HTTPS And Your Small Business Website. What You Need To Know

Are you aware that your site might be blocked by Google if you don’t have encryption?

Chances are you’ve clicked on a website and gotten a warning sign “this site is not secure”. You might have also heard about website SSL certificates and HTTPS requirements but are not aware of how it will affect you. In a nutshell,  Google has started telling your website visitors that your site is NOT SECURE if you don’t have an SSL certificate.

According to Google  “Beginning in October 2017, Chrome will show the ‘Not secure’ warning in two additional situations: when users enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.”

install an ssl certificate

Google first announced the encryption requirement back in 2014,  providing an adjustment period which is coming to an end by mid-2018, when Google releases the next version of Chrome.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS stands for Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol. In plain English, it creates a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser.

HTTPS helps protect user privacy. It works together with another protocol, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), to communicate information safely in three ways: to encrypt data for security, prevent data alteration during transmission, and user authentication.

Having an SSL certificate installed on your site not only ensures user data is secure, but it also has other security and privacy benefits, such as authentication of websites and server communication, and avoiding damage by third parties.

What are your options?

Not all SSL Certificates are created equal. There are different kinds that offer different levels of security. If you accept credit cards on your site or have forms that collect information, you will require a higher level of security than if you don’t.

Keep in mind, as internet security is becoming very important, consumers are constantly being educated so they learn to recognize when to trust a site. With that being said, they will be checking to make sure every site they use is safe, including yours.

For example, Action’s URL shows the green lock, assuring our visitors it is secure:

It gives visitors the green light to go ahead. The “green lock” level of security required if you’re taking payments on your site. 

What Are The SEO Benefits?

Google has confirmed security as a ranking factor in its search engine algorithm. However, there are over 200 factors that affect search results rankings and HTTPS in only one of them.  Implementing it on your site won’t make much of a difference if you don’t have a continuous SEO strategic plan that addresses the top critical factors such as relevant content and backlinks. Here is a full list of the top ranking factors in 2018 by Moz.

It is important to know that the main reason you’ll be implementing encryption is for security reasons and to enhance your users’ experience, not for SEO reasons.

Better Analytics

One of the advantages of HTTPS is that it preserves the domain of referral sources. This provides more accurate reports on where your visitors are coming from. It is especially beneficial when analyzing the effectiveness of social media and ad campaigns.

Will The Switch Affect Current Rankings?

Typically, with a new URL,  you essentially have to start from scratch to build domain authority. Fortunately, Google will merge the HTTP and the HTTPS signals together, as long as it’s implemented correctly.

In our experience, we see a slight drop in rankings followed by a quick recovery.

Cost

Things to consider when evaluating providers include the data encryption level, web browser compatibility, and price. It is always advisable to go with a reputable provider, which will cost a bit more. Some include it in their hosting plans and advertise it as free, but we find that their hosting price is higher than those who offer it as a separate product. There are some inexpensive options and even free, but they just don’t meet the criteria when there are payment or data collection forms on your website.

Free

The free option will show the “https://” in grey. It’s sufficient for personal sites or businesses that don’t collect any personal information from the users. However, you must be aware that when savvy visitors click on the “i” inside the circle, a window will pop up with the following message:

Paid

The cost of the SSL Certificates depends upon the level of security you require and the number of domains/subdomains you need to cover. The average cost for the lowest tier is under $100 per year, although some offer packages for multiple domains.

You need one SSL certificate for each domain and subdomain

If you have several websites you will need one for each domain. For example, if you have your website on one platform and a separate blog site,  each will need it’s own SSL certificate. Since it’s tied to the domain and hosting, you need to get in touch with your domain/hosting company as ideally get it from them. They each offer different packages so you want to evaluate what they offer carefully.

Higher price tiers will include subdomains or multiple sites. The top level is the Extended Validation SSL, which offers the highest level of encryption and should be used whenever there is highly sensitive data being exchanged, such as the case for banks and software companies, as well some large eCommerce sites.  This type of certificate shows not only the lock but the entire name of the company in green:

If your business is your livelihood, you want to make sure you have what’s necessary to provide the best possible experience for your clients and prospects. Making the right decision is important so you don’t have to spend money correcting things later, nor you spend more than is necessary.

