Why Your Business Needs a Blog

why your business needs a blogBlogging doesn’t just help a business; with today’s online consumer behavior, business blogging is becoming essential to maintaining an online presence, standing out above the competition, and even obtaining customers. Given the benefits they offer to business and the role they play in digital marketing today, you should absolutely be blogging for your business. This post will explain 9 ways in which a blog helps a business to grow, and why you need one for your business.

How Blogging Helps a Business

Business growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It occurs in relation to your competitors , your target audience, and even search engines. Here’s how business blogging helps a business in these areas.

1. Blogging Helps Your Business to Compete

There are many other small businesses out there that provide the same products or services you do. However, no two companies are truly identical, so it’s important to emphasize what makes your company unique. Blogging helps to show the personality, information, and experience that will distinguish your business from competitors and even compete against larger companies. If you want to make yourself known to your target audience, your business needs a blog.

2. Blogging is Statistically Proven to Help Businesses

It may be nice to hear that blogging helps your business to build brand awareness and show its expertise, but without tangible evidence, it may not exactly be convincing. Well, thanks to several studies and surveys, there are numbers to show why blogging is good for business.

There are statistics to show that:
• The custom content from blogs warms prospective customers up to your business.
• Businesses that blog generate more leads than businesses that don’t.
• Blogging can sometimes be just as effective, if not more, in promoting your company than through advertisements.
• Blogging helps buyers find out

3. A Blog Provides a Channel of Communication with Customers

A good business website may be geared toward helping current and potential customers, but it does so by providing information in a one-way manner. A business blog, on the other hand, creates opportunities for two-way interaction with your audience. This helps your business to build its relationship with—and not just its presence among—customers.

Through a business blog, you can present your content in a more casual and personal way, and actually have conversations with your readers in the comments section. Ideas can be exchanged, you can understand your readers’ points of view, and your readers get a chance to be heard.

4. A Blog Offers Insight Into Your Audience

The more you know about your target audience, the better you can serve them and appeal to them. Blog analytics (such as through Google Analytics ), feedback on the blog by readers, and comments on social media posts that link to your blog articles will help you to learn about what content is most interesting to your target audience, and what will increase engagement with them.

In addition, online customer reviews —a powerful marketing tool for small businesses—do not just happen on review sites. Customers can provide important feedback about your business right on your blog, which is yet another reason why your business needs one.

5. A Blog Can Improve Your SEO

One last reason your business needs a blog because is because it can help you to increase your search engine rankings. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long term process comprised of a number of different activities. A business blog won’t get you on the first page of Google overnight, however it will significantly enhance your search engine rankings over time.

This is because search engines reward you for producing fresh content, using relevant keywords, and meeting the needs of online searchers. Blogging provides you with opportunities to do all three of these.

More Benefits of Blogging for Small Business

If you’re not yet convinced that your business needs a blog, here are some additional benefits of blogging for small business.

6. Maintaining a Blog Strengthens Your Own Expertise

Writing about your service, field, or industry keeps you on your toes. You have to dig into your knowledge, stay on top of your industry, and practice articulating effectively. Blogging benefits your business because the stronger your knowledge and communication of that knowledge is, the more trust you earn. Trust turns interested viewers into customers and current customers into loyal customers.

7. Blog Posts Provide Social Media Content

Struggling to come up with ideas for social media posts? Here’s another benefit of blogging for small businesses. One blog post does not equate to just one social media post. In fact, the information contained within a single post can be repurposed in many ways, into several social media posts. For example, you can collect statistics from different posts, excerpt an important quote that sticks out, or extract an interesting fact and add a graphic.

Not only will your audience appreciate these informative and easy to digest tidbits; these quick and easy posts will help you to maintain a consistent and valuable presence, which are two important social media best practices.

8. A Business Blog Grows Your Email List

While email marketing is a great way to stay top of mind, it can be hard to get people to sign up to have yet more emails crowd their inbox. Here is where a blog benefits your business. If people find your blog posts to be interesting and informative, they are more likely to trust that your newsletters are too. They may also sign up if you include links to your latest posts in the newsletter, among other relevant information such as promotions, new products or services, and company updates.

9. A Business Blog Can Generate Leads

Many of the blogging platforms available today allow for layouts that are optimized for actions that are important to a business. For example, the page that displays your blog posts may have a header or sidebar, where you could have calls to action such as download a free eBook or get a free consultation. In this sense, a blog benefits your business by creating more opportunities for you to present offers and generate leads.

Blogging is not as hard as it may seem, and it offers a wide range of benefits for your business. If you are looking to set yourself apart from the competition and capture the attention of your target audience, your business needs a blog!

Why You Should Blog for Your Small Business

why you should blog for your businessIn today’s age, when you want to know something, you look it up online. The next time you do this, take a closer look at the listings in the search engine results pages. Did you ever notice that many of the web pages that are equipping you with the knowledge you need are in fact blog posts? Or, think about some of the websites you frequent or companies you engage with most. How many of them have a business blog? With all of the benefits they offer, blogs play a major role in the online community today, and make up a large part of the digital marketing landscape. What most people don’t realize is that this is true for all businesses—large and small. In this post we will cover why your small business should have a blog, and why you should be the one writing it.

Why Your Business Should Have a Blog

There are many reasons why your business needs a blog. A blog supports several factors that affect the growth of your business, including brand awareness, audience insights, customer loyalty, and online visibility. In addition, your blog can help facilitate various business goals, such as lead generation, website traffic, and customer acquisition.

Furthermore, a blog can play a key role in other strategies you use to market your business, like your social media and niche marketing strategy. There are many benefits of blogging for business, but for now, we’ll just name a few.

Blogging Gives Your Business a Personality

Your business website is a source of information for visitors, but with so much logistical information, it can be hard for your business’s personality to come through. A blog, on the other hand is a great place for more detailed information, written in the tone and style that reflects the personality of your business.

