Tag Archives: social media marketing

New Year, New Social Media Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses on Facebook

strategy for small business social media marketing on facebook

A  strategy for small business social media marketing was turned upside down last week when Mark Zukerberg announced changes to the Facebook newsfeed. Aimed to enhance the user experience, Facebook will begin to prioritize newsfeed posts from family and friends.

A large percentage of users may not even notice the increase in cat memes or teenager selfies. Those who will be affected are small businesses and social media marketing strategists. As of 2016, there were 60 million Facebook business pages. For some Facebook just cut off their power.

A New Strategy for Small Business Social Media Marketing

Facebook pages with thousands of active followers will continue to be posted in their follower’s newsfeeds, just not as frequently. Active followers aren’t just liking a post they’re having a dialog with other followers on the post. A ‘like’ is not equal in value to actively commenting. Facebook wants to see engagement – the more people engaged the higher chance the business page will hit followers newsfeed.

Small business facebook followers mark see firstAnother strategy for small business social media marketing on Facebook is to ask followers to select “See First”  under the “Follow” tab.  This will help business pages continue to get into the newsfeed. Currently, Facebook users can only select 30 total people and pages to ’See First’. Small brands may have a hard time selling the “See First” option. If followers have selected family, friends, or other pages to see first already, new pages lose.

What options do really small business Facebook pages have?

Small businesses who have 300 or so followers who are lucky to even get likes on their posts – let alone dialogues – are going to lose the organic target they once received. So what is a small business to do?

social media strategist boost postSpend money. Facebook is a business, they’re going to continue to post advertisements in the newsfeeds. Boosting page posts, and investing in Facebook ad campaigns is another strategy for small business social media marketing. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. It can be time-consuming though.

Essentially there is no more free ride for small business Facebook pages. But, this industry is anything but static. New platforms and new strategies for small business marketing may eliminate Facebook marketing.

I must admit when I heard of the changes I thought of the question I get most from small businesses: “Do I need a website, I have a Facebook page’. My answer is and always has been, invest in your brand, not somebody else’s. Using Facebook for your online presence is like having your customers call Facebook to reach your business phone. It’s time for small businesses to take back control of their brand. Find new ways to stay connected with your audience. If you need help, connect with us, we can help get your small business online.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Internet marketing strategies

Internet marketing is not an option, it is a necessity for every small business to grow. We love working with start up companies, we love the passion and the excitement new entrepreneurs bring with each bright venture. It is also hard for us to meet some of these fresh start up small businesses who are following their dreams but haven’t done the due diligence of research. We are often contacted first to design and develop a small business website. One of our specialities here of course. However in our first website consultation we talk to our prospective customers about how they are going to market their new business and if they have considered internet marketing. Unfortunately many small business owners believe having a website is an internet marketing strategy. It is a component but it is not a complete strategy to drive traffic, phone calls and orders in and of itself.

Following is a list of some of the internet marketing strategies small businesses implement. Not all of these internet marketing concepts are necessary for every single business. If you are not sure about which will fit best with your internet marketing goals post a question in the comment sections and I will be happy to help. I will need to know what your product or service is and what your internet marketing goals are. Do you want to increase page views, do you want to make more sales, do you want more downloads, etc.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for small business

