Seattle Social Media Management: Social ROI

We’ve all seen posts and videos go viral on social media and make their owners thousands or in some cases, even millions. But, how does the return on investment of the web hold up for small, every day Seattle businesses who often have considerably less to spend on promotion and marketing. If you’re wondering whether Social Media Marketing even has an ROI, then you’ve probably never had a professionally managed social campaign. There are dozens of ways to make money off of social, but most small businesses just end up spending and sometimes wasting time on their social media. However, Social ROI does exist.

How Does Social ROI Work?

Social ROI, or return on investment, mostly results from sales generated through your social campaign. For the most part, this means that you have to use analytics and tracking to ascertain where you’re sales are coming from, how many click-through’s are coming through from your pages, and how many of those clicks are turning into sales. The easiest way to generate social revenue on a page with a lot of active followers is to post a discount code. When people use the discount code, you earn social revenue. For example, a restaurant shares an offer on their page where social users can show a coupon on their phone, or print it out, and come in to get free drinks. So, for example, if13 people come in with the coupon, you’ve generated 13 sales, even at a discount. If you offer a bring a friend or a referral discount, you can generate new customers. For example, if you offer a 30% discount to new likes to the page, new followers on Twitter, or to new email subscribers, you can create social revenue from entirely new customers who have never been to your business before. If you have a website with online items, driving sales becomes even easier, because you can build up a fan base who expect to see sales, promotions, and items that they want to buy.

How Do You Get There?

If you have a social media page of any kind then you know that there’s a big difference between ‘social ROI’ and getting there. Managing and growing a page is a lot of work, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. The trick is to be consistent, offer valuable information on your page in addition to sales and promotions, answer questions and be helpful, and add in a little interest through memes or photos. Growing a customer base organically isn’t always easy, but you can also direct old customers there and encourage them to post on your wall or leave a review, which means that others will see you.

Seattle’s social media managers have been creating a visible profit for local businesses for years, and there’s no reason why you can’t see the same benefits. Hiring a professional social management company gets you the benefit of a properly managed social channel, so that you can experience as much ROI as possible. If you want to know more about having a professional social media manager help your business, contact us today to discuss your needs, or your goals.

Is SEO Dead? A Guide for Seattle Businesses & Websites

If you’re into content or digital marketing then you probably use SEO, or at least plan to. SEO is one of the most popular forms of digital marketing, mainly because it offers a lot for what you pay. Rather than paying for what you get, like you do with PPC, you pay for a marketing strategy that could put you on top of search engine results for Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Unfortunately, time after time, we keep seeing articles with headlines reading some variation of “SEO is dead!”

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If you don’t work in the field of SEO, then you probably wouldn’t know any better than to believe it. After all, it’s on the Internet, right? Wrong, SEO is not dead. Search Engine Optimization will exist so long as there are search engines using algorithm and math based tools to find search results that match a keyword. That is actually the definition of SEO. Because we don’t imagine that search engines will have manually listed results to show when someone types in a search anytime soon, SEO is still alive and well.  You can still benefit from paying a Seattle SEO company to optimize your business, especially if you hire the right company.

Why Do People Say SEO is Dead?

One of the main reasons that you might keep seeing that SEO is dead is because SEO has undergone some very major changes in the past few years. By major changes, we mean that where two years ago, a couple of thousand links pointing back to your site might skyrocket you to the top of search, now it’s more likely to get you banned. And the same can be said of keyword stuffing, or the process of putting a percentage of keywords into your article (I.E. make “Seattle cupcakes” 2% of the article). These processes once worked, but they’ve been blacklisted on many search engines because they typically produce content that is spammy, irrelevant, and difficult to read. New SEO algorithms are more complex, harder to game, and offer better quality results. It also makes “SEO” harder for random people to get into selling a service and calling it optimization. So, scam SEO is dead. But actual optimization is still another thing entirely.

What Goes Into SEO?