Blogging Provides Opportunities to Add Value

A good business website provides the initial information a current or potential customer needs in order to engage with your business. A blog is a great place to show additional information that shows your value and expertise without cluttering your homepage.

Blogging Boosts Online Presence

Another way that a blog benefits your business is by increasing your online presence. By inserting keywords into your blog posts that are relevant to your target audience, you can improve your search engine optimization (or SEO) and get found by more relevant online searchers. In addition, sharing your articles through social media posts can significantly boost your exposure.

Why You Should Blog for Your Business

So, you know that your business needs a blog, but chances are you haven’t started one because you don’t have anyone to write for it. Well, the good news is, you do have someone to write for it. The [perhaps not so good] news is, that person is you! As a business owner, you are probably thinking, no way. The truth is, you can blog for your business. You just need a fresh perspective on the barriers you are facing. This section will address—and remove—some of the most common barriers to blogging that business owners face.

I’m Not a Writer

You don’t have to be a professional writer or even good at writing to blog for your business. The purpose of your blog is not to show your expertise in writing, it’s to show the expertise in your field. In addition, your task with blogging is to provide valuable information to your target audience in an easy to understand way. If you can write in your style and in simple terms, you can blog for your business.

If you’re not confident in your skills, you can ask others to help brainstorm, write, and proofread. to proofread your work. If you don’t have anyone to help you, there are plenty of free online tools to help, like the Hemingway App.

I’m No Expert

As mentioned above, the basic aspect of blogging is to show your expertise. This may feel a little strange at first. You may be one of 100 plumbers in your area, and yes, some may even have more knowledge than you. But remember, you don’t have to be THE expert. All you have to be is AN expert. Plus, people have different standards for what expert means to them. So, if your reason for not blogging is that you’re not the top expert, then you’re throwing away the opportunity to establish yourself even as a basic expert.

Keep in mind also that you’re not just comparing yourself to other plumbers or to major companies thought leaders. Compared to the Average Joe in your target audience, you know far more than they do. You’d be surprised at how much information is in your head that you consider second nature that some people have never heard before and consider valuable.

I Don’t Have the Technical Skills

To blog for your business, you don’t need to know complex code, have a degree in design, or an artistic eye. There are plenty of free tools out there geared for people just like you. Free blogging platforms like WordPress make writing, editing, and posting blog articles very easy. Design tools like Canva can help you create visually appealing graphics to accompany your posts. With the tools to do it so readily available, you should blog for your business!

I Don’t Have the Time

As a small business owner, you are very busy juggling many things. However, one hour out of each day, or even each week, can yield what would equate to hours of work in the future.Your blog can generate traffic to your website, warm potential customers up to your business, and boost your online exposure even when you’re sleeping. Putting an hour a day into something that will do hours of marketing for your business? It’s a no brainer!

The ultimate reason why you should blog for your business is that not only is it a free promotional tool for your business, it is doable for you as a business owner. Yes, it requires time, energy, and thought, but the return on investment is far too good to ignore. Start blogging today, so your business can grow tomorrow.

How to Get Your Business to Stand Out Above the Competition

how-to-get-your-business-to-stand-out-above-the-competition-fiWhile it’s important for companies to have competitors, it’s equally as important to set yourself apart from them. Standing out from your competition isn’t necessarily about snatching up all of the business. It’s about attracting the right people to your business. Since no two businesses are truly alike, it’s important to identify exactly what makes your business unique, so you can showcase it most effectively to your audience.

You’ll want to identify who your competitors are so that you can set yourself apart from them, but start with identifying what makes your business great before losing yourself to competitive analysis. Whether you realize it or not, you already have a lot to work with in terms of standing out.

Use Your Personality to Stand Out

The first source to go to to stand out from your competition is yourself. Make known your personality and values and let those seep into your marketing. Although marketing should be focused on your business and not your personal life, you can allow elements of your personality to shine through you as the voice of your business. Be warm, welcoming, friendly, helpful, funny—whatever qualities you possess. By letting the unique person you are shape the business you own, you humanize your business, and give it special attributes that will set it apart from its competitors.

In addition to helping your business to stand out from your competition, you may also attract people within your target audience who share similar values. These types of individuals have the potential to become brand evangelists, or to help you find your niche market.

Utilize Your Customers to Stand Out

As the owner of your business, you are the closest person to it, but that also means that you might not always be able to stand back and see it objectively. What might seem like a standard procedure or second nature to you might actually be something that stands out to others and is appreciated. To help uncover the unique characteristics that set you apart from your competition, talk to your customers. Ask them to identify which part of your business stands out most to them, why they choose you over competitors, or what they appreciate most.

Not only will this allow you to identify and harness your unique value, it will also help you to learn more about your target audience and engage with them as well. In fact, feedback-generating questions like these make great social media campaigns.

Stand Out Through Your Team

If you have a team of employees that help you run your business, be sure to utilize each of their unique personalities, stories, and talents to stand out above your competition. Your company culture will inject color into your organization and distinguish it from organizations that provide similar products or services. It will also foster the sense of familiarity and personal connection that leads people to trust a business.

You can get your business to stand out through your team by showcasing the people behind the processes, and the stories behind the service you provide. These make easy and effective social media post ideas that will grab the attention of your followers.

Stand Out With Integrity

It’s less than ideal to be approached by a potential customer, only to find that your business is not a proper fit. However, these situations can be used to help you stand out from your competition! If a person has a need that you can’t meet but which another company can, refer them to that company, even if it’s a competitor. You’ll still stand out through your honesty and genuine desire to help the person get their needs met. These are the memorable experiences that lead people to tell others about your business and write online customer reviews, so don’t hold back!

Stand Out In Your Community

To stand out from your competition, you don’t necessarily have to start a new movement or pioneer a group. You can utilize the movements and groups that are already formed in your community. Have an active role your community, whether by participating on a board, attending meetings, supporting a school, or volunteering regularly.

Local customers are important for small businesses, and the more opportunities you have to interact with them, the more you can nurture your relationships with existing and potential customers.

