Social Media

Inbound Marketing Is The Best SEO (part 2)

by Joe B on August 15, 2012

As we said in our previous post, Inbound Marketing consists of:

1) Content- serving up unique, helpful content
2) Distribution of that content thru:

  • social media
  • e-mail
  • blogging
  • website
  • search
  • others

3) Engagement with users to:

  • capture leads
  • convert leads to customers

Why isn’t the old way of doing SEO effective anymore? The answer is because Google changed their algorithm and indexing system. Google search is about solving problems. When you type something into the Google search bar, you are looking for an answer to something. Google wants to serve up the best answer to you.

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines says, “make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.” So Google is looking for quality, unique content. In February 2011, with the introduction of Panda, Google found a way to identify content that was not good. In the Summer of 2010, Google introduced its Caffeine Indexing System which began rewarding new/fresh content. In February 2011, Google caught and punished JC Penney, Overstock.com and others for black hat link building. In October 2011, Google began limiting Keyword Search Query Information making it more difficult to determine what keywords were used to find your site. And in 2010, both Google and Bing admitted to using Social Signals in their search results.

What does all of this mean?

1) Where you rank doesn’t matter- How many keywords drive traffic to your site does.

2) You must create lots of original, problem-solving, thought leader content and/or entertaining content

3) You must publish content frequently

4) Don’t buy links or use link building services

5) Search results and technical SEO ROI are harder to track

6) Distribute your content thru Social Media and be social

7) Embrace all of Inbound Marketing

Content creation is the new SEO. Make your content helpful, insightful and fresh are reap the rewards.

 

 

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Recently, we have run into business people who have attended conferences where they were told they had to be on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter, etc. or they would soon be going out of business. The response to this type of claim is pretty predictable. When faced with get on or go out of business, many business owners panic. What do they do and what should they do?

Some, jump in on their own, creating profiles for every social media channel and working to get their name out. Others hire “social media experts”. Unfortunately, many times the expertise that is claimed tends to be rooted in the amount of time the “expert” has spent on social media rather than any real expertise.

Is doing something better than doing nothing? In many cases when you are doing the wrong something, you would have been better off doing nothing. What should a business owner do?

  • Focus on your goals! Don’t get caught up in fear. Your goal may be centered on not going out of business at the moment, but think further. How many new customers do you need to add to your business? How much money will you make from each new customer?  Remember, you have to consider the cost of customer acquisition. If you are spending $1,000 per month to add 4 customers that add $100 each to your top line, you are not doing it right!
  • Focus on your customers. Think about the different social media platforms and determine which may be best for your business. Where are your customers? Do you really need to be on all of the social media platforms? The main demograpic for Pinterest is women who are between the ages of 25 – 54. Does that fit your target market? The point of using social media for marketing is to be where your customers are, engaging with them and gaining their trust.
  • Focus on your strategy. What strategies are appropriate for reaching and engaging with your customers. Social media is a great way to add customers, but remember it is “social.” This is not the place to use old style marketing techniques like reaching out and grabbing your potential customers and bombarding them with advertising messages. Social media is a place to interact and engage. What strategy might be appropriate to attract potential customers to a call to action? What might entice a social media contact to take a step towards becoming a customer?
  • Focus on what works! How will you know what works? Measure it! Get your analytics in place and keep track. How many visitors do you actually get to your site from social media? How many of those visitors convert into leads and customers for your business? How much time, effort and money was expended to get those visitors to your site? Is it cost effective? Could it be more cost effective?

Just having a social media presence is not enough. As you can see, if you aren’t doing it right, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money.




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Monitoring Your Facebook Page

by Joe B on March 8, 2012

Your Facebook page should strengthen existing relationships, and also forge new ones. You will need to closely monitor your Facebook page to understand what you fans want.

Things to Consider:

  • The most frequently used activity for young Facebook users is wall posts.
  • The older Facebook demographic is more interested in using Facebook for themselves.
  • Share original content:
    • 60% of links shared on Facebook are published content.
    • Additional 36% of shares were embedded content.
  • Put like or recommend buttons at the top of the blog article.
    • Community will build up a reputation for the article by “liking” the content.
  • Post articles on the weekend.
    • 51% of American companies block Facebook at work.

Source: HubSpot, The Science of Facebook, 2011

Your Facebook page should be the launching point to your home website, blog, and conversion offers. By encouraging discussions on your Facebook wall, you will be fostering a community in which your newest visitors interact with your most dedicated and loyal customers. In doing so, your existing customers’ excitement to share and interact with your material and page could impact your more casual fans’ decision to purchase your product.




