How to Use Social Media for Your Small Business

Last night we held a webinar about how to use social media for your business. Please have a look:

Related content:

And here is information on how to use social media for your business from a guy at Google: https://www.kaushik.net/avinash/social-media-marketing-success-guide-businesses/

If you have any questions, please drop me a line:

Twitter

Should you use Twitter to market your business? After all, isn’t everyone on it?

Well, first of all, not that many people are actually on Twitter. Twitter has half as many users as Facebook.

But really, the question of whether or not to use Twitter is really a question of what you intend to use Twitter for and how much time you plan to devote to it.

Do you get lots of customer service inquiries? Then it absolutely makes sense to use Twitter regularly for your business.

Is your business mobile? Then it absolutely makes sense to use Twitter regularly for your business.

But, if you do not have a lot of customer service inquiries, or you don’t have tons of updates about your business location or hours, then it’s likely that Twitter is not the best way to promote your business.

Unless of course you are your business; you are the face of your brand and more – you are your brand. If this is the case, Twitter is very useful at allowing you to communicate directly to your potential customers/clients.

But be warned: using Twitter effectively is extremely time-consuming. For Twitter to be worth your time, you have to be on it a lot.

Using Instagram for your Small Business

Should you use Instagram to market your business online? After all, don’t all the kids use it?

Instagram is a unique way of reaching potential and current customers. But, due to its uniquely visual nature, it’s not for every business. Yes, it’s true, you can post text as a picture on Instagram but if people are going to see that text, they need to follow you. Though you may get followers with text, you get most followers on Instagram visually.

So, you should only put time and effort into Instagram if you can present your products or services visually. If you cannot conceive of a way to visually present your products, your services, or your staff, in a compelling visual manner, it’s just not worth it.

Social media takes time. In order to have a successful social media account you need to put in tons of time and effort and you also need to be lucky. If you cannot create compelling visual content for your business, there is no point in wasting resources on Instagram.

How to Use Facebook for Your Business

There was a while there when everyone was telling you “You have to get on Facebook.” If you asked why, you probably didn’t get a very good response. There’s a reason for that.

 

Using Facebook for Your Business

You can use Facebook for your business – for some businesses it makes a lot of sense. But for many, many businesses, investing a lot of time and money into Facebook makes very little sense. Will likes, shares and comments within Facebook really benefit your business?

Before you decide whether or not to spend time with Facebook, you should decide how you want to use it.

 

3 Ways to Use Facebook For Your Business

There are basically three ways to use Facebook for your business:

 

Using Facebook as a Person for Your Business

If you are your own brand – for example, you are a therapist – it’s possible that you can use Facebook effectively for your business while only using your personal profile.

Upside: You can use Facebook more actively than a business and you can engage with Facebook Friends, and Facebook Friends of Facebook Friends, in ways businesses cannot.

Downside: Your family and your actual friends that you are Facebook Friends with will likely find your constant business promotion annoying.

Basically, you should only use your personal profile for your business if you have no interest in the social aspects of Facebook.

 

Facebook Business Page

A Facebook Business Page is the official way businesses use Facebook. Every brick-and-mortar business should a Facebook Business Page, brands likely should to, and if your business is a pop-up style, you should definitely have one. The question isn’t whether or not to have a Facebook Business Page. Rather, the question is, how much time to devote to it. I have discussed the Facebook Business Page here.

 

Facebook Ads

Like all pay-per-click (PPC) ads, Facebook ads have both their downside and their upside. Facebook ads are significantly different than search engine and website ads. Customization and targeting are quite different (and arguably superior) but you must ask yourself a simple question: do you really want to pay for Facebook page and post likes? Is there any value in that? For many businesses, there is no value in Facebook ads. It really depends upon how you are using your business page.

I have discussed PPC ads in detail here.

 

Should You Use Facebook for Your Business?

Not sure whether or not you should use Facebook for your business? I can help. Contact me to discuss the pros and cons of Facebook and other social media for your business.

Marketing Tips February 2017

I hope you are enjoying this weird and warm winter – the warmest February I can remember. It’s a little disconcerting to me, as I keep changing coats, and wearing the wrong thing all the time. I’m sure there’s a great segue in here somewhere, between the confusing weather and the confusing world of marketing your business online in 2017. What we have for you this month:

  • A relatively easy way to improve your search engine presence for some of your targeted keywords
  • An easy to read infographic about how to market your business using social media
  • Lastly, a pretty good guide on how to use social media for your business.

Enjoy. And, as always, I am only an email away if you have any questions.

 

SEO is daunting. However, anybody can handle non-technical SEO if they put your mind to it. This article goes into great detail about how you – yes, you – can use a process and free tools to figure out which pages of yours are doing “not bad” in the search rankings, and change them to ranking well.
If you’re willing to put the time and effort into it, this is accessible to anyone. You can take the landing page you want to rank well and ensure it does.
Read the article.
As a bonus: if this article from Orbit is too daunting, I wrote something called “What the Hell is SEO?”