If you want to know what actually goes into SEO and what you should be considering, we’d have to tell you, a lot. Google, the most popular search engine, uses over 300 signals in it’s algorithm, and most search engines have different algorithms. So there is a lot to consider. However, that’s one of the reasons why you probably want to hire a professional Seattle SEO company rather than winging it yourself. Some of the signals that search engines look for include quality, helpfulness, use of the keyword, a low exit rate, grammar, readability, site functionality, metadata, and even social signals.

Is that a lot to keep up with? Yes it is. Unfortunately, most search engines constantly change their algorithms, which means that policies, and strategies might be different tomorrow.

SEO is most definitely not dead, but many old ranking strategies are. That’s why you want to hire a professional SEO or digital marketing company that keeps up with changes, and offers you something that works, rather than a quick fix.

Seattle Web Design Tips: How to Tell Your Designer What You Really Want

Seattle Web Design Tips: How to Tell Your Designer What You Really Want

Communication between website owner and website designer has always been more than a little hazy, with the former often knowing what they want in theory without really knowing how to put that across in firm physical descriptions to designers. Most of the time “I want it to pop more” or “it should remind me of Pistachio ice cream” just isn’t going to cut it, unless you add more background information. Because even the best web designer can’t see your image, their idea of this thing could be something completely different then yours. So, here are a few of the best ways that Seattle web designers agree you can use to get across what you really want.

Make Sure They Know Your Business

If you hire a great Seattle web designer then the first thing they’re going to do is familiarize themselves with you and your business. If they haven’t and you’re not yet ready to switch designers, make sure you tell them about your ideals, business meaning, and anything else that they can use to recreate the feel of ‘who you are’ onto a website. Business branding requires personality, and you want to make sure that the web designer knows yours.

Share Concepts That You Like

If you take the time and go over a few websites or portfolio pieces with the web designer to let them know which styles and themes you  like and do not like, you stand a better chance of getting something that you love. While not every web designer wants to sit down and discuss their portfolio with you, it will definitely make sure that they go into creating the design with a good idea of which pieces you like.

Create Reasons For Changes

When you ask for changes try going into detail as to why. If you’re not familiar with graphic design or terminology, that’s okay, just use normal language and say why you want it to look different in your language. For example, rather than saying “it should pop more” say “I think that some of the colors should be brighter, I want it to stand out a little bit more, and grab attention”, and then explain why. Discussing your needs with your Seattle web designer allows them to do their job.

Discuss What You Want

If you don’t know what you want, then you probably want to either sit down and talk it out with the designer, or work it out before finding a designer. Unfortunately, you can waste a lot of time and money looking for the perfect website if you don’t yet know what that website is. So, get a good idea of what it is you want from your website, and then after a discussion with a designer or developer, get into the web project knowing exactly what you want. This ensures that you get what you want, and you won’t have to do multiple revisions or eventually completely scrap the project.

Hiring a Seattle web designer is a big deal but by communicating openly, sharing ideas, and making sure everyone is on the same page, you can ensure that you get a website you love.

Seattle Social Media Tips: Managing Your Online Reputation

Reputation is probably the most important currency of online media, and especially so for social media. With more and more social media users taking the time to research companies on their preferred social platform before making a purchase, it is becoming increasingly important to manage your reputation online in order to present your best face to potential customers. The difference between the ‘right’ profile and the wrong one often means a new customer, or a lack of one, so management is one very important thing that you have to learn. If you have a social media manager in your employ, you don’t have to worry about managing your business reputation because they will do it for you, otherwise, here are a few tips.

Seattle Social Media Customer SErvice

Limit Access To Your Page

The first step to controlling your company image is to limit access to your page. Many small businesses offer admin access to a wide variety of people including friends and family, but this definitely isn’t the best issue. You want to limit admin access to one or two people so that you can control what is posted more easily. In addition, you never want to offer admin access to people who don’t have to control the page. Instead, consider any of the other roles, such as analyst or content publisher.

