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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.

Icons of Locations to Have a Online Presence

5 Reasons Why Having an Online Presence Is Essential for Your Small Business

Having an online presence increases accessibility for your clients or consumers. It’s an effortless way for them to browse prices and hours and compare all these factors with your competition with a simple click. And it’s important that it’s effortless—nothing should take too long to load, and nothing should be difficult to find. Any questions that may need to be answered should be readily available on the site itself, and if they’re not, then you should really be sure that your contact information is displayed in an obvious way.

How visible is your business online? Click here to run a FREE report that will show you what percent of searches your business is potentially showing up in.

An Online Presence Garners a Wider Audience

Graphic with bold words Online PresenceAn online presence also allows the customer to come to you. Even when you’re closed, customers will be able to purchase goods and services online. Basically, they’re doing your work for you, even when you’re not working yourself. There’s no better give and take for a business than that. You’ll be able to reach a wider audience, such as people who are unable to make it to your physical shop for whatever reason, be it disabilities, lack of transportation, or even because they’re in another country.

Enabling your business to reach the widest audience possible will only be beneficial. The best part? When customers like what they see, they’re willing to share the news of your products and services with others. Allowing these secondary customers to see that your site is up-to-date will ensure that you come across as professional. To enhance this, having active social media accounts will allow your products and services to be shared easily between customers, and then you’ll have even more customers coming to your site. Win-Win!

An Online Presence Builds Relationships and Consumer Trust

The beauty of having a site, blog, and social media accounts is that they enable reviews and comments about your products. As an expert in your business, you’ll be able to answer any queries quickly and thoroughly. Any glowing praise that is publicly available will build your online presence and show even brand-new customers that you’re a reputable business.

Even where there are less-than-kind reviews or comments, you can reach out to unhappy customers and resolve the issue so that your good name stays intact. It’s better to know about an unhappy client so you can make amends and carry your name forward, rather than having an angry customer sharing their distaste for your business without you even knowing they were unhappy in the first place. Being able to right wrongs only helps to build customer loyalty. If you’re not forgiven, at least other clients and customers can see that you tried and that you’re willing to do everything in your power to keep customers happy.

An Online Presence Enables Effortless Marketing

Selling your products and services becomes an effortless process thanks to your online presence. Consumers will be able to browse your products and ensure that they’re happy with their choice without feeling pressured by sales associates. And, as we said, you don’t have to be there for this entire process to take place. Even at night, customers will be buying.

Not only is the process no longer limited, but it’s also never-ending (in a good way!). Marketing yourself online can cost as much or as little as you decide. You don’t have to mail out coupons or flyers; you can simply share them with the click of a button. You can advertise your products and services for free across your social media sites and on your blog. And, if you focus on improving your SEO, then the search engines will work in your favor.

An Online Presence Shows You What Works—And What Doesn’t

Finally, an online presence allows you to see the effects of all these efforts. Understanding and tracking the metrics of your site and social media accounts is quite simple. You’ll be able to see numerical proof of what works and what doesn’t.  If you share a new blog post and see a huge spike in visits, then you’ll know you’ve hit on some content that your audience likes to see. Being able to see the results of your efforts will allow you to make improvements in every aspect of your business and let you experience the real ROI of social media marketing.

Building an online presence isn’t just beneficial to growing a small business—it’s absolutely essential. By creating a blog, maintaining your site, and becoming active in social media, you’ll be more accessible to a wider audience. You’ll also build consumer trust and be able to market effortlessly. Best of all, you’ll always be able to make improvements in all these areas.

This post originally appeared on allbusiness.com

Social Media for Small Business Owners

5 Ways Small Businesses Can Improve Their Social Media Presence

If you are like most small business owners, undoubtedly you have a very busy schedule.  There always seems to be a never-ending list of things to do that will help provide success for your company.  One of the many items on the list is probably or should be, to spend time and attention to your small businesses’ social media presence.  In today’s fast-paced world, social media is of utmost importance to the success of small businesses.  Today’s Social Channels are Sales Channels.

