Man looking at Digital Wall and LinkedIn

LinkedIn Can Improve Your Online Branding

Every business wants to be seen. In this day and age, the best way to get noticed is online, especially through social media. Your online branding is important because it dictates who you are and what you do, and it’s the first thing any potential client will notice. If your small business is selling services or products to other businesses, then LinkedIn is a social media platform you must be using.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn are the main social media platforms, but the latter – LinkedIn – is one of the best forms of social media businesses can use to, not only to network with like-minded business people but also to help with their online branding as well.

Drinking coffee while reading LinkedIn on a laptopThere are a variety of ways social media can benefit businesses, but why LinkedIn? This is because it is considered business social media, which allows businesses to interact professionally online. And to stand out, you must craft a profile that stands out.

LinkedIn is based on business connections. All of the connections you have are considered 1st level connections. Anyone connected to them is 2nd level and then connected to them are 3rd level connections. This shows how wide-ranging this social media platform is, and the opportunities are endless.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is the number one business social media platform, with over 500 million members worldwide. It is considered a professional tool used by many companies in a variety of sectors. It essentially exists to look like an online CV or resumé, which allows professionals to seek out new opportunities.

But it’s also beneficial to companies, not just as a recruitment tool, but to exist solely as a brand on the social media platform. A profile consists of several scripts (summary, experience, education, etc.) and the written content in each one can reflect the business as well as the individual.

As a member on LinkedIn, you can make connections with your connections (i.e., 1st, 2nd, 3rd level connections), and search for people who work in a sector you may be interested in. Mainly used for professional networking, LinkedIn allows professionals from any sector to find potential employees or potential business clients.

Who Uses LinkedIn?

It’s used by everyone and anyone in business who wants to be seen online and make strong business connections. With over 500 million people signed up, as of 2017, and 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn (statistic: LinkedIn, 2017), it has become the platform for professional business networking.

The top 5 industries on LinkedIn are Finance, Medical, Educational, High-Tech, and Manufacturing, and 48% of all LinkedIn members use it at least once a day. (Statistic: SlideShare, 2016). Therefore, plenty of small business owners, managing directors, CEOs, etc., can be found networking on this business social media platform, so your online branding is important.

Your Online Branding

Your online branding starts with visibility. How you look, or how you appear to others online. Using LinkedIn for your online branding is essential to be seen by professionals, or by people whom you want to see you.

When using social media for online branding, you should be doing this for the promotion of your company’s brand and yourself as a brand. It’s all about identity – Who are you? What do you do? and Why should I like you?

In doing this, it’s all about optimizing your LinkedIn profile with professionally written, SEO-rich content, that reflects the individual as well as referencing the company at the same time. Having that personal touch instigates the emotional side of the brand, as it moves away from a faceless, corporate entity.

Social media marketing has made it essential now for businesses to have a personal touch to their visibility. Because the individual LinkedIn profile relates to an individual employee, it puts a friendly face on the company and makes it much more personal, too.

The things you can do on LinkedIn for your online branding are:

  • Optimise your profile
  • Make connections
  • Post consistent, quality content

LinkedIn is seen as the social media platform where businesses and professionals can network freely without having to travel anywhere. LinkedIn can help with your online branding primarily through visibility and recognition in a place where your reputation is at home with other like-minded businesspeople.

The Benefits

There are plenty of benefits to having LinkedIn help with your online branding. It’s a powerful sales, marketing, and branding asset that can result in exponential business growth and profit. LinkedIn can help with your online branding because it’s an effective tool for brand awareness and brand promotion.

The more visibility you and your company have on LinkedIn, the more people will know who you are and the positive impact you can have on their working lives. More connections mean more money. This is because the more businesspeople you network with online, the more likely you are to generate leads.

Lead generation can be turned around to potential clients and business, and it’s from this where businesses progress, move forward and achieve the success they set out to achieve. Businesses can gain quality leads simply through networking with other businesses online.

Businesses can network on LinkedIn’s Homepage, or ‘news feed’, or they can network to specific companies/sectors through LinkedIn groups. You can use LinkedIn to generate leads in three simple steps:

  • Become a group member
  • Create a piece of relevant content
  • Share the content in the group

So, get a professional-looking, well-written profile with a quality photo; network with your connections and on groups; share content consistently; and interact with people to show, not just what you sell, but who you are as a brand.

Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas

Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Every small business needs customers. Without qualified customers, it would be hard for any type of business (big or small) to survive in the long run. What’s the best way to acquire customers? Social media marketing for small business.

While there are many reasons as to why you should use social media marketing for small business to enhance and grow your company, the most obvious being, it will help you win more customers. And help your company gain more prominence.

With the growing popularity of social networking, there is little doubt that your potential customers are using major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And the best part is, many of these social media users (your prospects) visit these platforms every day.

Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas

Here are some stats to help you understand the importance of social media marketing for small business and why you need to take it seriously.

  • According to a survey conducted by eMarketer, 88% of businesses use social media.
  • 96% of the people who talk about your brand online aren’t following you on social media.
  • Customers spend 20% to 40% more on products/services by companies who engage with them on social media.

When you use social media marketing for small business you can easily reach out to your target audience and build a long-lasting relationship with them. This is a highly effective way to build a brand that people trust while getting more bang for your buck.

Also, when compared to traditional marketing techniques, with social media marketing for small business you have a higher chance of getting a positive return on investment. This is due to the fact that marketing via social media is much cheaper for a small business, especially one with a limited budget.

Being a small business owner, you should see social media as a robust tool that can help build strong awareness, increase the number of sales and build a real customer base. When you truly understand the potential of social media marketing for small business, you will see that the results that you achieve are far more better.

Social Media Marketing for Small Business: What Works

Let’s look into four relevant social media marketing for small business tips that will help your company gain an edge over the competition.

#1: Have a Clear Plan in Place

When it comes to social media marketing for small business, having a strong and a clear strategy is the first step towards finding success. There are many reasons why a business may fail to get results with social media marketing, but sometimes it is only because they did not know what they were doing.

Every action you take towards building your social media presence and marketing your brand should be carefully planned. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you run or who your target audience is, as long as you have a plan laid out, you will find it easier to overcome any challenges that you come across.

