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5 ways to improve your small business rankings in Google for 2019

For many years, McKinney small businesses have understood the power of strong rankings in the search engines.

Indeed, achieving a strong page 1 ranking on Google can boost the number of customers for any business with an online presence.

But how exactly do you score a great ranking in Google?

With more and more small businesses in McKinney, TX turning to Digital Marketing, there is a growing need to understand the power of strong rankings in the search engines. The tactics have evolved from what they were just a few years ago. Let us outline 5 important strategies for small businesses trying to improve their exposure online.

Technical Onsite SEO

5 or 6 years ago, SEO was more of a technical exercise. Today this is still an important component of a small business SEO strategy. In fact, many of the same components are used. 

Overall, you will not rank for a keyword that is not physically on your website. We know this sounds obvious, but many small business owners don’t have strong content on their homepage, and can’t figure out why they don’t rank well.

Keywords needs to be strategically placed in the Title Tag and H1 Tag. If you don’t know what these are, learn them. It isn’t rocket science. This will also make you better able to communicate with your developer. Or if your website is on the WordPress platform, you can adjust these yourself with one of many SEO plugins available.

Having a website that looks good is important. Many people believe that Google is monitoring bounce rates and dwell times as indicators of user experience. An outdated website or one that is just confusing will repel users, and may hurt rankings. 

Ensure that your website is fast. Google explicitly tells us it does not like to rank slow websites. This hurts user experience, and rankings too.

Also build a mobile-friendly website. More and more users view websites on mobile devices. The latest stats available indicate that 58% of website traffic comes from a mobile device. Your business needs to be well represented on any digital device platform.

Google My Business 

Google presents a map for many keyword searches. They do this for keywords they believe to have local searcher intent, where seeing the business in a map is more helpful. The catch here is that Google is not presenting the business website itself, but rather the Google My Business page listing for that business.

Because of this dynamic, it is important that small business owners claim their business listing and ensure all the information is accurately updated. Business phone numbers, addresses, hours and other relevant information is critical. The way this information is entered in the Google database has been shown to impact rankings. 

Additionally, the number of times the phone number on file with Google My Business is seen by Google’s spiders around the internet has been identified as a ranking factor. These are known as citations, and sometimes NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number). To give your business an edge over the competition, post your NAP everywhere you can. There are also numerous services that can help you with this SEO process known as Directory Listing Services. Luce Media can submit your NAP to dozens of different directories and get you quickly ranking. Click here and scroll down to Online Visibility.

Strong Content

At Luce Media, we know that Google has a strong preference for long-form, well-researched content. For this reason, it pays to write very long blog posts on your website. However, the content needs to be informative and helpful for users.

Many small business owners claim they will have time to write blog posts themselves. However, after a month or two, they stop blogging (if they ever started in the first place). This is a critical mistake. If you can’t produce the blog yourself, hire a service to do it for you. Luce Media provides blog writing and content marketing in McKinney, TX.

Content published on the website needs to be visually appealing as well as well-written. This means many pictures and graphics – sometimes called visual assets. These visual assets should give the reader a visual representation of the main concepts of the blog post. This will help keep lazy readers engaged.

Many of the top bloggers recommend something visual to break up the words between every fold of the screen. This technique is strong because readers have something appealing to look at as they get tired of reading.

Backlinks

For many years, backlinks have been known to be a critical ingredient in search engine ranking success. This is no less true in 2019 than it was a few years ago. Great content will not rank without strong backlinks to the content from highly authoritative and relevant websites.

Backlinks are key to ranking higher in search engines.

Adam Stetzer, Ph.D. has been in the SEO business for 10 years and says: “Backlinks are one of the hardest concepts for small business owners to understand and execute. They understand on-site SEO and writing great content. They have a hard time committing to a great backlink building strategy because of the mathematical and conceptual nature of backlinks in the Google algorithm. Nonetheless, there are great places on the Internet to earn backlinks for free.” 

Search engine optimization experts generally agree that there are 2 major components of a backlink that determine if it will help you rank: Authority and Relevance. 

A backlink is considered to have authority if it comes from a domain with high Domain Rating or Domain Authority. These factors are easily queryable using free SEO analytic tools. In generally, you want a link from a high domain authority website. 

Furthermore, the backlink will help you more if it is on a specific page on that website that also has strong authority. Several years ago, Google started distinguishing which pages on a particular website were the strongest. This, again, is determined by how many backlinks are feeding into a specific page on a domain. So while a link from a high authority domain is good, a link placed on the strong web page on that domain (usually the home page) is the best.

The second criteria for a backlink is the relevance of that link. You want links from websites that are about the same subject matter as your website. If you are trying to rank a website about cars, a link from another automotive website would be much more valuable than a link from a foodie website.

How to weigh the relative importance of categorical relevance vs domain authority nobody can really answer except the engineers at Google. Most SEO’s go for relevance over authority. Both is ideal.

Relationships and Reputation

The final parts of the small business strategy are relationships and reputation. This is a very important part of any SEO strategy as negative reviews often rank very highly in Google. Additionally, the more relationships you have the stronger your ability to earn great mentions, reviews and backlinks.