Social Media Marketing sign

There are several things that you can do to improve your presence in the social media outlets that you have chosen for your small business.  Below are a few ideas you should review to ensure your business is maximizing what it already has in the social space

  1.    Choose your Social Media Outlets Carefully, Depending on your Audience.

When you are running your own small business, you don’t have a lot of spare time; however, it is important to make some time to attend to your company’s marketing efforts and that often means your social media platforms.  The trick is to choose which platforms you use very carefully.  Research suggests that the majority of people who enjoy social media use Facebook.  Others enjoy Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and the like.  It can be overwhelming to try to post on every social media site, and statistically, it probably does not make sense for you to do so.  Therefore, choose 2-3 networks that you believe will reach your loyal customers effectively, and devote time and attention to your social media presence on those platforms.

  1. Decide Your Small Businesses’ Plan and Goals Prior to Posting.

     Put some serious thought into what you would like to highlight in your social media posts.  It may be wise to write up a long-term plan for a monthly, quarterly, or yearly calendar.  People receive plenty of “junk mail” through emails or on social media sites, so it is a good idea to avoid posting “fluff” items that don’t really have a lot of meaning or purpose.  Choose topics that your customers will find useful in their daily lives.  Also, choose topics that you are very familiar with and ones that you are passionate about.  Stay true and honest to your small business in your social media posts, and aim for posting snippets of value for your customers. This is incredibly important so I will say it again – bring VALUE to your audience and then start building a relationship with them.  They will greatly appreciate it, and in turn, will continue to follow your posts regularly.

  1. Commit to Staying-on-Top of your Social Media Posts.

Social media provides a two-way street between a small business and its’ customers; therefore, you need to commit to staying current with your posts and reply to customers, as needed.  It is important to respond to any unanswered questions, as well as thanking your customers for positive comments.  Conversing with people online should be done in the same way you do it in person. Be genuine.  This shows that your company is interested in their customer’s opinions, as well as setting a good example for other clients who may be watching.

  1. Keep your Posts Consistent and Clear.

     You may decide to choose one staff member or a team of members that have the responsibility of operating your social media platforms.  By appointing one person or small group of people this task, your posts have a better chance of remaining clear and consistent on a regular basis.  Even though you may have multiple people that can contribute to social media ideas or posts, it is a good idea to have one person act as the “poster”, the editor, the monitor, and the responder, should the need to respond arise.  Choosing social media posts can be very challenging and stimulating, so it’s a positive thing to have ideas from several different sources.  Several people can provide input in all of these areas, but by using one responsible person for the final social media product, it will be simpler to have the same “voice” throughout multiple posts.

  1. Post on Social Media on a Regular Basis

It is a wise idea to post on your social media platforms on a very regular basis.  You can either achieve this by creating a calendar and following through with that designated schedule, or you can use one of the many sources available that will automatically post things for you.  There are software programs available that can be used to post snippets automatically, once you create all of the settings.  You might also decide to outsource the project of providing a social media presence for your small business.

Lucé Media is a company that offers full-service social media marketing and a project-based approach.

Summary

If you own a small business, then having a social media presence is vital to the success of your company in today’s society.  People are so interconnected via social media platforms these days, that, as a small business owner, you should really be a part of this connection.  Social media sites are not just for promoting your small business, but they also provide a place for you to give valuable information to your audience and share the knowledge and expertise that you have acquired over the years.  Use this outlet wisely, and chances are that social media will not just benefit your small business, but will prove beneficial to everyone who sees your posts.

There are a couple areas that will give you free information on how you are currently performing in digital and social media marketing.  One tool allows you to see how visible your company is online, in searches and on multiple platforms.  Click here to add your business and zip code and get your free report.  The second free service is a topline review of your current social media efforts.  To get that review, click here and schedule an appointment.

Graphic showing Instagram logo and how to use in content marketing in McKinney, TX

8 Ways to Use Instagram for Business – INFOGRAPHIC

Using Instagram for business is an effective way to help connect to current and potential clients, reinforce your brand, and expand your reach as a business. With over 200 million monthly active users, and over 1.6 billion likes happening on the app every day, that’s a whole world of social engagement to explore. Brands that generate the active social engagement you want, who boast followers over 100K, see a growth in sales and business operations as a whole on an average of about 163% in a two-year span of time, according to a Simply Measured research study. With numbers like these, it’s only logical that you want to take a closer look at how Instagram can be used to help grow your business.

Here is an infographic that outlines 8 best practices for startups and small to medium-sized businesses when it comes to using Instagram for Business.

