8 Ways to Better Use Social Media

The list highlights some of the practices of companies in various industries use to make an impact on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Highlighting employees

Put a face to your social media presence by featuring stories of the people who make their business successful. Detail the relationship your employees have with their families, pets, neighbors, and customers—in photos, videos, and blog posts. This humanizes a company for prospective and current customers.

Creating customer stories and testimonials

Who better to describe the impact and benefits of using your business than the people who already do? How has using your business, your service, and/or your products, changed the lives of customers? Use social media to share the stories of your customers. Reading testimonials can inspire potential customers to take the plunge and become buyers themselves.

Responding to customer service requests

Like it or not, social media has become one of the most popular ways for customers to voice their displeasure, even more so, it seems, than their pleasure, with a company they’ve done business with. The very public nature of these complaints makes them more effective, people feel, than writing to companies in private.

But in every customer service request is an opportunity for your business to shine. Take the initiative and respond to every customer service complaint.

When customers know you’re listening, they’re more likely to speak their mind. This helps you not only get out ahead of issues before they become widespread but gain the attention and respect of those who are used to being ignored.

Using influencers to build a buzz

Social media influencers are the flavor of the moment. Team up with influencers—both individuals and other major brands—to tap into larger markets. The use of micro- or nano-influencers can be a more affordable way to garner engagement and build excitement about a new product or service. Just be sure to spend time finding influencers who match your brand. Also make sure they’re willing to be transparent with their endorsement.

Engaging in social listening

Sometimes social media isn’t about posting, but about listening. The concept of “social listening” is becoming increasingly popular. Businesses can use the search function or third-party tools to find tweets about themselves. They can also learn important information about their industry or trends and join the conversation.

People love to be recognized by their favorite brands. That reinforcement will encourage them to continue posting about that brand—increasing the likelihood that their own followers and friends feel inspired to try it themselves.

Focusing on LinkedIn

Facebook is the biggest social media platform, but Instagram is the new favorite. But for many businesses, LinkedIn actually holds the title as the best of the major platforms for sharing relevant, helpful, and engaging content.

LinkedIn now has over 250 million active monthly users. It’s arguably the best platform for B2B businesses to make connections and share content.

Posting job opportunities and openings

Social media isn’t just a customer-facing channel. Use it as a free job board in the search for new talent. Again, bet on LinkedIn here, but you can also post links to job listings on every social media platform. Who knows where your next great hire will come from? If they already follow you on LinkedIn or Twitter, that shows interest in your brand and you could fill that open role in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Sharing deals and promos

Post deals, discounts, promotions, limited-time offers, and other updates that your price-conscious customers will love. If people know you use social media to post deals, they will likely become followers—and even turn on notifications of your updates. That way, you’ll stay top-of-mind for many of your fans.

How to Get Started With Local SEO

Local search engine optimization – the art of using Google and the other engines to draw in buyers from your own city, state, or neighborhood – has become so important that it’s now a cornerstone of any Internet marketing plan. Google itself reports that more than 40% of all searches are for local businesses are products, and search has replaced the Yellow Pages and other print directories as a primary source of information for local buyers.

Despite all of this, we regularly come across new clients who haven’t gotten started with local SEO just yet. In many cases, these are business owners who can tell that buyers are going online to find local businesses, but just haven’t been sure how to get started.

Today, we want to share a few simple steps you can take with your web design team to help you get started and ensure your most important prospects can find you, both online and down the street…

Decide Where Your Customers Are

Before you can get started with local search engine optimization, you have to decide what “local” means to you. Are your customers concentrated in one part of town, across the county, or throughout a wider area? Also, consider how far you can cast your marketing net before you run into your closest competitors. The better you can define your neighborhood, as it relates to your business, the easier it will be to optimize your website.

Let Google (and Buyers) Know Where You Are

Speaking of optimizing your website, it’s very easy to add geographic information keywords to your pages. Start by using your city and state. Make sure you include your ZIP Code and street address somewhere, along with your phone number. Google and the other search engines can use this information to understand where you are and when to show your website during user searches. Adding just a few location-based search terms can make a huge difference.

