram. The only way followers could engage with them was to click their website link in their profile. However, the all new Instagram for Business comes with contact buttons that directly lead to the business’ email or phone – as well as its location on map.
Whether you’re a seasoned Instagram pro or have never used Instagram before – This platform is here to stay and they’ve just made it even easier to promote your business.
Here’s 5 Tricks to Maximize Your Success When Using Instagram For Business
Upgrade A Personal Instagram Profile to A Business Profile – First and foremost is to upgrade to a business profile on Instagram. You can do that by linking your Instagram account to your Facebook business page. Yup that’s it! Instagram will see the designation and connect it accordingly.
Embrace the new ‘Stories’ Feature – Many businesses do very well with “Stories” on Snapchat and Facebook. And now, Instagram supports stories – a feature that allows users to post photos and video that vanish after 24 hours. So, try it out occasionally until you’re comfortable enough to use the feature on a regular basis!
Make Use of the CTA/Contact Button – Direct communication is one of the best features of Instagram for Business. When you set up the Contact button, you can choose how people will reach you – whether it’s email, phone or both.
Post on A Regular Basis, But Don’t Over-post – Sometimes people can get too much of a good thing, right? And it’s certainly true in this case. Over-posting can have a counter-effect and followers will be more likely to skip your posts. That is why 3 great posts a week can out-perform 30 of them.
Track the Analytics – Another great part of the all new Instagram for businesses algorithm are the analytics. Only business profiles have access to this feature which definitely makes it an exclusive perk. In order to open it, tap or click the little bar graph icon on your profile and you will see several metrics – one of which is the ‘Insights’ option. There, you can analyze and see how many people see your posts and how many of them viewed your business profile.
A Final Word
It certainly goes without saying that Instagram’s latest update is an exciting new option to promote your business with.
But the bottom line is that no matter how many updates and new features social media platforms rollout on us, what really matters is the content that you choose to share and the people engaging with it. So, I say give it a shot. There has never been a better time to promote your business on this immensely popular platform. Instagram profiles for business is nothing short of a bulls-eye for small business.
If you’re managing a Facebook page for your business, the chances are good that you are missing out on some great tools and features. While setting up a page for your business is easy, Facebook doesn’t offer a ton of guidance about some of the things you can do with a business page. Some of the tools they offer can help make managing your page easier, while others can be used to make your ads more effective.
Importing Email Contacts
This feature provides a quick and easy way to let your existing customers know about your Facebook page. If you have an email list or client database, you can import it into Facebook and send invitations to everyone on your list asking them to “Like” your page. To use this feature, all you need to do is click on the ellipsis that appears next to the SHARE button at the top of your Facebook Timeline.
Then click the “Invite Friends” option and it will give you the opportunity to import your email list from a variety of places, including: -Autoresponder sites like Constant Contact and MailChimp -Email providers like Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo –Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger
It is important to note that you are limited to importing 5,000 addresses per day. If you have a huge database you may need to do it in batches. You can select specific names from a list or choose the whole group. That means it’s easy to eliminate clients who have already liked your page and focus on those who have not.
Using Free Stock Photographs in Facebook Ads
If you have ever gone looking for stock photographs to use for your business, you know that they can sometimes be expensive. One nice perk that Facebook offers advertisers is free access to a huge database of stock photographs courtesy of Shutterstock.
You can access this feature when you first setup your ad, or going to your Manage Ads page and clicking “Edit Ad”. You will see three options for images: -Upload image -Choose Image from Library -Stock Images
You may already have images to use in your ads, but if you don’t this is a good way to make your ad more appealing. Research shows that people respond more strongly to images than they do to text alone, and a compelling picture can do a lot in terms of getting people to click on your ad. However, it is important to make sure that you check that the image you choose meets Facebook’s guidelines.
Schedule Facebook Posts in Advance
Many companies use social media management tools like Hootsuite,Post Planner or our favorite, MySoPro to manage their social media content. However, you don’t need to pay for an online tool to schedule Facebook posts. The ability to do so is built right into your Facebook page.
Like many Facebook features, this one requires a little detective work to find. To access it, click the “Publishing Tools” tab at the very top of your Timeline. When you do, you will see a menu on the left with an option to schedule posts.
You can draft your posts and specify the date and time you want them published. You have all of the same options you would have when sharing a post in real time. That means you can include links to websites and articles, as well as embedding videos and photographs.
The nice thing about this feature is that it means you can be sure you will always have new content on your page, even on weekends or when you are on vacation.
Check the Relevance of Your Ad
One of the nicest things about social media advertising is that you can get feedback, in real time, about how your ad is performing. With Facebook, you get a notification every time someone new follows your page, and you also get information about the number of people your posts reach. These are important things to know because they can help you identify the content that matters the most to your audience.
A relatively new thing that you can find on Facebook is a score that rates the relevance of your ad. It takes into account things like comments, video views, clicks, likes, and shares. If people are telling Facebook to hide your ad, that can decrease its relevance. You can access this feature from your Manage Ads page.
What’s the benefit of tracking your ad’s relevance? Sometimes companies don’t make adequate use of Facebook’s demographics and psychographics when targeting their ads. If a large number of people are telling Facebook that your ad is not relevant to them, it may be time to take a look at who is seeing it. Your ad spending won’t do you any good if you’re wasting it on people who aren’t interested.
Add Pages to Watch
Every skilled marketer knows the importance of monitoring the competition. Regardless of your industry, there are other companies online who are in direct competition with you. Many of them undoubtedly maintain a presence on Facebook. Facebook gives you an easy- and free- way to monitor the competition’s social media activity. To access it, all you need to do is go to the Facebook Insights page and scroll down to the bottom. You can add up to five pages and track things such as the number of likes they get or how often they post new content. These are helpful things to know. If your competition is posting new content twice a day and you’re only posting a few times a week, you may need to increase the frequency of your posts to keep up with them.