Installation

As far as installation, this is something you might be able to do yourself, or if you want nothing to do with tech stuff, your webmaster or our team at ACTION. The fees are affordable and well worth your peace of mind.

Correct Implementation

Even though is a fairly simple process, incorrect implementation of HTTPS can have a negative impact in the following ways:

  • Irrelevant redirect links, which can confuse users and result in them leaving your site.
  • Duplicate content: Both HTTP and HTTPS versions of your pages could be indexed and appear in search results. Duplicate versions of your site being indexed in the SERP can also have a negative impact on rankings.
  • Speed: Since HTTPS requires more touches between your servers and the user, website loading time may increase. This can have a negative impact on rankings, especially with mobile.

We recommend you take a look at Google’s own recommendations and ensure that your team has the capacity to implement HTTPS the right way.

The Takeaway

You really can’t snooze on this one. Google will literally block your site from your visitors, negatively impacting your business credibility.

…Like this below (Ouch!!):

You must evaluate your options, decide which way is the best for you based on where you are going with your business. Avoid quick fix type of solutions that can end up holding up future plans and being very costly in the future.

You Need to Act Now

If you are not sure how to go about it we are here to help. We will help you decide your best option and implement your certificate for you. Our fees start at $350, depending on the type and size of your site. We will perform a link audit to make sure there are no bad links lingering and affecting your SEO negatively, and everything runs the way it’s supposed to. If you have any questions reach out to us, we are here to help.

By: CJ Larsen

Easy Ways to Improve Your Site SEO

As a busy business owner I know first hand that we have a whole lot to deal with in our day-to-day activities,  just to ensure delivery of products and services, and with little time left for anything else,  is not unusual that many are still missing out on what Google has to offer to help them with their site’s SEO. If you are one of them, that’s something you’ll want to address ASAP! The fact is, Google kind of rules the search world so what better place to find out how your site is performing than Google itself, it’s like having inside information from the source that matters most. There are 2 major set of tools offered by Google, and did I say they are free of charge?

Google Analytics

This tool provides you with a bird’s eye view of how your visitors are coming from and how they are interacting with your site pages. The many components of this magnificent tool allows you to more effectively fine-tune your marketing initiatives, advertising campaigns and search engine success.

There is probably more data here than you will ever use, but some of the more important pieces of information you should know are the following five:

Traffic Sources

Knowing where your traffic is coming from is key to understanding and implementing your marketing campaigns. It will show you how much traffic is coming from organic search, from paid search, each of the social media platforms, etc.

Traffic by Device

As more and more people are searching using their phones, the need for a mobile friendly website is becoming the norm. White every industry is experiencing an increase in traffic coming form mobile, some are more than others, so making sure all the information is properly accessible and there is a good flow on a small screen is very important.

Demographics

Knowing the demographic characteristics of your visitors helps you have a better understanding of who they are and whether or not you are on point as far as attracting and communicating to the right audience, if you have taken the time to create your ideal client’s profiles.

Landing Pages

This data shows you which pages a re performing the best, how many visits each page gets, and helps you understand how people are viewing your site in general.

Bounce Rate

This indicates the percentage of visitors who leave the site as soon as they came in. A high bounce rate shows that we are failing to attract the right audience, or failing to effectively communicate the value we can provide. A high bounce rate tells Google that your page is not relevant enough. The more time people spend on your pages, the better it will do in the search results.

Google Webmaster Tools

These are a quite extensive suite of tools to evaluate your website SEO, that  provide comprehensive reports that help you find out different types of issues that affect your site’s rankings, and what improvements you need to make. Let’s take a look at four areas that will give you a lot of bang for your buck.

HTML Improvements

The HTML Improvements report can show you things you need to be aware of, like how well your Meta data is optimized, title and descriptions deficiencies, along with duplicate content issues. Well worth a look.

Search Queries

Probably the most useful report by far, Search Queries returns loads of data including impressions, clicks, click-thru-rate, keyword terms searched, image and video SEO and more. The keyword section only goes back for 30 days, but it does give you some data you can use with other tools.

