Category Archives: Social Media

Improve Your Business Website

Whether you are a home based business or actually have a physical storefront, your business website represents you 23/7.   Naturally, you want it to be the best it can be to promote your business in a professional manner, which in turn can assist you in turning more profit.

#1 – Clear Out The Clutter

The information your customers need may be on the page they are looking at, but if there is too much on the page they could be distracted and won’t find what they are looking for.  Clean it up by reducing the amount of flashy advertising and having a fair bit of white space.  This will keep it clean looking and less distracting.

Organize content so that it is easy to read.  Sometimes using bullets and sub-headings is easier on the eye and is less overwhelming.  Use graphics but within reason.  People love to share graphics and they do attract attention, but too much is annoying.

#2 – Check Your Speed

How many times have you personally left a site because it was loading too slowly?  Be sure that your own site satisfies your expectations.  If it is too slow, look into why and how to fix it.  Size of photos and other reasons might be the culprit and a quick and easy change may be available.

#3 – Go Mobile

More and more people are using smartphones and even tablets to search online, so being mobile friendly is becoming a must.  Many site themes have added mobile capabilities, so be sure that you are using one that has.  Remember, if your site is not responsive, your ranking in Google may suffer because of it.

#4 – Call To Action

Give your website visitors a call to action.  In other words give them a reason to connect with you by email, or phone or coming in to your physical store.  It could be a sale, a reason to go to your facebook page, leaving a comment on a product or service, signing up for a newsletter – something that will benefit them and ultimately you!

#5 – Promote Your Social Media

Not everyone will realize that you also have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.  These are great ways to connect with potential and current customers on a regular basis.  Make sure they know and make it easy for them by including icons and direct links.  Be sure to put them in a location that is easy to see, such as the top bar of your home page.

#6 – Purchasing Made Easy

If your website is an e-commerce site, meaning visitors can purchase items on your site, then the easier you make it the better.   The more pages and clicks they have to complete, the more difficult it is.  Trying to keep this to a minimum can be a challenge as you will want to provide them with various options for shipping, etc.  Check out other e-commerce websites and make note of what you like and don’t like about those sites.  This will give you insight into designing or updating your own site.

Remember that your on-line presence is extremely important.  It can be a great marketing tool for your business and it can help to create a relationship with current and new customers.  Spend a little time to perfect it and it will pay off !

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

How to Create a Social Media Plan – Part 2

  1. What is the budget for your social media plan?

Most business owners invest their time rather than money into social media. A study shows that businesses spend $10k or less on social media per year. Although most social media is free, it’s important to still reserve a percentage of your marketing budget for social media. Review your marketing plan and budget, and integrate your social media plan into it.

  1. Who is going to implement your social media plan?

Before you decide to be the one implementing your small business’s social media plan, ask yourself how many free hours you have on a weekly basis. You also need to be aware that social media is one of the biggest time-sinks ever invented. It can be easy to get hooked on social media and spend too much of the time you don’t have. Think seriously about your time commitments and decide whether or not you want to take on the task of putting your social media plan into action.

Once you’ve answered these five questions, you will be ready to start figuring out how to use social media to accomplish the goals you’ve set for your social media plan.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

How to Create a Social Media Plan – Part 1

You many have social media accounts for your business, but are you using them to their full potential? Social media for business is meant to connect with your customers and increase your sales. To get the most out of it, you have to have a plan.

Ask yourself the following questions to create a social media plan that will benefit your business best.

  1. What social media is the best fit for your business?

You don’t have to have a presence on every form of social media; you have to have a presence on the ones your target market is using. A great way to find out is to just ask. If you get a lot of traffic on your website, create an online survey or ask them as they leave your store to get the most accurate respone. Entice customers with prizes or other tangible benefit to fill out the survey. Once you know which ones are used more frequently, create accounts if you haven’t already and familiarise yourself.

