Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Social Media Presence?

We’ve worked with countless businesses over the last few years,

to help them improve their online reputation and to help them grow and reach new clients. Social Media has become an increasingly important part of a businesses online presence, and an area that the vast majority of businesses seem to think they are comfortable and happy to use without guidance.

The problem is, that using social media for your business is vastly different from using it for your social life. In personal terms, you use sites like Twitter and Facebook to catch up with friends, share photos, gossip and find out about what’s going on in people’s lives. You don’t have a particular goal, or target to meet and can either share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. 

In business, whatever your line of work, your social media should be used to help you win more customers, to help solve your customers problems, or to spread the word about your business to potential new customers. Do you see a pattern here? Social Media for your business is part of your business marketing, and you shouldn’t go into it with any other attitude.

With that in mind, I’m continuously surprised at the number of supposedly professional businesses who make very basic mistakes with their social media presence. Mistakes that can undermine the hard work they’re putting in in the real world to grow their reputation and business, and can even damage their perception or put new customers off.

Here are some of the most common errors that I come across that you could easily fix to improve your reputation.

Broken Links From Your Website

Broken Link to TwitterHaving links from your website back to your social media pages so that people can follow you is great – provided those links work! If you put in the wrong link to your social media pages then your visitors will be confronted with images like these.Broken links to Facebook

You’ll have to hope that those people are keen enough to search for your pages so that they can find and follow you some other way – the chances of this are slim as most people have too short an attention span. Fix the problem by fixing those links!

No Profile Picture

No Profile PictureThere is no excuse for not having a profile picture. Having no profile picture suggests that you can’t be bothered to complete your details, or that you have something to hide. Even if you are actively using your account, having no profile image suggests otherwise. Given how easy it is to take a picture on your phone and upload it to social media it’s hard to justify not having an image even if your account is new – you can take an image and upload it within seconds. If you have a business account, then you don’t even have to have a picture of yourself – you could use the business logo. Using a logo or image gives your business an identifiable “face”. It means that your customers and prospects know that there is someone behind the brand.

Protected Account

Protected Twitter accountAs a business, in order to grow you need to consistently attract new followers. Those new followers over time could turn into leads, referrals or clients. If, like this company on the right, you have a protected account it means that people can’t follow you unless you approve them first. It might seem like a small step to take, but it puts a lot of people off. Ask yourself what you are hiding by keeping your tweets private? If something needs to be private then there is probably a better way to deliver it than via Twitter. Do your business a favour and make your Twitter account public.

Profile Instead of a Page

Businesses should have a dedicated Facebook page. A page is different to a profile that you will have for yourself. The image below shows a business with a personal profile page, which is actually against the Facebook terms of service. As a profile, you have friends meaning that you have to either request or approve someone to be friends with you. Pages have fans, meaning anyone can Like the page and follow the updates. Pages and profiles also have different permissions when it comes to interacting in Groups and promoting offers. Pages also give you access to useful stats and insights, whereas profiles don’t. Profile not a page

If you’re using a profile for you business, close it down and set up a genuine Business page.

For more tips and advice on how to manage your business’s social media presence then you can download my free guide, 49 exclusive social media tips for business.

What are your biggest bugbears that you’ve come across with business social media accounts? Let me know in the comments!

Social Media For Business Free Download

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Why You Should Pay Attention to Twitter’s Increased Follow Limit

Big News from Twitter last week!

They are increasing the cap on how many people you can follow from 2000 to 5000.

The follower limit is been in place as a way for Twitter to try and stop Spam accounts, or what it calls aggressive following. Following other accounts is one of the ways for other users to notice your account and many people will follow back someone who follows them. Following or unfollowing large numbers of accounts is therefore one of the things that Twitter monitors as it’s seen as being outside the realms of reasonable usage.

 

With the Follow limit in place, every user is now allowed to follow 5000 other accounts, once that limit is hit you see an error message that stops you from following any more people until you have more followers of your own. The number of additional followers you can add above 5000 is different for every user, but it is based on the number of followers you have. Twitter keeps the exact science behind this a secret so as to further discourage spamming.

