If your company has been using only traditional marketing methods to generate new business, you need to read this!
2017 is the year of change and improvements. Marketing strategies have grown beyond word of mouth and Facebook posts. Let us show you how your business can reach new heights using digital marketing strategies.
Why Digital Marketing?
- First and foremost, digital marketing is a tremendously cheaper marketing method than the traditional offline methods – just think about those print runs, radio campaigns and television ads that you couldn’t afford 15 years ago! Digital marketing is much more accessible, even for those with small marketing budgets.
- It’s a great way to increase your online market share
- **According to Hubspot By 2016, more than 50% of money spent in the US will be influenced by online marketing campaigns. ** How long before we can say the same thing here in the UK?
What is a digital strategy?
Having a digital strategy is, in essence, a plan. It allocates time and money to all the relevant platforms and helps you to gain insight into statistical data which will help you to reach your goals. Market your business using multiple platforms like Social media, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Email Marketing, SEO PR, and so much more.
How to begin building a digital strategy
- The first thing you need to do is be clear on your aims and objectives.
- Analyse how your company performed in the previous year.
- Research your target audience and preferred digital media channels
- Create your content
- Allocate paid advertising budgets
- Create a timeline
- Evaluate and improve your strategy
Why you NEED to set aside a budget for an SEO and digital marketing company to help you
- By now, you must understand the importance of digital marketing. One thing that will help you reach that increased ROI is a thorough and well thought out digital marketing strategy.
- It can be a daunting task to do yourself
- You’ll save money in the long run
- Work alongside a professional to gain a fresh perspective
- Utilise their resources and evaluation techniques
Last week, we welcomed year 10 student Jack into the office to spend the week on work experience. Having worked extremely hard in his time here, Jack has summed up his week in his own words:
I’ve always dreaded my work experience and have always been worried about going to spend 5 days in a completely new place, with people I’ve never met before and not a clue how it would turn out. I came to SEO it Right worried of what I would be doing. In the end though, my worrying came to nothing and after a nervous few months of waiting for work experience I’ve enjoyed my time at SEO it Right and have learnt new facts, stats, skills and been educated in the importance of online features like blogs, social media and website usability all in a single week. One of the most important things that I will take away from SEO it Right though is the experience I have gained and the comfort I’ve found in a typical workplace environment.
On my first day I was worried, but when I was dropped off I was reassured by the welcoming of the staff and settled in quickly. I was introduced to everyone and shown around, I was told what I’d be doing and looked through a help sheet that benefited me greatly as I was able to plan what I was going to do for my next activity and how. I was then left alone to focus on a website usability study where I found how different features of a website can affect the user and the big impact it has on a potential customer of the business. I found programmes like Google Mobile Friendly Test and Google Speed Test when writing it and managed to finish my usability study with over 5000 words. I also completed a mock interview which was like a tutorial of an interview and showed me how to answer questions. I left on my first day confused of why I was previously so worried and looking forward to what the next day had to offer.
When my second day came around, I was looking forward to finding out about how social media impacts a business and was then shocked to find out how important it can prove to be. I was fascinated as I started my Social Media statistics sheet and found interesting facts and even worked out my own. For example, the number of people on Facebook is 25 times the UK’s population.
By my third day, I was relaxed in the office and was comfortably settled in. I finished finding statistics, found what makes a good website and started to make plans for a video. I started to really gain from the experience of being in a typical workplace environment.
My fourth day was one of my favourites. I started working on my video, focusing on what makes a good website. My favourite part of making the video was the editing process; this is something I often enjoy and did again this time. I called the video “The Good The Bad Of The Websites” and made a mock-up logo for the video. I enjoyed putting it together and think I did a good job. That day after I finished my video, I made a new infographic (something I’d learnt while at SEO it Right) about social media and how we use it in today’s world. I then went home able to reflect on another great day of work experience.
On the 5th and final day, I started the morning by completing this blog post. I’ll soon present my video to the team and eat cakes at the SEO it Right picnic to end the week in a great way.
