Tag Archives: digital marketing

Tips for Meeting the Increasing Demands of Digital Marketing

Staying on toStrategies for Staying on top of Social Media

Business owners often struggle with a never-ending “To Do” list for running their companies, and it seems to be getting longer all the time. Digital marketing, in all its varied forms, is becoming increasingly important as your target audience is searching for and finding products and services like yours on the internet. Marketing experts, like us, can help you sort through all of the possibilities and develop an effective strategy,  employing a mix of social media, blogging, email marketing, Facebook advertising, Pay per Click, local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and review site management, to grow your client/referral base. With all of these resources available and requiring attention,  how can you stay on top of Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin multiple times a week, not to mention a weekly blog, email campaigns, videos creation, and reputation management?  If you recognize the value these activities will bring to your business, but don’t have the funds to hire a professional or outsource it, consider these tips to make it work efficiently for you.

6 Tips for Digital Marketing Management:

  1. Search for Resources – The number of resources available to help businesses manage their digital marketing is amazing, and more coming on the scene all the time. For example, a platform called Falcon Social allows you to combine your online platforms into one for efficient management. Another service call Wishpond allows you to create landing pages.  Periscope allows you to stream live video to anyone all over the world.  is a cool tool that helps you construct posts for your social media and BombBomb is a video platform for dynamic email campaigns. These are just a couple of ideas; there really are more tools available than you can reasonably master.
  2. Schedule it – Schedule tasks which add value to your business and honor that commitment. You may want to choose a time of day each day, or get into an every other day routine for engaging in social media.  If you use an automation tool like Hootsuite , you can schedule your posts for the entire month if you want. Just make sure you go on your social media sites regularly to engage with others (it’s not just about churning out content). Facebook also has a scheduling function now, so you can create your post and set the day/time you want it to appear on your wall.
  3. Limit your time – The internet can be a rabbit hole, in part because there is so much good and interesting content being presented (you want to be someone who also provides quality content). It’s easy to get sucked in and lose track of time. Before you know it an hour, or hours have past and the rest of your “To Do” list is falling behind. If this is a problem for you, try limiting yourself to 15 minutes at a time and interact on all your platforms. If you decide to write a blog, spend no more than 2 hours per week writing, editing, optimizing, and posting it. Find some times of the day that are easier for you to focus on this, for example, first thing in the morning before you start your work, or at night while relaxing in front of the television.
  4. Strategic connections – Think about who you want to connect with before you go online and go right to find them. Look for people, organizations, and industry leaders who you want to associate with and interact on their platforms. Like their Facebook pages, follow them on Twitter, request a connection on Linkedin. Once you are connected, it is easy to maintain the relationship by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts as appropriate. You can do this on your Facebook business page by clicking on your “Home” button, scrolling down your newsfeed to see the posts from your connections and interaction from there.
  5. Don’t overdo it – It is possible to do too much and too often on social media platforms. Some social media novices get carried away and load their platforms with posts, reposts, shares, and retweets. This can have the reverse effect where you end up annoying your target audience and they may disconnect from you.
  6.  Other sites – Resources like Yelp, online directories, and your website require regular attention too, though not as often as social media interaction. Check on, manage, and update all your online platforms regularly.

If you are having difficulty staying on top of your digital presence, even after practicing these tips, you may want to consider hiring a professional marketing company to handle all of this for you.

If you have any questions or would like help with this, please Contact Us for a complementary consultation.

Promoting Events on Facebook

Facebook eventsUsing Social Media for Successful Events

If you are holding an event, training, or gathering, you may want to announce and promote it on Facebook. You can do this on your personal or business page, or better yet…both. Here are the instructions from Facebook’s Help Center (with some modifications for clarity) to direct you through setting up events on your page.

