Archive for the ‘Social Media Marketing’ Category

Does Your Small Business Need a Website? – Seattle Web Design Tips

The first servers powering the web may not have been switched on until 1991, but in that time, it has expanded at a rate so exponential that it’s expansion could be said to be unprecedented. The technology, which was initially created to allow access to data from anywhere, has become such a common part of everyday life, that most of those born in the 90s quite simply cannot imagine a world without it. With over 640 million active websites on the web, it’s hard to imagine that there are businesses who don’t have one. However, with 27.9 small businesses in the U.S. and over 217,000 in Washington alone, there are literally millions of businesses that have not yet made it onto the web.

LK-Hjelle-Website-Mobile-Website-Design-by-Heydays-464574

While it is an undeniable fact that a web presence can greatly benefit a business of any size, and the dot com is undeniably the gold standard for establishing your brand on the web, there are other options.

The Size Of Your Business

One important consideration is that many businesses are actually very small businesses. Very small business owners often bring home between $20,000 and $120,000 per year in gross profit depending on their business. Small businesses, which can make upwards of $1 million per year, can typically afford a website without any problems, but for very small businesses who use most of their income for living expenses, renovations and small personal luxuries, the often high costs of a website are not always an option.

Social Pages vs. Web Pages

001

Social pages are quickly replacing websites as the first place that customers visit. While anyone searching for a keyword or business type on Google, Bing, or Yahoo will most definitely find your website first, they can also reach your Google Plus page if it is properly optimized, your YouTube page, or even your Facebook page, depending on how you write your About description. Because services like Google Local allows you to put yourself on the map (literally) in search, web pages are becoming less and less necessary for simply telling people about your business. In fact, a busy social page with visible reviews, visible consumer interaction and fresh posts will leave the average consumer more convinced of the quality of your small business than most websites.

What You’re Selling

The last and most deciding factor for choosing whether to go with a website or a social page is your business. Depending on what you are selling, what you want to use the website for and what information you want to display, a website may or may not be right for you. For example, if you have a restaurant and you want an interactive menu, online booking and live chat, then you definitely need a website. If you have an auto-shop and you just want to let people know where you are and when you’re open, it’s significantly less necessary.

While statistically, more than 140,000 websites are launched per day, the truth is that with social media, the days of one page websites and web pages are virtually over. Not everyone needs a website when they can establish a web presence just as effectively, and without the hassle, using social media. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a website, it just means you might not actually need one.

If you want to know more, contact Rory Martin for a consultation.

Share/Bookmark

Launching on Social Media for Startups | Seattle Social Media Tips

If you have a startup then launching on social media could be a crucial part of your success. While many businesses were formed before the Internet was even an idea, today it plays an intrinsic role in the daily life of more than 85% of Seattleites, who use Internet at home, and the more than 58% who use social on the go with smartphones. Because social media is such a normal part of life, using it can greatly boost your company hype, product sales and pre-orders, even before your launch. If you’re ready to get started with your social media campaign, the following Seattle social media tips can help you with your launch.

Facebook-Marketing

Prepare and Create a Strategy

The most important part of any social media plan is to prepare, decide on your audience, prepare content and create a strategy. While you might not know how to do all of this, having each of these items ready to go before you start your campaign ensures that you know when to share, how often to share, and who to share to. If you create tweets, social media posts, photos, infographics and any videos you want to share in advance, then you ensure that they are shared in a timely fashion. A social media strategy tells you when to post, where to post and why you should be doing that, because it bases content posting and responsiveness on analytics and data based around your target demographic. It also plans out interaction for you, whether for targeting locals, getting people on the street engaged with QR codes or posters. Most of the time, you should also plan for visibility enhancing giveaways, raffles or similar to boost your hype.

Get Involved

One of the most important things about launching on social media for the first time, whether you’re a startup or an established brick and mortar company, is getting involved. Inviting your contacts, your network and your family, friends and employees to get involved is the best thing you can do for your marketing. While it’s not all there is to it, it can definitely help with jumpstarting interaction and helping you with ranking and visibility.