 

Seeing as the previous Follow limit of 2000 seems huge, you might be wondering just how exactly having a limit of 5000 could benefit you and if you should even attempt to follow so many people.

 

Find out how Twitter’s increased Follow Limit can benefit your business! <-Tweet This!

 

Growing a targeted following on Twitter is a tough task, but once you have that following it is a very valuable asset. It means that those followers are interested in what you have to say, and are likely to be amongst the first people to react to new offers, updates and information that you Tweet out. There are many ways to go about growing a targeted Twitter following, and following your ideal accounts is certainly one way to get noticed. If that is part of your plan, then Twitter now allows you to follow an extra 3000 people, so it is a big deal!

 

There are several ways to find targeted users to follow, one suggestion would be to take a look at a similar business to yours and to follow the same people they do. If a certain number of these followers follow you back then you know they are interested in the type of things you’ll be tweeting about because they already follow an account similar to yours.

 

Make Lists

If you already follow more than a few hundred other accounts on Twitter then you know how quickly the tweets come through and how easy it is to miss updates. One way to manage your followers when you follow thousands of accounts is to create lists. Lists can be public or private, and can be made up however you want them to be.

 

For example, you might want to create lists organised by industry so you can see everything that the Legal industry is tweeting about, or everything that the Estate Agents you follow are saying. You might want to create a list of accounts that you know in real life, such as people you’ve met at networking events, or a list of businesses in your local area. If lists are public then anyone can follow them. A well curated list can attract a lot of followers in itself.

 

Public Vs Private

There are reasons to keep lists private too, you might want to have a list of your own customers and not want the world to know who exactly you are working with. You might also want a list of your competitors, or prospects so you can keep an eye on what they are doing.

 

Be More Social!

Another reason to follow as many accounts as you can is that the more you follow, the more information you will see. Whether it is news, opinions, blogs, jokes or anything else, bu following more people you are giving yourself more opportunity to see something that catches your eye, and to interact with the person on the other end. The whole point of social sites such as Twitter is to develop relationships and friendships, and to discover other like-minded people, and if you interact regularly with more people then that is a major positive.

 

Twitter has raised this limit for a reason, and while we may never know Twitter’s reason for doing this, us as Twitter users are left with a two options: Ignore the changes, or work with them. Which one will you choose? Leave me a comment to let me know, or better yet, Tweet me, @Big_Thinking

 

If you’d like more Social Media tips then download my free guide – 49 Social Media Tips for Business.

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How to Use Social Media as a Lead Generation Tool for Your Business.

How to Use Social Media as a Lead Generation Tool for Your Business.

I’m Sure You’ve Heard About Social Media.

I’m also sure that if you have a business, you’ll also have some form of social media account for that business. What I would be surprised to hear, however, is that you’re successfully using your social media channels to generate new customers, clients or patients.

 

Whilst there are many businesses who generate much of their income from social media, and others who rely on social media for a large percentage of their leads, the vast majority of businesses do not manage to gain any discernible benefit from the time they spend Tweeting, liking and commenting on social media.

 

Winning new customers and generating leads via social media is not impossible, but if you’re not successful at it right now then you need to change the way you think about it, what you do with it and consider who you are targeting.

 

Which Social Media Platform is Right for My Business?

Focus on 1 or 2 Social Media PlatformsFor your business to thrive, you need to provide your customers with the best product or service you have to offer. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to show your best self on every social platform, and it’s also unlikely that your ideal customer will use every platform in the same way. Therefore to bring in new customers, you need to determine which social platform you can effectively and consistently utilise to extend your business to new customers. If your ideal client is another business owner, try LinkedIn. If you target general consumers try Facebook, if you have a products that you sell maybe Instagram will suit you. Focus your efforts on just 1 or 2 platforms.

