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    26

    How to Prep for Google+ Brand Pages

    How to Prep for Google+ Brand Pages

    When Facebook started opening up possibilities for businesses to promote themselves through a business page, marketers and business owners went crazy.  Through the mad rush, everyone squeezed into the doors and made their little slice of commercial Facebook space… then said “now what?”
    Brands tried to do the same thing with the launch off Google+ despite the fact that Google said branded pages were coming later.  Google ultimately shut those pages down and shook a finger at the offending businesses informing them to wait their turn.
    There’s a benefit to this shut-out despite some hurt feeling – brand managers and marketing professionals have an opportunity to get into the game on a personal level with Google+ and learn how the system works without turning their brands into a social media guinea pig.  Remember that there is no one-strategy-fits-all when it comes to social media.  Many of us learned that the hard way in tinkering with Facebook.
    Here are some tips to prep yourself, your team and your brand before Google+ opens up branded pages to the commercial community.
    Google+ Marketing – Do Community Research
    You likely already know that you’ve got a lot of followers and brand influences on Facebook.  There are hundreds of millions of users involved in that social network.  Opening up on another network means more work for you.  Make sure that your audience is there, or will be there.  Otherwise you’re investing time and money into something that won’t pay off.
    Google+ Marketing – Use The Network Yourself
    Try to avoid being one of those people who sit around pontificating about the importance of social media strategies and community involvement when they actually have no social presence.  Before you can carry your brand forward you need to know how to use the service on your own.  Take the time to learn about the little things that are separating it and setting it apart from all the other social networks.
    Google+ Marketing – Create a Strategy
    Your presence here is no different from your established presence elsewhere.  You need to put together a strategy for social engagement with your followers in order to properly reach out to and connect with them.  Make sure you know the various ways to communicate (posts, paid ads, messages, etc), know how this network is different from others to leverage the nuances and you certainly need to know what your audiences are looking for on Google+ in comparison to other networks like Facebook and Twitter.
    Google+ Marketing – How to Measure Success
    You’ll definitely need to know what success looks like on Google+ so you can accurately create (achievable) goals that make sense.  Make a list of things to measure including fan base, clicks, comments, shares, posts and clicks on paid ad programs (if Google decides to implement them)
    Google has had some botched attempts in the past to break into the social web so we’re all standing back watching to see how Google+ will do in the grand scheme of things.  While we’re all a bit unsure of the result it’s pretty obvious that the service has potential and Google will do what it can to make it a success.  Stay proactive, learn the system and you’ll be ready to engage when brand pages open to the community.

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    26

    Facebook Opts to Ban Google+ Ads

    Facebook Opts to Ban Google+ Ads

    Google+ is creating a lot of stir and buzz on the web, and there are two schools of thought when it comes to this new social network:  Either Google+ is going to broad smack Facebook in the Face or Google+ is no match for the heavy weight contender.

    I’ve seen posts go either way in recent weeks as Google rolled out the invitation-only access of Google+.  What’s interesting about the silent bout between the two giants is that Facebook might actually be threatened by Google’s new service.

    How, you ask?

    Michael Lee Johnson is a developer of web applications.  He thought he was doing well to market himself when he created an ad campaign on Facebook to garner more followers on Google+  It worked to a point because Michael picked up hundreds of new followers but it wasn’t because of his ad.  \

    It was because Facebook banned him

    Before he ran with the ad (preview shown above), Michael asked his friends over at Google+ what they thought of the whole idea of the ad before he actually ran it.  What’s even more amusing about this is that Michael was able to specifically target people who ‘liked’ Google.  So is Facebook now going to ban all ads relating to the new competitor?

    Maybe Zuckerberg is just protecting his own status as having the most followers on Google+.  It seems they’re just ramping up the aggression on blocking out Google+.  The social network has already blocked users from working with tools that allow them to port connections over to Google+.

    This is the reason Michael received in response from Facebook when his advertising account was banned:

    “Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.”

    Facebooks runs a TOS similar to a lot of other services, so technically they reserve the right to refuse ads at any time for any reason but their TOS does specifically say they can refuse ads for competing products and services that might negatively affect their relationship with their users.

