Showing posts with label smm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smm. Show all posts

Why social media isn't right for all small businesses

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

3 signs your small business should forego social media, and what to do instead

Wait -- you thought every business needs a social media presence? Columnist Jordan Kasteler explains why being on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube may not be the right answer for a small business.  

If you’re a small business owner, the title of this article may not sit well with you. After all, there’s no shortage of online articles and blog posts insisting that it’s necessary for businesses of all sizes to maintain a social media presence.

Admittedly, having a professionally crafted social media presence does benefit many large companies worldwide. Social media, when done right, can give a brand or a public figure an effective “voice” and let their personality shine. (Even Bernie Sanders can attest to social media’s branding abilities.)

Effective social media practices also can make a company more visible, as well as build trust with its consumers.

However, all this being said, a huge problem exists for small businesses that spend time and effort on social media: The return on investment is often lacking.

Countless small businesses don’t have the ability to do social media right. Is yours one of them? Here are three signs that you need to be getting out of the social media arena:

1. Your business doesn’t have the money to do social media right

How much money does your small business have available for social media? A hundred dollars per month? $200 per month? $300 per month? If so, you’ll be disappointed to know that these budgets won’t make a dent in your return on investment.

To get the biggest social media ROI, you’ll need to spend more like $200 or $300 per day. Where does all that money go? A few expensive elements of a successful social media presence include:

Does your business create regular, visually appealing content (e.g., blogging, videos, pics, infographics and so on)? And if so, is it interesting, useful and beneficial to your audience?

If your answer is yes, then you’re probably spending good money for such content — paying either a social media agency or in-house writers and designers to create it.

Monitoring tools
 Without spending a lot of time and money on monitoring your followers’ conversations and engaging with them, your business isn’t being “social” with your media. Even if you do have time to engage with people online, is your small business prepared to invest in social media monitoring tools?

Pay to play
 Even if you do spend money on creating world-class videos, photography and engaging copy, your spending spree isn’t done yet. The undeniable truth is that without spending some money on advertising with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others, you are just not going to be effective on social media.

Visibility for your business won’t be there without paying for it. Organic reach no longer exists the way it once did.

As Hill Holliday’s Mike Proulx said in Advertising Age:
Remember when social media used to be called unpaid media? Those days are over. Marketing on social networks today requires a shift in mindset — one that considers social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, as any other ad-supported media properties.

They have targetable mass audiences that you can reach if you’re willing to allocate a chunk of your media budget. Fact: You will need to spend more money in social media than you have in the past.

2. Your business doesn’t have a social media strategy

For some reason, many small business owners are surprised to learn just how important a social media strategy is. It’s no less important than strategies have ever been throughout the history of marketing.

A social media strategy spells out the objectives for your social media, as well as the details of how those objectives will be reached.

Shockingly, there are even large companies out there that have not established clear objectives for their social media. And it’s no secret that without objectives, nothing gets measured.

A social media strategy hashes out which social platforms a business should attract people to, and even the right timing for attracting people to a social media account.

For example, should a particular business include social media buttons on the sales pages of its website? Or is it better not to direct prospects to a company Facebook page until after the prospect has subscribed to an email list or purchased a product?

3. Your business doesn’t have the staff needed to support social media

Small businesses are usually interested in landing new customers. Unfortunately, however, the norm is to ignore new (and even existing!) customers on social media.

The small business environment is full of companies that learn the hard way that you need employees dedicated to engaging new customers and prospects in social media conversations. When was the last time you tweeted or engaged with someone on your social media? Last week? Last month? Last year? Such negligence does more harm than good.

Properly maintaining a social media account is a full-time job. So before you set up an account, ask yourself if you have sufficient people power to support it.

You also need the right employees to support it. How many of your employees have the social savvy and tact needed to effectively use hashtags, understand consumer needs as they engage, know the art of diffusing angry interactions online and so on?

But without social media, can I still market my business?

Of course you can. Here are just a few ways small businesses find new clients and customers without breaking their banks and wasting their time on social media:

Email marketing
Rather than shelling out ungodly amounts of money for social media likes, followers and fans, consider the value of collecting email addresses instead.

This way, you can maintain great relationships with your customers, email them discounts and coupons, send thank-you notes, offer them valuable information or helpful tips, and anything else that helps build loyalty and trust.