  1. Web Presence – First and foremost is to have a fully functioning quality website. A website that communicates quickly what your product or service is key in keeping your visitor engaged in staying on your website long enough to determine if they want to work with you. List your services or products, make it easy to locate contact information whether it is an online form and most definitely provide an email contact and phone number on all your pages. Don’t skimp on your website design. If your website looks cheap your company will bear the burden of this perception.
  2. Content Marketing – Content marketing includes articles, blog posts, press releases, e-books, all types of photos including product photos, staff photos, stock photos for your blog posts, and videos. Don’t ever worry that you are offering too much information on your website. Note you will naturally be adding relevant keywords to your content (see SEO below) and you will be answering every visitors question each time they come to your site. Sharing your wisdom and expertise adds credibility and trust for your customer and bodes higher search results than websites that don’t get updated frequently and have less content
  3. SEO/SEM – Search engine marketing helps bring your website up in search results within search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. The use of relevant keywords holds high importance in SEO for small business websites. To use Connection Group as an example, as a graphic design and marketing company in the Lansing Michigan area we want customers who are seeking graphic design and marketing in the Lansing, Michigan to find us. The best way to be visible in search engines is to make sure we have those keywords (graphic design, marketing, Lansing, Michigan) on our website in various places.  There are many components of SEO and many bad practices by disreputable SEO firms to avoid. Please post in comments if you have questions.
  4. Local Search Marketing – Local search incorporates the rules and tactics for standard SEO and integrates maps, such as Google maps. When a customer searches your product or services a map with local companies who fit the query come up. Your company and similar companies in your industry will have listing that include contact information such as address, phone number, and can include website and there will be a symbol on the map indicating your exact business location.
  5. Social Media Marketing – Everybody groan and get it over with. I know social media for small businesses is an internet strategy that challenges the best of us but it all comes down to your goals and your audience. Some of our customers rock Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and others report increased sales rates from the traffic they received from LinkedIn. The most challenging part of social media as an internet marketing strategy for small businesses  is setting the frequency of posts and determining return on investment. To start, I recommend securing social media profiles with your business name in all of the main social media channels. The next step is to evaluate which social media channels your customers spend the most time in, when they are there and what they want to hear from you.  Piece of cake right?
  6. Email Marketing – Email marketing lists are considered by many to be the most valuable database in many small businesses portfolio. Email marketing lists are built from customers and prospects who have expressed an interest in your product or service. Whether you gained them through a give away, a promise to keep them updated on new product releases, or discounts, these people have opted in to receive communication from you. Unlike a phone call, or face to face meeting, emails can be sent 24/7 and the recipient can choose when they will look at them and how they will respond. Small businesses should consider using an established email marketing software such as Mailchimp to help ensure your campaigns reach your customers in-box without getting caught in spam filters.
  7. Landing Pages – A landing page is a page on your website that is designed to capture visitors contact information. Landing pages contain a lead capture form (conversion form) also known as an online inquiry form. Created for a specific audience they can be a very successful internet marketing strategy. Good landing pages are simple and focus on one message to achieve the goal of capturing the lead content. Consider using landing pages with email campaigns targeted to previous customers, use of landing pages with online advertising allow ease of tracking and optimizing for each ad, and lastly landing pages can be used for giveaways and free downloads of e-books, original graphics, etc.
  8. Mobile Compatibility – Mobile marketing statistics so far for 2014 show some industries are seeing nearly 50% of visits to their websites from mobile users. This of course will vary with demographics and your actual product or service but it is high across the board – high enough not to ignore. Most small businesses are investing in responsive website design rather than going with a desktop website and a separate mobile website. Maintaining two separate websites is just crazy unless that’s all you have to do all day. Responsive sites provide the best of both worlds. Those visiting your site on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer get the same information, it is all just scaled for the screen size they are using. Questions? Let’s talk.
  9. Online directory listings – Make sure your business is listed and complete your information and be sure there is accurate contact information in all main online directories such as Google, Bing, Yelp and YP. Consumers who do not know your company name but are searching for your product or service can view your listing and contact you. Most directories have free listings and others offer more options at a cost. There are many other service listings like Yext, etc. and also industry specific directories you will want to explore.
  10. Google Adwords and Social Media Paid Advertising – Google Adwords can help bring you to the top of searches page by paying for top placement. Internet advertising is sold on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per  impression. You build ads using keywords for your product or service depending on your budget and how many others in your industry are advertising the same keywords and setting similar budgets your ad will come up in when people search for your product or service. Due diligence must be paid to each online adverting campaign to make sure you are getting in the top rankings and that you are taking advantage of each opportunity. As you work to improve organic search engine results for your website by adding content, etc. Although not for the faint at heart or for those who are not very ‘techie’, Google adwords and some social media advertising can be a good addition to your internet marketing strategy.