Thank You to SEO it Right for allowing me to come and do my work experience here and for making me feel so welcome.
Aside from queueing and talking about the weather, there is nothing more British than a tea party. In the quest to give our international work placement student, Catrina, a taste of what us Brits typically enjoy for afternoon tea we rose to the occasion and brought the cake stands, scones and dainty finger sandwiches to SEO it Right.
This was also the perfect opportunity to thank Ollie, our work experience student, for his hard work, dedication and fantastic attitude this week. It’s been a pleasure showing Ollie the ropes here at SEO it Right and thanks to all the team here for making him and Catrina feel very welcome.
Ollie has been working hard all week, running usability tests on websites, doing keyword research, and collaborating with Catrina to make this fantastic video below on why businesses should use social media. He even attended and passed his very first interview with Office Manager Claire – she tells me he got the job!
It’s been another hectic week of desk swapping (for me anyway) but what a fantastic way to end, with food, drink and the great company of the SEO it Right team.
Have a great weekend!
On the 30th of April, SEO it Right will celebrate 6 years in business. Having first been set up as a specialist SEO company by our Directors Adam and Frances Berry, we have now evolved into a digital marketing agency, offering a wide range of content marketing, SEO, social media, PR and paid advertising solutions to small businesses all over the UK. One thing that has stayed the same is that we still find any excuse for cake!
To celebrate our 6th birthday, we have put together a list of 6 tips to help you build your online presence.
1. Decide on your goals
Firstly, it’s important that you establish your goals for both the short-term and long-term future. With these goals in place, as you create a strategy to grow your online presence, you can regularly turn to your goals to see how your online efforts are helping you to move forward. Rather than just building an online presence because you’re expected to, be sure to build your presence strategically so that you can work towards your business goals as a whole.
2. Build a solid website
To develop your online presence, to start with you will need a solid platform, i.e. a great website. Your website is a central place where people can learn more about your business, find out how to contact you and engage with your content.
Your website should:
- Say what your business is about in a clear message
- Contain all of your contact information
- Be optimised for search engines (SEO)
- Be mobile and user friendly
3. Provide value for your audience
Make sure the content that you are publishing is valuable to your audience. Whether this be on your website, through your social media channels, videos or a podcast, make sure that your content is of a consistent quality and provide your audience with useful information. Be the solution to their problems.
4. Be social
The internet allows you access to a huge audience. Social media can be a hugely effective way to reach your target audiences.
Being social means that you should work out which social media platforms work best for your business and regularly post and engage. As with creating any online content, consistency is important; you should develop a consistent voice and continue to provide the same value for your customers. Using social media effectively can help you gain fans and followers and once you have gained an audience, social is also a fantastic way to reach and engage the followers that have developed trust in you and like your brand. The more conversations you can draw up with your audience, the stronger the relationships that you build.
5. Always look to improve
There’s no way that your marketing materials will be perfect straight away, so don’t be afraid to publish! Your content will improve with every piece that you create if you are continually looking for ways to improve and optimise what you do. It’s a long process to work out exactly what does and doesn’t work – even the big brands are still learning from their mistakes, big or small.
6. Track your progress
Tracking your progress is the best way to know if your efforts for building your online presence are working. Be sure to track website visits, social media follows and engagement, look for spikes in traffic and look for trends.
To find out more about how we can help you to develop your business’s presence online, or to learn more about the range of digital marketing services we can provide, feel free to call us on 0121 308 0219 and our team will be happy to help.
There is no doubting that creating content is an essential part of fighting your way up the Google search results pages. However, content alone isn’t enough to jump up the rankings. There is truth in saying that SEO is part of the answer to helping your content move up in SERPs, however, if used properly, SEO techniques shouldn’t affect the actual content of your website or blog.