 

Engagement is Key

A great way to get new business on Social media is to have your existing customers engage with your pages. Most of your existing customers should be happy to like or connect with you – after all they have hired you to do something for them! Your priority initially should be to keep your social media pages updated with content that is engaging and relevant to your existing customer base, so that they will want to interact with you.Interact on Social Media

 

Build Relationships

By doing so you will start building stronger relationships with them, putting you in a position to retain business and repeat customers. These loyal social media followers are the ones who will see your updates first. Get your message right, and your followers will be compelled to like your content, sign up for your offers, and spread the word to their own friends who are likely to be interested in similar things.

 

Update Regularly

With frequent, attention grabbing status updates and content that gets “shares” and “likes”, the more your page will be exposed to other people. As your page is seen by more people, your following will start to grow also.

 

If every update is about your business, then you may end up annoying even the most loyal of your customers. Remember, the goal here is to keep your current customers here for the long term, whilst growing your following at the same time. Growth is important, because if you don’t grow your following, or increase the audience you’re talking to then your sales will plateau. This is true however you market your business – if you don’t reach out to more people you won’t make more sales.

 

How Can I Grow My Social Media Following?

Grow Your FollowersTo grow your audience with relevant followers who may actually want to buy from you, you should make it as easy as possible for other people to share what you do. If you’re already sharing great content on social media then continue to do this! But you should also make sure that you have great content on your website that people want to share and that you have sharing buttons so that they can share it. Take a look at this web page – there are sharing buttons for all the main social sites – go ahead, share this to your followers!

 

“To get more people to share your content, provide more opportunities via social share buttons in numerous places throughout your site.” <-Tweet this!

 

Growing a relevant following on social media is not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. It takes continuous effort and a good amount of determination but it is worth getting right! If you can consistently grow your following month on month then guess what – you will be creating those leads and opportunities that your business needs!

Did you like these tips? If so, you can download my free e-book 49 social media tips for business for a whole lot more!

What are your best Social Media tips? Leave a comment below.

Why You Should Use Pinterest – No Matter What Your Business Is

Why You Should Use Pinterest – No Matter What Your Business Is

Why You Should Use Pinterest – No Matter What Your Business Is | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Pinterest launched early in 2010

It was initially a closed beta project for a select group of users. It soon progressed to be an invitation only site, and I remember requesting an invitation to join early in 2011 after seeing friends’ pins popping up on Facebook and wanting to try it out myself.

 

I initially set up a personal account (which I still have) and I have to admit I didn’t really “get” it. I’m not a very visual or arty person and quickly got bored of looking at images of perfect homes and cookie recipes.

 

Pinterest stayed off my radar until it was time to plan my wedding, when it provided endless inspiration for my dress, hairstyle, invites, table decorations and everything else that suddenly becomes all important for the big day. But again, once the wedding day was over I quickly forgot about Pinterest.

 

Reading as many blogs and social media news sites as I do, I knew how important a site Pinterest had become for businesses. I could see a great fit for a lot of retail businesses, designers and anyone that makes things but I didn’t really think that it was something that would suit my business. 

 

My target audience is other business owners, typically UK based professional companies who work in the B2C space, for example Dentists, Solicitors, Estate Agents, and the work that I do isn’t “pretty” to look at – social media marketing, Website development, Reputation marketing – it just didn’t seem like Pinterest was the place to find either my ideal customer, or to showcase what I did.

 

However, I kept seeing more and more reports of how people were getting tons of traffic from Pinterest back to their websites and it got to the stage where I realised I had to give Pinterest another chance.

 

I have to admit, when I looked at it from a business perspective rather than the perspective of a casual social user I was very surprised. What I found when I searched was a great source of business blogs on every topic you can think of, written by the very people that make up my target demographic – Business Owners!

I was also surprised at the businesses I found to follow on there – Law Firms, Dentists, Estate Agents – all the businesses I want to work with!

 

It turns out that having “pretty” pins is only part of the story on Pinterest. If your content is interesting and you have headlines that grab people’s attention then Pinterest is a great place to share your work. And, as with any social media platform, the people you want to target are already there, it’s just a case of looking for them and making sure your Pins will catch their eye.

 

If you want to know more about how we help businesses to reach out to more of their target audience and grow via Social Media then take a look at our Social Media Packages.

 

Do you have a Business Account on Pinterest? What do you like (or dislike!) about it? 

