Posts Tagged ‘Word Of Mouth’
Creating any social-media site will only provide a percentage of achievable revenue if you do not promote the site itself. Some businesses may get lucky with a few potential clients stumbling across one of their sites, but, as a whole you will have a much higher social-media success rate if you are marketing your online networks offline as well as online. Cross-marketing is essential to any business hoping to attract the optimal number of clients and reach a larger audience. Promoting your social-media presence offline will better help to generate income from your sites. Here are a few ways you can drive awareness to your online sites using offline tactics.
Add Your Social-Media Networks To Your Business Cards: This will enable you to reach a larger audience in a simple, cost-effective way. Many businesses hand out business cards and/or leave them available for pick-up in the reception area of the office. People tend to regard this as a non-pushy way of receiving information about your company and, will be more likely to explore your social media sites online after a face-to-face encounter with you. You should also add your networks to all of your brochures, flyers or promotional products.
Mention Your Social-Media Networks In More Traditional Advertising Outlets: This may seem like common sense, but many business fail to include their social-media networks when advertising via radio, newspaper or television. People will know you have a professional web presence and can choose the easiest way to find and connect with you online.
Utilize Event-Marketing Opportunities: When your business is hosting an event or being recognized at a social function, take some time to ensure your audience is aware of your social-media networks.
Word Of Mouth: This is the oldest, effective way of helping a wider audience become aware of any marketing promotion you may be running. Don’t be afraid to ask prospective clients or referral partners to connect with you through their social network of choice.
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The importance of content marketing is vast; it encompasses all formats and can be utilized to attract customers. Content marketing is an expansive term for marketing via digital media such as social media, blogging, content syndication, newsletters, email marketing and more. If you are neglecting to use content marketing, then you are failing to connect with prospective clients and referral partners that you may not have been able to connect with using traditional channels. When content marketing, it is a necessity to provide your customers with fresh, relevant, and advantageous information. Listed below are three reasons why content marketing is essential to achieve a successful marketing campaign.
1.) Keeps Happy Customers: The general pubic is being perpetually assaulted with advertising; people are exhausted from seeing ads covering every website they visit. Content marketing is a way to get beneficial information about you or your business to the public without hassling them with ads. The key to hooking your targeted demographic is simple: Give them what they want. Trusted, useful, reliable information that they will find valuable.
2.) Spread The Word: Content marketing, when done correctly can have a dramatic impact on customers if they enjoy the provided information. Viewers that benefit from your material are more prone to share your information online or by word of mouth. Businesses can generate a large customer base by putting their voices to use. Word of mouth can also have an opposite effect if you have not marketed properly. Make sure that the information you post is not wasting readers’ time and is relevant to your readership.
3.) Build Trust: Learning customer concerns, asking questions, answering questions and providing readers with useful information will, in turn, create a bond between you and your client. Through natural interactions and reciprocal dialogue, you will be learning about their needs and wants, allowing you to build trust and assist them while also working to continually improve your business and strengthening the core building block on the chassis of healthy client-relationships. Trust is key.
For daily social-media tips, visit our Facebook page here
Like the holiday season, social media offers great promise but also a high risk of offending and angering the very people you hoped to gather together. If done incorrectly, your online fans and followers will turn on you and ruin your expectations of online success. However, with a few reminders, some forethought, and a focus on finding a consistent tone and producing quality content, your dreams of social-media success can be as easily attainable as making a Christmas wish list.
Here are some hints and tips for bettering your online presence and your chances for success …
Your Past: The first place to start when beginning a social-media campaign is with former clients, customers, and partners. If you had a good business relationship with someone in the past, chances are they won’t be reluctant to join your page and like your posts. They aren’t, however, going to be as interested in marketing pieces and sales pitches. That means, you’ll have to have content that is both interesting and professional, but that will also appeal to a wide audience. Having something to share that can interest both your past clients and potential business is key. Keeping your former customers close to you is an excellent way to boost word of mouth and repeat business.