Make Your Business Easy to Find

You can further assist your local search engine optimization efforts by including driving directions, phone numbers, landmarks, and pictures of your location on your business website. These give more clues to search engines about your location, but also make it easy for buyers in the neighborhood (and especially those on mobile phones) to find you in the real world. And really, that’s the whole point of local SEO in the first place.

Don’t Stop With Search Engines

Although search engines are now the main source of information for local buyers, that doesn’t mean you should stop with them. You can do a lot to improve your profile with neighborhood buyers by filling out profiles on Yelp and Google +, not to mention any local industry directories. These help to improve your search visibility, but they also give customers more places to find you while improving the odds that you’ll get some valuable online reviews at the same time.

Search engine optimization, as a whole, can sometimes feel technical, complicated, and time-consuming. Being found online in your local markets is relatively quick and easy, however. So, don’t wait any longer to get started. There are customers out there looking for businesses just like yours right now!

Do You Have the Wrong Internet Marketing Priorities?

There are probably millions of online marketers out there who are filled with enthusiasm, working hard on their campaigns, and destined to get very little in the way of results. Why? Because they have set the wrong priorities.

Conceptually, most Internet marketing plans are pretty simple. You find a group of customers, bring them to your website (or social media profile), and find a way to convert them into buyers. However, it’s easy to become distracted by the individual metrics and lose sight of what you’re actually trying to accomplish. In fact, there are a number of classic “missing the forest for the trees” errors you can make quite easily without even noticing.

To see why, and to put a finger on the kind of damage the wrong Internet marketing priorities can cause, let’s look at a few things you have to remember…

A Top Search Position Doesn’t Automatically Equal More Sales

It is taken almost as gospel that the best way to bring new customers to your business is by ranking highly on Google. There’s nothing wrong with that thinking, but you don’t want to butcher your website (or your marketing message) just to marginally improve your search engine visibility. After all, you don’t get anything for visits to your pages that don’t result in leads or sales. And, it’s easier than you might think to sacrifice conversions for traffic that doesn’t have any value.

Your Huge Social Following Might Not Include Any Buyers

If business owners need to be reminded that not every search engine visitor is a great prospect, then they need to be reminded twice about the perils of non-engaged social followers. You can have thousands and thousands of contacts, but if they only follow you because they like the jokes and memes you post, they are treating you as an entertainer instead of a vendor. It’s always fun, and satisfying to the ego, when you can gather lots of fans or likes. But ask yourself: are those posts bringing you any closer to your bottom-line goals?

Getting Views On Your Posts Doesn’t Always Make Them Impactful

The Internet is practically under siege from the hundreds (or thousands?) of click bait articles that seem to go online every hour. They don’t share anything of value, but they are written with catchy headlines and paired with shocking photos. For that reason, they get lots of views and attention, but probably generate little or nothing in the way of real revenue or branding. That distinction is important, because views on your posts are only meaningful if they come from good potential customers and result in conversions. It’s better to promote your ideas and position yourself as an expert with the right audience than it is to get lots of attention for something that doesn’t matter to your business at all.

Only Quality Conversions Matter

Given that we’ve mentioned conversions a few times already, those must be the ultimate goal, right? Actually, there is even fine print to consider on this topic. As it turns out, only good conversions matter.

Good conversions, in this case, our leads or sales from buyers who aren’t just likely to complete a transaction, but to stick with you for months or years to come. Otherwise, they could end up taking more of your time in the short term than they are worth, or even costing you money if they only by discounted products or services because they aren’t really the right fit for what you have to offer.

Make no mistake: it’s generally better to have a good search engine position than it is to be buried deep in the listings. And, maintaining a strong social presence while publishing popular content is always a good idea. Don’t get so entangled in these goals that you miss the point, though. Quality conversions – the ones that help you grow your bottom line – are the real goal for your website. Putting your focus on anything that doesn’t bring you closer to getting them is just providing you with unnecessary distractions.

Why Marketers Need to Think Farther Into the Future

It’s no secret that being forward-thinking is important to web design and Internet marketing. But, while a lot of that thinking revolves around trends in search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and social media, some of it needs to be devoted to your own business goals.

Namely, we want to point out that business owners and executives shouldn’t just focus on sales. They need to look even farther ahead than the conversion or transaction it’s right in front of them.