To create an event on your business Page

  1. Go to your Page, then click Offer, Event + or Event, Milestone + at the top of your Page’s Timeline in the post box
  2. Select Event
  3. Add details about your event, add a photo, and put in date, time, and description. Events on pages are public
  4. Click Publish, or click the down arrow on the blue publish link to schedule the post for a later date

To create an event on your Personal page:

  1. Click the down arrow next to “more” just under the cover image
  2. Scroll down and click on Event, then click on Create Event
  3. The event will default to a private event, so that you will need to invite attendees. If you would like the event to be public, click on the down arrow at the top that says “Create Private Event” and click on the option to make event public
  4. Fill in the event name, details, location, time and date. Keep in mind that you must include an event name and time
  5. After you publish, Tap on Invite and your list of  friends will come up. Tap the names of the people you want to invite and then click Send Invite
  6. You can click on the option to let guests invite other or to show the guest list

You’ll be taken to your event where you can share posts, upload photos, invite more guests and edit event details.

How do I control who sees or joins my event?

When creating an event, the host can choose between the following privacy settings:

  • Private Event: Visible only to the people who are invited. You can choose to allow guests to invite their friends. People who aren’t invited cannot view the event description, photos, Wall posts and videos.
  • Public Event: Visible to anyone on or off Facebook. Anyone can also see the event description, photos, Wall posts and videos.

Note: Once you create an event, you won’t be able to change the event’s privacy settings.

To see who’s responded to an event invitation, go to the event, then tap Going, Maybe or Invited to see who’s responded.

To see who’s declined an invitation, go to the event on a computer.

To keep an accurate count of who’s attending an event, hosts of private events are able to update a guest’s RSVP. To update a guest’s RSVP to an event you’re hosting, find the person’s response or search for their name, and click to update their RSVP.

Note: For private events, hosts and other guests are able to see when you’ve viewed an event invitation.

How can I add photos or video to an event?

Hosts can add a main photo for the event from a desktop computer. To add a photo or video to an event’s Wall:

  1. Tap Post >
  2. Select a photo or several photos from your phone’s library or tap the camera icon in the library to take a new photo or video
  3. After choosing your photo or video, write something about it, tag people or add a place. Then tapPost
  4. If you are posting an event on your business page, and you want to include other businesses, at @Facebook Name to tag the business

If this is a public event, anyone who views the event can see its photos and videos. The photos and videos posted on private events are only visible to people who were invited. Hosts can remove photos or videos from their event.

Promoting your events on Facebook is a great way to increase attendance, visibility, connections, and digital reach. Let me know if you have any questions.

Social Media Strategy for 2016

Social Media StrategyHow to Develop a Kick-butt Digital Marketing Plan to Take Your Business to the Next Level

The start of a new year naturally fosters a view toward analyzing the past and planning the future. Like a reset button, transitions from one year to the next call for a fresh look at our process, habits, actions, and goals. We take a look at what we have been doing to see what works, what needs adjustment, and what needs to go. Are you looking at your business to improve your digital marketing in 2016? If so, here are some ideas to set the foundation for a great plan.

Analysis – Look at your business objectively: are you satisfied with your online presence, how you are using social media and other digital platforms to present, connect, and market your business? Are you putting the right resources to this effort? Do you know if what you are doing is producing positive results? Do you know what to do differently to achieve better results? Answering these questions will give you a better baseline from which to grow.

Goals – In the above analysis, you were asked if your efforts were producing positive results. If the answer to that question is either “I don’t know” or some version of “no”, the next step is to be clear about the results you want. Most of us want more clients = revenue, however, setting up a goal that broad may be too abstract and lead to scattered actions. Next week’s blog will focus on establishing specific goals that are realistic and measurable. For now, think about your purpose for engaging in digital marketing and what you need it to deliver in order to justify the expense of time, money, and attention.

Expand Your Audience –  Who cares about your business, products, services, or industry? If you are only concerned with consumers, you may be missing segments that could be a help to your business. Identifying the connections that bring value to your offering,  either by bringing you more customers or through supporting your business process, may be just as successful as going after direct consumers. Make a list of every person, business, organization, or association that is or could be impacted by what you offer. This becomes your expanded target audience and helps define your message.