Many small business owners overlook the idea that building relationships will help their online presence. Indeed, it feels old fashioned. However, human relationships are at the heart of all business, and it is humans that place great backlinks into powerful stories online. Understanding the importance of online reviews is critical for the business owner in McKinney, TX.

Small business owners need to be active in their communities, regularly attend meetups and maintain ties with those who can mention them online.

Conclusions 

Earning a top position for your small business in McKinney, TX on Google will bring in customers. Because these positions are so coveted, they are also extremely competitive. The 5 strategies outlined in this article represent an outstanding opportunity to move search engine rankings up and get the phone ringing.

This Post was originally Posted at: https://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/marketing/5-ways-to-improve-your-small-business-rankings-in-google/

5 SEO Steps for 2019

The 5 SEO Recommendations That Matter in 2019

Picture of the letters SEO standing for search engine optimization in McKinney

One of the biggest challenges in SEO is measuring impact — we know what matters (or doesn’t matter) until the rules of the game have changed. And when they do, we’re all scrambling to find a baseline again.  One of the most important elements about SEO is it helps you rank better on search engines.

Here are the five SEO recommendations that we’ve consistently seen make a positive impact in SEO’s ever-changing world.

1. Structured data matters

The short explanation of why structured data is helpful is that it tells crawlers (search engine bots) what there is within your page. If you are not familiar with this you can follow this helpful Structured Data guide to get you quickly up and running.

Structured data makes it faster and easier for crawlers from Google and other search engines to understand the information within each website page, making it a powerful (but often misused) tool. If applied correctly, it will make quite a positive impact on your pages.

2. Page freshness

Your page’s freshness is determined by multiple factors, but something as simple as having a date on a page is one of the easiest ways to indicate to Google how fresh your page is. This applies to blogs and news, but it’s also relevant for product pages related to dates, such as event sites.

If you think about page freshness from a user perspective, it’s easier to understand why it matters so much. When you obtain search results that have an old date, such as articles, depending on the subject, you might consider them less relevant than if they had a recent date. Search engines know this too and have the ability to differentiate between fresh and old content whether it has a date or not.

Another relatively easy task is to go through webpages and blog posts and make sure there are not OLD date references. Having done this for several clients we found after the update, we observed improved ranking on SERP (search engine results) results, which doubled impressions and CTR.

Page freshness matters for any industry, and while dates are helpful, your content freshness should always reflect and target what users are searching. Here are a few other things to consider if you think you may need to refresh your pages:

  • How often have you conducted keyword research in the last 18 months and updated your page’s content based on keywords results?
  • Are you featured on SERP results with dates and if so how old are these dates?
  • Luce Media’s Google Certified team can do this for you.

3. Internal linking (still matters)

The right balance of internal linking is never a straightforward answer. However, not having too many links on one page can make a positive impact.

For example, linking to all categories from your homepage could be the best user experience or the fastest way for crawlers to discover your pages but it will also impact the amount of equity the page is sending to all the pages it links to.

Balancing internal linking is definitely an important ranking factor because it will dictate how users and search engines discover your pages.

4. Title tags

Changing your title tags and finding out if they made a positive impact can be quite difficult to prove. We’ve tested this many times for clients in different industries, and changing a title has always changed (positively or negatively) the amount of sessions pages were getting.

How you change your title will depend on your page type, so there is no absolute rule on what to change a title to. Here are some ideas:

Include the year in the title, which also signals freshness. 

Here is an example I made up:

Original title: “Book a Trip to Hawaii Now | [brand name]”

Changed title: “Hawaii Trips 2019/2010 | Book Now | [brand name]”

Include the lowest product price of the page, for example:

Original title: “Cheap Flights to Hawaii – [brand name]”

Changed title: “Cheap Flight to Hawaii from $400 – [brand name]”

We also tested these following changes, which had a negative result in terms of the number of sessions:

  • Adding the number of products for sale on the page to the title tag
  • Adding emojis to the title tag

What you change your title to will depend on many factors, so a year or price might not help in your case. However, if some of your category pages have seasonal products or your industry competes heavily on prices, adding the year — or date, if applicable — or a price in the title could be quite beneficial.

5. Obtain backlinks

One thing that consistently helped our clients to obtain external links is creative pages — not shocking. These are usually interesting articles or campaigns related to the business, not commercial pages (pages that are just trying to sell something), and they end up obtaining quite a lot of coverage from different sources and, subsequently, external links.

Building successful creative pages are not easy and won’t guarantee that an increase in any specific amount of backlinks, but it’s one of the safest ways to obtain organic backlinks. The process can also be quite expensive for big pieces but we’ve also experienced a positive impact with more lightweight pieces on a smaller budget.

If your budget is on the modest side, you can still create a great piece. Here are a few tips to achieve that:

  • Think about the data you have collected and what insights it might have for users who do not have access to it: can you spot trends and patterns that could be interesting for a wider audience?
  • Surveys: you can certainly reach an audience to ask questions on a topic you want to create a piece of content for. If you can’t reach an audience for free, you can do this cheaply through paid surveys and collect your data this way.
  • Hire freelancers: there is a lot of great talent you can scout on sites like Upwork to help you create a visually enticing piece
  • Know your primary campaign goal
  • Do not expect short term — focus on the long term strategy
  • Measure results with multiple tools

Wrapping it up

If you’ve you been able to measure an impactful SEO change that consistently helped your clients, please share your experience in a comment below.

