11 Essential Tips for a Fantastic Facebook Page

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Are you not seeing the engagement you’d like to on your Facebook page? Well, we have 11 tips to share with you that just might inspire you to try something new!

1. Stay on topic. Your company sells specific products and services. So when people find you on Facebook, they want to find out more about your current inventory, sales that you’re running, and any other pertinent company information. And that’s exactly what you should give them. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t write about silly things every once in a while or share other sites’ content (in fact, you should be doing these things as long as they align with your brand’s voice and image, because people like lighthearted things), but be sure that most updates capture/portray the essence of your company in a professional manner.

2. Upload photos and videos. Videos actually have a larger reach than photos right now, but only if they’re shared natively. (That is, uploaded to Facebook or shared from someone else’s page who has uploaded that video–not posted from YouTube or another video sharing site.) So obviously, whenever possible, it’s good to share a video. But what are you supposed to do if you don’t have any videos? Well, at the very least, include a photo with your update. Visual media, whether video or photo, is much more effective in reaching your audience than posting a simple text update. People are visual, and their eyes immediately go to colorful or interesting pictures. So make use of that!

3. Do not respond to things unprofessionally. There’s a time and a place getting irritated with people and it’s not when you’re on Facebook–especially if you run a business. If someone leaves a nasty comment, don’t panic. Try to determine the root of the issue–is it a customer who is angry because of poor service? You can try to politely offer a deal to make up for it. Is it someone who just wants to vent? Apologize for poor service and move on. Is it someone who is deliberately being abusive? Well, don’t vent back. Instead, let’s move on to number four to solve this one…

4. Don’t ignore trolls. But don’t feed them either. If they’re disruptive and being mean or callous to others, block them. Create a space your fans feel comfortable in. This is far more important than picking fights or letting your Facebook comments go completely uncontrolled. People don’t like hostile spaces, so moderate those comments and avoid that negativity altogether.

5. Share your company news with them. People love celebrating milestones with you and getting a peek at how things work within your company. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an established company with lots of history, make it a point to include your customers in celebrating your milestones and you’ll see that you can build a more meaningful connection with them.

6. Do weekly events. People love participating in events, particularly if it involves a silly game. Things like “fill in the blank” or “caption this photo” work well (although with these, you’ll always have those unsavory comments to deal with), and some people enjoy it when you pose questions that they can answer (for example, if you shared a picture of your new product and asked people how they would use it). You can also have fans participate for a chance at being featured on your site, or you could have them leave promotional links of their own to foster sharing. There are tons of possibilities!

7. Offer giveaways. Sometimes people just want to win free things. Okay, a lot of times people just want to win free things. 😉 So when it fits into your budget, come up with a way to give your Facebook fans the chance to win something great. It keeps them coming back for more!

8. Post blog updates on Facebook. While it’s a good idea to set up your blog posts so that they’re automatically sent to your social media sites, you should always stagger the distribution. Why? Because when you send out one blog post and it hits Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and everywhere else at the same time, you’re not maximizing your reach. So when you set up your blog’s auto-posting features, just keep in mind that you might want to discover which times your social media fans are the most active, and schedule accordingly!

9. Trade likes–Don’t buy them. Some people buy “likes” so that their Facebook pages appear to be more popular than they really are. But when you really think about it, what good does this do you? You spend money to have fake fans interact with your page once and never return. You’d get more return on your investment if you took the time to cultivate a real community–even if it takes longer for your numbers to grow. One tactic that you might want to try is trading “likes”. Send out a message every once in a while asking to this. Or you could like someone else’s page and just drop them a note telling them you did so, and leave a link to your page in case they’re interested. Don’t be pushy about it–and if someone doesn’t return the like, that’s okay. You won’t always be successful in this tactic, but it can be a great way to meet some new fans!

10. Link to social media profiles. It sounds obvious, but there are too many people who forget to do this. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, then be sure to cross-link to those sites. For example, on Facebook, you should link not only to your website, but also to Twitter and LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, link to Facebook and Twitter. And so on. Sometimes people stumble upon your social media sites before your website, so it’s best to make sure that no matter where they land, they can connect with you anywhere on the web!

11. Experiment with advertising. Today, it’s almost essential that you advertise to get your Facebook page noticed. Because Facebook’s algorithm tends to favor posts with more engagement (and sponsored posts, of course), people often start paying to promote posts or ads in hopes that people will like them and click through to learn more. And that can be rough for smaller businesses that don’t have a lot of money for this kind of thing. But the good news is that you can actually set a budget as low as $5 a day to run ads, and you don’t have to run the ad every day. You could actually set aside a small budget of $100 a month and see improvements in your post engagement and clickthroughs to your site. It’s definitely worth experimenting with it!

Do you have any other tips for getting more out of your Facebook marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments!


Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to discover how we can help you be seen online.

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5 Ways to Reach More Fans on Facebook

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Are your Facebook marketing strategies falling a little flat? Have you noticed that your pictures and quotes don’t seem to be reaching quite as many people as they used to? If so, you might want to re-evaluate your Facebook marketing strategy… and we’re here to give you a few helpful tips that yuo can start implementing right away.