Your Message –  Many entrepreneurs struggle with defining their clear message. Some are concerned that blogging or writing social media posts would be difficult because they don’t believe they have much to say. However, once they get into talking about their industry and experience, their knowledge flows out as valuable content they could be delivering to their expanded market. Don’t minimize the value or withhold your expertise, this is how you can shine online and set yourself distinct from others in your industry.

Where are the Eyeballs? – Some research is involved to find out where people and businesses you most want to connect with are engaged online. You may discover different platforms for different segments. For example, your target customers may be looking on Angie’s List, but your referral partners are active on Facebook. Having a sense of this will help you determine what kinds of posts go where. In this example, your emphasis on Angie’s List is to encourage happy customers to post positive reviews and respond consistently to those. On Facebook your message will be centered on an expanded view to interest and engage people who are not in your industry, but connected to it in some way. I suggest doing internet searches and talking to people in person and in forums, blogs, and Facebook groups to get this information.

Pull it Together – Once you are clear with these elements, put it together in a plan. Answer these questions:

Who – who is doing the interacting online and who are they connecting with?

What – what platforms are you using, what resources of time and money will you dedicate, what is message, special, enticement?

When – when will you do your online interactions, follow-ups, requests to connect on and off line?

How – how many posts, blogs, emails, per week? How will you stay on top of it? How will you know if you are getting anywhere?

This is the skeleton of your digital marketing strategy; using this to support details, specific campaigns and brilliant ideas. Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help. Watch for next week’s blog on drilling down to establish more specific goals.

Know Your “Why”

Know Your WhyI have been on a blog hiatus for various reasons and have come to the conclusion that writing is one of the best tools to leverage for my business. I have written articles about the value of blogging and writing, but it wasn’t until I stopped that I really experienced the loss of something meaningful to me and my business. I’m back now and will dedicate future articles to extolling the benefits of blogging and details to make it work for you. For this article, it is back to basics…

For those of us with an increasingly short attention span, see the ADHD Summary below

What’s the Point?

Have you heard the expression, “Start with the end in mind”? Steven Covey wrote this in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, but he is by no means the only one to advocate for this idea. It is an argument for planning and goal setting, in a culture that promotes jumping into action, then people give up when the results don’t meet unreasonable expectations. By starting with a clearly defined and obtainable outcome in mind you can create a manageable path to that outcome

This is also true for digital marketing and social media engagement for business. If you are not clear about the outcome you are striving for in social networking your business, how will you know if you are get it ? What are realistic goals for businesses using social media? Are the outcomes you are seeing good enough or can they be better? All these questions, and more, can and should be answered when you set up a digital marketing campaign. The resources available to help you figure this out are abundant – both online and professional guidance from companies like Social Media Maxima.

Since many small business owners and entrepreneurs do not understand the real purpose and function of social media for business, they  often take the wrong approach or have no plan at all. If, for example, the end you have in mind is that your Facebook page will drive traffic and paying customers to your website, but your approach is to post an article every once in a while and have no interaction with your audience, you are probably not going to get business from Facebook. If you want to develop a platform to showcase your products and services, but do not engage with an audience, you will have a lovely Facebook page that no one will see or care about.

Once a business owners understands that social media is inbound marketing and the benefit goes beyond the bottom line, there are some very reasonable and valuable outcomes (end) from engaging in social media for your business.  Here are some suggested actions (path) to take to achieve that end:

Brand Development

Create an attractive page. Make sure the cover/profile images posts and shared content are consistent with your message. Your website, collateral material, messaging, color schemes, images, etc. should be in sync. For more support on brand development and strategy, seek the help of professionals like SPT and True Consulting.

Thought Leadership

Write articles, blogs, and posts that inform and inspire your industry and share on digital platforms. Interact with your peers and other interested observers on these platforms to share your knowledge and expertise. Help forums often have the option for the community to answer questions posed by platform users. This is a great way to help others and establish yourself as an industry expert. Avoid presenting yourself up as a “guru”, as that may have the reverse effect.

Presence in the community

Like the pages of other businesses and organizations in your area, Chamber or Commerce, and other business groups. Engage with them on their pages, like their posts, offer supportive comments, and share their content on your page where appropriate. Participate in community events and share pictures and event details on your page.

