Driving Traffic to Your Social Media

Why do we need social media, anyway? Here’s a brief historyAt Evolution Digital, we always say, “You can have the best website in the world, but unless people know it’s there… it won’t be noticed.” It used to be easy; recommend simple search engine optimization and the direct aid, business profile internet listings. Now, we’re evolving again.

 

Although there are still a ton of small business websites that are not properly optimized for search engines, it’s becoming more widely known that it’s key to successful online marketing. SEO is becoming easier for small business owners – there are a ton of companies that offer auto-generated keywords as a part of optimization. Although we don’t recommend going that route, basic SEO is better than no SEO if you want to stay competitive. The same is true for digital profile building. Companies are offering auto-generated profiles, sharing your business information across internet directory listing websites.

 

What does this mean, exactly? It means Content and Social Media Strategies are more important than ever. You build customer engagement by providing fresh, relevant content about your business with a direct link to drive traffic to your website, converting to sales – which is what you ultimately wanted, right? In fact, there are more and more businesses that conduct their entire business via Facebook. Either way, this is your chance to personally connect with your customers and drive them to sales. But now here’s the thing: You’re already having trouble driving traffic to your website – how will you do it for your social media? It bears repeating –  The best posts in the world won’t get noticed unless folks know they’re there. A couple of suggestions for building a following on a fresh, new social media page:

 

Friends & Family Plan

Invite your friends and family to ‘like’ the page or connect with the specific social account. Most algorithms are based on activity and interest, so your social account is more likely to be recommended to the community if others in the area are ‘liking’ it. Besides, what are friends for?

 

It’s Nice to Share

You don’t have to blow up the internet,  but pick a few of your best posts and share to your personal page, with an invitation to share or engage in some other way. It reminds your community that the page (and your business!) is still kickin’.

 

Grass Roots

Don’t be ashamed to put digital icons on print. Especially if you are a brick and mortar business, or if you are hosting a large event. Have plenty of signage up letting others know that you can be found on social. Or, take it a step further with a call-to-action such as ‘Check-in’ or ‘Let us know how we did’ (if you’re encouraging reviews). Take it another step further and offer the chance to receive something free or discounted when they ‘check in’.  

 

Encourage Engagement

Leave your posts with an open-ended question, a quiz, or something that requires personal action to engage with your account. Again, the activity on the account will speed up your organic growth.

 

Tag – You’re It!

Create posts that give you the opportunity to tag someone, like photos or comments. If it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram the friends of tagged person(s) will see this activity – and people love to share photos/posts of themselves!

 

Booster Club

Boost a few of your ads if you can. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow you to customize the amount. Make it count, though. This is a chance to introduce the page to people who have no idea you exist. Let them know who you are in one image or enough to reel them in to learn more.

 

There you have it!  Keep in mind that posting something is better than nothing and keep it going!

 

Does My Business Need Social Media?

It doesn’t happen often anymore – but it’s amazing that there are still business owners who do not see the value in Social Media Marketing. We love it when a business ‘doesn’t need social media’ because their business is driven by ‘word of mouth’ (insert sound of hand slapping forehead). What is social media? Word of mouth – the viral edition. People are there to conversate. In fact, we don’t think of social media as a way to advertise your business. ‘Social’  implies engagement with others. You create a relationship with followers and support your website by using social interaction to drive traffic to the site. Now, potential customers (AKA ‘friends’) can learn more about what your business or organization has to offer. Here are the top 5 reasons your business absolutely needs social media.

 

  1. They’re Free! All your universal basics – Facebook, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram. Time is the only real cost. Why not take the opportunity to advertise your business for free?  At the very least, expose your name, address, what you offer, and easy-to-find contact information. Think about it – Where do you start when you are shopping for a new product or service?
  2. Drive traffic to your website – Yes, we already mentioned this, but it bears repeating: social media, blogging, and newsletters are the top three ways to drive traffic to a properly optimized website. Create engaging, relevant posts on your social media outlets with a link attached to your website so your followers can easily click and learn more about your business.
  3. Social media can be a valuable medium for your customers to connect with your business. Quick response time could even resolve negative issues and turn the customer experience back into a positive one. Review the dos and don’ts of that conversation here.
  4. Educate yourself. Take a look – what is your customer base searching for these days? What is the latest and greatest you can offer them? Woo your customers with promotions and products that speak to them!
  5. Social posts show you care. At this point in internet history, social media is where it’s at. Like a website – if you consider yourself a legit business, you gotta have it!

 

Thinking you’re ready to take up this social media thing? Learn more about how to get followers for your brand new accounts!

Essential Elements for Successful Sites

The world is finally getting it – a website is an absolute MUST if you own a business. Commerce began taking a digital turn years ago; these days, online search has become a convenience we can’t live without. We’ve all done it – you hear about the latest widget, then immediately turn to your phone and Google it. Nowadays, a business is perceived to be good as its website. Sure, you will always have your reliable customer base and maybe even their friends. But chances of getting business from an outsider, other than a random, drive-by stop, are slim. Customers turn to a website to learn about your product or service, and to confirm the legitimacy of your business. Roughly 85% of people use the internet to search for local business information. Without a website, your business is missing out on this opportunity to reach new customers.

