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Episode 1 of Become a Social Business

Episode One Blab And Scope

Episode 1 of Becoming a Social Business by Scott Gombar.  It really was an open forum.  I spoke with numerous people regarding how to make their business a more social business by using Blab, Periscope, Facebook, LinkedIn and a relative unknown in the Social Media world, Alignable.  We had several experts in the field chime in and let us know their thoughts and opinions.

The focus was definitely on Blab and Periscope.  Let’s just say the future looks bright.  We discussed how politicians might be able to leverage Blab and how it’s already been used for webinars, training and even a realtor showing a house.

I also briefly discusses a new platform called Alignable.  This is a newer Social Media channel focused on local business growth.  Sign up and add Scott Gombar!

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Knowledge helps set yourself up as an expert

Give Everything Away Now

Give Everything Away Now

Yes, you read it right.  I said give everything away right now.  Uh-oh, Scott’s gone mad.  That’s probably what you’re thinking, isn’t it?  Well good news, I haven’t gone mad.  I’m just telling you something that my marketing agency does as a general rule of thumb but I bring it up because not everyone seems to agree with this methodology. 

Give Away Knowledge to Show Your ExpertiseHow Digital Marketing is done seems to be a big giant secret for many business people.  I constantly see businesses create social media accounts only to never use them, or to post sales pitch after sales pitch.  I often stumble upon websites with outdated copyright notices (thanks for all the free content..just kidding).  Those same websites often are not mobile ready or lack simple things such as a favicon, and not so simple for some..a blog.

Digital Marketing Methods are not really a secret, and if you’ve been reading my blog or following me on social media you’d know I share everything I do.  There are no secrets here.  I will tell you exactly how I do it and have done so numerous times.  Just look at my last blog post, 5 Simple Steps to Blabbing Your Way to Success, and you will see what I mean.  I give everything away just about every day, and guess what.  I’ve experienced business growth despite telling everyone my so called secrets.  In fact, I always give potential clients a review of what I would do before they become a client.  They don’t all come running and maybe they give that review to a competitor but that’s OK..they can use it.

I am not the only one who believes in doing this.  I manage a marketing campaign for a local wildlife control company and routinely share tips on how to get squirrels out of the attic, or prevent raccoons and skunks from coming around.  I have been working with them for over a year now and they have experienced month over month growth both in traffic and sales.  Their site receives about 9 times the amount of traffic today versus a year ago.

I know several attorneys (Yay, watch out for me!) that routinely share ideas, tips and thoughts on their respective areas of practice.  They post blogs, videos and participate in podcasts giving the same information that they had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to receive.  They give everything away for FREE!  Why?  Because it works.  They are seeing growth in their business and increased traffic to their sites.  On the day an email blast goes out their traffic spikes.  On the days they share their own information on social media their traffic spikes.

On a recently podcast with one of those attorneys shared some of his methods to business growth and legal advice..for free.  Why?  Because he understood that you have to give before you receive.

On the contrary, I know another business owner who thinks that he should keep all his ideas and projects a secret.  He has been in business for over 40 years and did quite well for some time.  Today he is struggling as the competitive field has changed and his competitors are more than willing to share their “Secrets” and ideas.  He doesn’t want to budge on his thought process and I believe this is one of the reasons for his decline in traffic and business.  He doesn’t want to blog because he doesn’t want to share…he’s losing.

Give away the farm as part of your content marketing planThe moral of the story is essentially you have to give to receive.   But don’t give expecting to receive because it doesn’t work that way.  Some will take, take and take some more for a long time.  I was told of a business that had a client who participated in free webinars and received all types of free information for over a year but did eventually become a client.  It might take time, some people take longer to commit but being a source of information and knowledge will help you build an audience and eventually clients.

Giving away knowledge, information and expertise is not only a good marketing plan, it’s recommended by some of the industry’s top marketers..including me.  I hope you enjoyed this bit of free advice.

So get out there and give the farm away.

 

Tweets on Google Search Results

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

So You Ignored Twitter, Now What?

Tweets on Google Search ResultsGoogle is now indexing Tweets from Twitter.  You remember Twitter right?  That social media site that you chose to ignore..the one only kids are using..the one you just could not understand.  Yes, that one.  Well you spent all of your time avoiding it like the plague and now Google is indexing tweets.

What does that mean to you?

Hypothetically a tweet might just out rank your website for the same search term. Imagine this scenario.  You are the owner of a pizza restaurant in Smallville, USA.  You work hard for years ensuring that your site is found by Google because Google is where people go to search for things. Then one day someone posts how Tony’s Pizza Shop in Smallville, USA is the greatest pizza.  Because of the relevance (time and date, locale and keyword) it now ranks above your website on a Google search.

Most Twitter users are also mobile and I am sure you have been hearing a lot about Mobilegeddon.  Not to beat a dead horse but you can no longer afford to ignore the mobile population.  Mobile search has surpassed desktop search for the first time in history.