Your Present: This will be where you place the greatest amount of focus. After all, chasing down potential leads and turning window shoppers into clients is where the money’s at. That makes this is an important category to cater to when thinking about how to approach your social-media pages and profiles. After all, a lot of these people have expressed interest in your services and may be ready to bite. That doesn’t mean, however, that they want to be hit with an inbox full of reminders that you’d like their business. Don’t seem desperate. Instead, approach these social-media contacts as though you’re interested in them rather than just their money.
Your Future: This is the area with the most amount of promise. After all, the idea that you can reach across the vast and varied Internet and pull in new contacts just by keeping a Facebook or Twitter account seems both unbelievable and undeniably attractive. Social media and the Internet at large have given businesses a much greater ability to reach out to their community and industry. If you keep your online presence focused on business and respect people’s boundaries, you will no doubt come across new clients you wouldn’t have otherwise. But, much like in the previous cases, you have to be considerate and not abuse your contacts by overloading them with unwelcome advertising or incessant solicitation. Follow common sense and treat people the way you’d like to be treated.
Among social-media sites, Twitter has the least obvious professional application. It’s character limitation and cutesy lingo make it seem like a stretch for someone hoping to reap business benefits from social networking. Still, there are a number of inventive ways to use Twitter that will make it easier to find contacts, research your local market, and connect with industry leaders.
Here are some tips for using Twitter more effectively …
Use Keywords: On Twitter, people attach hashtags to particular words or phrases to make their tweets easier to find. Attaching a hashtag means people searching for that topic will be more likely to find that tweet. It also make eavesdropping on Twitter users even easier. Search for a keyword or phrase associated with your business and get an instant report on what people are thinking and saying about your industry. Use what you learn to craft better business strategies and address your customers’ needs and concerns. Using Twitter for field research doesn’t even require an account. It’s the fastest, easiest, and most effective way to use Twitter for business.
Go Local: Apply that same lesson to your region, city, or state and you can quickly find Twitter users in your neighborhood and community. This is a good way to boost your followers and make new contacts. Find some local Twitter users who either fit your target demographic or are influential or active in the community, then follow their feed. Chances are many of these new contacts will follow you back. Use that opportunity to introduce yourself and begin a conversation. You are, after all, neighbors. Keep it casual and conversational. Soon these contacts will become online friends and their word of mouth and familiarity with you and your business will benefit your bottom line.
Reach Out: It can’t hurt to take the first step. Reaching out and following people on Twitter is a quick way to generate some goodwill and gather some fans of your own. Finding people in your area or industry is a good start but don’t be afraid to also follow feeds of people and entities beyond your immediate grasp as well. By which we mean, follow the local newspapers, city leaders, national media sites, industry trade groups, and any or anything else that pertains to your business and interests you and, presumably, your followers. As always, keep it professional and family friendly. Ultimately, the more diverse and active your Twitter page is, the better chance you’ll have at making it work for you and your business.
The key to successfully marketing your business through social media is to make it seem like you’re not. Which is to say, social-media marketing requires a little slight of hand, a lot of patience, and some faith. You can’t expect to put up some pages, upload a bunch of sales material, and wait for new clients to come knocking down your door. You’ll have to build a community of followers, fans, contacts, and customers the old-fashioned way.
Here are some tips to marketing your business without seeming to …
Think About Your Approach: So you registered for some social-media pages and are eager to start selling your services online? Well, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. In fact, there’s no quicker way to turn off potential online leads than to hammer away with sales talk and solicitations. Social-media marketing requires a little finesse. That means, rather than posting everyday about your business and services, you should be offering information and help. Approach your online contacts as though you’re doing it out of the kindness of your heart and the familiarity and goodwill you generate will lead to word-of-mouth and business.
The Content Conundrum: What do you post when you’d really rather beg for business? Well, there are a number of things. The quickest and easiest way to generate some good content is to share interesting info you’ve found that may help someone in need of your particular services. Pass along some industry news that a consumer might not know but should. Explain and add context to any numbers, stats, or trends that a potential customer would benefit from knowing. Approach your updates and posts as though you’re a good friend hoping to assist someone with an important decision. Answer questions and ask for feedback. All of these things will generate a back-and-forth with your online contacts that can only benefit your business.
