Why Social Media Matters

Why is Social Media Important to YOU?

Connecting with your customer, building relationships and establishing trust is nothing new!  Traditional Marketing is not DEAD, it has had to evolve to keep up with the people!  Your customers are looking for something… and it’s not just about who has the best products or the best prices.  They are looking to interact with you and your other customers/visitors, they want to share, or read other people’s opinions, acquire *free*, valuable content and receive acknowledgment.  They want to know you are listening!  Once they know you care about their existence, and you must, genuinely care, they will begin to buy from you because they trust that you will want to know about their experience with your products and services.  Using Social Media in your business is a strategy that sends the message: I CARE ABOUT MY CUSTOMERS.  If you can’t offer this, they will find plenty of others who will!

Everyone is Using the Internet

As I write this, I am thinking about all of the different people I know.  They all have one thing in common: old or young, techie or not, they all use the Internet for something. And, while there are many people who don’t care to spend their time sharing their opinions, writing reviews, or sounding off about their political views, I think it safe to say they all read what others are writing!  More and more people are looking for information about a company before they make any contact with that company.  Most want to know how doing business will benefit them.  What special offers exist, what information can they get before actually having to pay for anything? So, if you are not participating in Social Media to brand and promote your company, chances are, they will find someone else who offers this interaction and choose to do business with them instead of you!

Everyone likes free stuff.

No matter what, when information is available, people will take it if there are no strings attached, or money required.  But as a business, giving away free content can be costly.  Free doesn’t have to have no strings attached, however to get new business.  Free can mean discounts, coupons, contests, giveaways, loyalty programs, savings programs, “sneak previews”, and more!  The point is, people feel like they are getting a deal – because they are interacting with your company via the Web or Social Media Platforms.  Encouraging this interaction brings more traffic your way!  Once a person finds your *free* content, they are likely to share it with everyone they know that might be interested.  Why? Because it’s free!  They won’t feel like they are bothering their contacts, instead they will be helping them! What free content you give must be valuable, but that does not mean it must be expensive!  Creatively giving *free* content is a key to utilizing Social Media correctly.  Socializing is sharing.  What are you sharing with your followers?

Recognize your Fans/Followers!

The final point that you need to consider is that your customers want to be recognized!  People are putting their faces on their profiles, offering their opinions and leaving their Twitter Feeds and other social media profiles for a reason – They want to interact.  So, if they follow you, follow them back, thank them for following, ask them if you can provide them with anything, send them *free* information!  Take advantage of the open door and connect with them!  Even better, see if they want to join your mailing list to have a chance to win some great prizes, or even take advantage of a Twitter followers only special!  Don’t ignore your followers, or they will stop following you and then they may be lost forever!  Recognizing that they want to be connected to you will make then happy that they did.  Now, start wowing them with other Social Media Marketing Strategies! Face it, this is easy lead generation!  Get out there where your customers can find you!

 

Chrissanne Long is a Media and Marketing Consultant

at Marketing System Blueprints

Mobile – The New Wave in Advertising

What is Mobile Marketing?

A media consumer is overwhelmed with content on a daily basis. There are games, websites, text messages, and phone calls that are all bombarding the user at one time. A popular emergence in the advertising field is that of the use of Mobile Advertising. Over the past couple of years the emergence and growth of mobile advertising is amazing.

Online advertising started with pop-ups, and banner ads that are available on websites. Although with an internet capable phone these ads could be viewed, they are often overlooked or ignored by users. The use of mobile advertising began to really come into existence with the use of the SMS system. Which is an instant message that is sent directly to the phone. This allowed companies to send advertisements to consumers in an unobtrusive way that respected the privacy of the mobile users. By sending ads over an SMS system allows the ads to not only be viewed instantaneously but also does not interrupt what the user is doing at that current time. With this in mind the user is more likely to interact with the ads and view them then when they viewed them as an invasion of their time and privacy.

Mobile Advertising Grows in Popularity

It is estimated that in 2010 there will be over 4.8 billion mobile users. The advertising opportunities are endless with this amount of potential viewership. With the emergence of adding benefits or rewards to the ads this allows the viewers to want to interact with not only the product but the company that is involved with the advertising. Remembering that as technology changes the mobile advertising will change will allow companies to change with the times and keep the ads to the target audience that is the main focus of the advertising campaign. 

Although mobile advertising is becoming more and more popular as mobile devices become a regular staple in people’s every day life. The amount of money that is spent on advertising in the mobile range is still very little, as low as .05% by some companies. With the emergence of mobile advertising it is hard to tell what effect it will have on the companies bottom line. However as mobile devices become more popular and advertising moves with technology, mobile advertising will become more of a norm with companies.