Of course I am over simplifying this for the sake of argument but I think you get the point.  You spent years making excuses why you are not on Twitter and now it could come back to bite you in the ass.  What else are you ignoring?  Facebook?  LinkedIn?  Google+? Instagram or Pinterest?

A pizza restaurant would do well on Instagram, and you can cross post to Twitter and Facebook from Instagram allowing you to become more efficient with your social Pizza Restaurants Should Market on Instagram and Twittermedia efforts.  In fact I follow a pizza restaurant or two on Instagram.  They typically get a lot of likes for every picture they post.  Comments often include “What Are Your Hours?”  or “We’re Coming for Lunch Tomorrow” or “@joeschmoe when are we going?”.

What’s the Point?

Really, the point is this. You have only yourself to blame if you ignore any of the larger social media platforms.  If you feel you just can’t keep up, or you don’t have time to learn something new, or you simply don’t have time to manage another social media platform there are plenty of qualified individuals and companies that can manage it for you.

Social Media is a critical part of any marketing plan for a business.  It’s not an optional part of your marketing efforts, it’s almost mandatory.  If you can’t be found on the internet then you may as well not exist as a business.  Just look at some of the things you can do on Social Media.

  • Create a community of people who are in the buying process and educate them on your expertise.
  • Listen for questions, not just from your followers but from anyone…and answer the questions to build trust and good will.
  • Share blog posts from yourself and other relevant bloggers.
  • Share quick video tips (Video has the best reach of all forms of content).
  • Create Good Will by sharing other businesses you have worked with and their expertise.
  • Target and retarget those who meet your desired demographics
  • Attract people to your website or landing page with the intent of getting them into your sales funnel.
  • Much, Much more

Google Runs Things..Sort Of

Search Wars featuring Google, Facebook and TwitterAs the search and content wars continue to heat up you can bet more changes are coming.  In fact Twitter and Facebook are working on search in efforts to rival Google.  Facebook and Google want to be your gateway to the internet, and for some they already are.  If you’re not making an consistent effort to broadcast across the popular social media sites then you need to be.  If you aren’t able to for whatever reason (time, knowledge, otherwise) then it might be time to reallocate your marketing budget to a professional with the tools and know how to get it done.

As a side note..most professions also have social media sites specifically for their professions.  You should also join these site as it will allow you to get advice and share ideas with others in your profession.

Not sure how your marketing efforts are doing?  Find out in 60 seconds for free!

Twitter for Business

Twitter Generates New Business | A True Story

Twitter Should Always be a Consideration for Business

This will be a shorter blog post…maybe!

Follow Scott Gombar on TwitterI hear it all the time..Twitter is pointless.  Twitter is for kids.  Twitter is not going to help me generate any business.  What can I do with 140 characters? And I find myself constantly defending Twitter almost as if I owned stock in it.  Well two quick pieces of advice.

First, Twitter can help your business generate clients and leads.  I will elaborate on that with a couple of recent interactions that occurred on my Twitter account.

Second, I would almost never recommend purchasing stock in a social media platform unless you plan to purchase at the initial offering and quickly sell for a profit.  I am also not by any stretch of the imagination an expert so I would also seek the advice of a financial expert.  I happen to know a few so if you are in the market let me know.

How Can Twitter Help My Business?

I am going to argue for Twitter with some very recent examples.  I was recently nominated for a Shorty Award for my Business Blog.  Because the Shorty Awards require votes come via Twitter I focused primarily on Twitter for the campaign.  I only had about 10 days to campaign but if you know me you know that I will take it to the wire even if it looks like there’s no hope.

Here’s what the campaigning on Twitter did for me..and for others.  About 2 days after launching a consistent but not overly aggressive campaign I received 2 inquiries on helping with other marketing campaigns.  You’re probably thinking well why weren’t you marketing on Twitter already.  I was, and I have had some mild success in the past.  ItTwitter Conversationsseems that being nominated for an award also helps establish some credibility with your audience.  I say that as if you and I didn’t already know that.

I am still actively discussing options with those two potential clients and hope to have them aboard as business partners within the next couple of days.  Just the opportunity to further explain what I do and display my level of professionalism and commitment to timeliness will undoubtedly earn their respect, and hopefully their business.  Plus there’s always retargeting!

Scott, you mentioned that it helped others.  What do you mean?

Alright, I was getting to that.  As part of my campaign I also spoke to previous clients.  One of them was for web design only.  Well she was introduced to a world she didn’t knew existed.  She did have a Twitter and she was a fairly regular user but never really used Twitter to its full potential.  I saw her a few days after her nomination and her comment regarding Twitter was “You opened up a whole new world for me”.

You see Twitter can be used for much more than marketing your business or post status updates about what you had for dinner.  You can also communicate with your favorite brands (positive or negative).  You can campaign for awards or crowd funding.  You can spy on your children (did I say that?).  You can communicate with celebrities.  Sometimes you are alerted to an event quicker via Twitter than you are by any news outlet.  Twitter also connects with other social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine making it easier to share media (you can do this within Twitter natively).  You can share blog posts as I will with this entry.