Content Marketing - 8 Ways to Use Instagram for Business

Show Your Products

Instagram allows you to spread high-quality photography or video of your products and services freely. You are your own filter, and it doesn’t cost you anything to post. Using hashtags and as many as 30 keywords per post, you can target specific markets, regions, trends, lines of business, groups of products, or even advocacy networks, with each post you generate. This means connecting more people to your product than ever, and faster than ever, because people naturally process visual images 60,000 times faster than words on a screen. Connection happens fast.

Show How It’s Made

In the same vein, Instagram allows you to provide a personalized insight into how a product is made. Give a face and a name to the woman who knitted the hat, the artist who curated the design, or the managers that facilitated the shipping of materials. This openness helps to humanize your brand, and creates a genuine connection between you, your process, and your product to potential clients.

Go Behind the Scenes

The Instagram Story feature is perfect for giving the most intimate expression of what your business is like behind the scenes. You can give glimpses of a company dinner, the excitement of an expo event, or even a sneak peak of a new product launch—without the need for such high-definition, permanent images that you’ll want on your business’ Instagram page. The Story feature is liberating, in that it allows you to tell the full behind the scenes story of your company, but without interrupting your branding or marketing strategies for specific Instagram posts.

Show What Your Products Can Do

Take your products for a test run, and document it for the whole of Instagram to see. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to promote a more obscure good or service, or help in a product launch. Quell customer skepticism with video footage or before-and-after shots. These can be great for convincing potential clients that what you have to offer is truly worth it. Today’s younger market is full of skepticism, but Instagram transparency helps bridge that gap and create trust.

Show Off the Office & Employees

You are more than just a fancy font and a logo. Your business is made up of individuals, each with their own excellent personalities, each contributing something a little different to the overall goals of your business. Real faces and real stories are what genuinely connect with customers, and social media is no exception to this rule. Keyword marketing gets you connected, but letting people see who your team members really are, understanding what they do, and hearing how much they love their office space can inspire a sense of genuine loyalty and trust in your brand. This means they’ll better trust the goods and services that you can provide.

Take Your Customers with You

Is your team taking a business trip? Perhaps part of your team is traveling to a different city to do some collaborating? No matter where your next big event or corporate retreat is, let your customers in on the scope of what you do by including that in your Instagram’s storytelling. This is another instance where utilizing the Instagram Story feature can really come in handy. Let a specific employee take over the Instagram feed, give some insight into their personal experience working under your brand, and present a more relatable and engaging narrative to your customers.

Quotes & Inspiration

Brand loyalty comes from more than just an understanding of a product or service. Clients and customers in our current age expect a level or moral acuity from the businesses that they regularly patron. If you want deep customer loyalty, one of the foundations of that can be expressive encouragement, positivity, and advice related to your business or service on Instagram. Clients are far more willing to follow and engage with your business Instagram if you have some variety in your posts. Sharing your latest fall fashion items on sale is certainly a must, but customers prefer to have the line blur between a sales pitch and a personality pitch, because they want to like you for who you are just as much as what you can do for them.

Competitions

Instagram is the best social media platform for hosting raffles, giveaways and competitions with the online community. It works far better than Twitter or Facebook simply because the platform is both image-driven and keyword-driven, and engagement rates are 15% higher on Instagram than Facebook, and 20% higher compared to Twitter, according to a 2015 study by Simply Measured. Images hook potential customers far better than words. In addition, the keyword-based nature of the Instagram platform, combined with a liberated character usage, makes it an easier platform to use when trying to use keyword marketing to target specific subgenres of potential clients to enter your giveaway. These competitions are an incredibly effective tool in spreading your brand by word-of-mouth. It’s as simple as requiring one of the rules of entry to be tagging three friends in the comments section of a post. If only fifty people enter your giveaway, then that’s at least 150 new people who have viewed your Instagram page and become aware of your brand. These numbers can easily multiply into brand loyalty, purchases, and better long-term growth.

Around 70% of brands are using Instagram already to promote their products and services to a highly active online community. In order to ensure the healthiest growth and future for your company, you’ll want to make sure that you’re one of them. It might be time to reach out for expert help in how to maximize social media engagement in growing your business fast, and lastingly.

Lucé Media is a digital and social media marketing company in McKinney, TX and Frisco, TX and Plano, TX and Allen, TX that works with small to medium-sized businesses. Whatever social media platform you need, we are strategists with deep experience that can help you.  Please contact us here and we will get right back to you.