Finally, if you love using Social Media but want to get more benefit from it as a business, then download my FREE guide, 49 Exclusive Social Media Tips for Business.Social Media For Business Free Download

The Many Uses Of Social Media

The Many Uses Of Social Media

To get the most out of social media for your business,

You need to think of it in a completely different way than you would for your personal life. In business, social media isn’t just about liking everything your friends do, or sharing pictures of all your meals. You have to consider all the ways that you can use social media.

Customer Service

Social media is great for customer service. Not only can your customers get in touch whenever they have a question, but other people can see your answers too. This means that you may answer one question that benefits multiple people in one go. If you’re lucky, other customers may even see the question and answer it for you! Even if you are asked difficult or awkward questions publicly think of it as an opportunity to show the positive and helpful side to your service to let other customers know that you’re willing to deal with any problems.

 

Reputation Management

Your public image is a huge asset to your business – or at least it should be! Social media allows you monitor what is being said about you, try searching your business name on Twitter and see what comes up! You can also use social media to share positive feedback from your customers, and as an added bonus, now that Tweets show in Google for branded search terms if anyone Googles your business they’ll see your recent messages and know you are proactive about your brand’s image.

 

Getting Feedback

Because of the instant reactions on Social Media, it’s great for getting a snapshot of public opinion. On Facebook you can post quick polls on group pages, on Twitter you quite often see people asking “RT for X or Favourite for Y”. Next time you are working on something and need some advice, why not try asking your followers and see what they actually want? The answer might surprise you, and cause you to take your work in a slightly different direction than you’d intended.

 

Lead Generation

Whilst it’s almost impossible to sell anything directly over Social Media, what you can do is use it to find yourself some great leads and prospective customers. Social Media is excellent for building up trust in your brand, and helping people to get to know and like you. These things are key to converting followers to customers. Make sure that from each of your social media pages there is an obvious way for people to find out more about your business, sign up  for email updates, or to check out your latest offers.

 

News Updates/PR

In the not too distant past, businesses that had an announcement to make had no choice but to try and get a story published somewhere. Now, every time you have any news, whether it’s a new CEO, a great Customer Case Study or a regular blog post, you can get it out to the whole world at the click of a mouse. There is no excuse not to publicise your brand on social media! In fact, the more you put out there, the more it will do to help spread the word of your business!

 

Brand Awareness

Social media allows smaller businesses to compete against much larger rivals in a way that isn’t possible with traditional media. Whereas big brands can spend a fortune on television adverts, that’s out of reach for small businesses. However, those big brands will still use social media, and YouTube, and smaller businesses will show right alongside them. For that reason, social media is great for brand awareness.

 

Networking

Whoever your ideal customer is, they will be on social media – it’s just up to you to find them! Different social networks have different networking styles. For example, on Facebook you should try and join groups that are relevant to your business. You can also join groups on LinkedIn, but on LinkedIn you can optimise your profile so that people can find you more easily in search. On Twitter you can follow conversations via a certain hashtag, something that many groups do regularly.

 

What other ways do you like to use Social Media? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, so why not follow us on your favourite network and let us know more about you.

 

If you enjoyed these tips and would like to know more, then download a FREE copy of my ebook, 49 Exclusive Social Media Tips for Business

 

Want to know more about how we help businesses to stand out online then check out our Social Media PackagesSocial Media For Business Free Download

What You Need To Know About Digital Marketing Trends!

What You Need To Know About Digital Marketing Trends!

If you want to stay current in the online world here's What You Need To Know About Digital Marketing Trends | www.bigthinkingonline.com

If There’s One Thing You Can Take For Granted About Digital Marketing,

it’s that it changes all the time. What worked well six months ago probably doesn’t give you the same results today and if you find something that does work for you right now, chances are in a few months everyone else will have caught on to that too.

 

Don’t Sell!

Digital Marketing is not about sales. Instead, you need to promote your business more subtly, through offering value to your audience in the form of information, asking questions of what they want and need from you, or answering questions about your industry. The more value you’re providing, the people will pay attention.