Turning Contacts Into Clients: Of course, to some people, the process of luring in business through social-media may seem like a wasted effort. After all, who has the time to be posting to Facebook or LinkedIn when they need to generate real money in the real world? With time and consistency, however, social-media can – and will – lead to business. It’s just a matter of targeting the right audience and keeping up with your contacts. Social-media is a word-of-mouth machine. Give it time and you’ll soon see that your contacts are not only turning into clients, but are also recommending you to their contacts and online communities.
Among the top social-media sites, Twitter seems the most frivolous. It’s hard to imagine something that involves tweeting being a worthwhile thing to do with your time. And yet, there a countless examples of businesses that are successfully incorporating Twitter into their social-media marketing strategy. Used correctly, Twitter can help you boost brand awareness and familiarity, customer loyalty, word of mouth, and visibility. Here are some of our top tips, hints and help for businesses looking to capitalize in the Twitterverse.
Just Tweet: Okay, if you’re just starting out on Twitter, the first thing to do is tweet. You aren’t likely to attract anything but spam with an empty page. If you’re having trouble thinking of something to say, re-tweet something you found interesting or informative that relates to your industry or area. You can’t expect to gain any followers unless you’ve got something to share. Starting from scratch can be difficult but keep it professional, relevant, and regularly updated for best results.
Use the Hashtag: If you’ve heard the term but haven’t yet understood the concept, here you go … Hashtags identify the topic or subject of your tweet, making it easier for people to find it through searches. For example, if you’re tweeting about real estate, follow your tweet with #realestate. That way, it’s more likely your tweet will be found by people searching for real estate on Twitter. But think it through, as a hashtag for something as general as real estate will likely be among thousands of others.
Nearby Tweets: See who’s tweeting what in your area with nearbytweets.com. The simple setup delivers search results based on a keyword and a location. Search for anything anywhere and see who’s tweeting what near you.
Make Friends: The more people you follow, the more people will follow you. Choose some interesting people and businesses in your industry and region and follow them. Check their followers and follow some of them too. Not only will you have access to any tips and info they share, you’ll boost your visibility and attract your own followers.
Engage: Build a community by commenting and re-tweeting what other people have posted. Post something that isn’t directly related to your business. Talk about other businesses in your area. Point out interesting things in your community.
Be Thankful: Using Twitter properly – or any other social-media site for that matter – requires a bit of old-fashioned etiquette. Much like they do in everyday life, people online appreciate a simple thank you from time to time. For our purposes that means turning on email notifications from your Twitter page. Twitter will send you an email any time someone new follows you. Be sure to send a thank you. It’s a good way to encourage communication and requires nothing more than a short message.
Contaxio: A tool to help manage, track, and interconnect your Twitter account. With Contaxio, you’ll be able to find contacts with similar interests, review your activity, scan stats about the people you follow and those who follow you, and even keep up with new contacts from your Facebook page.
You’re an Expert: Now, you may not think of yourself as an expert. Few people do. However, if you’ve spent any time in your current business, chances are you know more about it than the people paying you for your services. Otherwise, they’d do it themselves. That means, at the very least, you can add insight, context, and explanation to any information you’ve tweeted. If, for example, you tweet a link to an article related to your industry, follow with another tweet that adds background or explanation. Give your Twitter followers some of your expertise for free and they just may end up paying customers down the road.
Interact: Twitter is about communication. It’s meant to be conversational, which explains the character limitations. Ideally, you’d encourage a back-and-forth with your followers and those you follow, using tweets to respond and reply to questions, concerns, and messages. Twitter allows for direct messages, which operate a lot like email. Respond to the messages you receive and to people who tweet about your or your business. It may sound like a lot of work but, if done correctly, the benefit to your business will outweigh the time you invested building a following. Keep your expectations reasonable.
In years past, if you wanted to be on top of the newest and latest in social media, you had to be registered on the newest and latest social-media site. Each year brought with it a potato sack stuffed with new sites and platforms that made whatever you’d signed up for last year obsolete. If you were still using MySpace once Facebook came around, you may as well have been sending your status updates via telegram. Which is to say, social media moves quickly and leaves most of us playing catch up. Fortunately, 2011 was not that kind of year.