Social Media is for Local Business

                                             
What in the world is Social Media?
Let’s face it, people really want to be listened to.  Social Media allows everyone to share experiences they want to talk about so that others can benefit from their experience.  They may want to help others prevent something from happening to them, or share the wealth, so more people can have positive experiences too.  Paying it forward is really not just for selfless people.  We all have that instinct!
The wise man learns from others’ mistakes is an old adage that fits well here.  Because human beings want to avoid making mistakes, we usually do whatever we can to prevent them.  The Internet and the arrival of Social Media have created an amazing dialogue for people who like to get ahead.  We are no longer limited to mom’s recipe book, the yellow pages or direct mailers for our holiday shopping ideas.
We can access virtually anything, as long as we know what we are looking for! From where I sit, in my home, within my community, I cannot learn much about what is happening in other cities, states, or countries.  Media is limited and often skewed and overdone.  Who wasn’t tired of the media hounds when Michael Jackson died?  Does anyone really need to see Tiger Woods that much to understand that he has made a huge error in judgment?
However, since the Wiki made user-generated content the most popular and (shockingly reliable) source for data, I can turn off the television and find information that I am interested in.  I can find consumer advice for almost anything! The greatest thing about social media is that it provides and encourages people to use their experiences to guide others.  Mother and Fathers can actually share their advice and find an audience that listens!
What does this mean for Small Businesses?
Well, it means that your customers are looking.  They are seeking the best service, top quality products, honest salespeople and positive experiences.  They are looking for convenience too.  However, while they are looking for shortcuts, if they are given the opportunity to buy locally, they almost always will.  Our economy has made things difficult, but consumers still want to support the local economy!  However, not when they have to spend more time, money and resources to get it.  That is why huge corporations like Amazon and Target are still flourishing in spite of our economic crisis!
Now is the time for Local Businesses to take action!
If the local business is positioned where their customers can find them, they will build business relationships and return customers.  If there has ever been a time to learn how to be the business of choice for your customers, that time is now!  Social Media is the vehicle to take any business to the top of their local competitive market.  It just takes optimization of your existing web site and a marketing plan that meets today’s new model of consumer.  It’s really a very simple process!  There are customers waiting!

Marketing in Lakeland, FL

Internet Marketing Strategies for Businesses in Lakeland, FL

It is no longer up for debate, in order to run a successful business you will need to be able to market your local business strategically. According to various research groups, marketing local business can potentially increase your revenue by 30%. This is especially salient in hard economic times. During these times, many local businesses in Lakeland, FL can no longer just rely on word-of-mouth referrals. They need to take advantage of every business opportunity they can. Your marketing plan will need to include not only the traditional marketing methodology. You will also need to make sure your marketing plan includes a percentage of Internet marketing. A strong marketing plan will generate new business that will sustain your business for years to come.

With the advancement in technology, Internet marketing has become a focal point for many local businesses in Lakeland, FL. Businesses today are using the Internet to place their message in front of some of the most qualified prospective customers. There are many formats for marketing local business online. Integrating several different Internet marketing techniques is cost efficient for local businesses. Some of the more successful Internet marketing techniques being implemented by small businesses are:

  • Articles and blogs
  • Press releases
  • Social networking sites
  • Videos
  • Podcast
  • Web 2.0 websites
  • Online Yellow Pages


Each of these formats will target consumers who use “local search” phraseology. What this means, is when a consumer is looking for your particular product or service, they will enter certain phrases into a search engine. By targeting these local searches, your website will be included as one of the top ranking websites. The higher you are ranked on a search engine, the more prospective customers will come to your website. The more traffic your website generates, the more opportunities you have to sell your product or service. These prospective customers will be those individuals that are ready to purchase your product.

The cost effectiveness of marketing local business online will increase your sales and profitability while lowering your overall marketing budget. In today’s economically stressed environment, being able to reduce your cost, while increasing your business is imperative. A byproduct of marketing your local business online is being able to expand your selling territory. You will now be able to sell your product to customers worldwide versus customers within a 10 mile radius. This is brought a new business frontier to several small businesses in Lakeland and throughout the world.

 

Chrissanne Long is a Media and Marketing Consultant

at Marketing System Blueprints

SEO on all Search Engines for Best Results

Don’t debate which search engine you like the most, use them all for best results.

When conducting research on appropriate keywords for one of our clients, it occurred to me that as SEO experts, its imperative that we see the project from every angle.  This means looking at the company we are promoting from Google, Bing and Yahoo!’s perspective.  Not just the most popular, Google.  

First and foremost, we have to get out of our own heads and into the minds of the people that we are hoping will find us.  We need to be asking the question, “What would I be looking for if I was trying to find me?” In regular conversation, that would be a nonsensical question. However, the fact is that I already know how to find me. It does not matter what I like, or how I prefer to search! What really matters is what my clients’ potential customers are thinking and how they prefer to search! Getting into discussions about the best keywords can be difficult because everyone has their own opinions!  However the results don’t lie.  That is where we need to be focusing.  And not just on the keywords that I like, but the keywords that get results, on all of the different search engines!

Consider who is using Google, but keep in mind that people do use Bing and Yahoo! too.  If you limit your search to just Google, you may be sending the Search Engine “gods” a message that says you don’t want any customers or clients that use Bing or Yahoo! Now, I know that is a bit silly, but in reality, you relly should be focusing on the entire market. I prefer Google. But that is really not important. Yes, there are a lot of people who agree, as the research shows, but there are still plenty of people using other search engines. The beauty is that everyone is focusing on Google! That means SEO campaigns are spending hours trying to figure out Google’s current algorithm. I won’t stop doing that, but I will start planting my SEO campaign seeds a lot more diligently in the less competitive markets of Yahoo! And Bing.

In SEO: Search Engine Optimization Bible, Jerri Ledford states, “Every now and then you need to step away from the crowd and stop doing what everyone else is doing. In SEO, stepping out is usually rewarded with better traffic results. Everyone is doing the same thing. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. What it means is that you should do the same thing in a different way…”

The bottom line is that in order to be successful in any SEO campaign, the focus needs to be on the people that are searching for you.  Forget your personal preferences and consider the many different ways people might find you… or look at it this way… why aren’t they finding you?  Are you promoting your business everywhere people are looking?  If not, you should be!  

Here’s a great tool to get you started. http://www.bing-vs-google.com It gives you two search engines in one. Now you can see the results Bing is providing, and begin to focus on attracting that market to your website too!