 

Think Mobile!Is Your Website mobile optimised?

 

As of this year, the UK has more people accessing the internet via mobiles and tablets than via computers. You need to think of ways to get your message to your audience on their phone, and not just hope that they will spontaneously navigate to your website to see what you’re up to. Social Media is a great way to get your business in front of people, particularly on their mobiles.

 

Personality Counts!

So much has been said about the importance of Social Media, but the most important message that so many brands fail to maximise is that you need to show who you are. You need to be human, not just a machine sending out blog updates twice a week. Let your audience get to know the face behind the brand, use a storytelling kind of style to build up a picture of your brand or products. Also, make sure that even if you are posting your own content on Social Media that you also post a mix of other content too. Tag relevant people or brands, and above all, be consistent!

 

Re-Think Your Social Media Strategy!

You really can’t underestimate the power of social media, and if you don’t think social media works for your business then you are definitely doing the wrong thing. Even if you had a clear picture of your ideal customer last year and a clear strategy to reach out to that person, as I mentioned earlier the trends change so quickly that you are probably not reaching that ideal customer any more.

Are You Social Media Savvy

You also need to keep in mind that social platforms change at the drop of a hat. A year ago no-one had heard of Periscope, but now quick thinking business owners are using it to show their audience live behind the scenes updates and question and answer sessions. Again, this fits in with the culture of showing the personality behind your brand and of course, it’s mobile.

 

Video Is Becoming Increasingly Important!

Who would have thought a year ago that we’d be saying that video has moved on from Youtube? While YouTube is still the main platform of choice for any video that you want to keep around for a long time, Facebook, Instagram and of course Periscope are all proving to have a strong hold on the rapidly growing Video space. 

 

Worldwide, there are more than 4 billion video views on Facebook every day, and video uploaded directly to Facebook rather than embedded from YouTube will play directly in a user’s newsfeed meaning they get a glimpse of the action to entice them to click through. This has allowed creative thinking businesses to take advantage of the opportunity to grab people’s attention with the first few seconds of footage and entice new fans to their brand.

 

Periscope offers a different format again, the idea being live video streaming that anyone can join in to watch and ask questions. The video is saved on Periscope for 24 hours, but can also be saved to YouTube if you choose.

 

Analytics Can See What You’re Missing!

Understanding Analytics can help you follow Digital Marketing Trends

With so much going on in the Digital Space and so many different ways to reach your target audience, it is simply impossible to be everywhere at all times. The good news is that your analytics will be able to show you exactly what is working and what isn’t, and you should make sure you monitor everything you do to understand what works, what works better, and where you really need to focus your energies.

 

Automation Is Your Friend!

Marketing automation is not a new tool, but with the ever growing online tool kit, it really is a huge benefit to take advantage of. Automation means you can schedule your blog posts in advance, have your social media updates go out when the most people will see them and allows great access to tracking tools and statistics that I mentioned above. By automating posts in advance you are also able to free up time as you won’t constantly have to go back and post individual items, you can find and post all your updates at once. Just remember that you still need to comment and reply to your audience, consider logging on at certain times twice a day to respond to any comments or questions that might have cropped up.

 

You Must Be Eye-Catching!

In order to stand out online, beautiful visuals are now one of the most important criteria to fulfil. Sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are built on images, while pictures and video are the most liked and shared type of post on Facebook. Even business who don’t consider themselves to be image based should invest some time in figuring out a “look” that represents their brand visually.

 

What Digital Marketing tactics are working best for you at the moment? If you have any favourite tips or insights then let us know in the comments.

 

We specialise in helping businesses be found online and it’s our businesses to stay on top of Digital Marketing Trends. If you’d like our insider tips on building websites that sell then take advantage of our Free Download!

Power your business with a website that sells

Top Tips From Facebook’s Boost Your Business Tour!

Top Tips From Facebook’s Boost Your Business Tour!

Top Tips From Facebook's boost your business tour! | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Yesterday we attended the Facebook Boost Your Business Summer Tour.

It was a session designed specifically for small businesses who are aiming to grow through using Facebook.