Here are the top three social-media trends of the past year …
The Leaders of the Pack: Though there will likely always be new social-media sites popping up and begging for your time and attention, this year’s social-media news seemed to focus more on the continued dominance of Facebook and Twitter. If you still think there’s no reason to start a Facebook fan page for your business, ask yourself why companies now include Facebook and Twitter logos on their print and television ads. It’s not that they’re under the impression you can click on the pages of a magazine, it’s that the top social-media sites are increasingly becoming an Internet of their own and businesses want you to know they’re available there too. Everyone from your grandmother to the mom-and-pop shop on the corner has a presence on Facebook and it’s mostly because, when people check in online, that’s where they start. In other words, there are a lot of people on Twitter tweeting about their breakfast but you can also find just about any other information or entertainment that interests you.
Sharing is Caring: The key to social-media success is getting people to share what you’ve posted with their network. Social media is a 21st century word-of-mouth machine and, in order to benefit from an online presence, people have to see it. Having content people want to pass on to their friends and family will boost your reach and your brand. But where are they doing the sharing? Well, Facebook and Twitter, of course. Facebook is responsible for 52.1 percent of all the sharing happening online. That’s a lot, considering the vastness of the Internet. Twitter, on the other hand, makes up only 13.5 percent but grew 576.9 percent this year. Email, print, and favorites came in with 14.4 percent of the sharing taking place over the past year.
Quality Over Quantity: The number of fans or followers you have would seem to be a pretty good indicator of how popular you are online. But consider how many of your online devotees are either inactive or not even a real person. Particularly in business, having thousands of fans and followers but no potential clients may make your ego feel better but won’t do anything for your bottom line. In other words, it’s not the numbers that equal success it’s the number of real-life connections you’ve produced. Sometimes it’s hard to measure whether or not your efforts are being noticed but it only takes one phone call from someone that found you on Facebook to strike up some business. Which, after all, is the point of all this.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
It’s hard to argue with numbers, unless you’re a mathematician or Pythagoras. And so, we’ve provided a list of social-media stats, numbers, and raw data to help convert the skeptics and offer encouragement to those who seek it.
There are more than 800 million active Facebook users. That’s right, 800 million. And Americans spend more time on Facebook than on any other website. That means, they aren’t on your website. Which means, you should probably have a Facebook page. Setting up a Facebook fan page for your business is an excellent way of making sure that you have a presence on the website most of us are presently perusing.
Social media apps are the third most downloaded apps among smartphone users. That means, the increasing number of people who access the Internet from their cell phone are, increasingly, using it to access their social-media pages. If people are that invested in their social-media pages that they want to be able to access them wherever they are, that’s a pretty good indication that having a social-media plan for your business isn’t likely to be time wasted on a passing fad.
78% of small businesses are using Twitter. Now we understand this comes dangerously close to the everybody-else-is-doing-it line of thinking but everybody else is doing it. And they can’t all be wrong.
41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business with it. LinkedIn is often confused for a job-hunting website but it’s also a great place to connect with other professionals, referral partners, and potential clients.
There are 3.5 billion things shared on Facebook each week. That means, blog posts, links, news, etc. That also means social-media is a high-tech word-of-mouth machine. Having your info shared is the quickest way to meet potential business online.
On Twitter, interesting content is the number one reason people retweet. In other words, if your content is interesting you’re more likely to have your content shared. Humor and personal connection were the second and third most common reasons for retweeting. Which means, if you’re not funny, you’d better be interesting.
79% of companies are using or planning on using social media. And that’s according to Harvard Business Review. Their survey found 58 percent of companies were already engaged on social-media sites, while an additional 21 percent had plans to launch a social-networking campaign.
57% of companies using blogs reported that they’d acquired customers from leads they generated through their blogs. And don’t believe it when you hear someone say that blogs are no longer relevant. In fact, between 2009 and 2011, the percentage of businesses that blog increased from 48 percent to 65 percent.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
It’s tempting to think social-media success involves a little magic and some sleight-of-hand. There must be some app, service, software, or site that would propel your profits and boost your business. Maybe the spammers are right and you should just buy 1,000 Facebook fans and wait for them to spread the word. Sadly, though there are many helpful tools available to help you along the way (See our previous posts on apps and plugins for LinkedIn, Facebook, and WordPress), social media isn’t magic. It is, however, an effective way to develop relationships and create word-of-mouth if done correctly.