A few years ago, it was easier to move up in search rankings by stuffing content with relevant keywords. Even if the content didn’t actually provide a good user experience, or sometimes, it may not have been very relevant to the actual search query, it could be found above higher quality, relevant content due to an abundance of keywords. However, as Google is constantly refining its search algorithms, it’s now much harder to fool the system with artificial techniques.
Google is now much more context sensitive – this means that content is useless on its own if it doesn’t provide a valuable user experience. Google is focused on providing a good user experience, so content must be relevant and well written to provide value. Without providing content that your audience are interested in and want to read, they won’t have a reason to find your content and engage with you. As a result, your digital marketing will suffer and your content won’t rank well in SERPs. Keywords will always be important, but only in the right context.
Introducing context marketing
Essentially, context marketing is about knowing your audience well enough to create content that is reliable and valuable to them. For example, what knowledge do your audience need? Which products and services will be of the most use to them? Rather than a hard sell, adding context helps your content marketing efforts to feel helpful; as a result, your audience are more likely to build trust in you and engage. The more your audience are willing to engage, the more you know about them and the more valuable your marketing content can be.
Getting to know your audience
To use content marketing successfully, it’s important that you know as much about your audience as possible and this means getting know them as individuals.
One of the simplest and best ways to learn more about your audience is through social media. As with website or blog content, social media messages must have context. Simply broadcasting a message is not only ineffective, but it can also be damaging; modern consumers aren’t interested in blatant, pushy sells, they want to form a relationship with brands and a sense of trust.
The biggest benefit of social media is that it allows your audience to contact you easily and confidently, so by posting engaging content, you can learn a lot about your audience when they choose to engage with your content. The more you learn, the more context you can add to your social media content, helping you present your brand as the solution to your audience’s problem. As well as broadcasting interesting and useful information, you can aim to give hope, inspiration or even humour, creating awareness of your brand in a very positive way.
By engaging with your audience on social media, you can then use what you have learned to provide context in all of your marketing media, including blog and website content. This helps you create a reputation as a credible, knowledgeable and authoritative source that your audience will want to continually buy from or use your services.
At SEO it Right, contextual content has always been our approach. As a marketer, Google’s shift towards context makes my job much more enjoyable. When I create content, rather than writing for a search engine, I write for an audience and rather than obsessing over keywords, I think about creating content that provides value to a specific audience. By combining context with content, marketers have the opportunity to be much more creative and to build relationships with people, not fight for rankings.
If you would like to learn more about how you can use context in your content and social media marketing campaigns, you can call the SEO it Right team on 0121 308 0219.
As internet culture continues to grow and transform the way we do business, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are looking to spend more time and money on online advertising strategies to market their products and services. Whilst paid and organic search advertising continues to be an extremely useful means of driving traffic, marketers are increasingly looking to social media marketing and user generated content to raise their brand’s profile online.
Rather than simply targeting customers through inputted search terms, social media advertising proactively engages relevant users before they even get as far as opening a search engine. With smartphones and other mobile devices constantly available, information is at our finger tips at all times, and social media apps are often our first port of call when we pick up our device. Whilst potential customers absentmindedly scroll through their social media newsfeeds, marketers have opportunity to attract their attention.
Capturing customer’s attention isn’t as easy as it used to be. Traditional sales spiel no longer has the same effect that it once did; in fact, a hard sell often makes a brand seem less trustworthy. This is where some marketers have gone wrong with social media in the past – social media isn’t about sales, it’s about engaging and building a relationship with the customer. By earning their customer’s trust, businesses are much more likely to see increased sales.
Social media provides the perfect opportunity for brands to learn more about customers through engagement. By encouraging social media users to put their point across and give their opinions, brands not only capture the interest of their audience, but can benefit hugely from the new information that they get. As marketers learn more about what the customer likes, dislikes, needs and avoids, they can then use this information to deliver a direct solution to the customer’s problem.
Engagement is a key method of developing trusting relationships with customers and potential customers, not only increasing the possibility of sales, but also making it more likely that happy customers will do their part to spread brand awareness.