Facebook is notorious for changing its algorithms, and people often don’t understand exactly why or how it’s changed–all they know is they’re seeing less engagement and fewer numbers for people reached. It’s frustrating and it’s time-consuming to try to alter your strategies, especially when you always seem to be a step behind because you’re not a professional marketer–you’re a small business owner, and you’re busy.

But if there’s one thing marketers can tell you, it’s that times change fast. Especially when it comes to social media. So how can you boost your engagement and reach more fans on Facebook right now? We have a few suggestions for you.

Video

Up until fairly recently, the tried-and-true way to reach the most people on Facebook was to post a picture and a link. You may have noticed, however, that this seems to have changed. In fact, photos are now one of the least effective ways to make sure fans see your content.

So what do you do instead? Well, video reaches more people than any other kind of post–but not just any video. The format has to be native, meaning you must actually upload the video to Facebook. Why is this? More than likely, Facebook is trying to keep you sharing videos using Facebook–not some other site. So even if you have a YouTube channel, it’s worth it to upload the videos separately to Facebook to get the most eyes on your content.

Quotes with photos

Although photos don’t have the reach they used to, people love sharing inspiring and motivating quotes. By placing the quote on an eye-catching image, you make it far more likely that someone will press “share”. So while the initial post might not reach as many people as, say, a video, if you get more engagement, you’ll get more shares and a bigger reach in the end.

Another thing about photos is that they have the potential to live on for quite some time. Because of the way the Facebook algorithm works, someone might not see your post right away, but it could pop up in their feed the next day. When they share it then, you’ll notice a spike in shares as their friends share it, and so on.

Don’t forget your CTA button

If you haven’t noticed the call-to-action button on Facebook yet, then you definitely need to take the time to check it out. It’s a new feature, but it’s a powerful one: By going into your settings, you can choose a call to action from a pre-set list (for example, “Shop Now”, “Learn More”, “Sign Up”, etc.) and direct people to the URL of your choice. Do you want to send them to a sales page? A landing page where they can sign up for a newsletter or free ebook? You can do any of that using this button.

The best part is that it appears right on your header image–it’s not hidden in some dark corner of your profile. After you have it set up, you can track clicks and change the CTA whenever you like. That way, if you find that it’s not working quite the way you had expected it to, all you have to do is change things around with a few clicks and you’re done.

Oh, and did we mention this is free? Because it is. There’s no reason NOT to use it.

Get used to reading negative feedback

It hurts us all. No one wants to go through their hard work and read bad things about themselves. Whether it’s your high school paper that your English teacher tore apart or your brand new website that cost you a pretty penny to develop, you’re going to get negative feedback on your projects, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.

Now, that isn’t to say that every random complaint needs to be listened to or taken into consideration when you are planning your improvements. Some people just enjoy complaining about things no matter what. But if you notice some common themes–for example, people consistently unliking your Facebook page when you post irrelevant photos, or negative feedback on overly “salesy” posts–then you probably want to take those complaints into legitimate consideration as you plan your social media strategy.

When you listen to your fans like this, you not only give your audience what they really want, but you also grow as a businessperson. Constructive criticism might be hard to take, but if you can thicken your skin, you’re going to go a long way.

Don’t be afraid to change things up

If your marketing efforts are still falling flat, then don’t be afraid to change things up a bit! You can always do split A/B testing to see which campaigns perform better and adjust accordingly. Look at successful people in your industry and see how they garner engagement. There’s no rulebook here and there is no one magic trick that will work for everybody. But you’ll never know what works for you unless you try. So get creative, think outside the box, and change things up a bit until you come up with something that really makes your fans excited to interact with your business.

Are there any other tricks or tips that you use to get your fans more engaged on Facebook? If so, let us know in the comments!

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to discover how we can help you be seen online.

Facebook to Introduce 360 Degree Videos

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This Wednesday, Facebook announced that its News Feed will begin to support 36o-degree videos: you’ll be able to move your view up, down, left, and right to take a peek at your surroundings from all different directions. Currently, they are testing the technology, and they describe it as a “new kind of online video” that will allow viewers to move through it not unlike they way they would a video game.

Putting the Oculus Rift Technology to Use

Last year, Facebook acquired the creator of the Oculus Rift–a headset that was originally built for virtual reality (VR) games. Microsoft and Google have tinkered with this technology by building prototypes of their own: Microsoft with a HoloLens headset, and of course the most popular of the bunch, Google Glass eyewear (which hasn’t died yet, contrary to what people think).

Clearly, Facebook understands that the future of the internet and user experience will rely heavily on video, as well as virtual reality. Technologies will integrate with our everyday activities and “augment”, or enhance, the way we interact with technology and apply it to our lives.