Yes, another infographic. Just like the one I shared with you last week, this infographic is actually useful. Things are changing drastically in the search engine world but less so in the social media world (at the moment), so don’t worry that it’s a 2016 infographic. It’s still a pretty helpful checklist. Printing it out is a problem, so I would just read it and see what you can learn and incorporate those tips into your daily social media outreach.
View the infographic. (Use your cursor to zoom in.)

If you’re really uncomfortable on social media, I wrote a little something on how to interpret the various “social signals.”

Lastly, we have a pretty good guide at how your business should behave on social media. It lays out things that may seem common sense, but you’d be surprised the number of times people fail to do these things.
This article is behind a sign up wall, FYI, so if you are having trouble viewing it, you can sign up for free. The content they send is often useful.
Read the article.

Ask me a question any time at riley.haas@gmail.com or on skype at riley.haas
Check out my services

Marketing Tips for the Solopreneur

I hope you’re had a wonderful summer. I’ve had quite the busy one myself and can’t believe it’s just about over. But it’s TIFF next week, my favourite time of year, so I’m quite excited.
This month we’ve got helpful articles and videos covering content marketing, social media marketing and SEO.
First, there’s a helpful, albeit brief, guide to creating content your potential clients and customers will actually want to read and share.
Then, we have a video on the perils of using social media as the only way to drive traffic to your website.
Finally, our second video is a little more for an expert audience: solving common SEO conundrums.
Enjoy!

 

This brief guide lays out a fairly straightforward way you can create content that past and future clients/customers will enjoy and share. The steps are

  1. Create buyer personas
  2. Finding your audiences pain points (including free ways of doing so)
  3. Creating a list of proven topic ideas
  4. Use the “CURVE” method to write your content (see the guide)

All of these are easier said than done, but the article gives some hints on how to do these things and a quick googling of any of the topics will find you many more articles on how to do these things. (Also, googling is basically how you accomplish step 3.)
Read the article. Just click on the X to ignore the signup box.

 

This video has some bad news. “Link building” – the process of getting other sites to link to you, thereby improving your position in search engine results – probably cannot be accomplished through social media. Social media is valuable; it’s valuable to share your content, products and services with people who won’t find it with the search engine, and it’s particularly important to building relationships and trust with your potential clients or customers. What this videos says is that what social media cannot do is elevate your search engine ranking in and of itself.
Watch the video.

 

Another Whiteboard Friday video – yes, I know, I share a lot of them, but it’s because they’re really good!
This one is more for experts. It examines 5 frustrating SEO experiences and how to possibly overcome them. Here are the five:

  1. Following SEO best practices doesn’t improve your ranking
  2. Your competition appears to be doing better than you through bad links
  3. I have no idea why my ranking goes up or down
  4. I can’t accurately quantify, predict or control my SEO
  5. Google is biased to big brands.

The content is definitely for people who know what they are doing when it comes to SEO. But if you do, this video is edifying.
Watch the video.

Ask me a question any time at riley.haas@gmail.com or on skype at riley.haas

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When Word of Mouth is No Longer Enough

You’ve been relying on your friends and your happy clients to spread the word about your business. But what happens when your word-of-mouth referrals dry up?

I suspect this is the fear of every small business owner who relies on referrals. Fortunately, the internet has made it possible for us to get clients another way, without relying too heavily on referrals and without paying for expensive advertising in print, on billboards or on TV or radio.

Internet marketing – or digital marketing – allows the small business owner to both better target their marketing efforts and to handle these efforts ourselves, if we’re willing to spend the time.

There are four main types of digital marketing:

  • Content Marketing
  • Pay-Per-Click Advertizing (PPC)
  • Search Engine Optimization (the infamous SEO)
  • Social Media Marketing

No matter which methods you choose, all of these methods are cheaper than conventional media advertizing and all can be handled by you, the owner, if you are willing to commit the time to learning how. When done properly, they will also provide you with leads on a far more consistent basis than word of mouth referrals.

 

Content Marketing

Content Marketing is basically the use of “content” – blogs, videos, podcasts, reviews, and other internet content – in lieu of traditional advertizing. This blog post is an example of content marketing – I give you some information for free in the hope that you will not only like the information but come to trust me as an expert and a person you can trust.

