SMB Tips: 15 Social Media Mistakes Brands Need To Avoid 

Knowing what social media marketing is not enough. Understanding how it works is the main menu for your online success. Here's 15 social media mistakes some businesses tend to overlook and how you can avoid them.

Social Media Mistakes Brands Need To Avoid

If you’re a smart marketer, one strategy that you’re probably using to attract new customers is social media.  When done right, social media  becomes a means to connect and engage with targeted customers through sharing useful content, as well as information about your products or services.

However, there are still many businesses that just don't get it right when it comes to social media marketing. As a result, the incurred social media mistakes they've made become time-wasters, or worst, lost profit.

Below is a list of social media mistakes that you may be doing unknowingly:

(1) You have no plan

Before launching any tactic using social media, take a look at your objectives.. You should define your target audience, research your competition, select the right tools of the trade, and produce content before you post your first social media update. Without planning, you might end up appearing disorganized and unprepared.

(2) Going solo

If you have a business that needs a couple of people in order to work, it's the same with your social media campaigns. You don't have to have a separate team, but at least one or two people handling the tasks of strategizing, planning, creating content and design, promotion, branding, and monitoring. Doing it alone is not only stressful, but can also be chaotic.

(3) Being predictable with your content

It's not fun seeing the same updates over and over again on all of your social media accounts. Without creativity and careful thought in your content, your followers may end up clicking the 'unlike' or 'unfollow' button.

(4) Can't write?

Social media updates are not as long as a blog post. These updates should be professionally written, with the audience in mind, and with a dash of creativity and wit to capture their attention. If you can't do this, hire a professional writer who can channel the right tone and provide quality content consistently.

(5) Not posting updates in real-time

While it's okay to schedule updates on social media, it's not as engaging as a real-time updates that have commentaries instantaneously. Not sharing content in real-time may even deter your target audience.

(6) Spreading yourself too thin

If you're trying to post on  all social media networks, stop. Take a look at where your audiences are - are they on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Google+? If you are chasing after possible leads, it's best to focus on a few social media networks where they congregate. Rather than signing up for almost every social network, it's better to focus on a few where you can get the most targeted leads.

(7) Missing in action

If you are or if you have an erratic social media manager, it's difficult to gain results from inconsistent updates. Promoting your business and pushing your brand forward requires a  constant stream of updates to let your followers know that you're there and always available.

(8) You're unprofessional and careless

Typographical errors, grammar mistakes, and being too informal in creating updates puts your brand at risk. You'll be seen as unprofessional and people who follow you might think that you're not serious about your business. Social media marketing may not require everyone to be too formal, but you can be neutral, friendly, and accommodating, while maintaining a professional approach.

(9) Faking it

Being authentic, honest, and transparent can help win more followers and potential clients because you are not hiding behind a façade. You can provide opinions and facts to influence people with your genuineness. Always say what you mean and mean what you say. because it's your brand you're putting out there.

(10) You're too self-centered

It's not always about you. Always provide information that will help your followers, even if it’s not your content. . Be sure to share links to resources that your audience  can benefit from and also make sure to mention and thank the rightful owners.

(11) Why so serious?

Add a sense of humor when needed. You can add a bit of fun in your updates and promotions to lighten up the mood and engage  your followers. When an occasion calls for it, see to it that your updates are appropriate and light-hearted, without deviating from your content.

(12) You're being too safe

Don't be bland in engaging with your followers. You can be bold and expressive without offending.. Show personality in your updates and engagements, but do avoid arguments and being controversial. Keep it professional, honest, and creative with your responses.

(13) Where are the photos?

Adding photos or any shareable imagery, especially for social media updates, is the norm. Visual content attracts more attention than bland and wordy messaging. Use stock images, candid photos, Instagram, vine, and video to match your updates.

(14) Not checking the numbers

Defining your goals and developing a method for measuring your social media will help you see the results of your efforts. It's not enough that you're promoting your brand to followers if you cannot see any result.

(15) Not setting a budget

While organic search still lives, it's not always a reliable source of new leads. If you want to get your brand out there and be seen, it's best to spend a little for social media - either for tools, apps, or services.

Check your own strategies and see what needs to changed. There's always a chance you're making a few of these social media mistakes and now is the time to correct them.

If you need help and guidance in your social media marketing techniques, call us now. We can help you improve it for better results.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Monday, July 20, 2015 10:24:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C marketing tips online marketing small business tips SMB social media social media marketing

15 Do-It-Yourself SEO Tricks That Can Increase Website Traffic 

15 SEO Tricks that can increase website traffic.

The primary aim of every online business owner is to get on the first page of the search engine results. However, not every business owner can afford an SEO consultant, especially if the business is new.

For now, here are 15 do-it-yourself SEO tricks you can start with:

(1) Commit to a long-term strategy

First off, understand that it takes time (usually months) to double your traffic using search engine optimization since search engine algorithms continuously change. There is no magic trick or instant solution that can accommodate each and every website's SEO requirement. Search Engine Optimization takes time, commitment, and a long-term outlook.
 
