Google My Business image with GMB logo and mapping

Image from Luce Media showing Google My Business logo

Why Google My Business, Google Maps, and Online Reviews are CRUCIAL to your business? Here’s What You Need To Know.

Image from Luce Media showing Google My Business logoGoogle My Business provides you with the ability to list your business location on Google Maps and local search results. You can display valuable and key information about your business, including the opening/closing times, contact phone number or a link to your website. You can display important information about your business, including the opening/closing times, contact phone number or a link to your website. More recently Google has also released a new feature allowing you to post a link to articles or up and coming events.

Setting up your Google My Business listing is one of the simplest and most effective ways of establishing your business to be found online. More and more search queries are becoming geographically specific, and Google’s algorithms have been developed to consider user intent. Why do this? Check how often your business shows up in local searches by clicking here. (Scroll down to FREE Online Visibility Check)

So, how important are Google Reviews for Local SEO in 2018? Several studies regarding Google reviews provide proof of the reasons that your business should be soliciting reviews.  These reasons include things like “most consumers read reviews before making a decision” and “people trust online reviews as much as personal reviews.”

These reasons are completely valid and will come into play creating larger conversion and clickthrough rates to your website when a potential customer has found you and is deciding between your business and a competitor. For these reasons Luce Media Video Talks About Google My Business and Google Reviews

When it comes to reviews – here is the bottom line. 

The quality and quantity of reviews on Google is one of the most important ranking factors for local SEO. And, when a person scans the search results for a local product or service in Google, the business listings that include customer reviews present greater credibility and, naturally, receive more clicks.

Watch as Mark Toney, CEO of Luce Media talks about the latest information for small to medium-sized businesses in completely filling out the information on Google My Business as well as the importance of soliciting Google Reviews for your business.

 

We can not stress the Importance of Google My Business, Google Maps and Good Reviews for Small to Medium Sized Businesses.

This is just one of many of the aspects we focus on for your business -and encourage YOU to look at all these variables.  Do you want to GROW your business? Do you want more online presence?

Luce Media works strategically helping all of our clients grow. Get started today with our FREE Social Media Analysis. We analyze your website, all current social platforms you are on plus tell you immediately what your Online Visibility looks like.  I guarantee you will learn key elements to grow your business.  And it is FREE.

Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to continue learning.

If your business needs help with social media marketing in McKinney, TX., please call us at (469) 907-1057.  Luce Media has deep expertise in Digital Marketing, B2B Marketing, Internet Marketing and is a well-established Digital Media Consultant in McKinney, TX.

10 Things You Need to Know Before Going Live on Facebook

SinceWhat Small Businesses Need to Learn From Facebook Insights its launch in April 2016, Facebook Live video has swept the world.

As a platform, Facebook Live has unparalleled reach when it comes to reaching fans organically. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm highly prioritizes Live video, meaning your followers are way more likely to see one of your Live videos than any other content you post.

That’s why it’s not a half-bad idea to consider making Facebook Live a part of your social media marketing strategy.

You might be wondering where to start and what to do. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Go Live on Facebook!

Let’s get started.

10 Things You Need to Know Before Going Live on Facebook

1. Set a Goal

While celebrities, influencers, and more prominent brands have the gravitas and fanbase to use Facebook Live for more casual purposes, like broadcasting their surroundings or going Live for a few minutes at a time to interact with fans, chances are you don’t have the same resources.

Because of this, you need to focus the time you spend on Live.

Ask yourself what goal you’re trying to achieve with the video, as well as if and how the broadcast will help you make it.

If you can, try to choose an objective that’s more specific and results-driven than “social engagement” or “brand awareness.” Though these things are great, they should be secondary to other goals like lead generation or sales.

Once you and your team have settled on an objective, plan your video with that objective in mind. It should reflect in the topic you choose, as well as the way you present it.

For example, if we were putting together a Live video for a fitness center that wanted to highlight the benefits of personal training, we might choose to do a Live Q&A with one of our trainers, showing off his knowledge and encouraging viewers to sign up for a training session.

