Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 6 Listen and Respond

You are rocking the social media world. You’re getting liked on Facebook, re-tweeted on Twitter and your inbound links are multiplying. And these are translating into sales. You think everything is going great. But, who is monitoring what people are saying about you and your business?

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.
For Part 5B – Bringing it Back to Your Site, click here
For Part 5C – Why Your Company Needs a Blog, click here.
For Part 5D – Pay-Per-Click (PPC), click here.   

Listen and Respond 

Blogs, Message Boards, Product Ratings… should all be tracked for any negative comments. For small businesses, I suggest you use a Social Media Monitoring (SMM) tool, also known as a listening platform. This allows you to monitor and track mentions of your brand, products and competitors. SMM tools provide many different ways to analyze, measure, display and report findings.

Some of the more popular SMMs: Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5D Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Since I mentioned search engine rankings in my last blog, I feel I should mention pay-per-click advertising. While not social media, it can be part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Here are tips on conducting a successful (and inexpensive) PPC campaign.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.
For Part 5B – Bringing it Back to Your Site, click here

For Part 5C – Why Your Company Needs a Blog, click here.  

Engage Your Audience Part D – Pay-Per-Click (PPC) 

PPC refers to advertising that appears on the top and to the right of organic search results. Google, for example, offers Google AdWords. It is designed to display your advertisement based on targeted keywords or phrases.

So, if you owned a luggage store, you might have an ad that displays whenever your specialty – lets say computer bags – is entered into Google’s search engine. You then pay Google every time someone clicks on your ad.

The beauty of this method of web marketing is that it drives targeted traffic to your website much quicker than normal listings, and that you only pay Google when someone clicks on your ad and visits your website. You determine how much you will pay by placing a bid. Of course, the more popular the keyword, the more competition you have on having your ad at the top of the results. However, you set limits on what you are willing to pay daily.

Your Google AdWords will show up on Google’s search results almost instantly after being submitted, so they are an ideal strategy if your web site is:

  • waiting to be indexed on Google
  • launching new products
  • short term campaign
  • targeting a specific market

If you go this route, understand it doesn’t always offer the results you may be hoping for.

They refer to this heatmap as “banner blindness.” It is a great example of why organic or natural search results are much more effective than banner ads. People barely even look at them.

Another interesting heatmap they displayed was how eyes look at typical search results. As you can see on this google example, the top five listings on the page get the majority of eyeballs. The red lines are referred to as the “fold” —which is a term associated with the front page of newspapers.  In the digital age, it is the point at which you’d have to scroll down. So, not only is getting on the first page of search results important, getting in the top five is golden.

Here are some tips when conducting a PPC campaign:

  • Be specific when choosing keywords and phrases. Again, it is quality over quantity. You may get a ton more clicks by being broad, but what are you selling? Be specific, so you get the right type of click.
  • Send them to landing pages, not your home page. Lets say you see an ad for a particular product and when you click on it, it takes you to their home page and you are left having to search for the exact item you were originally looking for. Most likely, your visitor will hit the back button and go for an easier route. Providing exact landing pages will provide you better odds the customer will stay on your site.
  • Lose the ego when bidding. I suggest you have a budget what you are willing to spend before you start looking at keywords. Maybe it is $25 a day, which is roughly $750 a month and over $9000 a year. If a certain keyword is too expensive, find a Long-Tail keyword, a type of keyword phrase that has at least three, and some times as many as five words in the phrase, which will give you better qualified visitors at a cheaper rate.

Google Adwords offers a very detailed way to track the results of your campaigns. Here, you can see how each one of your keywords or phrases are performing and can decide whether to eliminate or change your tactics.

This finally brings us to Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 6 Listen and Respond. Here, we will cover how to figure out if all your efforts are paying off and what to do if they need help.

 

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5C Why Your Company Needs a Blog

Here are 4 reasons why your company needs a Blog…

If you don’t know what a Blog is, you are currently on one. Many consider blogs as part of social media and I don’t disagree. However, blogs can be an extremely valuable tool in both push and pull marketing, and your site may be incomplete without one.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.
For Part 5B – Bringing it Back to Your Site, click here.