Target Your Customers

While anyone can drive engagement on social media with enough time, you want to target people who will make you money. Even if you’re a non-profit organization, your goal should be turnover, and targeting everyone won’t do that. Research your demographic, plan accordingly and make sure that every item you put out on social targets those people. While this isn’t always possible, you want to ensure that the people most likely to buy your products or services actually see you on the web.

If you want help with your launch, then a Seattle social media company or professional manager can be the difference between no shares and a viral product. Rory Martin has experience with launching companies, media and hype campaigns and building product interest before a launch. To learn more, check out our Whitepapers.

Seattle Social Media : How Many Platforms Do You Need?

Social media is all the rage and if you follow it, you know that Seattlites frequently hop from one trending platform to the next. Whether it’s Snapchat, Ello, or Yik Yak, or any of a dozen other social media sites popping up around the web, you might be encouraged to join the platforms in order to expand your social media reach and customer base. But with dozens of social sites, which do you join and how many do you really need?

The Truth About Trend Sites

One important thing to consider is whether or not a trend site is really going to stick around and be valuable for your company. If you have the time to invest in another social media site, or are hiring a Seattle social media manager to do so for you, then you can join trending websites, but many of them eventually go the way of MySpace or end up like Line in that they are primarily niche platforms. For example, if you are primarily selling shoes and the niche audience is primarily for business you might not have much luck.

How Much Time Do You Have

One of the most important considerations when deciding on how many social media platforms you need is how much time do you have? Do you have the time to post to, engage with, and interact on five social media platforms? If so, then go ahead and open them. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the time, you will most likely end up with sporadic posting, no engagement, and very little actual benefit. While a Seattle social media management company can help, it’s important to consider your time budget there as well. You have to be engaged enough to make social media profitable, but you have to invest enough time that it also remains profitable. The truth is that for the most part, that means using a select few carefully chosen sites that fit your business and your demographic.

Do You Fit the Niche

Many social media platforms like Ello, Line, and Instagram are niche platforms, meaning that they are really only suitable for one type of business. For example, Instagram is a good platform if you sell clothing, want to advertise a restaurant then Instagram offers a good solution. On the other hand, if you’re selling business services, you won’t have much luck.

The Basics

At the end of the day, you can usually successfully establish your online media presence with one to five platforms. Anything over that, and you may be taking it a bit overboard. If you have multiple platforms, you’re likely to be sharing duplicate content, not engaging with your followers, and degrading the value of what you already have. If you want just one social platform, Google Plus or Facebook are a good essential. Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest add to those basics with a few additional options. However, you should check with your Seattle social media management company to find out which is right for your business.

 

Seattle SEO Tips: Social Media Creats Backlinks

SEO has changed a lot over the last few years, especially where it pertains to Google’s search algorithm. The release of Panda and then Hummingbird not only nearly eliminated the usage of keyword phrases and backlink techniques that most users relied on for ranking, it also eliminated a great deal of content spamming, such as posting dozens of low-quality articles in hopes of ranking. But, with both keywords and backlinks pretty much out of the picture, how do you rank in today’s search engines?

We got together with several local Seattle social media companies, including Rory Martin, to discuss one of the prime ranking factors, social media.

SocialMediaIcon

You probably already know that social signals impact your ranking. Most search engines evaluate your audience by watching backlinks, social shares, traffic, and other data. What you might not know is that when an article gets a lot of shares, gets more traffic from social, or generates a lot of discussion on a Facebook or Google Plus page, you’re actually boosting your SEO. This is because Google ranks these social signals similarly to interaction on the page, similarly to guest posts and directory links, and essentially, as a signal that your content is popular, or something that people want to read.

But that’s not all.

Social media also provides feedback that you can use to boost your user satisfaction. Because Google’s Hummingbird is primarily about user satisfaction, that’s in your best interest. If users tell you that you need more content, write longer articles. In fact, Google is now ranking pages that are 1,500 words or longer in their own category, ‘in depth information’. By listening to what your social media is saying about your shares, your links, and your posts, you can tweak what you’re putting up to increase engagement, and therefore boost your ranking and SEO.

