Companies that provide social media marketing around Alabama as well as abroad have years of experience in marketing, are social media savvy, and have nothing but time to devote to making your business shine on the web. Small business owners and other organizations in comparison usually don’t have any of those.
So how can you even begin to imagine running your own social media marketing campaigns? How do other businesses without huge marketing budgets manage to use social media to attract customers – and how do they come up with ideas that make things like Facebook and Twitter work for their business?
This is a question I often hear from clients who haven’t really attempted much in the way of social media marketing, or their efforts in the past haven’t produced much.
“Can I even make money from social media? Is there a guaranteed way to monetize it? Is it even worth the effort?
It’s a fair questions, because anything you spend time and money in for your business really needs to produce results or it’s a waste of time. But results with some marketing campaigns, such as with social media marketing, don’t happen over night.
Consider the scale of social media today, and the fact that Google+ has already garnered more than 90 million members in a few short months, and you can start to see a case for putting your business into the heart of social media.
Are your customers using social media? Are there B2B customers using LinkedIn? Do you have B2C customers milling about on Facebook? More than likely, no matter how obscure your vertical is. The fact remains though that there are other reasons you should focus on social media marketing besides the customers that may be there.
There are a lot of other reasons to get into social media marketing that have very little to do with directly engaging your target audience. In fact, if you were to pretend that you have no target customers directly accessible via social media, would you still have a reason to launch a social media marketing strategy?
Social media can be fun and entertaining on a personal level, but social media marketing for a Mobile, AL business is a lot more involved, and it starts with creating an effective social media strategy. The planning can be daunting. Should we be on Facebook? How about Twitter? Should be we offer deals and be humorous or just play it straight?
All great questions, but they cannot be answered before you figure out if social media is right for you and your business. You could just shrug it off and dive right into the world of social media, but without a social media strategy you’re more likely to waste time and marketing budget before seeing any real return on your investment.
Even if you’re a small business owner, your social media marketing schedule can quickly become overwhelming. Blog posts, Facebook Posts and don’t forget your Twitter and Tumblr. Fielding emails and all the while still finding time to run your business, the whole process can be a mental drain.
It’s a lot of moving pieces, and each one is just as important as the next to make sure everything runs like clockwork. There is hope, though. Here are some key things to keep in mind when managing your social media schedule, and the tools to help you get there.
Social media marketing is finally at the top of your to-do list. You’ve got your Facebook Page set, your Twitter handle up and running, and even your Google+ page activated. Your social media campaign is underway, and you’re even seeing some results start to show.
But there is something more that you can do, another step you can take to make a completely fleshed out social media presence.
According to comScore, Tumblr is one of the most consistently growing social networks, boasting 15.9 million users in December of 2011. But Tumblr has more to boast about than that. It’s the amount of time that users spend on the site.
Tumblr is second to Facebook with an average of around 2.4 hours a month. (Facebook users are at around 6.6 hours.) With that kind of activity and user adoption, Tumblr is a viable candidate for your next social media marketing move.
Ever since it came on the scene in early 2011, Google+ has been put through the ringer. Some people thought it was great, other people thought it was just a failed attempt to be the next social media engine. As we get further into the current year, and Google+ continues to grow, it is becoming apparent that this site is a powerful tool for marketers and networking.
G+ has it’s pros and cons, of course. Some benefits of Google+ for business are the inherit benefits of any social media site. Shares, pluses and comments all make it easy for your content to be passed around. A downside, though, is that there are only a reported 90 million users compared to Facebooks’ 800 million. That doesn’t mean that you should write G+ out of your social media marketing scheme. It’s a platform for content sharing, and it shouldn’t be ignored.
Social media isn’t just about customer engagement for the purposes of retention, promotion and attraction marketing. Social media marketing also offers you a very unique way to approach customer service and deal with those angry folks who are quick to drop a nasty note about their experience to their network online.