This is not to say that you should participate in activities just to get more customers. The idea is to stand out from your competition as a dedicated member of your community. This is especially important for small businesses with a niche marketing strategy, as your actions will show that you are truly committed to the specific values of those in your niche.

Nurture Your Network to Stand Out

Leveraging your network to stand out above your competition is effective for two reasons: First, you are surrounding yourself with others who are already successful. Not only can you learn from them, they will likely be happy to help you with your efforts to succeed. Utilize the opportunity to learn from others who have been in your shoes before—collaboration can be more effective than competition.

Second, a network can help your business stand out because of the connections that are built. Chances are that your network isn’t just other business owners—it’s peers, partners, former coworkers, family, friends, and countless second- and third-degree connections too. Opportunities often come from the people you know, and the more people you know who know each other, the better and more plentiful those opportunities will be.

Leverage your network to stand out from your competition not just by growing it, but also by nurturing it: strengthen existing relationships, give back, and pay it forward when you can.

Stand Out by Standing By [Your Strategies]

In your efforts to stand out above the competition, don’t overlook your existing strategies and processes. You don’t have to have an innovative or radical way of doing things. Plain transparency can do the trick. Do you still write ideas on napkins? Do you test products or ideas out on your family first? If your tried and true ways work for you, share them! You can stand out as a business that puts careful thought into its products, doesn’t sacrifice speed for quality, or stays loyal to a particular vendor or value.

Be transparent about borrowing ideas too! There is nothing wrong with adopting ideas from other companies (even competitors) and putting your own twist on it, as long as you give credit where it’s due. You may not stand out as the innovative one, but you’ll stand out as the honest company that celebrates others’ ideas and helps them to grow.

Perhaps the best part of using these resources is that not only do they help your business to stand out above the competition; the actions you take to achieve this offers just as many benefits for them too. It’s a win win!

Small Business Saturday Ideas

small business saturday ideasSmall Business Saturday is a day dedicated to celebrating and supporting small businesses across the nation. Shoppers may be eager to support small business and shop locally, but you won’t see these shoppers by sitting back and watching the show. In order to leverage the excitement of Small Business Saturday to facilitate your business goals, you have to promote your business! Whether you’re only able to make a last minute effort or have the ability to run a detailed campaign, there are opportunities for every business on Small Business Saturday. Here are some Small Business Saturday ideas to help you make the most out of the day.

Small Business Saturday Offers

Small Business Saturday is all about celebrating small business, but in order to stand out above your competitors and grab the attention of overstimulated shoppers, you’ll need an attractive offer. Some basic ideas for offers on Small Business Saturday include:

•  Buy one get one free deals for people shopping with friends.
•  Discounts for same day appointments.
•  Bundle services into packages and offer them at a discounted rate.
•  Create holiday gifts out of products or services, and those who purchase the gift get a
discount or free service.
•  Free gift with purchase.
•  Discount for signing up for blog, newsletter, or providing contact information.
•  Purchases come with a coupon for holiday services.

Your Small Business Saturday offer can serve many purposes and support many business goals. It can be:

•  Given out on that day to attract customers.
•  Revealed beforehand on social media to increase engagement on social media.
•  Redeemed later on to encourage return customers.

Small Business Saturday Events

Another idea for promoting your business on Small Business Saturday is to run an event. Even if your focus is around celebrating your small business, you should still include an offer that incentivizes customers to attend.

If you have a brick and mortar location, here are some ideas:

•  Gyms can have a free post-Thanksgiving workout for interested potential new members. Serve snacks and drinks afterward with free t-shirts, and have place where people can sign up for your blog or newsletter.
•  Hairdressers and salons can offer a discount for customers who who sign up for their email list or offer a bundle deal for holiday services.
•  Host an open house at your business with free cake— everyone loves cake! Ask people to sign in with their email address and name, so you can stay in touch with leads and announce future business promotions.
•  Dentists, physical therapists, and chiropractors can run an open house where shoppers can come in, recharge with snacks and drinks, and take a break from shopping. Hand out swag with your business information on it.

If you don’t have a brick and mortar location, you can still host an event if your office accommodates people. If this is your slow season you might even consider offering a discount for advance purchases. This is good for seasonal businesses like painters, landscapers, or tutors. For example:
•  Landscapers can pass out reusable shopping bags with their logo on it
•  Massage therapists can partner with a local business to offer chair massages to shoppers.
•  Financial planners can host a workshop on how to budget for the holidays and the new year.

For these ideas, you might have a sign out front to attract foot traffic, but be sure to promote your event online too. For example,
•  Create social media posts the week before and the day of to attract attendees.
•  Utilize Facebook Events or Eventbrite to encourage people to attend and to get a ballpark headcount.
•  Utilize the benefits of landing pages! Create a landing page for your event or offer to encourage users to follow through in converting.
•  Post pictures from the event as it is happening. Get creative and have fun with Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

If you don’t have a space to accommodate people, fear not! You can always rent a space nearby or partner up with a local business. Or, you can run an event online, such as social media contest or giveaway. With the proper social media campaign strategy, you can leverage Small Business Saturday to achieve your business goals.

Partner Up on Small Business Saturday

While Small Business Saturday is for everyone, promotion ideas are sometimes easier to execute for retail businesses and those located on busy streets. If you don’t fit into that category, consider partnering up with a business that does. Partnering is a great way to increase your exposure across a relevant audience, maximize profits, and tighten your ties within the community. For example,
•  Physical therapists and massage therapists can offer free or discounted chair massages at a boutique store during peak shopping hours.
•  Home service providers can partner up with furniture or home goods stores and offer their services at a discount. In exchange, the home service providers can promote that store through email, social media, and their website to encourage more visitors.
•  Landscapers can offer a free yard cleanup or discounted package at hardware stores, and promote that store across their marketing channels.
•  Preschools can partner with yoga instructors to offer a prenatal yoga class.
•  Find a small business who will take on a small business guerrilla marketing campaign with you.