 

There were plenty of Facebook Gurus on hand to answer questions on subjects like local targeting, brand awareness, driving sales online and Instagram, and there was also an introduction from Facebook’s SME Director Ciaran Quilty.

 

His talk was really aimed at pressing home the importance of mobile and video for business and he had some pretty powerful stats to back this up:

  • There are 40 million SME businesses on Facebook
  • 2 Million businesses regularly invest in adverts
  • 70% of UK Facebook users follow least one local business via Facebook.
  • The average person checks Facebook on their phone 14 times per day
  • Over 1 Billion people use Facebook on their Phone every day.
  • In the UK, 25 million people will use Facebook every day
  • 50% of Facebook users watch one video per day
  • Worldwide, there are more than 4 billion video views on Facebook every day
  • Cisco predict that by 2016 69% of internet traffic will be driven by mobile video

 

With such massive numbers, Facebook are making various changes to their mobile platform to allow greater ease of use for businesses. Many of these changes will be around simplifying some of the existing business tools so that they can be used from a phone rather than desktop.

 

Here are some of the best tips we learnt if you want to reach out to your audience:

Facebook Business Page

  • Think of yourself as a mobile business, even if you aren’t, because your customers are mobile.
  • Your Business page allows you the platform for an instant mobile marketing strategy
  • All of your business content can be delivered straight to your audience’s mobile!
  • The number of people communicating with businesses on Facebook is increasing.
  • They can reach out straight to your page – no need for an email address.
  • Local Targeting has been rolled out across the UK, allowing you to reach an audience based on a radius around your business postcode.
  • Use Your Page for Presence, Communication and Local Awareness

Instagram

  • Instagram for Business will be launching in September
  • This means Advertising and Marketing for businesses
  • Business accounts will have insights and analytics

Key Takeaways

  • Video advertising is growing in popularity
  • A video view counts after 3 seconds, Facebook suggest you have no more than 8 seconds to grab someone’s attention!
  • Start your advertising small, and scale it as you grow or based on your results.
  • Use Custom audiences to target your ideal customers
  • Use Lookalike audiences to grow your reach.
  • Use Retargeting to put your ads in front of people who have already taken action for you.
  • Remember to focus on real business results rather than Facebook likes or comments!

 

What are your thoughts on Facebook for Business? Do you use Facebook Adverts at all? Let me know in the comments section below, or come and follow us on Facebook to join the discussion there.

 

If you are looking for help with your Social Media Marketing then we’d love to hear from you! We offer a range of packages or can run and manage individual campaigns. Get in Touch!

7 Ways To Use The Internet for Marketing

7 Ways To Use The Internet for Marketing

7 Ways To Use The Internet for Marketing | www.bigthinkingonline.com

Trying to Determine the Best Way

To market your business online can be overwhelming. It seems there are countless different ways to attract peoples’ attention, but unless you know how to execute any of them properly then standing out online can be virtually impossible. In this blog I’ll show you  seven ways you can break down your Internet marketing so that you can try and determine more clearly which avenues may suit you the best.

 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

 

If you have your own products but aren’t great at sales, affiliate marketing is a great way to get other people to do your selling for you without employing a single person. Take a look at sites such as Click Bank, Commission Junction and Epic Advertising to see what other people are selling as affiliate products, and get a sense of if there is a good market for your product.

This works the other way too – so if you’re desperate to get selling online but don’t have anything to sell you can sign up as an affiliate for other brands and receive a commission for everything you sell.

 

Pay Per Click

Pay per click (PPC), is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay when the ad is clicked.

 

PPC is an excellent way to get your advert seen by people, and because you only pay for those who actually click your link it means that you can be reasonably sure that you are only paying for people who are interested in what you have. Tools such as Google Adwords allow you to research relevant keywords to make sure that you are choosing terms that people are searching. A good rule of thumb is that longer keyword phrases allow better targeting and therefore cheaper clicks.

 

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the Deliberate Organisation of your website so it shows up in the search engine results.