Here’s how you can create a solid social media marketing plan for small business plan.

A) Set The Right Social Media Goals

What do you want to achieve with social media? When using social media marketing for small business, it is important that you set goals and objectives that actually help you grow.

For instance, if you are marketing on Facebook, you should not only focus on getting more likes to your posts and your page but also try to boost the number of leads and sales you’re getting. Try to align your social media goals to your business goals.
Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, DallasWhen leveraging social media marketing for small business, it is easy to get stuck on vanity metrics rather than improving the bottom line of your business. But do understand that social media will only be beneficial to your small business if you’re ultimately getting more customers using it. Or else it’s simply a waste of your time, money, and energy.

B) Conduct a Proper Social Media Audit

In order to get the most out of social media marketing for small business, it is crucial that you know which of your customers and prospects are already connected to you on the major social media platforms, and how they perceive your brand. It gives you a better idea of your position in the social media arena.

By conducting a proper social media audit, you basically understand your current social media following and also learn which platform is mostly used by your customers so that you can tap into it.

A social media audit also gives you knowledge of the areas that you need to improve on. And a better perspective on how your competitors are building their social media presence. Remember, the more you know about your customers and your competition, the easier it will be for you to win the social media game. Which in turn helps your business survive and grow.

A list showing a Social Media Audit Checklist
C) Build Up Your Social Media Presence

If you don’t already have social media accounts for your company, it is time you create them. However, it is extremely important that you only work with social media networks that will directly help your type of business to grow. In other words, the social media network that you dedicate your time to should suit the goals of your small business.

Once you are through this step, you will need to build your social media presence on the network of your choice. This does not mean that you post any random type of content on your social pages. Every single step that you take to enhance your presence should match your big and small business goals.

Graphic showing icons from all social media platforms on top on people's shoulders
Your social media activities should also be in line with the likes and dislikes of your target audience. Regardless of what you want you to achieve with your social media marketing activities, make sure that each of your accounts reflects your objectives and your core brand values.

D) Get Inspired by Other Brands

When you are doing social media marketing for small business, it is easy to get confused and misunderstand what your audience is looking for. This can lead you to create content that does not go well with your overall business goals. Which is why you need to spend time looking and analyzing the type of content other businesses are posting to their social media accounts.

These companies can be your direct competitors or may even compliment your business. The idea is to get a clear understanding of the type of content that is working for them. Look for patterns and see what’s fetching them the most social response.

You can also leverage social listening to find insights about your prospects and what they want to see from you. This not only ensures that you create appropriate content on a regular basis, but it also helps you stand out from the crowd.

When seeking inspiration, it is not necessary that you only stick to analyzing other small businesses using social media marketing. You can also go beyond and actually learn from industry leaders and bigger brands such as Starbucks, Oreo, Netflix, Apple, etc. It allows you to grab some real social media soci lessons firsthand.

Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas

Remember, these big companies have huge budgets that they allocate for social media and a lot of what they do is backed by real research and understanding. When you grasp their way of doing things and see how they are implementing their social media tactics, it gives a real inspiration to formulate your own strategy.

E) Create a Social Media Calendar

Creating quality social media content is not enough. You also need to make sure that it reaches your followers on a consistent basis. An effective way to share the right kind of content is to use a social media calendar. Without complicating things, a social media calendar is nothing but a detailed schedule of the type of content you will be posting to each of your social media accounts. It gives you the much-needed clarity to post social media updates that matter.

Suggested social media marketing posting schedule Monday through Friday
There are multiple ways to create your social media calendar. You can either choose to go the simple way by using a spreadsheet or calendar in your Google Drive, or use a more robust approach by using a paid tool.

It doesn’t matter what tool you use to create your calendar, what actually matters is how detailed it is and how you will be executing it. Because ultimately your precise execution plays a major role in making your efforts successful.

Having a clear social media calendar allows you to stay accountable, be consistent, save a ton of time, get more productive, and achieve peace of mind – all of which contributes to building a results-oriented social media marketing approach.

#2: Choose the Right Platform

One of the things that can impact your social media marketing for small business results is the choice of your platform. In order to get the most out of social media marketing for small business and make your brand stand out from the rest, it is crucial that you choose a platform that is suitable to your business goals. If not, you may end up spending your time and money on a social network that will most likely not give you a favorable return on investment.

Do not make the mistake of selecting a social media platform based on a wild estimate or on what others are doing. It is important that you take into consideration your target audience, their preferences, and other demographics before starting to work with a platform.

Let’s look into three of the major social platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn and what makes them different.

Platform 1: Facebook

One of the reasons why Facebook is an attractive option for social media marketing for small business marketers is because it has over two billion monthly active users, which makes it huge market to tap into that a small business may not otherwise be able to reach.

Graphic showing significant rise in Facebook Monthly Active Users

The kind of reach you can experience with Facebook cannot be found with any other social media website. Which is why having a strong presence on Facebook, can help your small business go to the next level.

Another important thing to consider is the fact that these days a lot of people are searching for products and services directly on Facebook. That’s right, gone are the days when Google was the only search engine on the Internet.

Today, Facebook has given people a new option to search and find what they are looking for.

Here are some key Facebook demographics for you to consider:

  • Facebook users largely fall into the 25 to 34 age bracket.
  • When it comes to genders, 47% of Facebook users are male and 53% of them or female.
  • Talking about senior online users, 56% of baby boomers (65+ in age) are found on Facebook.

Facebook has become a center for businesses and brands to connect with their target audience. It is THE social platform that gives you access to a large number of eyeballs even with a limited budget.

This is exactly why the advertising system that has been created by Facebook is one of the most efficient ones out there.  The level of targeting that you can achieve with Facebook ads can help small businesses like yours get the best return on their investment.

Having a strong presence on Facebook is as important as having your own website. It gives you an edge over other small businesses in your niche that do not use Facebook to do market the business and build new relationships.

The best part about Facebook is that it helps you connect with a large number of relevant people at a fraction of a cost. These can be your potential customers that you may not have reached without Facebook.