Find well-read blogs that your audience is likely to read — preferably, blogs that are related to your product, service or industry. Contact these blogs with a pitch and an introduction about yourself: You’re a business owner in their industry, and you have a lot of expertise you’d love to share with their readers.

Offer a valuable blog post or two that they’d like to feature on their blogs. Ask them if you can mention your business in the blog posts, as well as your product or services.
Some of these well-read blogs may even be willing to offer giveaway contests featuring one of your products. They’ll probably also be willing to include your bio, which can feature a link to your business’s website.

Exhibiting at conferences and trade shows
Although there’s some cost involved, taking part in industry events is an excellent way to connect with others in your industry. Try to come as an exhibitor within the event.

But even if you cannot exhibit, you’ll still benefit greatly as an attendee. You’re sure to meet other business owners who inspire you to try new ideas for your own products and services.

You also may get some insight into the competition that you weren’t aware of before the trade show. But best of all, you’ll certainly get opportunities to meet new customers who didn’t previously know about your business.

Offering free presentations
You are an expert in your field, your business and your industry. And most likely, it just so happens that there are many organizations who’d love to hear a presentation from you.

Approach chambers of commerce, local clubs, schools, colleges, businesses, churches/mosques/synagogues, or anywhere else that might offer you a captive audience. Talk about industry trends, new product technologies, or maybe even teach others how they can get into your industry.

And, of course, mention your own products and services, and what makes them special or unique. As you become more and more well-known within your community, you’ll be sure to gain new customers faster than your competitors.

Don’t be afraid to ditch social media!

Sure, there are certainly some small businesses in this world that do have effective social media strategies and that do benefit greatly from social media. Such businesses are usually fortunate enough to have deep pockets for social media budgets or employees with social media savvy.

But if your small business is not among them, why feel like you have to be on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube?

In the marketing world, few things are worse than an abandoned, ghost-town social media account. Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are easy to set up and get excited about, but they’re hard to maintain.

That’s why a lot of small business social media starts out strong for a week or two and then fizzles out. A lame Facebook page with just a handful of likes and barely any engagement or content is much worse than having no page at all.

Don’t be one of those businesses that insists on having a social media presence even though you aren’t prepared to do it right. Failing at social media equates to wasted time and money and an unimpressive brand.

So, for businesses that aren’t able to create an effective strategy, it’s best to stay off social media and find other ways to market your business instead.

(Courtesy of MarketingLand)

10 ways a personal brand on social media helps the corporate #brand behind it

Friday, March 25, 2016

No one can say that there aren’t many benefits of having a strong personal brand on social media. 

After all, your LinkedIn profile is where practically everyone goes to check you out if they’re considering doing business with you in any way, shape or form.

If you have a few presentations uploaded to SlideShare, a few dozen posts published on a blog and a few hundred followers on Twitter, even better.

Using social media to showcase your background, skills, talent and expertise is a no-brainer.

But the benefits of personal branding on social media aren’t limited to the owner of that brand only.

Everyone around those who are prevalent and popular online, the “corporate all-stars” of the business world, as Edelman’s Steve Rubel so astutely labelled them in 2009, enjoys the fruits of their labor, from direct reports to supervisors, colleagues to clients, partners to employers.

How? Here’s how. Here are 10 ways a personal brand on social media works to the advantage of the corporate brand behind it and is a win-win for everyone involved.

1. Reach

A small company may not have a big audience on social media, but it may have a handful of people among its ranks with their own extensive networks.

Riding employees’ coattails makes sense if they can help get the word out to a broader, perhaps even better, audience. Like a good ripple effect, the more help brands can get from the people who work for them, the further and faster their messages will travel.

2. Thought Leadership

Social media makes it possible for almost anyone to establish themselves as a renowned expert. All you need is the time, talent and tenacity. Write a blog post. Record a video. Comment here, there and everywhere. 

Leaders within an organization should be leaders in their industry. From a selfish standpoint, that may be how to ascend the corporate ladder, but that’s also how to generously increase the visibility and credibility of the corporate brand behind you.

3. Education

Anyone who spends more than a modicum of time on social media knows what a treasure trove of educational resources can be found there.

Never mind attending conferences and signing up for webinars. Log in to this channel or that one and boom, you’re privy to all the news and information that’s fit to share. Social media is a living, breathing education on demand, and more often than not it’s on the house.