Twitter for BusinessTwitter is not just 140 characters.  It is so much more than that.  Even the 140 character limit is not 100% true.  There are ways to expand on that as well.

If you’re not on Twitter, it is still one of the best tools/platforms for businesses to market themselves.  You can target your audience, listen to conversations (and participate), advertise, share photos and videos and so much more.  You just might win an award.


 

If you want to learn more about how Twitter can help your business just fill out the form to the right of this post.

Why Businesses Need to Use GeoSocial Networking

GeoSocial Networking For Business

Geosocial NetworkingWith the continued rapid advancement in communication technologies and the rate at which new techniques are introduced, geosocial networking is not in any way new. In fact, its popularity has been growing just as fast as the social media giants such as Facebook & Twitter. Many people actively use such networking feature remaining adamant about the positive results that the networks help them achieve.

There are many advantages of this type of social networking which is the reason many people use them. However, there are also some areas of concern which seem to get more attention from the news media.

As part of this blog post, I will offer a potential use case, similar to what many who have adopted Geosocial Networking (including myself) have used it for.
Here is a detailed description of geosocial networking and everything it involves including benefits and risks.

What is GeoSocial networking?

This is basically an improved feature that compliments social networking by adding aspects of exact physical/geographical location. Geo-coding and geo-tagging are used to integrate various social networking dynamics and geographic services. It is facilitated by technologies that enable user-submitted data to be automatically included in updates, messages and even by mere online presence. Geo-networking can be achieved for social networks which are IP-based or hotspot trilateral and mobile networks in form of texted location information. In simple terms, this Local SEOtype of networking enables interaction of people within a given geographical location and connects service seekers with providers within the same region. The social networking allows location-based information to be sent or made public in chat platforms and accompanying messages and/or status updates. This type of networking relies on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and many other social media platforms.

There are a growing number of Geosocial specific apps/sites.  Some of them have experienced rapid growth (and negative media) recently.  Services such as YikYak, Tinder and Waze have become increasingly popular, and have also faced increasing levels of scrutiny.

The benefits of geosocial networking

Geosocial Networking for Local BusinessesThe advantages of this type of networking are quite straightforward and easy to identify. With geosocial networking, monitoring, tracking, information dissemination and control are all simplified. The benefits can be better defined in the use as follows:
• Linking people to places – With geosocial networking, web location mapping services are used in integration with geo-coding (for streets and buildings) and geo-tag details (concerts, events, meetings and hangouts) to link people to places. The information enables matching people to local social groups and places. Information from restaurant and nightclub reviews or any other description that includes specific geographical location can be used in this linking.

• Disaster scenario and control – Geosocial networking enable collaborative coordination of geo-tag information in social networks. This can help in creating situational awareness and informing other people about disasters, riots, fires and any other pandemic. As a result, the feature enables sorting of information and sharing ideas to quickly determine the closest and best aid, assistance and control measures. The current technology allows automatic tracking and detection of potential and frequent disasters. One good thing about this networking is that it filters the number of contributors from a specific location from other locations allowing easy identification of message credibility.

• Event planning – This type of social networking can be used to quickly organize and arrange events, meetings and even protests. Users in a geo-specific location can share event details and plan meetings using social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Usually, such events can be planned very swiftly.

There are many other benefits of this type of networking. The main advantages stem from the ability to share information pertaining to those in a specific geographic location. Buyers can procure services and business such as gas stations, restaurants, clubs, salons, and pharmacies can profit greatly from location-based networking. According to SEO experts, businesses that incorporate more location-specific tags are likely to enjoy higher rating in organic search results within that area.

Concerns of GeoSocial Networking

While geosocial networking has a huge upside for businesses and service providers, it also has a few areas of concern that users must be aware of. Exposure of location-specific data may not appeal to everybody. Some people’s job roles would require their locations not be revealed.  Waze has recently received some criticism regarding the location of speed traps.  Law enforcement is concerned that their safety may be jeopardized as a result. Relationships should Become a more social businessalso expect a certain level of privacy. Employees may not want their colleagues of employers to view location-specific details and track their movements. This type of networking makes it easy to track people provided they stay online and/or make comments, posts, updates and likes on social platforms. Even after shifting locations, the feature can still track. The main concern with geosocial networking often revolves around confidentiality and privacy. Fortunately, most features that allow geo-locating can be turned off.

Use Case Study

For this scenario I will use a very popular GeoSocial Network.  Foursquare has been around for a while now, and is easily one of the more popular apps of this type.  Foursquare is not just about checking in to your favorite gym or restaurant.  Businesses can also offer rewards for checking in at their location.  Coupons at restaurants or no initiation fee at a gym can go a long way to driving sales.

Swarm & FoursquareI get my oil changed at a Valvoline not too far from my home.  On more than one occasion I have used Swarm to check in only to be surprised with $7 off my oil change, or something along those lines.

