Over on our Socialmediaonlineclasses.com YouTube channel, we debut brief how-to videos tutorials to help you make the most of your time on social media. Our most popular videos of 2014 help college students, local businesses, and a lucky makeover winner, as well as teach you how to do Facebook ads, Hootsuite, and more.
#1. College Guide to Getting a Job | Webinar, Slide Deck, Infographic
Learn how to land your DREAM job w/simple steps that differentiate you from every other candidate.
#5. Pinterest Marketing How To: Makeover Your Boards to Drive Sales
Pinterest How-To for Business: drive leads & sales from your Pinterest account. Watch as I makeover already excellent Pinterest boards to generate leads, sales, become one of your most profitable marketing tactics.
#6. Facebook Marketing: 5 Minute Targeted Marketing Plan
Spend only 5 minutes every month identifying the TOP 4 Insights to create your own targeted Facebook Marketing Plan. Insights tell you What Works Now, so you don’t have to keep up with every algorithm change Facebook makes.
#7. Hootsuite How To: Master Hootsuite in Just One Hour!
Hootsuite How To Tutorial in this webinar: you’ll learn how to: * Post one time and send it to all of your social networks * Schedule posts for a future date and time * Add photos and videos to posts * Shorten links to fit them into Twitter’s 140 characters
How to guarantee your fans see posts from your business page. Crush that lowly 17% post reach by doing this single step! Share this video with your fans so they know how to Get Notifications from your business page.
It’s back to school time for students around the world — why not you too? Get caught up on the best presentations we offer here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com. They cover a wide range of topics, from Social Media Strategy to Facebook to Pinterest. So bookmark this page and return to if often when you need a refresher on your social media skills.
We’ve updated our Facebook Marketing Infographic and break it all down for you here. 64 tactics for a possible 4 million different campaigns!
Slideshare is a great place to upload your PowerPoint (or Keynote, Google Presentations too) and share them with the world. It’s a hugely underestimated social network that provides great search engine optimization too.
Editor’s Note: Amanda Jensen is a summer intern at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com. She’s a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
You’ve probably heard about the importance of adding images to your Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook posts. Large companies are able to hire professional photographers to take photos for their websites, and still others subscribe to stock photo libraries.
The bad news? As a small business owner, these options may not work for you or your wallet.
The amazing news? You and your team can take your own photos for free, without a fancy camera or professional training! Here are four steps that you can use to start building your own stock photo library:
1. What Do I Need?
Professional photographers use fancy cameras with multiple lenses. Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy camera or lots of equipment to take great photos.
If you already have one of these fancy DSLR cameras, that’s great! If not, don’t worry, any point-and-shoot digital camera will work wonderfully. If you don’t already own a camera, you can find one at a reasonable price from places like Target and Wal Mart.
For the best photo quality, I recommend a digital camera that is at least 10 megapixels. You can find this information on the outside of the box your camera came in, or in the owner’s manual.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have a removable SD card to store your photos on. Some cameras come with one included in the box, but be sure to double check that you have one!
2. What Do I Photograph?
Now that you have the right equipment, it’s time to start taking pictures. Here are a few suggestions of WHAT to photograph:
Your products – If your business sells things like food, quilts, or other physical objects, take photos of them! It will show people what you offer.
Your staff – You’ve invested in a great team, so make them the stars of your Facebook page.
Related images – Photos of keyboards, houses for sale, or blank tax forms are great. Anything that has to do with your business. (Hint: Use the macro setting on your camera to take close-ups, and use a photo editing site to add cool effects).
Nature – Leaves, trees, sunsets, etc. are all great options that will brighten up your business page! (Hint: Use a photo editing site to blur the images and add text to them. Inspirational quotes are great)!
3. Rule of Thirds
When you’re taking photos, always use the Rule of Thirds. It’s an important guideline to follow, and will ensure that your clips and images will be as visually appealing as possible.
Simply put, the Rule of Thirds divides an image into nine squares. (It’s basically like putting a Tic-Tac-Toe board over an image.) Many digital cameras will show you the grid on the screen as you’re taking the photo, but if not, it will appear in any photo editor when you try to crop an image.
This photo is a great example of Rule Of Thirds. Notice the grid on the photo.
The subject of a photo should ALWAYS be located at one of the four places where the lines on the grid cross, instead of in the middle of the frame. It will make your photo look more balanced.
Notice how the flower is located at one of the intersections, not the middle of the frame.
4. Editing Tools
Now that you have your photos taken, it’s time to edit them.
There are TONS of different programs that you can use to edit your photos. Some, such as Adobe Photoshop, are expensive and complicated. Others, such as Pixelmator, are more reasonably priced but still a little difficult to master.
For beginners, I recommend using a free website called Ribbet. Creating an account is easy, and you won’t have to download any special programs for your computer. Also, the site will store your 100 most recent photos in your online library.
Aside from basic edits like cropping and photo rotation, Ribbet also offers lots of fun filters that are easy to use. It’s any easy way to turn your photos into a work of art for you business pages.
MEMBER BONUS: Who Should Build Your Library?
SMOC members: login to see exclusive members-only secrets about who should build your library and how to turn it into a huge content asset. LOGIN HERE.
We posed questions to Socialmediaonlineclasses.com members (almost 300 of them!) to take the pulse of social media for small business in 2014. Some results were expected, while others were shocking. All are shown in the infographic below. (Following the infographic is a brief explanation of the finding for each question)
Share this Image On Your Site
Majority of Small Business Owners Do Have a Website
Most small business owner do have their own website, which is big jump from 2011, when less than 50% did (according to the SBA). That means more entrepreneurs sare making the transition from traditional marketing to digital. It’s also a positive step in owning your space online: social networks may change, but you own your website and your domain, and can control its look, feel, and what you share on it.
More Business-to-Consumer Brands Use Social Media
It’s no surprise that more business-to-consumer brands (B2C) use social media, as far more social networks exist for those channels. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are definitely stronger in the B2C market, while LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slideshare are focused more on the B2B space. Google, Google+, and YouTube cross both spectrums.
Are Your Clients Mostly Women?