  1. What are you social media goals?

Now that you’ve determined which social media is the best fit for your business and you’ve created accounts, you need to decide what your purpose is for being there. Do you want to use social media to; increase your referrals or leads, build on your word-of-mouth, increase sales, become known as an expert, provide customer service? Once you decide, set one or two specific goals that can be measured and prioritize them.

  1. How will you measure the success of your social media plan?

This is a step that is often left out. What good is all your effort if you don’t track and measure the success of your social media? Success is measured by the cost and return on investment (ROI), the same as any other marketing efforts. To make measuring return on investment easier, use your social media account to drive your target market to your website then analyse your website statistics. Google Analytics is a great tool that makes it easy to see how your site engagement goals are being met.

To be continued…

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Social Media

Building Your Online Reputation

Here are three key factors to develop your online reputation in the digital marketing world.

Content Creation

The most effective first step to a successful online reputation is creating great content. Customers expect a high level of effort to be put into content, especially if it’s designed to turn them into a paying customer. Many small businesses create this content through blog posts. It is great for Search Engine Optimization and gives you the opportunity to provide valuable information to your customers while boosting your online reputation.

Social Media

Your reputation on social media platforms relies heavily on your activity, your audience will forget about you if you’re not actively posting. But that’s just the beginning… Engaging with your audience can be a bigger hurdle because we’ve been taught to approach social media with a corporate perspective. Don’t be afraid to add a bit of humanity. Keep in mind that social media is meant to connect people and it works best when two people simply have a conversation.

Reviews & Public Perception

This is easily the most challenging aspect of managing your online reputation and also the most important. Online reviews have been a huge factor in determining the online reputation of a business. To the modern consumer, digital word of mouth is a very persuasive way of marketing. It’s important to pursue positive reviews, convincing customers that have had good experiences to write reviews.

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Social Media

Step-by-step Guide to Creating a Facebook Ad (Part 1)

Here is a guide that will help ensure you are tapping into the right audience with the right ad at the right time.

The first step is to determine the most appropriate editor.

Facebook offers two different tools to create your ad; the Ads Manager and the Power Editor. Ads Manager is best for smaller companies looking to create a few ads, where as the Power Editor is best for larger companies looking to post ads often and have more control over their campaigns.

Because our blog targets small businesses, this guide will use the Ads Manager to create an ad.

Choose an objective

Before getting your ad started, Ads Manager will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign. There are 10 different objectives to choose from, including everything from sending people to your website to promoting your page to reaching people near your business.

By choosing one of these objectives, Facebook can present you with options that are best-suited for your ad. Facebook’s ad options include; page likes, click to website, local awareness, etc…

Let’s say you want this ad to drive more traffic to your website. Facebook will then prompt you to enter the URL to your website. Facebook will then give you ad options that make the most sense to achieve your objective.

Choose an audience

If you’re looking to drive traffic, focus on the type of people you know will be interested in what you have to offer. If you’re looking to build brand awareness or want to promote an offer, you should focus on a more general audience.

Facebook gives you vast options like location, age, gender, languages, generations, interests, and more to target a more specific audience. Creating a custom audience is also an option that allows you to target people on Facebook who are in your contact database.

Set a budget

Facebook ads can be set on a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Using a daily budget means that Facebook will pace your spending per day, keep in mind that the minimum is $1.00. A lifetime budget is more suitable for an ad that runs for a specific length of time, meaning that Facebook will pace your budget over that set period of time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

Best Hashtags for your Business

A hashtag is a word or phrase that comes after a hash mark or a pound sign (#) used on social media to group messages related to a specific topic. Hashtags started and are more commonly used on Twitter, but many other social media platforms use them to allow users to find messages related to specific topics.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Tumblr and Vine are some of the other social media platforms that use hashtags. Using a hashtag is an easy way to attract your target audience on busy, cluttered social media sites.

Here are a few tactics to find the best hashtags to target your audience.

Use Twitter Search

Although hashtags are used on other social media platforms, Twitter is where it started and you will find an extensive collection of hashtags. This is a great way to find key words that are relevant to your content. The key is to find hashtags that are popular and relevant to your business. The more popular, the better the chance your target audience will come across it.