Crawl Errors

This report will show you exactly which pages are returning a “not found” 404 error code. These you’ll need to address as soon as possible, as you are losing traffic, and your search engine results may be skewed as well.

Links to Your Site

This one returns a list of sites that are linking to your pages, and will reveal what pages are drawing the most interest. This can be, and often is, very surprising, as pages or content you may not have thought was significant could be drawing loads of traffic to your site.

The Point

While there is a certain learning curve in properly setting up both Google Webmaster and Analytics, it is well worth the investment since tracking your data it’s the vital difference between going blindfolded vs being fully aware of what’s working and what needs attention.

If you would like to get started setting up these valuable tools get in touch, we can help!

How To Show Your Holiday Hours on Google’s Search Results

Will your business be working extended hours during the holiday season? If so you want to show it everywhere possible, and now you can also let those who find you on Google searches know about your extended hours, by taking advantage of Google’s recently introduced Holiday Hours feature for businesses to easily show their temporary schedules in their local business listings and maps.

We strongly recommend you take advantage of this feature, not only so your patrons are informed, but also to avoid Google’s own warning message showing next to your listing,  as published by Google: “If you search for a business and the holiday hours aren’t listed, you’ll see a warning message alerting you that the actual hours may be different because of the holiday.” Besides, it’s always good to keep your Google My Business page updated because, as we’ve mentioned many times, it helps get higher rankings by keeping your listing fresh.

One truly useful thing about this feature is that you can add as many special hours into the future as you want because they will show on your listing as the holiday comes closer, and will stop showing after it’s over. So you can enter all your holiday hours for the entire year, and your listing will always be up to date with the correct information.

We have listed how to set this up step by step, to make it as easy for you as possible to take advantage of this feature and show your holiday hours when potential customers come across your business listing in their searches.

How to List Your Holiday Hours on Your Google My Business Page

1. Log into your Google My Business dashboard and select the location to which you wish to add special holiday hours, click edit.

Step 1

2. On the “Location Details” page that displays next, scroll down to the “hours” and click click the little pencil to edit.


 

Step 2


 

3. On the on the pop-up screen click on “add another set of hours” as shown below.


 

Step 3

 

 


 

4. In this screen you’ll be able to set your special hours and the dates they are in effect. Enter the opening and closing times for each day,   indicate that the location is closed all day by clicking the box next to “Closed”, and if you are open 24 hours, enter 12:00am–12:00am. Make sure you save your changes before closing this screen.


 

Step 4


 

That’s it!

We hope this was helpful and if you need help with your Google My Business page or have questions about how to set it up or optimize it, or if you really need to worry about it, schedule a call with one of our consultants. We want to hear from you and are here to help!

 

10 Quick LinkedIn Tips You Want to Know

LinkedIn has become the top social network for business professionals which makes it a great place for finding qualified leads and eventually new business.  Just like any other marketing activity, especially social media related, it takes time, work and most importantly, a planned approach.  Although there are a ton of useful features with the free level, LinkedIn’s paid level offers even more valuable features when it comes to being able to reach it’s database and communicate with prospects you are interested in.

The best way to mine LinkedIn for leads and sales is to get active in there. In order to help you get going with that, we found these 10 great LinkedIn tips.

10 LinkedIn Tips to Get More Visibility and Leads

Customize your URL – Maker sure you change your LinkedIn URL to coincide with your company’s name or online handle. Stay consistent with other social properties if at all possible.

Create a Profile Badge – Add a LinkedIn badge on your site or blog. It will help add to your connections and site authority. There are a couple of different designs to choose from.

Optimize Your Company Page – Complete and take advantage of all the features available when it comes to your company page. You definitely want to make a brand statement.

Get Skill Endorsements – List your skills when you complete your profile, as many of your connections will not hesitate to make the one + click needed to give you an endorsement.

Join and Participate in LinkedIn Groups – Contributing to LinkedIn groups provides you with a couple of great advantages: the ability to send direct messages to members of the group who you are not connected with, as well as the ability to view group members profiles.

Create Company Showcase Pages – Since LinkedIn got rid of the Products & Services tab, and replaced them with Showcase Pages, where you can promote products and services.