Get More Paying Customers

This is the most common, and least effective outcome for most small business. Approaching social media with this as a primary goal is treating social networks like advertising platforms. This is the number one misconception about digital marketing and the reason why so many small business owners are disillusioned with their results.  The only real path to success if increasing revenue is your goal is to throw money at it. Dedicate funds to social media advertising and keep your pages up with relevant and interesting content. If you have trouble keeping up with the demands of creating a powerful online presence, hire a professional social media management company. Advertising will drive people to your platforms, and you want to wow them when they get there. 

All of these are valid outcomes to expect from social media engagement for your business. They all require dedication of resources in the form of time, attention, consistency, and in some cases, money. Putting adequate resources to these ends is as good a return on investment, if not better, than many traditional paths to market business. One of the best things small business owners can do to adjust to the new digital age is accept the reality that there is NO FREE marketing and establish a budget to incorporate these actions.  Just make sure your goals and strategy are realistic and you stay with your plan. If you aren’t certain what are realistic goals and strategies, there are a lot of resources online, or seek the support of a professional like Social Media Maxima, Inc.

ADHD Summary –

* Social media is not advertising and treating it that way will lead to disappointment

* Know what you want from engaging in social media for your business

* Set up realistic expectations for your campaigns

* Educate yourself or get professional help if you aren’t sure how to set up a campaign

* If you want more revenue, spend some money

 

6 Steps for a Small Business Social Media Strategy

Social Media strategy How to Develop a Rockin’ Social Media Strategy

I’ve have been participating in the Social Media Success Summit, put on by Social Media Examiner – the leading producer of content all things social media and digital marketing. This is a month long digital event with many hours of valuable content delivered by true industry experts. I am learning a great deal and intend to pass on the best of what I gain from this series. Social Media Maxima clients will also benefit as we continue to develop and refine our services with cutting edge knowledge and technology. I continue to be amazed and inspired by all of the services, ideas, platforms, and resources available to business owners who want to leverage the power of the internet to grow their business. This week I am using as the base for this blog, one of the sessions on developing a social media strategy, though I have modified it quite a bit to suit my audience and experience. Continue reading

More Resources to Market Your Business

Expanding OpportunitiesDigital Opportunities Continue to Expand

Sometimes I learn about different online resources for business through industry research, tapping into the community, and other times I discover new avenues out of frustration or boredom. Recently, review sites have been challenging my patience with poor customer service and other objectionable behavior that often accompanies wild success. In an effort to circumvent some of the big dogs, I found what often lies behind corporate giants…viable but smaller competitors committed to creating a better solution. Continue reading

Missing the Boat on Digital Marketing?

Don't Miss the Boat

Don’t Miss the Boat on Digital Marketing

You Don’t Know What You’re Missing!

This phrase is commonly used to extoll the benefits of something wonderful to someone who hasn’t experienced it. The same can be said to business owners who are not using digital media to market their business…they have no idea how their business could benefit from this approach, if done correctly.

What Does NOT Engaging in Social Media and Other Forms of Digital Marketing Cost Your Business? Who knows – but be sure that there is definitely a cost.   If your are not leveraging social media platforms, online directories, and review sites to get more business, make new referral partners, develop more powerful relationships with valuable vendors, and most importantly, connect with your existing client base to keep them engaged, you don’t know what the outcome could have been if you were doing that successfully. Continue reading

How to Stay on Top of Digital Marketing

Juggling Everything

Keeping it all in Hand

Busy Business Owners Juggling it All

Business owners often struggle with a never-ending “To Do” list for running their companies, and it seems to be getting longer all the time. Digital marketing, in all its varied forms, is becoming increasingly important as more and more of your target audience is searching for and finding products and services on the internet. Marketing experts like us recommend employing a hearty dose of social media, blogging, local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and review site management, to grow your client/referral base. With everything else you have to deal with, how can you stay on top of Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin multiple times a week, not to mention a weekly blog, email campaigns, videos creation, and reputation management?  If you recognize the value these activities will bring to your business, but don’t have the resources to hire someone to help you with it, consider these tips to make it work efficiently for you.

