One trend I’ve been excited about is small business owners finally starting to understand that their websites are more than online billboards. More and more they are starting to evaluate the success or failure of their website based upon its’ ability to generate leads and sales.
They may be looking for email addresses, online quote requests, appointments, event registrations, and even phone calls. I see this as very positive, especially for our team at 828 because we stopped just ‘building websites’ a few years ago.
We like helping our small business clients market themselves online, and of course the website becomes the primary vehicle in that process. It’s your 24/7 sales and marketing machine so you need to take care of it. What your website IS NOT however is your sole platform for leads.
It doesn’t matter if it’s traditional outbound marketing or digital inbound content marketing you never want all of your eggs in one basket. You need to invest your efforts in to multiple channels and social media is one of those channels that demands your immediate attention.
Social media is an absolute MUST for any type of business in 2020. Now more than ever, social media is recognized as a viable marketing tool for businesses of all kinds and owners understand it to be much more than just a community.
According to the Social Media Examiner’s 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report business owners and marketers are already spending a lot more time, energy, and money then ever before on social media for their business. A few interesting statistics from that report:
Social Media Marketing is no secret and it is no longer a novelty for those ‘cutting edge’ marketers.
In 2019, 79% of the population in the United States had a social media profile. The average person will spend over 2 hours on social media platforms daily.Those numbers keep going up too, meaning that social media is one of the best advertising platforms out there today, particularly for brand awareness. Here are some great reasons why you should be promoting your business and directing content strategies towards social media.
Establishing your business on social media helps you and your target audience connect . If your business is active on social channels, then potential customers can find, follow and interact with you.
Everyone starts searching for a product or service online first. Social media results do show up in the search results. Sometimes they’re even higher in the list of results than your website is.
As the current generation becomes adults with social media, we’ve discovered that they have a disdain for pushy marketing. This can make it tricky to market to younger customers. However, on social media platforms business can share what they are and what they do. There is no need for salesy posts, just write about your brand and what you offer and you can begin generating traffic.
Even the native paid ads on these platforms is significantly less pushy than traditional ‘popup’ ads. One of the best, top notch lead generation strategies in use today involves running facebook ads to a landing page that offers some form of free gated content like an ebook, course, or other resource.
Responding to your audience’s comments and questions is an easy way to build relationships and promote trust in your brand. Good interaction includes replying, responding and sharing information. Customers and potential leads will make note of it and see that you care about your brand and product or service.
Social media can be one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. Posting a call to action, such as links to services pages, blog posts, promotions, etc will lead more people to your website. The more interaction you get, the more your posts will be shown to followers organically. This will bring more visibility to your brand, and eventually more traffic and leads.
Theoretically, you can manage your own social media without spending a penny. However, if you put money into it properly, you will see a good ROI (return on investment). If you hire a person or company to maintain your social media profiles, you might spend more money up front. However, the constant monitoring will pay off in the long run with quality lead generation and satisfied clients.
If you do want to manage your own social media, here are some great tools for scheduling, planning, and tracking your social media posts across platforms.
Small businesses everywhere are already using social media to create a brand for themselves, and market their products and services. Through posts, tweets, pictures and videos, they’re engaging in consistent conversations with existing and potential customers about their products and services.
Social media also makes your company appear more personable. Your customers will feel like they can approach you, ask you questions and potentially pass your name on to their friends.
We could, (and should), write a series of posts on ways to use social media for lead generation but let’s just start with 2 quick tips we will try and get back and expand on those soon. First off, ANY tactic you use should be focused on being helpful and solving problems.
What is it your customers need? How can you help solve their problems? Find ways to serve your customer base. Here are 2 ways to do just that:
Siri can’t answer everything, and if you’re an industry expert you can probably help people in your field. That sort of thing is much better handled in social media versus a quick search in Google or BING.
For example our client Capital Edge Consulting provides an Ask the Expert Group in LinkedIn where the consultants often interact with people through Q/A.
Being helpful and providing good content is the core of social media. Good content is how you get more active users, likes, follows, engagement, and even potential leads.
You’re not on social media to simply promote your business. You’re promoting your business through your efforts to help potential customers. If you start to monetize them you will lose them and any chance you had at generating a quality lead.
If you’re not actively using Social Media Marketing to promote your business and generate new quality leads then start. If you are doing so, do more and improve your strategy. Your social media presence will give your business a voice. It will distribute information about who you are and what you to do a different audience, and most importantly it will allow you to reach your customers where they are.
Getting started will require first defining your audience and choosing the best platform(s) to reach them. Do your research, share your quality content and analyze things so you can keep track of how things are going.
If you need to create stunning graphics for your Social Media Marketing efforts, there are many free graphic design software options available. Many of these free design software programs and image editing tools that can be considered solid Photoshop alternatives.
Below are 5 of those free image design tools to help you create stunning visuals for your Social Media Posts.
Canva is a tool loaded with enough easy to use features and functionality that anyone can create a variety of engaging content that gets shared.
Canva really offers a variety of content types. From pre-sized social media image and header templates to marketing materials, documents, presentations, invitations and ads, you’ll find almost everything you need.
If you don’t, you can always create a custom project. Even better, Canva’s collection of content types continues to grow. For example, they recently introduced templates for both eBooks and resumes.
Inkscape is a free program with good SVG integration and advanced features for print as well as web design. It is a professional graphic editor with straightforward and easy to use user interface. There are also various tutorials and previously created work galleries to help you get started.
Ultimate Paint is a full featured 32-bit Windows graphic program for image creation, viewing and manipulation. The latest version comes with all of the basic functionality for free.
It has a flexible brush handling method which encourages creative drawing. It supports PEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PCX, AVI (reading only), TGA, WMF/EMF, ICO (reading only), IFF/LBM and WAP BMP image formats and Twain compatible scanners.
If you like Photoshop but can't afford to pay for the program, try using Sumo Paint.
It is a free online image editor that you may either use online for photo editing or download to access offline. However, you will have to pay a subscription fee to access the program offline.
Using Sumo Paint, you may edit photos right in your web browser without needing to install anything, though you do need Adobe Flash to use it.
If you want to reproduce your drawing or vector art programmatically or create a simple logo, then, Scalable Vector Graphics (also known as SVG) is the format you'll need. SVG-Edit is an open source SVG graphic design software option for editing and processing 2D vector graphics.
Social media needs to be a vital piece of your marketing strategy. As long as you're providing interesting, useful content regularly, you will be able to get engagement on your channels.