4. Camaraderie

Imagine having access to a circle of like-minded professionals, connections you can count on to keep you up to date and in the know, wherever you are, whenever you want. That’s social media.
People may not pick up the phone when you call or respond to your email, but if you mention them in a tweet or tag them on Facebook, suddenly you have their attention. 

That’s influence. That’s clout. That’s a big benefit to both personal and corporate brands.

5. Social proof

People are more likely to trust and support other like-minded people, not distant, impersonal corporate logos and brands. 

When you earn likes, shares and comments as an employee, not only does it go a long way toward establishing a great reputation for your own personal brand, it benefits the corporate brand behind you. 

Your influence and authority on social media reflects positively on the products and services you represent and can be used by those who employ you.

6. Inspiration

We all know the importance of keeping team members properly inspired. While often employers can’t afford to send their people to conferences and industry events, they can easily permit, if not encourage, employees to spend time on social media, listening, learning, reading and writing. 

Regular exposure to such resources goes a long way toward enabling and empowering people to go above and beyond in their work on behalf of the brands they represent.

7. Scalability

If practice makes perfect, social media is the place to go to hone your skills in the areas of writing, networking, research, thought leadership and branding. 

For the individual practitioner, work done with these tools and technologies can lead to something more valuable to the brand he or she represents. 

Status updates can result in potential new customers and clients. Blog posts can be turned into white papers. Time spent on Twitter can yield new findings, data, insights and connections that are ripe to be taken advantage of at an enterprise level.

8. Accountability

Those who are active on social media for business reasons are invariably those who are passionate about their jobs, careers and professions. They are bold, brave, outgoing and engaging, people who are blessed with the qualities associated with leaders, accountable to their respective roles and responsibilities. 

After all, like speakers, writers, artists, athletes, performers and entertainers, they’re putting their reputations on the line every time they share something with others. 

Their activities are both public and permanent, so they had better know what they’re doing or else they’re subject to criticism.

9. Networking

They don’t call it social media for nothing. The more active you are on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and the like, the more connections you’ll amass. 

Yes, those so-called “corporate all-stars” Steve Rubel referred to have legions of followers, people who can help not just themselves, but the brands they represent. 

Unless a corporate brand is a household name or a celebrity of some type, it takes a lot of time to build a large, engaged audience. Those with strong personal brands can help their employers get there more quickly by providing access to their own networks and triggering engagement among their constituencies.

10. Authenticity

Even if you are well-known for one reason or another, a corporate logo will only get you so far along the path to long-standing, mutually beneficial relationships with your audience members. The trust factor looms large on social media. 

That’s where a good personal brand enters the picture. Employers can draft behind their employee ambassadors in order to win over new followers and fans, people who will give them much more attention if only due to their confidence in their friends.

The bottom line is that it takes a village to come out ahead on social media. Both personal and corporate brands should take great pains to work together and to realize that we’re talking about a collaborative activity, not one that exists in a silo.

It pays for employers to not just activate their employees on these channels, but to join them in the conversation.
by  Bob Cargill, Director of Social Media at Overdrive Interactive

How to Launch Your Business Presence on Pinterest

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Pinterest is one of the hottest social platforms, both for advertisers and consumers right now, but it’s quite different from Facebook or Twitter.

SocialTimes worked with Pinterest to figure out a guide for businesses looking to get started on the site.

First steps

Businesses should create a business profile and confirm their website. Doing this adds the company logo to any Pins that come from that site and lets you see what people are Pinning from the website.
Next, Pinterest recommends that you create a variety of boards, showcasing your company’s personality and taste. You don’t have to fill boards completely out immediately, but have enough Pins to entice fans.

Pinterest recommends that boards are labeled clearly and showcased with a compelling cover Pin:
Give your boards clear names so people can tell what’s on them, but don’t be afraid to get creative–just keep it to 20 characters or less so it doesn’t get cut off. And don’t forget the description, which can inspire people to follow your boards and help you show up in searches.
You can also use secret boards to add content to them before you’re ready to launch to the public. Pinterest noted that it’s best to place most relevant boards at the top, such as seasonal boards or boards with the most repins.

You should Pin at least once a day so your followers get fresh content in their home feeds — but don’t limit it to just items from your site. Pinterest recommends that you partner with bloggers and lifestyle websites, Pinning their content as well. Engaging with other Pinners is a great strategy for engagement. You could also create a group board and invite people who love your products to contribute.