You might think you’re reputation is polished and your service is to die for, but you can’t avoid upset customers. It’s going to happen, things break, shipments go missing, food tastes bad, employees have bad days, and you just have to deal with it.
As a business owner, you know that you should be doing certain things to marketing your business online; content marketing like blogging, creating videos, press releases, building links, connecting with other industry professionals, branding through social communities, consumer and client engagement.
So let’s say that you’re even acutely aware of the need for all of that – but where do find time?
With all the work on your plate, your to-do list probably resembles the pre-trip checklist for the maiden voyage of the Titanic, and “don’t sink” is #1. Everything else is supposed to keep #1 going strong. The problem is getting all of the tasks done in order to stay afloat.
And now we want to add content marketing and mobile marketing…and social media marketing on top of that?
When you’re involved in search marketing and local SEO as long as I have been, you start to notice trends and patterns. I’ve read a lot of content, I’ve attended trade shows and conferences, seminars, and workshops that buzz about how to write great articles. They push trends in content marketing and deliver on endless strategies for creating “headlines” that people will click through.
A lot of it is pretty tired, and dated, but some of it still works for the most part.
When you’re creating content, you can draw on those swipe files and tried-and-true practices that work but the key is to be different. To do something innovative, because too much of anything is never good. When it comes to business blogging and local SEO, success is going to depend on you and your audience – not how well you reused old ideas.
Here are some tips to boost your business blogging efforts in 2012 and get some results.
Avoid Regurgitating Old Content
When you recycle stuff that’s already been done and said, it gets old. There are two ways to look at this though; on one hand you have content that is relevant to your audience which should be shared. How to info, guides, walkthroughs, tips and industry advice that is always useful to someone entering your market for the first time.
Then there’s the content that’s already been written over and over. There difference between the two is subtle. Essentially, it boils down to whether or not you mimic someone and regurgitate the content or if you take the concept and turn it into something with your own style, your own face and your own message. Fit it to your audience.
If you’re a business in Mobile, figure out how a core concept would adapt to your local seo efforts and your customer. Find ways to expand on the idea in order to improve your fan base. Repurposing and regurgitation are two different things. Remember that.
Why Giving Gifts is Important
The old adage of giving in order to receive applies to your local SEO efforts. If you merely post content, you might hit on something of value to someone but the takeaways are usually pretty slim. It doesn’t really inspire engagement or return visits. Instead, think of each piece of content you share on your business blog like an opportunity to give something to the reader.
- Tips are easy to give away, especially when related to personal experience (use storytelling) where you can drive the benefit home through a real story and outcome
- Reviews that help people make a decision
- Creating a path to a solution in order to solve a common problem
- Links! Links to great resources like other sites, white papers, images, free trials, etc. as long as its relevant to your target audience, there will be people who will appreciate it.
Remember that if people are going to give you some of their time, and read what you’ve written, then you need to give something in return and try to make it worth their while.
Business Blogging that’s Readable
One of the worst mistakes you can make blogging with corporate gobbledegook and industry jargon. I could talk to the ends of the earth using big words and SEO banter, but a lot of my audience wouldn’t necessarily understand it. You have to appeal to a wide audience of people with different levels of reading and comprehension.
Write too much “101” material and you lose the mid to advanced readers. Write too much advanced material and it goes right over the heads of your basic, entry level audience or customers.
Stop Talking About Yourself
Your customer is a unique individual, and they’re also extremely self-centered. They really don’t care about you, or your product, or your company. The only thing about “you” that might resonate with them is a personal experience or story, but even then it better be a good one they can relate to.
If you want to talk about you, then go start a Blogger blog and talk about you. When it comes to business blogging, keep it relevant to the interests of your customers and your audience.
Lastly, do your research. The knowledge you have a particular subject in your industry is only your side of it. See it from different perspectives, with different facts to back those, and you’ll be able to not only expand your own knowledge on key issues but you’ll provide more relevant information to your audience.