Engage Your Audience Part C - Why Your Company Needs a Blog

The number one thing I would add to your website is a company blog. A blog can be a lot of different things, but it is usually an article or editorial by a person familiar with a topic. This is a great example of a “pull” medium.

When a customer is seeking information on a subject, a blog is a very useful tool as it normally informs in a very succinct format. Likewise, the impression the reader usually has is the blogger is an expert in this subject matter. Many companies list their blogs at the top of their website, as it is typically updated regularly and provides fresh content.

                              ↓

1.) Engage Your Audience. The number one reason to blog is to engage your customer. Provide them with something entertaining or informative where they will want to:

  • Come back to your site
  • Forward your information
  • Leave a comment, thereby opening a dialogue between you and them

Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5B Your Website

You’ve set your goals and have targeted, found and engaged your audience on their social media platforms of choice. You’ve directed them back to your own website to really promote your business.

Are you ready?

Here are some tips to engage visitors once they are on your website.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.
For Part 5 – Engage Your Audience, click here.

Engage Your Audience Part B – Bringing it Back to Your Site

One of the main objectives for small businesses in social media is to direct your audience back to your home site. While your social networks are for informing and interacting, your website is where you can really promote.

Here’s a news flash: Businesses today need to have a website. The very basic would be considered a “brochure site,” which provides important information: About the company and/or product, location, hours, contact information, etc.

Some businesses do their business online, which is known as e-commerce. These sites offer shopping carts that allow a customer to purchase something online. Whether you have a brochure site or an e-commerce business, engaging your customers on your own website is essential.

The people already on your site have expressed interest in either you or your product. Right now, they may be considered a “passive” customer. If you want to turn them into a promoter, you need to engage them.

When I had my e-commerce business, I made sure the site offered all the important elements found on a typical brochure site; we had an “about Us” page, we listed our location with a google map link, we listed our hours and contact info. We also had a shopping cart that featured over 10,000 different products at any given time. While we had people visiting weekly to purchase – we had about 100 new products weekly – I wanted to give them a reason to visit the site when it wasn’t new product day.

So, I had areas to engage the customer: Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 5 Engage Your Audience

Once you’ve determined where they are, how do you engage your audience? Here are some DO’s and DONT’s for the “Big Three,” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Recently, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.
For Part 4 – Develop Your Strategy, click here.

Engage Your Audience

In social media, marketers often forget Rule #1 – It’s social. In traditional advertising, it is a “Push” medium. Meaning, commercials on television or the radio interrupt what you are doing to send you a message. In social media, it is a “Pull” medium. People seek out the info they want or need and often rely upon trusted or respected sources to help make their consumer choice. That could mean asking a friend, posting a question on a message board, reviewing comments on a blog or reading an article from a trusted source.

So, how do you provide them the information they are seeking?

 

FACEBOOK DO’S & DON’T’S

DO:

 

  • Inform – This is where you can talk about fun or interesting things going on with you or your business. Or, give tips or helpful advice related to your industry.
  • Post Regularly – Fans will periodically check in to see what you are up to. If they get the same info as before and you have neglected to update, they will neglect to come back.
  • Upload photos! Business Insider published an article on 16 Heatmaps That Reveal Exactly Where People Look. As you can see here in this facebook heatmap, photos get the most eyeballs.

DON’T: Continue reading

Update: Targeting Your Social Media Audience

You may have read my blog Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 2 Target Audience. There, I talked about how to figure out where your target social media audience would most likely be residing online and, therefore, give you best shot at reaching them.

Who has time to waste engaging the wrong crowd? Not me.

I came across these updated stats recently and wanted to share. Where do women and men hang the most online? Who does more online gaming? What about newer platforms like Pinterest? The answers may surprise you…  Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 4 Develop Your Strategy

Social Media takes time! What is the most effective strategy to make sure you are winning the battle of engaging your audience?

Continuing a series of blogs on Social Media Networking for Small Business! Last month, I presented a webinar for the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership. You can watch it here. In case you’d rather read than watch the webinar, I’ve broken it down into a series of blogs:

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.
For Part 3 – Find Your Promoters, click here.