An explosive new technology

Facebook has said that more than 1.3 billion people that utilize its platform view more than 3 billion videos every day. And that’s just on its platform–that doesn’t take into account videos watched on YouTube, Vimeo, Google, or any other platforms. Nope. That’s just. Facebook.

So Facebook hopes to introduce its users to using this kind of VR video. And this week during the keynote address at the company’s annual developer conference held in San Francisco, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company is already looking into asking third-party publishers to create their own videos to share via Facebook.

How the videos will work

Spherical cameras will capture video in 360 degrees–think of it sort of like Google’s “street view” cameras. You’ll be able to virtually locate a point on a map and look around you by dragging your mouse around, or if you have a touchscreen, you can also do this by moving your finger across the screen.

Zuckerberg stressed how much like virtual reality this really was: “You’re going to be able to put on your headset and feel like you’re really there,” he said.

Back to Basics #29: Getting the Most out of Facebook

So you’ve made your Facebook page. You’re doing your best to make sure people “like” you and share your content with their friends. But are you doing everything you can to get the most out of Facebook? If you feel like you’re not getting the results you want, then perhaps your strategy could use a little tweaking. Well, we’ve got some good news for you: There are some simple tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of your Facebook page.

Read on to find out more!

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Make a page, not a profile.

A common mistake many first-time Facebook businesses make is that they create a profile instead of a page. A profile is a personal way of connecting with others on Facebook. It’s what you use to connect with your family and friends—so chances are, you probably already have a personal profile, and you don’t want to use that same page for your business.

So for the purpose of marketing your business, you’ll need to make a page. You can verify your business’s location, and then invite friends and family to “like” it. Now anyone who likes you will be able to see your updates and be able to post on your wall, but they won’t have to send a friend request to connect with you. And that’s pretty important. Keeping your personal life separate from your business is essential to your success on Facebook.

Fill out all of your information.

This is similar to what we told you about getting the most out of your Twitter account, but the same goes for Facebook (and any other social media platform for that matter). An incomplete profile makes you look not only unprofessional, but it also sets people on edge—they become concerned that you may be a spammer or bot. Spare them the pain of having to figure out whether your page is the real deal or not by filling out all your information. You’ll be better off in the long run.

facebook-updateUpdate regularly.

If you don’t update regularly, fans won’t like your page. And even if they do, you’re not going to get much out of it: the purpose of Facebook is to be able to drive traffic to your website and get your statuses/articles/photos/etc shared with the wider community. Whether you decide to update three times a week or twice a day, you’ll be much better off if you choose to stick with a regular schedule.

Now, another important part of scheduling updates is making sure that you’re not scheduling too often. If you post ten times a day, people will quickly grow tired of your updates. Unless you run a news source (such as an online mag or newspaper), you can probably cool it and update at most two times a day.

Finally, you might have heard not to post the same content more than once—but we promise that it’s okay to repost your old updates every once in a while! The Facebook news feed moves quickly, so there’s a good chance your updates are only being seen by about 16% of your fans. Now, this isn’t to say you should post the same updates every day—you could try sharing a fresh blog post once right after it goes up, then once a week later, then maybe once a month after that. It’s all up to you how you choose to build your schedule, but keeping these key tips in mind should help give you some basic guidelines for resharing your content.

facebook-fansRespond to fans.

When you start building your fanbase, you’ll also begin to get interactions from fans. They’ll want to chime in on your updates, give opinions, or give your business a review. Some might send messages asking about your company’s products and services. It is your obligation as a business owner to respond to these fans.

Whether the feedback is positive or negative, taking the time to interact with your fans will only help make your company more appealing. If someone asks a question, answer. If someone comments on a photo, “like” the comment or respond. If someone has something negative to say about the business or leaves a bad review, politely respond and try to address the problem as if you received the complaint in your store. However, if someone is using inflammatory language, it’s wise to not engage with them. Getting rid of offensive language is something that many of your fans will appreciate, so feel free to hide or delete those types of comments. They don’t accomplish anything productive anyway.

Join groups

Joining groups on Facebook is something that a lot of professionals under-utilize. By joining a group, you can discuss things with other business owners or potential customers. It’s a great place to promote your work without feeling like you’re overdoing it or impinging on other peoples’ online space.

Additionally, you can create your own group and invite potential customers and other influential people to join. By doing this, you can showcase your products and expertise in your field or industry. Groups are an easy way for people to participate in discussions if they want—or, alternatively,they might just want to read what you have to say. That’s fine, too!

So how do you get people to join you in your own group? You can drive people to the group through your mailing list by placing a link in the emails, place links on your page, and post about it through your other social media accounts. Once the community starts growing, you can ask people to share and invite friends!

facebook-shareShare content from other pages

Part of the effectiveness of Facebook comes from connecting with other, like-minded companies. As with Twitter, you might think it’s strange to promote the content of a “competing” company, but it’s actually better to forge an alliance with them than it is to talk in an echo chamber about your own services.