The response to this question was surprising: women are more active on social networks, and Pinterest is primarily a social network for women. But a clear 63% of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com members said that women were not the majority of their clients. Greater than half of small brands reach out to both men and women in their marketing.
Everyone Watches YouTube
YouTube remains the biggest missed opportunity for small business, as over 98% of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com members have watched a video there, but fewer than 10% actually use video marketing. Brands can learn to record and produce video quickly with smartphones, webcams, and even use YouTube’s built-in editing features to get started marketing their business with video.
Search Engine Rank is Essential
Ranking highly in search engine results is critical to small brands for growing their business, as a clear 87% responded it was important. However, SEO services remain out of reach to small business budgets, with the average SEO project costing $4,000 (according to moz.com). Entrepreneurs can improve their own SEO rankings by focusing on their domain names, content marketing, and earning high quality links to their websites.
Few Brands Give Presentations, Workshops, or Lectures
Only 36% of small business owners give presentations, workshops or lectures. Educational marketing offer a tremendous opportunity for brands to reach a wider audience, provide “infotainment,” and build their client list.
A little more than half — 57% — of small brands said they need to get the attention of influencers in their industry. Twitter is an excellent, low-maintenance way to do influencer outreach, yet many entrepreneurs still see Twitter as a celebrity social network.
While the definition of an influencer will vary from one industry to another, you’re quite likely to find those key players on Twitter engaging in multiple conversations daily. Brands should be on Twitter, focusing on their industry influencers, and engaging in those conversations.
Tip: a great way to group conversations by industry in both Twitter and Hootsuite is to use a list. You can have separate lists for the media, vendors, potential joint venture (JV) partners, and more.
Biggest Challenge Facing Small Brands: How to Start with Social Media?
The top challenge facing small brands is this: they’re overwhelmed, with 48% responding they don’t where to start. Almost every brand assumes they need Facebook: in reality, only those B2C businesses or those using Facebook regularly will benefit.
A close second is being faced with far too many social networks, and not knowing which one holds the best potential for their business. Too many brands feel the need to be everywhere, and end up burned out and frustrated over a watered-down presence not generating results.
The third challenge facing small brands is not seeing a return on their investment (ROI). Not surprisingly, if brands are unsure where to start or which online platform will perform best for them, their ROI will suffer. It’s critical to develop a strategy, identify your highest potential social network (take the quiz from our Home page), and measure results over time.
Action Steps: How to Capitalize on These Results
What can you take away from these results to improve your own marketing?
If you don’t already have a website, you need to get one
No matter who your audience is, there’s a social network for you
Every business should start video marketing in 2014. You’ll see improved search engine rank and increased traffic to your website.
Educational marketing offers major opportunities to build your brand
Search Engine Optimization is important, and small brands can do basic SEO themselves
Influencer outreach can be simple & low-maintenance on Twitter
Develop and clarify your marketing strategy and your highest potential social network
<< Click on the infographic to download your own full-size version.
How do you decide where to spend your time marketing your local business?
So many social networks and marketing options can be overwhelming. How can you ensure you’re focusing on tactics yielding the most return on investment (ROI) for your local business?
Rely on the Social Media for Local Business infographic. It reveals the eight most powerful social marketing platforms for local businesses; use it as a menu to pick and choose the ones the suit your brand.
Browse the explanations of each tactic, why it’s important, and what it can do for you. Remember to share this infographic with your own network, using the social buttons at the top & bottom of this post.
1. Get a local business page
Getting found on search engines is crucial for any local business, and the #1 step you can take to appear on page one of Google search results for your area is to get a Google+ local business page. It six weeks for Google to verify your address, but once they do, you get a free listing worth thousands in advertising.
The simplest way to get a local business page on Google is to use Google+
2. Add photos of your business’ exterior
Give people a snapshot of what your brick & mortar location looks like. While a professional image would be great, one you take yourself will do nicely.
3. Add photos of your business’ interior
Do you invest a lot of time making your store an inviting place to stop in and browse? Show it off with photos of the interior, including your products, inventory, and what makes your business unique.
4. Offer the ability to add reviews
People trust reviews from real consumers and businesses, so allow the public to review your brand. Don’t worry about negative reviews: studies show they actually increase overall review credibility. Just ensure they don’t outweigh the positive ones.
5. Post hours of operation
Add your location’s hours and Google will let people know if you’re open at the EXACT moment they’re searching. Google is relieving your staff workload by avoiding that phone call of “are you open today?”
6. Includes a map and directions
Google+ provides a map to your location, making it easy for visitors to get directions from Google Maps both on desktop and mobile. Again, a phone call saved asking “how do I get to your office?”
7. Add local area code and telephone number
Adding your local telephone number makes it easy for customers to get in touch with you and call your store by pressing just one “Call” button. Even better? Adding your local area code also boosts your local search engine rankings.
8. Use local hashtags
People do a lot of searching on Google+, and using hashtags relevant to your area will help you get found more often. A local insurance office would do well to use the hashtags such as #insurance, #atlanta, and #allstate (substitute your brand name here).
9. Record a brief intro video
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, so you’ve got to show up there with a video. Record a brief video introducing your business, what you do, and your location. Think of it as your own YouTube commercial.
10. Video title should include your city, business type, name of business
It may sound dull and uninspired, but including your city, type of business, and your business name is the best way to get found on YouTube. So the title: Layton Utah Ford Dealership | Ed Kenley Ford ensures that people know your video is the one they’re looking for:
Notice the location and type of business in the YouTube video title?
11. Website hyperlink is first item in description
What’s the next thing you want viewers to do after watching the video? Visit your website? Then put the website hyperlink as the first element in the video description. That ensures viewers will see it even if they don’t click on See More to view the full description. Want viewers to call you? Then use your telephone number as the first item in the description.
12. Use city and zip code as tags
Tags are categories you can use to further describe your video, and they help YouTube determine which are the most relevant videos to your search. By using your city name and local zip code as tags, you’re telling YouTube to serve up your video as local results when people are searching for videos in your area.