    Of course cancelling ads is a little different from completely banning an account, so the actual account ban makes it look like Facebook is very much concerned with the current growth of Google+.  Despite the ban (and likely because of it), Michael got what he wanted.  He now has more than 900 pulses within the Google+ network.

    Imagine the numbers if Facebook had just ignored it – just another drop in the bucket.

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    26

    PPC Marketing Tips for Beginners

    PPC Marketing Tips for Beginners

    When you’re new to PPC Marketing it might seem relatively easy at first; you dive in pick your favorite keywords, write up an ad, give em your credit card information and then watch the sales roll in.  unfortunately it’s not that simple anymore.
    Back in the early days of PPC, circa 2002, it wasn’t uncommon to see businesses playing the PPC guessing game but now pay per click marketing has become more of a science than anything else.  There are now a lot of tools and features that eliminate the guesswork as long as you’re willing to do the leg work.  Here are some tips for beginners to get the most out of their PPC Marketing
    PPC Marketing Tips – Improve Your Quality Score
    When PPC was relatively new there was no such thing as a quality score.  The result was advertisers lumping hundreds of keywords from their seed lists into an ad or ad group.  More often than not this led to ads popping for irrelevant keywords and was a headache for the people trying to manage the ads.
    The focus now with quality scores is to write your ads using as many of your primary keywords as possible and only making your ad show for about a dozen relevant keywords.  Quality scores are important to the success of your campaign and the more relevant your ad is to matched keywords the higher the quality score and the more likely your ad is to show.
    PPC Marketing Tips – Bidding on Brand Terms
    Just because your brand name appears at the top of organic search results, that doesn’t mean you’re going to appear at the top of paid search results unless you’re actually bidding on and writing ad for those brand terms.
    Not everyone using search is using it for organic listings.  You should make sure you’re appearing in a relevant way for brand searches as well.  Also, you can’t prevent your competitors from bidding on your branded phrases and the last thing you want is another company stealing away customers that are specifically looking for you.
    PPC Marketing Tips – Testing Ad Copy
    It’s amazing how many businesses will invest in in PPC marketing but won’t test the copy of their ads.  They just write it, run it and hope for the best until the campaign is over.  It’s a good idea to write your standard ad and then create a few extra variations including one crazy ad.  Watch how they perform using the statistics and analytics provided, and shut down those ads that perform poorly while continuing to tweak the ones that do well.
    PPC Marketing Tips – Track Conversions
    If you’re running multiple ads or ad groups using a variety of keywords and sales messages then you should be tracking your conversions to see where your business or your leads are coming from.  Google and a number of other services off free ad tracking services to help you track conversions right down tto the keyword.  This is the best way to prove the ROI of a particular marketing or PPC marketing campaign.
    We’ve come a great distance since the dawn of PPC marketing.  With all the unique features added by the search engines including geo targeting, conversion optimizer, ad schedule and experiments it’s tempting to go racing through.  You need to learn to walk before you can run though.  Study the basics of PPC marketing and start small.  Grow your campaigns as you learn and experiment and you’ll eventually be on your way to getting the best results from your PPC marketing.
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    25