Create your own Branded Hashtag

Another option is to create your own hashtag for you business to use repeatedly to promote your brand. The best hashtags in this situation are unique and relate directly to your brand.

See What’s Trending

If you go into the ‘trends’ column on Twitter, there is a collection of popular trending hashtags. This list is tailored to you based on who you follow on Twitter. Check out this column regularly to see what hashtags may be relevant to your business.

Take them for a Test Drive

Once you have a list of potential hashtags, it’s time to put them to the test. A common best practice is not to use more than three hashtags per post. Share your content including your hashtags and see which hashtag words best.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Media

Utilizing the Internet to Market Your Small Business

The Internet may be the largest publicly accessible toolbox known to man, so why not use it to grow your business? Easier said than done I suppose. With so many available options, how do you know which tools to use and which ones to avoid? This article will teach you how to master the synergistic effects of Internet advertising to grow your small business effectively.

Start a website (or a blog!)

A website allows you to inform your clientele about your business. Furthermore, a website can be used for many purposes relating to your business. It can be used to communicate news and messages with clients that visit your page, to sell products or to express information about your business. A website is the ultimate tool to interact with your clientele in a way that reaches many people and helps move your business forward.

Despite the advantages of starting a website for your business, maintaining and updating a website can be difficult and tedious for those who are not familiar with HTML or web design. This can translate to more business expenses as you will need to employ someone to maintain your website. A simpler alternative is to start a blog. Blogs are much simpler to maintain than a website for someone with no web design experience.

Having a blog is not the same thing as having a website, although a blog can be equally effective if used properly. A blog acts more like a message board where the blogger can communicate whatever he or she wishes about a topic. The topic for an entrepreneur would be his or her business. It is important to blog within the scope of your business. Blogs can be used to communicate deals or events, post new job openings within your business or virtually anything in between so long as it’s business related.

Interact over social media

A social media account for your business is a step in the right direction, but is not an equal substitute to a website or a blog. Rather, a social media account should act as a way to attract people’s attention to your business and to steer them towards your website or blog. People cannot use your small business if they do not know it exists, and the same goes for your website. Posting on social media in tandem with a business website or blog can greatly improve your client base, although simply opening a Facebook or Twitter account will not suffice. You need to post and tweet continually!

Maximize social media effectiveness

Do you ever wonder how Facebook knows which posts to show on your homepage or which friends to suggest? It seems like this website understands your social network better than you do. That’s because social media websites track your activity using algorithms. Algorithms are essentially flowcharts that tell the social media program how to proceed when the user makes a specific choice. In turn, your preferences are tracked and the website knows which information to show you based on those preferences. Knowledge about social media algorithms can be used to increase the prominence of your businesses Internet presence. The name of the game is to make friends of your friends your friends.

The first rule of social media algorithms is to post frequently. By posting frequently, you open the doors for people to see your posts or tweets. Frequency of posting is important because old posts are less likely to turn up on users’ feeds because the priority of your post decays with time. In addition, when people see and like your posts, their friends may see your message and learn about your business.

Pro Tip**: When possible, insert videos and photos into posts or tweets. Photos and videos carry greater weight, or importance, in social media algorithms and are more likely to reach more people.

The second rule of mastering social media algorithms is to like posts and follow people. By liking posts and following other businesses and people, posts are more likely to appear on your feed, and as such, you will be able to comment on what is happening with your clientele. By interacting with more people, you increase the presence of your business in the community.

The third rule of mastering social media algorithms is to comment. By commenting on posts or tweets related to your community, your business and other businesses, potential customers are more likely to learn about your business.

When people visit your social media page, they should have the option to visit your webpage. This is the ultimate goal of social media. When people browse social media, their focus is divided between all their friends and every business that reaches them. Social media should be used as a pathway to direct traffic towards your website or blog, and not the reverse. When people visit your webpage, their sole focus is your business, which is the best way to gain a new customer.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Marketing, Small Biz Tips, Social Media