Monthly Archives: January 2018

BIG Things Small Businesses Overlook on Social Media

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business manager managing company social media profileFacebook. Twitter. Instagram. Linkedin. Pinterest.

Social media sites are full of failed business profiles that are abandoned, full of negativity, or just full of junk. It’s impossible to know the reason behind every single botched social media attempt, but there are a lot of businesses out there—primarily small companies—who jump in to social media without thinking about these important parts of social media.

Answering messages

Most companies start a social media presence with a clear sales goal. There are ways to achieve this on social media with testimonials, images of products or services delivered, creative posts. However, many companies overlook the most direct approach: answering messages from potential customers.

Remember, customers (and potential customers) reach out to businesses with questions through whatever means is convenient for them—even if it’s not always the company’s preferred method. Select an employee or manager (carefully) who is trained to handle customer service inquiries. Connect an e-mail to company social media profiles so the employee receives notifications of new messages. If there is not a suitable employee or a manager that has time, contact a marketing company that can manage the social media profile (including responding to messages after contacting the business).

Respond to them as soon as possible. If that’s not possible, and the social media network has the capability, leave an auto-respond message that indicates when a response is coming (such as during business hours). Make it a top priority to respond promptly (within a few hours) BEFORE the customer moves on to the competition.

Negative comments and reviews

As much as company managers look forward to the sunshine of social media, there is a down side to marketing on social media. Social media is a two-way conversation; negative comments and reviews, unfortunately, are part of the process. Dealing with unhappy customers is also a key reason to choose the employee who responds on social media carefully (or why to put social media messages in the hands of marketing pros).

When a customer does post a negative comment or review, the general rule is to respond. The response should include a sincere sorry (even if it’s just for what they’re going through) and an offer—if possible—to resolve the issue. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer to private message if more information is needed. There are a few exceptions to the ‘always respond’ rule, such as if the comment or review is an act of revenge (i.e. from a former employee, angry friend or family member). On Facebook, the option to review a business can be turned off if the negativity becomes overwhelming. This shouldn’t be the first choice, however, as there is value in maintaining a social media profile with positive testimonials.

Amount of time it takes

Successful companies on social media make it look easy; from an outside standpoint, managing multiple social media profiles—and getting results from them—can appear simple. The truth is not so simple. The first step is choosing the right social media sites with the company’s target audience. From there, a solid social media presence requires quality images, videos, hash tags (when appropriate), responses…all posted at the right time (when followers are online) on a regular basis. A successful social media presence requires a plan that follows the company’s sales cycle (here’s how to craft a complete online marketing plan). In short, a successful social media presence requires time.

If the answer is in-house, a company manager should take care to choose the right employee who can maintain a regular posting schedule. If there is no one on staff who has the time or expertise, outsource the effort to an experienced marketing company.

(Other) Ways to Promote Your Biz BESIDES Social Media

customer looking at business websiteSocial media has taken marketing by storm. It dominates the headlines. You can’t go anywhere without hearing terms like a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram…

It can get overwhelming. Or annoying. Or maybe you’re dominating social media and looking for more. Or you’re panicking because of the latest Facebook algorithm announcement.

To be sure, social media is a valuable part of a business marketing plan, but it’s not the only tool—and it definitely shouldn’t be the only tactic you use to market your business.

Website Optimization

It’s not enough to simply have a website. Your website needs to be full of content and media (video and images) optimized for potential customers and search engines. Statistics don’t lie; more than 90% of online users start their search for information on search engines.

The need for an optimized website is a necessity more now than ever. When building a new website, write content (both headlines and text) that contains relevant terms and topics users typically search for (or ask the pros who specialize in website optimization). Don’t over do it. Content that sounds like a computerized robot created it can be a real turn off to potential customers.

For local businesses, take a step further to attract local customers. Utilize local optimization services to get your websites on page one of searches by customers within 10, 20, or 50 miles of your location. Contact a company that provides services and the data that clearly demonstrates results.

Don’t stop there. The top search engines factor in relevant, fresh content in their ranking decision. Create new content on a regular basis (use these content ideas so you can come up with new topics your customers want to read) that is part of a marketing plan with goals and tactics.

Email Marketing

Sending e-mails to customers is a marketing tactic with one of the highest return-on-investments—if executed properly, starting with e-mail collection. Do not send e-mails to customers without their consent. Instead, collect e-mails on your blog, by asking over the phone or online, or by making an in-person request after servicing the customer.

All e-mails sent should deliver value to your customers, such as information or exclusive discounts. Utilize the same tone as used on your website, in content, or on post cards. Capture your reader’s attention with creative subject lines that make them want to read.

Direct Mail

Postcards and letters may seem like a marketing tactic of the past; the truth of the matter is that, when used as a part of a targeted marketing strategy, mail still is effective in this modern era. Connect this offline tactic to your online marketing tools by using the same tone in the written content and including clear call-to-actions. Request your customers visit your website or social media sites for more information, or ask for their e-mail address for future communications.

Events

There are three kinds of events that can be advantageous for businesses: events run by the business, marketing events, and community events. There are a lot of options: in-house sales, tradeshows, conferences, seminars, community fundraisers, product launches, community classes. The kind of event(s) appropriate for your business (and the most effective) reach your target audience and are in line with your company’s marketing goals. When you decide on an event, formulate and execute a comprehensive marketing plan leading up to the day—and after—of the event.