2. Have an Outline or Direction

Even though Facebook Live is relatively spontaneous as far as content mediums go, it’s still a good idea to craft at least some sort of outline, depending on the intent of your video.

This goes hand-in-hand with having an objective in mind, like the way you organize your speaking points should point Live viewers towards your goal – don’t go Live for the sake of going Live!

Before you go Live, outline your talking points and go over them with your co-host (assuming you have one). Get at least a rough idea of what you want to say, as well as any specific points or examples you’re sure you want to include.

My colleagues did a Live video a few months back about using content upgrades to generate leads for our sales team. Though it wasn’t without its hiccups, one “victory” of the broadcast was the way we organized it. It was clear and structured, highlighting the different steps of the process and the tools (within our product) viewers could use to generate leads for their own team.

Having an organized outline based on the goal of communicating the value of Wishpond and driving signups helped immensely with the quality of our broadcast.

That being said, don’t be afraid to go off-script – it is Live, after all! Be loose and have fun with it!

3. Prepare a Pre-Show

Even after you’ve announced your live video, many of your would-be viewers won’t show up right at the start of your broadcast.

Because of this, you’ll want to put together some sort of pre-show to fill time in your Live broadcast leading up to the start of your presentation (whatever that may be).

Don’t jump right into the meat of your content the moment you go Live. Either go Live 15-20 seconds before your scheduled start time to let people come in as they get notified, or start on time but don’t get into your content until a decent amount of people join your show.

You can do a couple of different things for this “pre-show” portion. If you’re not up to entertaining, feel free to pop in a countdown timer to get people ready and waiting. If you do feel like interacting (and we recommend you do), talk to your viewers. Welcome them to the broadcast, answer their comments, and get them excited for the show to start.

This is also a prime time to get your viewers to share your video – remember, Live videos get a massive boost on News Feed placement, so getting your fans to share your Live broadcast can significantly increase its organic reach.

4. Interact with Your Viewers

One of the principal benefits of Facebook Live is the fact that it allows you to interact with your fans in real-time, meaning you’re about as close to face-to-face as you can get without actually meeting them.

Though it’s not necessary, we’d recommend you put at least some effort into responding to fan comments and answering questions! It’s an easy way to make your Live broadcast super engaging, and it makes fans feel appreciated, meaning they’re more likely to stick around and watch.

At the start of your broadcast, greet people by name as they join. You don’t have to get to every single person, but acknowledging your viewers gets them pumped up for the upcoming broadcast.

As far as questions go, we’d recommend you set aside breaks in your broadcast or save for them the end, as opposed to answering them on the fly, which could put a serious wrench in your broadcasting flow and make your broadcast feel disorganized.

5. Promote Your Live Video

A Live video is a special occasion, and as far as promotion goes, you’d be well off treating it like a webinar.

By this, we mean you should put as much effort as you can into getting as many people as possible to show up for the Live broadcast as people, even though they’ll be able to watch it back later once the replay has gone live.

Here are a few ways you can make sure your Live video reaches as many people as possible:

  • Send an email: One benefit of having a mailing list is that you can reach out to them in cases like this! Send a simple newsletter a week or so before your Live video to your subscribers, linking them to your Facebook profile and letting them know when they’ll be able to catch you going Live.
  • Post on social: If you’re doing a Live video on Facebook, it makes perfect sense to promote it there, as well. Create a set of posts that count down the days to your Live broadcast to remind fans to tune in.
  • Advertise!: Though you can’t boost a live post, you can boost an announcement in the days leading up to it. Though it’s not a sure-fire way to get people to watch as you go Live, it opens the door for new potential fans to check out your broadcast.
  • Go Live beforehand: Do a short Live broadcast informing viewers that you’ll be going Live in the next few days. Though this might seem silly, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm heavily boosts Live video, meaning more people will see it. On top of that, you can prompt viewers to turn on Live notifications for your Page so they are reminded when you go Live next (and in the future).

6. Recap As You Go

Live Videos are unique in that people can join anytime during the broadcast.