What we mean by this is that by connecting with well-known and influential people in your industry, you can gain great insight into what works to engage fans and what doesn’t. If the company is adept with social media, you’ll find their updates to be helpful and positive to share on your page, too. Now you might be thinking that by placing their content on your page, you will drive traffic off your site, but here’s the key: By posting relevant, interesting content, people will enjoy what they’re reading, which will keep them coming back for more. Plus, they’ll still engage on your page too—there’s nothing stopping anyone from leaving a comment on anything you post, even if it’s an update from someone else’s page!

Use apps to redirect traffic

Did you know that you can install apps on Facebook to redirect visitors to your site? You can also install apps to allow your visitors to find you on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms, as well as review sites such as Yelp. Whether you’re active on multiple social media sites or only a few, it’s nice to be able to show visitors that you are available to follow elsewhere. You can install the apps with a few clicks and they’ll appear along the side of your page where your information and photos are.

These are just a few ways to get more out of your Facebook page. Of course there are many more ways that you can enhance your experience: Pay for ads, link to your Facebook page across all platforms, include it in your email signature, place signs in your business asking people to “like” you on Facebook, and more.

If you have any other suggestions for us, leave them in the comments below! There are many ways to get more out of your social media—many creative ways and even risky, boundary-pushing ways to go about it. It’s all dependent on what’s right for you!

10 Reasons to Engage with Customers Online

1. You personalize your brand

Engaging with customers allows you to control the flow of the conversation. If they ask for clarification on an upcoming sale, you can give it to them. If you thank them for taking the time to promote your brand, you can choose how you want to engage. It’s all a great way to show your brand’s personality—and to demonstrate how unique your company is!

2. Customers give feedback for free

Many times, customers will respond to an image or a status that you share on your social media platforms: they’ll chime in with their thoughts, answer a question, or let you know how they feel about your most recent promotions. And this is a great way to find out what your customers are thinking without forcing them to take a survey—basically, you get free feedback. And who doesn’t love that?

3. You present a positive image

If you’re a fan of a company like Coca-Cola, you probably don’t expect a lot of interaction with the brand–they’re simply too big to get back to every person who tries to engage with them. But if you’re a fan of a local hair salon, you more than likely expect that they’ll get back to you in a timely manner–they should care about their customers. You feel they should strive to interact with customers because they’re local—which is precisely why you, as a local business owner, have to be aware of your customers’ needs. They’ll communicate their interests and thoughts to you online—whether by email, twitter, or Facebook. When you respond to their concerns, you present a positive image that lasts.

4. Customers will share content for free

A great thing about posting on your social media networks is that your customers will be eager to share your content. Whether you’re asking them to share for a chance to win a coupon, or they’re simply doing it on their own because you post such great content, you’re getting free advertisement. When you engage with your customers, they’ll be happy to share your content, and you all benefit from that.

5. Networking is good for everyone

When your customers interact with you, you may be surprised to learn that some among the group are actually quite high-status clients. You can use this to your advantage by making a real connection with them and agreeing to help one another out. Trade blog posts, promote each other’s stores or websites, or simply share social media updates. You’ll both benefit from this mutual transaction, and your fans get the benefit of seeing that you’re willing to network and share with others!

6. You might get free recommendations

When you engage with customers, you’ll find that they appreciate you taking the time out of your day to respond to them. This in turn can increase their opinion of your brand. And if they love your brand, they’ll recommend you to friends. Think of the last time a restaurant owner responded to your comment or review personally—it felt nice, didn’t it? You owe your customers this courtesy. Deliver it, and they’ll react accordingly.

7. Positive word of mouth

The beauty of online marketing is that it doesn’t have to stay online. By building your brand image and engaging with customers, you’ll make a good impression that will follow you offline, too. Whether you’re a plumber or the owner of a salon, if you’re friendly and active online, your customers will spread great news about you by word of mouth. This in turn can bring more visitors to your store or more phone calls to your office!

8. Brand awareness spreads

A natural consequence of networking, sharing, and recommendations is that your brand awareness spreads. Every time a new person learns about your business, your brand has made a new impression! So remember that even if you’re not where you’d like to be in terms of followers/fans or interactions, you are still building platform for yourself. There are some benefits that come from this, too!

9. Consistency will bring in more visitors

If you update every once in a while and never interact with your fans or followers, you’ll find that people tend to view you as unreliable. You’ll start to lose fans, and people won’t care about your updates as much as they would if you were consistent. You can prevent this by regularly updating, engaging with your community, and by presenting a friendly, consistent image. Remember that even if you’re not hitting your projected numbers, you’re still growing. You can always change up your plan, as long as you don’t quit altogether.

10. More traffic to your website and other social media accounts

Finally, your shining example of being a great business owner will help you gather more followers and fans, as well as drive more traffic to your website. Be sure to post your website’s address as well as any other contact info across all of your social networks. That way, if someone finds you on Twitter, they can still visit your website or go to “like” your Facebook page. Conversely, if they find your website and want to follow you on social media, they can easily navigate to your profiles directly from your website. Easy and simple!