Respond To Comments and Questions Quickly

One major thing that you can do to keep your reputation in check is to respond to questions and comments on your pages. This means monitoring all of your social platforms and replying to comments, personal messages, and reviews as quickly as possible. In some cases, items left on social media are comments that might escalate into issues if not responded to. In addition, consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers visible customer support, because  they feel that issues can be worked out more quickly.

Respond Politely to Bad Feedback

If you receive bad feedback of any kind, your worst mistake would be to argue with it. Instead issue an apology and hopefully try to rectify the problem. For example, White House Black Market apologizes and offers a return option to people who comment negatively about products on their page. This sort of reputation management costs you money, but can make you sales in the future. Going on the offensive can be more harmful to your reputation, so the best option is to apologize, admit you were wrong, and offer to fix the issue.

Resolve Issues Quickly

Quickly fixing issues clears them up and prevents any bad blood. It also reduces the risk that you will get negative feedback, or have people recommend others against your company before you solve the issue. Respond quickly to all issues, and try to clear them up as soon as you find out about them.

Monitor Your Social Pages

It goes against saying that you have to monitor your pages, but many small Seattle businesses let their social pages go weeks or days without supervision. This is especially true of pages that use prescheduled posts. However, it can be a big mistake. Make sure you log in and monitor what is going on on your pages at least once a day.

Hiring a Seattle social media manager is the best way to ensure that you get the best in reputation management. If you want to know more, contact us today to discuss your social needs.

 

Seattle SEO Talks: SEO Ranking Factors

Seattle SEO Talks: SEO Ranking Factors

SEO is the big name in digital marketing, it’s not always the most successful, but it is the thing that most people are almost instantly drawn to when they begin marketing their website. After all, who wouldn’t want to use a marketing scheme with the potential to generate unlimited return. The unfortunate thing is that many people either learn one or two things about SEO and try to market themselves, or hire the lowest bidder to do it for them. The result is a marketing technique that’s less about optimizing pages for search engines and more about pandering to the latest hot topic in the world of marketing (I.E. inserting keywords into all of your headers).

Seattle SEO

But what really optimized a page for Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any of the other search engines that you will rarely hear about in SEO talks? Keywords? Backlinks? Or is it a little something more. The following include a few tips from top Seattle SEO marketers on which SEO ranking factors you should and should not be paying attention to.

On Page

On page ranking factors include keyword usage, site optimization, html clues, sitemaps, and quality. For example, all search engines value high quality content, some like Google even have algorithms designed to see if the content is helpful or not. Most need to know what the content is about in order to find it, so you also need keywords and phrases that might tell Google that your article is what the person is searching for. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and this is doubly true with any sort of keyword optimization. Crawlability, or how well search engine bots can crawl the page, is also a huge factor.  Pages have to be easy to access,

Off Page

Off page SEO is a lot harder to control because they are designed to be controlled by outside people. Off page ranking factors are designed to see how important your site or page is. Some of these items include social shares, backlinks, trust, and reputation. These are considerably harder to control, but when you do, it is especially important to do so in moderation. For example, back links must be as high quality as possible, or they will do more harm than good.

No Single Factor

Probably the most important thing to remember about SEO is that no single ranking factor will get you to the top of search. You have to have all or most of the signals present in order to fully optimize your pages. If you have a good keyword density and poor site architecture, a search engine might not be able to find your page anyway. If you have good site architecture but nothing to tell the search engine what your content is about, you’ll never appear in search. For the most part, you do want to focus on quality over quantity, because that’s what today’s search engines are looking for.

Want to know more about how a professional Seattle SEO company would handle your search engine optimization? Contact us today to discuss your needs.

 

Seattle Web Design – Top Features for Business Websites

If you’re about to set up a website for your business for the first time then you really want to start considering the features and options you want on the website. While you can discuss your needs and any good local web design team will be able to tell you what you need, it’s also a good idea to decide what you want and why before you go. Here are a few of the things that Seattle web designers agree are the best features for business websites.