Directly Mail Your Group – A cool little feature called LinkedIn Announcements enables you to directly mail the members of your LinkedIn groups once weekly.

Get LinkedIn to Send You Free Leads – When you enter a criteria to search for leads, you can save your searches on LinkedIn and they will send you new leads according to the search parameters you entered.

Ask Your Connections for Introductions – Mine your current connections and ask them to introduce you someone they are connected to that you would like to be. You’ll be surprised at how many will say yes.

Reorder Your LinkedIn Skills – You now have the ability to edit your skills and within that you can reorder your skills to emphasize what you’d like to. It can also lessen the number of no-picture endorsers present there.

Branding: Standing Out The Wrong Way

Building a brand is necessary and foundational to stand out in today’s noisy advertising landscape, and it’s especially challenging in some industries such as real estate,  with a very crowded marketplace where everyone uses the exact same marketing tactics, and their advertisements  look pretty much the same, to the point that you could just swap head shots and contact information and everything else is so generic that applies to all.  As we tell our realtor clients, they need to find ways to differentiate and be memorable, and stay top of mind. But when I first came across this ad I thought, well, this guy certainly accomplished to be memorable and differentiate…but in a very wrong way!

Having a rather unusual name he decided to craft a message around it…with a masturbation spin… So he came up with this ad that’s so outrageous that it was featured in Adweek at the time, in their “Adfreak” section.  It turns out he was fired from the realty company shortly after because of the ad, not surprisingly.

It is an old story but it makes such a great example of branding creativity gone wrong, that I could not resist sharing it, especially dedicated to my realtor friends!

realtor marketing

So remember, if you are looking for ways  to stand out in this crowded marketplace, talk to a professional!

You can find the original story here.

What do you think?

What Exactly is Retargeting?

Chances are you have noticed those ads that seem to be following you as you move around the net or on Facebook, shortly after you’ve visited their website. The reason is because when you visited the website your computer or mobile devise was “tagged” and you were added to a list, so you could be “retargeted”, or shown ads now that the advertiser knows you are interested in their products.

Basically, retargeting is an advertising technique, where a tracking code is dropped on a website visitor’s browser for the purpose of adding them to a list and placing specific ads in front of them later while they search the internet and/or social media platforms.

This may sound a little creepy, but the fact is, if you visit a site thats sells stuff you are interested in, you are likely to click on the ads afterwards, especially if you left the site because you got distracted, or were not quite ready to buy yet, because you are interested in this. And let’s face it, what are the chances of you getting distracted and leaving the site without taking any kind of action, thinking you’ll get back to it later? I’ll take a -not so wild- guess: extremely high.

Here is a quick fact:

90-98% of visitors don’t buy or take action on their first visit.
-Marketing Sherpa

So after all that effort to get traffic to your website, you end up loosing such high number of visitors (to never come back) before taking some kind of action, who are highly likely to be looking to buy for products some time soon, it only makes sense to put effort into staying in their radar.

And it does pay off, as studies show:

The average click-through rate for display ads is 0.07%, and the average click-through for a retargeted ad is .7%”
-Source CMO.com

As the stats show, placing your ads in front of them afterwards you increase the chances of them returning to your website and completing the desired action, whether making a purchase or booking an appointment, or signing up for a free offer.

Here is a diagram that illustrates the retargeting process:

what is retargetingIn Short:

1. Prospect visits your site
2. Prospect gets a tagged
3. As prospects is browsing your site, the phone rings, they get a text message, the person they were waiting for arrives… you get the idea… so they leave for ever.
4. Prospects sees your ads as they browse around the internet, and/or on Facebook.
5. As they see your ads they remember and click again returning to your site.

The Huge Benefit of Retargeting
It is said that a person needs to see an offer 4-7 times before they make a buying decision. Retargeting allows you to not only place your message in front of prospective customers multiple times, but also to highly personalize the ads to better connect with them and move them towards the purchasing decision.

The ability to segment your audience allows you to create a list of people who visit your sales page and then another one of people who have already made a purchase. You can do this for each product and service you offer. Then you create different retargeting ads for different audiences,  avoiding buyers seen ads for products they have already purchased.