 

So, here’s a big question: Why does a website cost so much? Remember – the internet is where 85% of your potential customers are likely to start, making a quality website a sound business investment right off the bat. Like any other type of construction, in order to be built successfully, there are the hard costs along with the equally important costs of time spent to plan and execute a quality project. Cheap/free websites are certainly available, but you will likely be missing out on key components that make your business website successful. To be clear – by successful, we mean to increase your sales.

 

Second big question: What should website costs include? Glad you asked. When considering a private website builder or outside firm to construct your site, make sure these important elements are included. We don’t build a website without these features – they are that important.

 

Going Mobile

In addition to the 85% of consumers using the internet for business-related searches, at least 40% of consumers are conducting these searches from their mobile device. If your website is not properly optimized for search on mobile devices, the content on your site to be illegible from a phone or tablet. If searchers are unable to quickly find the information they are looking for THEY WILL MOVE ON TO A COMPETING WEBSITE. Not surprising that 57% of the mobile users will not recommend a business that has a subpar mobile site.

 

The Search is On

SEO? Search Engine Optimization. Your website needs to be appealing to both humans and computers. SEO is imperative for your business to be found in major search engines such as Google and beat out your competitors in being found on the first page. That’s what everyone wants right?  Something to look out for – many website builders do auto-generated keywords, counting it as SEO. Although some SEO is better than none at all, please know custom SEO will always be much more effective. Learn more about that here.

 

Always Use Protection

Every website needs security. I’ll spare you the statistics to support this statement. Speaking from professional and personal experience, sites without some type of security are extremely vulnerable. They are completely open to hackers. Even if it is a small basic site, you want a basic security to scan and protect against malware and blacklisting. If you are processing monetary transactions or gathering sensitive information about your customers, then you absolutely need an SSL certificate on your website.

 

We’re on the List

Digital Business Listings: this one isn’t a deal breaker. But if you can spare it, pay for a year of listing your business profile on internet directories to ensure your business information is constantly updated and accurate. Digital listings are especially important for new businesses (or new websites). Your site can be easily located if this information is consistent.

 

There you have it – More than marketing tactics to sell add-on services, these features really do make a difference!

 

What is SEO and Why Does My Business Need it?

For most businesses, digital marketing strategies have earned a firm space in their overall marketing mix. The term ‘SEO’ is getting thrown out left and right. But, what IS it? SEO is a broad and complex topic – we could bore you for hours! So, let’s all stay awake while we dig into the details that matter to you. Briefly, here’s what you need to know:

 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is becoming more important as new business websites appear every day. Your business is not the only one in its industry to have a website- not by a long shot. With your website and those of your competitors all floating around on the internet…how does the internet decide which one/s to recommend when a user searches on a topic?  To be fair, we can give the internet a bit of credit and trust they are filtering searches by location. The rest is up to you. SEO is imperative if you want to be found in major search engines, i.e. Google, and outrank your competitors on the coveted first page results. That’s what everyone wants, right? So here’s how it works, in a nutshell:

 

Forget the journey – SEO is all about the destination!

It starts with your website. Website content must capture the attention of search engines, while still appealing to human readers. Your digital marketing professional knows how to do this, so don’t worry there! The content seen on your website needs to be rich with ‘keywords’ specific to your business or organization. This way, the internet ‘bots’ can connect your business with people who are searching for the products or services you offer. For example: Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe sells a wide variety of Pinconning Cheese. This is mentioned throughout the content within the site. So when someone searches for ‘Pinconning cheese’ Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe is likely to come up.

 

An image by any other name…

Next, name all images properly. Image titles should clearly state the contents of the image; this is how you connect it to your business. So many business owners forget to do this. If you do not hand-name each image you put on your site, it defaults to the camera name, which means nothing to search engines (or people, for that matter). We see this a lot when we optimize sites; photos that don’t support the website, becoming a wasted effort. Images should be drawing traffic to your website – don’t overlook this important search tool. For example: Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe tags their images properly. The pictures of their cheese are very specific. If it is a picture of Pinconning Mild Colby Cheese it will be tagged with those words. That way, when people search for Colby or Pinconning cheese, Wilson’s is likely to come up.

 

Heading in the right direction

Lastly, page headings. Take advantage of them. Most website builders let you know where they are. Be sure to label your headings with relevant keywords that your customers may be searching for. For example: Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe Heading is ‘Old-Fashioned Pinconning Cheese,’ not just, ‘Cheese.’ Headings are meant to capture the reader’s attention – use them wisely.

Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware!

Something to look out for – many website builders offer auto-generated keywords, counting it as SEO. Although some SEO better than none at all, please know that custom Search Engine Optimization will always be much more effective, so ask your digital marketing professionals how they can help you to optimize!