13. Keep video short, less than three minutes
Make your video easy on you to record AND easy on viewers to watch by keeping it short, under three minutes. Remember, television commercials are 30 seconds: watch them closely to see what they include and emulate the ones you like.
14. Give viewers a virtual tour
You’ve likely invested heavily in your office or store’s interior, so show it off to viewers. Give them an idea of what it will look and feel like when they visit your location. Be sure to point out what differentiates your brand from others in the area.
15. Invite viewers to visit
Lastly, extend an invitation to viewers to visit your location, and offer something special to them when they do. Give away a freebie when people tell you they saw your video on YouTube.
16. Mine Analytics for a gold mine of viewer data
YouTube offers excellent analytics about how many people watched your videos, for how long, and how they found them. If people are watching only the first 10 seconds, take another look at your video. What’s your most popular video? Your least?
17. Select local business as your business page category
Facebook offers local businesses valuable features on their pages not available to others, including a map, your hours, and reviews. All these items make it simple for people to find out about your brand directly within Facebook.
Facebook’s local business pages display your hours, customer reviews, and a map to your location
18. Local business pages offer a map
When you add your physical address to your local business page, Facebook displays a map to your location. This is particularly helpful to mobile users, who can click on the map and get directions from their current location.
19. Local business pages offer reviews
Reviews from real consumers are one of the best ways to boost your brand’s credibility. Yes, you risk getting a negative review or two, but studies show those bad apples actually increase the authenticity of all the reviews. No need for people to go to Yelp — you’re letting your best customers say how much they love you and why!
20. Are you open today?
Facebook actually saves your staff from endless calls about “are you open today” and “how late are you open” with real-time status: Open 11:00 – 3:00 or Closed Today. Helpful for both your team and consumers.
21. Use local hashtags in posts
Hashtags are a great way to get found in Facebook GraphSearch, and local hashtags give you an intimate connection with your community. The more you use hashtags, the greater the opportunity for people to find your business on Facebook. G. Michael Salon, the #1 hair salon in Indianapolis, uses up to 13 hashtags on a single post.
22. Motivate fans to tag your business
Tagging allows a fan to mention your business in a post or a photo, resulting in it appearing on your NewsFeed. Can you say “free public relations?” Give fans a reason to tag your business: motivate them with a freebie or an opportunity for an experience no one else gets.
23. Check-ins from fans appear in their NewsFeeds
When your fans visit your location and check-in, their status appears in their NewsFeed along with a link to your business page. Another fantastic opportunity for free publicity. Capitalize on your local status and encourage fan check-ins with photo opportunities, cool displays, or other unique experiences.
24. Local businesses appear in GraphSearch first
If I’m looking for an insurance agency in my city, Facebook GraphSearch serves up those I’m fans with first, then local matches. Grow a targeted, local fan base and you’ll see improved search results. Also check your Insights to see where new fans are coming from.
25. Gives local business a huge SEO boost
Few business owners understand the impact Slideshare can have on your search engine rankings. After all, it’s where you share PowerPoints, right? Yes, but Slideshare transcribes the text of your slides, search engines (Google, Bing, & Yahoo) read that text, and if they like what they see, your search engine rankings improve.
Slideshare offers local businesses a HUGE SEO boost IF you use it correctly
26. Presentation title should include your city, business type, name of business
Similar to #10 for YouTube, including your city, type of business, and your business name is the best way to get found on Slideshare and in Google search. So the title: Layton Utah Ford Dealership | Ed Kenley Ford ensures that people know your business is the one they’re looking for.
27. Use SEO keywords in title text
Your SEO keywords are those search terms people use in Google to find what they’re looking for. Someone from Atlanta searching would likely search for “Georgia Ford Dealerships” if they want that cool new Shelby Mustang. If those keywords are in your presentation title, your business has a much greater chance of appearing before searchers on Google and in Slideshare.
28. Slideshare transcribes slide text for SEO
A perk of uploading a presentation to Slideshare is that it transcribes the slide text for you. Search engines LOVE that. Aim for a balance of text on your slide that is enough to help you rank in search, but not so much you crowd the slide.
29. Add a location slide with a photo
Help people visualize where your business is located by dedicated one slide to how to find you. Give your address, nearby landmarks, and a nice photo of your building.
30. Differentiate your business
What’s unique about your business? Hair salons are plentiful in most cities, but not all have Redken-trained colorists and carry Aveda products. A small one-person barber shop is an entirely different experience than a full-service barber who offers hot shaves, mustache trims, and a large collection of American Crew styling products. You know what your customers want: tell them you offer it in your presentation.
31. Use a variety of images
Please don’t resort to the snooze-fest that is the text-only slide, or Death-by-PowerPoint. Make your slide presentation visually engaging by using a variety of relevant images, great slide design, and easily read fonts.
32. Few local businesses use Slideshare
If you’re a local business reading this blog post, you’re in the minority. Most small brands don’t use Slideshare, so simply uploading a presentation there puts you in the place of most potential. Try it – and let me know how it works for you. Review Sites
33. Yelp is important for local restaurants
If you own a restaurant, people are already reviewing it on Yelp. It’s become the go-to source for finding a great place to eat in any town. Especially critical if you’re located in a tourist town. A Yelp listing offer your address, telephone, hours, a map, photos of dishes you offer, and reviews.
34. Kudzu is great for local service businesses
Kudzu offers reviews for automotive, legal, health, financial and residential construction service businesses in major cities in the U.S. However, reviews are a small part of a large, detailed description and list of services you can display on Kudzu for free. Kudzu should be high on your list if you’re in a service-based business.
35. TripAdvisor is a must for travel businesses
TripAdvisor is the first place travelers look when they’re planning a visit to a major city around the world. I personally booked a bicycle tour in Paris from reviews on TripAdvisor, and during the tour, the business owner told me TripAdvisor is a major source of new business for them. They key to credible reviews on TripAdvisor: photos.
Blue Bike Tours has a thriving business – TripAdvisor is their #1 source of new customers
36. Review sites can be an ongoing source of new customers
While many local business owners fear negative or fake reviews on these sites, it makes sense to embrace these websites and make full use of the wealth of free resources they offer you. Instead of waiting for your clients to come to your website, go to where they are: the review sites. From there you can link to your website, offer inviting photos, and make your listing so inviting they can’t wait to visit.