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Facebook for Business

by Christi on March 7, 2012

Setting up your Facebook page is just the first step when you are using Facebook for business. It is essential for you to distribute remarkable content that your fans will want to share so your fans can attract more visitors to you Facebook page.

Action Items:

  • To increase your Facebook exposure, you need to design offers and content that will motivate people to “like” or share your page. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations.
  • Posts with the word “video” in them are shared 30% more on Facebook than posts that do not.
  • Posts that use buzzwords or business jargon like “optimize” significantly decrease the number of fans for a Facebook page. These pages have 100 fans, as opposed to the average page with 624 fans.
  • Posts with digits in the title tend to be shared more often.
  • Lists using words like “top” make tremendously successful Facebook posts.

For your customers and prospects to find your Facebook page engaging, they will need enticing materials and regular posts.

Find out how to really rock it with your social media presence to attract more visitors and convert them into customers with the Social Media Tune-Up Guide.




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Setting Up Your Facebook Business Page

by Christi on March 6, 2012

Although Facebook has made it easier than ever to set up a business page, there are some steps that you may have overlooked. When you are setting up you Facebook page, keep this in mind:

  • People have profiles; businesses/brands have pages.
  • Create and treat your welcome page like a landing page. Add calls to action; don’t miss the opportunity to generate some leads.
  • Set up Custom Tabs for resources using the FBML application.
  • If you are a single location business, set up a “places” page.
  • Add useful applications such as Discussions Boards and YouTube Video Box.

Facebook pages must be as inviting as possible. The format of your page should first be focused on creating an engaging environment for your fans, which when executed properly, will result in generating and collecting more information about your leads.

Be as creative as possible, and determine which activities or apps would best supplement your company’s brand.




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Social Media for Business

by Christi on March 5, 2012

Think social media is just a place for social interactions and “fun?” Think again! Social media can be a powerful inbound marketing tool for your business. It can have an impact on your traffic, leads and inevitably, sales. Consider this:

  • US Internet users spend 3x more minutes on blogs and social networks than on email.
  • 93% of US adult Internet users are on Facebook.
  • 1 out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook.
  • 49% of people use Facebook to share content.
  • More than ½ of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks.
  • 79% of US Twitter users are more likely to recommend brands they follow.
  • 67% of US Twitter users are more likely to buy brand they follow.
  • Pinterest is the fastest growing website – EVER!

Social media amplifies your content, your website and your brand. It allows for you to establish and foster a more personal relationship with your potential customers, and when done correctly, can generate website traffic, inbound links, and leads for you.

Social media has become a major part of consumer culture, and it is time for you to capitalize on it. Get started with our Social Media Tune-Up Guide!




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A good social media marketing plan takes into account where your customers are. What types of social media is your target market using? Are they more involved in Twitter or Facebook? Maybe, for your brand, Pinterest is the popular place.

We’ve been enjoying the parades here in New Orleans leading up to Mardi Gras. The crowds are huge and a large majority of them are using mobile for a variety of reasons. Some are checking out what the upcoming parades are on the local parade apps. Some are texting friends to try to meet up somewhere. Many are posting updates and pictures of their adventures to their favorite social media sites.

Now, if you are a bar or restaurant along the parade route in New Orleans, you probably have all the business you can handle right now (if you don’t, there is something seriously wrong). However, how about businesses outside the parade route, or even outside of New Orleans. Lots of people, all over the country are watching the New Orleans parades online and getting updates through Twitter. If you have a business that could benefit from some of the Mardi Gras excitement, maybe you should start taking part in that conversation, if that is where your customers are spending their time.

This is just one example of how your business can benefit by finding out where your customers are spending their time online and joining the conversation. Get some tips on how to kick up your internet marketing strategy by downloading the free ebook: Essential Guide to Internet Marketing today!

Happy Lundi Gras!

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Social Media Strategy for Business

by Christi on February 10, 2012

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn are a great place to promote your content and interact with your customers and potential customers.