    Content Marketing – How to Leverage an Inactive Blog

    Content Marketing – How to Leverage an Inactive Blog

    When you get involved in marketing online and doing content marketing, you usually end up with at least one blog – in many cases you wind up with dozens of them to handle specific areas of your business or your various products.  While many of them will thrive you inevitably wind up with a few that don’t do so well.  Perhaps the market for blue widgets seemed to fall away a bit.  Maybe you’re just not as interested in a particular product as you thought you would be.
    Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t let the blog just sit idly without any activity.  Here are 5 things you can do with your personal or company blog that could still generate some revenue and traffic:
    What to Do With Your Blog: Sell the Beast!
    I can’t imagine anyone involved in blogging that doesn’t fantasize about selling their blog and domain for hundreds of thousands of dollars to some major corporation that wants to get their mitts on it.  AOL always seems to be prowling for new blogs to absorb.  If you’re interested in selling your blog then there are two route to go about doing so:
    1. Actively Selling your Blog – This involves posting that your blog is for sale on various communities and forums.  Likewise you need to start prospecting.  That means contacting individuals and businesses that may be interested in the “real estate” of your blog.  There’s a lot of benefit in taking over an existing blog vs. starting a new one and in many cases it’s worth the bread.
    2. Passively Selling your Blog – If you don’t have the time to go chasing prospects to sell your blog then you could always try passively selling the blog.  This entails putting up a final post on your blog that clearly states “hey this place is for sale – if you want to buy it contact me here”.  Once that post is life you just have to hope the people that stop by are interested enough to contact you for more information.  It will likely take a while but on the upside you don’t have to spend a lot of your own time trying to find a buyer.
    What to Do With Your Blog: Tear it Down for Scrap
    Like an automobile in decent shape, a good blog can be dismantled and stripped for the parts in order to make some money.  The content you posted is worth a lot by itself and there are number of things you can do with it.
    1. Sell the Individual Content – You can either sell individual articles or as a bundle to another business or blogger that could gain some use from them; especially if they’re well optimized and well written
    2. Make Long-Term Money – Try a site like AssociatedContent where you can publish your articles and make money every time someone views that article.
    3. Make an eBook – Compile the content you’ve written into a useful eBook that others can use for information.  Offer it as a free download to build a lead list or sell the eBook for just a few bucks to make a little cash on the side.
    4. Sell the Domain – Content aside, your domain might be worth some money if it’s got a decent page rank and gets a fair amount of traffic.  You can use a domain name selling service like GoDaddy auctions or even eBay.  Likewise try contacting companies that might be interested in buying the domain name directly from you.
    What to Do With Your Blog – Break Out the Billboard
    Just because your blog is inactive doesn’t mean it’s useless.  If you can’t come up with any new content for that particular topic then try using it as a billboard to cross promote another piece of work.  You can also use that blog to promote something else such as another blog or an eBook, affiliate product, etc.  If the blog is sitting there costing you money each month then use it as a promotional tool to try to gain some of that money back through traffic, ad dollars or affiliate sales.
    What to Do With Your Blogg – Merge the Content
    Can’t sell the content or part it out?  Then try to add it into one of your active blogs.  Merging content is a great way to reuse the content and get some more mileage out of it.  Obviously the content will need to be somewhat relevant but you can also revise the piece a little to make sure it works with your existing content.  Remember that the more relevant, optimized content you have on your site the more traffic you can potentially get from the search engines.  Especially from the wide variety of long tail searches that results from having a good selection of blog content.
    What to Do With Your Blog – Never Let is Sit
    A blog that is left to sit is just wasted money.  You’re throwing a few bucks a month in hosting fees out the window but you’re also losing money in all the missed opportunities.  If none of the above can be applied to your blog then it may be best to simply scrap it – especially if it’s costing you money.  Repurpose it, rethink it, reimagine it – get what you can out of the content and then move along.

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    25

    Social Sharing – Are you Missing out on Branding Opportunities?

    Social Sharing – Are you Missing out on Branding Opportunities?

