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6 Ways to Generate Leads with Social Media

Posted Wed, April 9, 2014 by Julie Short

We’ve discussed the benefits of claiming social media accounts for small businesses – and now we’re back on it to get into the specifics.


When it’s used effectively, social media has the potential to take your business to the next level. While the ultimate goal of social engagement and sharing is to convert leads into paying customers, the initial goal is to generate more leads to give your company a wide base of potential clients. If you’re an old pro at social media, you already know that having a meaningful network is much more useful than having thousands of followers or likes that you pay for. Before you can focus on conversion, you have to focus on establishing a solid following.


The good news: social media platforms are so wide-ranging and extensively used that they provide businesses with unprecedented opportunities to attract a broad consumer base. Below are some of our best tips for generating leads via social media platforms.


1. Build relationships.
Consumers tend to patronize businesses with which they feel a personal connection. Consumers want to know that you listen to them and will respond to their needs. Along that line of thinking, an easy way to build relationships using social media is to be responsive. Always respond to customer comments on your Facebook page, Twitter account, or blog – even if (especially if) they’re not flattering. Courteous, helpful responses from you will encourage people to keep coming back to your feed – and they often attract your followers’ friends as well. On the other hand, neglecting your pages makes you seem cold or unconcerned about your customers’ needs.


2. Cultivate your presence.
When you’re able to get someone’s contact information, be proactive about generating leads with it. Send out regular emails or even text messages with updates and deals to entice people to visit your web page or social media accounts. Millennials in particular tend to appreciate being recruited. They are aware that they have multiple options for goods and services, and a large part of their decisions rests upon how earnestly you try to connect with them.


3. Offer incentives.
All consumers like to find good deals, and you can generate leads by offering incentives in exchange for interest in your company. Offer coupons for discounted, upgraded, or free services to those who become your Facebook friend or refer other leads. Buying followers won’t do you any good in the long run – but drawing in followers with discounted products is an effective way to create new customers.


4. Keep your social media platforms current.
An outdated site or social media account is unlikely to draw much (positive) attention; visitors who do happen upon a neglected web page or Facebook account probably won’t return because your business doesn’t seem worth patronizing. If your website needs an update, call in the pros – they’ll know how to give your site a fresh look without disrupting your functionality (in fact, they’ll probably improve it).


Keep your social accounts current by making sure that any special deals are posted and by removing information about events and specials that have ended. To keep your website humming with activity, post regularly on your blog and participate frequently on Facebook and Twitter. You can share helpful industry-related information – for example, how to choose an event-appropriate dress if you’re in the fashion industry – or company-specific updates – like the flavor of the day if you are the owner of an ice cream shop.


And lest we forget: regularly updated websites, blogs, and social media accounts perform better in search engine rankings, which usually translates to better leads and conversion rates.


5. Ask for reviews.
Strong reviews can generate more leads. Ask current or past customers if they’d be willing to write a testimonial or reviews of your company for your website or online directories. To encourage them, send out text message or email reminders after they use your services – whether they are in your brick-and-mortar store or office or made an online purchase.


Another way to get people to write reviews for you: offer discounts or incentives on your social media accounts for everyone that fills out a survey or review for you. As much as positive feedback is a good thing, you don’t want a ton of canned reviews – readers appreciate honest, authentic feedback.


6. Stay relevant.
Focus on keeping your brand consistent and unified. Be sure that your website links to each of your social media accounts, and vice versa. You don’t want to deter any potential visitors with inconsistencies. Your social media accounts can serve as a place for your business to be more personable and transparent with customers – and to reinforce your existing branding. Some potential customers might find you via social media instead of your site, so remember to feature information about your company and who to contact on your social media profiles.

 

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : leads , social media


Social Media Marketing: Essential and Within Reach for Small Business

Posted Wed, March 26, 2014 by Julie Short

Social media is here to stay, and thinking that it is just for making social connections may be a big mistake if you are a small business owner. A 2011 Nielsen report states that, “70% of active online adult social networkers shop online…12% more likely than the average adult internet user”.  The importance of social media for small business owners seems clear, so why might they shy away from being intentional regarding the use of social media? More importantly, as a small business owner, is there something more you should be doing?


Reason #1: Not Having a Plan
Many small business owners have gone at it haphazardly. They have tried to target everyone indiscriminately and ended up recruiting nobody, or they may not have known the most effective approaches, such as optimizing SEO strategies and selecting one or more platforms for their campaigns.


Solution: Hire a marketing firm to implement a social media campaign that can give the best results for the amount of money and effort invested.


Reason #2: Not Having the Time
Small business owners are working long hours already, and they may feel that they are unable to dedicate the additional hours necessary to implement an effective social media strategy. They may not realize that long hours are not necessary to see dividends in a social media campaign.