When considering partners for Small Business Saturday, don’t just think about the most popular places. Think about businesses that share your values and target audience. This way you can leverage the partnership to strengthen your brand messaging and increase your exposure to the right people.

Utilize Local Media

As a small business owner, you may not have the time to coordinate an event, and hosting an event might make it hard for you to manage higher customer volumes on that day. One idea for Small Business Saturday that won’t have you preoccupied on that day is to do a write up for the local media. For example:
•  Produce a round-up of stores in the area that you recommend for shoppers (cater it to those in your target audience or niche market if possible). Perhaps those stores will pass out your flyers or coupons for a promotional offer.
•  If your business has a unique story or strong roots within the community write an article on the history of your business. At the end, you could talk about special deals you are offering for Small Business Saturday, or invite the media to come and interview customers on that day.
•  Another approach would be to write an opinion piece on the importance of Small Business Saturday. Acknowledge hard working business owners, highlight the role of small businesses in the economy and their contribution to the community. Not only will business owners and shoppers appreciate it, you can stand out as a committed member of your community.

Thanks to the benefits of social media, this type of publication can also increase your online presence, before the week before Small Business Saturday and even long after.

Use Social Media on Small Business Saturday

There are a number of other ways to utilize social media on Small Business Saturday. For example:
•  Run a Small Business Saturday giveaway
•  Write a blog post that is relevant to SBS, your target audience, and your business, and
promote across social.
•  Leverage existing social media groups, such as on Facebook and LinkedIn to promote your
specials offers, and sales.
•  Cross promote email offers with social media posts.
•   Offer a discount on your product or services to the first x number of new followers on this
day.
•  Ask a blogger or social media influencer to feature your store in a roundup blog post.
•  Use Small business Saturday Hashtags such as #SmallBizSaturday,
#SmallBusinessSaturday, and #ShopSmall.
•  Engage with the official Small Business Saturday @ShopSmall account.

You can also use social media for Small Business Saturday discount codes:
•  Reveal a promotional code on this day only.
•  Reveal a promotional code during the week leading up to SBS, that followers can only
redeem on SBS.
•  Provide a promotional code on SBS that is redeemable at a later time, such as for holiday
appointments or winter services.

What are some ideas that you have for Small Business Saturday? Share your plans in the comments below!

Small Business Blogging Basics

small business blogging basicsBasics serve an important role at every stage of a process. We start with the basics when learning something new; we stick to the basics when progressing forward; and we all—even experts—go back to the basics when faced with a challenge.

Blogging for your business may be intimidating, but it is just like any other process. So whether you are just starting your business blog, learning how to maintain it, or looking to improve it, you can always count on the basics. Here we break blogging down into four basic areas to help your business grow through blogging.

Blogging Basic #1: Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Before getting started with the tactical basics of blogging, you must first understand why blogging is important for your business.

While blogging was once associated with pastimes and personal use, it has become a staple in content marketing. Blogging helps your business to generate leads, obtain new customers, increase your online presence, and boost your reputation within your industry. If you’re still not convinced, check out the numbers behind why blogging is good for business.

Blogging Basic #2: Creating Blog Content

Hopefully now you have the motivation and inspiration you need to start blogging for your business. However, reaping the benefits of blogging for business doesn’t require just any old content. It requires content that offers value to your target audience in a way that is appealing to them. Here are some tips and tools for creating blog content that is useful and engaging to your target audience.

Tips for Creating Blog Content

Don’t write for your business, write to your target audience. Your blog is not a platform for pitching your company or advertising your services. It is a channel for building a relationship with your target audience, and your niche markets within that audience. By providing information and advice that is of benefit to them, your expertise, trustworthiness, and value will come through naturally.

The second tip for creating blog content is to use variety. There are many different ways to present information. Bullet points, lists, sections, storytelling, Q&A’s, and how to’s are just a few examples. Be sure to use different forms of media as well, such as images, graphics, and video.

Tools for Creating Blog Content

As previously mentioned, your blog is meant to provide solutions to problems your target audience has, to answer questions they are asking, and to provide information they need.

While you may have an idea as to what kinds of questions they have, keyword tools such as SEMRush or Moz can help you identify the exact words people are using to search for that information. By using those keywords in your blog content, you increase the chances of a person performing a search for your service to find your service.

In order to incorporate variety into your blog content, you’ll also need some creative tools. An online photo editor like Pic Monkey  or design application like Canva can help you to provide professional looking images, insert text or your logo onto an image, or create an accompanying infographic or chart.

Blogging Basic #3: Developing a Blog

Your blog doesn’t increase your online presence, get you new customers or show your expertise overnight. A blog is something that you must develop over time, and as it develops, you will gradually see its contribution to your business growth.

Tips for Developing Your Blog

The key to developing a blog is having a range of topics. Your content should be relevant to your products and services, but if you limit yourself, you might run into challenges coming up with content ideas.

To facilitate development of your blog, identify a few major topics related to your business and industry, and aim to cover those topics
evenly. This will help to ensure you don’t run out of post ideas, but also that you don’t get overwhelmed with all of the possibilities.

Coming up with your basic topics will help get you started, and as you post over time, pay attention to your target audience’s behavior. Depending on posts they engage with most or least, you may add, eliminate, or adjust topic groups.

Tools for Developing Your Blog

It is a good idea to write down and store your blog topics, but also to be able to add new ideas as they come in and make organizational adjustments. An organizational application like Trello  or Evernote will help you to map out your topics, group titles and ideas under each topic, and easily add ideas as they come.

As mentioned above, your target audience’s behavior with relation to your blog posts will also influence the development of your blog. You can use Google Analytics to measure engagement and even identify topics of interest among your target audience.

Blogging Basic #4: Marketing Your Blog

The first two basics of blogging—coming up with content and creating some structure around its development—are geared toward ensuring the value of your blog, to both your business and your target audience.
But once you have a quality blog that stands out, you’ll want to spread the word! Here are some tips and tools for doing so.