So which of the 10 internet marketing strategies above does your company need the most to increase inbound marketing results? Do you think you need to start working on all or them, or only 1 − 4, or are you completely overwhelmed and want to go back to door to door sales and forget all this crazy internet stuff? Connect with us, we can help with all of the services listed, we know the ropes and we can help get results.

Stay connected!

Photo credit: Apple, the Apple logo and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Is the Facebook Business Page Dead?

facebook-social-network-graphicA full decade of Facebook. Can you believe it? Some days it still seems crazy that over a billion people are visitors of this one website. Other days it seems as if it has always been a part of our lives. In such a short time feeding Facebook business page news feeds with funny stories and trend setting tips has created a world of narcissist and overnight millionaires.

The reigning king of social media has continually made changes over the 10 years to keep us coming back. Marketers are like mice on a wheel trying to keep up. We have experienced many late nights editing slides before a large presentation because Facebook did an overhaul the day before a big social media marketing consultation. Most recently, changes to the Facebook business page newsfeed algorithm has left businesses and social media marketing companies scrambling. Over night companies were angered seeing that only 100 fans of their 8000 fan base actually saw their posts at any given time.

Why the big change in the Facebook Business Page Algorithm?

Facebook surveyed a sample of their users and asked how often they want page posts to come up in their profile news feed. Based on the response, Facebook has reduced the amount of Facebook business page posts that come up in users personal news feeds. This makes your Grandma in Florida happier because she can see more posted cartoons about the polar vortex Michigan is experiencing. Marketers and social media managers are left wondering whether they should bother recommending their client to dedicate man hours to post to their Facebook business pages. If few people are going to see them why spend the time and payroll dollars to create Facebook posts?

For companies who have relied heavily on their Facebook business page to sell and market their products or services it will be important to look at other ways to get back in front of their audience. A business marketing plan that is not so reliant on Facebook may help. Certainly a new Facebook business page marketing strategy is in order to determine how best to drive traffic to the Facebook business page based on the new algorithm programming.

So how can you drive traffic to your Facebook business page news feed? sample tagging facebook business page in page post

  1. Buy more Facebook ads (come on now, who ever said you could get free social media marketing?)
  2. Embrace link sharing (posting links of stories off site, or to other pages, etc.)
  3. Share more visuals and media-rich content (graphics, photos, videos)
  4. Leverage other social channels – encourage your followers in other social media channels to engage with your Facebook business page
  5. Include your Facebook business page URL on all your marketing materials
  6. Include a link to your Facebook business page in your blog posts and your email signature
  7. Include buttons for liking and sharing your Facebook business page on your website and in your email signature
  8. Tag other pages in your posts to gain interest for that page followers. (Example: Our Connection Group Facebook Business Page shares a web link from Mashable’s website and tags the Mashable Facebook page that post is shared to some of the Mashable Facebook page fan base. If fans are interested in what we’ve posted they stop in check us out and like us – bonus!)

Anybody who has posted to Facebook recognizes that visuals speak louder than words, this is not lost in the new algorithm either. Facebook has decided it doesn’t like all those wordy, story posts and is reducing sharing of text based posts to newsfeeds at a higher rate than those with links and visual content. Gone is the day of likes from viewers for your text heavy posts, the sharing of penned customer testimonials and even those inspiring #mondaymotivation quotes. So how are you going to keep in the game and post compelling visuals? It’s not like you can just steal Google images and post them legally. (Remember we’ve covered this before.)

Creating more visual and media-rich content for your Facebook Business Page:

Nxtwall trade show booth

Sample of photo used for Nxtwall Faceboook business page post from trade show.