Facebook also has live streaming features that allow you to reach out to your audience in real time. This is a great way to grow and nurture new relationships and improve the level of trust people have in your brand.
Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas

Last but not least, Facebook also allows you to integrate your e-commerce business and helps you increase the number of sales in the long run. Obviously, this depends on how efficiently you leverage Facebook and the kind of effort and money you put into making your brand’s presence felt.

Platform 2: Instagram

If you are active on social media in any way then you should know about the popularity of Instagram. Instagram is a photo-sharing app and a social network that is owned by none other than Facebook.

When you see Instagram’s overall mission and how its parent company Facebook wants to position it in the market, you will be able to understand the true potential that the social network offers. It is much more than a photo sharing app. Which means as a small business, you should be able to find your target audience on it and also connect with them visually like never before.

Every Instagram user knows that being an Instagrammer is all about sharing and spreading attractive visuals in the form of images, videos, and stories. And they’re doing their part. Which is bringing in more users day in and day out, and increasing the level of engagement?

Slowly and steadily Instagram is becoming one of the most important places on the Internet to connect with other people by sharing visual content that actually matters to them. More and more brands and small businesses have started to use Instagram creatively to not only spread awareness but to also generate sales.

Graph showing how many Instagram users versus Snapchat users
Here are some key Instagram demographics:

  • Gender wise, Instagram has more males than females. About 51% of Instagram users are male and 49% of them are female.
  • The US. is a popular market for Instagram as 55% of Its users fall into the age bracket of 18 to 29 years. This means Instagram is being dominated by millennials.
  • After the millennials, the users who have the most share on Instagram come in the 30 to 50 years age bracket,  making up to 28% of the overall user base.

Instagram will work amazingly for your business if you have the right visuals to share. For example, if you are an e-commerce website catering to a female audience, then Instagram is a great place to share pictures of your physical products and engage with your potential customers.

Picture showing great example of Instagram post
What makes Instagram different from the rest of the social networks is that it allows you to showcase and present your products the way your prospects actually want to see. People want to connect to a product on a visual level before investing in it. By creating and posting relevant visuals, you will be able to tell a story that your target audience can experience in a unique, memorable manner. What could be more appealing than that?

You can also leverage Instagram’s unique stories feature and take people behind the scenes. Show them what they would not normally see. For instance, you could give them an office tour or show them how your team works in the background. This is a perfect way to document your business’s journey and share it with your photos to grow your brand.

Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas
Instagram allows you to communicate with your audience in more than one away. You can even go a step further and communicate with your followers on a much deeper level by leveraging the power of direct messaging. This way you can connect to your audience in a more personal manner. Which can obviously have a positive effect on your business and how people perceive your brand.

Platform 3: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is where the web’s professionals hang out. It is a social network that lets professionals of all levels connect with each other and create more opportunities along the way. Some people see it as an official version of Facebook, with the exact tools you need to grow your brand’s reach.

There is absolutely no doubt that LinkedIn gives you access to users that you may not be able to identify on other big social networks like Facebook and Twitter. It is where business happens. No wonder Microsoft spent more than 25 million dollars to acquire it in 2016.
Infographic showing growth of LinkedIn and how successful it is at social media marketing

Some more demographics to help you get a better picture:

  • About 56% of LinkedIn users are male and 44% of them are female.
  • 25% of regular users on LinkedIn fall into the 18 to 29 age group.
  • More than 60% of LinkedIn users come in the 30 to 65 years age bracket.

 

LinkedIn offers some of the most relevant and user-friendly features for a small business to take advantage of.

First and foremost, LinkedIn has a community of professionals that love to engage with other professionals and brands. They have a keen business sense and understanding of how to connect and work with others.

It’s a social media platform that offers you a professional type of setting to build connections with other businesses that are also active socially. Which means as a small business it’s easy for you to become a thought leader by leveraging the power of the LinkedIn community.

You can use LinkedIn to increase your brand awareness and get more people to show interest in your business by creating a dedicated company page.

Even when you are looking to hire someone for your small business, LinkedIn allows you to create and post targeted job vacancies that can be found by the right candidate.

Yes, the LinkedIn advertising platform is a little expensive than that of Facebook, but it can be worth it, especially if you are in the B2B sector.

Use the above information to analyze and find out what social media network would work best to help you grow your small business. If needed, you may have to spread out your efforts over multiple social media sites. One or many — your decision should depend on your business goals.

#3: Work with Buyer Personas

Your social media marketing for small business “adventure” will be short-lived and outpaced by your competitors if you fail to understand your target audience. You need to know your audience like the back of your hand to get a better picture of their pain points and also of what excites them. You need to know their goals and objectives.

How well you know your audience can be clearly seen in the social media content you create. If the content doesn’t offer value to your audience and doesn’t help them in a worthy manner, then they will avoid reading it. Which will obviously affect the number of social shares and followers you get in the future.

Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas
When you understand your potential customer and what they are looking for, it becomes easy to connect with them on a higher level. Your business will be able to generate more numbers and add to the bottom line with each customer you connect with.

If you look around, you’ll find that more than half of the businesses haven’t worked on creating a buyer persona, which is the first and the most basic step to knowing and serving your audience. The more you know about your customers typical day and the hurdles they face, the easier it will be for you to live up to your promises and give them worthwhile solutions to their problems.

Step 1: Research Your Audience

To know your audience, you need to do some research about them. This allows you to create a realistic and precise persona. This leads you to learn about the important details of your customers that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Begin by understanding your current customers and how you interact with them. Learn about their habits and how they interact with your brand. Do you have some customers who are a big fan of your products? Do some of them buy from you again and again? What traits make them different or similar to others?

Asking yourself the right questions can help you discover the common points between some of your most valuable customers. Based on this information, you would be able to create a strong persona that helps you connect with potential customers on social media.

When you’re using social media, you also have a unique opportunity to connect to customers that have complained about your product/service on Facebook or Twitter. These customers with a bad experience can offer you a lot of unique advice on where you’re going wrong and how you can improve.

Step 2: Develop Separate Personas

Once you have the minute details that you find common between the best customers, it’s time to organize them into different personas, which helps you target with more precision when using social media marketing for small business.

