First things first: as a small business owner, you should be active on LinkedIn. If you are not – create an account right now!  Yes, right now.

The beauty of LinkedIn is that it is full of resources. You can join groups that are full of professionals in your industry. Then you can use these groups to get product or service feedback, network, and even connect with future business partners or employees. In addition to creating a personal LinkedIn account, you should also establish a company page on LinkedIn for your business.

If you are considering starting a group on LinkedIn, here are some tips that will help you take full advantage of all of LinkedIn’s opportunities as a group leader.

If you choose to begin your own LinkedIn group, you have the option of creating a closed or open group. An open group allows any member to contribute and is visible to the public. A closed group is private and requires a user to be accepted to the group before contributing. When making your choice, consider that an open group will clearly grow faster, but it is also likely the group could be prone to spam.   Alternatively, a closed group will grow more gradually. Yet, the members will be much more targeted. Consider how you want your group to be seen and used when making this decision.

Remember that you started this group, so you must be a part of it. Be active and let your presence be known to your members  – it will help you network rapidly.

As the leader of the group, remember that you can make rules – this is a power that should be taken seriously. If there is an unruly member of the group, you can remove them. On the flip side, if there is a member that is a great contributor to your group, be sure to acknowledge them!

One huge advantage to creating a group is that you can send weekly announcements out to your members! This is an opportunity for you to contact your members directly. Just be careful to fill those messages with useful information – you want to ensure that your followers actually engage with the message (not just overlook it as spam).

LinkedIn is becoming a giant resource in marketing and business development. Use it correctly to see what it can do for you.

Who can make a Facebook page? If you immediately thought “anyone”  you are absolutely right.  This is exactly why as a company it is incredibly important to make your page exciting. Getting those “Likes” does not mean all that much if you do not interact with your fans beyond that. One of the best ways to bring excitement to your page is to use Facebook apps.  Keep in mind that some of the ideas below are complex – they are often developed by a third party and then can be run on Facebook.

Create interactive quizzes. The truth is, as ridiculous as it may seem, people love taking quizzes about themselves. So whatever quiz you decide to create, make sure that the quiz is all about your customers. For example, if you are a frozen yogurt company the quiz could ask, “What frozen yogurt fall treat are you?” The bottom line is to make sure the quizzes ask personal questions. Keep it relevant to your business and all about your fan. To get it started, you could offer discounts to the first 100 people that take the quiz.

Use personal Facebook information to create a story about the user. People love interactive apps like this. Typically, apps such as these use the Facebook user’s photos, name, and hometown to fill in the story gaps. This usually gets a good laugh, which is great because it is likely to be shared. If you are a tax company, use the information to narrate a scary tax scandal

Make your apps about your fans. This option is not as complex as the two above.  Ask fans questions and encourage them to reply. Then, each month your company can highlight the fan that had the best response to your question. If you work for a beauty company, ask a question about the meaning of beauty. Offer a coupon or a free product to the participant with the best or most creative answer.

The Takeaways:

1. Make sure you are staying relevant to your business.

2. Be creative. Surprise your customers.

Most small businesses feel a sense of urgency to get onto social media because of the tidal wave big brands have made on all social media platforms. Focus on your social media goals. Whatever they are, the bottom line should be to build relationships and grow customer trust. That means that social media is not the place to display your promotional copy. Get rid of anything remotely resembling a “BUY ME” button. Social media is about social engagement. Think of yourself in a social situation – do you spend the entire time talking about yourself? Hopefully the answer is no. This type of etiquette applies to social media as well. Just as you would in a social environment, strive to be interesting on social media. Post content that gives your followers or friends something to react too. If someone were to walk up to you and give you a compliment or ask you a question, you would never just ignore it. You would acknowledge it with a “thank you” or a reply. The same thing should be done on your social media platforms.

You are a small business. Your budget is probably much smaller than that of Starbucks. Inevitably, your social media strategy will be different than those big brands – that is okay! You don’t have to keep up with Pepsi. If you do not have the budget to giveaway the latest IPad – don’t do it. Offer a prize your company can handle such as a service, discount, or small product.  This also means that the participants in your giveaway are likely to be interested in your company, and not just in it for the free Ipad.

You have probably already picked up on the fact that there is no physical cost to join social media.  As a small business, marketing without fees probably sounds like the best kind.  But don’t be fooled – social media marketing is anything but free. Doing it right requires serious man-hours. The commitment to social media is unrelenting and endless. Engaging with followers and sharing valuable content is a full time job.

As a small business, you do not need to be present on every social media account. If you use Facebook over Google +, it does not mean you are a social media failure. The biggest error you could make is to have a Google + account that is completely neglected and shows inconsistent activity. It is better to have one or two active and up to date social media accounts than have five accounts that are not receiving adequate time and management.

Small businesses tend to make these mistakes, which can do serious harm to their social media success. Make sure your business gets it right!

People love the holidays! The chances are your business already has something planned to participate in the cheerful season. Holiday discounts? Holiday office party? Whatever it is, make sure it shows on your social media accounts!