Seattle Web Design

Great UX

UX is probably the most important thing to integrate into your web design. UX or User Experience refers to design that specifically makes it easy for users to visit and navigate your site. This means clean design, simple menus, and easy navigation. While it may mean skipping some of the bells and whistles, it does mean a better site.

Contact Information

If you want to look professional to local visitors then you want as much contact information available on the site as possible. The best way to go is to put some information in the header or footer and create a dedicated page with everything visitors need to get in touch.

Integrated Social Media

Visitors want to see that you’re an established business and the easiest way to show them that is to link in your social profiles. Showing a Facebook profile or Google Plus followers is the easiest way to convince modern web users that your site is established and trustworthy. Because many online shoppers actually research using social, many will actually click through to your business page and perhaps even like the page, which makes your social marketing that much easier.

Graphics

The web is quickly becoming a very graphic driven place, and using graphics on your website creates a modern look. While you might be prepared to put up a few pictures of your products and perhaps a few stock photos, you should also consider creating graphic centric pages that center around an image. This makes your website cleaner, more modern, and simpler for viewers.

Mobile Ready

Whether you choose to go mobile friendly with a specific mobile website or with a responsive design, you need mobile friendly. An study showed that some 40% of Seattle smartphone owners use their phones to research businesses and products before shopping, even when out shopping, meaning that if your site is not mobile friendly, you could loose customers.

As a business, you want a website that is simple, easy to use, and informative. If you’re operating a web shop, you also want to make sure that your site is secure, offers secure protocol protection, and that it loads quickly enough to allow users to access and research products from their phones. Other than that, most of your services and pages might be unique to your business.

Want to know more about what goes into a great website? Or want to talk with professional Seattle web designers about building your perfect business website? Contact us today at 206-355-0894 to get a free estimate.

What Seattle Social Media Can Learn from Ello and Anti-Marketing

seattle social media

Ello? What is it? It’s the thing that suddenly everyone seems to be talking about. Despite a March launch amid nearly zero fanfare, Ello has suddenly skyrocketed into fame and is currently one of the most talked about social platforms on the web. As something where most people do not yet have a profile and therefore no friends if you do have a profile, it’s not something that most people would expect. The truth is that Ello skyrocketed into a hot topic because of anti-marketing in the wake of Facebook’s many flagrant privacy and personal violations. Ello’s promise of no ads, no tracking personal data, and no selling personal data to big companies appeals to the many disgruntled social users who are, quite frankly, sick of having their personal data used for ads. The result is a clamor for invites, even though very few people seem to have one.

What is Anti Marketing

To better understand the concept of why Ello is currently so popular, let’s talk about anti-marketing. This is the concept of using a companies current policy, branding, or advertisement against them. GreenPeace does it almost constantly when they attempt to show the world how uneconomically friendly a company does. Usually they use logos and convert them into something a little less brand friendly. Essentially, anti-marketing is a form of brand-sabotaging, by using their policies or advertisements to point out flaws in the company, or to prove that your company is better. In Ello’s case, that’s the promise to not sell data or display ads in opposition to Facebook’s very ad-heavy platform. But anti-marketing isn’t the only reason Ello is currently so popular.

Ad-Free and Service Culture

One really major thing about users is that they like service, they enjoy clean, user-friendly environments, and they often find ads annoying. In fact, the click-through rate on banner ads and popup ads is depressingly low for advertisers. Ad-free is something that users see as a luxury, and more and more apps and now websites are beginning to integrate it into their business plan. Why ad free? How do you make money selling ads if you’re not charging for your product? For example, if you have an ap and you offer it for free or nearly free, you might think that you stand little chance of making an income without ads. However, apps and games like Whatsapp have long proven this theory wrong. Whatsapp had over 45 million downloads for free the first year, and 99 cents per year following. They did not display ads, but instead made money off of extras and additional sales. Many other web services, especially online games use this same business module to make considerably more than they would with ads, and without annoying their customers. So is Ello. They intend to sell additional site services to users who want to do more with their page. These services are wildly popular because they offer a solid service that is valuable and not annoying. In addition, Whatsapp has not spent a single penny on ads.