37. Ask clients to use photos when they review your business
Much has been published about fake reviews (and people even sued over them); the best way to add credibility to any review is to add a relevant photo to it. A photo of a clean body shop in an auto dealership can say far more than the review content, plus it shows the reviewer was really at your location. Ask your best clients for reviews and encourage them to snap a photo with their smartphone.
38. Pay attention to review content
Make it a habit to read the reviews of your business and those of your competition. While it’s impossible to please everyone, you’re likely to see a trend in what people rave about and what needs improvement. When reviewers complain about your competitors, identify how you can capitalize on their weaknesses or suggest a collaboration: you offer what they can’t, and vice-versa. I know of a local quilt shop owner who formed a friendship with the local Wal-Mart manager, and they agreed to refer customers to each other when shoppers couldn’t find what they needed.
39. Increases SEO results for your website
Review sites get massive traffic everyday, so a link on Yelp, Kudzu, TripAdvisor or other credible review site will help your website rank higher in search engines. Don’t stop with just one review site: if your industry has multiple review sites consumers use, create listings on each.
40. Add menus, photos, and details to your listings
Give visitors a multi-sensory experience when they look at your review site listing: can they see your restaurant’s inviting decor? Can they taste your tiramisu? Smell the Columbian coffee? Give viewers as much detail as possible in the form of photos, descriptions of products/services, directions, and other relevant information.
41. Follow local Instagrammers
Who are the local Instagram influencers in your area? Search for your local hashtag, ask at your next chamber of commerce meeting, and start following those colleagues. Also identify who the influential Instagram consumers are in your area and follow them as well.
42. Use a variety of images
Mix up the image types you share: staff photos, new products, inspirational quotes, your team at local charity events, before & after transformation photos, in-process photos and more. Keep your image feed interesting: too much of the same type of image gets repetitive.
43. Offer behind-the-scenes pictures
Some of the most fascinating images come from places consumers can never go: your kitchen, your body shop, stockroom, etc. Example? A local auto body shop shares fascinating before & after images of wrecked vehicles and the step-by-step process. I’d take my car there!
44. Before & after transformation images are popular
Want to show off the impact your brand can have? Share before & after images of your clients! Great for hair salons, med spas, auto body shops, remodeling contractors, insurance agencies (before/after a home fire or other disaster) or any brand that has a visual impact.
45. Share product photos with advice on how to use them
One of my favorite consignment stores posts photos of the new inventory they get weekly. I’d love to get a few of their tips on how to style or use the pieces they get. Their vision of how to use their products is priceless beyond the piece itself.
An insurance company could share tips on what to do after hail damage to a car. Getting ideas for your brand now?
46. Add location to images
Sharing those fascinating images is the first step to gaining followers. Adding your location to those images makes it easy for those followers to find you when they’re ready to visit.
47. Use local hashtags
Hashtags are crucial to getting found on Instagram, so what are the ones for your area? Indianapolis uses #indy, atlanta is known as #atl. How about your town?
48. Use city, business type, business name, zip code and area code
If this image is the first time a follower has seen your brand, don’t make them guess at your details. Use hashtags to identify what you do: #atl, #barber, #barkerjackson, #30305, and #770 tells locals everything they need to know about your business at a glance.
49. Use place pins to offer a map to your location
Pinterest now offers “place pins,” which allow you to enter your address and it displays a map of your location. Great for both desktop and mobile users, no one has to guess where you are.
50. Add city and zip code in your board/pin titles and descriptions
Pinterest offers strong SEO results both internally and in Google, so using your city and zip code will help people find their local results. Do you need them in both the pin and board descriptions? Yes. Why? Boards show up more often in Google, while inside Pinterest you’ll easily find both boards and pins.
51. Pinterest provides your brand with an easy SEO boost
Not an internet geek? Awesome! You don’t have to be, nor do you have to pay an SEO consultant $5,000 to “optimize” your site. Just add relevant local details to your boards and pins, and it will definitely help people to find you – both inside Pinterest and in Google search.
52. Create local theme boards
The sky is the limit here: create “themed” boards around an experience: Date Night board could include dinner at your restaurant with live music. Spa Day board could be your hair salon “makeover” package with cut, color, facial and mani/pedi. Service-based businesses can do this too: Insurance agencies can do boards around the dream cars, homes, and vehicles they insure. Financial services firms can showcase Saving for College or Retirement boards.
53. Follow local pinners
Pinterest allows you to easily integrate your Facebook friends into your account, so you can connect with them. This is a great way to find local pinners. Also search by hashtag to find pinners in your area.
54. Offer contests to encourage visibility
While Pinterest may not be the first social network to come to mind for contests, brands like Amazon Fashion, LandsEnd, and Lily Pulitzer rock their contests, generating huge follower interest. How? Ask pinners to create boards with their brand favorites, and use the contest hashtag in the board description.
55. Create a staff board
You’ve invested in a top-notch staff, so let pinners get to know them. Feature a staff board with a pin for each staff member, and a short bio. Want more? Include links to each staff members product recommendations and advice, as described in #56.
56. Offer staff “picks” and advice
Let each staff member curate their own boards with their favorite products, advice, local hangouts and styles. It’s a great way to let local pinners get to know the faces behind your brand, what their strengths are, and who they identify with.
57. A mobile website is CRUCIAL for local businesses
People no longer rely on the Yellow Pages, and they use Siri and Android apps to find the closest business to them. Yesterday I was car shopping and asked Siri “where’s the closest BMW auto dealership?” I immediately looked at the most relevant results (my son was driving!). If your website is responsive or has a mobile version, you’ll get far better click-through rates and more people coming into your location.
58. Make your website responsive
A responsive website is one that automatically detects what device visitors are coming from and optimizes its display for the best viewing experience. Talk to your web developer about the simplest and most elegant way accomplish this: it’s an investment, but one that you need to do sooner than later.