As you can see, it’s important to engage with your customers for so many reasons. Your presence online can truly affect how you’re perceived both online and off. By implementing a consistent routine and keeping a positive attitude, you’ll find that the benefits of engaging with customers online are only going to better your business.

Can you think of any other benefits of engaging with customers online? Let us know!

Holiday Shopping with Social Media

As we draw closer to Thanksgiving, ads for the upcoming shopping season can be seen everywhere: From the mall to the grocery store, it seems there’s always a reminder that the holidays are sneaking up on you, and your window of opportunity nabbing the best gifts is closing. But whether you’re the type who wants to go out and get all the best products on Black Friday, or you’re more the kind of person who procrastinates until mid-December, you’re still always looking for a great deal! After all, you don’t want to spend more money than you have to, and you definitely want the whole shopping process to be as painless as possible. And that means you’re probably going to do your fair share of shopping online. But in 2014, online shopping can be a lot more than just logging on to your favorite store and filling up your cart.

You can also utilize the power of social media to do your holiday shopping.

By using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, you can easily find what you’re looking for in multiple places. You can quickly compare availability, prices, and more. Even better, you can read reviews and get feedback on any items before you add anything to your cart. Sure beats the old way of doing things, doesn’t it?

Here are a few ways you can use social media for your holiday marketing strategy—and maybe even use some of these tips yourself when you go shopping!


 

Holiday Marketing with Twitter

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In a survey conducted among 500 US adults, 36% said they wanted to use Twitter for holiday gift ideas. Another 35% admitted they used the social media platform to find links to the business’s online store.

Now, in case you didn’t know, 284 million people are on Twitter and active every month. That’s a lot of potential business.

Furthermore, 4 in 10 consumers who are active on Twitter plan on beginning their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. That leaves about a week and half from the publishing of this article to get your store holiday-ready! You can begin by tweeting about special deals, ask your followers to “please retweet” your updates, and direct people to your store for coupons or special checkout codes. Perhaps you could offer a “new followers” coupon for your new fans. Think outside the box on this one–people who use Twitter want to get information and get it fast. If you deliver it in an attention-grabbing way, you’re sure to get a few new eyes on your merchandise.


 

Holiday Marketing with Facebook

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With Facebook, you are provided a more “permanent” platform to advertise to your fans. Permanent is in quotes because, of course, Facebook is actually moving at a rapid pace–updates seem to come and go quickly, and the feed refreshes constantly. But fans can easily find apps or albums that you’ve set up on your business page to promote your holiday specials. You can make your page visually appealing and full of content to entice your audience. Plus, sharing on Facebook works a bit differently than sharing on Twitter does—people get more personally invested. Family members are likely to share with one another over Facebook, whereas Twitter tends to foster more professional connections. When was the last time you tweeted your grandparents? (or grandchildren!)

A good place to start is with two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to AllFacebook.com, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are growing into a quarter-long phenomenon. They urge businesses and advertisers to “capitalize on lower reach costs and high consumer engagement before and after peak days.”

Yeah, yeah, that’s nice. But what does it mean for small businesses?

Basically, that you can promote your great deals before and after days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get the best returns. But that doesn’t mean you should only focus on those days. You should also keep promoting your business’s specials throughout the holiday season, because shoppers will be buying more heavily until Christmas.


 

Holiday Marketing with Pinterest

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If you haven’t gotten into the habit of posting to a Pinterest board, you might want to start: 47.7% of holiday shoppers say that Pinterest has influenced their buying decisions. That’s a lot of people!

But just how can you make the most out of your pins and get people interested in your products? It’ll take a bit of creative thinking, but if you try, we bet you can come up with a variety of effective marketing strategies. For example, you could try making a themed board. You can showcase great gift ideas. You can create a storyboard where a shopper uses your product to bring happiness to friends and family. You can show how other customers choose to use your products to make their lives better. It’s all in how you choose to present yourself!

We hope that these tips have been helpful for you. The holidays are a great time for helping customers get the special gifts they want for friends and family. By putting your best foot forward, you can prove to your community that you are dedicated to their needs, and that you’re ready to help them make this holiday season the best one yet!

Can you think of any other ways to use Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest for holiday marketing? It’s always a learning experience, and everyone gets different results. But with a little bit of practice and creativity, you can learn how to get more sales, happier customers, and better engagement during the holiday season. If you have any tips or tricks, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

Good luck!

Back to Basics #15: Do it Like a Small Business SEO Company

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Can you do marketing like a small business SEO company?

By now, you’ve probably read a number of articles about how you, as a small business owner, can learn how to do SEO to benefit your own business. You may have read about how important it is to be on Twitter or Facebook; you probably saw studies claiming that a specific keyword density is key to ranking well; you may even have considered buying links to get more traffic.

It can all be confusing. It can be expensive. And honestly? It sometimes doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort, does it?

Well, we’re here to help you out. In this post, we’ll show you five easy ways you can get involved with your company’s marketing campaign just like a small business SEO company would do. With these tips, you’ll begin to see results that definitely pay off.

plagiarism comic
Unfortunately, this is all too common nowadays.