Solution: Strategize to create a targeted campaign that requires minimal hands-on work. A professional social media marketing company can assist with the initial launch of the campaign and then leave the small business owner with only small amounts of maintenance necessary as time passes. The use of local online directories allows customers to promote small businesses without too much effort or time on the part of the owner.


Reason #3: Thinking it Unnecessary
They may think that social media is optional and that they can continue growing their businesses without it. They may be unaware of the role and the possibilities of successful social media usage.


Solution: Research….look for case studies of small businesses that have implemented a social media strategy with positive results. They should see convincing data on the increase in sales or profits after the use of social media compared to before. In addition, small business owners will benefit greatly by becoming educated and aware of the implications of a social media focus…success might not be measured by direct sales only, but by an improved reputation and/or increased referrals.


Reason #4: Not Knowing How
Small business owners are likely talented experts in their own fields, but caterers, tailors, consultants, and printers etc. may have little or no knowledge of the impact or possibilities of social media as a viable business tool: and once they have become aware of it…may not know where to begin.


Solution: Get Help…You do not have to be a computer expert to implement an effective Social Media campaign, however, consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable Social Media Marketing (SMM) specialist can provide you with feasible ideas for simple but effective campaigns. There is no need to allow any of these reasons to prevent you from capitalizing on the opportunities that may be yours in the ever expanding world of Social Media.

 

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : SMM , social media , small business


How Should You Prioritize Your Social Media Marketing?

Posted Wed, January 22, 2014 by Julie Short

By now, most businesses agree that social media marketing is no longer optional – you have to maintain profiles on the major platforms if you want to compete in today's world.

But, deciding how to split up your time (or even money) between the different social media sites themselves is an entirely different matter. If you look hard enough, you can find a number of very good reasons to prefer any of them over the others:

  • Facebook still has the largest reach, in terms of daily visits and new content;
  • Google+ is affiliated with the world's most popular search engine, and is the fastest growing of the social networking sites;
  • LinkedIn is built for business, and can make networking with clients easier;
  • Twitter takes very little time, and can allow you to spread your marketing messages in a viral way;
  • Some studies show that Pinterest is the most reliable for e-commerce sites looking to generate click-throughs to online stores.

As you have probably guessed, we could go on with more bullets until you are thoroughly confused. But, if you're like most of us, you don't have the time, energy, or manpower to focus on all the social media sites at once. So, how do you decide where to place your priorities?

Here are a few tips to help you sort things out:

Remember that much depends on your industry and location. The answers that work for a small bakery aren't going to be the same that apply to a manufacturing company. Context is important, especially when it comes to social media marketing.

Pay attention to your customers. In a lot of cases, you can find out what social media sites are most important to you simply by going where your most important customers or clients go. Chances are, other buyers who fit the same profile will prefer the same social networking sites.

Study the analytics. As a rule of thumb, you want to pay the most attention to the social media sites that are showing you the biggest results. That means going back to your business website analytics and seeing which profiles are generating visits and conversions.

Don't be afraid to experiment. Regardless of what results you're seeing now, though, don't be afraid to experiment and see if you might be able to reach new markets (or at least engage customers in a different way) by trying social sites you haven't paid attention to in the past.

Are you getting the right kind of advice from your Internet marketing partner? What about bottom-line results? Now might be the perfect time to talk to WebRevelation and see what we can do to help your business grow.

 

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : websites , social media


Turning Social Media Blunders Into Marketing Opportunities

Posted Wed, January 8, 2014 by Julie Short

In some ways, social media can be a wonderful tool for marketers and business owners everywhere. After all, if you have a healthy following on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, you have a virtually free, instant way to communicate ideas to your fans, customers, and colleagues all at once.

And then again, you also have a way to say the wrong thing to all of these groups at the same time… not to mention anyone they decide to pass it along to.

We already know you aren't the kind of person to post something you shouldn't on the Internet, and especially not in a space as public as a social media site. But, what happens when an intern or employee does it for you? Or when something you meant to be private ends up being seen by people it shouldn't be? What about when something you posted is taken in a completely unintentional way and offends an important customer?

You probably get the point. The more you use social media marketing, the more likely it is that you're going to run into one of these situations sooner or later. When you strip away things like body language and context, misunderstandings are almost certain to take place.

What matters isn't that you find a way to avoid every social media marketing mishap, but that you know how to respond to it. Here is how we teach our clients to turn social networking blunders into marketing and customer service opportunities:

Don't bury your head in the sand. When someone calls you out on social media, staying silent is essentially the same thing as saying that you just don't care. Even if that's actually true, remember that other customers, prospects, and contacts might be paying attention, and you certainly don't want to offend them at the same time. So, make a point of following up on messages and responding to issues and complaints that come your way.