It’s great in the sense that people don’t need to be ready beforehand – they can jump in as soon as they see it on their News Feed.

On the other hand, it can be tough as a content creator because people who join your video late might not be able to follow what you’re saying.

Because of this, it’s important that you periodically recap what you’ve been talking about as you go. Every so often, you can say something like “if you’re just joining us now, we’ve been talking about [recap].” This will help retain viewers who may otherwise leave because they have no idea what you’re talking about.

7. Check Your Hardware

There’s no worse feeling in a Live broadcast than having your audio or video randomly cut out, or watching your broadcast back and realizing everything is blurry, or you can’t hear anything.

Luckily, these are all issues you can easily avoid!

Before you double-check your setup, put some effort into making it as good as possible. Aim for high quality and reliability – an iPhone 7+ camera might be better than your 2012 MacBook’s webcam, but it also has a higher chance of dying while you’re broadcasting.

Pick a reliable setting as well – bright, solid-color backgrounds work great (see below). If you can, do a practice run-through with all of your hardware to make sure it’s all working.

Here are some quicker audio-visual rules of thumb:

  • Adequate lighting: Making sure your subjects are well-lit means you’re not left with two silhouettes on an overexposed background. Use some additional lights if you need them.
  • The sound is everything: Seriously. People can deal with 360p video (remember 2008?), but if they can’t hear you, they’re going to leave. I guarantee it. If you can, use an external mic (like a USB condenser mic) for your audio – it’s dozens of times better than your laptop’s built-in mic.
  • Use a tripod: Unless you’re live-streaming an event, you want your video to be as steady as possible. Thankfully, a tripod takes care of this easily.

8. Use Third-Party Broadcasting Software

Though we don’t condone or recommend it, there is a way to stream a Facebook Live video without actually being Live.

Without going too far into detail, Facebook allows you to broadcast Live to your page using an external program, such as Open Broadcasting Software (OBS). Because OBS can stream video and audio from a number of sources, you could technically stream a pre-recorded video to Facebook Live using the software, just as Tesla did in the example below.

Third-party broadcasting programs like OBS can also be helpful if you’d like to edit your videos slightly before they go Live. These cases might include adding overlays (like logos or graphics, as you can see below) or if you’re just not sure you’ll get it right on the first take.

That being said, don’t chop up your video or stream a professionally edited video as if it’s Live – your fans will know, and they probably won’t like it.

9. Get Viewers to Subscribe to Live Notifications

If you’re considering making Live video a big part of your social media marketing strategy, it’s essential to maximize the number who show up to your broadcasts.

One way to increase the chances your fans will tune in is to get them to turn on Live notifications. We touched on this earlier in the article, but it’s important enough to merit its own point.

We’d create a post or graphic with the following information, and maybe append it to your Facebook Live announcement mailout, too.

Here’s what your viewers need to do:

  • Visit your Page on desktop or mobile
  • Click the “Notifications” button under your cover photo
  • Pressing the “edit options” pencil icon in the drop-down menu
  • Turning on notifications under “Live videos” for “All Live Posts.”

Facebook Live Image 9.png

And that’s it! It’s super simple, and you now have the benefit of having your fans be notified every single time you go live.

This increases the effectiveness of future Live broadcasts, too, and your viewers only need to do it once (though we’d add this information to every Live announcement for new fans or people who haven’t already done it).

10. Add an Ask or CTA

Finally, add some sort of CTA to your Live broadcast. This is a tactic that will give you the best chance at generating some kind of immediate return on Facebook Live.

Either add an “ask” to the end of your video (or sporadically throughout it) to direct viewers towards your ultimate goal, whether that’s your e-commerce store to get them to buy the product you’re highlighting in your video, or to a sales page to get them to book a call.

One great way to add this without needing to bring it up during your video continually is to use OBS (or another software) to add it to your broadcast as an overlay. Make it unobtrusive, so your video is still the primary focus of the broadcast, but visible and enticing enough that people will act upon it.

Either way, make sure you give viewers an avenue to convert in some way – trust me, driving a sale or demo from a social media marketing strategy is a good feeling.

