With more than 900 million people using Facebook and more arriving with each passing day, it is widely agreed that the savvy business owner will market his or her entity on the social media outlet. Yet with so many businesses doing just that, how does one know what will be most effective in attracting those coveted likes and shares, posts and comments? Here are some do’s and don’ts.
Do: Keep Your Profile Updated
Keep your profile updated, but don’t inundate people with posts multiple times every day. One post a day or even once every few days is plenty. It will keep your business in people’s news feeds, but it won’t be so bothersome that it will cause them to hide your posts from their feeds. A good rule to keep in mind is that one really sharp post will attract more likes and shares than a bunch of mediocre ones.
Don’t: Be Overly Promotional
You want people to think you’re a great brand, but they won’t think that if you’re always hitting them over the head with it. Be sure to promote things that don’t scream “ME!” from time to time. Maybe you comment on a weird but interesting story that’s in the news or post a funny, viral video that you’ve seen.
Do: Engage With Others
People like it when you show interest in them. Ask a question on your Facebook page to solicit comments. Start a conversation. Then, be sure to check in periodically throughout the day and post your own responses to what people are saying.
Don’t: Forget to Complete Your Profile
Take full advantage of your page and complete every section of your profile so that people can learn about you quickly. If you’re a bricks and mortar business, you should include your address (or addresses, if you have multiple locations), phone number, and hours of operation, and you should also include a photo of your business.
Do: Run Promotions
Facebook can be a great place to offer a discount or run a contest. You can run a special offer once a week or once a month that gives people a special discount or a free sample of your product.
Don’t: Break the Rules
Running a contest can be a great promotion, just make sure you don’t run afoul of Facebook’s rules. Contests that ask for submissions or votes through likes, comments, or other Facebook UI functions are prohibited, and you can’t notify winners through Facebook. There are Facebook rules you’ll need to consider, which you can read about. Also, don’t forget about state and federal regulations that govern contests.
Do: Be Succinct
Don’t be overly wordy in your posts. While you’re not limited to 140 characters as you are on Twitter, this isn’t a place to blog. Research from Facebook has shown that shorter posts, such as those between 100 and 250 characters, get 60 percent more likes and comments than longer ones. So keep your posts shorter.
Don’t: Forget to Share the Warmth
You want people to like, share, and comment on your posts, so like, share, and comment on others’ posts.
Have you considered using guest blogging as a way to increase your sites visibility? A guest blog post refers to the action of writing a blog post that is posted live on another person or businesses website/blog. This term also refers to having other professional people and/or businesses publish blogs on your website/blog. Why would you want to do this? What are the SEO benefits in this marketing strategy?
At first, individuals may seem hesitant to want to write content for other sites. They may tell themselves that if they are going to produce original content, they should do so only for their own website/blog. They may also think that if they publish guest blog posts on other sites, they will drive away traffic and lose customers. This is not the case. Guest blogging is a great way to drive traffic to your website/blog and to drum up new potential customers. This is a great way to be noticed by people outside of your existing target demographic. How do guest posts work?
Once you have decided that you want to either submit or request guest blog posts, you are at the point of reaching out to other sites. What are the biggest and most influential websites and blogs for your industry? Once you create a list, begin to contact the individuals who run these sites. They are not difficult to find, the majority of websites and blogs have a clearly marked ‘contact us’ section. Treat each individual that you send an inquiry to with respect.
While your ultimate goal is to increase your bottom line, these influential sites will not be eager to work with you if they think you are only thinking about selling. Let these individuals know what it is you have to offer and how you think this will benefit them. This attitude of giving first will always reap a positive outcome. If you are having trouble finding places to inquire and submit to, there are many guest blogging services available that match those seeking posts with those looking to submit posts.
The keys to an effective guest blog post are links. You must have your published guest post, when it appears on another blog, link back to your website/blog. That way people know how to find you when they want more information. Guest blog posts should be written with care. You want the reader to show enough interest to go to your site to read more.
Guest blog posts will increase your search engine rank. Google will begin to notice that you are an authority. When Google recognizes you as an authority, it will push up the rank of your site. That means that even though you are producing content on a site other than your own, your actual site will reap the benefits. In order to achieve this outcome, proper use of keywords and key phrases must be used.