The car wash I use offers similar deals from time to time.  Who doesn’t love an unexpected few dollars off a service you are going to use anyway?  Now, what if people knew that the deal existed already?  That would definitely drive traffic to your location if a nearby check-in triggered an offer at your business.

Conclusion

Social networking is evolving and features new technologies. Geo-locating is one of the available features that allow delivery of location-specific services and dynamics. This type of communication is becoming very popular and the feature now comes as part of most networking tools and chat platforms. It is wise to take advantage of the many possibilities it presents while ensuring appropriate precautions to achieve privacy.

Want to get started marketing your business using GeoSocial Networking..tell me all about it.

6 Advantages To Business’s Using Instagram for Marketing

Instagram for businessAdvantages of Instagram for Businesses

Instagram is a powerful & rapidly growing social media platform you can use to boost the bottom line of your business quickly. In this post we will discuss some of the advantages to using Instagram to reach and engage new audiences for your products or services.

The audience on Instagram tends to be younger and likely to share their daily experiences with others using visual methods including photos and short videos.  These experiences may include their interactions with your busienss..or your competition.  What will that experience include, and will you be aware of that person’s sharing of your business?

Advantages of Instagram for Businesses

Promotion

Use Instagram to post awesome photos about your firm`s services and products and avoid any kind of boring, text-heavy images or infographics. In addition, show the world you have style while on Instagram by telling them who you are and the things you do. An example of a company taking advantage of Instagram’s growing popularity and visual appeal is Starbucks. Starbucks does an amazing job at Instagram. The firm posts quirky pictures of cake pops, frothing milk and other items for its 858,000 followers at Instagram on a daily basis. A bit of caution here, don’t over post. A good number of posts in a day is 4 to 5 but over posting, especially in a short time frame, will prove to be a turn off to your audience.

Photo Contests

Taking a photo for InstagramA photo contest is a great, free way to interact, attract and even convert your potential clients. Ask your followers to post personalized photos of your services or products, and then post the best ones on your website. Additionally let them know you will publish the “photo of the day” on a regular basis. Ask your followers to submit as many captions for your firm`s photos as they can. This will drive interest in your Instagram page, and your website.

Attract Fans and Boost Sales

Instagram can be a great way to boost sales and attract more followers to your company by promoting coupon codes and exclusive discounts. You can do this with any of your services and products. Furthermore, you can use Facebook and Twitter to drive even more traffic to your Instagram images by giving away secret discount codes and any kind of sneak peek you can think of. Creating exclusivity and preferred status for specific audiences is a proven method of driving engagement and traffic further.

Keep Your Customers Informed

Instagram will allow you to keep your customers informed by posting snapshots of your company in a friendly way. For instance, you can post photos of your employees taking a short break and playing chess, playing office games or presenting on relevant topics. In addition, you can use pictures snapped in parties, industry events, charity dinners, and many other places. Enforcing the image of your brand has never been easier thanks to Instagram as you will be able to post behind-the-scenes photos. One account that is great at doing this is Hootsuite.  They constantly post images of events and a day in the life of their employees.

Instagram for Businesses to Engage Your Customers

Use the @mention to promote the “follower of the day” on Instagram, and you will engage a lot of potential customers right away. This will Instagram photos of sunflowers and girlpromote your clients which will encourage them to work with you even further. The @mention is used to tag any user in comments inside Instagram, and you can employ it generate the growth of your audience over time. This method can develop a relevant & engaged audience of high value to your brand or business.

You can also use hashtags (#) as a method of growing your audience.  As they do on Twitter and Facebook hashtags attract people to your posts because people are searching for them.  Using relevant and trending hashtags will garner more attention from users of Instagram that otherwise might never see your posts or account.

15 Second Comercials

Instragram allows users to upload short videos, up to 15 seconds in length.  Some businesses including car & clothing manufacturers have already used this service to create quick videos that show their products in creative and interesting ways. While Instagram is working on developing a paid advertising service using these short videos there is no reason why a brand or business couldn’t create videos to showcase their products, services or message.  Entertaining, creative and unique messaging will like engage your audience the most.

3o0,000,000

Instagram is growing a rapid pace, and recently surpassed the 300 million mark. Accounts are free and uploading pictures and short videos is quick and easy. Why wouldn’t you want to get started?

Instagram can take your business to an entirely new level while engaging an audience you might not have reached otherwise. This does come with some social business responsibilities. Over posting, purchasing followers and spamming users can be detrimental to your brand image.  You should also avoid posting boring images of your services or products. Think of Instagram as a means to get even more sales over time as well as a service to engage even more customers. Don’t think of Instagram as a method to a quick sale, or you will fail in your marketing campaign.

Ready to start marketing on Instagram? Not sure if Instagram is the right avenue for your business?  Speak with an expert at Scott Gombar Inbound Marketing Agency for free.  We’ll review your plan and offer suggestions to jump start your inbound marketing.

Instagram Achieves Results For Businesses

Instagram for Business

Instagram for BusinessIt’s not just for teens anymore.   Instagram was originally believed to be targeted at teenagers and young adults but businesses have also joined Instagram in an attempt to market their products or services.