Wrapping it up

There you have it – 10 awesome tips and strategies to think about when you’re planning your next Facebook Live video. Hopefully, you’ve learned something new about this rapidly growing video format!

If you have any questions about Facebook Live (or just Facebook in general), we’d be more than happy to answer them in the comments below.

If your business needs help with social media marketing in McKinney, TX., please call us at (469) 907-1057.  Luce Media has deep expertise in Digital Marketing, B2B Marketing, Internet Marketing and is a well-established Digital Media Consultant in McKinney, TX.

20 Creative Ways to Market Your Business on a Budget

High-quality marketing is expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be. Thanks to the Internet, the playing field has been significantly leveled for a small business, which now has access to the reach and influence formerly only reserved for the big brands. There are actually many low-cost methods for reaching out to your customers and spreading the word about your business. Here are 20 creative options to market your business online on a budget that you can try.20 Creative Ways to Market a Small Business On A Budget

#1 Run Contests

Contests are a fun and highly interactive way to get greater visibility for your small business. Some suggestions include caption contests and giveaways. Caption contests are good for a laugh and you can provide a small prize for the winners. Giveaways are great for growing your e-mail lists via the entry form. Polls are also helpful because they not only draw attention to your business and its plans but also provide you with valuable data.

#2 Write Guest Blog Posts

Pursuing guest post opportunities is an important way for a small business to grow your influence without spending any money. You may even get paid for your content. These posts benefit both parties because they give the host opportunities for new, unique content from different contributors and they benefit you by reaching a wider audience. Quality backlinks from these sites will also improve your search engine rankings, giving your business further exposure.

#3 Answer Questions on Forums or Answer Site

It costs nothing to offer advice or answer someone’s question. Doing so will establish you as a knowledgeable professional and help you gain the trust of clients. Sites like Quora and Reddit are full of people with questions. Answering a question also offers longevity. These questions and your answers remain up on the site, so anyone looking for a similar answer in the future is bound to stumble across it.

This is really a great way to market your business online on a budget. Why? Because this will show your expertise in your industry, you might become a thought leader if you’re consistent and this will help you generate leads.

#4 List Your Business on Online Directories and Review Sites

Customers use these directories when looking for a business, and so it is important to make sure your company is listed on them. Heavily trafficked sites to list your information on include Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List and Apple Maps. These sites are free to list on, although you may need to meet some of their requirements first and prove your business is legitimate.  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.

#5 Join Industry Groups and Communities

Industry groups and communities are very helpful places for building your network, growing your authority and both giving and receiving advice. There are industry-specific groups present on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Communities on Google+. If you can establish yourself as a helpful contributor to these groups, your influence and reputation will grow. You never know what kinds of cool insider tricks you may learn as well.

#6 Leverage Pinterest

Pinterest, like many social media sites, is free to use and should not be underestimated as a significant marketing force. It is especially useful for sharing images of your products, displaying infographics and driving traffic to your site by linking to it from the image. Pinterest is a great channel to grow and what’s amazing about it is that marketers don’t use it that much yet. This is why Pinterest is a great way to grow your business online on a budget.

Visual media tends to attract the eyes of customers more often, so one of the largest image sharing sites on the Internet should not be overlooked. A staggering 87% of Pinterest users have purchased a product because they saw it or heard it recommended on Pinterest.

#7 A Small Business Should Heavily Use Referral Marketing

If you don’t have one already, you should work on forming a referral program within your company. This encourages your loyal customers to spread the word about your business and bring in more customers. According to Nielson, 84% of customers around the globe believe that friends and family are the most trustworthy sources of information about products.

Referral marketing is a cost-effective growth strategy that can bring you explosive growth. There are many referral marketing examples you could get inspired by.

#8 Actively Participate on Social Media

The interest of marketers has clearly been captured by social media. Facebook, for example, has 8 to 9 times higher click-through rates than regular web ads. Instagram is the fastest growing social platform out there today.  But posting occasionally is not enough. It is equally important for a small business to give regular updates so users are continuously being reminded of your presence and what you do.

