The whirlwind of social media

The whirlwind world of social media is like Pandora’s box – it holds powerful tools that can seriously boost your business to attract new customers, retain loyal ones, and engage the digital world…or it can be a heap of resources wasted if you don’t use them properly.

Some myths need busting
Some myths need busting

Here are five of the major Social media myths debunked.

Myth 1: Social media is a weekday job

You may be on a 9-5 shift during the week, but social media outlets run 24/7 you might actually have more success if you engage on weekends and odd hours.

Myth 2: I don’t have enough content to feed the outlets

Content gets posted, pushed down, and becomes irrelevant before you know it. Re-post the same content in different ways to build concepts and values that your brand represents. The key is to not make it repetitive. Just put a new spin on it when you re-post it a few weeks later.

Myth 3: I can’t show personality

Your content should be mainly targeted at your demographic and within your industry, but don’t be afraid to show some personality.  Throwing in some humor through office pictures, or interesting news articles can humanize your brand’s message.

Myth 4: My target demographic is older, so social media isn’t worth it

Contrary to what you may think, the older crowd is quite active on social media. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Centre’s Internet and American Life Project, 52% of online boomers and 32% of online seniors are on social networking sites, especially Facebook.

Myth 5: Social media marketing doesn’t drive bottom line results

This may be the biggest misconception about social media and its effectiveness.  Social media creates leads and inspires new customers. Fact proven: companies that use Twitter average twice as many leads as companies that don’t – the proof is in the profit.

So in summary: Social media outlets are the perfect places to create a platform for your business and showcase it for current and potential customers, you just have to know how to use them – and that means knowing the truth behind the myths.

What marketing myths have you heard that should be added to the list?

(from an article on Linked In)

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Social Media Basics

So where to start on your social media travels …

Choose your platform (160 different ones) carefully to target your audience – be selective and set time goals – be SMART

“If Facebook is the Primark of social media, then LinkedIn is the Harrods – so choose your platform and language, post carefully so as NOT to offend other users.”  Zoe Cairns

Autumn Colours
So Autumn is here – time to start your Social Media Strategy

Facebook is now used by >35 yr olds, Instagram for the <35 yr olds, and Snapchat is for 8 – 24 yr olds – think of your target market, and choose and post accordingly. 

YouTube channel is for EVERY business – you can signup easily by opening a  gmail account (free), then why not use apps like VideoScribe or Animoto to create simple videos to post with your messages.

Find the key influencers for your line of business (use LinkedIn for this) and then follow them – get them to follow you as this will increase your social media reach.

Create a Target Audience Sheet and from this design your strategic 8 point social media plan – then you won’t get overwhelmed.

  1. Set your goals
  2. Define your target market
  3. Select your key influencers
  4. Research your competitors – look at their social media platforms
  5. Design your content strategy and campaign
  6. Monitor your activity – respond to the market immediately
  7. Join conversations and engage with the market
  8. Measure and analyse your social media actions to refine your goals – start again.

 

All campaigns will have a slow start and might take 6 – 9 months for ROI, so don’t be put off in the beginning – remember to keep to your strategy.

Use the Facebook algorithm to ensure your posts remain in the public view the longest:

Affinity + Weight = Time decay engagement

  • Affinity is how much you engage with facebook – must be a 2 way channel
  • Weight is quality of content – where text/links/pictures/video (text worse – video best)
  • Time decay engagement is how long the post stays up in public view.

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Attention Grabbing Headlines

I came across this amazing fact whilst surfing the net, that 4 out of 5 (80%) of people determine whether to keep reading about your products or services on the basis of your website headline.

Now with that in mind your website headline becomes THE MOST important part of your page.  No confusing double talk, clever ‘click through’ links – just capture your readers attention.

Charlie Cook in his how-to guides outlines three typical mistakes we all make:

  1. If you’re not a household company brand name, frankly most of us are not interested in knowing what you call yourself.  Move branding to the side and make room for a more creative headline.
  2. Don’t bother with a ‘welcome to my site’ first line – you don’t see this in the printed media?
  3. Avoid vague lengthy sentences containing business speak – who cares? Use language we can all relate to and understand, widening the net for potential customers.

We all unconsciously, so I am led to understand, look at web sites in the same way we read magazines ads – scanning to see if it is something we want.

Headlines therefore should:

Racing for the finish line
  • Clarify
  • Describe
  • Define
  • Explain
  • Emphasis
  • Compel

Headlines should NOT:

  • Confuse
  • Obscure
  • Be Vague
  • Lack drive
  • Be BORING

Now start surfing and see how many sites follow these simple guidelines – great sport.