You can easily do this by creating a list of customers within your audience that share the same kind of goals and face similar challenges. Create separate groups out of these customers and categorize them. Each category you add is nothing but a unique persona that you will be leveraging later on.

Luce Media - Digital Agency & Social Media Marketing McKinney, Frisco, Plano, Dallas
For instance, if you are a yoga teacher, some of your students may want to do yoga to perfect their posture while others may aim to do it for building muscle strength. While both of these customers want to do yoga, but for different reasons or goals. Which is why it makes sense to create two different personas for them.

Step 3: Name Your Personas & Add Details

When you give a name to your buyer persona, you’re achieving two important things: first, it will be easier to connect with your buyers when you feel that you are actually interacting with a real person. Secondly, it can help you create far better content that is personalized or customized to the right set of audience.

Image of woman and building social media personasBusinesses that take buyer personas seriously make sure that they focus on the details. So if you can, add a picture to each of your buyer personas to make them easier to connect to. The more realistic, the better.

#4: Don’t Ignore the Power of Promoting Via Social Media

Many small businesses think that social media is only about building a brand and growing awareness. But did you know that by not leveraging social networks for promoting your products you’re actually leaving money on the table? That’s right. Social media is huge and when used the right way, it can bring in a ton of sales to your business.

Now, if you’re thinking that promoting via social media is just about sending out a tweet or sharing a photo on Instagram, then you’re wrong. You need a targeted strategy to make sure you reap the best results from your efforts.

You have to cater to your social media followers by balancing valuable content with promotional content. In other words, most of your social media activity should be non-promotional to build trust and add value to your follower’s lives. A small percentage (say 20 percent) should be focused on actually increasing your sales numbers. For every 8 engaging and informative tweets, share 2 promotional tweets that help you increase your customer base.
Picture of red hammock that is for sale on Instagram

You should also leverage the right type of content for promotion based on the social network you’re working on. Each social media site is different in terms of the content its users share. You have to fit in and create content that goes with the overall theme of the network. If you need more advice on how to implement a strategy for social media marketing for small businesses – that’s our specialty! Check out our social media management services and then schedule a time to talk about how you can leverage all the potential customers out there waiting to see your brand!

This information was originally posted at https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/social-media-marketing-for-small-business/

 

Two women working with a laptop that has the words Social Media on the screen

How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media Marketing in McKinney

A survey of small business owners reveals that businesses budget modestly for social media marketing in McKinney and elsewhere around North Texas – which may be a mistake, according to industry experts.

Most small-to-midsize businesses in the United States are now using social media for marketing purposes, according to a recent survey by Clutch, a B2B research firm. Social media, website marketing, and email marketing were key areas of investment.

Some 71% of respondents say their firm uses social media, and 16% say their firm is planning to in the future.

Graphic showing Which Social Media Channels Do Small Businesses Use When Doing Social Media Marketing in McKinneyFacebook is the social platform SMBs use most (86% use it). Instagram is second (48%), followed by YouTube (46%), Twitter (44%), LinkedIn (31%), and Snapchat (25%).

Just over half (52%) of SMBs that use social media marketing post at least once a day.

Many small businesses may not budget much for digital marketing because they have so few employees and limited resources to invest. More than half (57%) of businesses surveyed reported annual revenue of less than $1 million.

In addition, in-house digital marketing teams may not be “teams” at all: 30% (the largest group) of small businesses only have one employee working on digital marketing. This finding suggests that in-house digital marketers may lack the time and resources they need to market efficiently.  This is one of the most important reasons if you are doing social media marketing in McKinney or elsewhere in North Texas, Luce Media is able to improve on what you are currently doing.  We have programs and plans to fit virtually any small business marketing budget.

The adage “you must spend money to make money” is true for digital marketing.

Although the concept is familiar to most small business owners, many still struggle to choose the best marketing methods or to afford marketing at all.

OTHER FINDINGS FROM STUDY

  • The majority of small businesses use both social media (62%) and a website (61%) to market themselves.
  • The majority of small businesses (80%) do not invest in content marketing, and experts warn that they are missing a key marketing opportunity.
  • Websites (54%), social media (51%), and email marketing (36%) are the top three digital marketing channels that small businesses will invest in during 2018.

Over half (54%) of small businesses surveyed will improve their websites and engage consumers through social media, while 36% will direct more resources to email marketing in 2018.

Content Marketing Lags, Despite Cost-Effective Results

Fewer than 1 in 4 small businesses plan to invest in content marketing in 2018, but experts caution that failing to perform content marketing is a mistake for small businesses.

Creating content–such as blog posts, whitepapers, and videos—is a highly cost-effective way to build brand loyalty and boost a business’ ranking in search results.

Keith Gutierrez, vice president of marketing at Modgility(link is external), reminds small businesses that in developing a content marketing strategy, quality is more important than quantity.

“[Content] just needs to be great, quality stuff you can’t find anywhere else,” says Gutierrez.

Small businesses already have what they need to start creating content: they should consider their unique advice and data, then package that information into useful content.

Virtual/Augmented Reality Marketing Sees an Investment Bump

In an effort to keep up with new technology, some companies (12%) will increase their investment in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) marketing.  AR/VR marketing is especially effective for products that benefit from in-person tours, like real estate and travel booking.

Clutch’s 2018 Small Business Social Media Survey included 351 small business owners or managers from across the U.S. with fewer than 500 employees.

To read the full report and source the survey data, visit: https://clutch.co/agencies/digital/resources/small-business-digital-marketing-survey-2018.

To get more information on Social Media Marketing in McKinney and other communities in DFW, please call  (469) 907-1057 or send us a note at our website.  To find out how we can teach you and your employees to deliver on social media marketing, read more here.

 

Grow-you-business-graphic

Social Media Marketing for Small Business – The Lucé Media Academy

Podcasting tools shown with On-Air highlighted

The What, Why and How of Podcasting

Okay, time for a pop quiz:

  1. Which content marketing tactic can hold an audience’s attention for a half hour or more at a time?Podcast symbol with headphones wrapped around them
  2. Which tactic inspires an audience to subscribe to your content and make a regular appointment to consume it?
  3. Name the tactic can help boost thought leadership, raise awareness and engage influencers in your industry?
  4. Do you know which tactic is in the title of this blog post?