59. WordPress plugins provide a simple responsive solution
If you have a WordPress website, several plugins turn your website into a mobile version when visitors come from a smartphone or tablet. These plugins are a smart solution for testing the response you get when you offer an optimized viewing experience for mobile users. WP Touch and WP Mobile Detector are both highly rated and simple to install.
60. Design emails for mobile reading
Most of us check our email on our mobile phones at least part of the time, so make your email newsletters mobile-friendly. Use a mobile-friendly theme or just simple text in one column. It’s not fancy, but it’s easily read and looks more like the emails readers get from friends and family (they don’t feel like they’re being sold to).
61. Look at your website and emails on a tablet and smartphone
Great! You’ve got a mobile version of your website and your email newsletter! Have you looked at them yourself — as a consumer? Sure, you’re developer says they look great, but how readable are they to you? Ask staff members and friends to view them from their devices and different browsers to see how they look across the board.
62. Use a large font size for easier mobile view
One simple tweak you can make to both your website and your email newsletters is to use a larger font size. That automatically reduces eye strain, especially on a tiny smartphone screen.
63. One column layout is easier to read
Studies prove that a one column layout is both easier to scan and read, and gets higher click-through rates. Consider updating your website and your email newsletters to a simple one column layout. At least test a simplified version of each and see how the response rates change.
64. 44% of website traffic is mobile (and growing)
What adult (or teen) do you see without a smartphone in their hands? Mobile visitors are increasingly becoming a majority of traffic to your website, and local businesses likely get far more than 44% from it. Check your Google Analytics (or ask your developer to) and see how many of your brand’s website traffic comes from mobile.
Where is Your Business Online? Can Your Customers Find It?
Local businesses are increasingly transitioning print, radio, and television advertising budgets to online marketing. Have you?
Identify your staff member who loves social and can represent your brand well, and give them the opportunity to build or improve your online marketing. Give them this infographic as a “to do list” of tactics, and experiment with a few to see which ones generate the most traffic — both online and in your brick and mortar location.
How can local businesses capitalize on social media marketing to compete with chains and online competition?
This week’s case study focuses on a local hair salon that uses their small, local status as their greatest asset, successfully monetizing social media marketing in a mid-size midwestern city.
Case Study: G. Michael Hair Salon
Greg Lee is the owner of G. Michael Salon in Indianapolis, voted the #1 salon in the city. While you may not think of Indianapolis as a hotbed of social media, Greg and his staff are savvy marketers that use multiple social networks to connect with a fan base far beyond their city.
G. Michael Salon's Facebook Page
Hours Invested in Social Weekly
ALL Business is LOCAL
Local businesses often feel squeezed by increasing competition from large big-box stores and online competitors.
Greg and his staff have turned the challenge of being a small, local business into their greatest opportunity.
G. Michael's fans love their Before/After transformation photos
By engaging with local businesses and consumers on a level no national salon chain can match.
They devote 33 hours each week to their social media efforts: three hours each week planning on what to post, and 30 hours executing their plan.
Sophisticated Use of Social
While G. Michael is a small brand, they’ve mastered social media marketing and use it in a highly sophisticated way. Their Pinterest boards feature staff photos and bios. Click on the Staff board and you’ll get a map to their salon and you can see their large use of hashtags to help their SEO on Pinterest:
G. Michael Salon's Pinterest boards
Staff bios, a map, and lots of #hashtags!
Engage Where Your Clients Are
G. Michael has beautiful and vibrant social media presences on multiple social networks, includingFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. They upload before and after hairstyle makeovers, run contests, and support local charities. Combine that with their hashtag use, maps, and reviews on Facebook, and they are a formidable brand to reckon with.
G. Michael salon runs contests regularly
The salon engages on those social networks where their clients hang out, like Instagram.
G. Michael keeps their branding consistent across social networks, and their engagement levels set them apart from other salons in the area, helping to differentiate their brand.
Turning Social into an Over-the-Top Experience in the Salon
Greg credits his team for keeping their clients happy once they’ve engaged on social media and visit the salon, saying:
Once a guest chooses to visit your business after finding you through all of your hard work, it’s time to deliver! Deliver above and beyond what the guest expects each and every time. Consistency is always key. Offer your new guest an excellent experience/service each and every time and they will now become another part of your thriving business
How you can adapt this case study for your own small business
G. Michael Salon successfully monetizes their social media marketing by focusing on these tactics:
2013 brought enormous transformations in social media platforms, search engine algorithms, and email marketing.
2014 ushers in a new era in online marketing. You’ll be seeing “content marketing” and “integrated marketing” mentioned increasingly, as they focus on not just one network, but using your content across multiple channels.
How can you focus on even more social networks if you’re feeling overwhelmed already? No worries: here are my recommendations on working smarter to massively increase your results in 2014:
1. Focus on Social Media as a Lead Generator
People rarely buy directly from your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or Instagram photos.
Social media is a marketing channel: you can make sales from it eventually, but it requires that you nurture the fans, followers, and connections you build there.
The simplest and most direct way of connecting to your hard-earned fans is to capture their email addresses so you can reach them directly via your email marketing. Then you no longer need to concern yourself with reach or how many people engaged with your posts.
What does this process look like? Here’s a sample flow for a few of the most popular social networks:
a visitor arrives on your Timeline
likes your page
sees an offer you have for a free product, a coupon, or other freebie
gives their email in exchange for the freebie
gets the lead generator freebie and begins receiving your emails in their Inbox
a follower sees your tweet, offering a free download or coupon
clicks on the link to get the offer
arrives on your website landing page (a dedicated web page for this offer only)
provides their email in exchange for the freebie
receives the lead generator freebie and begins receiving your emails in their Inbox
a follower sees a gorgeous photo or infographic you’ve pinned
clicks on the pin to learn more
clicks on the link included in the pin description
arrives on your website landing page (a dedicated web page for this offer only)
provides their email in exchange for the freebie
receives the lead generator freebie and begins receiving your emails in their Inbox
Continue to post regularly to your social networks to nurture those relationships. You’re now adding the email marketing component to ensure you reach them in case they have seen you on Instagram or LinkedIn in a while.