Here are some tips on successfully marketing your business through social media …
Content is King: Social-media success requires a bit of restraint. Which means, while you may want to fill your blog or Twitter feed with advertisements for you and your business, you’ll do better offering content that is interesting to your potential customer base and forming relationships with any followers or fans you make along the way. Keep your content short and easy to read. On Facebook, for example, it’s been shown that shorter posts get shared 27 percent more than longer posts. And, when you think about it, it’s just common sense. If you’re selling cupcakes, people will get tired of hearing about how you’ve got cupcakes for sale. But what if you posted a recipe instead? It’s likely that the recipe would be shared and enjoyed by more people than yet another plea for business.
Relationships Matter: Whether you have 10 Twitter followers or 5,000 Facebook fans, you should make an effort to treat them as something more than potential dollar signs. After all, people will be more loyal and likely to tell their friends if there’s a person behind the page rather than a company logo that rarely responds to messages or comments. Don’t be as concerned with the number of connections you’ve made as much as the connections themselves. Be personable, appreciative, and responsive. You may find shifting your focus from quantity to quality will, strangely enough, end up boosting your numbers.
Sharing is Caring: Your goal is to get people to share your content or your contact info. You may find someone in search of exactly the service you provide through your social-media efforts or you may be contacted by someone who had a link sent to them or had a friend tell them about your business. In other words, it’s about word-of-mouth. And the best way to create word-of-mouth is to do your best to be respectful and not an annoyance. Post regularly to your blog or social-media site but not so much that people tune you out. Share good information and think it through. Think about what you’d be interested in or what would be helpful to your customers and allow that to guide what you post.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
All social-media sites are the same. Really. It’s your info, messages, and updates just wrapped in a different format. And, in that way, social-media is a lot like Mexican food. After all, most of the dishes on a typical Mexican menu are identical. The only thing that changes is the tortilla. The difference between a chimichanga and a burrito? One tortilla is fried, the other isn’t. A taco and a tostada? One’s folded, the other isn’t.
And so, when trying to determine how to properly use Facebook as opposed to Twitter or LinkedIn, don’t get overwhelmed trying to extract the unique purpose of each site. You’re using them all for the same thing: To connect, communicate, and create a larger audience for you, your business, and your services. It’s all a technologically advanced way of spreading word-of-mouth. The differences, like a Mexican menu, are only in the presentation.
Here are some tips on properly presenting yourself on Twitter …
Keep it Short: Obviously, the main difference between Twitter and any other social-media site is that you’re limited to 140 characters per tweet. That means, you have to have something quick, interesting, and understandable to share and you have to do it in very few words. This, while appearing easy, can be difficult. Start by linking up your blog or Facebook page to Twitter. Most sites offer the ability to automatically have your updates, posts, and messages sent to your other pages and profiles. This will make it easier to keep your sites updated without having to login to each. You can also update your Twitter account with relevant industry stats or quotes, re-tweet something interesting you’ve found, or call attention to others in your industry or region whose account you follow. In short, the more you mention others, re-tweet their messages, and follow their feeds, the more attention your account will receive in return. And, after all, attention is the idea in the first place.
Use The Hashtag: If you’ve heard the term but haven’t yet understood the concept, here you go … Hashtags identify the topic or subject of your tweet and make it easier for people to find through searches. For example, if you’re tweeting about real estate, follow your tweet with #realestate. That way, it’s more likely your tweet will be found by people searching for real estate on Twitter. But think it through, as a hashtag for something as general as real estate will likely be among thousands of others. The more specific your tag, however, the more unlikely it is to be someone’s search term. In other words, it takes some balance but incorporating hashtags into some of your tweets is a good way to gain more attention for your message.