7 Tips for Digital Marketing Management:

  1. Search for Resources – The number of resources available to help businesses manage their digital marketing is amazing, and more coming on the scene all the time. For example, a platform called Uberflip allows you to combine your online platforms into one for efficient management. Another service call Wishpond allows you to create your own landing pages. Storytellit is a cool tool that helps you construct posts for your social media and BombBomb is a video platform for dynamic email campaigns. These are just a few of the resources I found while searching for ideas for making digital marketing more efficient, effective, and fun.
  2. Schedule it – You are busy meeting the demands of your business and you probably know how easy it is to let something go if you don’t mark it on your calendar. Schedule tasks which have value to you and your business and honor your own schedule. You may want to choose a time of day each day, or get into an every other day routine. You can schedule it any time you want, even late at night or early in the morning when fewer people will see your post. If you use an automation tool like Hootsuite you can find or create your content whenever you want and set it to show up on your social media sites at a better time of day.
  3. Limit your time – The internet can be a bit of a rabbit hole; its easy to get sucked in and lose track of time. Before you know it an hour, or hours have past and the rest of your “To Do” list is falling behind. Try something like limiting yourself to 15 minutes each morning to interact on all your platforms and stick with it. If you decide to write a blog, spend no more than 2 hours per week writing, editing, optimizing, and posting it.
  4. Strategic connections – Think about who you want to connect with before you go online and go right for them. Look for people, organizations, and industry leaders who you want to associate with and interact on their platforms. Like their Facebook pages, follow them on Twitter, request a connection on Linkedin. Once you are connected, it is easy to maintain the relationship by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts as appropriate. You can do this on your Facebook business page by clicking on your “Home” button, scrolling down the posts and interaction from there.
  5. Consider your personal resources – Schedule your social media at a time when you are not pressured about other demands, such as  during lunch, before your work day begins, or in the evening while relaxing. Though it is a task that requires regular attention, it should be approached with the intention of building community.
  6. Don’t overdo it – It is possible to do too much and too often on social media platforms. Some social media novices get carried away and load their platforms with posts, reposts, shares, and retweets. This can have the reverse effect and end up annoying your target audience and they may disconnect from your sites.
  7.  Resources like Yelp, online directories, and your website require regular attention too, even though not as often as social media interaction. Plan to check on, manage, and update all your online platforms regularly.

If you are having a difficult time staying on top of your digital presence for  your business, even after enacting these tips, you may want to consider hiring a professional marketing company like Social Media Maxima, to handle all of this for you.

If you have any questions or would like help with this, please Contact Us for a complementary consultation.

Networking for Success – Digital Relationship Marketing

Turbo Charge Your NetworkingTurbo-Charge Your Networking Efforts

Last week’s blog dealt with the importance of in-person networking to grow your business. The primary author of the content, Eric Byrd with Pitch for Success, gave a fantastic overview of effective networking and why so many of us get frustrated with it at some point.  Like other disconnects in life, ineffective networking is the result of unrealistic expectations. That’s not to say we shouldn’t expect when we meet other professionals, exchange information, and make connections it will ultimately result in higher revenue. The part of networking that most of us do poorly is failing to recognize where we are on the relationship continuum.  We treat people we’ve just met as though we have instantly made our way from contact, to connection, and are already in a relationship by following up with requests to do business after one brief encounter. When we ignore the most important part of the networking transaction – making a real connection that starts the process of building a relationship, we lose the intention that positive business relationships are a mutual two way street.

What’s Your Networking Goal?

It is no mystery that the same step people struggle to master when networking in-person is consistent with the disconnect we  see with so many businesses using social media. It is not uncommon for us to hear business owners expressing concern that social media “doesn’t work”. This is a clear indication of a need to clarify the definition of  “works”.  Just as with in-person networking, the first step when embarking on a networking path is to identify a clear goal. The strategy and expectations for various goals are different. For example, if your main goal in launching a social media campaign is to increase revenue by 25%, unless you have a well-established and significant digital presence already, you are going to need to put resources in the form of advertising and a highly targeted professional digital marketing campaign to come close to that goal. If however, you do not intend to put a lot of financial and human resources to a goal associated with direct business growth, you may be motivated to establish brand awareness, set your place among your competitors, or best yet – enhance your in-person networking through the use of digital platforms. How you approach your platforms will be very different with these two examples of relationship marketing.