This is an approach I’ve been recommending for years, but in 2014 it will be mandatory to implement to get results. Otherwise, your marketing won’t generate the return on your investment (ROI) you need.
2. Expand Online Marketing Beyond Facebook
Too many business owners focus solely on Facebook for their marketing. While you can continue to do that in 2014, you will need to laser-focus on getting higher engagement (which Facebook artificially skews in favor of plain status updates), or you’ll need to begin to advertise.
If you don’t plan on advertising in 2014, then you’ll need to expand your online marketing beyond Facebook alone. Don’t abandon it; instead, add a second social network that provides the biggest opportunity for you.
Not sure what that is? My Social Media Strategy class teaches you which marketing platforms offer the most potential for your business.
If you’re concerned about how much time it will take to use another social network on a consistent basis, I’ve got you covered. The 15-Minute-a-Day Social Media System webinar teaches you how to promote your business online efficiently. You won’t get sucked into memes, videos or vacation photos, and your eyes won’t get bleary from looking at computer screen too long. 🙂
3. Measure What’s Working for You
When’s the last time you analyzed your Google Analytics?
Your Facebook Insights?
Your YouTube Insights?
I completely understand. I’m totally not a numbers person. But in business, you have to be. Otherwise you won’t be IN business for long.
In 2014, it’s critical that you begin measuring the impact of your marketing. You don’t have time or budget to waste on underperforming marketing campaigns.
Instead, you need to identify what worked well for your business in 2013, do more of it, improve it, and “beat a dead horse”. The web’s audience is so vast that you don’t need to worry about doing too much of the same thing. People rarely see every single post or article you write.
So if your best marketing campaign was a coupon to fill seats on a slow night in your restaurant — continue that. Now think of how you can improve upon it. What about a frequent diner card? An evening with the chef? Think about how you can provide something similar, yet different, to continue to motivate your buyer’s interest.
4. Look for Opportunities Others are Missing
Online marketing will be more challenging in 2014, which requires you to be smarter and more focused about the way you promote.
What opportunities are you missing? What can you do that your competition isn’t?
Here’s one: YouTube videos. This is still the BIGGEST missed opportunity for small businesses and has been for the past three years.
How about you? Have you recorded a YouTube video yet? If not (or if you want to improve), the YouTube 101 class and Visual Social Media webinar here at SMOC teach you how to get started. If you don’t want to be in front of the camera, the webinar reveals how you can hire someone to do a whiteboard video or something similar on a budget.
How Will You Update Your Online Marketing Plan in 2014?
Online marketing evolves at a rapid pace, and you can easily feel like you’re not keeping up with all the latest changes. Don’t feel like you need to join every new social network that comes along. Incorporate these four tactics into your online marketing strategy and you’ll definitely see better results in the coming year.
Which tactics will you be using to update your marketing plan in 2014?
1. How Much Traffic Did Online Marketing Drive to My Website?
One of the biggest questions you need to answer is this: what impact did online marketing have in driving customers to my website? Whether your business is online or local, you need a simple way to analyze where they came from.
This is easy if you've integrated Google Analytics (GA) into your website. My instructions for adding GA are here. Google tells you how many of your website visitors are coming from social media. From the GA screen, select Acquisition>>Social>>Network Referrals:
Google Analytics tells me Facebook is my top social network sending traffic to my site
My own numbers tell me that my top social networks driving traffic to my site are Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
When I look at how long each visitor stays on my site (Avg. Session Duration in GA-speak), again, Facebook tops the list, with Slideshare & Twitter close behind.
Finally, I want to see how many pages each visitor looked at (Pages/Session). After all, the longer someone stays on my site, the more interested they are. Google+ tops the list, with SlideShare and Facebook not far behind.
Here are the top 3 social networks by those three critical measurements: number of visitors sent, how long they stayed and how many pages they visited:
My Traffic Data from Google Analytics
How many visitor sent?
How long do visitors stay?
How many pages do people visit?
Notice Facebook, Twitter and SlideShare appear as winners in multiple categories? Those were big successes for my brand this year, and I need to focus on those next year.
Google+ visitors did looked at the most pages on my site, so I need to give them more comprehensive guides in 2017.
Those are definitely where my primary focus should be in 2017.
2. What Were Your Best-Performing Posts?
Once you've discovered which social networks are the most powerful generators of traffic to your website, next you need to identify what you did to motivate them to visit you. Which posts stopped people from enjoying Facebook photo albums & Pinterest recipes to click-through to your website?
For Facebook & YouTube, review the Insights they provide (see my Facebook Insights post here; for more detailed help, refer to Lesson 20 of Facebook 101; YouTube Insights help in Lesson 19 of YouTube 101). For the social networks that don't provide measurement data, you can still return to trusty GA to see what's working for you (you can also use it to review any network results).
From the GA screen in #1 (Acquisition>>Social>>Network Referrals), select your top social network, and you'll see the pages those visitors came to on your website:
Pages visited most by Facebook traffic. Also, notice that big spike in traffic on April 25?
GA displays the pages here visited most by people coming from Facebook. I want to focus on those top pages: what were they? Those are the blog posts or website pages I need to do more of in the coming year.
Also notice that big spike in Facebook traffic on April 25? I need to identify what post did that.
Which post was it? Take a look:
My ad for the DIY Blog Tour infographic drove the April 25 traffic spike
This was an ad I ran offering a free infographic download. It teaches you how to create a blog tour to launch a product. This ad drove that April 25 traffic spike.
Again, this is definitely a tactic I should use in 2017. It drove the most visitors to my website of any post I did on any social network.
Now repeat this process for each of your top social networks. I would look at the top pages for Pinterest, Twitter, and SlideShare.
3. Measure Sales & Compare with Traffic: Is There a Correlation?
The simplest way to measure the sales you receive from your online marketing efforts it to track your sales over the course of the year, and compare them to the chart you see in step 2. Did that spike in April traffic also correlate with higher sales?
This method offers a correlation between sales and online marketing. If you need to scientifically accurate data, you'll need to set up goals in GA for product sales, phone calls, newsletter sign-ups, or other actions you want visitors to take from your website.
