SMALLBIZTRENDS ARTICLE

Published 16th March 2017

Sometimes, small businesses are quick to adopt new technology. Other times, they’re slow or hesitant or skeptical or too busy to even know it exists.It’s that way with social media.According to the Clutch 2017 Small Business Social Media Survey, 24 percent of small businesses have zero social media presence. That’s just about one in four small business owners.

A deeper dive into the Clutch data shows that less than half of all small businesses are actually using their social media presence on a consistent basis. Sure, a restaurant might have a Facebook page, but there’s a good chance its last post was the Wednesday night special in late July 2016.Clutch found that only 41 percent of small businesses are on their social media sites multiple times a day. Another 23 percent are updating their social sites daily.If a company isn’t active on social media on a consistent basis, its message will be lost. Followers are more likely to see posts and updates from companies and people who are more active on the site. A relatively dormant page is more likely to go unnoticed.Based on this data, of the companies with a social presence, about one-third of them aren’t using social media enough.

If a company is inconsistently or sparsely posting about their business, the reach will be low even if the following is pretty high. If they’re using social media to respond to customers, they’re allowing their customers to wait too long by only visiting weekly, at best.

Facebook Remains Important to Small Businesses

Ask a small business about their social media presence. Smart money says they’ll show you their Facebook page.Of the 76 percent of small businesses with a social media presence, an overwhelming 90 percent are on Facebook.Check out the other sites popular among small businesses:

It’s About Time

Despite the drawbacks and the amount of work it takes to do social media right, small businesses are missing an opportunity without a social media presence.Very few small businesses can argue against a social media presence.And Clutch agrees, this has to be the year your small business gets some sort of social media presence.Facebook is probably best suited for local businesses. But online businesses may find Twitter or Instagram or even Pinterest — not mentioned in this study — to be even better avenues.More than half of small businesses surveyed by Clutch use in-house staff to manage their social media sites. That’s probably a good start.So if your small business still doesn’t have Facebook page, assign someone to get one set up as fast as possible. Arm them with a logo and some photos, and all the pertinent information about your business — hours, address, phone number, etc. Getting at least a Facebook page established is a big first step.Second, establish a schedule for posts, create some posts and then work on expanding your audience.If you’re one of the companies with a relatively dormant Facebook page, get in the habit of posting something to Facebook at certain points throughout the day. Make it a routine.  Ninety-five percent of small businesses say they plan to put more into their Facebook efforts this year. But putting all your time and effort into one site is probably not the best strategy.

Expand Your Reach

For small businesses with an already established Facebook page, it may be time to look at another site or sites to expand your reach.Small businesses told Clutch they plan to invest more in social media marketing this year. And they identified Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as the sites where they’re most likely to establish another presence.Each site represents unique opportunities for small businesses. Instagram is owned by Facebook and is more photo driven. But if you’re looking to get out from under the Facebook brand, you may consider one of the others.Twitter requires a refined message and delivery method. It’s ideal for some promotions but not others. For example, live events or contests work great on Twitter. However, your new menu items are probably best served virtually on Instagram.With YouTube, the investment is greater. But if video marketing is your next step, this may be the way to go

https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/03/companies-that-do-not-use-social-media.html
 

smallbiztrends article 2

Social Media Content Strategy: 4 Critical Questions for Small Businesses

Over the last 10 years, social networks have evolved into being a necessity for businesses. Every business you know now has Facebook and Twitter pages, and they are all creating content.In the rush to get on board, many small businesses have skipped the intent and goal-setting phase and jumped right into creating the actual content.The result? Diminished effects.Why are you on social media? If your answer is that you have to be, and you don’t have a predefined intent or goals, it is time to step back and reevaluate your social media presence.

Content is at the core of any successful social strategy, and is usually intertwined with the goals that you wish to achieve on social networks. Here are four critical social media content strategy questions that can help you connect with goals and succeed at social.

Reevaluating Your Social Media Content Strategy

What Content Can I Use to Engage Consumers, Access New Markets and Recruit Top Talent?

You need content that resonates with three key audience groups:

Your Consumers Conversion rates for repeat consumers are anywhere between 60 and 70 percent against 5 to 20 percent for new consumers, according to a CMO report. That means that you can more than double your revenue by engaging existing consumers, and social networks form an integral part of making that happen.