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Make it Big: Social Strategy for Small Businesses

While the tools may be similar, the tactics you use for your small business will differ from the Nikes and McDonalds of the world.

HootSuite’s Social Media Coach, Vicky Truong, ran a very interesting webinar on October 31st demonstrating the practical tips that make sense for your small business – be it a cafe, boutique or bakery.

She covered many topics including

Vicky Truong
  • How to connect to your customers online.
  • How to monitor across social media platforms.
  • Effective ways to represent your brand online and ideas to help improve your web presence.
  • How other small businesses have used social media successfully.
  • How to turn your online traffic into customers.
  • The best tools for measuring your progress.

For more details on this and further webinars goto: http://www.bizlaunch.com/

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Steps to engaging with customers

It is most important that your existing customers spread the good word about your business, the volume of business referral this generates can make a huge difference to your turnover as your new business develops.  If this is not happening then it could be that your “engagement marketing engine” is not revved up – so says Patricia Resicker in her latest article.

The Engagement Marketing Cycle

Engagement marketing here is not about feel good conversations on your blog or Facebook pages, but rather when people qualify themselves – “yes, I’m interested – help me know a little more”.  First hand word-of-mouth and social media marketing can be game-changers for small organizations looking to achieve more success.

As someone who ran a small hotel, I know that delivering a great customer experience is crutial to business growth, and one way to achieve this is to do some thoughtful naval gazing …

  • When people telephone are they put on hold?
  • Can you access your website from a smart phone?
  • How “smart” is your website – does it use “Flash”?
  • Do you deal with complaints (or complements) straight away?

Hmmm, how did you do?

Keep in touch with your customers, don’t assume they will come back on their own, repeat business is bread and butter and cheap to deliver, so don’t waste these opportunities.  By engaging with people though online content you can deliver interesting and relevant content to take them to action – repeat sales!  Keep in mind that online participation translates often into offline engagement and sales.

Key Points:

  • Figure out how you can provide a WOW! experience to your customers. It doesn’t have to break the bank, it just needs to be delightful (being on time, nice packaging, thank-you notes, customer rep phone calls to ensure everything is OK and so on).
  • Start with one initial connection method (e.g., email newsletter or a blog) for enticing customers to keep in touch. Remember engagement marketing is an opt-in strategy, so give customers a reason (i.e., a benefit) to keep in touch with you.
  • Once you have that piece gaining traction, add a social media platform (where your customers hang out) and experiment with different types of content to see what your potential customers like. Be sure to measure results and repeat what works.

See Social Media Examiner for more on this topic.

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

A 7 step – 1 day marketing plan

Yes it is possible to develop a marketing plan in 1 day.  Working with  The National Centre for Micro Business we have developed a 7 step plan …

Sometimes being over protected can hold you back.
Sometimes being over protected can hold you back.

Step 1 – Understand your market and competition

Step 2 – Understand your customer

Step 3 – Pick a niche

Step 4 – Develop your marketing message

Step 5 – Determine your marketing media

Step 6 – Set sales and marketing goals

Goals are critical to your success. A ‘wish’ is a goal that hasn’t been written down.If you haven’t written down your goals, you’re still just wishing for success. When creating your goals use the smart formula. Ensure that your goals are:

  • Sensible
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-specific

Your goals should include financial details, such as annual sales revenue, gross profit, sales per salesperson, and so on. Your goals should also include non-financial elements such as units sold, contracts signed, clients acquired, and articles published.

Step 7 – Develop your marketing budget

 

General Hints and tips – for more help contact The National Centre for Micro Business

  • Market research will form a major part of your business and marketing plans, so keep your research to refer back to when you are developing your plans in the future.
  • Make time to do your research properly. It’s one of the most important things you will need to do, and getting the right information now will help avoid problems later.
  • Be realistic with your research findings, and be sensible with your assumptions and market predictions.
  • Be careful when asking friends or family for their input as potential customers; they may want to encourage or discourage you unduly, so might offer biased views.
  • If you use a market research agency, ensure that they are members of a reputable trade association. The Market Research Society provides information about research agencies and consultants in its ‘Research Buyer’s Guide’. (www.rbg.org.uk). Consult this guide to find out about reputable and experienced agencies and consultants.
  • Trade magazines or journals can provide useful market information so it may be worth taking out a subscription. If you’re just after a particular piece of information try your city or central library as it may keep back issues.
  • Trade associations can also provide useful research and statistics although you will usually need to be a member.
  • Several national newspapers have dedicated supplements for particular industries on a specific day each week.
  • Before you spend any money check your local central library as it will often have access to a wealth of business information.  (Ask a librarian).
  • If you’re doing a questionnaire, limit the number of questions – as too many questions may affect the response rate. Ensure that the meaning of the questions is easily understood.
  • If postal questionnaires are used, it is a good idea to give the respondent an incentive to return it – for example, a prize draw or a chance to influence product design. A return rate of 10% of the questionnaires mailed is good.

