research phase - blog post

16 Tactics to Help Prospective Clients Find You in the Research Phase

When customers are in the research phase of the sales cycle, how will they find you? 

The research phase of the Buyer Journey is a stage that all customers will go through before making a purchase (we discuss this in greater detail in a previous blog post). It is a safe bet that many (if not all) of these customers are doing their research digitally. 
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5 Effective Pinterest Marketing Tactics for your Business

Pinterest marketing – yes, this platform has come a long way from being a place to share recipes and interior decor. Pinterest is one of the most underutilized, yet effective marketing tools for businesses. 

But we understand the hesitation behind using this as a marketing tool. With Instagram, Facebook and TikTok being one of the most used social media platforms for marketing, it can seem daunting to learn something completely new. 
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TikTok Marketing in 2020: How to Use TikTok for Your Small Business

When you think of the short-form video platform, TikTok, you may picture a teenager filming themselves doing a viral dance video. But dancing is just one of the popular forms of content being uploaded to the app that has taken the world by storm and is all over the news right now as we wait to see if it will be banned in the US or bought out.
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Top 10 Tips to Quickly Build Your Instagram Following

We were woefully late to Instagram as a company. Our team members had been using it for years and we’ve been building there for our clients but our corporate Insta feed was sorely neglected. In fact, we just launched it this spring, but in true Out-Smarts fashion, when we decide to do something (however late to the game we are), we do it right. We’d like to share with you some tips on how we went from 34 to 1034 followers in the space of 2 short months.

But first a little about the app, Instagram is a photo and video sharing app owned by Facebook. There are currently 800 million users on Instagram, and 51% of users access the platform at least once per day. Over 80% of accounts on Instagram follow a business, but two-thirds of profile visits to businesses come from people who aren’t following that business. The largest segment of Instagram users are aged between 18 – 24 with a pretty even split between men and women. With impressive stats like these, it’s no surprise more and more businesses are joining the Instagram game.

Tips to Build your Instagram Business Following

    1. Take time to craft a good bio that conveys what you do, who you do it for. Make it upbeat and interesting. You can also use the bio to link back to things you want to promote through hyperlinks, mentions, and hashtags. With a bio that speaks directly to your target audience, you’ll attract more quality followers who are more likely to become your customers.
    1. Post regularly – the best way to determine how often to post is by trial and error and will really depend on your audience. Test and try different frequencies and monitor engagement to help you decide. Once you have found a rhythm that works – stay consistent for the best results.
    1. Like and comment – the more you interact on Instagram, the more people will interact back with you. Be focused as to who you interact with – remember your target audience and hone in on that.
    1. Follow – to build your following you have to follow the right feeds. Get in the habit each day of following Instagram feeds in your target area. Keep an eye on your follower to following ratio. You can also use tools like Instazood that help automate this for you but be extra careful to monitor this often to ensure you don’t run into any issues that could get you banned.
    1. Share the love – despite all the selfies out there, your Instagram business feed shouldn’t just be all about you. Share the love and great stories of your clients and customers and tag them in your posts.
    1. Use hashtags, these are key to getting your content found. You can use up to 30 tags but 11 seems to be the optimal number (again trial and error will help determine this for you). Hashtags are a series of letters, symbols or emojis preceded by the # that makes them hyperlinkable. Choose hashtags that describe your business, the purpose of your account, your target market, and your location. We also recommend choosing hashtags that have between 50,000 to 200,000 tags so you have a better chance of standing out. …. You can use tools like Hashtagify me to help identify popular ones to use, then there are also hashtags that encourage reciprocation.
    1. How does your feed look – Instagram pages are quickly becoming the home page for many companies. While a matching feed isn’t necessary to grow your following, take the time to curate your page so future followers know exactly what to expect when they follow you. Be consistent and plan out the look of your Instagram feed before you post, using a visual planner like Later.
    1. Share with Instagram Stories – Posting to your Instagram Story as a business is a fun and creative way to connect with your audience, grow your engagement, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website. Since stories only have a 24-hour lifespan, it’s the perfect place to share your journey, community posts, behind-the-scenes shots, and sneak peaks.
    1. Take great photos – Curate your feed to be the best representation of your brand. Put your best foot forward and post relevant, high-quality photos to attract your target audience.
  1. Take advantage of captions – this is the space where you have an opportunity to share more about your brand and your story with your followers. This is also an area many businesses overlook, so take the time to write out an engaging caption and you’ll be rewarded with a more engaged audience.

With over 1 billion active monthly users, it’s no surprise that getting more Instagram followers is a big priority for most businesses. We hope these tips serve as a helpful start for anyone hoping to grow their Instagram following. Not sure how to implement these strategies for your business? Learn how Out-Smarts can help you achieve success on Instagram.


Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business in Terrace and Kitimat

Next week, Mhairi will be heading up to Northern BC to present ‘Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business” at the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce on February 27th then on to the Kitimat Chamber the next night.  The Terrace event is full but there are still a few spots in Kitimat. Click on the link to register below.

Just because you know what social media is, does not mean that you necessarily understand how to use it to grow and develop your business. This workshop focuses on understanding social media, what is it and how it’s connecting people.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn how/if social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
  • Understand what opportunities are available for you to leverage social media for business growth and prospecting.

Tickets: FREE
Light dinner included

REGISTER TODAY: Email info@kitimatchamber.ca

Terrace and Kitimat businesses welcome!


Marketing Predictions and Digital Trends for 2018

Ten years into the great social media experiment and 2017 was the year we saw Facebook hit the 2 billion user mark, the proliferation of real-time video across social platforms and the continuing email renaissance. With 2018 coming up fast upon us what better time to reflect on the past year, to dust off the crystal ball and to predict what 2018 will bring for marketers.

This post is divided into five sections to mirror the disciplines Out-Smarts focuses on websites trends, SEO – getting found when people search online, email marketing, social media and overall marketing strategy.

Website Design Trends

We know that Google is going to continue to emphasize the importance of mobile in 2018 so expect to see function taking precedence over form with a focus on usability and minimalist site navigation and content proliferating. It’s going to be interesting to see how the content is king crusaders balance their obsession with publishing content with minimalism and mobile. Expect to see more valuable content related to buyer intent rather than simply content for the sake of putting something out there.

Will 2018 be the year when small businesses finally catch up? 50% of small businesses still don’t have a website; we’re hoping this new year will be the one the laggards finally catch up. It is interesting that social media adoption for small business is much higher than website adoption. The popularity of social media is likely because of a low barrier to entry of social platforms. However, it is important to consider that you don’t own your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages (or any other social media presence you might have) the social media company owns it. What happens if they switch directions or go out of business? A website belongs to your business, not to a third party.

Watch out for more animation (logos in particular) and websites that incorporate GIFs in 2018 too – hopefully, they’re less cheesy than their Flash predecessors. Artificial Intelligence is going to be everywhere in 2018 too as enhancements make Chatbots get better and better at answering questions and simulating conversations with website visitors.

Search Engine Optimisation

Don’t let anyone tell you that keyword research is no longer important. It is and will continue to be, but there will be a shift in 2018 to focus more on semantic search, buyer intent and topics rather than specific keywords. SEOs will focus more on having their site show up at the right time when people are actually considering a purchase, rather than having the site show up to attract particular personas.

Another aspect that should be on your SEO radar in 2018 is voice search which means you need to hone your long tail keywords, i.e. keyword phrases that are hyper-specific to what you are selling.

Image search will continue to grow in 2018 so now might be the time to make sure all the images on your website have well thought out and optimized alt tags.

Email Campaigns

The email renaissance will continue in 2018. Get ready to watch videos embedded directly in email campaigns. Technological enhancements in email clients will continue to lead to more and more email apps that support embedded video. Right now less than half of all email clients can play embedded videos but thanks to Apple mail, iOS and Samsung this is changing. Up until now, most senders have opted to embed a fake play button in the email with a link to the video on a separate site or by GIF.

Including video in emails can lead to big increases in open rates – Campaign Monitor

Watch for more sophistication in list segmentation too. Segmenting campaigns so that specific audiences receive emails that contain content tailored to their unique perspective.

Social Media

2017 was the year of streaming video in social media; LinkedIn In and Twitter followed Facebook Live’s lead and began supporting live streaming video content. In 2018 watch out for growing adoption of these technologies and more creative live streams.

Over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day (TechCrunch, 2016). – via Buffer

Not doing short video is not an option – Kat Hahn

In 2018 we will also see the increased adoption of short-lived content, content that’s only available for a short period of time before it disappears, – like Instagram stories and Snapchat. Marketers must start developing strategies to maximize the reach and impact of ephemeral content as well as considering tactics to get this content noticed.

On platforms like Instagram and Facebook, only a tiny percentage of followers actually see the content you share on your page. To get noticed in 2018, you will need to invest in ads on these platforms. Consider video ads to spice things up a little.

Social media analytics, measuring tools and management solutions will become more sophisticated in 2018 with an emphasis on enterprise social marketing integrating all platforms.

How Marketing Strategies will Evolve in 2018

2018

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that 2018 will be the year that our obsession with all things digital and only digital will end. It’s also going to be the year we’re going to start calling our discipline marketing again (rather than digital). Marketing in 2018 will encompass all aspects of the marketing mix, both online and off and marketers will use the means most likely to help them attract their target audience.

Consider this, there are 65 million business pages on Facebook, 90% of businesses use social media. These are substantial numbers, but for marketers this means that it is becoming increasingly difficult, not to mention more expensive, to get noticed. If you want to attract your target audience’s attention in 2018, then widen your horizons and consider sending them a direct mail piece (depending on the audience) in a nice coloured envelope with handwritten wording. It will likely be the only physical mail the recipient gets that day (or maybe that week or month!), they’re going to open it, and if your copy is effective they will act on it!