New MarketsAbout two thirds of the world’s population is accessible via social networks. If you are looking for new markets to tap to grow your business, these networks can help you.

Prospect EmployeesLinkedIn is known for its efficiency in aiding recruitment, and Facebook recently introduced a Job Posting feature. Many global businesses like Deloitte and Cisco are now seriously recruiting via social and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be.The content targeted at each of the above mentioned groups is likely to be fundamentally different and unless you are consciously focusing on each, your content won’t prove very effective.For each of these target groups, you need the following types of content:

  • Industry news — so you can help your targets stay updated with the latest,
  • Opinion pieces — so you can establish your brand personality and expertise,
  • Resources — so you can provide value to your prospects and a taste of your brand experience.

Along with original content created by you, you should ideally curate content from the best sources in your industry for your social media audience.

What Content are my Competitors Using to Achieve Their Goals? What can I Learn from their Social Media Content Strategy?

The best part about the digital world is the transparency. You can easily identify what your competition is doing to acquire consumers, before you waste money and time trying it by yourself.Several analytics tools feature that functionality as competitive research and bench marking. Alternatively, you can also use Google Alerts to monitor keywords in your industry and see what you can learn from the latest mentions.Another option is GrowthBot, which lets you directly ask question like “What keywords does XYZ.com rank for?”, and you can then plug into a Google search, find the ranking posts and take cues from them to create your own content.You shouldn’t restrict yourself to competition, because other companies targeting your audience and top publications in your industry can give you just as great content ideas and inspiration.For instance, gyms and yoga retreat homes are entirely different businesses, but they target the same audience. They can both create content about organic food and healthy eating.

What Networks are my Colleagues, Partners and Prospects On? Who are They Connected To? What Should They be Saying to Further my Company’s Prospects?

Colleagues and top level executives hold a special power in being active on social networks. They can give off an air of accessibility and make prospect consumers and employees feel connected to your company.Further, social media users have lost trust in brands and are placing more trust in their immediate social connections, who can be your colleagues, partners and consumers.If you identify people like that who can represent your business and advocate it on social networks, you will have powerful word-of-mouth outreach that your company can lean on.An important part of activating these advocates is understanding the content that works when shared by them.You can create unique URLs, using Google’s URL builder and share them with your advocates. If they convert, you will see the same URLs picked up by Google Analytics or the analytics tool that you are using.

What Software Can I Use to Collect, Organize and Manage my Social Media Content?

According to the social media marketing trends in 2017, more small businesses will invest in marketing automation software and software usage will go mainstream.There are several tools available to help you manage your social media content online. You need to find tools that can suggest content (to cut down time needed to find great pieces manually), store content online (so you don’t waste time uploading and downloading your files), and schedule them to your social media accounts (so you can manage your content in advance).Google offers several free resources that let you store content online and share it with teammates and involved parties.For instance, you can use Google Docs, Sheets and Slides to create blog posts, graphs and infographics and eBooks respectively. You can store images and files using DropBox and share them with your social media managers.Some social media management tools eliminate the need to visit multiple websites to manage that process.Before you jump into creating content, it is a good ideas to analyze your intent and goals, and structure your social media marketing plan to achieve desired results.

Source: https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/03/social-media-content-strategy.html 

Your Story Article

Why your business can benefit from social media

Irrespective of whether you run a business online or offline, social media plays a vital role in shaping your business.  Gone are the days when social media was considered just a fad used by the younger generation to kill boredom. Currently, various social platforms provide insights about customers in a smooth and economical way. The communication that takes place through social media allows millions of people to network, interact, and promote businesses.In today’s world, simply using traditional systems of advertising can’t keep anyone on the top. You need to update yourself with the benefits of social media to attract potential customers. Here are a few key points to note in case you are wondering about the power of social media on your business:

Global reach

If the content that you put out there works and goes viral, then there is no looking back. It will easily get a global audience. The point to be noted here is that care should be taken to keep the buzz consistent. Using social media tools is a low-cost and easy way of doing this.  One must check practices such as what news should be shared and what questions should be asked.

Real-time results

Social ads such as an ad campaign on Twitter or Facebook can be run based on customer profiles.  Such ads give real time results and data that can prove to be extremely insightful.

Insights about competitors

You can gain valuable information about competitors through social media, which will help you make better business decisions.  Use industry keywords and names of your competitors’ products to monitor what service or content can be developed.