It makes sense if you think about it.  Instagram is owned by Facebook.  In the end, the business not only wants to make money but needs to make money to sustain itself.

It is true that a very high percentage of users on Instagram are younger and as such make less money but many of them also have fewer expenditures.

Brands like Levi’s, Ben & Jerrys and GE have already run successful campaigns on Instagram.  If these large companies can do it then why can’t your small business?

Stats Don’t Lie

Here are usage statistics from Instagram

There are 200 million active users, 35% of those are in the United States.  Over 20 billion photos have been shared, that’s 60 million a day, and there are 1.6 billion likes daily.   While Instagram is clearly not one of the top dogs in Social Media it is rapidly Instagram for Businessgrowing and should not be ignored especially if your business is one that can benefit greatly from photos and short video clips.  Here are just a few examples of businesses I have personally worked with and marketed on Instagram:

  • Shoe Store
  • Groupon Type Site, mostly restaurant deals
  • A Small Business who’s offering is mainly B2B.
  • Restaurants
  • Realtors

As you can see there are a lot of opportunities for small businesses to market on Instagram, and I only named a few types.  Let your brain do some work and you will probably come up with dozens that can market successfully on Instagram.

6 Tips for Businesses on Instagram

1.  Complete Profile with URL

I cannot stress this enough, and this holds true for all social media platforms.  If your profile is incomplete people will not be able to find you as easily.  Your profile should include what you do, your profile image and your web address.

2.  Use Video

Instagram allows you to record 15 second videos.  Videos can be anything, and ARE often anything but I have seen videos used very well to show off products and services.  15 seconds may not seem like a long time but it is definitely long enough to get your message across and tease your audience a little.  You can leave more info in the description part of your post.

Today I saw a video from a peer in Australia who was promoting an Instagram for Business Class.  That was part of my motivation to write this post.  Simply done, it was her standing on the shore telling everyone about the training.  I kept waiting for her message to cut off because of the 15 second limit but she was successful in delivering the full message.

3.  Hashtags

Hashtag

Hashtag

We’ve seen them on Twitter, Facebook and most likely on Google+.  Some of us like them, some of us hate them but if you’re in business you need them.  Hashtags serve two purposes really.  The first is people who are not following you may still find your post when they search for a hashtag you used.  For example, if I am marketing a restaurant in Connecticut I would use #Connecticut #ItalianFood #Restaurant or other related hashtags.  Instagram users often search for hashtags of interest to them, and you will find that you get likes from people not following you if done right.  As I advocated in previous posts, and on my Twitter Ask the Expert Call, the hashtag should be conversational.

Secondly, you will want to use the search option to find potential clients.  Using the same scenario, if I was that Italian Restaurant in Connecticut I would search for users who use those same hashtags and start following them.  They will likely follow you back and now they will see what you post every-time if they are active.

One of the nice things about Instagram is it does not filter outposts like Facebook does.  You will see everything that was posted to the public.

4.  Search

As I mentioned earlier you can search for users based on hashtags and/or user info.  When you first start your Instagram account you will be asked to import people from Facebook and other resources but you are already interacting with these people most likely.  Your ultimate goal is likely to reach a new audience.  This is going to require a bit of effort on your part (or your inbound marketer).  Searching through relevant hashtags and users is a little time consuming but well worth the effort if you can gain new clients.  Once you start building a following you will find more and more users are following you because someone they know follows you.

Another method is to find similar profiles, businesses or brands and follow their followers.  While some may not like this idea keep in mind marketing is the act of attaining new clients.  It’s up to the business to retain those clients after the marketing efforts.

5.  Apps

Without naming apps there are tons of apps out there that can help with your Instagram account.  I personally have apps that help me develop my client’s followings, help me edit photos to fit Instagram’s platform, and help me create quotes as images and share them….just to name a few.

There are also apps that help with your marketing and management of Instagram.  I can’t say for sure but I do believe that Instagram may have more apps than most of the social media platforms in existence today.  Ask around to see what apps work best for what you need.  I may create another blog post for that purpose later but in the interest of keeping this blog post somewhat short, it won’t be here.

6.  Share on other social media platforms

Cross posting from Instagram to Facebook & Twitter (and others) is very easy.  In fact, you have probably seen other people post something to Facebook from Instagram.  This is encouraged as part of your social media marketing plan.   I recently posted a family picture that generated more engagement from Facebook than it did on Instagram.  Without cross-posting, I may not have interacted with all the extra people.  Even though it was a family picture it still drew interest back to my Instagram account, and hopefully to my website.

In Conclusion-Beyond the 6 Tips for Business on Instagram

As evidenced by tip 6 I do believe in sharing some personal stuff as part of a small business’ marketing plan.  People don’t want to work with big evil corporations anymore.  They want to work with a personality, a face, someone they can trust.  I tell all my clients it’s OK to blend some of your personality with your business, after all, that’s what you do when you network face to face, isn’t it?