What you, and other Seattle social media managers can learn from it is that you don’t necessarily have to use a multi-thousand dollar marketing program to succeed, especially on the web. What you need is a great campaign that recognizes your target audience and your competition and then uses every bit of information you have to create a website, social media page, and brand that appeals to that demographic. Most consumers respond better to strong branding, value, and honest practices then they do to any amount of mass media marketing, although you shouldn’t abandon the latter.

Seattle Social Media Tips: Paid, Owned, & Earned Marketing

Digital marketing is quickly becoming one of the most important outlets for businesses that want to grow themselves, but most users don’t understand the differences between various types of online marketing except that some are free and some are not. Understanding various types of media is important for Seattle businesses that want to promote themselves in a digital setting, mainly because understanding means that you can use it to create strategies that work.

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What is Paid Media

Paid marketing includes most basic paid advertisements including PPC, banner ads, and paid coverage such as a paid blog or article on a popular website.

What is Earned Media

Earned media is media or marketing material that you earn without paying for. Examples include press release coverage, coverage in a local newspaper, unpaid coverage or reviews on blogs, and user shares. Earned media is often accomplished by sharing valuable information and data, such as infographics and videos, doing something noteworthy, or reaching a press worthy milestone. Earned media also includes partnerships, offering free content in exchange for a review, and generally any sort of PR efforts.

Owned Media

Owned media is the least important of these three, but still important for digital marketing. Owned media includes any media content or hype created by the company for the company. For example, a blog posted on the business website is a great example of owned media.

How to Use Them

While the ideal for almost any business would be to create a great deal of earned media through viral content, the truth is that it is rarely that simple. For example, earned media is usually either paid or owned media, which may confuse you at first until you realize that you have to create content that is either yours or have someone else create it for you.  The most common reasons that content goes viral is social sharing, which also means that you have to first get users to see it. Essentially, unless you already have a fairly large number of visitors to your company blog or YouTube channel, then paid media in the form of posting your content elsewhere, or paying for advertisements, is the best way to go to create earned media.

So earned media, which is created from shares and interest in your topics, is typically generated from paid media. The result is a marketing strategy that should include both paid and owned media options, both with the intention of created earned media through shares and additional coverage.

Any good local social media strategy will include paid and owned media with a marketing strategy for creating earned media. If you want to make it happen for your business, you need a Seattle social media company that knows how to work with all three to create results. Hybrid campaigns are the most successful option, and also the most logical. Companies ranging from General Motors to Orange are taking advantage of campaigns that maximize the use of every type of media, and you should be to.

Contact us to find out more.

Seattle Social Media Tips – Creating Content To Post

Running a social media account is never easy, especially if you aren’t a professional social media manager, but the hardest part about it is content. And the longer you run your social pages, the more difficult content gets. The truth is that followers are unlikely to follow you if you don’t post, and not posting regular content means that you loose ranking on systems like Facebook’s EdgeRank. The result is that you have to continue posting frequently and regularly, or fall under the metaphorical social bus. If you don’t have the money for a professional social media manager, you have to come up with long term plans for curating your own content. Here are a couple of tips from local Seattle social media experts.

Watch the News

If you want your posts to be relevant, interesting, and on topic then your best bet is to watch the news. Make notes about interesting things that relate to you or your business, and then try to integrate that into your page. For example, if you run a roofing company and there are storms coming, it’s quite easy to figure out that you can post about them to try to boost sales. If you sell shoes, you might talk about events or local happenings instead.