Social Media Shares Result in Links

image001-800x220

Buzzfeed did an article on the most shared articles on Search Engine Land, who promptly turned around and did a study on it. They then cross checked those with the most shares, and found that higher numbers of social shares had the highest number of backlinks. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that the social shares are backlinks, it does say that more social sharing results in more backlinks. Rather than an effect, it’s a cause and effect, which results in links, which still benefit your ranking.

Social Media Drives Traffic

social-media-messages-containing-links-to-content

Finally, if you create high-quality, consumer oriented content for social media, then you’re probably driving traffic from your social to your web page. More importantly, because Google now ranks high-quality content as well as keywords and other data, and traffic is a ranking signal, the combination of these two items is a very clear signal to Google, Bing, and Yahoo that you deserve to be ranked. While you might still have competitors who are ahead of you on the quality content game,

SEO is a long-term strategy, and Social Media can be either or. However, analytics show that the two are now intrinsically linked, and if you want to succeed with SEO, social media platforms can help.

Tags: ,

Seattle Social Media Marketing: Using Facebook for Branding Not Market

Seattle Social Media Marketing: Using Facebook for Branding Not Marketing

Facebook may be one of the most popular social platforms, but recently, many marketers have begun to doubt the actual value of using it for business. While metrics show that most Facebook pages do not push a lot of sales, the platform is still a powerful marketing tool for branding, including customer service, consumer advice, and brand awareness. While many marketers mistakenly approach the platform as sales only, and push poorly converting ads and pitches over the page, to create low interaction and low engagement, there is a better, more efficient and more profitable way to use Facebook.

seattle social media share campaigns Facebook-Marketing

 Why Doesn’t Facebook Work for Sales?

Most consumers use social media for sharing content, making connections, consumption of other content, and controlling their media. These are known as the 4 Cs of social media, and essentially motivate every user action on social media, including Facebook. Essentially, if you are not offering informative, entertaining, or valuable content and not connecting with them, they won’t want anything to do with you. Because most managers attempt to push products and services, they do not fall into the category of interests for Facebook users. Most are not there to buy something, but rather, to be entertained, and to get information.

How This Works For You

Every business has a brand, and part of that brand should be quality customer service, an informative and friendly attitude, and consistency. Posting to Facebook allows you to drive all of these impressions, by responding to consumers and replying to comments to engage your audience, consistently sharing helpful and entertaining information related to your business, offering value in the form of coupons or how-to’s and tips, and building a quality reputation through good reviews and positive comments.

Because more and more social users are now looking up businesses on Facebook as a way to vet them before making a purchase, all of these branding goals are important for you as a business. Facebook might not directly drive a sale that you can track using metrics, but it can convince your potential customer that you are a valid business, ready to offer quality services or products.

So Can You Make Money With Facebook?

Sometimes you can make money directly from Facebook, but more often, it will simply help to reinforce your brand image, give users a place to look you up, and serve as a customer support hub. While you can offer product information, advice, and tips that may lead to a purchase, your sole goal should usually be the information and advice, rather than the sale, because spammy sales tactics don’t really work that well anymore. You can push the occasional sale by offering discounts, coupons, and offers to your Facebook fans, but if you overuse it, it will loose value. Instead, consider Facebook as a valuable branding platform for your business. If you use it correctly, it can help your consumers through every step of the buying process, even if it doesn’t necessarily directly drive the sale.

If you want to know more about using your page for social branding, contact Rory Martin, a professional Seattle social media marketing team, for a consultation.

Seattle SMM Tips: Do Share Campaigns Really Work?

If you spend any amount of time on social media, but especially Facebook, then you’re going to see a share campaign. Usually, these campaigns go along the lines of “Like and share this post and our page to win this item”. Or, if on Twitter, “Retweet and Favorite this post, and Follow our channel to win this item”. These share campaigns are popular, offer a reward in exchange for a behavior by a consumer, and are frequent across almost all types of social media. If you run a social media page for your business, you might be wondering if you should do the same thing, and what, if anything they will do for you. The following include tips from a professional Seattle SMM (Social Media Marketing) company, explaining exactly what share campaigns are, what they can do, and why you might want one.

What Can a Share Campaign Do?