 

There are a lot of so –called SEO experts around who will promise to get your business to the top of the search engines. Whilst SEO does make this possible, there is usually a lot more to it and if you want your business to rank for a highly competitive term it’s unlikely that you will find yourself in the number one position overnight. Search Engines employ some of the smartest computer scientists in the world and they don’t want to be tricked! For this reason it’s far better to take a quality approach to SEO.

 

Create content that is relevant to keywords and phrases that your customers use, again, you can check Google Adwords to see how many people use certain phrases to make sure they’ll benefit you. It’s also important to get other sites to link to you to show that people appreciate your content and want to share it. Good SEO is an ongoing job but will come into its own in the long run when high quality visitors start to find your site.

 

Video Marketing

Video is one of the fastest growing areas of online marketing. Not only is it popular with people who prefer watching to reading, it allows you enormous flexibility to present your business in a way that just isn’t possible through words alone. YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google, and it’s free to host your videos there as well as many other video sites. Facebook now also encourages videos to be uploaded directly to your timeline there so that they play automatically in your followers’ news feeds.

 

The possibilities of using video are really quite extraordinary and a lot can be achieved without investing in expensive equipment, making it easily accessible even for small businesses.  

 

Social Media Marketing

One of the huge advantages to Social Media Marketing is that if is free to use even for business accounts, meaning you can put your business in front of its ideal customers who spend their time on social media over and above anything else. Most social media platforms also allow some level of paid advertising so that you can reach even more potential customers, often for a far lower cost than through other forms of online advertising such as PPC.

 

For many, the main cost of Social Media Marketing is the time it takes, as the whole point of the platform is to be social rather than to sell. In fact, most social media users are averse to advertising, what they want is a one-to-one relationship. Business that do well on social media do well because they are social. Links, photographs, video and blog posts all do well to help build your relationships, they also help you build credibility and expertise so that when people are ready to buy they will remember your business because they have been gently reminded of your name every time they’ve seen or liked a link on Social Media.

 

Content Marketing

Content is the word used to describe the articles, posts, videos, images and anything else that makes up the substance of your web page.

 

Websites rich in content are seen as trustable, the more you have to say on a subject, the more you must know about it, therefore you can show yourself to be an authority or an expert. If you have a website for your business, you should have a blog section there that you update regularly. Look for ways that you can use the content of your website or blog to market your business so that when people read your page you are giving them something they want – knowledge – and subtly pointing out that you can offer them more.

 

Look for ways to get your content in front of as many people as possible, because the more who see it and visit your site, the more it increases the chances of your content being shared and seen by even more people. Good content will also help with your SEO. If you’re not sure where to start with sharing your content, try some of the popular submission sites such as e-zine, Business2Community or look for something similar that serves your particular niche.

 

Online Advertising

This term includes other types of online advert that you see, such as Banner Ads and Text links Many of these fall under a PPC category, but istead of being on search engines they’re on other websites. One of the best things about online adverts is that if something works, you can quickly scale it up to a bigger audience. If it doesn’t work you can tweak it or turn it off.

 

Typically though, you’ll need to be prepared to do persistent testing and constant optimisation to get it right and as there is no such thing as a test environment, you could be throwing your own money away on adverts that don’t hit the spot with your audience. Unless you are confident with what you are doing it’s usually best to try out other, simpler avenues first before you transfer your learnings to the wider world of online ads.

 

In conclusion, you might find it best to choose one or two channels of internet marketing and master them first before you move on to the next. If you’re a complete beginner, Social Media, Video Marketing and blogs are a great introduction and most forgiving to mistakes. They also provide a great learning curve in the form of user feedback and comments – great for asking questions to your audience and getting a direct response.

 

A huge benefit to internet marketing is that you can track everything – and you should. If you analyze what you are doing you will know where you are getting your best returns so that you can put more effort into that area and increase the return even more. The first rule of marketing is knowing your numbers!

 

No-one gets their marketing strategy right first time, or second or third. Keep going, keep tracking your progress and don’t expect perfection.

 

If you’re still figuring out where to start, or if you are revamping your online presence, then why not have a read through our free report – Websites that sell. You can sign up and Download it here!

