Archive | Marketing

Using Facebook to Market Your Business

Straight Talk about How You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use Facebook to Market Your Business

With over a billion users, Facebook is far and away the most famous social network on earth. If Facebook were a country, it would contain the third largest population, behind China and India. And like China and India, Facebook possesses its own unique customs and norms, and you should understand them so that you can fully leverage the site’s potential as a marketing tool. When I see businesses go wrong on Facebook, it’s often because they don’t bother to learn the local customs.

Tread lightly

What makes Facebook so unique among all social networks? It’s the reality that people that use the site have solid connections with one another. Folks are connected with their best friends, their immediate family members and their close relatives. They share detailed parts of their lives. Stuff like:

  • Birthday celebrations
  • Baby photos
  • Wedding announcements

What does this mean for small businesses (like yours) using Facebook as a marketing platform? It’s means you should be low-key and conscientious in your technique. You can’t use the old forms of top-down, bullhorn-style marketing on Facebook, because people aren’t there to listen to your hard sales pitch. They’re there to connect with friends and family. Respect that, and you’ll be respected and welcomed.

Keep it real (for real)

If you attempt to port the old style of marketing into Facebook, you’ll be disappointed. The natives will get angry and shun you. “With Facebook, marketers of any size can do effective, word-of-mouth marketing at scale for the very first time,” says Annie Ta, a Facebook spokeswoman. “But Facebook is about authenticity, so if your small business is not being authentic or engaging with customers in a way that feels genuine, the community will see right through it.”

If you’re doing it right, it’s hard

Marketing on Facebook can be quite effective. But it’s also very hard (and equally rewarding) if you do it properly. Many businesses assume that if they set up a page on Facebook, that’s all they need to do. But it really takes much more of a commitment than that. Don’t be lured by social media sirens who make crazy promises about effortless Facebook success. Social media is all about building relationships and influence, which requires time. But the payback is definitely worth the effort. Nearly two-thirds of businesses engaged in social media say that Facebook has improved their overall marketing effectiveness, and 80% report forming new partnerships after just two years of participation, according to a study from Social Media Examiner.

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LinkedIn for Business

You’re Crazy To Not Be Using LinkedIn for Your Business

LinkedIn deserves to be ranked among the big three of social media sites, right along with Facebook and Twitter. But LinkedIn is really more valuable for your small business because unlike its rivals, this social-media site focuses specifically on business. In other words, you won’t have people on LinkedIn posting on how good their oatmeal tasted this morning.

How companies are leveraging LinkedIn

There are 1.3 million small-business owners in the network. How are they using it? Exactly what benefits do they see? Here are just a few:

  1. Sharing wins: Promoting your successes is just good marketing. It will make you look good to potential customers. And with 2 million C-level executives using the site, you may find yourself with a few influential new friends.
  2. Getting referrals: LinkedIn makes it easy to get peer and client endorsements for the work you are doing. Best part? When someone recommends you or writes a testimonial, everyone within your network sees it in their activity feed. This type of social proof is the BEST way of getting new customers.
  3. Finding new talent: If your small business keeps growing, you’ll surely need to hire new employees. LinkedIn is a great place – scratch that, it’s the BEST place – to find new players to include in your team.
  4. Promoting events: LinkedIn’s event feature is a game changer! It has never been easier to spread the word and drum up excitement about upcoming events, sales and gatherings. You can even use their service directory to locate professional event planners to assist you.
  5. Boosting website traffic: Here’s a little-known secret about LinkedIn: it’s very influential with Google, so if you have a presence on LinkedIn, you’re likely to see a bump in search engine visibility, too. More eyeballs, more customers.
  6. Getting answers: You can uncover great information on both marketing and running a successful business from other pros in LinkedIn Answers and Groups. There are over 2000 groups specializing in small-business-related topics.
  7. Finding investors, vendors and partners: It’s a networker’s paradise. Whether you need some capital, a new accounting firm, or a business partner, you’re not going to get a better source than LinkedIn.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, people. Visit LinkedIn make up a page for your small business. Trust me; IT’S WORTH YOUR TIME.

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Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

Hey! If Your Website Isn’t Mobile-Friendly, You’re Losing Customers (And Money)

Our economy is recovering…slowly. However, these are still difficult times for consumers. Here’s what that means to you as a business owner: You simply can’t risk making it more difficult for customers to buy your products or services. The fact is that, many local businesses aren’t making things easy with regards to their websites. As more and more consumers are trying to find nearby businesses on their mobile devices (according to Google, 1 in 3 searches are for local information) companies are still running antiquated sites that look like crap (let’s be honest) on smartphones and tablets.

Losing customers one click at a time

At first blush, this might seem like a small problem. It’s not, unfortunately. As the folks at MarketingVOX recently outlined, there are very real financial penalties for having a mobile-unfriendly website. And as increasingly more consumers use mobile devices to access the web, the penalties are becoming stiffer. In a recent post, MarketingVOX highlighted research from Google showing that:

  • A majority 61% of consumers say that they’ll leave a website if it’s not optimised for small touch screens.
  • A whopping 96% of consumers say they’ve had bad experiences on websites that were not designed for non-desktop screens.
  • 50% of respondents said that even if they liked a business, they’d be less inclined to buy in the future if the business’s website isn’t mobile friendly.

Those are startling statistics. Here’s the silver lining: Nearly 3/4 say that they’re more likely to go back to a mobile-friendly website. So your mission is clear…

Your challenge

What sort of mobile experience have you been offering for your prospects and customers?

If it’s bad, the research from Google is unequivocal: you’re losing customers. If it’s a good experience, you’re probably taking them away from your competitors.

It’s not hard to see why mobile website optimisation is important. Look around you. Chances are good you’ll see someone hunched over a mobile device, swiping away at their iPhone, Android tablet or Kindle e-reader. This isn’t a passing fad. In reality, a recent report from Morgan Stanley projects that web surfing on mobile devices will outpace browsing the web on desktop computers within the next year.

And according to a joint Google/Ipsos study, after consumers look up a business via mobile, 61% say they make a phone call and 59% say they will navigate to the business! Can you guess which businesses are more likely to hear the phone ring? Yes, those with mobile-ready websites.

For those who have a smartphone, here’s your homework: pull up your website using your mobile browser. If your site looks cramped or unreadable, you know what you need to do: fix it. Get help if you need it! Otherwise, you’re at risk of losing what every business depends upon. Paying customers.

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B2B Marketing – Current Trends

MarketingProfs recently conducted a study to see what companies that market to other companies are up to when using content as a marketing tool.

Some highlights from the “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America” study:

  • On average, B2B content marketers are spending 33% of their marketing budgets on content marketing, up from 26% last year; also, 54% plan to increase content marketing spending next year.
  • All content tactics are being used more frequently than they were last year, with the use of research reports, videos, and mobile content having increased the most.
  • On average, B2B content marketers are using five social distribution channels; the most popular of those channels is LinkedIn, whereas Twitter had been the most popular the previous two years.

Importantly, B2B content marketers this year are most challenged with producing enough content, which is different from previous findings, when the top challenge was producing engaging content.

Here’s an infographic summarising the findings.

b2b-marketing-infographic2

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