Tips for Marketing Your Blog

One of the most effective ways of marketing your blog is through social media channels. When promoting your posts on social media, don’t just share the link. Be sure to include an image or graphic, as well as contextual information to give user’s an idea of what to expect. This could be the title of the post, a quick one-sentence summary, or a longer comment depending on the character limits for the platform.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to be the only one sharing your content. One of the major benefits of social media for business is its amplification effect. Encourage your audience to share your content and make it easy for them to do so.

Tools Marketing Your Blog

When marketing your blog on social media, you can also take action for developing your blog as mentioned above. Rather than posting the same URL to your blog post for every channel, create unique links so that you can see which channels generate the most traffic. URL builder are free tools for this.

In order to encourage others to share your content, make it easy for readers to share the post to their social channels. Sharelinkgenerator.com
allows you to create links for the main social media platforms, so that people can automatically share with the click of a button.

To effectively blog for your business, you need a firm foundation in content creation, topic development, and sharing your target audience. These blogging basics will get you on the path to business growth through blogging.

Social Media Campaign Strategy—Simplified

social media marketing campaignsWhen it comes to marketing your business, your campaigns must meet two requirements: they need to drive your business goals while also satisfying and engaging your audience. Social media campaigns are no exception. In fact, this concept is especially true for social media, as it can be difficult to get your business and posts to stand out above such a chaotic sea of content.

Creating and sticking to a social media campaign strategy will help you to ensure that you are growing your business through a satisfied and engaged audience. However, with the many variables that can affect a campaign’s success, coming up with a strategy can become overwhelming, fast. In this post we’ll simplify social media campaign strategy to help you come up with one that works for your business.

Fundamentals of a Social Media Campaign Strategy

Every business is unique, so a successful social media marketing campaign for one business may not be successful for another. In addition, the mindset of your target audience will vary for each platform, so a good post idea for one platform may not be a good idea for another.

There is no one campaign, or campaign strategy that works for all businesses. In fact, you may have different strategies for different campaigns! But do not get overwhelmed. If you break your strategy down into three fundamentals, you can simplify things and guide your business to success. These fundamentals are: the goal, the content, and the platform.

The Goal of Your Campaign

What are you looking to accomplish with your social media marketing campaign? This is the backbone of your social media campaign strategy. Social media supports a wide number of business goals, but not all at once. Your campaign should have one goal, and your strategy should be focused on achieving that one goal only.

Examples of goals for social media campaigns include:
• Generate leads
• Improve traffic to website
• Promote a new product
• Revive dormant customers

A goal of increasing engagement on social media is too broad. Aim for something more specific that can be measured. The above examples can be measured with basic Google Analytics data, helping you to connect campaign activities with quantifiable results.

The Content for Your Campaign

The content you use to achieve the goal of your social media campaign is the second fundamental of your strategy. Content refers to what you include in each post, but also to larger publications that your campaign may revolve around.

For example, if you are creating a campaign around an eBook, the content of your social media marketing campaign is not just the eBook, but also the verbiage you use to promote it. One of the benefits of social media for business is extended reach, but this is often through different platforms. Each platform has different character requirements and audiences, so as a part of your strategy, you should put careful thought into how you want to present the material for each platform.

You also want to put careful thought into the form of content that will best support the business goal of your campaign. For example, if your goal is to drive more leads, your content might be a longer piece, which people will have to provide their contact information in order to download. If your goal is to raise awareness about a particular product or service, a photo or short video might be the most effective.

While the goal of your campaign will help you come up with the content, the content will help you determine which platform to use—which is the third fundamental of your social media campaign strategy.

The Platform Supporting Your Campaign

Businesses often use multiple platforms in their social media marketing strategy. The characteristics of your target audience will help you determine which platforms should be part of your social media strategy in general. For specific campaigns, the type of content you have will help you to determine which platform or platforms are best for that campaign.

For example, if you are trying to drive traffic to your website, Instagram may not be the best option as you cannot include clickable links in your photo captions. However, Instagram would be ideal if you are trying to increase engagement through a photo contest or raise brand awareness through a behind the scenes campaign.

Blog posts, on the other hand, provide great material for nearly all social media marketing campaigns, because they can contain such diverse material. You can pull content from them specific to social media channels—whether short excerpts, images, quotes, or stats. Then, each post can include a link to the longer article.

Social media marketing campaigns come in many shapes and sizes, and some will succeed more than others. As long as you you have the right intentions with them and the right strategy behind them, they are guaranteed to help your business to grow—whether through direct results or important insights gathered along the way.

Why Use Google Analytics?

why use google analyticsGoogle Analytics is a free service that will help you to obtain the most value from your business website. With all that it has to offer, it certainly takes time to get familiar with the platform and utilize it properly. However, if you start with the Google Analytics basics, you can slowly build your knowledge. It is well worth the time, because the insights you draw from Google Analytics can help you to improve your marketing, better serve your target audience, and obtain more customers. This post goes over the reasons why it is a good idea to use Google Analytics, as well as the benefits it offers, to help ensure that the platform is well worth the investment of your time.

General Benefits of Google Analytics

Cost

The first and most obvious reason to use Google Analytics is that it is completely free. You don’t need to purchase, subscribe, or provide credit card information. All you need is a Gmail account and the ability to install a tracking code on your website, and you’re ready to go.

Data Visualization

Data is only useful if you can make sense of it. Therefore, the data visualization offered by Google Analytics is the second reason to use it. This platform presents the metrics in various forms: lists, charts, graphs, pie charts, spreadsheets, and more—allowing you to see how your website is performing. With enough knowledge, you can create dashboards to display the metrics that are most important to your business’s goals.

Reporting

While data visualization allows you to make sense of data, reporting allows you to draw conclusions from it. By comparing metrics within the data, you can gather further insights and identify causes and correlations—another reason why Google Analytics can benefit your business.

With the platform’s reporting capabilities, you can collect, present, and compare any data set or combination of data sets. Report on content relevancy, traffic sources, traffic volume, date ranges, campaign conversions, and more. Use Google Analytics to make data-driven decisions and share supporting information with other decision makers.