Follow Hashtags

Hashtags are another great way to keep up with what’s hot in the Seattle area, and you can actually boost your own visibility by using them yourself. A bit of quick research should find you a lot of local hashtags, which you can then use for inspiration, and integrate into your posts.

Plan Posts One Day At A Time

Unfortunately, while planning and posting content months in advance may be convenient, it’s not interactive, and very little of it will be relevant unless you plan for your sales, problems, and any local events. You can plan and pre-schedule some content using Facebook or an external event like HootSuite, but try to post at least one live comment each day for authenticity.

Listen To Your Customers

You can always use customer questions as inspiration for tips and answers. For example, if someone comes in and asks you a question, answer them in person, but then also add a “Customer Question” or “Question of the Week” to your social media and answer it. This isn’t always possible on pages like Twitter, but works well on both Google + and Facebook. You can also share items from your FAQ, or random questions that you think customers might be interested in when you don’t have any questions.

Write a Blog

A blog offers you great content to share on your social media, directs traffic back to your website, and allows you to answer questions or get creative with your products. While you should make sure that it is professional, or hire someone to do it for you, it can greatly benefit your social media and your website.

Mix It Up

While every post should be on topic, don’t be afraid to mix things up by adding jokes, humor, or memes into your social. You do want to avoid having the majority of your posts being memes though because this may look like you’re not a business. You can also share relatable quotes and other information. Just keep it on topic.

If curating content is too much work for you, hiring a professional Seattle social media manager could be the way to go, just talk with them first to make sure it is in your budget, and that you will get a return off of it.

 

Five Major Red Flags For a Seattle SEO Company

If you’re in search of a local SEO company to help boost your ranking in the Seattle area then all well and good for you. SEO is still one of the most potent marketing options, and, if done right, can actually offer unlimited return. Unfortunately, when done wrong, it can do the exact opposite and ensure that your site never sees any organic traffic. While there are thousands of ‘SEO companies’ out there, not all of them are created equal, in fact, many of them have no idea what ‘SEO’ is anymore. So how do you sort out the chaff? Here are five major red flags that should send you running.

Seattle SEO

SEO Copywriting

The truth is that there is no such thing as SEO copywriting anymore. Sure, you can optimize content here and there and make sure that the content is right, but today’s ‘SEO copywriting is more about good grammar, relevance, and helpfulness rather than using algorithms or keyword insertion. If they’re selling SEO copywriting, steer clear.

One Size Fits All Packages

If they have packages like “200,000 hits in one this period of time”, you can basically just turn around and run. Basic packages that offer a lot of results for one set fee look good, but they don’t really promise anything. Without a tailored and structured package designed to drive targeted traffic to your site, that traffic might as well not be there. Why? Because ‘traffic’ does not mean a consumer who wants to buy your products.

Backlinking Services

Whether it’s backlinking, guest posts, directory links, or automated linking, you have to steer clear. Backlinks can actually hurt your site more than help it, especially with Google’s new strict rules about relevance. If the links are not from an approved, relevant, and non-spammy source, then they could actually get you blacklisted on Google, which means no traffic from the world’s largest search engine.

SEO Tools

Are ‘SEO Tools’ one of their main sells? If so, you probably don’t want the company. Real SEO has very little to do with automation and more to do with good old fashioned marketing, back end optimization, and quality. It’s not about using tools to get the most done.

They Promise Quick Results

You probably want fast results. You would probably be happy if the traffic started pouring in tomorrow. Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t work that way. No matter what search engine you’re aiming for, fast results just aren’t happening if you do SEO right. In fact, time to results actually vary depending on the company, the search engine, and the number of competitors. Saying you will get ‘fast results’ is like promising that there won’t be anyone at the Starbucks counter if you go in fifteen minutes after they open. It’s possible, but not very likely.

A great SEO company offers quality digital marketing, not gimmicks and empty promises. Watch out for the red flags to root out the ones who won’t be doing your business any good.

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