Conclusion

2018 is going to be an interesting year; technological advancements will continue to speed up. To be effective as marketers, it’s going to be important not simply to jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing but to consider options strategically and with your target audience in mind (rather than from a product or service-centric perspective). That said, video popularity has been growing year over year and won’t stop. Cisco predicted that video would account for 80% of internet traffic by 2020. So if you do nothing else, consider how you might incorporate video into your digital approach in 2018.


Facebook Likes

How to Get More Likes on Facebook

**How To Get More Likes on Facebook – this is an update of an older post. Go here to see the older one, Get People to Like Your Facebook Page.**

Facebook has become a major alternative to Google when it comes to promoting your business online and driving traffic to your site. As of this week, it boasts a massive 2 billion users. Not only can your Facebook page help bring tons of traffic to your website but the traffic it brings is more targeted, visitors are more likely to visit more pages and they will stay longer. This, combined with the fact that having a Facebook page can help you stay engaged with existing and new audiences, means that Facebook might be a major component of your digital marketing mix if it isn’t already (especially if your product is consumer related!) However,  the challenge then becomes how to get more likes on Facebook.

Once you have created a Facebook Page for your organization the challenge becomes attracting the right audience and getting people to “like” and interact with your page. Here are a few tips that will help you get more page likes on Facebook.

Tips to Get More Likes on Facebook

1. Content – there is a popular saying, “content is king” and it really is the key to growing your following. Did you know that only 1-3% of your followers ever see your organic page posts? Shout out to Mari Smith for mentioning that stat at Call to Action Conference this week.

If your content adds value (by that I mean that it grabs people’s interest or tells your audience something they didn’t already know) and stimulates likes, comments and shares, current followers will be more engaged and more new followers will come. Images and videos have the most engagement and using tools such as Canva (the online design tool) are great ways to enhance your visuals. So, take the time to post quality content.

2. Website widget –  add a Facebook widget to your website so that people can click from there to like your page. Providing social media links on your website is a great way to increase engagement in the digital space- especially on Facebook. When people visit your website, they may never return but if they visit your site then follow a link to like your Facebook page, you’re more likely to have an ongoing connection with them. That’s why it’s so important to have widgets on your website to form a digital connection.

3. Invite friends – use the ‘suggest to a friend link’ to find and send invites to friends but be selective and only invite Facebook friends who might actually be interested in your product or service. Also, adding a link to your Facebook Page URL to your email signature will drive more people to your page.

4. Create a unique username for your Facebook page URL like ours-  http://www.facebook.com/outsmarts -which is short and sweet and branded. This will help make your page easily accessible to potential customers and clients. To do this, go to your page click on the ‘about’ section on the left and then click on ‘Create Page @username’

5. Promote your page – when you are networking both online and off, tell people about your page. Even having your social media usernames (or at least images of the platforms you are active on) easily visible on your business cards is very beneficial! If you use Twitter or other social networks, link and tell your followers in those forums too. Run a photo contest on your page to get more people engaged.

6. Update regularly – update your Facebook page regularly (refer to tip #1 when doing so!). You should update at least once a day but not so frequently that your posts become intrusive and annoying.

7. Place an ad – Facebook ads are highly targeted. Use ‘Promote Your Page’ ads to get more followers on your page by advertising to people in your target area who might be interested. You might be surprised as to how many new “likes” this will generate. You can also boost your posts so that more people see and like your updates. The more that people do this, the more your posts will show up on their timelines.

8. Avoid overselling – it is not good Facebook etiquette to simply use your page for promotional purposes. Use the 20/80 rule and ensure that you only promote your company, products or services 20% of the time (focus the rest of your posts on adding value and building loyalty with your followers).

9.  Make your Page Stand Out- humans are visual creatures so make sure to use a great cover image that grabs people’s attention. It could even encourage people to click on the link below. And be sure to use the customizable call to action buttons. Having a call to action button makes your services and products easily accessible to the public. Another way to stand out is to include posts that target your specific audience- relating back to tip #1 (content is king!)

10. Promote your Page – make sure your Facebook Page URL is highlighted on all direct marketing and traditional advertising vehicles, add “Like on Facebook” information to letters, packaging and shipping materials to spread the word in other media. If you have a physical location, you could have a tablet or iPad next to checkout encouraging people to like your page.

11. Engagement is Essential – even though page likes are an excellent indicator of your success on Facebook, it is important to remember that engagement is even more vital. Are people commenting, sharing or actually liking every individual post? Remember to include great images, excellent content and use all the tips mentioned above to increase engagement on Facebook.

We hope you found these tips helpful!

Need some help with your social media? Get in touch with us today.