When you’re using Instagram mix in some humor, a few personal photos, motivational quotes and posts that require engagement.  I do post trivia from time to time; or thought-provoking quotes.  It’s important to have fun.

 Or better yet..hire me to do it!

Some of the information provided as part of this post is from http://business.instagram.com/

7 Steps to Grow Your Following Responsibly on Social Media

Social Media is not a Popularity Contest

Popularity Contest-Not for Social MediaIf you want 2500 followers on Twitter or Instagram tomorrow I can help you for just $39.  Guess what, it won’t help your business at all!  If you think having a large number of followers is the end game on any social media platform you are sorely mistaken.  Even worse, if you have a “Social Media Expert” telling you to do this you had better run far away.

You might be wondering why I bring this up now.  I have spoken with business owners who were approached by the so called experts who tell them I will get you this many followers within this much time.  I have spoken with business owners who have taken these so called experts up on their offer.  At the end of the day the business owner walks away with a sour taste in their mouth.  Because of this the business owners often swear off social media all together.

Then when I have a conversation with them regarding a social media marketing plan the business owner is not open to the discussion at all.  I spent over a month and multiple conversations with a small business owner before they would even listen to a plan of action and why their first so called expert did not work out.   After about 5 weeks and at least 4 conversations I finally convinced them to let me show them the power of a properly run social media marketing plan.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem EARNING a clients business.  In fact I encourage all small businesses to use this model.  Taking the time to explain how social media can benefit someone who understands what social media is should not be part of earning the business.  Look at any blog and you will see the power.

What You Should Not Do on Social Media

Let’s start with very basic rules about what you should avoid like the plague.

1.  Buy Followers:  I already stated one that really gets my blood boiling.  Alright, maybe not that serious but you get the idea.   Simply paying money to gain thousands of followers will only improve someone else’s bank account.

There are networks of people/accounts that serve this single purpose.  You may have a bloated number of followers now but they will not engage with your conversation and will not purchase from you.  They are just a number to your profile page, and nothing more.

But hey, that’s cool…you’re popular now, right?

2.  Sell, Sell, Sell:  We’ve all been the victim of the pushy salesmen at the used car lot or the electronics super store.  After you’re done you need a shower because you feel so filthy.  Don’t be that person on social media.  Follow the 80:20 rule or better.  I almost never sell on social media and usually recommend that businesses do the same.  You will not build a rapport with your followers (if you used social media correctly your followers are all potential clients) using this tactic.

3.  Ignore Your Social Media:  Today people are very savvy when it comes to looking for a product or service.  Speaking from personal experience if I am looking for something I will research it first.  If I look for your business on the internet and there is little to no current information and your Facebook page is a wasteland with tumbleweeds floating around I will probably move on to the next business.

4.  Let your nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend run your social media campaign:  Do I really need to explain this?  You need experts, and you get what you paid for.  What would you tell someone who has their nephew’s best friend’s girlfriend changing their brakes?

5.  Bury Posts in Hash-tags:  #ItJustLooksChildishToMostSoIWontSayAnyThingFurtherAboutIt

What You Should Do on Social Media

1.  Target Followers by Demographics:  It’s not hard, really.  Target followers who are interested in what you are offering and are relevant to your business.  For example, I look for small to medium business owners in CT.  On some social media platforms you can even target by income level or net worth.  Why just blanket the entire population if it’s not going to help you grow your brand or business?

2.  Use Ads (Wisely):  It’s OK to use ads on social media.  In fact I encourage it.  Again, make sure that your ads are highly targeted.  Think about who your ideal customer is.  Not everyone wants what you are offering.  Ads will cost you a lot less if you focus on those that would be interested in your product and have the purchasing power to turn interest into a conversion.

3.  Create Social Conversations:  I always hear “I tried Facebook, posted a feel promotions and no one bought anything“.  Well why would they?  As I said earlier social media is about building a relationship, earning your audiences trust.  That’s how you’re going to get them to purchase from you.  You have to participate in conversations and create your own conversations.  Figure out how to get your audiences attention and then hold it.  Do they want to know more about what you do?  Do they understand how your product or service will benefit them?  You can even have conversations about stuff not even related to your business offering.

I sprinkle in personal stuff like pictures of my kids or rooting for local sports teams that I am a fan of, even the weather.  Let me tell you it’s a scorcher today in Connecticut..thank God for Central AC.   It’s OK to partake in conversations that have nothing to do with why you are on social media to begin with.

4.  Share your blog:  Ultimately you want people to visit your website.  Your website is your virtual brick and mortar store, your yellow pages ad and so much more.  It’s where your business starts and ends.  If you are using your Facebook page as your website, shame on you.

Your website will move up on the major search engines if you have relevant and fresh content.  The best way to ensure this is with a blog.  You should blog about different aspects of your business and your products or services.  You can post how to’s, videos and much, much more to generate unique and timely content that will help you move up in search rankings.

Don’t believe me?  Google “CT Twitter Expert” and look who is number 2 after I posted the Ask the Expert Call to Your YouTube and my site.