Power your business with a website that sells

Are You Social Media Savvy?

Are You Social Media Savvy?

Social Media is a really powerful marketing tool,

After all it is where most of your customers spend their time online – no matter what line of business you are in. Unfortunately, very few businesses, whether B2B or B2C get their social media strategy right.

 

Ineffective social media is at best a waste of everyone’s time and, at worst, bad for business.

So how can you be more social media savvy?

As with any form of marketing, a good strategy is needed and with a few tweaks along the way it’s what can set you apart from your competitors.

 

What are your goals?

First of all, what do you want to achieve with social media? Is it to raise awareness of your brand? Do you want to increase traffic to your website? Improve sales or encourage customer loyalty? Most likely you will want something of a combination of all of these, they’re not mutually exclusive! However, in order to be clear about your message you should focus on achieving one or two simple goals. If you use the scattergun approach to try and tick all the boxes you will end up with a confused audience who will pay less attention to  you as your communication to them isn’t clear.

 

Set Objectives

One place where many businesses go wrong with social media is by not setting clear enough objectives. It’s not good enough to simply post whatever you feel like to social media (as you would on your personal profile) is you expect to see clear business gains.

 

Try using SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) based on the goals you thought of earlier. Make sure you can measure the goals you set. There are dozens of different online tools available to do this, many of them free. If you find that something isn’t achieving the results you want then tweak it slightly and keep track of the changes you see.

 

Know Your Customers

The key to any successful social media strategy is understanding your audience. There’s no point in curating a beautiful Pintrest page full gorgeous images if your target audience are more likely to be sharing cat videos on Facebook.

 

If you really have no idea about who your customers are and what they like then you could run a survey of everyone you serve just asking what sites they use and what they like to see online. From here you can start to build up a detailed profile of who your perfect customer is and tailor both your content and where you post it accordingly.

 

What Are Your Competitors Doing?

Social Media is a very open environment. What’s great about this is that you can clearly see what many other businesses in your niche are doing. Spend some time searching for businesses similar to yours and see what they do on social media. Find out what seems to be working for them and see if you can adapt something similar for your own business. You don’t have to stick close to home either, look for successful competitors in other cities, or in other countries and find out how they are interacting with their customers. The customers they are trying to appeal to are the same people that you want to win too, so what works for them might work well for you too.

 

Choose your Platform

Don’t ever feel like you have to have a profile for every single social media site that exists. Different social media channels suit different people and different businesses, so it’s likely that not every site will suit you. For example, Linked in is very good for B2B relationships, while Pintrest is more visual. You can’t post the same content on those two sites and expect it to work. Think about what is best for your business – for example my business doesn’t have a Pintrest page because we don’t produce enough images to really engage with people there. We do use Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter though because each of those sites fulfils slightly different roles for our Business (Click the links and follow us to see for yourself!).

 

You might also find that using too many sites will stretch you too thinly and you aren’t giving the quality attention to each group of followers that they deserve.

 

Plan your content

There are two important things to consider with content. First, the frequency. In order to really build up a relationship with your followers you need to post regularly enough to stay in their minds, but not enough so that people will become annoyed and unfollow you. There’s no right way to do this, it depends a lot on your own style and message. There is a wrong way way though, and that’s to post tons of stuff all at once and then forget about your page for 6 months. If in doubt, post consistently a few times a week and build it up from there.

 

Secondly, you need to deliver a good mix of content to keep people interested. Whilst everything you post should be in line with the objectives you decided on earlier, you should try and mix the formats up to speak to people in different ways. For everyone who loves an infographic, there will be others who only watch videos and all of those people could be your potential customers, so don’t forget to speak to them in different ways. Mix up your own blog posts with interesting items from other sources, local news and events or fun snippets.

 

Finally, remember that no matter how good your content is you need to engage with people to get results. Start conversations, offer advice and don’t try too hard to sell. It’s about being social!

 

If you’re not sure where or how to get started then check out our Social Media Packages!

 

What are your top tips for social media? Has something worked really well or not worked at all? Leave your comments below!