User Generated Content
Social media is an extremely potent and powerful tool, of which customer engagement is only one part. One of the biggest parts of engaging with customers through social media is that customers effectively become members of a brand’s marketing team. Social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or the increasingly popular Instagram provides the perfect opportunity for customers to promote a brand in their own way. This could be to take a picture of themselves in a new outfit, share a post by one of their favourite brands, or even to leave a review. This is called user generated content and is fast becoming one of the most important marketing tools in any brand’s arsenal and can be much more effective than dated sales patter.
The modern consumer doesn’t want to buy a product or a service unless they trust it, and while a large percentage of people are mistrusting of a few lines of description on a website, if a friend or another trusted source gives a positive spin on said product or service, a person is much more likely to develop trust and make a purchase.
By taking the time to engage with customers through social media and learn more about their requirements, brands can carefully devise their posts to increase the creation of user generated content. For example, a clothing company can ask their followers to post a picture of their latest purchase and tag the brand in, or use a specific hashtag. By taking this sort of strategy, a brand’s online reach can be hugely increased.
Marketers are finally realising that the customer is always right and that customer opinion is one of the most powerful sales tools there is. Social media marketing is a relatively low-investment, but high-impact way of raising brand awareness and increasing sales that can’t be ignored.
With the rapid evolution of the Internet of Things it is now easier than ever for businesses to promote brand reputation, boost sales and increase growth for a worldwide market. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin, are fast becoming the norm over other marketing strategies, as a device for brands to connect with their audiences and develop a more customer-centric approach to sales. Recent studies have found that 42% of the world’s population are active internet users, and over a quarter of the population engage with social media on a daily basis.
Research by Smart Insights asked marketers to rate different marketing channels for volume of leads or sales expected by the business. Only 4% didn’t use social media, compared with SEO at 5%, to display advertising at 16%. The need is more apparent now than ever for companies to stay updated with the latest, continually adapting social media trends, so that they can strategically invest in resources to formulate long-term business opportunities. But which networks are the most popular, and what industries will capitalise from them most?
Here we take a look at the dominant social media trends which have shaped the marketing efforts of businesses in 2015 and how marketers can best benefit from the social networks; plus we’ll consider some of the key upcoming trends for 2016.
Choosing the Right Social Media Network
Published in January 2015, research from the Global Web Index highlighted the most popular social networks by their percentage of internet users. Facebook dominated with 81%, followed by YouTube and Google +, both at 60%. Twitter came in at 53%, with Instagram at 29%, Pinterest at 27% and LinkedIn at 13%. These platforms are fast growing through adapting to mobile users and integrating new advertising strategies. Some of the new developments in the way these networks are increasing their marketing capability for businesses include:
– Facebook: has removed the charge for likes and has made changes to its Newsfeed visibility
– Twitter: introduced the ability to stream Periscope, for live broadcast and recording
– Instagram: there are new Carousel Ads featuring URLs and multiple photos. These can be swiped for users to find out more
– Pinterest: offer buyable pin buttons
– LinkedIn: introduced a Lead Accelerator to target and convert specific users
In an increasingly automated brand to consumer relationship, businesses will need to implement social media to enhance their relations, improve reputation and make their brand stand out from the crowd. But which networks and will allow businesses to be best seen by their target audience and how can their reach be widened?
Make Your Business Mobile
Worldwide social desktop traffic in Q2 of this year decreased, while the rise in dedicated mobile web apps and the number of users adopting them caused mobile web share to go up for all social networks aside from LinkedIn and Reddit. Social media sites are becoming more optimised with geo-targeted and real-time content, meaning that advertising on these mobile sites is now greatly poplar as a strategy for business reach and growth. Mobile devices can let you receive ads at every log in into your accounts, whether for a quick check of your Facebook newsfeed or sending a snap via Snapchat. Using these ads will track users’ behaviours, and offer tailored advertising based on their actions.
Finding out whether your target market are using sites on their desktop, or responsive websites or dedicated apps on their mobile devices is key to ensure your business anticipates the needs of customers in line with the evolving social trends.
