Why You Need to Outsource Your Social Media Marketing

Back when email was on the rise and everyone was head-over-heels in love with this quick new form of communication (after you waited for AOL to log you in using dial-up for about half an hour), many businesses scoffed. “We don’t need this email. It’s a fad that will pass. Customers would rather call us on the telephone!”

Those businesses learned very quickly they do need email to reach a large portion of their customer base and those who did not perished. History repeats itself and this time social media marketing is the new “fad” businesses are reluctant to pick up.

Via Flickr by tashmahal

Via Flickr by tashmahal

Some businesses outright refuse to add social media accounts for their businesses. Others hastily create accounts and pages and often do them wrong (such as creating a Group instead of a Page on Facebook).

There are also many businesses that realize they do need to have a social media presence, but try to do it in-house to save money. Here is where the majority of businesses go wrong. It may seem easy to create a business profile and update it every now and then. You do it every day on your own Twitter and Facebook accounts, why should your business be any different?

You feel confident at first, filling out some basic About Us information and sharing your first post. You might think it’s a good idea to link your Facebook and Twitter posts to save time. You might decide to update once a week or every few weeks with text updates on sales or sharing funny cat videos you find online. When you don’t have time to post, you let your employees take over. People start liking and commenting, which you love looking at. Every now and then a customer might complain in a post on your page that is promptly deleted so your business doesn’t look bad.

It seems things are running smoothly on the social media front. However, your business is not growing at all. Your time on social media seems like a waste and you don’t know how other businesses are accomplished on these platforms. This is because you don’t understand everything you did wrong like I just did.

Nicole Yeary2

Via Flickr Nicole Yeary

As a social media marketer for a huge variety of different business industries, both big and small, I can look at your profiles for five minutes and understand all the mistaken steps you took. I will start brewing ideas on how to fix them and optimize your account.

Many customers prefer to communicate through social media and get updates from their business on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and more. When you ignore these platforms or use them incorrectly, you come across as inauthentic, inconsistent, and uncaring about customer needs. Hiring a professional social media marketer allows your business to become a likeable brand on the internet. Your customers will turn to you for their questions, concerns, and investment in your industry.

Professional social media marketers have studied the nuances of every platform extensively. They know the exact formula for posting on each platform and the language preferred by those users. They understand how each social media site is different in expanding a business’ reach, what kinds of posts get the most engagement, and how to create and time messaging. They can also analyze your account and audience to find out when your customers are online and most likely to see your messages.

Social media experts will interact with your audience as a business and customer service representative to increase your customer loyalty. Marketers will learn everything about your business to create a brand personality for your social media presence that is likeable and engaging. They will collaborate with you to get the most out of your website, blog, special offers, sales, events, and more. On top of that, social media marketers are constantly analyzing your platforms to see where improvements can be made.

Via Flickr ChrisL_AK

Via Flickr ChrisL_AK

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? For social media marketers, it is another day at the office. For you, it takes a lot of research and all of your free time, if not more.

This work is not as expensive as you might think. No matter how big or small your advertising budget is, you can find ways to afford social media marketing. At the very least, you can shell out a one-time expense to get consultation on the basics of social media marketing.

I have base prices for my services and different package options for all kinds of businesses. However, I can also take any monthly budget you set and tell you exactly what I can do for you with that amount. I also offer consultation on the basics of marketing tailored for your business needs and goals. You can view my social media marketing service options on my website. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments or to email me at h.s.hobbs@gmail.com!

Originally posted on LinkedIn

 

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EVERYTHING Small Businesses Need to Know about Facebook Marketing

Marketing strategies have taken a huge turn since the rise of the internet. Today, more than ever, businesses are using social media for their marketing purposes. Creating a Facebook business page is the most important tool in your marketing toolbox. Facebook supplies businesses with endless creative social media marketing ideas to supply small business solutions. There are six things small businesses need to do in order to effectively use Facebook for marketing.

Via Flickr by marcopako

Via Flickr by marcopako

Offer discounts

The first way is to offer discounts when customers checkout. No matter if you are in a brick and mortar store or online only, when customers checkout ask them if they have Liked your Facebook page. If they have not, have them Like it right there in order to get 10 percent off their entire purchase. Most people will jump at the chance for a discount and Like the page, allowing you to build your Facebook Likes.

Once people have Liked your page, continue offering discounts on Facebook. This is revolutionary because businesses can live market based on the situation of both the business and the customers. For example, if you are a bakery and you have a lot of stock left with two hours until close, put on Facebook you are offering a buy one get one free deal on cupcakes. This allows you to get rid of stock while still making a profit. Or, if it is snowing outside, put on Facebook you will give a free to-go cup of hot chocolate for customers who stop in to the bakery.

Make posts short, mix up media, and be consistent

Facebook posts should be 80 characters or less. The shorter the post, the more people will engage with it and share it. While images are an important part of Facebook, do not only post images on your Facebook page. Most posts should include links or photos, but it is okay to provide text-only posts.

Post content between one and four times a week. Do not skip weeks of posting, or fans will forget about your business. On the other hand, posting too much will make fans un-Like your page. Following the one to four rule will create 71 percent more brand engagement.

