A few years ago the sentiment was that if you didn’t have a website than you weren’t in business. Having a website designed gave current and potential customers a way to get to know the business they were getting ready to do business with, check out services and find a way to get in contact with you.
Today, it is a given that you will have a website BUT you also need a social presence. Don’t think that just because you are a business to business service/product provider and not B2C that you don’t need to take advantage of social media. You need to use social media to prove to potential customers that you are an industry leader… that you know what you are talking about.
Here we are going to give a few reasons as to why B2Bs need to utilize social media, but first we want to make a point. If you do nothing else, make sure that your company blog is talking about industry related information. A nice combination of original and curated content is best, but talk about what is happening now, trends, issues and how your company would handle them.
The reason is twofold, your rankings will sky-rocket. Remember when a company sits to do a search for someone to address a need they have, they aren’t going to scroll through pages of results. They are going to take a look at the first few results on that first page, and you may be surprised to find out that they are going to pay more attention to the website results that are ranked organically. The latest stats report that businesses that maintain an active blog receive 67% more leads through their website and 57% of companies that use their blog have acquired customers from blog generated leads.
Don’t make the mistake in thinking that only your marketing person needs to promote your company, get all of your employees involved. Encourage them to refer people to the blog content in conversation, email and social networks.
A Few More Reasons to Use Social Media
1. A customer needs to see a company’s name 7 times (on average) before they trust that company enough to do business with them.
2. 89% of consumers view online sources of products and services reviews as trustworthy
3. 63% of consumers are more inclined to buy from a site that has product ratings and reviews
4. 75% of B2B buyers say that social media will influence future purchases
5. A company using its blog to create interesting content and promote internal content can increase their monthly leads by 8 times.
6. 91% of Fortune 500 companies use social media as part of their marketing mix
7. 82% of your potential clients online can be reached socially through social networks
8. 72% of marketers have reported that they are closing more business deals because of social media
Keep In Mind
The point of social media is to engage your potential customer. You engage the with interesting relevant content. Calls to action that lead them to more great content are important. Social media, especially social networks is NOT about selling. If you do nothing but talk about how great your company and your product is you are going to lose potential customers and possibly current ones.
If used right, social media can be a great, very low cost and effective marketing tool for your small business.
Countless small businesses are missing something from their marketing campaign: Local Marketing. Do you own a storefront? Are your main customers people within a 25 mile radius? How do they find you? As a local business, you need to make sure you’re advertising in the right places.
One of the best and least expensive ways to get started is to create a local listing. It’s easy to create one- head over to Google’s Local Business Center. Log in with your Gmail or Google apps account and claim your listing. Add tags that are appropriate to your business- think of what you’d type in a search engine if you were looking for a company like yours. Google will even help you with suggestions if you aren’t sure which keywords to choose. Don’t forget to upload images of your products (up to 10), add your address, your website, your hours, and your phone number. You can create special offers, coupons and deals too with your local listing- be sure to take advantage of this!
Now that your local listing has been created, it will take a while for it to bump up to the top of the search. To be sure your listing moves up the list, make sure to update it regularly, and be sure you have accurate information about your business. Ask your customers to rate your business through your places page. The more ratings you have, the better chances you have to move up the list.
As you wait (and pray!) for your local listing to move up towards the top of the list- you might be interested in trying one of Google’s PPC campaigns. You should try out Google Boost. Google boost gives your add a “boost” to the top of the list for your selected keywords. It’s a relatively inexpensive and effective way to boost your local search results. As a local business, you may even find that Google Boost is more effective than Adwords for your small business.
Have you tried Google Boost? Is your places page up to date? Tell us what experiences you’ve found with Google Local Listings for your small businesses. Leave a comment below or come and find us on our Facebook page!
Blogging is one of the best ways to build up a following on your website. I tell my clients again and again, one of the best things you can do to improve your search engine rankings and traffic is to add a blog to your site, have it set up properly, and post to it regularly. You see, the way a search engine works is that it looks for websites that offer up fresh content. Sites with blogs that are updated regularly are more favorable to search engines than sites without blogs.
Many people get stuck with their blogs and come to me saying “I’ve written all there is to write on my business topic!” Too many business bloggers make the mistake of focusing only on the one topic that brings in business- and then they run out of things to write. You have to think outside the box and think about what else it is that your blog readers/visitors would be interested in. One of the best things you can do to help increase and retain visitors is to become a source of information for them. For example, if you own a bakery- you’ll certainly blog about cupcakes, muffins and brownies… But what about giving your readers recipes? How about writing about low fat options your bakery offers? Your readers would also probably be interested in learning about the recent school fundraising event your bakery sponsored, and about how you donate your day old bread and sweets to a local homeless shelter.
Can’t relate to the bakery blogging? Okay then, let’s say you own an auto body shop. You may want to blog about the new engine mount you just got, or the 66 Mustang you just had in the shop that you found a nest of black widow spiders in (thanks Bill!). You can also blog about the NASCAR race and the feud between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, and make fun of the way they drive! Make more sense now? Become a source of information and entertainment for your readers and they will want to keep coming back. Keep your blog topics diverse, yet still something your customers can relate to and you’ll genuinely offer a great experience for your readers, as well as make search engines more likely to direct more traffic to your site.