  1. Hire a graphic design and marketing firm to create original social media images, icons, graphics, Facebook cover photos, based on your brand visuals. (Have we met? 🙂 )
  2. Purchase art, photos and videos from stock art websites. (Shutterstock, Veer, etc.)
  3. Have employees compile photos of the office, meetings, products, customers (get signed photo releases!), etc. for posting
  4. Have customers share photos (you could even create a photo contest around this concept!)
  5. Photos from company events, trade shows, holiday parties, etc. (double bonus because these will reflect the company culture clearly to viewers.)
  6. Create original infographics pertinent to your industry

When you tire of viewing all the “Look Back” videos Facebook developed as their anniversary gift to users, it’s time to think about your investment in your Facebook business page for the next 10 years. Will Facebook decide that increased business page posts in users news feeds are more important than keeping happy users? Will Facebook ads get cheaper? Suddenly I feel like my mother when she asked me if my room was going to clean itself.

Since Facebook advertising has been under scrutiny lately as well, I feel like we all need to take a step back and put down the kool aid. I’ve heard too many otherwise smart start up business owners question whether they should build a website if they have a Facebook page. That question could easily be a complete blog in itself.. Hopefully they will find this post and never ask that again.

Please understand I have fun on Facebook, I love connecting with old friends and family across the miles and I also like supporting my favorite customers and brands too. It’s about keeping it in perspective.

Before I descend from my pedestal I will ask one last question. Why is your company so invested in building the Facebook brand and not investing in your own brand vehicles? Balance out your marketing. Play in social media, build your brand, connect with your customers there and meanwhile build professional websites, network with real people, explore forums dedicated to your niche market, create professionally printed brochures and leave behind print literature people can use, attend and display at trade shows. Don’t be enticed by the billion users, identify how many clients you really need to succeed and figure out the best channels to get your message to them. If you need help with this piece give us a call today or follow our facebook page for tips and resources. Sorry, couldn’t resist!

Stay connected!

Keep Your Business Connected

girls on rollercoaster

It’s been a load of fun!

As we are nearing the year end, Connection Group is excited to announce we will be bringing back our monthly e-newsletter “Connectivity”. As business has increased and our services have expanded over the last few years we have dedicated our time to meeting our customers needs by fulfilling their project requests and increasing our knowledge and skills in the areas of social media and internet marketing. Whew! It has been a fast paced rollercoaster ride with a mix of laughter, joy, fear and tears! We have grown to a full service design firm with a focus on integrative marketing.

So what does this all mean to you? It means we still make you look good, we make your ideas work, we make headlines and most importantly, make your job easier. Our design offering still include graphic design services of your choice, logos, brochures, illustrations, book covers, magazines, visual displays ( trade show graphics and signage) etc. Web design solutions include graphical interface, illustrations, photo optimizing, landing pages, web-galleries, websites that you can update yourself, e-commerce websites, members only websites and more. Web development includes; content management systems, payment portals, shopping carts, password protected areas, statistic tracking and analytics, etc.

The integrative marketing services Connection Group now offers small business marketing, consulting, internet marketing, print marketing, and social media marketing. Digital marketing includes marketing plan, publication calendars, website design and development, internet/digital advertising, research, e-press releases, internet copy writing, etc. Print marketing continues with direct mail pieces, corporate brochures, postcards, business cards, flyers, mailers and more. Lastly and most in demand currently is our social media marketing services. Connection Group manages all social media platforms for you. If you’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others we manage your posts, respond and update all areas, track and review analytics, write, publish and track regular blog entries. Am I leaving out anything? Probably, give us a call if there is something related that you need, we can help or we can refer you to another resource.

Don’t worry we are still offering options for these services. We provide monthly marketing solutions for customers that incorporate all of the above or we can tailor a package that fits a small business marketing budget. All services can be chosen individually or as a package to suit your needs each time.

We look forward to staying connected with you. We are committed to providing valuable small business marketing and design tips to help you grow your business, get more traffic and customers to your business. Subscribe to our e-newsletter, connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and ArchtypeMe we will be sharing current trends in business marketing and design, offering discounts and specials for printing and digital services and uploading fun, artistic cards to share with your family and friends for free!

Stay connected,
Connie