 

Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC is the most famous kind of digital marketing – it includes both the ads you see when you use Google or Bing, and the banner ads you often see on websites. Think of PPC as the ability to have an online billboard, but have that billboard shown only to people who are looking for words related to your services, and this billboard doesn’t stay in one place. Also, you only pay for the billboard if people look at it.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the basic, ground-floor building block of digital marketing but the industry is jargon-obsessed and so understanding what it is and why you do it can be hard to figure out. The short version is that SEO is all about compliance of your website with the best practices dictated by Google (and Bing, to a lesser extent). That’s all it is. It isn’t a secret sauce for huge traffic and leads. It can be done well and poorly and the effects of either aren’t always apparent. But it is necessary in the long run so that you will get “organic” (i.e. unpaid) search engine traffic to your site. There are both technical and non-technical aspects to SEO, and the technical stuff will require a developer.

 

Social Media Marketing

The trendiest form of digital marketing is also the most misunderstood (well, outside of SEO) and most time-consuming. You should engage in social media marketing only if your product or service can fit into one or more social networks and you can spend the time to perform it consistently. If you can’t do both of those things, there is no point whatsoever.

 

I will be covering all of these topics in more detail in the future but know that you do not have to rely on referrals. You can become a master of some or all of these marketing techniques which can support your referral marketing efforts going forward.

Email me any time at riley dot haas at gmail dot com or find me on skype at riley dot haas.

 

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July’s Tips for Sollpreneurs

I hope you’re enjoying the heat and I sure hope you have air conditioning.
This month we’ve got a piece on “interactive” content, and the value that content can bring to your marketing, provided you can invest in it, a guide on how to use “influencers” to grow your brand and your presence on social media and, finally, seven common mistakes business owners may make when marketing online.
This month, all content is from a site I read regularly called Marketing Profs. They have an annoying sign up form that pops up before you read – just click on the X, I’m sure you’ll find the content worthwhile. Also, if they want you to sign up to read the full article, it may be worthwhile. They produce a lot of interesting stuff, some of which is relevant to small business owners. (However, much of it is only relevant to business-to-business marketers and so you may not want to commit, or you may want to sign up for to try, and then unsubscribe later. I leave that up to you.)
Enjoy!

 

“Interactive” content is content that asks or requires the user to participate (as simple as an embedded poll in your article). This article discusses why it’s valuable for your marketing campaign. Fair warning though, the best interactive content is going to be expensive.
Read the article.

 

We hear about “influencers” a lot. “Influencers” are merely people on social media who have a lot of followers, and a lot of influence with those followers. Influencers can be great for drawing attention to your brand, your products or your content, though the biggest ones will want substantial compensation for their influence. This article helps us understand how to use them for not just greater brand visibility, but fro creating social content (i.e. content for your brand that exists only within the social media space and not on your site). Note that the article requires you to sign up for a Marketing Profs account.
Read the article.

 

This one might be for the experts out there. When we do things daily, sometimes we fall into habits that can be unhelpful. This article highlights seven things we do that might be counterproductive for our online marketing. It’s a geared towards people who are already marketing their businesses online on a full-time basis.
Read the article.

Ask me a question any time at riley.haas@gmail.com or on skype at riley.haas

 

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Do I Need a Facebook Business Page?

If you’re a small business owner or solopreneur, whether or not you need a Facebook business page to market your business on Facebook depends upon why and how you use Facebook. Facebook business pages can be useful, but they’re quite limited in what you can do with them in terms of outreach. So, what do you use Facebook for?

  • If you have been on Facebook for years, you need a Facebook business page.
  • If you haven’t used Facebook personally, but intend to do so at any time in the future, you need a Facebook business page.
  • If you are not comfortable “being your brand,” then you need a Facebook business page.
  • However, if you have not used Facebook for social or personal reasons and you are comfortable being your own brand, you shouldn’t use a Facebook business page as your principal Facebook marketing strategy.

Facebook was originally intended as a social tool. It is still a social tool, but it is being used increasingly for business. If you have not put up photos, personal posts or expressed personal opinions on Facebook that you might not want associated with your business, then you can use your profile to promote your business, rather than a page. Why would you want to do that?

Well, because a Facebook page is limited in how it can interact with potential customers – someone has to interact with your page before you can contact them. Your profile page is not limited in this way: you can approach new people regardless of whether or not they’ve ever heard of you (or indicted to Facebook that they’re interested in your business). Mind you, you still have to respectful, follow good social media etiquette and not come across as hunting for profits but, provided you do those things, you’re in much better shape using your profile to perform outreach, rather than your business page. (Note: you should still have a business page!)

But, if you like Facebook for the connections it allows between your friends and family, or you want to give that a try, using your profile both for personal connections and your business is unwise and I would strongly recommend sticking to a business page if this is how you intend to use Facebook.

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Solopreneur Tips for February

Marketing tips for the solopreneur

I was in Colombia for half the month and that’s made it rather difficult to focus on improving my newsletter. (If you’re interested, the trip is slowly being recounted here: http://rileyhaas.com/2016/02/23/riley-goes-to-colombia-prologue/ Plug plug plug.)
This month I’ve three more great pieces about digital marketing. Hope you enjoy.

Continue reading “Solopreneur Tips for February”