It is important to create a social media strategy before you begin using it for your business. Your social media presence is not something you want to trust you your high school and college age relatives. Your strategy for social media should include:

  • A plan for posting remarkable content. To increase interactions with your target market, you should be posting content that they are looking for. You are an expert in your field, right? So share your expertise and help your customers with great information that they can use.
  • A plan for interaction. Once you set up your social media presence, it is imperative that you keep it active. Nothing puts people off more than seeing someone post a question or comment on, for instance, your Facebook page and having ignored. According to a recent article, “a whopping 88 percent say if they see that their or other customers’ complaints on social media are ignored, they’d be less likely to buy from those companies in the future.”
  • A plan for monitoring. You can set up Google alerts to see what is being said by others about your industry and your company. This is a great way to stay up to date about what is going on in your industry and will also help you monitor your company’s online reputation.
  • A plan for measuring your progress. You won’t know how effective your social media strategy is if you are not measuring the results. When measuring, it is important to keep your goals in mind. Social media can be fun and it can be easy to lose your focus if you are not measuring and keeping your eyes on the goal.

Be sure to download the Essential Guide to Internet Marketing to get more tips on creating a social media strategy as well as how to use internet marketing more effectively.



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Google Merges Search and Google+

by Joe B on January 10, 2012

Today, Google begins blurring the line between the web as we know it and the web as you and your Circles of friends know it. Today, Google begins integrating Google+ into Google search in an update they call “Search Across Your World.” For more information on this update, go to the Google Merges Search and Google+ Into Social Media Juggernaut on Mashable.com.

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Holiday Shopping Online – Santa is Online in 2011

by Christi on November 21, 2011

Our friend Herb Lawrence, the center director for the Arkansas Small Business Development Center at Arkansas State University, recently wrote a great article about leveraging social media and online resources to help your business get found this Holiday season. Thank you Herb for a great article and for letting us share it with our readers!

Santa Will Leverage Social Media this Year -

Can He Find Your Retail Store?

Holiday season is gearing up! Challenging economy or not, shoppers will be out On and Offline this year in growing numbers. This year online marketing and social media marketing will be critical for small business Holiday success and here’s why!

online holiday shopping

Independent retailers will find that their customers are moving online in droves to get ready for the holiday shopping season. The questions are:

  1. Can they find you? If not they will find your competitor
  2. Do you know what they are looking for?
  3. How can you leverage online and especially social media to get your share of holiday dollars?
  4. Why should you care?

In a recent article from Hubspot 60 Inspirational Holiday Marketing Statistics thereRetail Online Shpping can be no question that holiday shopping will be dominated by the Internet and especially social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The good news…It is not too late for your small rural retail business to get on the bandwagon!

Need some convincing? Here are some statistics YOU need to know about Holiday Shopping Online this year:

  • In August 2011 75% of consumers started researching holiday gift purchase.s 89% of them started their shopping online
  • 47% of shoppers (nearly half) will buy online this year up from 43% in 2010
  • 32% will be doing comparative shopping online more often
  • Online consumers spend an average of $857 online that is nearly 22% MORE than the average consumer
  • 42% of online holiday buyers said SALE and Price Discounts as most important factors to shop with you this holiday season

So How about Social Media?

  • 39% of consumers plan to look to social networks and online discount sites like Groupon and LivingSocial BEFORE purchasing
  • in 2010 21% of Cyber Monday shoppers said they heard about promotions from someone else through social media networks
  • BIGGIE! 36% of retailers plan to spend MOST of their holiday marketing budget on social media platforms during the 2011 holiday season that is up from 27% in 2010.
  • mobile marketing retailMOBILE COUNTS: Nealy 40% of consumers own a smart phone AND 53% say they will use it to help them shop this season
  • 31% of smartphone users will use their phone to RESEARCH or COMPARE holiday prices.
  • 25% of smartphone users will use their phone to look YOU up and information about your store
  • 70% of consumers who own tablet computers like iPads say they will research holiday products and locations with their tablet.

No question about it Santa and his elves are online this year… looking for gifts, deals, discounts, coupons AND information about your business. Are you ready to meet them?

The good news is it isn’t too late to get your online holiday marketing tools in place.

 

How the ASU Small Business Center can Help Your Retail Business This Holiday Season

The ASU Small Business and Technology Development Center’s consultants can help! The consultants at Arkansas State University, Laura Miller and Robert Bahn provide free, confidential consulting assistance to start-up and existing businesses throughout Northeast and North-Central Arkansas including assistance with marketing plans and marketing strategy implementation. Call (870) 972-3517 or email us at asusbtdc@astate.edu and find out how the ASU Small Business and Technology Development Center can make your retail Holiday Season a happier AND more profitable one!

Learn more about the ASU SBTDC Consulting Services here or visit our website and connect!

Not in Northeast or North-West Arkansas? Not a problem see the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center network website to find a center in Arkansas near you. Not in Arkansas? See our ASBDC website to find an SBDC office in your state.




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