    Written by Karis Morris
    Most companies today have seen the light and are investing heavily in social sharing opportunities as a primary means for generating new customers, leads, sales, boosting profit – everything that keeps a business going.  Unfortunately the dollar signs flashing across their eyes often blind them from seeing the one central strategy that has proven to be the most effective medium for generating those dollars:
    Focus Your Content On Your Brand
    Before I go further you need to ask yourself:  Is my social media activity branding my business properly?  Likewise, is the social sharing that takes place among my audience helping with my brand?
    Think about all the various applications and plugins that get your content shared on the web.  Think about the ways people pass information along.  Can you guarantee that your brand is attached and visible every time someone shares something about your business?  In some cases, the content gets passed along like it’s in a blank envelope.  Only after investigating the content deeper will people find that your company is behind it.
    The Need for Branding
    There are a lot of competitors out there that want your customers, and if you’re not properly branding yourself then you’re making it extremely easy for customers to wander.  Imagine if someone stripped away your company information so that customers couldn’t see your brand name, logo, etc.  Would they still be able to identify you based on other branding factors or are you just limited to association by name?   Branding helps set you apart from other competitors.
    So what does that have to do with social sharing?
    Some social networks let you and your audience type in all the information you want to make sure the source of the content is easily identified.  Others, like Twitter, only give you a limited amount of space.  When you start using third party plugins and applications to make social sharing easier then you set yourself up for missed branding opportunities if you’re not careful.
    Consider the social sharing application “addthis”.  When you share using default settings, you get “via @addthis” tacked on to your retweet.  Unless you modify these settings you don’t get your own brand name added.
    Whenever your audience shares content with their social circles you should be taking the opportunity to get your own social media profiles, handles and brand names in where you can.  This can help others share your content if they’re familiar with your brand.  If they’re not familiar with your brand, the name alone might spark interest and lead them to investigate your social profiles a bit deeper.
    Set up all of your plugins and social sharing options to maintain a consistent brand identity across all of your content marketing campaigns.  This will help transform every one of your followers into a broadcasting platform as they repeat your brand identity when sharing your content.

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    01

    5 Benefits of Facebook PPC Ads

    5 Benefits of Facebook PPC Ads

    FaceBook PPC or Google PPC?
    PPC advertising through Facebook brings in millions of dollars in business every year on a local level – and that’s not the money that Google is making.  Small business owners are discovering how Pay Per Click ads can quickly improve brand visibility and more than double sales with the right ads.
    Google isn’t the only player in the display ad game however – Facebook is helping business owners connect with their target audience better than any other platform and it’s the unique nature of the social media network that makes it happen.
    Google ads are great to a point, because when someone does a keyword or phrase search, your ad can pop to show an offer relevant to their search query – that’s where the line is drawn unfortunately.  There are few ways to customize the ad networks to ensure that you’re hitting your target audience.  In order to avoid wasted dollars on irrelevant clicks you need to plug in a lot of negative key phrases and variations you -don’t- want to appear for.  With all that work, it’s no wonder business owners turn their PPC management and marketing over to other companies.
    Facebook is making it a lot easier to hit your demographic though.
    Facebook PPC Benefit #1
    Ads are extremely simple to create within the Facebook platform and you can actually laser target your ads to appear only for the customers you want to reach.  The environment reads profiles and data posted by users to find relevant ads.  If you want to make an ad appear for 20-30 year old college students in love with star wars (the original, not the latest 3) who also enjoy fishing and lacrosse then you can do that.  Location, age, interest and more.
    Facebook PPC Benefit #2
    If you have a limited budget then Facebook PPC is perfect for you.  Like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads only require you to pay when someone views/clicks on your ad however the tightly focused system ensures that the clicks you get are going to be far more relevant.  With a small budget you can still get in on the action and get some play with Facebook ads.
    Facebook PPC Benefit #3
    If you’re not using a Facebook page for your business and you’re interested in doing some PPC campaigns then now is the perfect time to ramp up your social media marketing.  A Facebook page is a great way to introduce Facebook users to your brand.  They’re still within the social media environment where they’re comfortable, you’re not funneling them off to some other page with your PPC and they can immediately ask questions, interact with other customers and staff and learn more about your business.  The best part is that it’s free to launch a business page to work with your PPC campaign, and you can use the analytics to help measure the success of your campaign
    Facebook PPC Benefit #4
    By setting up a social media presence with a Facebook page and PPC ads, you can improve your brand visibility within the network.  That means giving people the ability to discover you, buy from you, like you and immediately share with their entire network how much they liked your offer.  When others view that content, your PPC ad could start showing for the extended network as well.
    Facebook PPC Benefit #5
    Ads on Facebook are far less intrusive.  In my experience working with the social network I’ve rarely felt like I was being interrupted.  In many cases they caught my interest far more than pay ads in search results because ads in Facebook are far more relevant to my interests.  That means the chance for conversion is that much higher.  When was the last time ads in Google caught your attention?  Multimedia PPC ads on Facebook are cheaper, easier to establish and are the next wave in getting in touch with your target audience.