Real Time

The fourth reason why Google Analytics is useful is that the data it collects is ongoing and in real time. This means that you can create reports, compare metrics, and check performance on whatever basis you want—hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, year over year, quarter over quarter. You can associate traffic changes with specific campaigns, take note of trends across certain time frames, and cater reports to your company’s reporting periods. You can also take note of peak times for your target audience, such as whether certain pages, SEM campaigns, or blog posts gather more interest at certain points of the week, month, or year.

How Google Analytics Benefits Your Business

Your Time

Google Analytics helps you to determine what makes a good business website for your target audience and industry—not through insight or opinion, but through data. Having a data driven approach eliminates time-consuming guesswork and enables you to learn, decide, and execute more efficiently. With data and analytics to guide you, you can act quickly but with confidence, and free up time to focus on running your business.

Your Target Audience

Demographics

Google Analytics benefits your business by providing you more insight into the people who visit your website. You can gather demographic information on visitors such as age, gender, and location. With this information, you can identify who among your target audience is most likely to convert, and then cater your website content accordingly. You also then know who to target in your advertising campaigns, as well as how to write your ad copy to better resonate with them.

Interests

Google Analytics even collects information on the interests of your visitors. Are they movie lovers? Travel buffs? Business professionals? The benefit here is that you don’t always have to appeal to the problems of your target audience that your business solves; you can also capture their attention with things that are of interest to them. You may even be able to find a niche within your target audience that you can serve.

Behavior

In addition to the characteristics of those visiting your website, Google Analytics also tells you what people are doing once they’re on your site. You can see how much time they’re spending on the site, whether it’s their first time visiting, how often repeat visitors are returning, and how much time elapses between visits.

You can also follow the path visitors take through your site, their behavior along the way, and see the actions they take before converting into customers. This is a major benefit of Google Analytics, as it allows you to design your campaigns around actions users are taking, or actions you want users to take, and then also to measure the performance of those campaigns.

Your Website Channels

The third Google Analytics benefit is that it lets you know which channels are leading people to your website, such as social media, emails, or landing pages. This is helpful in a number of different ways. For example, if a large amount of traffic is coming in through social media channels, you might want to focus your resources on those areas. Or, you might try using similar content, copy, and style on other channels that aren’t performing as well. You can also see which campaigns are most successful, whether in the quantity or quality of traffic they bring to your website.

Your Website Pages

In addition to gathering data according to visitors and channels, you can also look at it according to specific pages of your website. Google Analytics page breakdowns can tell you which pages get visited most frequently, which pages lead to more pages, which pages lead to conversion, and more. This reveals which information is most relevant to visitors, so you can optimize the user experience of your followers, visitors, and customers.  Use Google Analytics to determine what to put on your homepage, how to design your site navigation, and even what kind of content to put out on your blog and social media posts.

Technology

One last way that Google Analytics benefits your business is through technology. With the various devices in use today, even just by one person, it is important that your website functions properly in as many settings as possible. Google Analytics can look at performance indicators such as page load times, and can identify the operating system, browser, monitor resolution, and internet service provider of users.

This information can help you to ensure that your website works well on popular browsers and devices. It can also help you to provide a positive user experience on every step of the journey users take to conversion through your website—which will often involve multiple devices.

While Google Analytics is a powerful tool, it’s important to note that it does take time and practice to become proficient.  If you are limited in time or do not feel confident in your use of analytics, there are businesses that can provide this service for you.

Social Media Campaign Ideas

social media campaign ideasSocial media offers endless opportunities for marketing your business. While this is the beauty of social media, the infinite possibilities can make it hard to come up with ideas for social media posts and campaign ideas without getting overwhelmed. If you’re looking to leverage the power of social media to grow your business, here are some social media campaign ideas to inspire you.

Giveaway Campaigns

Social media giveaways are great social media campaign ideas if you are looking to increase engagement and get more followers. Just make sure that what is being given away is related to your business. You want entrants to be interested in your business, so that any followers or engagers you get from the campaign can also be potential leads.

Instagram Giveaways

There are different ways to get entrants for giveaways. For example, on Instagram, users can enter by following your account and liking your post, or reposting it with a custom hashtag. Another way users can enter an Instagram giveaway is by tagging another user in the comment section of the contest photo.

Facebook Giveaways

On Facebook, you could create a post for contest to your business page, and have users enter by liking and commenting on that post. Or, you could ask a question in your post, and users could enter by answering the question in the comments.

If you are asking a question, it’s a good idea to ask a question that has something to do with your services or your audience’s preferences. This way, entries can provide you with feedback about your services or insights about your target audience.

Contest Campaigns

Another similar idea for a social media marketing campaign is a contest. Contests are a bit more involved: they typically require more effort on the user’s part such as by submitting a photo or writing something; and more effort on your part as you may have to put more thought into selecting a winner, and offer a more substantial prize.

On the other hand, contests can build a quality following, can get your followers engaging with each other, and entries can make great material for future social media posts and even blog entries.

Instagram Contests

Instagram is a great venue for running a social media contest. Users can enter by posting a picture of themselves using your product or service — either in context or in an unusual way. Or, you could ask users to post a photo with a caption expressing what they love most about your business.

If contest entries are public, you are sure to ramp up traffic from users checking in to see the latest entries. If you would prefer entries to be private, or if you only want to offer the contest to certain loyal followers, you could proceed privately through Instagram Direct messages.

Facebook Contests

Many Instagram contest ideas can also apply to Facebook. However, if you are looking to do a less visually oriented contest, you could use Facebook to do a fill in the blank, Q&A, or trivia contest.  Contests and giveaways both build a sense of community, and get users checking in frequently to look at entries and to see who won.

Series on a Theme Campaigns

Running a series on a theme over a period of time—a day, a week, a month—is one of the more versatile social media campaign ideas. You can use a series to go into depth on a particular topic, to touch on various topics within a broader subject area, or to simply familiarize users with your company culture. People like having an idea—whether specific or general—of what’s coming up next, and a series appeals to that sense of predictability.

