Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business at Small Business BC June 2018

Join Mhairi at Small Business BC or from the comfort of your office and learn about the basics of social media as we share our tips and tactics for success.

Seminar Date

Thursday,  June 28th, 2018 – 1:00pm to 4.30pm

Mastering Social Media to Grow Your Small Business

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.

This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live webinar. All webinar participants will also receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.

 

Register to attend at:


Listing Your Business on Google

Is your business listed on Google?

Listing your business on Google is a great way to help you get discovered and it also goes a long way to validate your business. In Canada most of us use Google to search the Internet so having a presence there iListing your business on Googles vital.

To find out if your business is listed on Google, simply Google the name of your business. If the right results show up on the right hand side of the page then you’re listed thanks to Google. Checking this before setting up a new one helps avoid the headache of duplicate listings.

Note that if you’ve ever set up a Google + page then you likely have a Google business listing and you may have 2 since Google also set up a bunch for every business it could find.

Listing your business on Google / claiming Your Google Listing

Once you’ve determined whether you have a page or not, go here to create your listing OR click on ‘Claim this listing’ (you’ll find this below your phone number on the results to the right of your screen when you Google your business name).

Google My Business listingGoogle will step you through a process to verify your name address and location. Make sure all of the details are correct then click on the check box to verify that you are authorized and that you agree to the terms of service. Google will then call you with an automated message giving you the four digit code you need to complete the verification process.

Note that this will set up your business listing AND your Google+ page as well as Google maps.*

Once you are set up you should add more detail about your business along with photos, and your logo to brand your presence.

*It is important to differentiate between Google+ which is Google’s attempt at a social network and Google My Business which is a directory. You should have both and they should be linked so when you are setting them up remember to login and use your Google account when stepping through the process (the one you use for Adwords and Analytics too!).

Why you should have a Google Business Listing

1. Gets your business discovered online locally – and this is huge
2. It shows the world that you are for real!
3. Provides valuable links from Google back to your website
4. Helps your customers quickly and easily find you both online and off

If you need some help with this get in touch.


Learn our tips for Social Media Success at Small Business BC

Join Mhairi at Small Business BC or from the comfort of your office and learn about the basics of social media as we share our tips and tactics for success.

Seminar Date

Monday,  June 15, 2015 – 1:00pm to 3:30pm

Social Media and On-line Marketing Tactics

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.

This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live webinar. All webinar participants will also receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.

Buy Now, choose your preferred location:

Register to attend at:

 

 

 

 


Small Business: Here’s Why Your Social Media Isn’t Working

Social media can really level the playing field for small businesses. It gives us the ability to do more with less and yet many companies claim that social media isn’t working. The fact of the matter is that it’s not social media that’s at fault, it’s you. Here’s why:

1. You’re  not listening – and you are not alone – 40% of brands using social media don’t respond to comments, questions, replies or retweets. Guaranteed that by doing so you are ignoring inquiries and opportunities that could bring you business. Get in the habit of monitoring your feeds regularly and respond frequently.

2. You’re rude to your fans/followers – fans are like exotic hot house plants, if you care and nurture them they will grow abundant and spread but if you ignore them they will simply die off. Nurtured fans can become your marketing dept on steroids. So why are you ignoring it when they retweet or share your content? A simple thank you is all it takes to keep them happy. Why would anyone retweet your content if you ignore them for it?

3. You’re a headless chicken scratching around doing what you can but with absolutely no direction. You started out with a blog, then added a Facebook page because everyone’s one there, then Twitter because you saw it on TV, and now Pinterest, Google+…. The fact of the matter is that it takes you so long to do your social media that you don’t have enough time to do what you do best and make money. There are thousands of social networks out there. You can’t be on all of them effectively and still make money for your business so choose 2 or 3 (max) and do them really well. Choose the ones that your target audience is most like to use.

4. Your branding sucks – sounds harsh, but it is true. Before you embark on building your social media presence it is important to make sure that you you’ve done your homework and that your brand is ready, and that isn’t just your logo (but that’s important too). You should understand what your company stands for, how it is perceived, how your offering is different. If you know this then you will be more likely to succeed online and off.

5. Your customer service stinks – another hard thing to hear but if your offline customer service stinks then it’s just going to be amplified online, rolling out the red carpet for trolls. Fix your processes and make sure your customer service rocks before you start.