A More Integrated Social Advertising
This trend looks to customise advertising based on behavioural data on the social media networks. Integrated social advertising has been on the rise in 2015, with the introduction of video ads on Instagram and auto-play ads on Facebook. Snapchat has also capitalised on fully integrated advertising by displaying brands’ ‘stories’, giving users real-time ads targeted to their behaviours.
In-messaging advertising, through a social network’s private messaging function, is also becoming a marketing tool which will shape the future of advertising. Popular social apps such as Whatsapp and Kik, are signing huge marketing deals to boost in-app advertising.
This Rise of Social Video
Videos are ever more popular this year for brands looking to attract consumers quickly and build up a relationship visually. Most social sites allow for companies to display videos and enable great storytelling opportunities for increased consumer trust. Vine, Snapchat and Instavid are some of the dedicated social video networks which can be used by businesses to promote products and pave a unique identity in a compelling way.
Video is set to increase further throughout the rest of 2015 and over next year, Facebook is hoping to overtake YouTube, as it already experiences one billion video views a day, according to the Independent.
Social Media and E-Commerce
A study by SimilarWeb shows the worldwide percentages for desktop social traffic for popular ecommerce industries:
– Wedding: 11.38%
– Clothing: 6.14%
– Antiques and Collectibles: 5.88%
– Publications: 4.17%
The importance of social media as a marketing tool for these industries is worth noting, though businesses should be aware of their target market when investing in boosting social traffic to increase sales; the study showed that a higher percentage of social traffic in India and France was generated from the Ethnic and Regional category, as opposed to the UK and US which saw Weddings take the higher percentage.
The extent businesses should expect to engage with users via social networking sites, will depend on the interest in the specific industry for social activity. Changing your marketing strategies to fit in with the latest social media trends may not necessarily improve business if they do not fit in with your industry and the needs of your customers.
If you feel your business would benefit from implementing a social media campaign, then get in touch with the SEO it Right team on 0121 308 0219.
You may have heard of what I like to call, The Fantastic Four of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, which are currently the biggest social media networks. Through using social networking sites for your business, you can indulge yourself in the technological world, and give your business the personality it needs to meet the demands of today’s digital audience.
There are over three billion active internet users, and just over two billion of these users have active social media accounts. This provides huge potential for businesses to promote what they do, and reach a bigger target audience than ever before.
Provide, Engage, Promote
As these social networking sites continue to grow, so do the number of people who are using them. Social media is widely used by businesses as it gives people a chance to engage with the brand, and also builds a sense of trust. When used correctly, it can maximise your profitability, and the effectiveness of your advertising and online marketing. It is all about being able to provide interesting posts, engage with and respond to your audience, whilst promoting what you do at the same time without coming across as too ‘sales-like.’
There Are So Many, Which One Should You Choose?
You may be thinking there are so many social media sites, which one would be best for you? We understand that each business is unique, and therefore some networking sites will work better than others, depending on the nature of your business.
Take a look at this breakdown to show how you can use at least one of the Fantastic Four to get your brand name out there, and engage with your audience. It’s all about adding that personal touch to the information you provide. Sales talk and cold calling are long gone – social media is like the modern day version of ‘people skills’ you need in today’s digital atmosphere.
You probably hear Facebook mentioned nearly every day, so what makes it so great?
- You will be discoverable – people who search for you or search for something related to what services or products you provide will be able to find you.
- You will be able to interact with various audiences straight away, and can respond to urgent queries or enquiries quickly and efficiently.
- You have an insight on the success of your page; through your analytics section, you will be able to see how customers are reacting to your posts and what kind of engagement you are achieving. This one profile will give you access to a whole world of possibilities.
- All you need to do is share relevant, related topics to your business or things that interest you, to try and encourage people to interact with you on your profile.
With 1.23 billion users active on Facebook every month – the sky really is the limit. The more consistent you are and the more regularly you post, the more likely it is you will connect with people and build trust.