While there are many great marketing tactics which go beyond the written word, the answer, of course, is podcasting. These long-form audio programs first emerged in the early 2000s. Back then, they were a niche format for hobbyists and tech nerds (like me). But the rise of the smartphone brought podcasts to the masses. Now, there are hundreds of hours of programming available on every conceivable subject, in every genre from real crime to horror to musical.  But we haven’t hit content shock for podcasts — it’s still a growing market.

If your business is looking to boost thought leadership and reach a new audience, now is the perfect time to add a podcast to your content marketing mix. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What Is a Podcast, Anyway?

There’s a wide variety of types of podcast out there, so it can seem tricky to find a definition that covers everything. Some are live interviews or panel discussions; others are entirely scripted, and audio plays production; and, as it turns out, a few are cryptic monologues about a bizarre southwestern town.  But they all share two attributes:

  1. There are multiple recordings for each title
  2. They’re organized in an RSS feed where you can subscribe.

Whatever genre the audio is, whatever platforms it’s available on, as long as you have multiple recordings brought together by an RSS feed, you have a podcast.

Why Should Businesses Care about Podcasts?

The way that people consume podcasts makes them an ideal channel for your high-quality content. People tend to listen while working out, driving, cooking dinner — in other words, podcasts fill sizable chunks of otherwise idle time. You wouldn’t expect someone to read your white paper or eBook during their morning commute, but they might settle in with your latest episode.

The demographics for podcast listeners are attractive for B2B marketers, too. Edison Research’s Podcast Consumer 2017 report found that:

  • 24% of people ages 18-54 listen to podcasts monthly
  • Podcast listeners are nearly evenly split between men and women
  • Podcast listeners tend to be affluent, educated consumers
  • In the 25-54 demographic, monthly listening has grown year over year for the past four years

In other words, your target audience is likely spending a significant amount of time listening to podcasts already. And those who already listen to at least one podcast are likely to be on the lookout for more.

What Goals Does A Podcast Serve?

Podcasts work best for the attract and engage phases of the customer journey. You can use your podcast to build brand awareness and establish thought leadership in your industry. Thoughtful, valuable content can help your brand stand out from the competition, and encourage listeners to make a relationship with the brand.

The most successful podcasts tend to be in the Q&A or panel discussion style. Hosts can welcome new guests each week to share their insight. This type of format is perfect for influencer marketing: You can boost your internal subject matter experts, form relationships with influencers in the industry, even feature your potential prospects.

Since podcasts have a low barrier of entry, they are an excellent way to reach a niche audience, too.  Podcasts succeed because they do what all great content does: deliver valuable information to a specific audience in an entertaining format.

How Do I Start?Sign post with words who,what,where, when, why and how - all relating to podcasts

It’s never been easier to launch a podcast. Got your first podcast created? Now what? Here is a list of places you can post your podcast to – some free – and some not.

Cast Your Pods to the Wind

Podcasts are a rare type of content marketing: Interest in them is steadily growing, people go out of their way to seek out new content, and they’re relatively cheap and easy to produce. B2B marketers are continually challenged to deliver the right content to people in the correct format to earn their attention. If your target audience has a morning commute, a workout schedule, or other quiet time to fill, your podcast may be just what they’re waiting for.

Sign on store door that says Come in We're Open

Costly Mistakes That Sabotage A Business’s Local Search Presence (And How To Fix Them)

More customers are actively searching for small businesses online than ever before. Google processes over 3.5 billion search queries per day, over half of which take place on mobile devices. That’s a lot of on-the-go mobile shoppers looking for nearby stores. But that traffic is worthless to businesses that fail to optimize their local search.

Social Media for Small Business OwnersImproving your business’ online visibility and placement in search results is one key to attracting more local shoppers to both your website and your small business location. That said, local competition can be fierce. Small businesses that want to connect with local consumers online can’t afford to make marketing mistakes that place them at a disadvantage.

Although there’s no perfect formula for dominating local search, there are certain mistakes that you must stop making to keep from sabotaging your own visibility. Today, we’ll examine the most common mistakes and what can be done to remedy them.

Writing Content For Search Engines, Not Local Customers

Done right, content marketing can be a powerful tool for local businesses. Publishing consistent content allows you to tell your brand story and educate consumers about products, news, and trends, all while establishing your small business as an industry leader.

Quality blog posts also help search engines learn more about your company, which can lead to increased credibility and higher rankings in search results. To be specific, Google loves E-A-T content — content enriched by the author’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Local small businesses need to take it a step further and realize content is most effective when it has a bit of local flavor. A local perspective can infuse blog content with personality, make it more relevant to readers, and help the business build a stronger connection with local customers.

Sacrificing Backlink And Citation Quality For Quantity

Gone are the days when those scoring the most backlinks are guaranteed to come out on top. Backlinks are the number of other websites that have a link in them pointing to your small business website.  Sure, having lots of citations and backlinks pointing to the business’ website can still be great for SEO, but only if the sources are authoritative and credible.

Businesses that invest in high-quality link-building and submit listings to respectable local directories will see a boost in their online visibility. However, search engines do notice when a site receives most of its traffic from untrustworthy sources, which can result in lower search rankings.  Luce Media has a very cost-effective program to get your business on the top 50 online directories.  To check what your online visibility looks like, click here.

Instead of trying to get as many backlinks as possible, focus on earning high-quality citations from reputable sources. The citations themselves should offer up-to-date information, and the business’s name, address and phone number (NAP data) must be consistent across the web.

Here are a few suggestions for improving your web presence through backlinks and citations:

  • Submit small business listings to high-quality local directories
  • Contribute guest posts to authoritative websites
  • Sponsor a local charity event or Little League team
  • Include the website in social media bios for the business

Just remember: Quality is more important than quantity.

