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:


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:

 

 

 

 


The Out-Smarts Podcast #35 with Michela Quilici

Michela QuiliciEach month for the Out-Smarts podcast I talk with local small business people and ask them to share with us how they’ve used social media and the Internet to grow their business and to tell us their top 3 tips for business growth.

This month I had the pleasure of sitting down with business partner and colleague Michela Quilici of Q Consulting. Listen up!

Q Consulting


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.

 


Why You Need to Advertise Online

Here at Out-Smarts, we’re big fans of online advertising. We like the fact that it’s affordable, traceable and tailored to your target audience – meaning you’re not spending important advertising dollars to get your ad in front of people who don’t have a need or want for your product.

Advertising online is highly targeted and beneficial because it relies on keywords that people use to search for content online with Google Adwords, and topics people have indicated an interest in on their Facebook profiles with Facebook Ads.

When you advertise offline, such as putting up a billboard downtown, it’s hard to know how effective that billboard was at driving traffic to your business. The nice thing about including online advertising in your overall marketing strategy is that it’s highly traceable. You know exactly who visited your website or interacted with your Facebook page as a result of your advertising efforts  – and, as a bonus, online ads generally won’t break the bank.

The two biggest ways to advertise online are through Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. We discuss both in detail below.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a cost effective way to rank highly in Google search results for highly targeted keywords that describe your business. We recommend using Adwords to augment your SEO efforts such as targeted website copy, completed META titles, tags and descriptions, directory submissions, link building, etc. If you’ve completed all of the above, or you’re in a highly competitive industry, and you’re still not ranking at the top of first page search results, then Adwords is for you. Very few people go beyond first page search results, meaning if you don’t have some sort presence there, your website may never be found by potential clients.

Adwords is great because you can target by geographic area and language, and it’s tailored to your budget. You can spend as little or as much as your budget allows each day on advertising. There are also extensive built-in metrics that track how well your ads are doing including; clicks, impressions, click through rate (number of clicks on your ad compared to how often it appeared to your target audience), average cost per click, total cost, as well as your best and worst performing keywords and ad campaigns. The sheer amount of data and metrics available through Adwords can be overwhelming at first but, trust us, it can quickly become addicting to tweak your keywords and campaigns, and watch the effect it has on your ability to reach your target audience.

Adwords also gives you the option of your ads appearing in search results, on their content network, or both. Search results are pretty self-explanatory – your ads may appear when someone executes a Google search using keywords you’ve bid on. Advertising on the Google content network means your ads may appear on websites that Google has determined are related to the keywords that you have bid on.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are great because of how highly targeted you can make each ad. For example, if you’re a Vancouver based fitness centre, you can get as granular as targeting women, between 30-40 years old, that are married, living in Vancouver, with a university education, that have expressed an interest in fitness and healthy living. It’s easy to see how beneficial this can be for your business.

Another nice thing about Facebook Ads is that they are completely tailored to your budget. You can pay as little as $1 a day, or as much as your budget allows for advertising. As well, you can direct your ad to land on either your Facebook business page or your website, depending on whether your goal is to build your Facebook presence and engagement, or drive more traffic to your website.

Once you’ve run a Facebook Ad campaign, you can see how effective your ad was using built-in metrics such as campaign reach, frequency, social reach, actions (people that connected with your page after viewing your ad), clicks (people that clicked on your ad but didn’t connect with your page), as well as your click through rate and ad spend.

You do need to provide Facebook with your credit card information before you can set up Facebook Ads, but this is a simple process and allows for easy billing once you start generating clicks on your ads. Speaking of which, we always recommend choosing the ‘pay per click’ option – meaning you only pay if someone clicks on your ad versus the ‘impressions’ option – meaning you pay whenever someone sees your ad.

If we’ve convinced you about the important of online advertising, and we hope we have, contact us and we can help you get started.


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.