With over 500 million users, Twitter is another way to interact with your audience.
- It is different to Facebook as you have to limit your post to 140 characters. This makes content easy to read and ensures your audience won’t lost interest too quickly, like they may do if posts were longer.
- Twitter is a great way of promoting your brand and sharing relevant information, which could be of use to your customers.
- You can use your tweets to post information quickly with the use of a hashtag, so that information that has been posted by other users with the same hashtag will all appear under one grouping. This is a great way of getting the word out there about what you do.
The potential really is there to go far, as long as you remain persistent and engage with your audience regularly.
You may have heard of the craze that is known as Instagram – well known for users posting selfies, pictures of food and images of just about anything.
- With over 3 million users, Instagram is one way of visually getting your products out there. So if you are a print company, restaurant or anything that works with things that are visual – Instagram is a great place to start.
- As soon as you start posting and the more regularly you do this, before you know it your followers will begin to build up.
- Instagram is predominantly pictures rather than status posts and updates, which are more for Facebook and Twitter. The human brain is programmed to register pictures much faster than written information.
The second largest search engine after Google is YouTube. Infamous for allowing users to find endless videos on just about anything, there’s very little that can’t be found on YouTube.
- Video is the next big thing, and more businesses are starting to use videos as part of their strategies. Like images, videos are visual and therefore the brain registers them much quicker than written text.
- Videos can easily be shared on social networking channels making them highly versatile, and you can reuse them time and time again to promote what you do on other social media sites.
- YouTube itself has more than 1 billion users, where 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
The promotional aspect of using video is really big, so being involved and adding your own is another way to gain great exposure!
If you are intrigued by any of these online platforms, and would like to open new doors to interact with your audience, SEO it Right can help by providing the Social Media Marketing solutions to meet your needs. We also offer Social Media Marketing Training to give you a better understanding on how to use social media yourself. For more information, you can give us a call on 0121 308 0219.
What I Learned From Attending IRX 2015 – What Small Businesses Can Learn from a Big Brand’s Approach to Social Media
Last week some members of our team attended the Internet Retailing Expo at the NEC. Launched by InternetRetailing Magazine, the IRX offered a full programme of workshops, one on one clinics and conferences, all delivered by industry experts in various fields.
I attended day 2 of the event in order to visit the Digital Sales & Marketing conference that was held, featuring talks from a number of industry experts. One of the most interesting talks that I attended was given by Claire Higgins, Head of Digital Marketing at Selfridges – Social Media to Tap into Customer Mindsets and Drive Forward Business Strategies. It was fascinating to learn more about how a renowned brand like Selfridges approach social media. This retailer case study triggered me to think more about what small businesses can learn from big brands when it comes to social media.
Engage, Engage, Engage, Not Sell, Sell, Sell
This is where many small businesses go wrong – social media should not be used as a hard sell. It is important for businesses and brands of all sizes to think about what it is that customers want to hear; the easiest way to find this out is by talking to the customer and finding out what is important to them.
Through social media, businesses can regularly share interesting and relevant information with their followers, encouraging them to like or share, re-tweet, favourite or reply to. Social media is not about selling – its real purpose is to help educate customers and followers, building their credibility and trust in their brand as a whole, as well as their products or services.
Social Media Should Be a TEAM Effort.
The Selfridges outlook on social media is: Together wE Achieve More
Many small businesses may leave their social media efforts to their marketing team alone, or in many cases, a single member of staff. What small business can learn from a big brand like Selfridges is that social media is too important to leave to a single employee or department and in order fully realise the potential of social media and see the best possible results, organisations must come together.
As social media is all about reaching the customer and engaging with them, creating social media content should be a joint effort between the marketing team, sales teams and any other customer facing employees. Although the writing and posting to the business’s social media platforms may be left to the marketing department, any customer facing staff should be able to offer some insight into what the customer wants to see/hear/or read.