The online visibility of any small business is essential for getting found by consumers in this digital age and, if there is bad data, duplicate listings or no listing at all, then small businesses are losing customers. Luce Media has the tools and the technology to make sure your small business is highly visible online.  Online visibility is not a “one and done” process. A small business’s local presence must be monitored, maintained, and adapted based on algorithm changes on a consistent basis.  Contact us here at Luce Media to find out how we can help you improve your SEO and be found more often in Google searches. Luce Media helps companies in McKinney, Allen, Plano and Frisco with social media marketing.

Written by Bernadette Coleman and originally appeared in Advice Local’s blog.

Hand extended showing Social Media Marketing

Advantages of Social Media Marketing for Your Business

Social networks are now a substantial part of every marketing strategy, and the benefits of using social media marketing are so great that anyone not implementing this cost-effective resource is missing out on a phenomenal marketing opportunity. About 90% of marketers claimed that social media generated immense exposure for their company, and that’s only one of its many advantages.

It’s easy to see that social media marketing is a key element for success in marketing and many marketers realize the potential for business growth using the platform. However, some of these professionals are unsure of which tactics to apply and if they are effective.

According to Social Media Examiner, about 96% of marketers are currently participating in social media marketing, but 85% of participants aren’t sure which tools are the best to use. With help from Lucé Media, we will diminish the confusion by thoroughly explaining the advantages of using social media to market your business.

1. Increased Brand Awareness

Social media is one of the most cost-efficient digital marketing methods used to syndicate content and increase your business’ visibility. Implementing a social media strategy will greatly increase your brand recognition since you will be engaging with a broad audience of consumers.

To get started, create social media profiles for your business and begin interacting with others. Get employees, business partners, and sponsors to “like” and “share” your page. Simply having people interact with your content will increase brand awareness and begin building your reputation as a business. Each post that is shared will be introduced to a new network of individuals, which can lead them to become potential customers, and the more people who know about your business, the better. There is no doubt that by simply having a social media page your brand will benefit, and with regular use, it can generate a wide audience for your business.

2. More Inbound Traffic

Without marketing your business on social media, your inbound traffic is limited to your usual customers. The people familiar with your brand are likely searching for the same keywords you already rank for. Without utilizing social media as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll have much more difficulty reaching anyone outside of your loyal customer circle.

Every social media profile you add to your marketing mix is a gateway to your website, and every piece of content you post is another opportunity to acquire a new customer. Social media is a melting pot of different types of people with varying backgrounds and behaviors. With different people come different needs and different ways of thinking.

One of the key services that Lucé Media offers is the syndicating of your content on as many platforms as possible allows these individuals to organically reach your business. For instance, perhaps someone in an older demographic of consumers will search for your website using a particular keyword on Facebook, but a millennial could begin their search by using a different social media platform entirely because they search for products totally differently. By marketing on social media, you can effectively open your business to a wider variety of versatile consumers all over the world.

3. Improved Search Engine Rankings

Although posting on social media might get your business some site traffic, more effort than that is required to see significant success. Search engine optimization is very important for achieving higher page rankings and obtaining traffic to your business website. While social media doesn’t directly increase search engine rankings, Social Media Examiner states that more than 58% of marketers who have been using social media for one year or longer still see improved search engine rankings. Being able to rank in the top positions for your keywords will revolutionize your traffic and continue to generate positive results for your business.

Let’s face it, everyone uses Google to find information, and they likely won’t navigate past page 1 because their answer normally is on the first page of results. If your business website isn’t ranked towards the top of search engine results, you should probably adjust your search engine optimization strategy.

To give yourself the best chance of ranking better through social media, create high-quality content that integrates your targeted keywords. Content such as blogs, infographics, case studies, business information, and employee photos will make your business’s social media profile intriguing and credible. Once you begin posting quality content, you’ll begin to build a social media community where followers will “like” and “share” your content. Most importantly, it gives you more opportunities to get in front of industry influencers who will write about your business and provide links back – which will help to directly increase search engine rankings.

4. Higher Conversion Rates

With increased visibility, your business gains more opportunities for conversion. Every blog post, image, video, or comment may lead viewers to your company’s website and increase traffic. Social media marketing allows your business to give a positive impression through a humanization factor. When brands are interactive by sharing content, commenting, and posting statuses on social media, it personifies a brand. People prefer to do business with other people, rather than companies.

Over 51% of marketers claimed that taking the time to develop relationships with consumers showed positive results in sales. The better impression you make on a visitor, the more likely they are to think of your business when the need for your product or services arises.

Studies have also shown that social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing. When a brand is interactive online, consumers who follow your brand’s accounts often begin to more completely trust the credibility of your business.

People use social media platforms to stay connected to their friends, family, and communities. Since people are already talking, why not throw your brand into the mix? More likely than not, they’ll mention your brand to a friend when your products or services are needed, overall providing your business with social proof of its quality. As reported by Social Media Examiner, about 66% of marketers saw lead generation benefits by using social media platforms at least 6 hours per week. Putting your brand in an atmosphere where people are sharing, liking, and talking, can only improve the conversion rates of your existing traffic.

5. Better Customer Satisfaction

Social media is a networking and communication platform. Creating a voice for your company through these platforms is important in humanizing your company. Customers appreciate knowing that when they post comments on your pages, they will receive a personalized response rather than an automated message. Being able to acknowledge each comment shows that you are attentive to your visitors’ needs and aim to provide the best experience.

customer on social media
Every customer interaction on your business’s social media accounts is an opportunity to publicly demonstrate your compassion for your customers. Whether an individual has a question or a complaint, social media allows you to address the matter using interpersonal dialogue. A brand devoted to customer satisfaction that takes the time to compose personal messages will inherently be viewed in a positive light, even if responding to a customer complaint.

6. Improved Brand Loyalty

One of the main goals of almost all businesses is developing a loyal customer base. Considering that customer satisfaction and brand loyalty typically go hand in hand, it is important to regularly engage with consumers and begin developing a bond with them. Social media is not just limited to introducing your brand’s products and promotional campaigns. Customers see these platforms as a service channel where they can communicate directly with the business.

The millennial generation is known for being the most brand loyal customers of all. Born between the early 1980’s and the early 2000’s, millennials are the largest generation in US history -– and will soon completely consume the market. Studies show that this segment of customers is 62% more loyal to brands that directly engage with them on social media. Since these technology natives require communication with their brands, businesses must implement social media marketing to get the attention of their most influential consumers.