Image courtesy of: Olive Harvey College Library Guides

1. Make friends with Copyscape. Are you writing your own content? Have you tried optimizing your front page or started a blog? You’ll definitely want to look into using Copyscape. For no cost, you can enter your site’s address and Copyscape will scan the web looking for plagiarized text. If your blog or site content have indeed been plagiarized, it can hurt your rankings. Furthermore, if you’re using references in your writing, you might want to run your text through Copyscape. The last thing you need is to be blamed for plagiarism from your end. Make sure your content is 100% original all across the board, and you’ll be better off for it.

2. Make content easily shareable. When people read an article and enjoy it, they immediately look for the “share” button. They want to tell their family and friends about the great thing they’ve just read. It would follow, then, that if you don’t include sharable links at the end of your post, you’ve just potentially cost yourself thousands of views. Be sure to make it easy for your visitors to share your content to all the most popular social media platforms, and you’ll notice that your content will be shared more frequently. If you need help figuring out how to set this up, there are plenty of tutorials around the internet as well as easy-to-install plug-ins for blogging software such as WordPress.

3. Get your customers involved through reviews. We’ve written about this in the past, but it’s so important that we feel we should reiterate here: your customers need to be involved with your company through reviews. There’s a fine line between asking and encouraging your customers to participate willingly, and pushing your wishes in their faces aggressively. You can encourage customers to leave reviews by putting a sign up in your store, offering a coupon as compensation, or even provide a free service with proof of a positive review. Reviews not only help people searching for your services find your store, they also help you stand out in the crowd. Searchers nowadays rely on sites such as Yelp to help them make decisions about which business they want to give their money to. Don’t let this opportunity slip through the cracks—you’ll be surprised at how much good reviews can help.

pay per click advertising for small businesses
You’ve probably heard of pay-per-click advertising. But will it work for a small business?

4. Consider PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. If you’re just getting your business off the ground, we’ll be honest: It can take some time for Google to start picking it up and ranking it. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of the time in between. You can purchase ads from Google for only a few dollars a day and they’ll appear alongside search results related to your keywords, helping guide visitors to your site. Google ads allow you to get the word out about your site in ways that organic ranking can’t; at least not in the beginning. Check out Google’s free keyword planner to take a look at keyword suggestions you can use in your ad campaigns.

5. Try your hand at video advertising. A big part of advertising nowadays is visual. Think about it: If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you probably share images and videos all the time! That’s why it’s important that you get into the habit of creating media content for your company’s social media sites. People are much more likely to share media than they are to read through a “wall of text”. Furthermore, video advertising helps a lot with SEO and ranking. Google gets strong ranking signals from videos and the keywords used in them. Even if you don’t have a big media budget, you can still put together helpful “how-to” videos or showcase happy customers recommending your products and services.

You can do it like the SEO companies!
You can do it like the SEO companies!

With these tips, you can easily dip your toes into the waters of advertising and marketing. It might sound cliché, but if you don’t start small, it’ll be too much for you to manage all at once and you’ll feel as if you’re drowning. You can do it like the small business SEO company professionals by trying these few simple tips! And as always, if you need help and advice, Internet Local Listings is here to help. We offer everything from business listings to custom content to personalized websites! Visit us here for more information.

Any other tips you can think of that we missed? Let us know!

Back to Basics #11: 5 Small Business Marketing Ideas Anyone Can Do

small business marketing ideas
If you’re looking for small business marketing ideas, don’t fret–there are plenty of affordable ways to go about it.

Small business marketing is a tricky thing to get the hang of: Small business owners often struggle knowing when or how often to post updates on social media; what to post about or how to gather content ideas; or even when to start blogging or how to connect with potential readers. It can be overwhelming, to be sure, especially when you are strapped for time and have a limited budget. So in this article, we’re going to talk a bit about a few small business marketing ideas that anyone can do easily and cheaply—whether you’re completely new to online advertising or you’ve been trying your hand at it for a while and just aren’t seeing the results that you want.