6. You like the sound of your own voice – sorry to tell you but this isn’t about you, my friend, it is about your audience.  Stop mouthing off about you and your business all the time. Eighty percent of your posts should be focused on adding value for your audience and twenty percent should be about you (not the other way round).  And save the photos of your coffee (yawn).

7. Your social media stands alone.   – your  presence on social media needs to reflect your real world activities.  If you are having an open house or event, Tweet about it.  Closed on Monday, then post it on your Facebook page.  Consider social media as a component of your overall marketing, communications and business plan.

8. You’re an old school communicator – many small businesses fail on social media because they take the old approach to communicating and talk at their audience rather than with their audience.  This isn’t about you pushing out your message, it is about building conversations centered around your customers.

9.  You  don’t know what social media is and you don’t care. For you, social media is a passing fad and not worthy of your attention. People said the same thing about the Internet 15 years ago and the telephone 100 years ago. The fact of the matter is that if you want to do business with the next generation of clients, you will have to use social media to some extent.  If you’re not on there then they will rule you out and you’re business will suffer.

10. You delegated to the person in your office who has a thousand Facebook friends.  Just because someone knows how to use social media socially, doesn’t mean they can use it effectively for business.  Make sure that whoever is doing your social media understands your business, goals, audience and what to say or not to say before they start.

 


Search Ads Showdown – Google vs Bing

I’ve been managing Google Adwords campaigns for clients for 6 years now but Microsoft’s recent aggressive campaign to promote Bing ads grabbed my attention so I decided to compare the two search ads.

bing-ads-370x229Google and Bing are the search engines people use the most.  Google facilitates over 100 billion searches per month (over 4b in Canada alone) and Bing’s core monthly search count is over 24 billion. So if you are going to choose one over the based on sheer volume then Google Adwords is the one to go for as they have a whopping 67% of overall search (based on US stats) with the Yahoo/Bing collective garnering about 28%. Bear in mind though that Bing is slowly eroding Google’s share and that because of the lower search volumes, costs per click tend to be lower for Bing ads (you might get more Bing for your buck!).

So who uses Bing and who uses Google?  Well your average Bing user is older than your average Google user  and tends to be less well educated Bing users use the search engine from home rather than from the office or elsewhere.

The tools themselves are very similar with comparable capabilities, set up and interface.  It’s obvious that Bing has copied Google from an interface perspective which means that if you know how to use Adwords already, you will quickly be able to use Bing Ads.  Bing wins out on user interface though – it is much more attractive and easy to use than the utilitarian user interface Adwords has.

My big pet peeve with Adwords is how glitchy it can be with unwarranted and unexpected error messages when you try to do simple things like go back to your MCC (My Client Centre) from a client’s interface.  Adwords Error Message

 

In my years of using the tool, the interface has barely changed or improved which doesn’t make sense to me given the fact that Adwords is one of Google’s main revenue generators – you’d think they would spend more time and effort on making it better and retaining their clients. I guess with 67% percent of the market cornered, they don’t have to!

We are still running way more Adwords campaigns than Bing campaigns and expect to do so for the foreseeable future but Google should be looking over its shoulder and at the very least looking at ways it can improve the use ability factor.

googleadwordsWhen considering your options, Google still gives you the biggest audience and the most potential for conversions but take into account education and age and you might find that Bing might be a strong alternative or addition.  Given that most advertisers use Google, the under  utilized aspect of Bing could be a huge advantage for you.


Top 10 Tips to Boost Social Media Productivity

Social Media ProductivitySocial media has become an important marketing tool for small business. If you use it effectively, you can build brand awareness, generate leads, boost customer loyalty, drive traffic to your website not to mention enhancing mind share.  What’s more, a social presence is becoming an expected norm if your prospective customers are below 45.  For younger audiences, if they don’t find you on social media, they simply don’t do business with you.

The challenge for small business looking to implement effective social media campaigns is that we all have limited time and resources, not to mention the fact that we don’t have bottomless pockets. So how can we take advantage of social media in a way that makes sense given these potential barriers?  Here are 10 tips that will boost your social media marketing productivity.

1. Don’t spread yourself too thin – there are thousands of social media tools.  You can’t use all of them effectively, so choose up to 3 (no more) and make those the tools that your customers are most likely to use and that you will enjoy using. For example, if your target audience is the professional business type, build your presence on LinkedIn and focus on that network rather than trying to have a presence on Facebook, Pinterest et al.