I recommend any business of any sizes to have a large social media presence. Social media is inexpensive and is a great option to market your company if you’re on a shoestring budget. You should also get involved in the community, such as by participating in themed hashtag days, for example. You never know what other professionals and customers you might connect with.

#9 Give Out Free Stuff

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people love free stuff. Some people love it so much that they frequent deal sites. For example, if you are selling a book, giving away free books on a major platform like GoodReads will increase exposure for both your book and your company. Giving away occasional freebies also gets your products into the hands of potential customers and may win you loyal fans.

Graphic Showing Marketing Strategy for a Small Business#10 Create Lists of Statistics

A post consisting of interesting statistics about your industry is a relatively easy way to drive traffic to your blog. People find statistics interesting and love to share them. You don’t even have to go out of your way to do this – it can come naturally from market research you have done or other high authority sources of information you came across while learning more about your industry.

#12 Interview Experts

Interviewing experts in your field is another way to increase your authority. You can interview them with set questions, such as over e-mail, and write up the interview in a blog post to share. The people you interview will also likely post your interview, which shares it with their followers and widens your reach. This is one of my favorite ways to market your business on a budget because by interviewing experts in your industry, not only you’ll leverage their community, you will also connect with them.

#13 Write How-To Guides and Ebooks

There are always people looking to get started in your industry, whether as an employee or an entrepreneur. Writing how-to guides and ebooks for this audience can be a significant source of income as well as grow your influence and establish you as a professional in your field. You might not have the time for this, so it might be worth looking into hiring a ghostwriter. Remote collaboration between content editors and ghostwriters is often highly successful.

#14 Leverage Your E-Mail Signature

In your e-mail signature should be your name, what you do, your contact information and links to your website. You can also include your company’s slogan and social media accounts. Make it colorful, eye-catching and interesting. This reminds or announces to anyone you contact this way that you exist, and thus serves as a good marketing tactic.

Your email signature is just one email marketing tactic. You’ve got a lot of email marketing strategies you can integrate into your campaigns. Plus, email marketing has a great ROI!

#15 Offer Limited-Time Discounts

You have probably noticed how often major companies have sales, which is at least a few times a year, if not more. They do this for a reason – it works. Customers are more likely to take a chance on a new product or service when it is on sale.

As a small business, you need to plan your sales carefully and space them evenly throughout the year. For example, discounts at specific times of the year, namely holidays, are popular. For online businesses, participation in Cyber Monday in November is practically a must.

#17 Ask for Testimonials and Reviews

For most people, testimonials and reviews weigh heavily into their decision-making process when choosing which company to do business with. The New York Times identified that, on average, 65% of a company’s new business comes from referrals. The best way to get referrals is to ask. Also, make sure to ask a customer’s permission before using their testimonial in your marketing or posting it to your sit

#18 A Small Business Can Offer Free Consultations

If you provide a service, whether you are a personal trainer or an attorney, offering free consultations is a great way to bring people in. They can then meet you and see if you can provide what they need. Use this opportunity to impress them so they will want to go forward with working with you.

#20 Comment on Other Blogs

You likely read many blogs to stay up to date on what is going on in your industry. Simply leave comments and start discussions about these posts. Doing so shows that you are actively engaged in the community and lets other users know that you are a professional.

So, how to market your business online on a budget?

Effective marketing is not just about the money. To be successful takes a lot of time and effort. Plus it helps to understand the latest digital marketing consultant - Luce Media McKinney TXopportunities that digital marketing and social media marketing have to offer.  At Luce Media, we encourage your small business to focus on what you do best and let us do for you what we do best.  Never stop looking for new and creative ways to reach your customers, and you will find a winning combination that works for you. Luce Media specializes in helping businesses on a budget grow. We use growth hacking, digital marketing, data, product development and a lot of creativity to do so. If you want to see your business reach new heights, give us a shout at Luce Media now and we’ll start growing together! We provide digital marketing and social media marketing in McKinney, Frisco, Plano, and Allen.

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.

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.

 

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