Via Flickr by Coletivo Mambembe

Via Flickr by Coletivo Mambembe

Share at the right time

Even if your business is only open 9-5, do not post things on your page during this time frame. This is when most of your customers will be at work and not able to check their Facebook. Instead, post during the 6pm to midnight time slot where people are relaxing on their social media sites.

It is also important to know the best days of the week to post content. Thursday is the best day to post on Facebook. People are anxious for the weekend and making plans on Facebook. Friday is the second best day to post things since people are checking their accounts to see where friends are going. Weekends are the absolute best time to post since people spend more time on Facebook on the weekend.

Put up emotional content

People love sharing content that impresses them or makes them laugh or cry. Post images, links, or stories about things related to your business that hit an emotional nerve. If you are the bakery, for example, you can post a funny cupcake comic. You could also post a story about a bakery giving their leftover cookies to the homeless in the area. Or you could post a little known fact about baking or dessert history.

Engage users and tell them what to do 

Ask your Facebook fans questions and post polls to get them engaged with your brand. As the bakery, you could ask which of the three flavor options you should bake for cookies this week. Or you could ask for their favorite dessert to eat. This information not only engages customers, but gives you insight into their tastes and habits. Don’t be afraid to tell them to Like something, comment on a post, or share a link. Many will follow your instructions with good content, or with incentives to share. This increases your brand awareness.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Be social!

The reason it is called social media is because you need to be social online in order to market effectively. Start conversations in posts by asking questions. Respond to user comments and complaints on the page. Time needs to be spent building relationships with your customers on Facebook. This allows them to value your brand more and become loyal to your business.

What are other ways small businesses can be successful on Facebook? Let me know in comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!

5 Tips for Small Businesses New to Twitter

Twitter is a great platform to take advantage of social media marketing. It works as the perfect addition to your business’ website and blog. However, most businesses starting out do not know how to develop a Twitter marketing strategy. There are five Twitter tips you can follow to increase the potential of your small business marketing.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Pick A Username

The username needs to be the same or similar to your business name. If your company is called How Sweet It Is and you sell cupcakes, do not make a Twitter handle called @redfrosting. It is not related close enough to your business name. However, a Twitter name needs to be short. Users only have 140 characters to complete a thought. If they are trying to communicate with you, your @username is going to take up some of those characters.

For example, @howsweetitis is only thirteen characters, so it would work well as a username. If the name of your cupcake shop was The Ultimate Cupcake Shoppe, it would be too long of a username. Instead, you could shorten it to @ultimatecupcake. Make sure to put your Twitter name as an SEO keyword in all related content you post.

Via Flickr by Garrett Heath

Via Flickr by Garrett Heath

Set Goals for Twitter Marketing

Whenever you set goals for your Twitter marketing, you will see a higher ROI. Goals can be very different depending on your business. Examples include to grow an engaged and loyal following, generate brand awareness and business leads, expand your reach to create buzz, participate in industry thought and discussion to become an eventual thought leader, build community relationships, offer discounts, create better SEO, and more.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Learn How to Communicate on Twitter

There are five types of Twitter messages that you need to understand before jumping on Twitter. The first is a Tweet, which is a message that is sent out to all of your followers.

The second is @Reply, a message that is sent in response to a message you received. It is public and created by putting the @ sign followed by the username of the person who Tweeted you. The third is a Mention, where you include the name of the person you want to see the Tweet, but it is not a reply. This would be written as, “Loved the meeting today with @username!”

Fourth is a Direct Message, or DM. It is a message sent privately to someone on Twitter. The fifth and final kind of a message is a Retweet, or RT. It is when you Retweet a message from someone else so it shows up in your feed. Twitter has the Retweet option underneath every Tweet so it automatically is placed on your feed after clicking the button.

Via Flickr by Rosaura Ochoa

Via Flickr by Rosaura Ochoa

Craft the Perfect Tweets

Tweets need to be completely readable and have maximum Retweet-ability. Since Tweets need to appeal to your followers, you need to consider what content they would like to see from your Tweets. When using a link, do not say anything that is promotional, such as, “Click here to buy!” Also do not say simple things like, “This is cool.”

Life moves pretty fast on Twitter and your Tweet could disappear off a feed in minutes. You need to grab the attention of the follower with an excellent headline that you are linking to. All content in the Tweet, including links, needs to be less than 120 characters. This gives followers plenty of room to Retweet your content without issue. The most obvious tip for a perfect Tweet – use flawless spelling and grammar.

Via Flickr by dullhunk

Via Flickr by dullhunk

Find Followers

Finding followers is an initial hurdle for a Twitter account. Start by asking coworkers, business partners, friends, and family for their Twitter handles so you can follow them. Ask these people to engage with you as you engage with them. Promote your Twitter account on your blog by adding a Follow Me button and by telling readers to follow at the end of every blog post. If you utilize email marketing, include a link to follow you on every email. When you first set up the account, write a blog post and send out an email announcement just for that purpose. Place your Twitter handle on your website, in your brick and mortar store, and on any marketing materials you send out.

What other tips can you offer small businesses trying to implement a social media strategy on Twitter? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!