When crafting a Pin, thoughtful descriptions will make content more inspiring (and most importantly) searchable.
Pinterest also recommends that you add the Follow button on your website, as well as a Pinterest link in email signatures and social media posts. In-store signage would help, too.

Creating good Pins

Imagery is of paramount importance on Pinterest. Here’s what Pinterest suggests you do for eye-catching Pins:
  1. Use high-quality images. Make sure they’re well-composed and in focus.
  2. Go for taller Pins. Vertically-oriented Pins look better on mobile screens.
  3. Pins with multiple images can work well for Pinners looking for how- tos, but keep it to 4 images or fewer so it doesn’t look too crowded.
  4. Minimize the amount of text on an image. Make sure it’s easy to read on mobile screens.
Words are important, too. Pinterest noted that each Pin should have a description that gives context. They should be positive, helping people picture what they could do with the product while providing more information.

You should also use Rich Pins when possible, so useful details stay on the Pin as it gets repinned. With Rich Pins, people will automatically see key information such as price, availability, ingredients and location. All you need to do is add some meta tags to your website.

Consider Pinterest SEO

Without a proper description, your awesome Pin may never be seen. Consider the way people search on Pinterest when writing Pin copy.

Here’s how you should optimize your copy for Pinterest search:
Think about what people who are looking at a certain Pin might have searched for. Was it a sweater, or was it an argyle sweater? A blue sweater or a cashmere sweater? Mention the most compelling and distinct parts of the Pin in your description, and your Pins are more likely to surface when people get specific in searches.
However, don’t just add a million hashtags and keywords. Pinterest recommends using the right search words, not just the most.

Optimize your website

Pinterest notes that your website may already be full of Pinnable content. The site recommends images that are at least 600 pixels wide, keeping in mind that only images that are at least 100 x 200 (or 200 x 100) pixels are able to be Pinned.

A Pin It button on the website will make it easy for people to add Pins from your website, Pinterest suggested:
A Pin It button makes it easy for people to add Pins from your website. By copying and pasting just a few lines of code, you can put Pin It buttons on top of or next to images and content you want people to Pin. Pinners will do the rest!

Article courtesy of SocialTimes)

Don't like social networking? Why you need to change your thinking.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Image source:
I often hear from clients "I don't do social networks" or "I don't get that social stuff - everyone is obsessed with it". Five years ago, that probably would have been fine. However, if you have a business today, it's almost imperitive.

It's precisely because everyone is so connected to their devices and their social networks that you need to jump in and join the mix. "Viral" is a good thing for spreading the word - and that's just what you want.

More than seven in 10 employed people are now active social networkers as social networking has become the number one use of the internet.  Overall, we know that 94% of people use social networking to learn, 78% to share knowledge and 49% to access needed expertise.  We are witnessing the emergence of the “human face” of data and the unprecedented creation and sharing of knowledge.

Imagine how one item you share on social media can be spread to hundreds or thousands of faces in a matter of hours. Remember, sharing goes outside your own network of customers or followers and has the potential to be shared with all of the networks of those people.

Some of the simple benefits of using Social Media include:

Provide great customer service
  • Connect with customers directly
  • Update clients and suppliers with news about your business or products
  • Encourage feedback
  • Respond to feedback
  • Keep an eye on the competition
  • Hear and monitor what your customers want
Boost your business marketing efforts
  • An easy way to learn about your audience through built in demographic data
  • Increase website traffic and search ranking
  • Helps generate leads for a third of the cost
  • Increase brand awareness and image with no budget
It doesn't have to be hard... or expensive.

You can set up your social networks to update automatically when you update just one source (like your website) with software and scripting. You can also take a bit of training from your marketing manager or webmaster then do it yourself. You can also pay a maketing expert, copywriter or someone in your company to keep your social networks up to date.

Now remember, there is no such thing as effective social media marketing without content. As we've said for years, "Content is King". It's great content that gets people to share, and that sharing widens your audience to world of potential customers, fans and friends.

Whether you're a large corporation or a small business entrepreneur, social media marketing can be the most inexpensive and powerful marketing tool in your arsenal to build the trust and authority that helps exponentially grow your business.

Learn more about marketing strategies and social media marketing online at our website,

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