2. Schedule social media time into your day just like you would for any other business activity. Stick to your schedule and don’t get distracted.  Social media can be a big time suck, don’t let it.

3. Use productivity tools like Hootsuite to schedule posts and to manage your networks effectively (Hootsuite supports LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WordPress and more). If you have different team members managing your social presence, Hootsuite let’s you see at a glance who is responding so that you are all on the same page.

4. Install and use apps on your phone so that you can check in on your social feeds and respond accordingly on the fly.  All of the major social networks as well as third party tools like Hootsuite have iPhone and Android apps although some are better than others when it comes to functionality.

5. Your social presence is an extension of day to day business.  You don’t need to come up with a whole new story for your social media updates and you shouldn’t.  Think about your to do list for the day and how you can reflect your daily activities online. Hosting an open house or event? Make sure attendees can interact with each other in the appropriate channels.

6. Reuse your existing content – to find great content to post on your social networks, use content that you already have (white papers, marketing materials, case studies etc) and adapt it to your needs.

7. Find new content use content tools: my favourite us Zyte which is an app I use on the iPad that allows me to subscribe to fresh new content based on topics and categories I’m  are interested and I can then easily share it on the networks as required.

8. Be an editor – blogging is often a central component to a company’s social strategy but blogging takes time. Build a blog editorial schedule so that you know what to blog about and when, and remember that quality beats  quantity when it comes to blogging.  If you hate to write then consider other options like video or photo blogs that make it easier for you.

9. Consider outsourcing part of your social media to a firm like Out-Smarts that specialises in social media, but be very careful if you do do this.  Make sure that the company you work with takes time to understand your organisation inside out so that they can represent you in an authentic way online.  And never outsource your social media then forget about it.  The best partnerships are those where your social media partner firm manages your day to day and general posts whilst you or your staff augment and humanize your presence when time permits.

10. Get lean – quality is much more important that quantity when it comes to building your following.  Save yourself some time and don’t follow everybody and anybody.  Instead take time to determine your connection startegy i.e. who you will most benefit from connecting with.  This will likely be different for each social network (if you are doing it right) you use and might include industry visionaries, your ideal clients/prospect, partners and related pages.

At Out-Smarts we provide professional, dedicated and timely social media marketing services managing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and YouTube pages for our clients.  Why not focus on what you do best and let us focus on what we do best.  Call us today to find out  about our services


Social Media – A Component of Your Online Presence

Social media is a component of your Internet Marketing and overall marketing strategy and should be treated as such but many small businesses fail to understand this. Instead, they consider social media on its own as a stand alone activity that has no connection to anything else. It is hugely important that your online marketing activities all reflect, augment and complement each other. If your ducks line up (so to speak), you’re more likely to succeed.

The components of an online marketing strategy:

Website  – your website is the backbone of your online presence.  Make sure that visitors to your site can easily find your social network presence too by adding social media widgets front and centre.

Email Marketing – more people still use email than any other online communication tool.  Those that subscribe to your newsletters often have an existing connection  (clients, partners etc etc) so be sure to use your newsletters to allow this network to connect with your social networks too.

Digital Marketing – more people access the Internet by phone than by PC these days so it’s important to consider your digital approach.  At the very least your website should be accessible to people on their phones and they should easily be able to click through to find your social pages and connect with you there too.

Search Marketing – The keywords that you use on your website content and META should be the same keywords that you use frequently when posting social media updates.  Online ads such as as Google Adwords or Bing Ads are a great way to try out words to see if they resonate with your audience. Once you find words that do, use them consistently in your social networking.

Measure – you shouldn’t just measure your social media progress on its own. Consider how it impacts your other online activities.  Does it drive traffic to your website?  If you Tweet about your newsletter do you get more subscribers? If you take time to measure these you can then tweak and adapt to improve and build your success over time.

Social Media – the best social media presences are those that reflect not only your online activity and strategy but also your offline.  Use your social presence to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter, to read your latest blog posts and to visit your website or to network at in person events.

Other Out-Smarts blog posts you might enjoy:

The Social Biz: A Refresher on How to Use Social Media to Build Your Business & Brand

Here’s Why Your Social Media Isn’t Working