10 Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

10 Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners

The transition from using social media as a hobby to a business platform was a difficult transition for professionals. It was like business owners woke up one day to find out they had another HUGE item on their to-do list.

But we as humans and entrepreneurs adapt. Unfortunately, so do the ways social networks work. If you looked at a list of social media marketing tips for small business from three years ago, you’d laugh out loud!

So how do you stay up to date when it seems next to impossible? We’ve got your guide.

Sit back, turn off your notifications for a few minutes and keep reading below.

1. Find Your Audience

There is a natural law of the universe that says people will always take the path of least resistance. In less scientific terms, that means no one wants to do extra work.

For this reason, we recommend that you go to where your online audience already is and post there, instead of begging people to come over to your platform.

If you’re marketing to young people, use Instagram. Ninety percent of Insta users are under the age of 35.

The same goes for Twitter. The age of the network provides a good guide to its age demographics. Generally, the newer the app, the longer it will take for older populations to catch on.

2. Don’t Overcommit

This is one of the social media marketing tips for small business we wish everyone knew. It’s better to do one thing well than to poorly manage multiple tasks at once.

By things, we mean social networks. Yes, it would be ideal to have a presence on every network your audience uses, but is that attainable? Probably not at first, especially if you are managing social media in-house. 

Concentrate on the network with the highest engagement and expand to others slowly. This will give you time to get into the swing of things and you’ll have more users to carry over to the other site with you.

Be Wary of Snapchat

Unless your demographic is very young (under 25), skip Snapchat. The content only lasts for 24 hours and it’s taboo to re-use Snapchat posts.

Unless you have someone who can commit to creating and posting new content every day, leave snapping to the kids.

3. Hire An Expert

Young adults entering the workforce get a bad rep, but they’re not as bad as the news says (although they have killed the napkin industry… look it up). Sure, they love avocados too much (look that up, too!) but they understand social media. They’re the first generation who grew up with it!social media marketing tips for small business

Since they’re on their networks 24/7, these kids can spot a marketing trend from a mile away. Between reading up on trends and personally living them, you’ll be all set when you outsource your marketing to a team with some fresh and young minds. 

If you have a small budget, you don’t have to find someone through LinkedIn. There may be a tech-savvy young family member who will gladly work for half of what a professional would make.

As far as social media marketing tips for small business go, its a win-win-win to hire a marketing firm that will handle your online presence for you. This allows you to really focus on the bulk of the business. 

4. Front Load

You’ve heard that content is king, right? Well, when it comes to social media marketing tips for small businesses, consistent content is king.

Before you make your page or profile public, be sure you have at least a week’s worth of content to post when needed.

You’ll likely run into a few hiccups in your first week and it’ll be nice to have a queue while you deal with growing pains.

For your first posts, think about how you want your company’s narrative to be introduced. Are you going to start with products or show off the humans behind the wheel? Whatever you do, be sure there is a strategy when posting. 

5. Keep a Queue 

If you’re ever in a place where you’re ahead on posts, that’s great. Now write more! Instead of taking a break, throw those extra posts in a folder in case of emergency (ICE).

That way, if you have something come up or have extreme writer’s block, you can reach into the ICE content file and still have fresh content to post.

Make sure these posts stand the test of time! You don’t want to post a review of the iPhone 6 if we’re using the iPhone 10.

Reviews, opinions, and general education about your business or products are great options. Social media marketing tips for small business that make your life easier? That’s what we’re all about!

6. Post on Time

Remember when we said posting consistent content was one of the key social media marketing tips for small business? That also applies to the time of day too.

When it comes to posts, there are two schools of thought. The first is, post during high volume views and interact with customers. The second is more subtle and simply requires maintaining an online presence. 

Let’s say you run a clothing store. While there may be some scientific data on times people like to shop, you’re more interested in getting your clothes exposure. It would make sense to post when traffic on your page is highest, or to boost your post so a larger audience sees it.

If you owned a restaurant, however, you’d want consumers to think of you at very specific times… like breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or right before.

For example, a restaurant pushing a take-out special would do well to post around 4 o’clock.

Targeting consumers right before they have to go home to their families would remind them they could get something quick on the way home.

Try out each method or a mix of both, then stick to what works! 

Use Scheduling Tools

Now that you know what times work best for your consumers (and it can change!) make sure you never miss prime time.

Thankfully, you don’t have to release each post live at the exact time. Social networks and online tools have settings for automated posts and even automated emails. 

Simply upload the post however far in advance you want, then schedule it to release at the right time. Now you can go to dinner without keeping your phone face-up on the table.

7. Be Human

Now that you know the logistics of posting content, let’s talk about creating it.

