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.

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?

7 Reasons To Optimize Your Google+ Page

Business owners most use their resources wisely.  When it comes to marketing,  with the growing number of options out there, plus all the over- hyped, fly-by-night marketing gimmicks that arise constantly, it makes sense to stick to the basics. On that note, not implementing – and maximizing – those free resources available to us is leaving money on the table, especially if they are provided by the one who calls the shots in the search engine world.

The fact is 97% of consumers search for local businesses online, and 66% of these local searches are done using Google, which is still the undisputed king of web search. In addition, 71% claim reviews from family members or friends influence their purchase decisions

 

Here are 7 reasons to optimize your Google+ business profile page
1. High value of local listings
It is clear that Google places a lot of value on local listings in their search results. What’s more, as Google pushes into mobile, it has begun featuring local listings through their mobile apps for Android (currently available) and iPhone (in the works at the time of the publishing of this post), helping nearby customers discover your business. And we don’t expect this to change in the foresee- able future

2. It’s free
It won’t cost you a penny to list your business on Google. That said, it will take you some time to set up your page properly.

3. Increased website/store traffic
Getting found on Google is probably the most compelling benefit. In the digital age, Google is virtually everyone’s first stop when looking for any kind of information – including local vendors. By increasing your visibility in search, you open your business to an *enormous* and constantly growing audience of people who need and want what YOU sell.

4. Get found on mobile searches
Most local businesses struggle to maintain a web presence at all, let alone a “responsive” web presence that is fully optimized for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. The fact is, the web is becoming increasingly mobile. Morgan Stanley predicts that mobile web browsing will outpace desktop browsing within just a few years.
By optimizing your Google+ Local page, your business can effectively outsource its mobile marketing to Google, which offers consumers several mobile apps that facilitate local business discovery. These mobile apps help buyers find you!

5. Stand out amongst the competition
According to a recent count, only 20 percent of eligible small businesses have claimed their listing on Google+ Local! By claiming your listing you greatly increase your ability to stand out in your industry or niche. Why leave this low- hanging fruit for your competitors to snatch up?

6. Learn more about your customers
Google, a company founded and run by coders, is all about analytics. And thus, their business tools, Google+ Local included, come with excellent tools for mining data and gathering market intelligence you can use to improve your offering, keep customers happy, and collect bigger profits.

7. Garner customer reviews
Asking customers to leave reviews on Google+ ensures that those reviews are an integral part of your brand assets, and it also boosts rankings, as Google will push to the top businesses that have reviews on Google+

The Point
The bottom line is, Google + Local is a free resource that helps you get found online, drive more traffic to your website, and stand out in a crowded market- place. It can also help you acquire insight into your audience profile, engage with your customers, garner reviews and promote special offers. All these combined will help increase sales, and  boost your overall profitability.

If you are not sure of how to optimize your Google+ business page, or just don’t have the time,  get in touch with us and we’ll give you a hand.

Facebook 101: Setting it Up To Market Your Business

If you are like most business owners, you are aware that having a presence in Facebook is good for your business exposure, but you might not be quite sure how to make it work. One thing is for sure: with hundreds of millions of users, there is a great chance your ideal client is on Facebook, so it makes sense for your business to be there and find a way to connect with them.

Since we come across quite a bit of business owners who ask what type of page they should have, what groups are for, and whether to boos a post,  let’s start with the basics and break down the different components of Facebook and how each works, so you can have a better idea of  how to use them  for marketing.

There are basically 5 different components

1. Your personal profile

2. Facebook pages

3. Facebook groups

4. Facebook ads

5. Boosted posts

1. Your Personal Profile

This is your personal Facebook page and has your personal information, as much or as little as you want it to have, and you want to set it up so only people you accept as “friends” can see it.  This is were you post personal status updates and pictures, and where your friends can comment on your posts and write to you publicly.  The “friends” who connect with you and see the updates from your profile are often family members, old high school friends, acquaintances from church, and such.  Although your profile can be used for marketing, it will give you limited exposure, like for example you will be limited to 5,000 friends,  and you your page has little chance to get “discovered” by your potential clients. In addition, your business posts  are likely to annoy your personal contacts, who are only interested in your personal activities and want to see photos of your cat, or your latest family trip.

2. Facebook Pages.

Facebook pages is were you create a page for your business, and you want to fill out the information completely, so visitors can see what you do and where you are located, etc. You also want to have your logo and a properly designed branded  cover photo to give the best impression possible. Business pages  provide marketing tools and benefits not available for personal pages,  such as:

– Pages and posts are  indexed on Google. This means that if someone searches for your company  on Google your Facebook page  will appear on the results.

– Facebook pages comes with analytics through their “Insights” section, that provide you with information about how many people are visiting your page, what posts are they most interested in,  their demographic profiles, and much more.

– Pages has an event section, where you can publish and promote an event you are holding, including full details such as date and time, tickets price and a link for them to purchase the tickets.

– Integration with other applications. You can integrate your Facebook business pages with 3rd party applications that allow for you to  have people sign up to your mailing list, run contests, and much more. This is a functionality  that you do not have with your personal Facebook page.

3. Facebook Groups.

Facebook groups are created  for the purpose of gathering people around a particular topic,  interest or cause. They have to be created through a personal profile, not a business page, and you can join and interact through your personal profile as well. They can be open, so anyone can join,  or private where people interested in joining request to join and the group owner has to grant access.  So, say you are a yoga teacher wanting to market your local studio on Facebook. You could create a Facebook group called “Fort Lauderdale Yoga Lifestyle”.  At first you would invite friends and clients to join and eventually people interested in yoga would find the group and send requests to join. You would post tips, have people post their questions, share articles from your blog, announce new classes, etc.   This is a great way to build credibility and trust, and as the group grows you will have an audience ready to listen to your advise  and eventually convert to clients.

4. Boosted posts.

Every time you post something on your business page you see the option to “boost” your post.  What this does is show your post to everyone that has liked your page as well as their friends, so your post gains a lot more exposure that just the 2% or so that Facebook is doing these days. The cost is very reasonable, but unless your fans are at least 90% your target audience, which is rare, boosting a post is not the best way to spend your ad dollars. Typically people who have liked your page are a mix of friends, clients, competitors, vendors, among other non- ideal-prospect type of people.

5. Facebook ads

This offers you an extremely useful means of advertising, where you can select the people who will see your ad based on the criteria you determine, at a very reasonable cost, and great ROI. There is a scientific approach behind getting these ads to work and if you don’t have the time or inclination to learn it,  it’s best to have a professional set them up for you, so you get the most of them.

There you have it! I hope this clarifies what each type of page is and how to use Facebook to your advantage. And we would love it if you visit our page here and give us a like!  If you have any questions, or need help setting up your page, or designing a professional cover, we’re here to help. Do Contact us, we’d love to hear from you!