In addition to the time frame, the content that comprises your series is also very versatile. It could be a set of blog articles promoted across social, or can be a set of platform-specific posts such as happy customer photos on Instagram, informative Facebook posts, or bite-sized tweets. The important thing is to maintain continuity and consistency, both among each post as well as with respect to your overall brand messaging.

Fundraising/Philanthropy Campaigns

Is there a particular cause that you care about, is relevant to your business, or is in line with your values or culture? Support this cause through a social media campaign!

There are different ways to carry out this idea. You could have users nominate and/or vote on an organization for your company to donate proceeds to. Or, you could choose an organization and donate a particular dollar amount for every social share (or every 10 social shares, etc, depending on how many followers you have and much you are able to donate). You could also combine this with a contest campaign, where those who donate are entered into a drawing for a prize.

Cause-driven social media campaigns are a good way to appeal to your audience in a unique way. They will enjoy a nice refreshing change in your posts, appreciate a chance to contribute, and see the more personal side of your business. In addition, niche markets can form around causes that people care about, so keep that in mind when thinking of or carrying out your campaign.

Ongoing Custom Hashtag Campaigns

Social media campaigns don’t always have to be carefully planned or carried out over a finite period of time. A simple custom hashtag that you use frequently and which you encourage followers to use can serve as an ongoing social media campaign. Not only can custom hashtags facilitate brand awareness and community building, they can help you distinguish yourself among your competitors.

Your custom hashtag should be short but effective, catchy but easy to remember, and relevant to your business name or service. It is also important to check and make sure the hashtag is not already in use. Instagram and Twitter are the best places to employ this social media campaign, as Facebook and Pinterest hashtags are less common and LinkedIn does not use them.

Sneak Peeks

Sneak peeks utilize an element of suspense and anticipation to capture the attention of your target audience. Tease your followers with snippets of an upcoming blog post, pictures showing only parts of a new product, or hints about something you’ve been working on that you’re excited to reveal. This type of approach can bring some enthusiasm to your audience, and will keep them coming back to your account, either to see the latest or the full reveal.

Social media offers endless marketing options, can be leveraged for any business, and can support a wide range of business goals. It can be overwhelming, but the best thing to do is to just start. Pick one of these campaign ideas, start working at it, and see where it takes you. The beauty of social media is that with its large number of users, real-time results, and flexibility of use, you can quickly gather data and make appropriate adjustments as needed.

Google Analytics Basics

google-analytics-basics-squareAs the internet has become a staple element in the buyer’s lifestyle, it goes without saying that your business needs a website. If designed properly, your website can generate leads and sales, obtain insights about your target audience, and help you improve your marketing campaigns.
The key to turning your website into an asset to your business is in knowing your visitors’ needs and behaviors. One way to obtain this information is through Google Analytics. Read on to learn the Google Analytics basics related to growing your business and increasing your online presence.

How Does Google Analytics Work?

Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that helps you to monitor and measure your website’s performance. Once installed on your website, it works by collecting data on your visitors’ behaviors — who they are, where they came from (geographic location), what device they’re on, and how they arrived at your website.

This data is used to determine what’s working and what’s not, as indicated by user behavior. In this sense, Google Analytics works to show you how well each of the aspects of your website are facilitating your marketing and business objectives. It reveals for you what makes a good business website for your particular target audience and industry.

Basic Google Analytics Terms

Google analytics offers comprehensive data in an infinite number of forms and reports. It can be overwhelming, but the best place to start is with the basics. Below are some basic Google Analytics terms that can help you get started in interpreting the data.

  • USER: an individual who visited your site
  • SESSION: an active visit by a user to your site. For Google Analytics, a session begins when the user enters your website, and ends after 30 minutes of inactivity. However, this is a default setting, and can be adjusted. “Sessions” in your analytics reports refer to the total number of active visits to your website
  • PAGEVIEW: a single view of a page. If a user reloads a page, this creates an additional pageview. This is also the case if a user navigates away from the page and returns back to it.
  • PAGES/SESSION: the calculated average of total pages viewed per session
  • AVG. SESSION DURATION: the calculated average duration of time of users on your site
  • BOUNCE RATE: the percentage of users who exited the site from the same page they on which they arrived

With an understanding of these basic Google Analytics terms, you can then see the connections between various marketing activities and your website. For example:

• If you have a high bounce rate, it may be because you do not have a mobile friendly or responsive website. This is because mobile use is surpassing desktop use, and if your website is not optimized for mobile users, they are likely to leave the site quickly due to poor user experience.
• If your pages per session are low, you may need to make some adjustments to your design and call to action buttons to make navigation easier for visitors.
• If average session duration is low on your blog, you might want to add more links to related posts in your blog posts, to provide the user with more content to read and keep them on the site longer.
• If you have a low volume of sessions in your particular city or geolocation, you may want to improve your local SEO. You can start this by updating your Google listing.
• If your sessions are low in general, then you may need to look at increasing traffic to your site. You can do this by adding more channels to your website, such as social media accounts. We will go over channels in the next section of this post.

Google Analytics Channel Terms

So what exactly are channels? Channels are methods by which people arrive at your website, such as by clicking a link on a social media post or online directory. Channels are important, because understanding where you acquire site visitors is just as critical as knowing who your visitors are and how they behave on your site. After all, they have to visit your site first in order for Google Analytics to collect data on them.
With the data from Google Analytics, you can take advantage of channels generating the most website traffic, and learn how to improve (or eliminate) less successful ones. With regard to acquisition, here are some basic Google Analytics channel terms to know:

  • DIRECT: user typed your website directly into their browser (such as www.propelmarketing.com)
  • ORGANIC: user typed a keyword phrase into a search engine and selected your website from the results
  • REFERRAL: user clicked a link to your website on another website (for example, from a news article, or online customer review site).
  • EMAIL: user clicked a link to your website from an email
  • PAID SEARCH: user clicked a link to your website that was in a paid search ad (also known as pay per click ad or search engine marketing campaign)
  • SOCIAL: user clicked a on a link to your website that was in a social media post (such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram).