Taking Your Personal Contacts to the Next Level

Once your digital marketing goal is set, your strategy on in-person networking can be amplified by the effective use of social media. We learned last week that we need to establish a connection and build a relationship with our contacts before we follow up to get their business and referrals. Social media is an excellent way to build on what you started when you met someone at a networking event. Here are some suggestions to go from Contact to Connection to Relationship:

1. Be Discerning – There is no point in wasting your time and energy trying to build a relationship with someone when there is no connection. If you meet someone and you have no interest in their business, no particular desire to connect them with your network, no personal or business alliance, be polite but leave the contact at the event. It is not only ok, it is an efficient business practice to reserve your resources for the people and business that present the best opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship.

2. Connect on Linkedin – After meeting professionals, if a good connection was established (or if you believe you made a good connection but further contact will determine if that is true), search for the individual on Linkedin. This is the best place to establish a digital person to person professional relationship. Request a connection, but don’t use the default text, replace it with a sentence or two about where you met and why you would like to add them to your network .

3. Leverage the Power of Linkedin – This is a powerful tool to work your network, stay in touch, establish connections from the contacts you’ve made, reinforce your connections, and add value to your business relationshipsUse the your Home page to like, comment, and share on posts from people in your network. Get involved in some groups and interact there.

4. Check out the Company’s Digital Space – You will learn a lot about your new contact by looking at their website, finding them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+. It may be tempting to look for gaps, problems, or hooks to approach them with how your company can help. If you know how to look, you will undoubtedly see those things, but do not follow up with a sales message about why they need your services. Rather, connect with their pages, like and comment appropriately on their posts, and share something your audience would value. If they are paying attention to their social media, your reinforcing the connection will not go unnoticed. As long as it is genuine and appropriate for your audience, continue connecting in this manner.

5. Circle Back In-Person –  Once you connect on the company’s digital platforms, take opportunity to relay something that stood out about the company’s presence when you see the person you are “courting”. For example, if a company is participating in a fundraiser, hired a new employee, reached an important milestone, or posted about a change in their industry, if you mention it as a point of conversation when you see them, you are taking an interest, building connection, paying attention to them. Who doesn’t like that? You have access to information about their business that, when used properly, puts you at an advantage over others who aren’t leveraging digital marketing.

6. Hire a Professional – Yes, this is self-serving, but true nonetheless. Most business professionals do not know how to get the most from these platforms and hiring someone to help is as smart a business decision as hiring any other professional to help your business. There are many excellent resources available. Our recommendation for learning the ins and outs of Linkedin is Yuhannes Watts with Learn2Link.

7. Be a giver – Share information and posts from your network, connect people with each other and opportunities you hear about. “Givers Gain” doesn’t just apply to networking groups, it is a spiritual axiom appropriate for any inter-relational forum. Remember, if you want people to pay attention to your stuff, you have to model the behavior you want from others.

8. Know when to back off – Social media has a negative association of allowing people to be a bit stalker-ish at times. If you are reaching out and there is no response or reciprocation, that may be a function of the company/individual’s lack of involvement on these platforms, OR it may be a indication that their is no real connection with you from their point of view. Social media can help you build a relationship, but if you do not have a real connection, attempts to follow up will likely be futile. Whatever the reason, if you are getting nowhere with someone, call it quits. If they are interested in pursuing a business relationship with you, that will likely be revealed through other means.

Most smaller businesses rely of some form of person to person contact to grow their business. Integrating a strategy of in-person and digital forums is an excellent way to grow your network, build a referral and client base, find strategic partners, and resources you need to develop a successful enterprise. For more information on how we can help, Contact Us for a complementary consultation.