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Top Tips for Media Success

Some thoughts regarding social media and how to make a success of your web presence:

  • Be more popular– capitalise on your existing base of customers, they want to engage and participate, they are just waiting for you to contact them …

    Take a new look from a different perspective
  • Engage proactively – anyone out in the big wide world can be an influencer on social media, you never know who could be re-tweeting or for that matter looking at your tweets, so give complements and make your followers feel good …
  • Get noticed – do some keyword research, use YouTube, Google, etc, start typing a phrase you might like to use into YouTube or Google, the auto feature will cut in to try and guess what you’re typing and that’s how you can find those popular search phrase terms …
  • Be credible – if you’re serious about using social media invest in it, don’t let the intern or apprentice be your blogger, it should be someone who is very experienced …

Now get working and see what you can find.

More ideas to follow soon …

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Social Media vs Your Business Goals

Any social media strategy you design must help you achieve your business goals.  This makes the assumption you have clear business goals in the first place, which in the case of small businesses might not be as high priority as keeping the work coming in … However, putting this aside, here are 3 simple business goals (there are many more) that relate to social media and which will apply to most small businesses, as you read them give yourself a current score from 1 to 5 where 1 is the most important and 5 the least.

Sometimes you need to start small and grow
  1. Increase online presence
  2. Attract more traffic to your website
  3. Grow online sales

Add up your scores at the end – if you scored more than 7 you need to pay more attention to using social media as a marketing tool in your business …

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

10 Blogging Mistakes

Came across this interesting article in an old copy of the FSB magazine, some good stuff here, well worth sharing.

Blogging can be a rewarding way to make an online living.  Building up your own community who listen to you, follow you, and discuss your ideas is the ideal we all strive for.  As your blog grows your online traffic goes up, and you don’t need to spend anything on advertising and then you get invited to speak at conferences … well that’s the dream, unfortunately not everyone makes it to a dream life.

So if you’re starting out in the blog-a-sphere avoid these simple mistakes:

  1. Blogging irregularly

    Try to avoid the common mistakes – now which rope did I let go?
  2. Writing for search engines
  3. Not analysing your blog stats carefully
  4. Not have a reserve post up your sleeve
  5. Using pre designed templates – as is
  6. Not moderating comments quickly
  7. Not responding to comments
  8. Ignoring other social media – they all link!
  9. Not using multi media – video
  10. Not building a mailing list

Now if you understood what all this means and can then avoid these common mistakes – you might have a good chance of getting noticed.  If NOT we need to talk …

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

 

Search Engine Optimisation

Most people are going to find your site because of its listings in search engines or directories and therefore search engine optimisation is crucial for anyone who wants people to visit their Web site.

Search engine optimisation is just the simple process of making web pages attractive to search engines, no magic involved, just straightforward logic.

It is important to constantly trim sails to maintain efficiency. Web sites also need to be tended.
It is important to constantly trim sails to maintain efficiency. Web sites also need to be tended.

It’s a fact that most people who use search engines only look at the first one or two page of search listings. Your goal in trying to achieve effective search engine optimisation is to get your pages listed on those critical first few pages for particular key search terms. (My thanks to “Small Business in Canada” for help with the following tips.)

So how do you do this? Here are 5 simple rules to help.

1) Remember that each page of your site is a viewed by search engines as a separate entity. It is therefore important to apply basic search engine optimisation techniques to each and every page.

2) Your choice of appropriate key words or phrases for each page is crucial. Choose your phrasing carefully.  Many more people search for the term “effective search engine optimization” than for “effectively optimizing for search engines”.

“To find out which key words or phrases are more popular than others, you can use a tool such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool; enter your chosen phrases and you’ll see how many people searched for that term recently.”

3) Give each page an appropriate title that includes the key word or phrase at least once. Don’t fall into the simple mistake of using your business name as the title of all your pages.  Is every page of your site the same? Probably not.

4) Put the key words or phrase that you’ve chosen in the page’s title tag, meta keywords, and meta description.

5) Be sure your chosen key words or phrase is repeated carefully throughout the content of the page. Don’t overdo it, or your page may be rejected as spam.

These are just the bare bones of effective search engine optimisation.

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!