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    24

    Social Bookmarking Tips to Success

    Social Bookmarking Tips to Success

    A number of fantastic articles go unnoticed on social bookmarking sites because the headlines read like something out of a fifth rate pornographic comic book.  For clarification – that’s bad.  Your headline is the first thing readers see both in search engines and when they’re browsing the bookmarking sites.  If you don’t make every effort to provide a catchy headline, the chances of you getting noticed are about as good as lightning striking you in the face twice.  This can be avoided by checking trends, examining other quality articles or simply opting in for a social bookmarking submission service that can handle that for you.
    Write a Meaningful Description
    Descriptions should be short, concise and to the point.  In doing so, it should clarify exactly what the reader is about to look at with the impact of a call-to-action that will compel them to continue.  If at all possible, the description should contain some manner of keyword(s) from the content to aid in search engine placement.  Keep it limited to 160 characters or less.  That’s the cutoff for search engines.
    A social bookmarking service is a place where people want information quickly and on the fly.  It may very well contain article content but people like to minimize reading while they’re searching until they actually get to the content they want.  When you’re doing a social bookmarking submission, keep this in mind for your description so you can set yourself up for better traffic conversions.
    Launch with a Powerful First Paragraph
    This definitely applies to any social bookmarking service but it’s also key for any kind of article marketing service as well.  Your first paragraph needs to clearly detail what the reader is getting into.  It should also contain the first bulk of your keywords if you’re optimizing the content for search engine placement.  A bad paragraph right out the gate is like inviting someone into your home with the promise of a dinner party and then stealing their wallet.  Getting assaulted by poor content leaves people feeling mugged.  Don’t go there.
    Content is King
    While your first paragraph undoubtedly needs to catch and hook the reader, the rest of your content needs to keep the rollercoaster going.  Otherwise you glide to a boring stop once you make that first exciting drop – and that reader will click away from your content.   Using a social bookmarking service to submit junk won’t last very long.  People won’t continue to visit your content, and you could end up getting banned from using the service by “social bookmarking submission spamming”
    Submit to the Right Category
    This doesn’t apply to everyone but make sure you submit to the right category.  If you dump your content into a generalized category, you’ll be quickly buried by other people doing the same thing.  Take the time to research the categories and locations of content similar to yours to find the best place to post it.  If you’re still having trouble, you can utilize a social bookmarking submission service to handle the task for you and get you listed in the right spot, right away.
    Social bookmarking is like an invasion – you get a sudden rush of people and then within a few days the traffic dies off.  It’s effective, it’s fast and it’s free.  The best thing you can do to utilize this as part of your marketing strategy is to hire a social bookmarking service that can either write and submit content for you or take the content you’ve written and quickly submit to the wide variety of social bookmarking sites.
    Save time, save money, earn time, earn money.