Develop Your Social Media Strategy

Once you’ve got your goals and know who you want to target, it is time to figure out when to reach them. Planning your time is key. Aliza Sherman created the following diagram based on a concept by author Beth Kanter. I see no reason to reinvent the wheel and give her full credit. 

If you are anything like me, you are doing the math in your head and coming up with 15-20+ hours per week in just your social media efforts alone! Don’t sweat it. To start, I don’t recommend spending that much time if you are a sole proprietor. If you have a staff, I suggest you divide and conquer.

However, I do like this strategy. You ought to be spending time daily doing the following things: Listening, Promoting and Engaging. Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 3 Find Your Promoters

I presented a webinar on Social Media Networking for Small Business last month. You can watch it here. Here are the highlights…

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.
For Part 2 – Target Your Audience, click here.

FIND YOUR PROMOTERS

Social Media networking is all about engaging your customers, not selling to them. Nothing will turn off someone faster than selling a company, product or service where people like to relax and be entertained. However, people are less likely to be turned off if someone they know, like and trust is doing the recommending.

Who do you know who will do this for you? Your promoters!

When I was working on customer loyalty with Bloomingdale’s, we switched over from the traditional customer satisfaction survey to the “Net Promoter Score.” Based on Fred Reichheld’s book, “The Ultimate Question,” (how likely is it you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?) it broke down customers in to three categories:

Promoters – Loyal enthusiasts who keep buying from a company and urge their friends to do the same

Passives – Satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who can be easily wooed by the competition

Detractors – Your classic unhappy customers. In the past, it was universally believed every unhappy customer told ten friends. Now, in the digital age, unhappy customers can tell 10,000 “friends.”

The author goes on to say, two conditions must be satisfied before customers make a personal referral: Continue reading

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 2 Target Audience

Building a Social Media presence takes time and effort. Who has time and effort to waste? That is why you need to make sure you are speaking the same language in the same country. Do you know where is your target audience?

I presented a webinar on Social Media Networking for Small Business last month. You can watch it here. Here are the highlights…

For Part 1 – Goals, click here.

In this blog, we’ll cover Part 2 – Target Your Audience 

Where is your audience? What medium do they use? How do you find them?

There are more than 200 social media sites. The big challenge is to narrow this list to social media sites where you know many of your customers participate. To do that, you need to gather some basic information about your customers:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Income
  • Education
  • Marital Status
  • Children
  • Occupation

If you know this information, you can better target where your audience will be.

Online MBA has provided an interesting graphic which breaks down the demographics of the top social networking sites. The info is a little dated, but is still very valuable for our purposes. Compare the information you know about your audience, and you should be able to determine which sites allow you to best reach your audience with your message.

Keep in mind, this information is merely to help you get started. Once you start participating in each of the social sites, you will judge how effective each one is for creating a dialogue and engaging your target audience. If you aren’t getting the return you were expecting, you can always tweak or try something new. However, having an idea of where your target audience is will give you the best chance at success.

Check back soon for Part 3 – Find Your Promoters.

 

Social Media Networking for Small Business: Part 1 Goals

If you own a small business and don’t feel your social media presence is paying off… don’t give up!

Social Media is an incredibly valuable way of connecting with your target audience. You just need a strategy to start seeing ROI (return on your investment – mostly time).

I presented a webinar on Social Media Networking for Small Business. You can watch it here. However, if you don’t have time to sit through the hour presentation, here are the highlights…

Is Social Media Really Marketing?

I sometimes get asked, “Is social media networking really marketing?” To put it simply, “yes.” However, I might classify it more as guerrilla marketing. Jay Conrad Levison, the famous author and businessman who coined the phrase “Guerrilla Marketing,” once described it as “Achieving conventional goals, such as profits and joy,with unconventional methods, such as investing energy instead of money.”

And, one thing social media can take is energy. Or, perhaps better put, time. In fact, many small business owners and managers tell me they would do more if they just had the time.

Another hang up to social media is, if you aren’t familiar with it or keep up on it, you can find it very intimidating. You may have seen this graphic floating around recently. While it isn’t entirely accurate, the point is, a lot of businesses don’t know where to begin. In this and the next series of blog posts, I will try to give you some pointers on what social media platforms may work for you. Continue reading