(2) Learn SEO

There are numerous guides that will help you to learn SEO in-depth, and you can apply the simplest and easiest strategies to increase site traffic.  Many of these these guides can be found online for free from many SEO authority sites.

(3) Have a good domain name

Select a domain name which contains your main target keyword. Shorter domain names are ideal since they're easier to remember. And of course, use a .com for the extension since it is globally appropriate.

(4) Do keyword research

Research relevant keywords that your target market might be searching on the web. Choose both popular and competitive keywords to have a balanced list. Ideally, it should be a balance between low competition and high monthly search volume.

You can use free keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner as well as free versions of WordTracker or Keyword Discovery, especially if you're on a tight budget.  

(5) Build an awesome website

If your goal is to dominate a certain niche, ask yourself if your website is as good, if not better, than the top 10 websites in that niche.

The truth is that there will always be competition among websites and businesses. But it’s important to make sure that there is one differentiator that separates your product or service from the rest. So, make sure your site is better in at least one or two aspects to increase your chance to be at the front page of the search engine results pages.

(6) Have web analytics on-hand

It's critical to have web analytics software installed on your site right at the start. If you have a plan and defined goals for SEO, the web analytics package that you choose can help track and analyze the elements on your site that work, and which ones don't.

(7) Publish unique, relevant, and useful content

'Content is still king' especially if it's useful to the end user - your future customer. Make sure it's uniquely written and easy for your audience to digest. And don't forget that you're writing content for humans, not the search engines.

(8) Optimize page title and Meta description

One of the most important on-page SEO factors is the page title. Use primary keywords on the page title for ranking purposes, and on the Meta description. While the latter doesn't have an impact on SEO, it serves as a snippet for online searchers to get an insight of a specific page on your site.

(9) Include a page for site map

A site map assists search engine spiders in finding all the important pages on your website. It also helps the spiders understand website hierarchy especially for those with hard-to-crawl navigation menus.

(10) Use image ALT tags

ALT tags are short text descriptions for images you use on your website. Since search engines cannot read an image, an ALT tag tells the SEs what it is.

(11) Create internal links

Internal links are great for user navigation. Use targeted keywords as anchor text, as this helps search engine spiders to understand what the page is about.

(12) Build external links wisely

Find authority sites within your industry and ask their owners if you can provide an original post with a link to your site (guest blogging). You can also build links using social media to spread awareness among your followers.

(13) Diversify your site's traffic source

While Google search engine traffic is a given, it's best to have other sources of traffic such as social sites, local search, and subscriber emails. This protects from suddenly losing majority of your traffic if, for example, the next algorithm update hits your site hard.

(14) Use local search opportunities

Optimize your site to catch local traffic by using your location name. Prepare a detailed description for your business and submit your website URL to free local listings.


(15) Take advantage of search engine tools

Google Webmaster Central, Bing Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer can help you learn more about how these search engines see your website (e.g. how many inbound links they can detect).

There are still more ways to increase website traffic without spending a lot of money and by doing it on your own. It does take time to see the effects of SEO tactics and applying them at the onset is the best time to do so.


Do you have any more DIY SEO tip/s to add to this list? List them down on the comments section.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Tuesday, May 12, 2015 9:36:00 PM Categories: online marketing SEO website

5 Reasons to Hire a Social Media Marketing Team 

Benefits of hiring a social media marketing team

Social media marketing has become one of the top marketing strategies for businesses today. It has opened up more opportunities to reach out and engage with targeted audiences and the chance to turn leads into paying customers.

If your business website lacks social media integration, you’re certainly losing out on the possibilities of gaining more prospects and sales. While starting on your own seems like a good idea, you need to consider that in the future when your sales and customers increase, you’ll need manpower and expertise in planning, crafting and disseminating social media content.

Here are the benefits of hiring a social media marketing team:

(1) It allows you to concentrate more on the business side while experts handle social media

With the rest of the activities involved in running your business, you may find it overwhelming to handle the technical and marketing aspects of using social media. Using the expertise of professional social media marketers who are well-versed in using and implementing this type of marketing strategy can alleviate this stress for you.

(2) Hiring a team allows you to learn the social media ropes with less pressure

On your own or with the help of your social media team, you can learn the ropes of this social media marketing in your own time. In our opinion, this is an ideal approach for you as an owner of a growing online business since you need to be present to service your customers. Learning basic tasks, such as creating accounts, posting updates based on guidelines, and engaging with followers will be easier if you have someone to guide you.

(3) You get additional prospects through social networks

Since you have a dedicated team of social media strategists, it is easier and more effective to implement techniques such as creation of social media content, posting, scheduling, and engaging with followers. With proper implementation and time, you’ll see the rise in website activity, and hopefully sales.

(4) Keep your social community up-to-date while strengthening your brand

Your dedicated social media team can handle all the needs and expectations of your social media followers - from adding short product posts and updates on Facebook, to tweeting your upcoming promos and discounts. Handling responses and keeping the interaction swift and engaged is a great way to show that you care more for your customers than the money they'll spend on your website.