Just like with the basic Google Analytics terms, knowing these terms can help you understand how to get more traffic to your website and increase your online presence. For example:
• If you are receiving a lot of referral traffic from someone who mentioned you in their blog, you might want to nurture that relationship, such as by doing collaborations with them on a more regular basis, or guest posting on their blog.
• If your social media channels are not performing well, you may want to try out a new social media campaign or try Facebook advertising.
• If your paid search channel is yielding poor results, it may be because your landing pages have a high bounce rate. This could be because they are not providing users with the information they need in order to click through to other pages on your site. Check out these landing page best practices to see if you can make any improvements.

As you get a better understanding of these Google Analytics channel terms, you can go beyond simply which channels bring in the most leads. You can see which ones bring in the most qualified and converting leads, and you can learn how to improve the visitor experience on your website with relation to your specific campaigns.
As you can see, the data provided by Google Analytics is only helpful if you know how to utilize it properly. The better you understand the terms, the better you can interpret the data and determine the best actions to take to grow your business. Start with the basics and you’ll be sure to build your knowledge from there.

Ideas for Social Media Posts

social media postsSocial media can be used to support the many dimensions of a business—products and services, audience and customers, personality and culture, promotions and reviews , and the list goes on. It is a place where businesses can demonstrate their value and build their brand as a part of their greater story. The key to experiencing the benefits of social media is knowing how to appeal to your audience while staying true to your brand messaging. Here are some ideas for social media posts that add value for both your business and your followers.

Social Media Posts for Expertise

Customers aren’t just looking for the best pricing or customer service. The amount of knowledge you have in your field is a crucial factor in establishing trust, standing out above your competition, and winning customers. Here are some social media posts to try to demonstrate your expertise.

1. Tidbits

You don’t have to publish long 1000-word thought leadership pieces to your business blog to provide benefit and value. Quick facts and statistics relevant to your industry make great social media posts, as they are quick, digestible, interesting, and of value to your audience.

2. Interviews

Being connected with other experts shows that you are actively involved in your field and always learning more. Interview an industry expert and record it. In addition to posting it on your website, you can take clips, quotes, and screenshots from the interview and form them into social media posts.

3. Tutorials

While comprehensive how-to’s make great blog posts, mini how-to’s make great social media posts. Compile pictures of each step into one image with text, or show the first few steps and then link to the blog post with the rest of the steps.

Social Media Posts for Audience Engagement

While it is important to show your expertise and offer useful information, you also want to give your followers opportunities to get involved too. These posts can get your audience to act and increase your social media engagement.

1. Fan photos

Use pictures of happy customers engaging with your business, benefitting from your service, or using your product to create social media posts. They will be glad to get some publicity and your audience will see how glad people are to be customers. You can also encourage users to send in their photos for a chance to show up on your business’s account.

2. Questions

Asking questions in social media posts is a great way to engage your audience. Thought-provoking questions spark up an interesting discussions and even create material for future social media posts (just aim for discussion, not debate!) Questions about a product or service provide you with useful feedback and show your customers that you care about their satisfaction.

3. Something of Personal Importance

Create a social media post with a picture or description of something that is important to you or that you can’t live without, ideally with respect to your industry or your role within your business. Perhaps it’s a particular notebook, type of coffee you drink at work, or an inspirational quote you look at every day. Then ask your followers what theirs is. This type of social media post will emphasize the human side of your business as well as your transparency. In addition, it will get others engaging with the post and also help you to gather information on your target audience.

Social Media Posts for Products and Services

While you want to avoid pitching your business on social media, it is okay to educate users on your products or services and convey the value they bring. Here are some ways to do so:

1. Photos of Products or Services

Posting photos of new or popular products can help to raise awareness of what you have to offer as well as to even drive sales of those products. If you are a service-based company, use before-and-after photos, or behind the scenes looks at the process behind the final outcome. As with Facebook ad images, it is best to feature typical end user using the product or benefitting from the service in context.

These social media posts give potential customers a taste of what it’s like to be a client and clarify how, where, when, or why your product is used.

2. Case Studies

Case studies tend to be longer pieces of content, but you can produce summary snippets, photos, or even video clips from them to create social media posts. These posts can then link to the full case study. Just make sure that you have consent of your client to publish the case study—both on your business website and blog and on social media.

3. Video Testimonials

If you have long time or loyal customers that are willing to do a video testimonial, you will have great material for a social media post. Testimonials offer social proof, and videos create an even more personable and relatable experience.

Social Media Posts for Culture

By showing the personality and culture of your business, you give people a taste of what it’s like to be a customer, and also create opportunities for a more personal connection with your audience. Here are a few culture-oriented social media posts that can show the more human side of your business.

1. Something Personal

Sharing something that is of value to you personally—as a business owner or in relation to your industry can make for an effective social media post. Whether it’s a helpful website, great book, or favorite quote, you are opening yourself and your mind set up to your followers, demonstrating your values and representing the human side of your business.

2. Behind the Scenes Photos

Behind the scenes photos—at the office, at company events, on delivery routes— are great ways to show the personality of your company. These social media posts encourage transparency and trust among your followers, and give them a closer look at the people behind the products. You might even have a select audience of loyal customers with whom you share exclusive posts through direct messaging.

3. Milestones

Share your excitement over an award, milestone, or something else that you and your company are proud of. Wording these social media posts the right way is important, however, as you do not want to appear as though you are boasting, but rather want to share the excitement with those who matter, keep your followers in the loop, and remind people of your commitment to hard work for their satisfaction.

These social media post ideas are simply guidelines. You can modify them, mix and match them, or even create a series out of just one of them. Then, with Google Analytics applied to your business website, you can see which ones resonate most with your audience and best support your business goals. Get creative in growing your business with social media!