Guest blogging is a great way for any business to increase their search engine rank and drive potential new customers to their site. This is a quick way for Google to identify you as an authority and treat your website accordingly. The key is to create a mutually beneficial professional relationship between you and the other blogs. This creates a win-win situation where everyone achieves his or her goals.
Experts tell all business owners that they must create great content. We all hear how great content, combined with SEO and social networking platforms are the right equation for business success. The fact is creating content can be intimidating and even scary for many people. There is nothing more terrifying than staring at a blank word document fretting over what to write. Here are three tips that can help you create content that works.
Write For One Person
Often, when we are creating content, we get so worried about whether or not everyone who reads the content will absolutely love it. The fact is we can’t please every person on the planet. When you are writing, picture yourself talking to your best friend. How would you explain your business to them? How would you describe the latest and greatest things going on in your niche market to them? If you keep your content simple and conversational you will connect with a much large audience. When you try to write for everyone, you will find that you are excluding those you are really trying to reach. Your audience may find that your content is over generalized and doesn’t apply directly to them. If you keep the tone personal and address specific items that can apply directly to specific members of your audience, you will achieve your desired result. You will create meaningful content that engages and interests your audience.
Your readers want to know more than just about the products and services your produce and provide. When you create content, your content must extend beyond just what you sell. People don’t want to read about you talking just about what you sell. They want to read about what will help them. When people are searching for products and services, it is because they have a problem that they need solved. You need to be creative and original. Think about the problems your potential customers are facing. Offer advice on how to deal with those problems and how to fix their troubles. When you connect with your potential customers on this level, they will see you as an authority in your field. They will trust your knowledge and your expertise. This will lead to them contacting you to fix their problem. Provide content that answers their questions and they will soon start asking you to fix their problem.
Along with creating original content that is helpful, it is crucial to not create content that is scattered. It may be tempting to see what is trending on a daily basis and start writing about all of those different subjects. You may be led to believe that this will increase your ranking but in truth, it decreases the overall ranking of your site. Stay true to your niche market and your niche topic. For example, if you sell pet toys it makes sense to create content that strictly deals with pets. Even if the latest pop sensation is trending, creating content that addresses that pop artist will stick out like a sore thumb on your site. People will wonder what in the world that has to do with pet toys. Stick with your niche market and be consistent with your content delivery.
Creating content is necessary for your site to be properly optimized. Your overall goal of having a high site ranking so that Google will notice you is important. In order to achieve this, you can’t let creating content intimidate you. Stick with what you know, write like you were talking to your best friend and be original. These simple three tips will help you achieve a site that sees a lot of traffic.
Have you ever visited a businesses website only to be left still wondering what services they offer? One of the quickest ways to attract and maintain a potential client’s attention is to have a website that works. There are 3 key things that your website can do that will increase your bottom line.
Choose Content Carefully
The words, also referred to as copy, on your website must be chosen with intent. The intent of web copy should be for search engines to find your site, along with providing valuable information once your potential customer visits your site. Using SEO effectively will make the website more visible and it can keep your potential customer on your website for an optimal amount of time. This is key. Successful businesses harness the power of their web copy to provide valuable information that will foster an environment where people will buy their services. How is this outcome achieved?
When shopping for products and services, potential customers do not want to waste time. They do not want to read pages and pages of web copy, this causes confusion. By keeping the copy short, simple and to the point, potential customers can quickly access the information they are seeking. This encourages them to make a decision in a timely fashion. If customers have too many choices, most will opt to leave the site before making any finite decision. A good rule of thumb is less is more.
Post Customer Reviews
Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to have repeat business and to attract potential customers. With sites such as foursquare and yelp, more customers are taking the time to write reviews and post them. Take some of your positive reviews, those that reflect customer satisfaction with specific products and services that your business provided and have these placed in a highly visible section of your website. Doing so shows that your business is transparent, open, honest and well respected.
Clear Contact Information
Customers do not want to search all over a website to locate contact information. While it may seem like a very simple thing, many businesses fail to have their contact information clearly marked. The optimal place to house your contact information is on your landing page, but having this information on the internal pages is often overlooked. If your website is working properly and potential customers are searching your site, this information should be clearly marked on each page.