In having such ultra-targeted and focused ads, you will notice a huge jump in your ad response and advertising investment return, which is one of the major benefits of incorporating retargeting in your advertising campaigns.

Wondering how it would work for you? Get in touch, we are here to help! Click here and fill our the form provided or schedule an appointment.

6 SEO Common Mistakes And How To Correct Them

Reaching the top of google has become sort of the Mecca for businesses, yet getting -and remaining- there is not a simple task, and what you or someone that you hire does in the name of SEO can have a lasting and significant impact for your pages, both positive and negative.

Although SEO factors have drastically changed in the last couple of years, and the “original” ones play a smaller role nowadays,  you’ve got to be aware of the basics of what works and what doesn’t, and also what may actually be counter-productive, and even damaging in some cases.

We’ve listed the 6 SEO mistakes we see most often, and if you are making any of them, you’ll want to address them immediately.

1. Ignoring Mobile – This is a major one. With nearly 70% of web users going online via mobile, Google is now ranking those sites that adapt to mobile screens much higher on mobile searches, and labeling those that don’t with a rather unflattering tag that reads: “May not work on your device”. You can read more about this and check how Google sees your site on mobile here.

2. Having a Welcome Page – Although these are not as popular as they were a few years ago, we still see them around, even in newer sites. These are pages that greet visitors and have nothing on them but a large image and a button to “enter” the site. The problem is that when google crawls your page it finds zero content on your home page, and doesn’t know what to rank it for.  And for the visitor, the extra step to find out if this site will have the information he/she is looking for, increases the chances of them leaving the site.

3. Misusing Keywords  Keywords are an important part of SEO, but not quite the way it was not too long ago, when SEO revolved around keyword manipulation. Today the Google algorithm has changed to the point where it can detect keyword “stuffing” and other keyword manipulation, and will “punish” those sites pushing them down the rankings.  The best practice today is to use keywords naturally on your pages as part of informative content, utilizing related keywords and synonyms, so it reads well from the end user perspective.

4. Using Tags and Tag Clouds – This was another popular practice especially for blogs, but it’s a bad idea today. The first and most important reason is that it automatically results in duplicate content issues, and second, it uses up valuable virtual real estate on your website, and has little or no purpose to your visitor.

5. Using Flash – Although designers have mostly stopped using flash animation in newer websites, we still find way too many out there using flash. It not only has a negative effect on your SEO, but it can ruin your mobile rankings, unless you have a separate mobile website.

6. Not Taking Advantage of  Internal Linking – An effective way to secure better rankings these days is to make sure your pages are optimized well, and sound internal linking is an important element to this end. Google loves this, and it is far easier to implement than getting those valuable external links.

And there you have it! If you need help or would like to discuss your current SEO situation please schedule a free consultation, and we’ll be happy to address your specific issues.

Your questions and comments are welcome!

Simplified Content Marketing Strategy for Small Business

Content marketing seems to be the buzz word “du jour” these days, and most of the guides, how-to advise, and case studies you find online work great for big brands, but no at all for small practices. Since most of our clients fit in the small-to-medium-sized category, (we’re right there too), and that’s what we’ve been working with, I’ll be discussing a simple way to make content marketing work for your small business or practice.

Purpose

The main reason to spend time and effort in creating and promoting content is to drive qualified traffic to your website and position yourself as the expert in your field, with is the first step in the path to someone becoming a lead. Since very few are doing this, it will not be hard for you to stand out from your competitors and be the one with more visibility.

Strategy

In order for your content marketing efforts to be effective you need to craft an action plan, that I’ve simplified as follows:

1. Know your clients
I always come back to this point because it is foundational. The more you know about your ideal customer the better you’ll be able to communicate the value you can provide him or her, and the more he or she will be interested in what you have to say. You may have several segments and you want to have a detailed profile for each.

2. Set up a blog site
If you don’t have a blog set up yet, it is preferably to add it as a section on the same platform of your website so you can publish all your content there, and promote it by sharing it to your social networks. The more you practice this, the more traffic you’ll generate. If your site doesn’t allow for a blog to be added on to the same platform, there are ways to integrate an external one in a way that will still bring you the traffic, it might not be ideal but it will work.