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    22

    What To Do If a Review Lies About You

    What To Do If a Review Lies About You

    I recently spoke with a friend who contacted me with a little panic in his voice.  He manages a small business and prides himself on customer-friendly relations.  He is the epitome of easy-going but he was at a loss when a long-time loyal customer alerted him to a scathing and terrible review of his business on a highly used review website.  He wasn’t sure what he could do about it.
    When I asked him for the details of the review, he read the review off to me and was able to identify the customer by certain details that were mentioned.  He told me that this customer was extremely difficult, and wasn’t willing to accept any of his suggestions for remedies to the issue she was having.  At the end, he had to tell the customer that he could do no more to help her.
    What upset him more was that the customer had posted comments in the review that were exaggerations and made false references to his behavior that weren’t true.  He had objective proof that she had lied in the review.
    Sadly, this type of thing isn’t isolated.  While many reviews we encounter online are factual (and some businesses have it coming) there’s no way to stop a dissatisfied customer from ringing the loudest gong they can find even if they cheat while doing it.  With sites like Yahoo yellow pages, Yelp, Kudzu and Google Reviews taking a neutral stance, meaning they won’t weed out what is true or false, it’s difficult for many businesses owners to figure out how to manage these incidents.
    So how do you handle negative reviews?  Treat your customer as well as you can.  These people you deal with on a daily basis have a lot more power than most business owners think.  It’s always good to encourage your customers to post positive reviews when possible, and offer them incentives to do so.  This dilutes the power of any negative reviews.  When you do receive a bad review, engage that individual online and see if you can make amends.  Try to settle the dispute and show other web users that you’re willing to take care of upset customers.
    This process will likely require you to develop a thick skin.  You can expect that irate customers will likely come off rude and this attitude might sometimes be more than you can take.  One San Francisco bookstore owner was arrested for Battery when she forced her way into the home of someone who posted a negative review of her book store on Yelp.
    Of course that’s no reason to let a customer lie about you.  When things go beyond a simple difference in opinions, and you have the ability to show that you were wronged in a situation, then you can plead the issue to a review site.  If you can show that the review is dishonest, there’s a good possibility it would be removed.
    And that is just what my friend did.  The site in question actually removed the review.  My friend learned from the situation and now he takes the time to solicit positive reviews from his customers.  He works diligently to make sure that all of his customers are satisfied – including the whackos.

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    17

    The Downside of PLR Content in Content Marketing

    The Downside of PLR Content in Content Marketing

    When you’re looking to beef up your sales and conversions, traffic, etc with online marketing part of the strategy involves article marketing.  It’s a tried and true method and I’ve written on it before.  Article marketing plays a major role in backlink building as well as thought leadership to drive traffic.
    As long as it’s done properly, the benefits can be outstanding.  There are far too many marketers, both new and old, that jump into this with actually formulating a strategy.  Even worse, they see the whole concept of article marketing as something that’s tedious and a massive black hole that sucks away time.
    This causes many to opt for the private label rights (PLR) content that is so readily available on the net.  PLR offers the illusion that marketing can be made simple by purchasing pre-made content.  Essentially, you buy hundreds of articles in a specific niche or on a certain topic and you can publish that content on your site, under your name, without having to give credit to the author.
    It sounds like a great option, but there are a number of negatives to opting for PLR
    Content Marketing Implosion – Duplicate Content
    Most sites peddling PLR content don’t offer unique content rights.  Often they sell PLR with distribution rights, resell rights, rewrite rights, etc.  That means there are a ton of other people out there with the same content that you’ve purchased.  This can create a duplicate content issue with the search engines.  Only one version of the content will typically get listed within the search engines, the others are often left to the archives.  There’s a good chance that if you purchase and post PLR, it won’t do you much good in regards to your site rank in the SERPs
    Content Marketing Implosion – Poor Quality
    A lot of PLR is generated by freelance “writers” that are outsourced from countries where English is not the native language.  I’ve had experience with outsourced content and PLR content of this nature; I’ve read and sifted through thousands of articles and rarely do I see anything that is worthwhile.  More often than not, the content is extremely vague and the information carries no value to anyone.  To make matters worse, the grammar and spelling can leave a lot to be desired.  In my opinion there is no such thing as articles that are JUST for building backlinks.  People are going to stumble across your content and if it reads like a 4th grader wrote it after drinking half a keg then you can expect people to form a negative opinion about your intelligence.  Forget about whether or not they want to trust in what you’re peddling.
    Content Marketing Implosion – There’s Still Work Involved
    You can’t just repost PLR content.  If you want to gain any benefit from it you have to rewrite it or spin it.  Spinning the content with software usually leaves it in worse shape than when it started.  Software can’t create quality content, and some spinners need you to plug in the alternate words – that takes more time than most people care to do and in some cases it’s easier to just write the article yourself.  Along the same lines, you could rewrite the PLR yourself just to change the way it reads.  Improve it, punch it up, make it unique, etc.  The problem with that is that the content is often vague to begin with, so if you don’t know anything about the subject matter then you’re still going to be left with an article that provides no value.
    It’s best to avoid buying into PLR content.  It doesn’t take that long to produce a few good articles each week to use in your marketing campaigns.  If you’re really that strapped for time, then opt to hire a professional and pay for good content that will help sell your authenticity.