December is already here, that means people are gearing up for the holiday season. This season is a great opportunity to adopt new social media tactics – with a holiday twist. People are already spending time on social media sites, and are getting excited about the holidays.  So why not get people excited about the holidays and involved in your company at the same time?

Give your followers another reason to engage with your company this holiday season.

  1. Start a Facebook Holiday themed promotion. There are several ways to do this. Consider a limited-time-only discount, supporting a charity, or giving a gift back to loyal customers. All of these promotions are ways to add a little something extra to your company’s Facebook effort.
  2. Promote a holiday-themed hashtag on Instagram. Encourage followers to upload holiday pictures using the hashtag, or pictures that are relevant to your brand. Make it a contest and award the contestant with the most “Likes” a holiday gift.  Make it easy for fans to enter the contest by just simply using the hashtag. Once a winner is selected, contact them to claim their prize through their social media account.
  3. Start a New Years countdown, asking users to share their resolutions. Try to think of ways your business could be part of a New Years Resolution.
  4. Host a gift giveaway that takes place between Christmas and New Years…this is sure to keep your fans in the holiday spirit!
  5. Use Twitter to show your holiday enthusiasm and excitement! Be sure to tweet any other contests or giveaways you have started on your other social media accounts!

The holidays are about giving back, so do something different and thoughtful for your fan base – thank them for supporting your business all year.  Even something small, like tweeting out holiday jokes or adorable pictures, can put a smile on a customers face! The holiday season is known for love, happiness, and positive thoughts for the New Year – make sure to be a part of that when it comes to social media.

 

The beauty of social media is that it is not just another advertising platform.  Social media does not have to be limited, and this is something to take advantage of. Abandon your campaign-focused mindset and adopt a strategic one. Your mindset should treat social media as an opportunity to connect, engage with, and learn form your consumers in an uninhibited space. Social media is generally not limited by budget – this is huge. This means that your advertising activity is not restricted to a few campaigns per year. Companies tend to conduct two to three campaigns on social media per year. It is important to place equal focus on your social media activity the rest of the time, your strategy.

Responding to your audience will better your  social media strategy. Social media allows you to talk directly to your customers, capitalize on that. This is invaluable feedback that you cannot get as easily or as quickly with other advertising platforms. Get to know your customers by using social media as a resource. You have easy access to what pages they are “Liking” on Facebook and who they are following on Twitter. Use this information to find out what matters to your customers. By gathering this insight, you can more effectively engage. Once you have this insight and customer data, use social media to drive action for your business. Develop your online presence by improving your strategy. Keep it relevant to your company, and engage with your audience.

When blogging for your business, maintaining quality in each post is crucial.

Are your blogs solely full of opinions? This is a problem. To add value to your blog posts, include research on topics instead of just opinions. Use examples to add in-depth coverage to your posts. Cite reliable sources for your readers.

Think of every post as a product.  People buy products because they need or want them to serve a designated purpose. Just as a product is will only be useful if others buy it, a blog post will only be useful if people read it. Write content you believe people will be interested in reading about.  Tip: before publishing a blog, tweet a question that pertains to the blog. You can gauge the responses to the question and then determine if your content is of interest.

Quality blogs produce their own media content. Use your own images and graphics and incorporate them into your topic. Be sure to link your visuals to your original blog post to boost your exposure.

The point of your blog is to show readers you are a professional. Don’t hold back on the content you post just because it is freely available on the internet. Showcasing your expertise and knowledge on a blog shows viewers that you are good at what you do.

Blogs are informal by nature. However, it is important to recognize that your company blog reflects directly on your company. When blogging for your business, remember to share professional quality posts.

 

 

 

 

 

Businesses everywhere are finding new opportunities to engage with consumers through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It’s known that Twitter gets about 460,000 users to sign up per day, and Facebook is expected to reach 1 billion users by August, so it’s easy for businesses to realize that each and every one of these users have the potential to be a customer.

But social media marketing is more than just making an account and adding friends and followers. It is critical to have a well-established strategy and to do your research so you can develop the best social media plan for your company.

Follow these tips before you hit the social media highway

1. Have A Plan

Too often Facebook becomes littered with inactive company pages. These pages are the result of marketers making a company page without a goal in mind.

It’s important to understand your objectives. State what it is you want to accomplish. This might be to create brand awareness, to provide a platform for consumers to give input and ask questions, or to build customer loyalty with promotions and specials.

Also, you’ll want to make a plan for measuring your ROI. It’s very helpful to be able to tell if your efforts are paying off. If your efforts aren’t getting results, then you can have a plan set to help you modify your marketing tactics.

It’s also wise to know you’re target audience. Define the demographics of who would be most interested in your products and services so you can send your brand message to those specific people.

Finally, make sure you have the time necessary to run your social media marketing plan. If you can’t make the time needed for your social media marketing, your attempts will not get very far. Consider hiring someone to help you so you can have the time to make a successful social media marketing campaign.

2. Keep It Simple

After you’ve got a basic plan set up, don’t go overboard and try to join every social network site out there. That will only end up fragmenting your efforts. What you should do is focus on creating one or two accounts on social media sites and grow your audience there.