3. Know your keywords.
Basically you’ll want to know what your ideal customer is typing on a browser when they are looking for solutions you provide. I’ve found that many times the words you think they should be typing are just not it, and they may use different expressions that might be less technical. You want to use the words they use so they can relate, so your content magically appears when they are looking for information.

The Action Plan

Once you are clear about your clients wants and needs, and have a properly set up blog section to easily add and distribute content, the next step is to get to work.

1. Create a Marketing Profile Sheet for each of your top products or services
This is a simple word document or better yet, a note in Evernote. Make sure you have one file for each product or service, don’t combine them. Each Marketing Profile Sheet will include the name of the product or service at the top, and a simple list of answers to the following:

• Product description
• The target audience segment
• The problems they have that your product/service solves
• Questions they have about your product/service
• Objections they might have
• What can go wrong: if choosing the wrong provider, not seeking a solution, etc
• Misconceptions

The above list is a start and you should add your own points.
If you have a long list of products or service categories pick the top 3 to start. Once you have “profiled” each of those 3, add new ones, one at a time. Don’t over think it, the point here is to get started and get going.

2. Make a list of topics
Each of the answers to the points above will become a topic for you to write about and share your expert opinion. At this point, under each point write as many topics as you can think of, one way to do this is by writing “temporary” titles yo can develop later. Basically you will be addressing questions people have, objections, etc. Chances are you have been asked questions, and if you want to expand on this a bit more you can find questions on places like Quora or Yahoo Answers. The point is to tie in the issues people have with your products and services to your expertise.
3. Start writing
This is your area of expertise so you have the answers. Keep it simple and focus on just one idea. Each post can be as long or short as you want, it doesn’t really matter. Yes, I know you’ve heard you have to write long posts, and there is truth to that, but believe me, you will still get traffic to your site with shorter posts if it’s implemented properly.

You can also write a blog post about your point of view about an interesting article you found, and include the link. When you share it on the social networks, people will be going to your website, and that’s the point.

The point is, people are looking for information before making a decision, and providing useful content will keep you in front of them, and eventually choose you.

5. Promote your content
Create snippets of each post with it’s link to post on social networks. You can also do the same with the other content on your site, like your services page, etc. The point is to create as many mini-posts as you want from the entire content on your website, which you’ve worked so hard to create. We use a spreadsheet and Trello to organize this step, you can include the date you posted it, the network etc. The spreadsheet will help you upload the posts on to Hootsuite all at once, if you use it, making the work a lot less time consuming. We have a resource list you can download with more information about these tools.

6. Measure results
Pay attention to how people are reacting to your content. Social networks, especially Facebook, provide excellent analytics information about how many people saw your posts, and also how many likes and shares, which shows engagement, but most importantly, how many clicks to the links that took them to your site. You’ll also want to look at your site analytics and check the traffic that came from each social network and its bounce rate, which indicates how interested people are on the topic.

7. Tweak and repeat
As you see what posts generate highest engagement you can determine the topics your audience is most interested in and make adjustments, doing more of what’s working and discard what doesn’t work. Not be too quick in discarding a topic though, if it’s relevant to your practice you’ll want to test different approaches before discarding it all together.

8. Repurpose
As you add content to your website on an ongoing basis you develop a valuable library over time, that will provide you with relevant and well crafted material to continue to promote your business. Since the information doesn’t really expire, a blog post can be re-purposed in many social mini-posts weeks, and months after you first published it,  as a series of short videos with quick tips, a podcast, or you can have a designer create an infographic, all from the same post.

And there you have it! This is how you put an effective content marketing plan in place that’s especially tailored to your needs, and that builds your credibility and positioning over time. If you have any questions or need help getting started we are here to help! Just head over to our contact form and send your questions in.

Does Your Business Really Need Social Media?

Many business owners realize they need to be on social media but few actually see that it should be taken seriously in terms of what it can do for their business.  Since it does require time and effort, something business owners don’t really have,  they understandably see it as a waste of their time, or something anyone technology literate can manage, such as an intern or a student.
The truth is that while young people are very familiar with communicating through social channels,  using social media to market a business also requires a good dose of marketing knowledge they don’t really have.

