Why Social Media Matters to Your Small Business

social mediaLet’s face it – social media is here to stay. And more importantly, it is as useful as it is entertaining. It offers individuals and business owners alike the ability to get the word out about any event in a quick, efficient way, reaching lots of people. Most people use social media of some kind – and what’s more, they keep it close to them with their mobile devices at the ready. People share everything on social media, from their baby’s first steps to more mundane things like what they’re eating for dinner tonight. Having that tool in the palm of your audience’s hand can be very useful to a business owner.

Being online and using social media to promote your business offers so many benefits. Here are the most important benefits you don’t want to miss:

It Helps with Brand Recognition – If you want people to recognize your brand, it’s important to develop a branded appearance that you use across all social media networks. Use the same logos, in different sizes, and stay true to your brand at all times. People eill beging to associate that logo with you and they will recognize you more readily.

It Increases Conversion Over Time – When you provide information over a long period of time, your audience becomes accustomed to your message. Over time they develop trust, and after being exposed to you regularly through social media they are more likely to place an order in the long run.

It Improves Authority – When you often post a lot of accurate and helpful information, people start viewing you as an authority on the topic. Once you’re viewed as an authority, you will start making even more money because people will be waiting to hire you or buy your products.

It Increases Brand Loyalty – The more people see your brand out there, the more loyal they will become toward what you offer. Your offerings should represent what your brand stands for and you’ll find that people become more loyal to you as you stick to what you know and believe in.

It Increases Traffic to Your Website – Using social media to share and promote your blog posts and new offerings will increase the traffic to your website exponentially. One of the best ways to rank higher on search results is to be active on social media.

It is Inexpensive – Social media is not an expensive form of marketing. It can also be fun. Guard yourself from getting sidetracked, but always be interactive and engaging with your followers. Remember, time is money. Automate what is not direct communication so that you can get more done in less time.

It Increases Engagement – Social media can let you engage with users in a very beneficial way. You can have deep conversations about many topics. Just remember to keep it professional and handle controversy carefully.

It Works with Mobile Devices – Better than most websites and email, social media works effortlessly on mobile devices. Social media and mobile devices really go hand-in-hand. People take their devices on dates, and even to bed – you’ve never been closer to your audience than now.

If you don’t have a presence on social media, then you need to change that right now. You don’t have to be everywhere; just find out where your audience hangs out and BE there. Then, use that social network to your fullest ability to reap these and many more benefits for your business growth.

A Match Made in Heaven – WordPress and Social Media

social-media-and-your-websiteWith the explosion of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, small companies might be wondering if they even need a business website.

Since social media sites offer many of the tools that a website offers, it may seem that social networking has now replaced the traditional business websites; but there are several things that a professional business website can offer that social media cannot.

However, WordPress makes linking social media to your company website easier than any other platform. Not only that, but going forward, your website and social media can work together to help you get more eyes on your business.

Here are some reasons you will always need a company website, in addition to social media:

  1. You Are the Owner  – When you create a WordPress website, you become the owner of it. Since WordPress is a content management system (CMS), it will never be sold and you’ll always have your own domain name. Although social media is a powerful way to engage with customers and bring in new business, all of your content placed on a social media site will be associated with the site’s brand.
  2. You Are in Control – On social media sites, users have an array of options, such as games, chats, pictures, and other business pages they can visit. With your own business website, you control everything that happens.
    There are no “social” features that distract your visitors, keeping the focus on your products and services. Additionally, readers won’t be bogged down with competitor advertisements.
  3. The Credibility Factor – While social media certainly helps your image via customer engagement and support, nothing can replace the authority that a high-quality, professional website brings. Having your own professional website and consistently loading it up with quality content can boost your credibility and ultimately drive in new business.

Keep in mind, however, that the best course of action is to incorporate social media into your business website. This way, you will have the best of both worlds.
You’ll be able to identify yourself as true leader in your industry through social engagement, as well as a professional website that accurately represents your brand. Tell us how you are using social media on your website to gorw your brand by adding a comment below?

Generating Traffic to your Website with Twitter

twitter bus

You probably already know that twitter is a great way to keep up to date on everything that’s going on in the world around you. Whether it’s finding out about the latest product releases or just knowing what your friends are up to, twitter is a quick, easy and popular way to keep an eye on the pulse of the modern world. But it’s also a great way to get traffic to your website. More and more people are expanding their numbers using Twitter and so can you – you just have to know how to do it.

Why Twitter is a great tool for getting traffic:

• It’s easy. Anyone who has access to a computer can use it. And we all know that the less work people have to do to use something, the more likely they’re going to be to use it.

• It’s accessible. People can use Twitter from their computer, phone, or any mobile device. That means they’re always checking it and always getting updates. It becomes a part of their life. And if they follow you, that makes you a part of their life too.

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If you’ve never used Twitter, it’s pretty simple. It takes about a minute to create an account, then you can type in short messages (less than 140 characters) and they’re sent to everyone who has chosen to be one of your “followers”. You can also follow people you’re interested in and get updated whenever they make a post.

• It’s Popular. Millions of people are already using Twitter, and thousands of new users join each day. So you can transfer networks over from other sites, or your email list, and watch your followers grow from there.

The first step to increasing your traffic is to simply gain followers on. If you’re tweeting and no one is listening, it’s not really going to do you or your website any good.

The easiest way is to bring along your network from other sources, like your business contacts, email list, message boards, or even other social networks. If you don’t have anyone to add, or you want to expand, simply start following others in your field. Many will follow you in return, and if you use your tweets properly, the word will get out.