In case you hadn’t heard the news, Facebook and Google are big time competitors. As two of the internet’s biggest competitors go head to head in the social networking game, there’s been some foul play. Facebook was recently busted by blogger Chris Soghoian for attempting an unethical smear campaign against Google Social Circle, a social network that Google attempted about 2 years ago that just never took off. It all started when a public relations firm that Facebook hired (allegedly to spread the word about Google’s so-called disregard for privacy) wrote an article for blogger Soghoian and then offered to pen his name to the article and promised exposure on several large news and PR sites. Soghoian, sensing something was up decided against offering up his name and instead published the emails between Facebook’s PR firm and himself online.
We’re wondering what this big time PR agency was thinking by asking Soghoian to do something like this. Soghoian is huge advocate for internet privacy and cyber security, so of course he would be interested in news that Google knew they were violating user privacy, but at the same time, Soghoian is all about following the rules- he is an ethical kind of guy who would verify the facts and know where the information came from! We can’t figure out why they thought someone like Chris Soghoian would want to publish an article he didn’t write, which didn’t contain accurate facts, on behalf of a PR firm, who wouldn’t even disclose who their client was!
So Burson Marsteller has officially pointed the finger at Facebook claiming that Facebook made them do it. We’re trying to figure out who exactly would believe them? Facebook, along with Google, is one of the most powerful companies in the world. Despite their competition with Google, Facebook could not have possibly conjured up the idea to release this story. The guys at Facebook know that you don’t really want to mess with Google. While they did hire Burson to represent them, we highly doubt they went in saying “Hey, go spread these lies about Google”.
The point being, you can’t beat the competition with black hat techniques. Google is a powerful company, who’s dealt with far larger issues than what Burson Marsteller claims as privacy issues. And now, we’re wondering where www.burson-marsteller.com will be showing up on a Google keyword search for PR firms.
Well, we’ve been busy, but today wanted to spread the word on the value of a Facebook Landing Page, as sooooo many businesses don’t have one! Facebook may not be for everyone, but increasingly businesses are seeing the value of it as a marketing platform.
Your Facebook page speaks volumes about your business. But, what exactly is it saying about your business?
Is it active?
Does it offer up information on what you do?
Does it show off your brand?
It should not only be a place for people to come to talk about your product/service, but it should be an additional place where they can learn about what you do and how you do it. Now, we’re embarrassed to admit that Insignia’s Facebook page hasn’t been following those rules (Hey! We’ve been busy!) but we’re going to be practicing what we preach (and what we do for our clients!) from now on, so keep an eye on us!
The key to giving new visitors to your Facebook Page the best information about you is to have a landing page. Your landing page can do a variety of things from showing off your new products, getting visitors to sign up for your newsletter, offering up another branding opportunity for your small business, and even showing off a video or pictures of your products. With the use of Facebook iFrames, there is really no limit to what you can do with your Facebook page. And- a good landing page will help your visitors convert to “Likes”- which is exactly what you need!
What would you want to show off on your Facebook landing page? Leave a comment here or head over to our Facebook page and tell us what you want out of a landing page for your small business! And stay tuned for our list of top 10 ideas for marketing on Facebook coming next week!
Businesses, big and small, should be using Twitter. There’s lots of reasons why, but one of the best I can think of is that it gives your followers a chance to connect with your company on a more intimate level. Giving your customers a more personal side of you and your company can give you an opportunity to forge a connection between them and your business. When they need something you sell, and they’ve formed a connection with you, you’ll be at the top of their list and they’ll more likely to refer you to friends and family.
Here’s a great example: It’s no secret I love wine. To me, there’s nothing like a good glass of cabernet or pinot noir at the end of the day. I found a wine that I really love, but the problem is, that I can’t find it anywhere near my house. And today, when I started searching for it, I had a tough time finding any local shops who carried it, so I turned to Twitter.
I realized that the winery that makes the wine I love- NxNW (King Estate) is on Twitter. And I was delighted to see that they were using it effectively- so I followed them and asked them for any local stores who carried the wine. A few minutes later, they followed me back. A few seconds later, I had a response from them and an email address that I was able to get a list of the local stores who carried their wine. They did everything that they should do in my book- they followed back, they answered (really) promptly, and they showed personality and thanked me for complimenting their product. Just as they’ve “developed strong, creative relationships with growers and fellow winemakers”, they’re doing the same with their customers. And now I’m writing a blog post about them and maybe sending a few of you their way to get some wine!
Any business can work like this. Using Twitter to effectively connect and engage your customers is time consuming, but well worth it- no matter what industry you’re in. Now go follow @KingEstate on Twitter. I’m headed out to get some cabernet!
Social media, and using it effectively in marketing is an art, not a science.