When used strategically, these are some of the things you can do through social media channels:

• Interact with your prospects and customers
• Build awareness of your business
• Drive buyers to your website
• Grow a list of leads or subscribers
• Demonstrate your expertise, and  build your authority and influence
• Attract followers who will promote your message
• Promote events and special offers
• Find new customers
• Learn what your target audience wants
• Advertise to people who visited your website
Social media is here to stay. New networks arise constantly ( you don’t need to be in all of them), and more and more people are joining in. People love to share their views and opinions and social media provides an accessible outlet for that, at anytime through a device everyone keeps at arm’s length: their phones.
Marketing through social media can’t be ignored, it’s time you use social media strategically as a tool to grow your business.  If you need assistance in planning or executing your social media strategy, consider us a resource. Find more information on how professional social media services can help your business here ,  or to ask your questions or discuss what you could be doing for your specific case, get in touch here.

 

6 Facebook Marketing Blunders You Might Be Guilty Of

It is a known fact that consumers turn to social media as part of their research on a company, and Facebook is on of their stops. They will see how many followers there are, recommendations left on the page, comments, etc.

Business owners know this, as recent studies show that 80% of businesses have a Facebook page. While most business owners recognize that being on Facebook can help their business promotion, they don’t quite know how to make it work or to be strategic about it, and end getting very little out of it. In an attempt to get on onboard with social media they end up making one or more of these common mistakes, which although they do apply to other Social Media Networks, we will focus specifically on Facebook this time, since seems to be the most popular network.

1. Lack of Activity
If you set up your Facebook page a while back but never did much with it, your page is incomplete, or you kept up for a while and then stopped and the last time you posted something was months ago, you must realize that consumers are still going to your page when they are considering doing business with you, and if they find a ghost town, you’ll risk them getting the impression that you are out of touch with the times, not interested in connecting with your customers, or even out of business.

2. Unrealistic Expectations
We’ve all seen time and time again social media campaigns that pop out of nowhere and go viral becoming an overnight success. However, that’s not the standard by any means. However, some business owners expect immediate engagement, or expect to generate sales from the offers they post, just by the mere act of posting.

This is just not realistic nor the way it works. Setting the right expectations is important and has to do with being strategic about how you’ll integrate social media into the rest of your marketing efforts.

3. Posting Content That’s Irrelevant to Your Business
Consumers expect to find information about your products and services, how you do business, your team, your values as a business, and your industry, and not so much about your personal life, or cool stuff you found on the internet that’s totally unrelated. Posting relevant content will have people liking, sharing and commenting, as opposed to content that doesn’t add up any value to them. The thing is that Facebook takes notice and is now measuring relevance as one of their criteria in showing posts on news feeds.
4. Not Interacting With Your Audience
Customers who are active on Facebook might feel compelled to leave a comment on your Facebook page after visiting your store, making a purchase, to complain, or any other reason. Not receiving a response will make them feel ignored, which is not a good thing.
5. Poor Graphics and Imagery
They say that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but guess what, we all do. If a visitor comes to your page and finds a cover photo that’s distorted to fit the area, or with low resolution, or has nothing to do with your business, they will not have a very good impression. Make sure images are clean, professional, and represent your brand properly. Same thing goes for your posts: be sure to use high-quality, interesting images for your social media posts so your updates look attractive, bright, and inviting.

6. Buying “Likes”
In an effort to have a ton of likes, some businesses hire services who offer like campaigns that guarantee an enormous amount of likes almost instantly. The trouble with this practice is that most are from fake profiles or people in some far away country, as opposed to your target audience, so you will have no interaction on your page, or anyone to market to. That’s not to say that you can do a like campaign that’s targeted to your audience, which will get your business in front of the right people, and hence is a good business practice.

The fact is that there are far more people interacting with Facebook than not, and the number is growing everyday; and those people expect your business to have a presence there, and they will judge you by what they see. So it will be beneficial to your business to maintain an active presence, and if you are not technologically inclined, or simply don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs,  you should look to hire a service, which will be less costly and a lot more efficient than doing it yourself or hiring an employee.

How about you? Are you making any of these mistakes?