Many business owners are active online to some degree. They have listened to a webinar about online marketing or attended a workshop or some other event where the idea of being on social media for marketing has been the topic pushed at them.
Then they come to this point, which was explained very succinctly recently in an email I received.
"Generally I am finding that there is so much information out there, it's hard to figure out where to concentrate on for small wins, where improvements can be made with the website/ social media channels etc, marketing plan and so forth
As mentioned I am really trying to read and read and read when possible but some guidance / coaching is probably going to help me reach my goals a lot sooner"
Points for this business owner being perceptive enough to know that trying to do it all alone can be both a false economy and a source of needless confusion and frustration.
Are you feeling lost in the maze?
What all business needs to know on using social media marketing
Your website is integral to your business presence online. That means that it must be effective not just on the page for visitors but also "in the back" where Google reads it.
Your efforts to promote your business online can't be spent all on promoting online properties you don't own. If you want to promote Facebook, get a job there, don't do your work for them on your business Page free and imagine that they can't take it away in a moment. They can and they might. Meanwhile you can use it all you like but don't build your whole presence on a rented platform.
Integrating your website with your social media platforms means that your social efforts are captured with your website and customers can find their way to your site for more information, to check you out and to see that you are the real deal! Trust is a high value commodity online and one of the things that you and your business needs is the means to develop trust. That's where social media can help.
Audience (Really Your Online Network)
Well let me start by saying "audience" is definitely the wrong word for what you are building. It's wrong because at the most basic level, broadcasting to your online network is not the thing.
Before you can occasionally broadcast a promotion, you need a network of people who are willing and interested in following you and receiving your updates, and people are interested in people who are interested in them. That comes way before you can effectively build your useful network of eyes (people) to see your offers.
There is no shortcut to this. Engagement is essential.
If you have a high level of traffic into your business then you can begin to build your online network with those who are already familiar with and like what you do.
Knowing clearly what the single message is that you want people to know about your business is vital to being able to create the types of content and target that message to get to the people who want to know about it.
If your products and services are geared to satisfying customers who are male, 30 - 50 and single then your message is going to be significantly different and needs to be in front of another set of people than if you were looking to develop a network of senior citizens with an interest in buying a retirement unit.
For social media your business can use successfully, you need a clear message and a clear persona of who your content is meant to delight and help solve their plight.
It's fantastic that we all have cameras with us now everywhere we go. What's not so good is the confusion that this can bring about. Your products and services need more than just Instagram photos to show them off well. Some products are easier than others to capture well in an image. Professional images need to be a priority for some uses online. That's your website, your promotional material and some other work you might want to share as a template that you can adapt and re-use. If you are selling meals, professional product photography is an art form. Not an iPhone filter.
Building trust is not what you get with stock photos on your website of people who don't work there. It's like a high resolution statement that your business is not to be trusted.
Graphic design in the form of banners and marketing collateral will make you stand out as well prepared and fastidious, and your own photos taken through the day supplement these to show you as being real.
The topics you will write about, the articles that you curate and share with a comment, all of these add up to elements of your content and context marketing. This is a critical part of your online marketing strategy and needs proper resourcing and skills, and experience to do well.
Don't like Twitter but like Facebook? That may be irrelevant. If your people who love what you do and are potential customers love Instagram, you better learn to like it too. Remember this social thing is not about playing on Facebook, it is work and it is about having your business in the right place at the right time for the right people. I notice that when people tell me they don't like a platform, it follows that they don't understand it and have no idea how to use it properly. Opportunity, once it is seen, is hard not to like.
Online is alive too.
No matter how much we might like being online, many times the people we would like to get to know and develop some influence with are not online. Or not yet on the platforms that we might prefer. Consider how you will bring people online from offline so they can follow you and make your business updates part of their day. Enrolling people to your online properties, signage, promoting online profiles offline... all of these are part of your online business marketing.
It doesn't matter what you know today, there is much you don't know about how to make this work for your business. Whatever you know today, be sure, that it will not be the same a month from now. This online environment changes by the hour. What tricks some are using to work today, will work against businesses tomorrow. Count on that. What won't change is a good strategy. Your tactics might flex, but the strategy will see you through that in good health Staying up-to-date with these changes is a full time job and not one that many businesses have either the time or the understanding to manage well.
Research is an ongoing facet of the online marketing space and this must have a place in your marketing process.
Each of these topics above mean hours and hours of work to prepare, to promote and to get really good at in your business.
You can try to cover off on all of these things alone, or you get some help to do more and get to your goals faster, and with less hassle. One more thing help buys us is a fresh set of eyes. That can be just the thing we need to find our way out of the maze that is social marketing.
Money for jam
Once you have established your working network online, you have the basis of your own business sales channel. You can then feed it and help it grow.
That's something you can't buy ... but you can fund.
And it can be amazing!
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10 Steps To Local Marketing Online
The Dirty Secrets Business Needs To Know About Social Media
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How To Get Your Local Business Found Online
How-To: Developing A Social Media Strategy For Marketing
Quick & Dirty Business Review
Test Your Website For Roadworthiness
What You Should Know About Social Media For Business
Like help with your business?
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