Three easy first steps
In today's world of uber-advancing technologies, small businesses need to remain on par with current social media culture - if they are even to look competitive.
Although we, as small business owners, may not be as up-to-date as we'd like on the latest communication trends, in order to appeal to this generation of customers and the next, it is simply a marketing necessity to get on board.
Use the following 3 easy first steps to catapult your business into the now of social media and finally get with the program - or be left behind in a world that is all about conversation. Here's how... (read more)
Small business websites can amp search engine optimization by utilizing social media as part of their marketing campaign. Not only does maintaining a Facebook business page, an active Twitter account, employee LinkedIn profiles and creating regular blog posts forge new relationships and heighten reputability, it also helps your business in terms of getting found on the web. Here’s how.
Search engine optimization is increased by inbound and outbound links connected to your site. When you place LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook icons on your homepage, you are building these. As well, tweeting out and posting back to your own site from these accounts, creates backlinks, similarly aiding SEO. Of additional benefit is the social media technique of blogging. You can cultivate links through guest blog posts on other sites, and hosting guest bloggers on your own, referencing respective businesses via author bios. These links will be SEO valuable, especially if surrounding high-quality, value-added content from other high quality sites. Also, remember to always link internally between your own web pages and blog content as best practice SEO (via a “Check out our blog” footer or the like).
Having a frequently updated blog on your site will act as an effective optimizing technique by ensuring the return of web crawlers to your site often. As well, your blog will provide an opportunity for you to get in key words and ideas on topics relevant to your industry that potential customers will be searching for, increasing your optimization for those searched words and hopefully encouraging conversations through commentary. Replying to commentary on your blog and linking back to your social media sites can bump social media influence ratings - and thus, page rank.
Increased Web Visibility
Including your website address on your various social media profiles, makes it easy to find you - no matter where you’re initially viewed. Your Twitter profile, LinkedIn account, Facebook page and guest blog posts can all act like high-quality referrals for your company site. Make sure each profile is optimized for your key words, so no matter which comes up first in a search, it can always lead viewers back to your products and service offerings and your business - creating a greater web presence overall.
Driving Traffic to Your Site
By utilizing social media, you can drive traffic toward your site by promoting your web content (blog posts, specials, promotions, news) across social media platforms. Produce high quality content for your blog and make it easy for others to share it with social media buttons below posts. As your followers grow, so will your traffic, and so will your business as a trusted resource of information and news. You will not only need to rely on search engines to send visitors to your site – you can send traffic through your own social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest if you post newsworthy and interesting content and images regularly.
Every small business owner should be using social media as part of their marketing strategy to nurture relationships, boost credibility, and provide value to potential and existing customers, as evidenced in articles like 12 Astounding Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Use Social Media Marketing. Not only is it available in an array of platforms, it’s low-cost to free – especially if you’ve taken a do-it-yourself and teach-yourself approach. Because Twitter makes a big impact with minimal effort, it's simply gotta be in your bag of tricks. After opening an account, creating a good profile summary and exploring a bit, try utilizing the following 3 strategies to enhance your tweet power - and be on your way to Twitter-pro.
Use the hashtag (but don’t overdo it!)
Hashtags are not only the # symbol followed by a clever sounding word or phrase – they’re the harnessing of some pretty powerful benefit when viewed as a marketing tool in your Twitter campaign. Use hashtags strategically in your tweets to tag them as part of a greater conversation – and be more readily found and read. For example, if you tweet out “Hosting beer tasting event Sunday at Pennings Farm Market with live music #microbrewtasting #livemusicnewyork,” anyone interested in and searching Twitter for those tags will be privy to the conversation. Hashtags in your bio will also help you be found for certain keywords, making you more visible to potential clients and affiliates for those things you want to be recognized (just don’t over-hashtag, as too many look spammy and are confusing). For example, my name (or business) plus #contentmarketer, will help me come up in searches for just that specific void should someone be looking to fill it.
Employ @ symbol to grow your following and share the Twitter love
Every twitter account has a handle including the @ sign plus a username. When commenting on others’ tweets, it’s nice to mention the originator so that they both know you liked what they said and so others might read it as well to their credit. For example, “Thanks @abutchko for the great read on social media usage (link to article)!” This publically lets this user know you’re promoting them, found their tweet useful and encourages them to consider engaging back (or possibly even following you). If they are already one of your followers, it opens the door for a mutual relationship where you can both help promote each other in the Twitter arena going forward. Remember that when engaging with someone on Twitter, you’re potentially engaging with their followers, too, so be sure to take advantage of any shout-outs that come your way and always reply back!
Follow only strategically
When choosing who to follow on Twitter, be discerning. You want to cultivate a true list of heavy hitters – people and companies that will truly work for you. A large part of Twitter is forging a positive reputation as an expert in your field. To do this, you need to tweet out useful, educative and interesting information. By following people and companies that provide you with useful information that you can then turn around and tweet to your followers (sometimes as your own find and sometimes, giving credit to the originator), you are making yourself seem both informed and on the cutting edge of information in your business – a go-to for your industry. I am followed by child-educators, content marketers, small business owners and some other Catholics. I therefore, follow insightful tweeters in these areas, who in effect, feed me good information that I can pass along - keeping me looking and remaining better informed, and ensuring my followers continue to grow.
If you have taken the time to create a beautiful website which represents your business, please, do not overlook the importance of good grammar and spelling! Nothing kills professionalism and legitimacy for a prospective customer than not being able to view you and your site with respect. Customers are looking to you as a specialist. This is hard to do if your copy seems remedial. Edit your site. Take the errors out. Every writer knows that no author can really edit their own copy. They need a fresh set of eyes to recognize mistakes. There is no shame here. It is not expensive, but it is an imperative. Don't be a Charlie Brown site. Get edited today!
In belonging to this industry, it is my intent to eradicate errors on small business websites that are degrading their professionalism. Of course, everyone, everyone makes errors when they write! But it is not appropriate for businesses to have mistakes in their copy. It is distracting and unfortunately, casts a bad light on the site in terms of potential client comfort and trust. People want to feel like they are in the good hands of an expert in every way when they choose a business partner. That is why I want to help you look as competent in your specialty as possible. I will audit your site for any errors in spelling or grammar and I can help you create fresh content that is error free from the beginning. This will leave you feeling confident that you always look your best.