Interact With The Twitterverse: Twitter is about communication. It’s meant to be conversational, which explains the character limitations. Ideally, you’d encourage a back-and-forth with your followers and those you follow, using your tweets to respond and reply to questions, concerns, and messages. Twitter allows for direct messages, which operate a lot like email. Respond to the messages you receive and to people who tweet about you or your business. A simple thank you may be enough. It may sound like a lot of work but, if done correctly, the benefit to your business will outweigh the time you invested building a following. Keep your expectations reasonable.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
On the freeway, traffic is something to be avoided at all costs. On the Internet, traffic is the only way to generate leads and grow your business. Driving traffic to your website, whether through pay-per-click advertising or keeping a blog, means more potential customers visiting your website, learning what you do, and paying you for your services. So how’s it done? The easy answer is by making your business more readily found by search engines. How you do that, though, is up to you.
Here are a few strategies to help you start driving up your numbers …
Blogs and Social Media: The good news is this option won’t break your budget. The bad news is you’ll have to invest some time and come up with content to share on your network. Getting noticed by search engines takes time. So, if you’re looking for an overnight success, perhaps an advertising campaign is better suited to your needs. If, however, you’re able to regularly contribute, post, and interact with your social network, you’ll build word-of-mouth and traffic to your business website. The more you participate, the quicker it’ll happen. Not only will each blog post, tweet, and Facebook update boost your traffic and search-engine rankings, if done correctly, they’ll be an effective way of keeping in contact with referral partners and clients while attracting new business.
Online Advertising: The advantage of pay-per-click advertising is that you only pay per click. You set the keywords, target your region, and budget and pay only when someone visits your website as advertised on search engines, websites, or advertising networks. That means, unlike an ad in a newspaper, pay-per-click ads cost you only when they deliver traffic to your site. The disadvantage is you have to pay whether that traffic generates new business or not. Which means, it can get expensive if your ads aren’t properly targeted. And, until they are, you’ll be paying for errant clicks and aimless visitors.
Everything Else: Ultimately, the benefit of building your presence online is there are limitless tricks and tips to help you – not only get started – but effectively build your business. Blogs and social-media sites are packed with resources and tools to help you share your content across your network, easily link back to your business website, and offer added value through widgets, plug-ins, and apps. And, though it may seem daunting at first, any help you need along the way is no further than a quick Google search. Additional tips here.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
Advertising is about grabbing attention. It’s the reason fashion ads feature so little clothing, which – when you think about it – doesn’t make all that much sense. But a photo of fully dressed models won’t grab nearly as much attention as bare skin. The same is true on the Internet – though no one’s suggesting you resort to nudity.
Branding yourself online, whether it’s through a blog, a Facebook business page, or a Twitter account, is about grabbing online attention and getting people to take notice of your page … and then your business. Very few television ads spend that 30 seconds explaining their business credentials. More likely, there’s 28 seconds of a talking monkey and two seconds explaining who the ad is for and how you can buy their product. Which is a way of saying, social-media marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing. You’ll need to grab your target audience’s attention before you’ll see any benefits.
Here are a few ideas to remember …
The What: Okay, you’ll need some content on your pages to keep people interested but that’s not to say your business info and credentials aren’t necessary. Once you’ve registered for a page or profile, fill out all the provided places for your bio, websites, past experience, and whatever else is offered. The more you fill in, the easier it will be for people to find you. This information will provide the keywords through which people will find you in searches and such. It’ll also make it simple for interested visitors to learn about your business and find ways to contact you.
The How: So that’s not the difficult part. After all, anyone with a couple hours can set themselves up with an online profile and fill in their business information. If that’s all it took to bring in new business through social-media marketing, we’d all be on yachts in the South Pacific. Sadly, in order to keep visitors, build word-of-mouth, and brand your business, you’ll have to consistently offer content on your pages, profiles, or blog. And, unlike television or radio ads, you can’t schedule when people will look at your page. Which means, the more you update, the more reason they’ll have to visit. The more visitors, the more potential business. Finding a pace and type of content that suits you and appeals to your clients will take time. Don’t get discouraged. Also, be sure to interact with your audience whenever you can. If someone leaves you a comment, respond. The more available you seem, the more trust you’ll earn.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com