Social media is THE most popular activity online right now. So it makes sense that businesses, (both national and local) want to take advantage of this. But simply opening up a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account isn’t enough anymore. By avoiding some basic mistakes, many businesses can have the ability to increase return on investment, and create more opportunities from social media accounts.
Missteps to Avoid
#1. Not having a game plan
Social media users are bombarded with information and messages every minute of every day via social media. Businesses that don’t have a social media strategy often get lost in all the clutter and fail in reaching their target audience. Creating a game plan for social media includes having distinct goals, developing a clear voice online, and planning out content with a goal in mind. Without a clearly defined game plan you can have the best content on the web, but receive little engagement.
#2. Integrate everything
Social media should be used as a part to a whole. Not only should you link your social media accounts to each other, but they should be directly tied to your website, email, and paid search campaigns. Not taking advantage of connecting these accounts drastically reduces your potential audience reach.
#3. Use IMAGES!
Think about how you use social media. Doesn’t a post with a vibrant image capture your attention better and longer? While an image might not be appropriate for every post, include one whenever possible to help draw attention to your message.
Hashtags are a great way to join conversations and trending topics. Using hashtags strategically can help you find your target audience and reach non-followers in large numbers. Just make sure that it makes sense for your business to use the hashtag and that it flows with the current conversation.
#5. Make sure to Interact
Social media is meant to be interactive. Not every comment needs a response but responding to your “fans” adds to “humanizing” your business and builds trust between the brand and your consumers.
Don’t assume that just because you are posting content good things will come to you. You need to ensure that you are constantly monitoring and gauging what is and is not working on social media. This ensures you are on your toes and can make changes quickly when something isn’t working. Overall your business should work towards creating your own social media voice and community. Social media has the ability to be a cost effective way to reach out to your potential customers and help increase sales.
Don’t be another statistic, ensure the success of your new business.
Are you in the process of opening up your own business? Many people rush into becoming a business owner, without really realizing what it entails. To run a successful business you must avoid making these common mistakes:
1. Not having clear objectives.
From the beginning, it is important to set clear and realistic objectives. Start by making a list of goals and objectives based on a quarterly timeline. In addition, ensure that all your employees are aware of the objectives. Just think about it, a business without clear objectives is like driving a car without a destination in mind.
2. Identify your potential customers.
Who is going to use your product or service? How will they be using your product or service? It is important for you to know who your customer is, so you know how to reach them and maximize your sales.
3. Test your ads.
Run several ads at once with different copy. By doing this you can see what wording resonates best with your customers.
4. Make a budget!
Budgeting is a must with any business, new or established. You should NEVER run the risk of your business running out of money. This is especially true for your advertising and marketing needs. Sit down and plan out how much you have to spend monthly or quarterly on your marketing. Think about promotions you want to run each month, and set that amount aside. Start small, and see what works for you business.
5. Don’t give up.
Starting a business is not an easy task. On average you need to give your promotions at least 3 months before you decide to scrap a campaign. On that note, some promotions might take longer to drive results. As we said before, test your promotion on a smaller scale before you launch a larger promotion, and most importantly be patient. You need to give your business time to be found and talked about, and that takes time.
It’s important that you find employees that will preserve the integrity of your company at all times. Sure, it could be easy to hire the first person that walks in the door, but think about it, one rude customer service experience can cost you not just that particular customer but all their friends and family. So screen your future employees, and ensure that they truly are the type of person that represents your business at its best.
Overall, to be successful you need to ensure you have an array of advertising mediums. Think a health mix of social media, search and maybe even some radio or print (depending on the nature of your business). In addition, don’t just do one or two promotions and then simply wait for results. Be proactive, find new ways to reach your potential customers, think outside of the box and reach them in a relevant and unique way.
By avoiding these mistakes you can help your business achieve year round success. So plan ahead and get to it!
How Do You Make Your Business Customer Centric?
It’s easy to claim that you are all about your customers, but it’s difficult to actually be customer centric. Just because you say and think your company is customer centric doesn’t actually make you customer obsessed.
What does it mean to be customer centric?
To truly be a customer centric company you need to understand who these people are. How do they discover your product? Why do they want to buy your product or visit your store?
When customers make purchases today it’s no longer the straight line of times past. Instead now they want to build relationships with businesses and companies. In addition, they do research, talk to friends and family about your company, look you up on Facebook and Twitter, read online reviews, and then, if your business passes all this, then they might buy something from you.
So what’s a business to do? Become obsessed with understanding this process. By understanding exactly what your customers’ purchase process is you can help influence their behavior along the way. Being customer centric doesn’t just mean that you value and appreciate your customers anymore. It now includes the task of knowing your customers as well as they know themselves.
How can you become customer centric?
One of the biggest competitive advantages your business can have in today’s market is your company’s relationship with your customers. Not sure if you’re building these relationships? Here’s how you can grow and maintain these relationships:
Keep Track of Your Customer
Do you have a database with your customers’ information? If you do, great, but are you taking advantage of it? Are you sending out reminders to customers that have bought certain products/services? If you aren’t, you really should be. These are instances that can make your customers into repeat and frequent customers. If you aren’t, what are you waiting for! Give your customers an incentive (maybe 10% off their next visit) to hand over valuable information such as their name, email and date of birth. Then use the information to keep them informed about new inventory arrival or an upcoming promotion. Just make sure it is relevant to them.