5.  Help Others with Questions:  You can LISTEN on social networks.  When someone needs help or has a question you can help them.  I know some people are thinking why would I give something that I normally charge for for free?  You have to think big picture.  That little piece of advice you give today just might generate bigger rewards tomorrow.  Even if it doesn’t, there are others watching.

I had to run to the grocery store to get chicken nuggets for my son while I was attempting to write this blog post.  While I was in the store a man approached me and asked for $2.  I don’t know what he wanted that $2 for and I will never know.  I normally don’t have cash on me but today I did, I had $7.  I could have given him the $2 but instead I gave him all $7.  Did it really cost me anything besides the $7?  I don’t believe so.  Will I be rewarded for this?  I don’t know but it certainly can’t hurt.  The point is if you’re not willing to give then you will never receive.  It’s OK to give some help with no expectations of return.

6.  Use Hash-tags in the Conversation:  I wrote earlier that hash-tag overload is a big no no.  Hash-tags are OK though.  A typical post on any social media platform from me might look like this:

5 Ways to Jump Start Your #ContentMarketing Program Today.  Learn more now!  

A few things to point out.

  • The hash-tag is part of the conversation and is legible
  • The CTA (Call To Action) is direct without making the reader believe they will have to Read More
  • By titling it 5 Ways, I also grab the audiences attention.  Readers love numbers and always think-oh, 5 steps to get going right now..I’m in.
  • I would also include an image..see next point

7.  Use Images and Videos:  A picture is worth a thousand words.  You know it, you heard it before and you heard it again.  Use pictures, audio and videos whenever possible.   I include a picture on almost every single post on Facebook and Google+, and probably about 50% of the time on Twitter.   Just don’t use copyright protected images or videos.

Stop The Madness

business woman shouting to a phone

Alright Connecticut business owners, there you have it.  Stop trying to buy and/or cheat your way to the top, it will not work.  At one time these not so ethical methods might have worked but today it’s more than obvious to anyone with some knowledge of social media what you are doing.

Some of the don’t dos above will quickly turn off your audience.  While other methods will gain nothing for your hard earned money.  So wow bother with any of them?  Stop buying your audience and start learning how to earn an audience, or call/email me.

 

 

Are you going dark on the Weekends? A Social Media Tip

Social Media

 

Let’s face it, we live in a 24/7 world.  If you are running a business you are probably more aware of that than most.  However, you may be missing out on important opportunities if you are not using social media on Saturday and Sunday..or even Friday night.

Studies have shown that users of two of the most popular social media sites (Facebook & Twitter) tend to interact more with posts and tweets on Thursday and Friday afternoons, and most on the weekends.   Let’s take a look at each site to explain further.

Facebook

Facebook

Facebook is easily the king of the Social Media world right now, with over 1 million users in Connecticut alone.   Depending on the business you’re in that may be an extremely important fact in itself.

Facebook allows users to set up business and brand pages to interact with Facebook users.  The page allows you to tell the world about your brand or business including basic business information such as hours of operation and locations.  Once this is set up you can then add content including images and video to interact with your audience.

In an article found on Buffer and Huffington Post, written by Belle Beth Cooper, it is suggested that the best time of day to post on Facebook is between 9 am and 7 pm.  It also states the most shares occur around 1 pm and the more clicks occur around 3 pm.  This would indicate that it is best to post mid-afternoon during the week, a little after lunch.  Coincidence, I think not.

You see, studies suggest that the more someone does not want to be at work, the more time they spend on Facebook and other social media platforms.

But you said Weekends

I did say weekends were important.  In fact Weekends have the highest engagement of the week on Facebook.  Engagement increases by 32% on weekends.   Facebook shares are also highest on Saturdays over any other day of the week.  You cannot afford to miss the action on Saturday, can you?

TwitterTwitter

Twitter is extremely popular with users of mobile devices.  It’s 140 character micro-blog posts are appealing to the two thumb typing method on a smartphone.   A tweet defined as a post on Twitter.   Twitter also made hashtags popular.  Hashtags are a sort of tag or keyword on a post.  Placing the # character in front of a word or phrase allows other users of Twitter to find your post using that hashtag.  Hashtags are now used on most major social media sites including Facebook.

Retweets

Retweets occur when someone re-posts a tweet that you posted, thus sending it to all of their followers as well.  This is considered a sign of respect so to speak   If your goal is to increase the number of retweets then the best time of day is 5 pm.

Click-Through

If the goal is to increase your click-through, meaning how many people interact with your tweet, then the best time of day is noon (lunch) and 6 pm (at home).   Interestingly enough, Twitter is also the platform of choice of those during commute by a large margin.   Users of Twitter are also more likely to use it during work or school hours.

The Weekend

Twitter engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends according to the same study referenced above.  Again suggesting that people have more time to interact with brands and businesses through social media.  So the question still remains, are you ignoring your weekend audience?  And can you afford to continue to do so?