Recruitment

Sites such as LinkedIn help organisations and businesses attract talent. You get to know more about the job market and what people are looking out for. They provide a good medium to network and gain contacts as well.

Brand image development

Your presence on social media will allow you to connect with your customers on a more personal level. They will be able to find you easily which also builds customer retention and brand loyalty. You may also want to try using social media campaigns for promotions or give aways.

Research

Often, you may not have the bandwidth to constantly be on social media or perhaps your business might not need it completely. However, logging onto social media platforms will help you know what your competitors are doing as well as you get to know what your customers feel about you.

Better search ranking

The number of shares and likes you get on social media, the more are your chances of getting a higher search ranking.  Social media helps to direct the traffic to your website.  Additionally, if you run a business and have a website, the comments and feedback that you receive will increase traffic to your site along with developing a bond with the customers.  Once you reply to your customers, you also gain more visibility.Clearly, social media has a lot to offer to businesses. Any brand that doesn’t leverage the power of social media to their advantage runs the risk of soon turning obsolete. If you haven’t turned to social media yet, start today! 


Source: https://yourstory.com/2017/03/social-media-for-business/

Business.Com article

Learn what a social media manager can do for your business

Every business today knows that social media matters and has most likely at least set up a Facebook or Twitter account. But it is one thing to say that something is important and another to actually spend money on it. Does a small business really need a dedicated social media manager? Surely the owner can take care of it on the weekends, or perhaps you can get a college intern who understands the ins and outs.But there is so much more to social media than firing off a few tweets. Getting the most out of social media requires forethought, a good sense of business strategy and the ability to connect with others. Here are just a few points to consider when deciding whether or not you need a social media manager on board.

Having a plan

Every business has a social media account to promote themselves, but the big question is how to do it. Far too many businesses will sporadically post an update of a sale or something interesting every now and then and leave it at that. This is especially so if the social media account is run by an owner who is too busy to devote his full-time attention.But a rarely updated social media account is worse than not having an account at all. A business cannot forget that their social media account is in competition with the millions of others across the Internet, and a sporadically updated account will be forgotten. This is the primary reason why a business should have someone managing the accounts full time instead of updating whenever there is free time. Forbes notes that an ideal posting rate is 1-5 time per day on Twitter, while a lower rate is more acceptable on Facebook.But a business has to not just post, but post with a plan. A social media manager should develop a strategy and overall theme, and then create posts which follow with that theme. This can range from serious posts discussing the ins and outs of your industry and business to a more zany style which hopes to take advantage of viral marketing. If you decide to meet with a prospective manager, discuss what strategy he would use and how it would work with your business.

Text vs. Images vs. Videos

The complexity of social media posting is that if you want to draw the most engagement per post, visual marketing, like images or videos, is essential. While anyone can post a text tweet, creating a relevant image or even a video is an entirely different affair.This does not necessarily mean that your social media manager must be an expert in graphic design. In fact, there is value in creating videos via Instagram or Snapchat which show a more authentic side of your business over something well-polished. But a graphic design background is still a highly desirable skill for a social media manager.Branding is critical in social media marketing, and will only grow more so as visual social media websites like Snapchat rise. A social media manager can give that sense of style which not everyone possesses.

Different accounts, different strategies

Most businesses may have a Twitter or Facebook account, but what about Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn or the countless other social media websites out there? A social media manager can take the time to research which websites offer the best opportunities. As each one of these websites caters to a different demographic, certain businesses can find more value in focusing their efforts on a more obscure website.In order to figure out which website offers the most value, a social media manager must be firmly committed to analytics. Having likes and retweets only matters insofar as they promote the company’s social media strategy as noted above. Various software programs can help measure the impacts of different posts, but that still requires a social media manager who can read and interpret incoming data to determine what kinds of posts and sites create the best value.

A hard search

Everything listed above should make it clear that finding a good social media manager is a vital task that cannot be left to just anyone with a Twitter account. A social media manager obviously needs to have good social skills to connect with others, but he or she should also be good at analyzing data and trends, understand graphic design, and be able to not just create interesting posts but also synchronize social media with your business’s strategy.This is not something that can be left to anyone on the weekends, but rather requires a full-time skilled professional. For these reasons, take your time to find an appropriate social media manager and think about the above qualifications to get the best one possible. 


Source: https://www.business.com/articles/jeremiah-owyang-does-your-business-need-a-social-media-manager/

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