A properly designed website is one of the most valuable assets to any business. Following a few simple rules will make a website more effective in gaining the attention of potential customers and having those customers purchase your products and services. The content on your site should be a careful balance of SEO optimized web copy, product or service information and contact details so that potential customers can reach. This together will help you achieve your goal of having a successful business.
What exactly is a social network? Think about the question before you answer it. The obvious and easy answer is just to say “YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.” But it goes beyond this. I think that what differentiates a social media website from any other website is the presence of sharing. Of course, user-generated, non-professional content is also a key part of the mix, but the fundamental idea behind the whole drive is sharing.
People put videos on YouTube because they want to share them with the world. People tweet because they want to share those 140 characters with their followers. People update their Facebook because they want their friends to know… exactly whatever it is people are updating Facebook status with these days.
The important part; however, is sharing. And just as important is the re-sharing and the crossover sharing. When someone reads a great story on Facebook, they have the option to re-post it so that their friends can see it, or they might even hop on Twitter and Tweet about it. Or perhaps they’ll find a great video on YouTube, and then post it onto a friend’s Wall, so that that friend, and everyone in his news feed are also exposed to the video.
It’s easy to see how things go viral this way. The question is, how to you use this phenomenon to make your posts go viral. The key is inciting in your followers an urgent want to share your postings.
So make things relevant to your customers. Social media constantly gives us new tools which allow us to break down users preferences and segregate them into disparate groups. You have more information about your customers than ever before. So speak to them only with ideas that are relevant to them, and that they will act upon and re-share.
Beyond making things relevant, make it easier for your customers to share your posts and videos. Integrate all your social media with sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, at least. Social media mavens have mixed opinions about this, but I like to think about it this way.
Whenever you post a video or an article, there are going to be three camps of people. The first camp will absolutely love your post, and want to scream it from the top of a mountain. They will re-share it whether you have a button or not. The second camp will hopefully like the post, but decide for whatever reason that they do not want to re-share it, even if there is a post.
In the third camp are the undecideds. Some of them may really like the video, but maybe not quite enough to click over to Facebook and think of some clever caption to write with your video. If there is a share button there though, I can all but guarantee this will sway at least some of them. People are inherently lazy, and people like anything that makes there life easier. The share buttons do. So add them.
Of course, the most effective way to do this is by putting yourself in your customer’s position. Before you post anything via social media, make an honest attempt to look at it at from your readers/customers/followers positions, and ask yourself two questions: “How does this help me?” And “Would I want to re-share this?”
Google, the single most used search engine in the United States, is constantly looking for ways to better serve its customer base. The newest trend in search engine usage is for local searches using mobile devices. Mobile device users like smart phone and tablet owners are growing to dominate the search market. Usage has expanded 500 percent in the past two years for mobile devices. Smart phones are predicted to replace most existing traditional cell phones within the next eighteen months. Plus, when a mobile user uses a search engine for local business searches, two thirds of those searches translate into sales. With these staggering numbers, no business can afford to ignore the benefits of marketing to mobile customers. There are several steps you will need to perform to ensure your visibility to mobile Internet users.
1. Revamp your website. Mobile display is very different from traditional computer monitors. Smart phones often have screens less than three inches across, meaning that regular websites do not load properly on their screens. Offer a mobile friendly page, ensuring that smart phone and tablet users can access all of the information they need. Plus, the more easily they can browse your site the more likely they are to walk in your door.
2. Get listed. If you are not already listed as a local business on Google, do so now. If you are listed, check to ensure that your business profile and information is current. More people use Google to search for local listings than they do the yellow pages, making it critical that you participate in their local business listing services.
3. Google is not alone. Do not forget to list your business on as many local listing sites as you can find. Google may account for almost two thirds of all United States searches, but that still leaves a lot of people using alternatives. Make sure that your business is as visible as possible by listing your information far and wide.
If you offer a mobile friendly website, people are more likely to take the time to actually browse your site. This can translate into more sales for your business. With two thirds of all mobile searchers then walking through the door of a local business to make a purchase, you can not afford to ignore the necessity of adding and updating your business listings. Even if you do not sell anything online, it is crucial that you maintain an online presence.
If you are invisible online, you will also be invisible to many people searching for local businesses. Very few people bother to crack open the yellow pages at this point. It is much easier to run a quick search and get all of the information in one easy place. Plus, the yellow pages do not offer rankings and reviews. Today’s consumer enjoys having instant access to local listings and peer reviews of those businesses. The Internet is an incredibly powerful information gathering tool, and businesses that do not bother making their presence felt online will not get the benefits of additional sales.