The main goal of any share campaign is usually to build followers. No matter which social platform you’re on, the share campaign is aimed at reaching more people to build an audience of interested persons. Share campaigns can:

  • Increase page followers
  • Increase page visibility
  • Boost your social ranking
  • Boost exposure
  • Increase traffic to a website
  • Create leads
  • Create signups

Negatives of Share Campaigns

likesharewin

Unfortunately, while you can build an audience with a share campaign, it isn’t going to be up to the same quality as a natural audience. Because many people will try to win things, even if they won’t consider buying them, not all of your new followers will even be interested in your product or service. Second, many people who participate in share campaigns just want free things, which means that some of your new followers may drop off in the weeks and months after your campaign ends. Furthermore, many of them will not want to buy your product. Therefore, while share campaigns can drive massive amounts of publicity, they won’t necessarily make you any money.

Pros of Share Campaigns

Share campaigns are the single easiest way to get your product a lot of exposure and quickly. Whether you’re offering a small prize or a big one, the more people who share your product, the more people who will see it. The more valuable your prize, the more people who will share it. So, essentially, if you have 1,000 people on your channel, and 30 of them share it, and 2 of each of their friends share it, and so on, you can quickly generate a large amount of shares within a relatively short amount of time. Because the average person has roughly 100 friends, give or take, this can quickly add up to a lot of exposure.

Share campaigns are not advantageous for everyone, especially if you’re operating on a very local basis, or have something that most people won’t buy because of a giveaway. For example, if you have a shoe store with a very specific type of shoes that no one else has, doing a share campaign can get you an audience, and can get people interested in sales. If you are a gardener giving away free fertilizer, then you can use a share campaign to bring people to your page, so that you can market to them later in order to push sales.

Will a social share campaign benefit you? The best route is usually to discuss your expectations and your needs with a local Seattle social media manager or marketer to see what they recommend.

How Seattle Social Media Management Can Help You With Your 2015 Business Goals

Whether you’ve set sales goals or customer goals, chances are that you want to grow your business for 2015. For many businesses, that may involve identifying new demographics to market to, spending thousands on costly radio or roadside ads, and hoping that consumers will come in. For others, it means appealing to a different kind of consumer by hiring a Seattle social media management company to run a campaign to boost sales. If you’re wondering how that works, let’s discuss what you get.

SocialMediaIcon

Professional Marketing Plans and Strategies

Whether you want to increase your consumer base or drive actual sales, a social media marketing team can help you do it. When you first hire the team, they will sit down with you to discuss your options, various strategies, and specifics such as offers and promotions that they may want to use as part of the campaign. Then, they will design a campaign around your needs, your budget, and your time constraints, to create a marketing plan that will drive you the consumers and sales that you want within the set time period. Because planning and strategy are most of what’s responsible for a successful campaign, this is essential for reaching your target number of consumers or sales.

Local Knowledge

You know one part of your local customer database, a professional Seattle social team knows most or all of it. They also know the online areas and hotspots where they can best market your business, know local hashtags, know pages and websites where they can promote you, and know how to reach your intended audience. The largest reason that many small businesses fail on social media is an inability to reach their target audience, and with a professional company, you completely avoid this problem.

Why hire a Social Media Management Company?

When you hire a Seattle Social Media management company to come in and take over or create your social media accounts, you’re hiring a professional to market, manage, and quality check for you. You’re also getting the advantage of a trained team of professionals who know how to market, who know how to create sales plans, and who have pushed hundreds of thousands of consumers and likes in the past. While you could hire a full time social media manager for your company, this only works if you need a full time manager, and if you’re ready to pay the often high costs associated with a quality manager. Sure you could pay anyone minimum wage to do it, but they would not have any of the marketing experience or acumen that comes with hiring a professional.

Social media is a great way to reach a nearly unlimited audience, or to reach a very select target audience in your local neighborhood depending on your plans. A Seattle social media management team can help you to get in touch with that audience, and to convert them into customers using marketing strategies and offers. If you want to know more, schedule a meeting or call us to discuss your needs, or visit our Whitepapers to see how we’ve helped other local Seattle businesses.

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.

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.

 

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.

© Copyright © 2012 Rory Martin Inc.