  1. Develop a PR Strategy. As this article from Entrepreneur suggests, it’s important for all companies, particularly small businesses, to make sure that they have a PR strategy in place. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to have a large budget or spend a ton of time on it—in fact, small businesses can implement great PR campaigns into their social media strategies. Take the Kleenex example cited in the article: In 2011, Kleenex searched Facebook to find fifty people who posted about being sick. After getting into contact with friends and family members, they sent care packages to the ailing cold-sufferers. The recipients were so pleased that they posted happy pictures of their care packages. Great PR and usage of social media in one shot—and a very cheap maneuver.
  2. Start a podcast. Have you ever subscribed to a podcast? They’re great to listen to on the commute to work or in the morning while getting ready to head out for the day. And they’re also easy to make! As Inc.com suggests, you might want to try interviewing other business owners for their point of view on marketing or advertising. Or maybe you’d like to put together a podcast series of how-to’s—for example, plumbers or electrical contractors do very well with these types of podcasts. You can teach people how to do things they want to learn more about, while still drawing attention to your company. It’s a win-win situation!
  3. Forget advertising like the big brand names. While it’s perfectly fine to draw inspiration from popular advertising campaigns, you have to remember who the big companies are marketing to. They can reach far more people than you are able to, and they have the budget to pull it off. Don’t waste your time trying to dissect everything a large company does—instead, focus on how you can connect with your local customers in the best way possible. You could try hosting a photo captioning contest on Facebook where the winner gets a coupon. You could try running a “special offer” for a day if one of your tweets gets 50 retweets. Maybe sending out a postcard to your loyal customers is a good idea. Think about these types of marketing techniques and choose one that works for you.
  4. Networking with other small business owners. Nowadays, you can easily network online through sites such as LinkedIn. But nothing will ever replace the face-to-face value of networking in person. To meet other people in your industry, attend local seminars. Offer to speak at colleges or other events. If there are conventions in your area, look into speaking on a panel—or if not speaking, attend and ask questions. You could even try going to a book club or submit a press release to your local newspaper. By connecting with other small business owners, you’ll be able to better navigate the local scene and make yourself a go-to brand name in the town.
  5. Claim your online listings. Believe it or not, your business could already be listed on places like Google and Bing. The problem is that you haven’t claimed the listings yet. By claiming your own listings, you let your customers know that you exist, and you provide consistent information so that no matter which search engine they use to find you, your information will always be correct. Furthermore, claiming listings helps with online rankings, and once you are listed consistently across the internet, you’ll see more traffic being driven to your site!

Want more information on small business marketing ideas? Subscribe to our posts via email, or you can also like us on Facebook, follow Follow @InternetListing on Twitter and Pinterest, and circle us on Google Plus! Let us know how Internet Local Listings can best assist you with your small business marketing needs!

Watch a video about this topic and share with your followers!

Why Small Business Marketing is Essential in 2014 and Beyond

small-business-marketing-in-2014
In 2014 and beyond, how can small business marketing benefit your company?

Getting the word out about your business has always been your top priority. As a small business owner, you already understand how important marketing is—whether it’s word of mouth, fliers, direct marketing, or running local advertising campaigns, you know that you have to get the word out or your numbers suffer. But what many small business owners don’t take into consideration is a marketing plan. And without some type of marketing strategy, you’ll likely become frustrated, not knowing whether your efforts are paying off.

This is the primary reason that small business marketing is now non-negotiable. In 2014, we have a number of options to help us determine how and where to market to our clients: social media, blogs, video marketing, online local business listings, Google Places, and more. With all of these tools at our disposal, is there any excuse not to have a marketing plan in place?

No, there isn’t. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about why small business marketing is essential in 2014 and beyond. When you understand just how effective marketing is for your business, you’ll have a better foundation to grasp the concepts of beginning your own marketing campaign.

Small business marketing is the only way to get the word out.

word-of-mouth-marketing
Get the word out about your business!

You’ve heard of companies like Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, and Apple. Why is that? Because they have a massive consumer base and they have massive marketing budgets. Their ads are fed to you frequently to ensure you know what the company is up to, and they make sure that their products stay up-to-date and relevant.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, I don’t have that kind of money to spend on an advertising campaign!” and you’re probably right. Most small business marketing budgets are scant. And that’s okay. You don’t need a ton of money to start seeing returns on your efforts. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, you can implement social marketing strategies for very little money, and you can get started with blogging completely free of charge. The best thing about this type of marketing is that you can begin to spend money whenever you like to boost your efforts. Want to place an ad on Facebook? You can spend as little as $5 a day to promote your business. Want to pay for a domain name and host your blog as a website? For less than $20, you can grab a domain name, and hosting can be as low as $3-5 a month. There’s no reason you must feel like you are required to spend thousands of dollars just to be seen online.

When you get the word out with small business marketing, you begin to build your audience online. And that’s the #1 most important thing.

In 2014, traditional networking is still important.

traditional-marketing
A traditional marketing plan is still helpful for local small businesses.

Networking. It sounds like a buzzword, and to some extent, that’s what it’s become. That aside, you should never underestimate the power of networking. If you go to local business expos, connect with influencers on Twitter and Facebook, and simply ask your customers to refer you to friends and family, then you’re already networking. If you’re not networking and these activities don’t sound like they’ll increase your sales, then think of it this way: you’re building a strong reputation and a sturdy foundation of support and availability for your clients. And that is absolutely essential.

The easiest way to get started is to simply ask your customers to review you on Yelp and Google. This has the added bonus of sending “relevancy” signals to Google, helping you to rank higher. Many customers would be happy to submit positive reviews when asked, but they often don’t bother to go online and leave reviews otherwise.

You can also get started on Facebook and Twitter for free. Place signs around your office or store that tell customers where they can find you online. Ask friends and family to spread the word. None of this will cost you a thing, except maybe an hour or two of your time to craft the signs!