Ultimately

It will take some testing and tweaking to find out when is the best time to engage your audience.  I personally have had Facebook posts late in the day that has succeeded while posting at suggested times don’t go over so well.  You will want to use analytic tools to determine what is and isn’t working.

Keep in mind it may not be the time of day either.  There are other things you should be doing to engage your audience such as adding images or video, encourage a response or create a call to action.

Ready to start your Social Media Program?

Facebook Business Page Tips-Part 1-Setting Up Your Facebook Page

Facebook Business Page

Today I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a business owner.  He stated that he “despises” social media, especially Facebook.  His words exactly were “I don’t want to use Facebook to sell”.  I explained to him that Facebook and other Social Platforms should not be used for selling as a primary objective.

You should be using social media for building relationships and communities.  This allows your audience to get to know you, and eventually trust you if you are using social media correctly.

On this post I will give a 8 pointers on how you should set up your business page.   All too often I see a business set up a personal Facebook account to use as a business.  With a personal account their are limitations including the number of “Friends” you can have.  I have also seen many Facebook pages set up only to sit idle with no profile, information, pictures or posts.  While it might seem easy to some, others will find setting up a Facebook Business page…and managing it, a daunting task.

In the coming weeks we will discuss engagement, management and etiquette.

Setting up your Facebook Business Page

growth1.  Include all pertinent information in the about section

This seems like a no-brainer but I am constantly astonished at the number of Facebook pages that do not have a completed about section.  The about section should include your website, phone number, operating hours,  street address, parking and any other relevant information.

2.  Custom URL

Once your page has 30 followers Facebook allows you to customize your URL.  Instead of a URL that looks like facebook.com/123456778001343 you can change it to facebook.com/scottgombarllc.   Obviously the last option is much easier to remember and looks better on business cards and other collateral.

Getting those 30 followers is important for analytic analysis as well.  Facebook will open up their insights to you once you reach this milestone.  Using insights gives you more information about what is and isn’t working and is extremely important in the growth of your Facebook Page and Inbound Marketing Program.

3.  Custom Cover Photo

Your page needs a personality and that starts with a cover photo.  A cover photo should be unique and draw attention.  You should also add a description of your cover photo including hash tags and a location if applicable.

The cover photo can be anything really.  You could have pictures of the products or services you offer, the company name or what it is you do.  Be careful to not include contact info or promotional offers as this is a violation of the Facebook terms of service.

4.  Custom Profile Image

If applicable the profile image should be that of the person who owns or runs the business.  This gives the page a little more of a personal feel to it.  Followers of the page, and people in general are more at ease working with a person rather than a logo or corporation.

However this is not always applicable.  In the event that a person’s head-shot will not work then a corporate logo is the next best thing.

5.  Tabs

Tabs almost always seem to get ignored and I am not sure why.  Tabs are like a gateway into the rest of your business.  You can create tabs that link to other social profiles, an email sign-up, contests or even other webpages.

Tabs should also have custom images to match your company’s branding.  For example on my page the tabs have the same color scheme (for the most part) as my branding.   This gives you a more professional image on Facebook.

Using my page as a reference, I have tabs to other social media profiles, a tab to sign up for my email list, a tab featuring a contest I am running at the moment and a tab to explain what I do in a little more detail.  If you are not taking advantage of the tabs you are missing out on a lot of potential interaction, and conversions.

6.  Like Other Pages

This is overlooked even more than the tabs.  Facebook allows you to like other pages from your page.  This has obvious benefits including the organic growth of your own following.

Besides the potential growth of your own following, you can also look for potential clients this way.  Using Facebook’s Open Graph you can search for and find other businesses and entrepreneurs who have pages and may be in the market for your product or service.   It also gives you the added advantage of getting to know potential clients, what they do, how they operate and where they are located.

Facebook does not allow pages to follow personal profiles.   This could lead to businesses potentially spamming people, and Facebook would rather you use their advertising platform to develop your following.

7.  Invite Your Friends

Facebook does allow you to invite any of your friends from your personal page.  In fact you don’t even have to manage a page to do this.  Once you visit a Facebook Page there is an option to invite any one or all of your friends to like that page.  This is how you will want to begin developing your following.  Inviting your friends may not seem advantageous to growing your business since they likely already know what you do but in doing so you now potentially reach others who are not friends with you or following your page…every-time you post.

6 Degrees of Separation on Facebook

8.  Use Facebook Ads

Facebook AdsFacebook has an advertising system that allows you to advertise your page or boost a post.  What’s nice about Facebook Ads is they allow you to be very specific about who you want to target.  You can base your target on Geography, Interests, Age and even Gender.  I would suggest using this system once you have invited friends, and even encouraged friends to invite others.

I will write a follow up post to Facebook Ads at a later date.

 

Get On Facebook and Get Started!

Next week I will post more on audience engagement so make sure you come back.  This should keep you busy enough for a day or 2.

Need help getting started on Facebook?  I would love to help you out!   Just click here to contact me or call 203.806.0736