(5) No need to micromanage your social media team

Hiring a social media team shouldn’t be too complicated particularly for you, the business owner. You will often encounter outsourced team of experts with their own supervisors to oversee them. If you choose this path, you'll only deal with an account manager when it comes to updates and reports. It's also possible to schedule monthly or quarterly meetings together with the rest of the team.

Social media strategies, when done right, can accelerate your online success. You don't have to be a one-man-band to accomplish the tasks; instead, consider hiring an expert team as soon as you can to see better results.

Are you pondering on using social media as a marketing strategy? Don't know how it's done? Get in touch with us and we'll help you get started.

View User Profile for Crista McCandless Crista is a self-proclaimed geek who loves fiction, data analysis, growth hacking and everything Tolkien. At Fast Track, she helps businesses identify areas to improve and grow online with her ninja moves. She manages the digital strategy, including online marketing and search engine optimization. Follow her musings about world domination in Twitter as @crista_mcc.
Posted by Crista McCandless Thursday, April 30, 2015 5:57:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C business partnership enterprise inbound marketing online marketing small business tips social media marketing

How to Effectively Integrate Social Media into Your Website 

how to integrate social media into your website

 

If you’re a small business, integrating social media into your site is essential.  Integrating social media into your site can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know what to do or how to do it.

Your social media channels should work with your site to help your brand gain exposure on the internet.

How do you do this?

Use visible social media buttons on your site

While this may seem obvious, double check.  Make sure that your social media buttons appear on every page of your site.  Also, so that users don’t navigate away from your site, make sure that when the user selects the button, the social media site opens in another window.  The goal is to increase the interaction the user has with your brand, not to lead them away.

On the image below, The Empress Secret has chosen to add their social media icons on the top right of the site:
 

Integrate social media posts into your home page

Google and other web search engines crawl the internet looking for updated content continually.  If the home page of your site contains a ‘feed’ of your twitter or blog content, the content is being updated every time that you blog or tweet.

Next, if there is a feed to your home page, make sure that you’re updating your social media on a consistent basis.  Showing old material or content dates on your home page does not show well for your brand.    New, relevant material on your site shows your customers that you take your business and your product seriously and you’re providing relevant, up to date material.

Below, Diginomica shows a series of recent conversations from their social media on their site:
 
Include Share Buttons

Think of Share buttons like this:  If you take the time to write and post content, why not also make sure that your followers can share it with their friends?  If you don’t, you could potentially be missing out on a ton of business.

To do this, check out apps like http://www.addthis.com/ or http://www.sharethis.com.

Internet Retailer shows the social media “share” buttons in the left column, beside this article.  When you scroll down on the site, the icons follow as you scroll.
 
Look to Google Analytics for Help

Google analytics can help you to track how people are using your social media buttons.  They suggest setting up Event Tracking in your Analytics account.  If you don’t know how to do this, Google provides a easy to use guide, just select the link above.

Allow social log ins to make it easier to connect to you.

With social log ins, users don’t have to create an account on your site.  Instead, they use their own log in information from their favorite social media site to log into your site.

Using social log ins helps to create a community for your brand quickly.  From here, engage with your followers for more sales.

There you have it.  Some quick ideas on integrating social media into your site.

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What’s a Buyer Persona and Why You Need to Understand Them 

Do you know who your customers are?  How old are they?  How much money do they make?  What kind of car do they drive?  Do they own a home?  Do they have children?  

Understanding this kind of information will help you to create a Buyer Persona.

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

This information provides great insight for you and your company.  The information can be used to guide the development of your products and services, and can help to lead your company for the future.

The more detail in the Buyer Persona, the better.  Here are some things to include:

  • Customer demographics (age, income, occupation, home ownership).  Demographics are the known facts about your customers.  
  • Psychographics (behavior patterns, motivations and goals).  Psychographics is the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of your target audience.

The more detailed you are, the better.

Sample Buyer Persona

Wink Online Marketing created a great basic template to assist you in creating a basic buyer persona:
buyer persona
Here is their sample completed persona from the Buyer Persona Institute:

Depending on the number of products or services that you offer, you may develop several buyer personas for your target customers.

Why Buyer Personas are Important

Developing Buyers Personas are important because it will help you to better understand your target.  Developing a better understanding of your target will help you to better define their needs, leading to more sales.

  • You can develop key words based on your buyer personas.  This will help to attract customers to your site.
  • Identify the type of content that they like best.  Your audience will gravitate toward that content — and it’s this type of content that you should focus more of your content marketing efforts on.  This includes everything - blogging, images, social media, videos – should all be created with your persona’s in mind.
  • Over time, they help you to develop a personality and style that are attractive to your target audience.

What now?

Refine.  Refine.  Refine.    Your Buyer Persona is a work in progress.  As your target audience ages and changes, your Buyer Persona will have to continually be updated to ensure that you’re providing the right product or service for your target.  

This is something that you really don’t want to lose sight of.

 

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Posted by Tuesday, December 9, 2014 1:17:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C content development inbound marketing marketing tips online marketing web trends
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