7. More Brand Authority

Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty both play a part in making your business more authoritative, but it all comes down to communication. When consumers see your company posting on social media, especially replying to customers and posting original content, it makes you appear more credible. Regularly interacting with customers demonstrates that your business cares about customer satisfaction, and is available to answer any questions that they might have. Satisfied customers are eager to spread the word about a great product or service and they usually turn to social media to express their opinion. Having customers mention your business on social media will advertise your business, and show new visitors your value and brand authority. Once you obtain a few satisfied customers who are vocal about their positive purchase experience, you can let the advertising be done for you by actual customers who enjoyed your product or service.

8. Cost-Effective

Social media marketing is possibly the most cost-efficient part of an advertising strategy. Signing up and creating a profile is free for almost all social networking platforms, and any paid promotions you decide to invest in are a relatively low cost compared to other marketing tactics. Being cost-effective is such an advantage because you can see a greater return on investment and retain a bigger budget for other marketing and business expenses.

9. Gain Marketplace Insights

One of the most valuable advantages of social media is marketplace insight. What better way to know the thoughts and needs of your consumers than by directly talking to them? By monitoring the activity on your profiles, you can see customer’ interests and opinions that you might not otherwise be aware of if your business didn’t have a social media presence.

Using social media as a complementary research tool can help gain information that will aid you in understanding your industry. Once you gain a large following, you can use additional tools to analyze the demographics of your consumers. Another insightful aspect of social media marketing is the ability to segment your content syndication lists based on topic and identify which types of content generate the most impressions. Lucé Media provides state of the art social media metrics that give you the ability to measure conversions based on posts on various social media platforms to find the perfect combination for generating revenue.

10. Thought Leadership

Posting insightful and well-written content on your social media is a great way to become an expert and leader in your field. There is no one way to become a thought leader – it requires work that can be supported by online networking tools. To establish yourself as an expert, be sure to utilize social media platforms and build your presence. Be communicative, connect with your audience, share content, and promote your authority. When your social media campaign is aligned with other marketing efforts, your skills will be highlighted and followers will look up to you. Being able to directly connect with your customers creates a relationship that they will value, allowing you to become a notable influencer in your field.

Get Started!

It’s clear that social media marketing has its advantages, so if your business doesn’t already have an appropriate strategy it is time to put one in place.  Lucé Media can provide all the latest techniques and strategies to drive new leads and customers to your business.  And we do so at a level that fits almost all business’ marketing budgets.  With consistent updating, the right social media marketing strategy will lead to increased traffic, better SEO, higher conversion rates, improved brand loyalty, and much more. Your competition is most likely already on social media, so don’t let them take your potential customers. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see growth in your business.

Lucé Media offers a FREE social media audit and consultation.  Just go to our homepage – fill out the form and we will get underway with your FREE analysis and consultation.

Originally posted by Blue Fountain Media.

Woman at laptop hands up in frustration over doing social media herself

Can a Digital & Social Marketing Agency Grow Your Business?

The explosion of social media has driven companies to put a big focus on social media marketing over the past few years. As a small to medium sized business owner, you’ve probably thought or had a discussion in your company at one point or another and said, “we need a social media presence.”  The next discussion may center around which person in my business is the best at Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.  Soon, you have put up a dozen posts and not one person has responded to what you are posting.

Word Cloud showing Social Media Marketing in boldThe rise of the internet, indexed search (think Google) and the explosion of social media networks have changed the way that businesses of all sizes communicate their value proposition.

Where once, legacy tactics such as yellow page advertisements or print ads drove traffic to your front door, modern consumers armed with mobile technology expect real time access to information and make buying decisions in a matter of a few keystrokes on their devices.

This means that companies need to ensure that their branding messages are well executed, easily found on the web by sites that attract attention and convert eyeballs into real leads.

If you’re an SME (small to medium enterprise) looking to increase exposure and drive traffic to your website or premises, here are a few things you need to know about working with a digital and social media company.

There are literally billions of people worldwide using social media on a regular basis. Its benefits as a marketing tool are indisputable.

Businesses who take advantage of this can interact with and attract new customers if they are active and take part in social conversations.

In general, the more regularly you can post to your social media channels, the higher engagement and ROI you’ll see. This could mean dedicating around an hour each day to monitoring your social channels, posting relevant content, participating in conversations and growing your following in the process. And there are many times when you do that for several months and the Facebook and Instagrams of the world suddenly change their algorithms……and the rules change.

According to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 64 per cent of marketing teams report spending six or more hours each week on social media.

For a small business owner who is already spending most of their time on business development and operations, finding spare hours to strategise and dedicate toWoman frustrated with social media social media can be difficult.

That’s why outsourcing your social media management to a knowledgeable third-party is so important – it can take one key business-building task off your plate.

Here are just a few tasks a social media marketing company could take care of above and beyond simply posting messages:

  • Social media strategy – including posting frequency, types of content, keyword research, influencer research etc;
  • Set-up and branding of new or existing social profiles – consistent branding and voice across all your channels is crucial;
  • Sharing and commenting on third-party posts that are relevant to your brand;
  • Engaging in conversations with other users – be it existing or potential customers;
  • Social media monitoring – keeping an eye out for mentions of your company and interacting with those posts;
  • Social customer service – responding to questions or complaints from users;
  • Following relevant industry influencers or potential business customers/clients;
  • Content marketing – helping to develop your own original images, memes, articles, blogs and resources that can be promoted on social media;
  • Newsletter marketing – a round-up of your company news and most popular social posts and interactions.

While that list is probably incomplete, it is just a sample of some things a well round digital and social media company can do for your business or enterprise.  Ask yourself if you have the time and/or inclination to learn all of these individual elements yourself. So, often you are left with a choice: either hire an employee or hire an outside agency. In many instances, business owners lean towards hiring an employee because that has been the de-facto process in the past to solve an immediate need. Additionally business owners may have the perception that an outside agency is far more expensive than hiring in-house staff. The problem with this rationale is that most of the time, owners don’t have a true basis for comparison.