Far too many businesses under post because they’re scared it won’t be perfect. However, with so many opinions online, no post is perfect for an entire audience or subject. 

When you’re creating posts, do your best and have a distinct brand voice. Don’t be scared to share a meme or two, so long as it’s targeted to your audience.

We’re not saying that you should forego editing altogether, that’d be crazy. Just don’t overdo it and post like a machine would. Install an editing app (like Grammarly) on your browser to catch mistakes, and keep a personable and honest voice.

Even when outsourcing social media posts to a content marketing firm, be sure to either post or relay information that the firm wouldn’t know. They can create engaging content all day long, but they’ll never be able to tell personal stories like your own staff or customers can. 

8. Engage, Engage, Engage

If location is the most important thing in real estate, engagement is the most important thing in social media marketing. Gone are the days where you could expect consumers to buy products just because you showed it to them. There’s too much market saturation for that!

Brands have to create a brand that makes customers feel like friends. Your brand needs to be something individuals can get to know, something more than a list of products or services.

Keep this in mind when you’re creating content for your website and social media. Is anyone going to engage with or learn something from your post? This is key. 

Reward Engagement

In this social media driven world, people get real validation from online attention. Even if you’re just starting out, there’s a thrill in getting attention from an “official” page.

So, when people engage with your content, give them a virtual pat on the back. Like their comment (etc) as fast as you can and do your best to create a personal reply.

They’ll remember your interaction and get a little taste of recognition from a brand, and you’ll be following social media marketing best practices while providing positive affirmations. 

Steal Engagement

Ok . . . Don’t actually steal it, but certainly, take ideas from other similar companies. Keeping your enemies close is a good tactic online too.

Follow your competition on your personal networks and pay attention to what’s working for them.

Are they having a sale you could match? Maybe they’re having a contest and it’s getting lots of attention. Now you know what your population likes without doing intense research!

9. Build Your Own Community

While we do recommend building your own brand and marketing strategy, there are bound to be other businesses in your community that go hand in hand with your own.

Are you a ski rental place that could pair up with a local charter bus in the area? Or a restaurant with a bookstore next door that could market together & encourage people to buy a book and have a literary lunch date?

There is power in numbers and networking, even online!

10. Blog Like Crazy

If blogging isn’t listed as one of the social media marketing tips for small business in a list you’re reading, disregard that source entirely. Blogs are entirely too important as content landing pages and for SEO purposes. They simply must be a part of your content strategy. 

If you’re working with anything other than LinkedIn or Reddit, you’re going to have restrictions on content size. On Facebook, for example, you can’t boost any image that is more than 20% text, which looks like next to nothing.

You need a place where people can go for more information. Think of your social media post as the preview to any branded original content. You need them to see the preview on your networks, then click to read the full content on your blog, ultimately increasing traffic to your website. 

Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business: Tying Them Together

You can use all of these social media marketing tips for small business, but if you don’t stay true to your brand it’s no use. Before you start a business, let alone create a social media presence, take some time to figure out your brand and voice.

This can be a big task. It’s hard for someone so deep in the business details to see the bigger picture from an outsider’s perspective. That’s where you need professional help.

We can help you create your brand, your social media presence, and even coach you through building a website primed to generate leads. Check out the case studies on our site, then sign up for a free consultation. You have nothing to lose and followers to gain.

What are you waiting for? Call MarketCrest today. 

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5 Signs Your Business Is Ready For Marketing Automation

5 Signs Marketing Automation

 

Many businesses find the concept of marketing automation appealing and want to jump right in with an improved strategy. However, a number of these companies don’t fully understand the financial implications — dedicating someone to the project full-time, or even just three-quarters of the time, is a big investment, not even considering the expenses for paying for software and development of content.

Although it is undeniable that marketing automation has significant advantages, it can also be a waste of money if you are not yet in the position to benefit.

1. You Have Enough Content to Automate

First of all, it is important to understand just how much content you will require for marketing automation. Ideally, you will have content for every persona at every stage of the buying cycle and in a range of formats (blog posts, videos, and podcasts, for instance).

This is a huge amount to plan, design, and create, and you should already have at least half this content to make marketing automation worthwhile.

2. You Have an Allocated Budget

You must be able to afford the costs of software, a dedicated team of staff, and content creation tasks. The exact amount you can expect to spend will depend according to the number of contacts in your database and the number of emails you intend to send per month.

It is important to note that trying to cut costs in any aspect will most likely result in lower quality content and less conversions, which can end up costing you more due to a reduced ROI.