Reach Your Customer Across ALL Channels
Now you know who your customers are, so start talking to them. Did they give you their email? Send them a newsletter once a month. Do they like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter? Make sure you are keeping your social media channels up-to-date with your company’s latest news, promotions and products.
One of the most important things to do is keep track of what is working. Did you see an increase in in-store traffic when you were running a Facebook offer? Did you have more phone calls sales leads during your Adwords campaign? Keeping track of what is working and what is not working can help you determine what advertising mediums works best for you business.
The above-mentioned are just stepping stones to help your company become customer centric. If you really are interested (which you should be) in learning exactly who your customer is and what their purchasing process is, you should think about doing a little market research answering questions like:
- How do your customers hear about you?
- Where do they do their research?
- When do they usually buy your product?
Want to learn more about your customers, or are you ready to start building a relationship with your customers? Give us a call. We could help.
Are Your Business’ Social Media Outlets Ready For the Holidays?
Christmas is a week away, and that means that businesses all over are trying to keep up with the holiday rush! Regardless of the rush, as a business you need to ensure you are publicly presenting an image of festive cheer in addition to being there to help your customers who have gifts to buy, meals to plan and family to take care of in order to get everything done on time! According to Mashable, 65% of shoppers turn to social media to find the perfect gift, and, when they do, you need to make sure that you are there to help them out.
So if you haven’t turned your attention to your company’s holiday social media plan, here are 5 tips to help you get started!
1. Decorate your social media
Nothing says holiday cheer like the right decorations, so make sure you get your social media accounts decked out too! Change your cover photo to something that reflects the holiday season. You can go all out or simply give your logo a festive twist.
2. Create holiday engagement
The holidays are a great time to get people talking about your products and your business. Encourage comments and shares from your fans by posting holiday related content.
For example, post an image of your company’s Christmas tree. Then ask fans to share an image of their tree.
3. Think visual
Do you have seasonal products? Make sure you post them on your social media sites, and ensure you add call to action! Make sure you post them with seasonal sentiment, as this will help make them more engaging. A call to action will help bring your company’s name to the forefront of your customers’ minds during this busy time.
4. Holiday competitions
People love businesses that give back, and the holiday season is one of the best times of the year to show your giving side. Holiday competitions give you a great way to get your business noticed and show your customers you understand the spirit of giving.
For example, give away gift cards to help customers plan their holiday meals or buy their stocking stuffers. You can ask them to share their favorite recipe or a picture of a holiday tradition.
5. Check out what’s trending
The holiday season is the most high-stakes time of the year for businesses. Make sure you get the most exposure possible by checking what’s currently trending on social media, so you can tailor your message accordingly. Just make sure you jump on a trending topic that makes sense for your business. Your message should be relevant and fit in organically with the conversation going on.
Overall, the holiday season is a busy time for both customers and businesses, so make sure you have a strong social media strategy to increase the chances of reaching your customers. In addition, customers are turning to social media to ask questions and report problems, so make sure you are dealing with all the inquires in a timely matter. Don’t forget making customers happy at this time of the year is a top festive priority.
Is Online Audience Optimization the new SEO?
If you have a website, search engine optimization is one of those things that you know you should be doing, but you really don’t want to. Trying to figure out what keywords are best for your website and how to get people to click your websites link is more time consuming than many people realize. But, as with everything, techniques and strategies evolve.
As Google’s algorithm has evolved they have pretty much ensured that keyword stuffing and other shady techniques are no longer a viable option for website owners. In addition, the major change of making search secure, which means that you can’t see the keywords someone is using to get to your site, has blinded website owners as to what keywords they should be using.
With all these changes, what is now important is to make a connection with your business’s audience. This is a new practice that has come around know as OAO, online audience optimization. So what does online audience optimization mean? We’ll go into detail below.
OAO takes advantage of high-quality content to create a consistent web-wide presence and generate consistent new and repeat visitors to your site. OAO combines the best practices of SEO, along with social media, content sharing, engagement mechanics, and branding.
Although OAO is an emerging strategy, many of it’s strategies can be put in place right way. Below we’ll offer tips to help get you started.
1. Focus on your brand.
Build content around your brand. Ensure that your content is true to your company’s mission and brand. Information that is important to the brand should be shared with your Webmaster, your social media strategist, your SEO team and everyone else who write content about your company. Keep in mind that every phrase and heading should be relevant to both the searcher (your potential customer) and to the product.
2. Cast a wide net.
Social media provides one of the strongest SEO correlations, so make sure you build out your presence on social media and different content sharing sites including: Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.
3. Keep a targeted audience.
Your goal should be to capture potential customers. Working to increase traffic to your site is useless if you don’t figure out a way to keep them on your site. So, you should try to target only the people who need the content that your site offers.
4. Encourage audience participation.
Did you know that time on site and the bounce rate are two factors that search engines use to evaluate websites? Offer some type of engaging content on your site that encourages user participation such as: polls, quizzes, reader-submitted content, sharing and comments.
5. Integrate your mobile strategy.
Optimize your mobile and desktop sites, not only for search engines, but for social sharing, local and national apps.
6. Don’t obsess over keyword density.
Keywords are become increasingly irrelevant with all of Google’s algorithm updates. Use your keywords in your titles and captions, and don’t worry so much about using them in the body of the text.
Overall, OAO can integrate effectively with all of your current strategies. The new strategy can enable to you begin building an ongoing relationship with your audience.