All the above tools are free and very easy to use. Facebook is constantly adding new tools and features, and keeping up with them can be tricky. The features mentioned here are ones you would be unlikely to stumble upon unless you made the effort to scroll through all of your ad management tools to see what you had missed. Using them is a good way to make sure you are getting the most bang for your Facebook advertising buck.
As a small business owner, you know that effective online marketing plays a significant role in the success of your company. The competition for internet users’ attention is fierce, and if you want to make your company stand out from the competition, you have to stretch your marketing budget as far as you can. You might not have the money to take out Google ads or even to pay for Facebook advertising, but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept lackluster marketing results. Content marketing is a major piece of any online marketing strategy.
“Content isn’t just words on a page, it’s everything you put out there on the web to engage your audience.”
Content marketing is the key to help your company succeed. When you make the effort to create unique and valuable content to share online, you can let what you create speak for you without having to spend a lot of money. The kind of content you create, as well as how and when you share it, are both important when it comes to spreading the word about your company. With that in mind, let’s look at 6 content marketing strategies that you can use to help increase traffic to your website and grow your business.
1. Concentrate your content creation efforts on evergreen content. Evergreen content is content that isn’t likely to feel dated anytime soon. For example, a blog post about a current event would not be considered evergreen; a post that defined some industry terms and jargon would be considered evergreen.
The key is to find topics that will interest your current and future customers for some time to come. Some examples might include how-to guides, tutorials, frequently asked questions, and posts addressing problems that are common to your customers. For example, if you own an apparel store, a post about dressing different body types could have a long life online because it will always be of concern to the people who shop at your store. You can and should re-post evergreen content periodically, and make updates as needed.
2. Concentrate your SEO efforts on getting high-quality backlinks and using local keywords. If you know anything at all about search engine optimization (SEO), you know that it’s a broad topic and one that is constantly changing. In the early days of the internet, all a webmaster had to do was stuff websites with keywords to get a high rank on Google. Today, search algorithms are very sophisticated. Keyword density is only one small piece of the puzzle.
Ranking for top keywords will be difficult, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think about keywords. For local companies, the best option is to focus on long-tail keywords with a geographical component. Instead of aiming at a keyword like “video games,” you might decide to try to rank for “buy video games in Forest Grove.” It’s a longer keyword, but one that local customers are likely to use when looking for a local retailer. The same is true of backlinks. The number of backlinks you get is less important than the quality of your backlinks.
There are certainly sources where you can buy back links, but that’s considered a “black hat” SEO practice and is just as likely to earn you a penalty from Google as it is to bring traffic to your website. Instead, look for guest blogging opportunities on websites that are relevant to your business. Also try to get your site listed in industry directories.
3. Use social media wisely. A lot of small companies make the mistake of looking at Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram) as a way to advertise themselves. The problem with that it is that it completely leaves out the social aspects of social media. The people who follow you on social media are not doing so because they want to be at the receiving end of an endless stream of promotional messages. They do it because they want to be entertained, engaged, and informed. This is one of the most misunderstood content marketing methods.
” At least 80% of your social media content should be aimed at providing value to your followers.” That means that for every five things you post, four of them should be entertaining, relevant, and devoid of any overt sales pitches. The other one can be a direct marketing appeal, but even then, you should make sure to include something of value for your followers.
JVI Mobile uses the LENS method for social media posts. Listening (L) posts are designed to begin a conversation and create engagement (like, comment and share). Educating (E) posts are facts, trivia, do-you-know, or how-to posts designed to teach the reader. Networking (N) posts are written to share other people’s content while tagging them and building online relationships. Selling (S) posts are where you promote your products and/or services and should be used the least (20% of the time). Using the LENS method, you will develop a clear, 20/20 vision for your social media presence.
4. Encourage readers and followers to share your content. The whole point of content marketing is to bring new visitors to your website and ultimately, to your business. For that reason, it isn’t enough simply to create compelling content; you must also make that content interesting enough to share, and provide people with the means of sharing it.
To make it interesting, write a great headline – many people who write online say that they spend as much time on their headlines as they do on the rest of their content combined – that includes numbers or compelling words like tips, tricks, ways, ideas, lessons, or facts.
It’s also important to keep your headline short. No more than 65 words so that the whole title can be viewed on a list of Google search results. In terms of making it shareable, you should embed social sharing buttons on your website and blog, and actively encourage your followers to share your content. You won’t want to do it on every post, but on something that you think is especially likely to attract new customers, come right out and ask people to share what you’ve created.
5. Find ways to make your content visually compelling. The average internet user is exposed to hundreds of pieces of content per day. You can make yours stand out by adding compelling images – originals are best, since many stock photos are generic and not very exciting – infographics, or videos are even better. An infographic can be an especially good way to share a large volume of information or data. It’s easier to read and absorb than an article would be, and infographics are highly shareable, and videos are naturally more engaging for visitors than reading a lot of text.
6. Submit a Press Release. Don’t underestimate a well written PR, it’s like a news nugget that online search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing love as well as it attracts local press. It’s an easy way to boost your online visibility, and marketing your business at the same time. Once you’ve submitted your PR online – contact your local news media and ask if they would publish it too – you may be surprised!
Whether you do it yourself through directories like PR Web or PR Newswire or hire marketing agency to create and submit it on your behalf, press releases are a great content marketing strategy for any local business.
If you use these six strategies, your content will always be compelling, entertaining, and valuable to your followers. The more value you provide, the more likely it is that one-time customers will become repeat customers and that new visitors to your website will end up buying from you.