3. You Are Unable to Reach Your Revenue Number

You should have already completed the analytics and determined the number of inbound visits, conversions, nurtured leads, and wins you need to reach your revenue. If you are currently falling short, marketing automation is the right solution, as it will allow you to deliver the right type of content to different groups of prospects at specific points in the buying cycle.

4. You Are Already Investing in SEO

SEO is essential for continually gaining qualified leads and a constant flow of traffic to your website, as marketing automation cannot work if you lack leads and prospects whom you will convert. Plus, connecting the content you create for email campaigns, newsletters, and articles to your website adds to optimization efforts, further improving search engine rankings to send you yet more visitors.

5. You Have CRM Software

CRM software is a much smaller investment and a precursor to the more complicated marketing automation. You can think of skipping CRM to dive straight into marketing automation as like trying to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Before you even consider marketing automation, you should have set up CRM software with all the details about your customers and prospects.

Once you have fulfilled all the above criteria, you are ready to benefit from marketing automation. However, if you fall short in any point, you should first focus your attention on solving this shortcoming before employing marketing automation software.

Do Your Research

SharpSpring, a marketing automation services company, and Acend2 collaborated to conduct interviews with over 300 small-midsize businesses to benchmark their automation strategy and expectations.

MarketCrest has presented the results in a free ebook to help CEOs determine if they are ready for the investments and if so, provide benchmarks on strategy. The research results are available on our free Resources page.

MC MAS-Research Reports

 

About MarketCrest:

MarketCrest is a Marketing & Consulting Services firm focused exclusively on strategies that drive revenue growth. Simply put, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance.

MarketCrest also provides Marketing Automation and CRM solutions, and services for clients. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult with a marketing strategist.

 

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An Introduction To Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation

When looking for ways to improve marketing in your business, you may come across the phrase “marketing automation.” This term encompasses all types of software and techniques that enable you to automate your marketing tasks while personalizing efforts toward different groups of prospects to increase your chances of gaining conversions.

As a manager of a small business or startup, you may be wondering if such a course of action would be worthwhile for you. To clear up any doubts you may have, in this post we will look at how marketing automation works, what are its advantages, and who can benefit.

The Marketing Automation Process and It’s Capabilities

Marketing automation is often confused with email marketing, when in fact it is far more complex. Although email marketing is part of marketing automation, it is just one small component.

In addition to handling marketing execution, marketing automation allows businesses to improve efficiency in a number of areas, including lead generation, segmentation, lead scoring, nurturing, customer retention, and analytics, all by prioritizing leads by their likelihood to convert, filtering prospects according to engagement and interest, and making sure marketers stay on track with the aims of their strategy. More on this subject in our MarketCrest Infographic.

Software for marketing automation usually consists of:

  • A database that holds all the information about leads, prospects, and customers.
  • An engagement aspect, where authors can create and manage content for lead nurturing and for landing pages.
  • Analytics, to measure marketing efforts, compare actual results against expected results, and determine the best ways to improve engagement and conversions.

Some of the top providers include HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, and SharpSpring.

Why You Should Consider Marketing Automation

As your business grows, you will find it impossible to handle all your marketing tasks manually, even if you dedicate a small team to the task. Marketing automation solves this issue by doing some of the work for you. Whereas this is obviously a priority for large corporations, it is also beneficial for small companies. Freeing up resources for other necessities will allow you focus your efforts on aspects of marketing that cannot be automated, such as content creation.

The most significant benefit you will receive from marketing automation is higher revenue, due to increased pipeline and greater productivity. Nuclear Research found that 95 percent of companies saw some improvement, including between on average 1.5 and 6.9 percent greater productivity in marketing and 4 percent in sales productivity.

To get started with marketing automation in your company, check out this new marketing automation research.

MC MAS-Research Reports

Once you’ve decided if it’s the right option for your business, contact us to find out how to take your marketing efforts to the next level, including which automation services would be suited to your needs.

About Us: MarketCrest is a Marketing Consulting & Services firm focused exclusively on strategies that drive revenue growth. Simply put, we exist to help you compete and grow and we expect to be held accountable for your improved performance.

MarketCrest also provides Marketing Automation and CRM solutions, and services for clients. Learn more, and receive a free 1-hour consult with a marketing strategist.

 

 

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Why Inbound Marketing? What exactly is it, and what is the ROI?

Inbound Marketing With MarketCrest

It’s Time To Talk Inbound Marketing

We think it is time to dedicate a few posts to Inbound and Marketing Automation as MarketCrest is involved in an increasingly large amount of conversations about the purpose and value of modern marketing. For many companies, Inbound/Content Marketing and tools like HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo and SharpSpring are becoming the Go To Marketing strategy for B2B marketers.