Let’s take a closer look and see what really happens when you compare the two. Disclosures: We used the job position of Marketing Manager for the comparison. Many marketing professionals specialize in one area of marketing, like a social media marketing manager, and may not have the experience that a marketing manager could have. All the salary data is based on the National Average salary for a Marketing Manager in the USA, and was taken from Salary.com.

While the numbers are averages and should be adjusted based on your needs, location of business, etc. The numbers in the following Infographic should give you a better understanding of the approximate costs of hiring each one.

marketing agency

Essentially, the budget needed to hire the right person, purchase all the right marketing tools and implement a digital and social media strategy designed to meet your business goals, become too cost prohibitive when trying to assemble an internal team.

Hiring an knowledgeable marketing agency like Luce Media allows business owners to focus on running operations and increasing the bottom line, not messing around with Facebook, Twitter or trying to build out a website. In the end, the bigger question maybe isn’t can I afford an experienced marketing agency, but rather how much am I costing myself in time, money and lost opportunity by trying to do these marketing services in-house.

Blue Arrow with Words Social Media Makreting

WHY USING SOCIAL MEDIA AS A MARKETING TOOL IS ESSENTIAL IN 2018!

Some business owners still believe that social media is merely gossiping and hanging out on Facebook. Once again, social media for business has nothing to do with simply hanging out on social media. But using social media marketing gives even small businesses real marketing advantages and opportunities.

In 2018, not using social media as a marketing tool is like saying you still rely on yellow page ads. It doesn’t work that way any more. Yet some people are stubborn and ask: Why is using social media good for me? Why do I need that again? Here are some of the most compelling reasons why:

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING DRIVES TARGETED TRAFFIC

The Power of Social MediaCreating a new page on your business website is like taking a really great selfie. You want the world to see it, but you don’t want to beg for attention (or worse, pay for it). That’s why for selfies and landing pages, well-placed social media posts can make all the difference.

SOCIAL MEDIA BOOSTS SEO

Search engine crawlers know which pages are consistently earning traffic and which are just floating out there, forgotten and ignored. A killer content strategy for SEO is the most important part of earning top spots in search engine rankings, but driving traffic to your optimized pages will cause them to climb much faster in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Don’t forget that Google considers your social activity to be a top ranking signal.

SOCIAL MEDIA LEADS TO RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

Part of what makes Twitter and Instagram marketing so cool is the interaction you can have with your consumers; you can read their tweets and status updates to get real-time insights into their daily. What products are they buying and why? What are they doing on the weekend? What kind of posts do they love to share, and from which brands?

Using social media as a tool for connecting with complementary, non-competing businesses, thought leaders and influencers in your industry, as well as journalists who cover your industry, is another benefit. You never know what a simple retweet or comment can lead to. Compliments work especially well.

SOCIAL MEDIA USERS ARE RECEPTIVE TO MESSAGES

People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say. This translates to serious web traffic when you link to your site and posts that market themselves as your friends and followers share what you’ve posted.

SOCIAL MEDIA ALLOWS FOR RETARGETING ADS

One of the reasons using social media is important is because of the highly customizable nature of social media ads. Facebook ads, for example, allow you to target users by things like location, education level, industry and even purchase history and the pages they’ve liked.

SOCIAL MEDIA GETS EVENTS NOTICED

Whether your business is sponsoring a local charity fundraiser or attending a major international trade-show, there’s no better way to leverage your presence than using social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING BUILDS BRAND LOYALTY

Brands using social media have more engaged and loyal customers. When you’re engaging and interacting on social media (not just tossing your posts out onto the web hoping someone will stumble upon them) you become less like a big corporation and more approachable to potential consumers.

MOST LIKELY YOUR COMPETITORS ARE SOCIAL

According to AdWeek91% of retail brands are using more than one social media platform. This is something you need to keep in mind, because it’s much harder and more expensive to catch up than it is to get in on the game ahead of your competitors.

If your competitors get to your potential customers first, they’ll earn their loyalty and you’ll have a hard time winning them back. If you’re active and engaging on a variety of social platforms, you can gain those friends and followers first and your competition will be playing catch up to you.

SOCIAL MEDIA LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD

Some brands may have bigger marketing budgets than others, but all businesses start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to using social media for marketing. Nobody knows you, and you are trying to get noticed. The businesses and brands that thrive are those with the most clever, attention grabbing tactics and the most relevant and informative content.

In short, they’re providing value to their target audience while also showing personality and being entertaining. If you really want to get lots of traffic and increase your online presence, you will have to outwit, outdo and outsmart your competition while offering superior products and customer service.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING INCREASES SALES

According to MarketingTech70% of business-to-consumer marketers have acquired customers through Facebook. Or that 84% of CEOs and VPs say using social media helps make purchasing decisions.

Picture showing building money with Social MediaUsing social media as a marketing tool doesn’t just keep your brand in front of potential consumers; it also gives you the opportunity to provide them with incentives to purchase. Share coupon codes, with a unique code for each social channel – you may be surprised at which social network drives the most sales.

FIND NEW CUSTOMERS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

If you set up streams to follow keywords in Twitter (Hootsuite makes this simple), you can find people looking for the products you sell and direct them to your site. Using Twitter for social media marketing is great that way; telling consumers wanting your products how to get them is just an @yourbusiness away.

NEW CUSTOMERS FIND YOU THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

If you are using LinkedIn or Facebook marketing you most likely belong to groups related to your products, industry and target audience. By posting in these groups you can help influence potential customers to check out your site. Answering questions on platforms like Quora is another strategy.

According to WordStream, the average cost per click on Google Adwords is between $1 and $2. Depending on the keyword targeted you can actually end up paying $65 or more for a single click. And that’s real money for any business that we know!

At the same time, you can send traffic through Facebook and Pinterest for as little as $0.12 per click. Why pay up to ten or twenty times as much for each visit when using social media is so much more cost-effective?

Simply put, using social media as a marketing tool is part of doing business in 2018. If your business isn’t already active on social networking sites, now is the time to start.

Let Luce Media provide a FREE Digital and Social Media analysis of your efforts.

 

This information was originally posted here.