Are press releases outdated? Nope. Not even close.

making-a-list-of-blog-topics
Sharpen your press release skills.

Spread the word about newsworthy business developments: A new product, a sale, or a special event your company is attending or hosting. Try to send out a press release once a month to keep the word about your company relevant and fresh. This can cost money if you choose to promote your company online—you can pay anywhere from $120 to upwards of $250 to have your press release promoted on popular sites. But you don’t have to do this. Small business marketing is all about leveraging your local connections. Talk to your local newspaper or ask to be on the news or featured on a radio show. You can talk about your new products or even offer customers a special discount if they mention your interview or article. By doing this regularly, you can easily make a good impression on your local community.

The new way of connecting to customers: Videos.

YouTube logo small business
Small businesses should be making visual media–including videos.

Many small businesses specialize in a specific, niche service: Plumbing, dog grooming, notary services, etc. Think of how you felt when you first started learning about your industry. You probably felt overwhelmed and looked to professionals for guidance. Or consider how you feel when you want to save money and try to take care of things yourself—fixing a pipe or cleaning your roof, for instance. Many people look up tutorials now on YouTube.

This might seem counter-intuitive to teach your customers learn how to help themselves, but it is actually a great way for your customers and company to share a dialogue. It establishes you as an authority figure and expert in your industry. Plus, taking the time to create a video tutorial for your customers shows that you spend time thinking of their needs—and customers truly appreciate that. Finally, videos on YouTube, when properly optimized, send strong relevancy signals to search engines, and that helps your website rank higher.

And there you have it. Small business marketing is essential in 2014. You need to network to connect with clients. You need to create content to stay relevant on search engines. You need to connect with customers in new and innovative ways. As the internet grows more content-based, your small business will have to keep on top of these trends to ensure your customers are still finding you.

If you need assistance with any small business marketing services, Internet Local Listings is always here to help. Simply contact us here or visit our site for more information. We have a special running right now, too—so act fast and save money while you start bringing in more customers!

Mobile Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Mobile marketing tips for small  businesses
If you own a small business, it’s time for you to learn more about mobile marketing.

Today more than ever, it’s important for small businesses to optimize their websites for mobile access. According to statistics released by Strategy Analytics, as of 2012, more than one billion people used smart phones to access the internet. But to be brutally honest, sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices load slowly and look terrible—and smart phone users immediately leave a site if this happens to them. And can you blame them? If you are browsing the internet, you don’t want to have to feel like you must solve a puzzle in order to use a website! So if your small business website isn’t optimized for mobile, that is a lot of potential business you’re losing out on. What can you do to remedy this?

In this article, we’ll take a look at three great mobile marketing tips for small businesses.

Mobile Marketing Tip #1: Responsive Design

As mentioned above, mobile web design needs to be implemented in order for smart phone (or tablet) users to browse your site effectively. Responsive design is a type of web design that detects which device a user is using to access your site, and adjusts the screen accordingly. This reduces load time, simplifies form submission (who likes typing out tons of information on a phone keyboard? No one, that’s who), and makes the site look professional and clean no matter how your visitors are logging on. Your customers deserve to have the best experience possible, and you owe it to them as a professional business owner!

Mobile Marketing Tip #2: Optimize Your Social Media Accounts

According to Constant Contact, up to 91% of local searchers use Facebook to find business online. When you sign up for Facebook as a business, you can fill out your location, business hours, phone number, and any other important local information. When a visitor finds you via search, they’ll be able to see all of this information displayed neatly on their mobile device. Setting up a Facebook account is easy—it takes fewer than 10 minutes to get the basics down. Plus, it’s free!

Setting up Twitter is also simple. You can localize your Twitter profile by filling out the “location” section, and add your website or contact information in your profile header. Many people search on Twitter for businesses, so make sure that you can be found easily and quickly by completing your profile fully. Like Facebook, Twitter is also free to use.

The bottom line? If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you could be missing out on a large amount of mobile traffic. And because both platforms are free, there’s no excuses!

For more information on social media marketing for small businesses, check out our article here: Developing Successful Social Media Strategies.

Mobile Marketing Tip #3: Opt-in for Text Messaging

This tip is a bit tricky, particularly for small businesses just getting into mobile marketing. You can allow your customers to opt-in for text message alerts. But here’s the catch: text messaging is pretty private, even if the customers DO want to sign up for alerts. So texts should only be sent when you have something better than normal to offer—a 24 hour sale, a limited inventory, or for a limited-time item that’s almost sold out. Allowing someone to opt-in can be a great way to get a customer back into your store and purchasing your products, but you have to remember to respect their boundaries.

Check out this resource to get started on building your website with responsive designs:

http://www.cio.com/article/2387279/developer/7-tools-to-build-websites-using-responsive-design.html

Or you can always visit Internet Local Listings and check out our websites. With our premium website packages, you’ll get 100% customized websites that look professional and are completely mobile responsive!

Do you have other suggestions for mobile marketing tips for small businesses? Leave them in the comments below!