Finding the Right Tone Is Important
Social media gives your business the chance to communicate with your customers through a single voice – so it is essential that you create a voice that is professional and suits your brand. Whilst it is important to let your social media team’s personalities to shine through in social posts, it is important that they continue to convey a consistent tone that is positive, authoritative and professional. Social media should allow customers to connect with passionate employees that will help to build up the customer’s trust in their brand.
Social Media for Customer Service
One of the main results of our increasingly reliance on digital technology is that we are very impatient and want all information as quick as possible. If customers have a problem or would like more information, they want to be able to resolve this as quickly as possible, whether this means checking your website or contacting your customer service department. Another side effect of the continuing development of digital technology is that rather than using a telephone, customers are happier to contact a business via social media if they have a problem. It is important for businesses of all sizes to respond to and resolve customer problems as quickly as possible. Whilst it is unrealistic for businesses to provide 24 hour support in most cases, it is always best for businesses to aim to respond to any customer problems within a day.
If you are just starting out on your commercial social networking journey or have reached the point where you need to enhance the work of your Online Marketing or Social Media Company with your own responsive socialising, then we may have some tips to help you on your way.
When looking at other companies and wondering how they built their presence up online you could be forgiven for thinking they have earned that position simply because of their size, but social media, like organic search is not just about domination by the big boys, it is about clever marketing strategies and hard work.
Ideally you will need to be working towards building up a network of quality followers but this does not happen overnight – building a following takes time and effort and it is a continual process.
There is no doubt that now is the time to act if you haven’t yet figured out how to tweet or have a dusty corporate Facebook page with no updates and no likes. Search is becoming increasingly social and with Google rolling out algorithm updates more quickly than you can reel off the list of black and white animals it tends to favour, it makes sense that everyone should be looking to drive traffic to their site socially and not just relying on organic search.
So where do you begin building your brand socially?
First I think you need to approach social networking in the same way that you approach the design and wording of your website or marketing materials – by identifying your USP – what it is that makes you stand out from the crowd.
What do you do that your competitors don’t?
What can you deliver that no one else can or what can you deliver that is better than everyone else?
Identifying what it is that makes your brand unique will stand you in good stead as you start your social journey.
Social channels cannot simply be used to sell – in fact if you think that tweeting or pinning up images on Pinterest is going to be all about peddling your own wares you need to take a step back. Creating a presence socially is about giving something back to the community, to your potential customers, it is about creating something of interest which may then lead to increased brand awareness and a rise in sales.
Building a Following
In order to generate more interest in what your business stands for and the products or services you provide you will need to build up a following of like-minded people who will care about your ethos and the services you offer. Quantity isn’t everything so don’t be tempted to follow any old profile simply to get the follow back, targeting the right kind of audience will be more important as these are the people that are most likely to be interested in what you have to say. If your business is local, look for people in your local area and other businesses that may have need of your services or that you may be able to collaborate with rather than approaching those people in another region or country who will, in all honesty, not be able to access what you are offering.
A great way to build up a following is to join groups or even create your own. This can work particularly well on platforms such as LinkedIn or Google+ where you can identify yourself or your business as a leading authority within your industry.
You also need to get a better understanding of your customer demographic and know who your competitors are. There is nothing wrong with trying to emulate the competition so long as you ensure that you are honest about why you need social marketing – to improve brand awareness, to increase traffic, to increase communication with customers or to reach new audiences – and that you put your own spin on everything and make it unique to your business, your brand and your ethos.
Also don’t act in isolation. If you want people to like and follow your business you need to ensure that you are socially active and follow/like other people. Join relevant groups and start making a name for yourself and share others’ content if you feel it would be of interest to your own readers.
Asking for Help
Of course there are social media and online marketing companies out there who will be more than happy to assist you with your social marketing, but even at the highest price tag and with the best intentions they will never know your business as well as you do. Any social media marketing that you pay for needs to be supplemented with your own responses, status updates, comments and community development because at the end of the day it is your reputation that is being built.