Once you have followers, there are many strategic ways to use your tweets wisely. Don’t just talk about anything:

Keeping up relationships. Whether it be clients, potential clients, or business contacts, Twitter can help you update your followers, and following them can help keep you updated. This makes them feel more connected with you and gives you a better relationship. You can even take it a step further and follow-up on their tweets through other communication lines. And remember, happy customers means repeat customers and referrals.

Product release. If you have a decent number of followers, Twitter is a great way to get the word out about a new product, website, or service offer. You can also use it to build excitement before a new release.

• Website changes. If something changes about your site, even something small like a new article, spread the word. This gets them to come back to your site, even if they’ve already been there.

Become a resource. If there are things going on that interest you and that might interest your followers, spread the word. They’ll be thankful that you shared valuable info with them and be more likely to pass on your name and pay attention to future tweets.

Twitter is a great way to get traffic to your website and is an integral part of any marketing plan.

In the Age of Social Networking – Why Email Marketing Still Works for Online Business

email marketingMany people wonder if they still need Email Marketing now that we have interactive social media. But, there are many reasons that point to why you should still be email marketing, and in fact Email Marketing is still more effective and preferable if you have to choose one over the other.

Why Email Marketing may be your best marketing option

1. It’s a Numbers Game – More people have email accounts than they do social media accounts, and more people still purchase through email than they do through social media messages. Plus, the truth is that social networks are still limiting your ability to get to your audience even when they have consented to receive your messages by liking your pages.

2. Email Is More Personal – People often check their email messages on their cell phones, mobile devices and computers and love to see something specifically addressed to them. Email gives you the personalization options that social media never can. When you send a social media message it is going out to all audience members with no personalization (unlike email), which makes them feel rather generic.

3. It’s More Businesslike – With social media you have to contend with cat videos and baby laughing videos, but with email messages your audience has signed up to receive your business transactional emails and are expecting to get promotions. That makes email much more businesslike than social media, even LinkedIn, can dream of being.

4. Email Gets More Attention – People are much more likely to open and engage with a personalized email message than they are to engage with your social media marketing campaigns. That’s why social media marketing should be engaged to build your email list rather than promote products directly.

5. People Expect Your Email – Everyone has signed up to receive your email. They’ve given their permission for you to send them marketing messages and are expecting to receive them. In fact, if you don’t send them often enough, they will get frustrated that you’re not sending them enough messages and forget about you.

6. They Agree to Receive Your Email – Your audience has agreed to receive your email messages, which is a big thing. When someone “likes” your social media page they actually aren’t expecting promotions to appear on their wall, but when they sign up to get your email messages they are expecting to get promotions, sales, and information about your products and services.

7. They Will Receive Your Email – If you join a reputable email autoresponder service (we love Active Campaign), your email messages have over a 99 percent chance of getting into your customer’s inbox, whereas reports are showing that less than 10 percent of your social media followers or “likes” are seeing your messages.

8. Email Is Easier to Track – Email autoresponder software has better analytics than social media at this time in history. You’ll be able to measure your metrics better so that you’ll know whether your goals are being met or not.

In terms of online marketing, it’s clear that if content is king; Email Marketing is queen. No serious business person should give up on email marketing in favor of social media marketing. Right now social media marketing is too limited, not personal enough, and reaching your audience is still not a sure thing like it is with email marketing. We’d love to hear what you think? Enter a comment below or contact us if you have questions.

3 Ways to Manage Your Reputation on Social Media

social media reputation management

3 Ways to Manage Your Reputation on Social Media. Photo courtesy of DigitalRalph(CC Attribution)

Social media has changed how customers communicate with brands and how they voice their complaints. Countless customers do not bother calling customer complain lines, instead, they will go to social media or their blog to document their experiences.

When companies do not monitor these social mentions, they run the risk of having these negative events and experiences define their online reputation. They will also be viewed as an aloof brand do who does not care about their customers. Fortunately, it is possible for organizations to address both complaints and compliments, improving customer engagement and satisfaction. Here are three ways you can manage your reputation on social media:

Monitor social mentions continuously

Successful reputation management is dependent upon knowing when customers are speaking about the brand. With social media, customers have become accustomed to receiving instant responses to their requests and questions. Failure to address customers in a prompt manner can result in a negative impression from all customers who see the communication. Various tools, such as SocialMention and Google Alerts, make it possible for companies to continually watch for their brand. When customers mention the company on everything from blogs to Facebook pages, the organization will now see it quickly.

Do not engage with arguments online

Everything that is said and posted online stays online forever for anyone to see. Do not engage in arguments with customers, even if they have been completely mistaken or dishonest. While it might feel nice to have the opportunity to tell a customer exactly why they are wrong, it can damage reputations and can never be taken back. Fight the urge to engage the customer in an argument and instead always speak in a way that matches the brand’s customer service policy.

Seek to address and resolve complaints courteously

It is common for disgruntled customers to take to social media to voice their frustrations. If this happens to a particular brand, the organization needs to remember that this is a public exchange that has the capacity to enhance or hurt the company reputation. Address the customer politely and seek to resolve their dispute. This can be done with refunds, discounts, accepting returns, or any similar action that would satisfy the customer and is inline with the brand’s policy. Not only will the company be making this one customer satisfied, they will also improve their reputation in the eyes of every potential customer who views the exchange.

The power and prevalence of social media means that companies must manage their online reputations to control their brand. Keep these three tips in mind and the organization should develop a solid social media reputation.