In this post, we peek in on a article by Mike Volpe, of Hubspot, where he interviews his own CFO about the relationship between Inbound and a typical CFO.

Be a fly on the wall, and then contact us at sales@marketcrest.com for a Free Consult to see if Inbound Marketing might be right for your firm. Enjoy!

From Mike Volpe of HubSpot

“If you’ve ever wanted to get inside the head of a CFO, now’s your chance. I, (Mike Volpe of HubSpot), sat down with John to talk about the CFO perspective on marketing — from the approval process for an inbound marketing program to how the marketing budget is decided. Below are some excerpts from our conversation, which you can use as guidance for building a better working relationship with your own CFO.

An Interview with HubSpot CFO John Kinzer
Q: How effective do you think inbound marketing is, from your own experience?
From my own experience, I do think it’s effective. I’ve seen it’s success firsthand. For one, I personally don’t respond to cold calls or anything like that. And I always try to research things before I buy anything.

Here’s a great example. Last year, I bought a zipline for my three daughters. Literally, I searched the internet for “zipline” and I found this company called Zipline Gear. They had a great blog and YouTube videos that I learned a lot from. I’m not sure they were the least expensive, but they sounded like they knew what they were doing — so I ended up buying a zipline from them. That’s just a small example of how inbound marketing has worked on me.

Q: Do you think most CFOs think that marketing drives value?
To some extent, I’m sure we all do — but we also tend to view marketing as a black hole of expenses. We’re more apt to quote the classic line, “50% of my marketing is working, I just don’t know which 50%.” As a CFO, you’re always trying to get better metrics around marketing.

Fortunately, inbound marketing can give us those metrics. When I came to HubSpot, I saw that the marketing team does an amazing job of tracking what works. They track MQLs, SQLs, and marketing CAC across all markets. Knowing these metrics makes investing in marketing far more palatable for a CFO. I can see how marketing drives leads and produces customers. I can connect the dots and see that the marketing team really is driving value. So from that standpoint, marketing doesn’t seem like a black hole.

Q: CMOs often say their CFOs love PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising because it’s predictable and measurable. But they also say it’s hard to get their CFO’s buy-in to reallocate dollars from PPC to inbound marketing. What are your thoughts on PPC?
At previous companies, we didn’t use PPC that much because we had a clearly defined market. And, personally, I’ve never really clicked on PPC ads.

The way I think of PPC (and hope other CFOs would as well) is that PPC is like renting space on somebody else’s site. Blogs and other content you create, on the other hand, are assets you own that have a long shelf life. I know because at HubSpot, we get leads from blog posts written four to five years ago!

I think that the concept of renting versus owning really resonates with CFOs. If you’re doing inbound and building assets your company owns, you know that if you stopped doing any more blog posts, you’d still be generating leads for the foreseeable future. Whereas, once you stop funding PPC advertising, leads stop. Inbound marketing is also sort of like creating an annuity. It returns interest or leads ongoing without putting in more investment.

Q: Is it fair to say that inbound marketing has a compound interest effect?
Yes, especially because it brings in other people from social media. When that happens, new leads and markets can be discovered that we would never have encountered otherwise. A blog can be spread out all across the web and bring in referral links from all kinds of blogs, publications, and social media sites. That’s an amazing potential impact and a cost-effective way to attract qualified leads.

Q: In what ways do CFOs participate in marketing planning?
From a planning process, we do both bottom-up and top-down analysis. From the top-down perspective, we look at what comparable companies are spending on sales and marketing.

From a bottom-up perspective, we look at metrics such as CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost), which we separate between sales and marketing. We then compare that to the LTV (Lifetime Value of a customer). The higher the LTV to CAC ratio, the better return we’re getting on our investment.

When we start planning, as long as we can keep marketing CAC in a range that leads to these returns, then we’re comfortable. We’re especially lucky to have a financially savvy CMO like you, who’s very bottom-line driven. So, as long as you stay in that range, we know you’re making good one-off decisions and we don’t need to micromanage how you’re spending that money.

We also look at MQLs and SQLs. As long as our Senior VP of Global Sales, Hunter Madeley, is getting enough leads for his team to hit their sales targets, we know the process is working and the company is doing well. In summary, I look at high-level metrics and then let you (the CMO) manage how you spend the budget.

Q: How do you decide what budget to approve for marketing?
First of all, we come up with sales goals and customers necessary to hit our growth goals. We then back into the marketing budget necessary to drive those customers using the historical CAC. It’s then up to you as the CMO to put together a budget that fits into that framework and we iterate from there.”

We will revisit Inbound again on our next post. Until then, read the remainder here at HubSpot:  or reach us here: Contact MarketCrest

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