Maria Peagler, Founder Socialmediaonlineclasses.com
Goal setup is a more complex process covered in our Facebook 103 class. Since we're keeping this simple, let's leave it at the correlation. That's good enough to see if your online marketing is having a positive impact on your sales.
Sales in April were low, so that traffic spike from Facebook didn't result in significant sales
What we see from this revenue chart is that sales were low in April. That traffic spike did not result in a significant revenue increase that month. Why? Likely because that infographic is complex, and it takes a while to digest everything it takes to create a blog tour.
What I do see from my revenue chart is that August & September were significant revenue months. So I need to go back to Google Analytics and see what social networks were driving that traffic and the pages they landed on.
How to measure your marketing campaign results, including traffic, leads, and sales. How-to videos in Facebook 103 class.
EXTRA CREDIT: If you need more than sales correlation data, you can get it with GA. You need to setup goals and campaigns that identify what drove traffic to your website, who became leads, and those who eventually purchased from you. The GA report below shows what campaigns drove that August/Sept revenue spike and how much:
The marketing campaigns driving the most revenue for Aug & Sept
Your Action Items
Now it's your turn: measure these three simple metrics for your own business using this step-by-step lesson. You need to identify:
Your top social networks
Your best-performing posts
If sales correlated with your high-results posts
Extra Credit: measure which marketing campaigns drove the most leads & sales in Facebook 103 class
Ever wished you could have a professional analyze your social media efforts and provide suggested improvements? That’s what today’s article is all about. After years of training small business owners how to use social media, I’m sharing the biggest mistakes I see — and how you can avoid them.
1. Appealing to an Unprofitable Target Audience
The audience you want may not be the one that pays the bills.
Let me say that again: the audience you WANT may not be the one that is PROFITABLE. In helping small business owners develop a strategy, our first step is defining their audience. I’ve noticed an interesting trend: entrepreneurs often want an audience based on ego, ideas of success, or by watching what other successful people are doing.
But that probably isn’t the most profitable audience for you. After all, your ego doesn’t balance the books, an idea isn’t backed by solid numbers, and successful people often are unprofitable.
The lesson? Run your numbers. Find out who your most profitable audience is.
Here’s an example: a coaching client wanted to appeal to a target audience of women ages 25-35. However, when we looked at her Facebook Insights, we saw that her most loyal group of fans were older women 55+ (who also happen to have far more disposable income than young women). This entrepreneur was basing her social media strategy on what her ego wanted, rather than what her business needed to stay profitable.
2. Executing Social Media without a Strategy
Pilots never fly without filing a flight plan. You consult your smartphone’s map app before heading out on a trip. So why are you still doing social media without developing a strategy?
When people join SMOC, they’re often frustrated that their previous social media efforts haven’t paid off. They’re overwhelmed, confused, and often skeptical that social can actually work for their business.
Social works for any business: what they’re missing is a unique strategy customized for their business, their fans, and their entrepreneurial style. Imagine you’re being fitted for a custom-tailored suit: the tailor takes endless measurements and expertly crafts a garment that fits like a glove.
That’s what a strategy can do for you. Stop wasting time on social networks that don’t fit your business. Make time to craft a tailored plan for your social media, and you’ll be amazed at how little time you spend making social profitable.
3. Assuming You Should Be Marketing on Facebook
I have yet to see a single business owner that doesn’t believe they should be on Facebook. After all, 1 billion consumers makes for a highly desirable audience, doesn’t it?
But it may not be right for you.
Here’s an example: a member recently reached out to me in the Forum, asking how to get more Facebook fans. She said her financial services business has a business page, but most of their clients aren’t on Facebook.
” . . . most of their clients aren’t on Facebook . . . ”
That sentence tells me that Facebook will never provide ROI for her financial business. If your audience isn’t there, how can you get fans? Who’s going to pay attention to your posts, photos, and videos you painstakingly create & share?
MEMBERS: Here’s a bonus tip for you: which social network should you be on even if your customers aren’t? Read the surprising answer below (you must be logged in to see the Members-Only Tip):
4. Not Using Video
Yep. This is a drum I continue to beat, but few business owners are confident enough to get in front of the camera. Video is THE biggest missed opportunity for small business.
Because everyone watches YouTube. Period.
Which makes it the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google.
So if you’re not on YouTube, you are missing out on getting traffic to your website & getting discovered by potential clients.
Your video doesn’t have to be expensive, slick, or professionally produced.
It just has to be YOU.
5. Posting Inconsistently
What days do you post to social networks? Which ones?
Do you know which days are best for your target audience? And are you targeting a profitable target audience (see #1)?
Facebook just made it dead simple to find out when the best days & times are to reach your audience with their new Insights.
Have you reviewed yours lately? What did it tell you?
Make a plan now based on those Insights. Or whatever is best for your schedule. Just make sure you are consistent, especially in Facebook. Because being seen & shared is crucial to getting into your fans’ News Feeds.
6. Not Measuring ROI for each Social Network
Speaking of Insights, have you been reviewing yours?
Most small business owners don’t. They’re not easy to figure out (until you watch my videos and webinars), there’s too much data to wade through, and it can seem impossible to figure out what metrics to measure.
Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest all provide analytics telling you who your audience is and how they’re using your presence there. Take a few minutes each week to check these: notice trends and patterns, what content people really like, who your audience is, and start doing more of what’s working for you.
7. Ignoring No-Brainers to Get Increased Sales
Every entrepreneur can make a few simple tweaks to their social media and website to make getting leads and sales easier. Steps like using Facebook’s custom tabs, inserting your website URL as the first line of a YouTube video description, and using keywords on your Pinterest boards. These are small steps that add up to a collective win: greater visibility, more traffic, and leads for your business.
How do you figure out what those tweaks are? Educate yourself. Take a few minutes each day to learn a little more about the social networks you should be using and how to be effective on them.
Are you making any of these mistakes yourself? That’s actually a good thing. Making mistakes is one of the steps we all take on the road to success.
Think Pinterest is just for sharing recipes, hairstyles, and home design photos? Pinterest works for business in two major ways: driving traffic to your website and generating sales. If you’re new to Pinterest or unsure if you’re marketing there properly, you’ll want to watch this video.