At first glance, this might seem like a ridiculous notion. After all, what is your website for, if not to gather leads and sales? To find the best answer to that question, there are a couple of things we want you to keep in mind…

The First Sale Usually Isn’t the Biggest

More often than not, the first order a customer places with your business isn’t going to be a large one. Instead, it’s going to take time for you to earn their trust, and a bigger piece of their budget. That’s not going to happen, though, unless you develop an ongoing relationship with them.

By focusing too much on immediate sales, rather than winning the right customers, you can easily put yourself in a position where you’re getting lots of small transactions instead of long-term customers. That might be exciting at first, but it isn’t the way to build a profitable and durable company.

Making the Wrong Sale Can Leave You With a Problem Customer

Many businesses follow an Internet marketing strategy that looks more or less like this: do whatever is needed to get traffic to a website, make a discounted offer for first-time buyers, and then try to earn more of their business later. That can work, but once again again it’s dependent on having the right match between buyers and products or services in the first place.

If that fit isn’t a good one, you can actually make a sale that hurts you. That’s because the customer (who only bought because there is a discount available) might be unsatisfied the purchase. Then, they aren’t just unlikely to make future purchases, but also to leave negative reviews for your company all over the Internet.

What Your Business Needs is Repeat Customers and New Referrals

When you find buyers who are a great fit for your business, the opposite happens. They love what you have to offer, return to do more business with you later, and say good things about you to their friends, family, and colleagues. They become the backbone of your company, and a reliable source of new revenue.

Everything good that comes out of successful Internet marketing campaign – from an increase in sales to a positive reputation and repeat business – is predicated on the idea that you can find the right prospects and keep them happy. It’s hard to do that if you’re only focused on making sales.

Even in the digital age, there is such a thing is concentrating too heavily on the short-term and ignoring the fundamentals of building a business. Finding buyers on the Internet can be a challenge, but finding the right buyers is crucial if you want to put your company on an upward trajectory that lasts.

One Simple Way to Get Better Internet Marketing Results

How would you like one simple trick that could make you better at Internet marketing in the blink of an eye? What if you could improve your ROI, in a short period of time, just by changing your perspective on one thing?

If that sounds good to you, try this: start setting goals and budgets with a three-month timeframe in mind.

It might sound too simple to be effective, but taking your plans one quarter at a time can yield big results. That’s because a lot of business owners and executives either find themselves changing strategies week-by-week, or looking so far ahead into the future that the short-term outcomes they generate don’t seem all that meaningful.

By keeping your focus on the next 90 days, you can move towards concrete targets and still have the flexibility to assess new ideas and best practices at regular intervals. To give you a better idea of how and why this works, here are some things you can do to set the right three-month goals…

Work Backwards From What You Really Want

You probably have some important Internet marketing goals you want to reach in the long run. Perhaps you want your website to be generating 10 sales per day, or to attract 1,000 new visitors a month from Google. For a lot of businesses, starting from nothing, those targets aren’t immediately achievable. They might be months or years away. But, by looking ahead 90 days, you can move yourself closer to a bigger strategic aim.

Balance Ambition With Realism

You always want your business goals to be ambitious. At the same time, they shouldn’t be so lofty that you’ll never actually achieve them. When that happens, they become useless wishes that won’t ever be fulfilled. Think about what you can realistically accomplish in three months, and discuss it with your web design team. Together, you should be able to come up with some achievements that move your goalposts ahead without stretching your budget or workload too far.

Devote the Right Resources

Speaking of budgets and workload, incorporate some brainstorming about time, money, and expertise into your three-month planning. It’s no good to set a big goal if you don’t have the resources to reach it, or if you decide you’d rather devote them to another project in the meantime. Think about what you can use, and what your other commitments look like, early on in the process so you can properly evaluate what you have to work with.

Reach and Re-Evaluate

The beauty of this system is that every three months you can get together with your web design team, look at the progress that has been made and the things that have changed around you (like new search engine algorithms or social media strategies), and develop a plan for the next three months. This continual process of reaching and reevaluating should drive your Internet marketing campaigns to greater heights and increased efficiency.

It’s easy to get buried in the details of Internet marketing when you’re chasing a new trend every week, or working toward a future goal that seems so large you aren’t sure if it’s attainable. By maintaining a three-month perspective, you get the best of both worlds and naturally start to improve the results you get from your website.