The advent of social networking has entirely transformed the manner in which web marketers attempt to connect with their audiences. Incorporating this powerful tool into one's website can have dynamic impacts on the overall success of web marketing campaigns, but it is absolutely essential to provide visitors with the keys to make sharing information on their social networking profiles as easy as possible. This requires implementing web design that is Facebook friendly, which in turn encourages the user to promote a brand or external website.
One of the easiest ways to allow your visitors to share intriguing content with their online friends and acquaintances is to provide them with a small click here button, which will automatically broadcast the information on their Facebook profile. Fortunately for web designers, adding these buttons to any website can be accomplished relatively easily. Facebook provides a variety of different buttons, templates and codes to web design professionals, streamlining the entire process and allowing the designer to provide a simple way for any visitor to share content with others.
In addition to the "Like" buttons that can be added to any page, it is also important to keep the overall design aesthetic in mind when creating a Facebook friendly site. For example, if the buttons are added in an inappropriate place, site visitors may not even notice them when reading content. It is important to experiment with different placements and templates in order to find what positioning will most effectively catch the reader's eye.
Beyond button placement, the general navigation of the site should be clear and easy to understand. Simple navigation bars and links make it easy for the visitor to browse through relevant pages on your website, in turn allowing them to discover additional content that may be of interest to them. If a site is professionally designed and easy to understand, the likelihood of the visitor sharing the content they discover with others is greatly increased.
Regardless of what particular methods are utilized to make a website Facebook friendly, it is important to make certain this takes place before the site launches. Building a website from the ground up with social network users in mind will guarantee success over the long haul. Furthermore, this will likely contribute to increased readership and loyalty.
Many businesses have begun to incorporate online marketing strategies into their overall business plan. However, what many fail to realize is that it is not an either/or proposition. To be successful, a business needs to utilize all marketing efforts. Also, marketing efforts should never be looked at as individual items. All marketing is a complete package where each item should build on the overall picture. Online marketing efforts and offline sales are becoming inextricably linked. More and more consumers take a few extra seconds to look at online reviews and comparison shopping websites before they make purchasing decisions.
The smart phone may be the single most transformative device of modern times. With a smart phone consumers can look at a digital representation of the street in which they are standing and get a list of reviews next to every business. Information is more accessible than ever, and it is important to ensure that your business communicates on every possible level. Smart phone shopping apps allow users to locate a store locally, read reviews, see any promotions and compare prices with other local stores, all in a matter of minutes. This has revolutionized how people shop, and it needs to revolutionize how businesses market. Make sure your company is listed on Google maps and local listing sites, so mobile users can find it easily. Also, post promotions and sale prices so that customers can see that you are competitive.
Capitalize on cell phone market penetration with SMS marketing. SMS marketing is one of the best methods available today. With cell phones reaching record heights, there is no other advertising method that has the same read rate. In fact, cell phone users often have no choice but to at least glance at your message. While this is not strictly speaking an online marketing tool, there are a variety of programs out there to enable quick and easy bulk text messaging.
Create and maintain social media profiles for your business. With an investment of only one of two hours a week, you can see a dramatic increase in sales. Consumers are constantly in contact with mobile access, so they can instantly respond to both good and bad experiences. Show them that you are responsive to their preferences by posting signs letting them know you are on Facebook and Twitter. Offer email mailing lists and text sign ups for special promotions. Engage them with coupons only available to Facebook fans and offer them incentives to share your link.
Keep in mind that all online efforts should be geared toward driving offline sales. For industries like restaurants, spas and other service industries, traditional online marketing is not effective. But, integrated marketing can be effective for any business. When you lay out your next marketing push, include both online and offline efforts. Illustrate how one effort can drive another and the entire plan works as a cohesive whole. If there are weaknesses, address them before finalizing the plan. Most businesses don’t exist solely in the vacuum of online, and they shouldn’t market as if they do.