Apologize if you need to. As most of us learn at one point or another, the important thing about an apology isn't that it's spoken or written, but that it appears to be genuine. If you're struggling to come up with a sentiment that will appease the other party, try to see things from their point of view. If it seems like you might have written a post on something that you shouldn't have, say you're sorry in a heartfelt way.

Get back on message. Acknowledging a problem, and apologizing, are one thing, but dwelling on the issue is another. Unless there’s some reason for you to come back to the same challenge, clear things up and then get back to other topics that matter to your readers and contact.

Don't give up. Some businesses, in the face of a social media "oops," decide to either stop posting altogether, or to turn their profiles into sources of very generic content. Neither is a very good choice if you want to keep attracting the attention of new customers and get them talking about your ideas. We learn the most from our mistakes, so don't be afraid to keep pushing forward and posting new material.

If you're looking for more great advice on web design, Internet marketing, and social media, come back to our blog soon. Or better yet, get in touch with a member of our team today and ask for a free consultation.

 

Posted in : Tips and Tricks | 
Tags : social media , marketing


4 Tools You Can Use to Make Social Media Marketing Easier

Posted Wed, August 14, 2013

Most of the business world has figured out social media marketing is powerful, but that the benefits and bottom-line improvements come at a cost: lots of your time. Unlike pay-per-click advertising or other Internet marketing solutions that run on budgets, social media profiles are largely run on available minutes. 

For some businesses, owners, and executives, it would actually be easier to just write a check. But, since social network marketing requires one-on-one interaction, creativity, and lots of regular content, there just isn't any way around it; if you want to succeed, you have to devote a little bit of time and energy.

With that in mind, here are four tools we recommend you start using immediately to help you manage your social media marketing workload:

1. An editorial calendar. One of the biggest time-wasters when it comes to social media is logging onto your accounts and having no idea what you want to say, or what you want to post about. Take a cue from professional publications and keep an editorial calendar of upcoming topics and themes. It will help you stay on topic, and on schedule, with your social networking accounts.

2. Update scheduling apps. There are a variety of these around, with HootSuite and TweetDeck being two of the more popular options. In a simple sense, these allow you to schedule your social media posts all at one time. Just be sure that you don't go too far into the future, or what you’re posting could be out of touch with current news or events.

3. Social sharing tools. There are any number of social sharing tools and apps you could use that make it easier for people to "like" your content, or send instant tweets and recommendations about it. These can be used in conjunction with all kinds of content, and especially blog posts or other material on your site. That's helpful because it lets you get more mileage out of every post, image, or video, while helping you to grow your social network at the same time.

4. Your website's analytics package. Social media marketing can take a lot of time and energy – so much so, that it's easy to forget that the real goal is to grow your business. By using in-depth analytics, you can see how people are reacting to your social content, and whether your profiles are generating new interest and sales opportunities.

Of course, but one way you can save time on social media marketing without sacrificing results is to have the right creative team working on your side. Get in touch with WebRevelation today and let us show you how we can put these tools to work for your business.

Posted in : SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : social media


Why Social Media, Customer Service, and CRM Go Together

Posted Mon, May 13, 2013 by Julie Short

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn get a lot of attention because they have grown so quickly in the past five years (and are still adding millions of users each month), leading businesses to see them as marketing opportunities. After all, if your customers are hooked on social media, that must be the best place to go and advertise or market to them… right?

In some cases that might be, but a lot of companies are finding that social sites are difficult places to spread marketing messages. In fact, it could be that social platforms have more value for customer service and CRM than they do for gaining new business. 

That's because social media profiles are built on relationships, not transactions. Here are a few ways to use your social profiles with customer service and CRM goals:

Solve problems and answer question publicly. When a customer e-mails you and you send a response, you benefit from keeping them satisfied or furthering a sales opportunity. When you do it publicly, however, on a social media site, you also answer that question and improve your visibility with dozens or hundreds of other buyers, too. That's why, so long as you aren't spreading sensitive information for all to see, your social profiles can be great for handling routine customer service inquiries.

Find distinct customer segments that you can market to. One of the underrated features of a strong social media campaign is the information you can find about buyers (or groups of prospects) simply by looking through profiles. Don't worry, we aren't talking about cyber-stalking; instead, we are encouraging you to find out more about your best customers, and notice similarities between them so you can find others just like them.

Create links between your social profiles and online CRM systems. There are any number of ways that you could tie Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to custom CRM systems, account updates to targeted marketing, and more. The fact that tens of millions of people use social media site on a daily basis should encourage you to find ways to move friends, fans, and followers from your profiles to other pages and customer management systems.

If you're looking for more ways to connect social media and customer service, or simply want new ideas for growing your business online, now is the perfect time to talk to the team at WebRevelation. Why not call or e-mail us today to arrange for free consultation?

Posted in : CRM , SEO/SMO/SMM | 
Tags : social media , CRM


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