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    15

    4 Reasons To Push for Social Media Marketing

    4 Reasons To Push for Social Media Marketing

    “We’ve already spent a lot of money on marketing, we don’t have the budget for social media and that other stuff.”
    That “other stuff” is where many businesses are failing to see where marketing is going.  If a business was truly spending their full budget on marketing then social media would be naturally included.  It’s not “other stuff”.  It’s mainstream media now just like Television and Radio are mainstream media for advertising.
    Social media is getting a lot of mixed reviews and it’s not because it only works sometimes, it’s because it only works sometimes when business owners do it right.  Many business leaders simply don’t know how to approach it or what to think and it’s a testament to how they run their business overall.  Ultimately if you know your customers then you should know how to engage them in any medium whether it’s in person, at events or through social media.
    The above statement is similar to other ways of thinking that are common.  Others include:
    “Is this really what its hyped to be and is it even worth it?
    “How are we even going to know if it’s working for us?
    “We don’t know how to measure the return so we don’t want to invest in it.”
    “Can the return even BE measured?”
    “We don’t have the budget for playing on social media.”
    “I don’t think blogging or sharing personal opinions can really help us.”
    I could go on and on with a lot of the negativity I’ve heard about social media but we need to be clear about a few things.  First and foremost, social media marketing isn’t something that’s being newly tested.  It’s merely an evolution of tried and true tactics on a new platform.  With that said, social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
    Also, social media marketing isn’t about grabbing a few accounts and playing with them once in a while.  This is about networking with potential customers and your most devoted customers to improve sales, leads and conversion.  There are a number of reasons to push through, develop a strategy and get chest-deep in social media marketing.
    Social Media Marketing – For the People
    No matter what business you’re in, you need people because people are your customers.  Even if a you’re a veterinarian you still have to deal with the handlers of the animals that make up your customers base.  You might fix horses but you interact with and ultimately invoice people.  When it comes to social media marketing, those with the largest network and the most engaging content are going to win.  The larger your fan base, the more market share you potentially gain through exposure and referrals.
    Social Media Marketing – Change Comes Quickly
    The market doesn’t stay the same forever and trends rise and fall like the tides.  You better believe that the interests and needs of your target audience are not going to stay the same.  By developing and maintaining a large network through social media you’re not only broadcasting to your audience but you’re listening.  Your social media presence becomes a listening dashboard to discover what people want on the fly.  It’s the cheapest form of market research and allows you to update and change your business on the fly.
    Social Media Marketing – Sales & Customer Service
    You can generate a lot of leads and potential interest with social media marketing, but it’s also extremely powerful as a customer service tool.  If you think it has little to do with that aspect of your business, think again.  Your customers and clients live in an age where gratification and service comes instantly with online shopping and company engagement.  Social media and search engines give people results and answers – and they expect the same thing from the businesses they work with.  Customer services needs to be delivered live, in real-time.
    Voicemails, waiting on email responses and sitting on hold are a thing of the past.  You might think that you’re doing just fine with phone messages and email but your customers are rolling their eyes every time they need to address any kind of a customer service issue.  Social media marketing lets you generate that human presence similar to a customer service desk.
    Social Media Marketing – Because Google Says So
    It was a long time coming but we saw it a long time ago – Google is putting more emphasis on social proof and social sharing.  The concept is that if people are sharing your content through sites like Twitter, Facebook and other networks (social bookmarking) then it’s not likely for the content to be spam.  Only high quality content gets the most mileage so it’s an excellent ranking factor.  That means the more people like you, share your content and talk about you the more likely you are to come out on top in the search results.
    That’s just a few of the primary reasons why – despite apprehension – business owners need to make the effort to get involved in social media marketing.  It’s not something to dive headlong into and does require a sound strategy.  If you’re not sure how to tackle it properly then talk to use over at Social Media Science, we’ve got software applications like SYNND that can help you quickly learn to leverage social media marketing to put your business on top and start generating buzz with valuable content.

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