That’s what you’ll learn in this month’s Social Media Makeover: Pinterest Edition. Debbie Maddy is a small business owner and the winner of January’s social media makeover contest. She asked that I take a look at her Pinterest boards for business and show her how she could use them to create more business for her quilt design company.
Watch this video to discover 5 secrets to marketing your business Pinterest and get people buying your products (and if you’re not on Pinterest – take a look at Pinterest 101 to get started).
1. Give ‘Em a Roadmap
Don’t make people work to find what you offer. Give them a roadmap to follow so they can easily find what they want (or didn’t even know they wanted but discovered on your boards!).
Create product boards separate from your hobbies and interests; make it obvious those products are your own. Most people create boards for their passions, home & garden inspiration, crafts, and other loves, each with multiple pins. That makes Pinterest a potentially overwhelming and confusing place (even some artists find it too visually stimulating).
The solution is to clearly title your boards as your products. Debbie could name her boards “My Quilt Patterns” or “My Simple Quilt Patterns”, “My Star Quilt Patterns.” Make it clear what you offer vs. what you’ve found interesting on the web.
I also recommend placing your product boards in the second row — why? Invite people to get to know you & your interest in the first row, and lead them to your business in the second row.
2. Why Can’t People Find My Boards?
How does Pinterest decide which boards appear at the top of the screen? Two ways:
Engagement on Pinterest is all about getting repins, likes, and comments . The more a pin has, the higher it will appear in Pinterest. Repinning has a viral effect: the more repins a pin has, the more people see it, and the more they repin it. Unlike other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, your content doesn’t disappear once it’s old. Your pins & boards stay where you put them, making it easy for others to find them. My infographics get the most repins of any content I share on Pinterest, even after long periods of little activity. All it takes is one person sharing it, and the cycle starts anew.
Keywords on Pinterest are vitally important. People use search almost every time they use Pinterest; whether or not they find your product relies on how well you understand your audience’s language. For example, Debbie has a pattern called Modern Art with Fabric: catchy and descriptive, right? But, Debbie has an easy opportunity here to dramatically increase her pattern’s visibility on Pinterest by using quilter’s language. Debbie’s pattern is meant to be used with contemporary fabric, and so “contemporary fabric” should be somewhere in her description. The same goes for her star patterns, which as I showed in the video makeover, are some of the most highly used search keywords for quilts.
3. One Product = One Board
Keep people on your boards longer and invite more engagement by creating a board for each product. Add multiple images that each highlight a different benefit, like Debbie’s easy quilt patterns, no y-seams, no diamonds, and easy construction. By providing more information, you’re giving people even more reason to click through to your website.
Take a look at your own boards and ask yourself: am I offering enough information about who I am and what I offer? Is there any confusing language (what’s a bed scarf?). Have I told people why my products & services are special?
4. Include a Call to Action
If your website link is directly to a store (like Debbie’s is), it can feel like a hard sell. Make sure you add a brief & helpful call-to-action (CTA) that tells people where they’ll go if they click. For example, Debby could add to her description “Want to see more quilts made with this pattern? Click the link to see photos, a pattern description, and fabric suggestions.”
Even if you’re not linking to a sales page, be sure to include a CTA. Invite people to your site, almost as you would as a host at a party. After all, Pinterest is fun – so let pinners join your party!
5. To Add a $ or Not To Add a $
A recent study conducted by a Harvard MBA student found an interesting twist to pins with price tags: if you’re a person and affix a $ amount to your pin description, people are more likely to repin and like it than if you’re a brand adding a $ to your board.
Why the difference?
If you’re a brand, it feels more like an advertisement. If you’re a person, you’re simply sharing a product you like.
So, if you’re using Pinterest as a person (Debbie Maddy vs. Calico Carriage Quilts), definitely include a $ on your board. If you’re using Pinterest as a brand (Calico Carriage Quilts), leave that $ off your board.
Personal Note: This study is a major reason I haven’t chosen to use Pinterest business boards. It’s a personal, fun, social network, and unless you’re a big brand that’s already known for great community-building like Chobani or Whole Foods, it’s tough to pull off promoting your products without users feeling like they’re being sold to.
What’s your favorite brand on Pinterest and why? Let’s hear from you in the Comments!
Social Media Presentations, Templates, and Videos: Get My Best Resources without Leaving Home.
Resource page offering 5 PowerPoint presentations, 2 webinars & 1 video lecture on social media strategies, templates, plans, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more.
I speak often at social media and business conferences, and my PowerPoint presentations are a staple of my lectures. They range from overall strategy to specific social networks, and are loaded with case studies.
This resource page offers social media presentations, PowerPoints, and videos on everything from strategy, action plans, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. Bookmark this page so you can return to it often when you’re ready for a Lunch ‘n Learn or quick refresher on your social media skills.
Developing Your Small Business Social Media Strategy
Creating a social media strategy is a bit of a Catch-22: you don’t really know what to plan for until you have some experience with social media. So I start all of my clients out with this social media strategy template: it walks you through the essential items you need to understand before you can make the key decisions for your strategy.
Here are both the PowerPoint presentation and a video of my lecture to Digital Atlanta in the Fall of 2011. I answer some great questions from business owners in a variety of industries:
Once Facebook introduced Timeline, it also introduced several other changes to its platform that impacted business (especially small business) far more. In this webinar I outline those changes, what they mean to how, how to make the most of them, and where to get more help:
I held off on using Pinterest for a long time. After all, do we really need another social network? But, Pinterest is really different: my clients who don’t enjoy Facebook absolutely love Pinterest for its visual appeal and ease of use. So take a look and see if it’s right for your business:
I did a joint webinar with Barbara Giamanco, a LinkedIn Expert and author of The New Handshake. She lays out how to use LinkedIn to drive sales. I invited Barbara to offer this webinar to my readers after I met her at a social media conference and she was, by far, the most impressive speaker there. Don’t miss this one:
Enjoy these resources, with my compliments. Share them with friends and colleagues who are getting started with social media by clicking on the Share links at the top and bottom of the post.