3. Don’t Spam

With social media, it can be tempting to start promoting your products and services like crazy, but advertising should not be the main focus of social media marketing. Facebook users don’t go on the site to just look for something to purchase, so make sure you’re engaging with followers and fans on a level beyond advertising and promoting.

4. Communicate

Silence is not golden in the social media world. Communication is a must for any business, especially social media marketing. If you are not able to maintain ongoing communication with your customers, you will lose the value of having a social media presence. So be “social” and make contacts and boost your reputation.

5. Build Your Fan Base

It’s easy to gain customers by building your fan base. If you communicate well through your social media sites, your fan base will grow, and the potential for more customers will grow as well. Be sure to post interesting and unique information often, and follow people who are relevant to your brand, and they might just follow you back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter is one of the most important sites to use in any Internet marketing campaign. To strengthen your Internet marketing, it is crucial to understand the latest and greatest strategies to use in your marketing campaigns, especially those that work for Twitter. To stay ahead of the Internet marketing game, use these tips on your Twitter account regularly.

1. Focus On What’s Important

A major problem social media marketers might run into is not being focused and precise. You must keep in mind that your followers like your brand and want to read your updates because they are in your target market and are interested in the topics you tweet about.

Don’t tweet mindlessly; tweet about the things you know your consumers are interested in and the things that complement what your brand represents. Having targeted, precise tweets will keep your brand focused on reaching those who are most interested in what you have to offer.

2. Be A Professional

On Twitter, being able to write snappy headlines is key. You only get 140 characters to tweet, so it better be meaningful and interesting in order to excite followers. Your content should be quality and attention grabbing, so that traffic to your site will continue to grow.

Don’t worry about how many followers you have. It’s better to have a fewer number of followers that are followers who are clearly in your target market. Your tweets should address those real customers who enjoy visiting your site and are likely to retweet your posts, which will then lead to new consumers who also share the same interests.

3. Communicate With Your Followers

Remember, Twitter is a SOCIAL media; therefore you must be social for it to work for your company. Twitter is about connecting, sharing and communicating. If you interact with your followers, you will get to know them better and as a result, you will be able to create tweets that you know your followers will be interested in and appreciate.

Start commenting and asking questions to your followers about things that are relevant to your brand, and that you know they’re interested in. Then take it a step further and try interacting with your followers’ followers as well, so you give your brand more exposure to others who could become potential customers.

These tips are easy ways to help make the most out of your Twitter account. They must be part of your Internet marketing campaign in order to see results. Twitter is hugely important in increasing traffic, so use it efficiently and your campaign will be successful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s now a well-known fact that online marketing is an important part of any business plan. Online marketing offers a wide variety of tools and tactics to use in order to expand your business and connect with new consumers. While managing all of the various aspects of online marketing can be difficult, it’s a responsibility that must be handled carefully in order to see results!

With that said, take a look at these five major online marketing mistakes and steer clear of them so you can carry out successful marketing practices!

1. Not Optimizing Your Landing Page For Conversions

A major goal of online marketing is to get people to land on a specific page on their website. However, even with all their efforts to direct people to that page, the business may be missing out on a lot of prospective consumers if it is not optimized for conversions.

Think about making your contact information prominently displayed at the top of your page, or make sure that there’s a clear call to action that will direct visitors to do want you’d like them do to, such as call your business or fill out an informational form. Also, you should have the most important information clearly made available at the top of your website, so visitors don’t have to scroll down or spend time searching for what they’re looking for.

2. Not Targeting Your Online Marketing Locally

Small businesses tend to be made up of mainly local customers. Therefore, if you are investing in online marketing without targeting it locally, you’ll end up paying more to target national keywords and ultimately miss out on reaching customers who are searching for local business.

If you locally target with your online marketing strategy, you’ll see a greater ROI and be able to reach those consumers who are looking for local businesses more effectively.

3. Failing To Train Staff On Lead Handling

A major mistake many businesses make in their marketing efforts is focusing mostly on the front end of the marketing funnel. As a result, they miss out on the most vital component of the marketing process: deciding what happens to a lead after they show an interest in your business.

A costly element in marketing is figuring out how your staff handles the leads you get. Keep in mind that every lead counts! After all, you are investing a lot into generating leads, so you should properly train your staff on how they should respond to a consumer request and how they should answer phone calls.

4. Neglecting to Track Your Online Advertising

The main benefit of online advertising is the ability to track it! You should be tracking the clicks you get to your landing page or website, and also monitoring what happens after the click. Look at whether customers respond by calling, filling out a form, or leaving your page after they’ve clicked. There are lots of great online marketing tools that allow you to track this and more so you are able to see how effective your campaigns are and optimize them based on what seems to be working the best.

5. Not Claiming Your Google Place Page

A Google Place Page is a great tool that allows your business to show up in desktop and mobile searches to local customers searching for a business. For no charge at all, you can claim your Google Place Page so you have better control over what gets listed about your business. You will also get a valuable space on Google for important business keywords in organic searches.

While there are other mistakes that can be made with online marketing, by making sure your online marketing efforts don’t commit any of these five online marketing sins, your business will nail some of the most important concepts of online marketing!