Determining where to put your limited marketing dollars is difficult in today’s economy. Budgets are tighter than ever, but with more competition for the same consumer dollar, marketing is a must. What mediums really help to drive sales, and which are simply a black hole of spending? Traditional marketing avenues of radio and tv are no longer as effective as they used to be. The radio is becoming less common, with an incredible number of people choosing to listen to mp3 players where they avoid the annoyance of commercials. Even some online radio sites offer commercial free listening, or paid services like satellite radio, that are commercial free for extended periods of time are becoming a favorite. Radio simply doesn’t pack the punch it used to. TV is just as bad. Now, more people use services like DVR or TiVo and simply skip or fast forward through commercials. Unless you have the money to advertise during prime time national television shows, it is simply not worth the money. Sites like YouTube are also growing in popularity, where people watch totally commercial free content.
Newspapers and magazines used to be a good place to put advertisements, but now more people read blogs dedicated to topics they are interested in or stay current using social media. Newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur. Search engine optimization techniques are more profitable for a business than print media ever will be. Listings in the phone book are now a thing of the past, ensuring your business is listed on websites is important, but very few people use a traditional phonebook in today’s society. Online listings are easier and faster to search through. Ensuring your website is search engine optimized so it shows up during internet searches is a much better investment. It gets your company to a wider audience, for less money.
Other traditional marketing methods are also taking a hit. Telephone calls are not welcomed by the public and can actually hurt your business more than they help. Street signs still have a place, but they are expensive and it is difficult to track sales generated from this method. If you can’t track the return on investment, it is difficult to determine the value of a specific advertising method. Search engine optimization allows your company to reach the billions of people that shop online. It is also easily tracked and inexpensive. Why pay tens of thousands of dollars for radio and television advertising when you can reach more people for less money online?
Contracting a search engine optimization service to help your company show up on the first page of search results is a great investment in the future. Businesses that don’t take advantage of online sales will have a difficult time staying profitable during economic downturns. Online sales can help to fill in the gap when local markets are strained. Make sure your website is the visible sales tool it should be with simple search engine optimization techniques and expert help.
Social media can be a great marketing tool, but only if it is used appropriately. Social media lets customers interact with your company in a less formal environment. While employees responsible for maintaining your social media presence should always be professional, it is a great opportunity to engage customers with fun information as well as with product information. Establishing a brand takes time, and it requires that people bond emotionally with the products. One successful example includes Coca Cola’s annual Christmas campaigns, which work on a sentimental level to remind consumers how long Coke has been a part of their lives. Creating that kind of consumer identification can be much easier using social media tools. Below are five great ways to get customers to interact with your company and start building brand recognition and loyalty.
1. Encourage Reviews – Today, many people post reviews of local and national companies on review sites like Yelp!, Epinions, and My 3 Cents. Ask customers to post a review of your business and offer them an incentive to do so. A discount coupon or free give-a-way is a nice way to thank customers for taking the time to share their opinion about your company. With more and more people checking online reviews before deciding on a company, service or product, it is important to ensure that your business is represented positively online. Unfortunately, you will probably experience the bad with the good. Not everyone will have a positive experience and they may post less than favorable reviews. By monitoring these you have the opportunity to show other consumers that you care about the opinions of your customers and are willing to try and address their concerns, even when they are negative. Think of negative reviews as a way to demonstrate your stellar customer service.
2. Customer Service – Negative responses are always more likely on a review site, so it is important to address them as quickly as possible. Invite the person that had the poor experience to contact you directly so that you can work together to create a solution. Don’t get involved in an online argument, and once the customers issue is resolved don’t hesitate to ask them to post an update, or post one yourself stating that you hope the customer’s concerns have been addressed and express your apologies for the inconvenience.
3. Online Check-Ins – Another great way to keep customers engaged is to offer an online check-in. Many social media sites now offer people the ability to post their location automatically when they login to their social media of choice. Offering customers give-a-ways or special discounts for checking in at your location can be a great way to advertise your business. It is a bit like word or mouth, but has a much broader application. Everyone in that customer’s social network will see where they shop and that introduction can drive sales right to your business.
4. Viral videos – Creating videos for display on sites like YouTube is a great way to build an additional following. There is no real formula to creating a viral video, so make sure that all your content is either informative or fun.
5. Promote Events – Using social media to promote in-store events is a great idea. Not only will it give you some idea of attendance numbers, it will help generate excitement prior to the event. It is free and very easy to create an event page, so this should definitely be included as a part of any upcoming promotions or sales.