This was posted originally at: https://moz.com/blog/5-seo-recommendations

Image from Luce Media showing Google My Business logo

6 Steps to Claim and Optimize a Local Business Listing on Google My Business

For a lImage from Luce Media showing Google My Business logoocal business that wants to get discovered in search results, maintaining an accurate Google My Business listing is critical. The listing details (such as the business’ phone number, website, photos, and hours of operation) determine what information consumers see in Google Search and Maps.

Business owners need to take control of the company’s Google My Business listing to ensure up-to-date business information is displayed online. This means creating or claiming the business listing on Google My Business and optimizing the content to ensure accuracy and improve visibility.

Claim and Optimize a Google My Business Listing in Six Steps

Here are 6 Steps to claiming and optimizing a local business listing on Google My Business.

1. Search for the Business on Google

The first step is to find out if the business already has a Google My Business listing. Google often generates listings based on information available online, which may or may be fully accurate. An existing listing should be claimed so the information can be updated and kept accurate.

A simple Google search for the company name can reveal whether or not a Google My Business listing already exists. If a matching listing appears in search results, there should be a link that says “Are You the Business Owner” next to the listing. If, however, the business does not show up in search results, it’s important to create a new Google My Business listing and update it with correct information about the company.

2. Request Verification of an Existing Listing

To claim the listing, click on the “Are You the Business Owner” link. Next, sign into Google, search for the business name, and request verification. This will give you control of the listing and allow you to begin optimizing it. In most cases, Google will give you two options to verify the listing, “Mail me my code” or “Call me now.”

If the “Are You the Business Owner” button is not visible, then the listing has already been claimed. Talk to any partners, owners, or marketers involved with the business to find out who has claimed the listing. Double check if there is another Google account linked to the business. If you can’t figure out who verified the listing, you’ll have to go through Google Help to gain access.

3. Confirm Business Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)

Once the business has been verified, you can easily edit and update the business details that will show up in search results. It’s crucial that the business’ name, physical address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across the web – so the NAP data in the Google My Business listing should exactly match what’s on the business’ website.

It’s highly recommended that if you need to make changes to the listing you make those before requesting the verification from Google. If you make the request and then make a change, you’ll quite possibly have to make a second request to get the listing verified.

4. Choose a Single Business Category

Customers and search engines both prefer business’ that accurately represent themselves online. So when selecting a category for a company’s Google My Business listing, it helps to be as specific as possible. Even if the business falls under multiple categories, it’s best to select the single most relevant category to describe the products or services offered. If you aren’t sure which category is the optimal choice for a particular business, search for similar companies on Google to see what categories they’ve selected.

5. Upload Relevant Images to Represent the Business

In order to provide customers with more context in search results, Google likes to display images next to business listings. Google My Business listings with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions as well as a 32% better click-through rate to the company’s website.

If the business doesn’t upload official images, Google can display photos uploaded by the public – which can sometimes result in embarrassing mishaps for the business. Although a business can suggest a ‘preferred photo’ for search results, Google will only use the recommended photo if it truly represents the business.

Here are some tips for setting preferred photos that Google will approve:

  • Upload high-quality photos that give an accurate impression of the store location.
  • Use real pictures of products sold by the business.
  • Keep Google’s recommended file size (between 10KB and 5MB) and minimum resolution (720px tall, 720px wide) in mind.
  • Don’t use stock photos or text-based images.

6. Further Optimize the Business Listing

There are a few more ways to get the most out of a Google My Business listing, including:

  • Keeping the Business Hours Up-to-Date: Google displays hours of operation to tell consumers whether or not the business is open at the time of their search. Remember to update this information if business hours change during the holiday season.
  • Collecting More Customer Reviews: Encourage customers to leave reviews and take the time to reply when they do.
  • Adding a Description on Google+: Although businesses can no longer edit their descriptions on Google My Business, this field can still be viewed and edited on Google+.

Whether claiming an existing Google My Business listing or creating one from scratch, use the above tips to ensure accurate information shows up the next time a consumer searches. Keep customers happy, keep Google happy, and increase local visibility.

Need help claiming, creating, or optimizing a Google My Business listing? One location or one thousand, we have you covered!

This story first appeared on Advice Local

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.

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.

Ipad-DIGITAL

Social Media Strategies That Win Customers

Social media marketing for business is here to stay.  According to Moz, a well-known SEO consulting company, “72% of online adults use social networking sites.” (https://moz.com/blog/category/social-media.)  Want a crash course in social media marketing essentials?  Invest a few minutes in reading this article about social media strategies.  Discover helpful tips that can help you win customers.

  1. Use social media marketing that instantly ignites your target audience’s interests. What exactly is social media marketing (Social Media Strategies That Win Customers - Luce Media McKinney TXSMM)? Before I define what SMM is, first, think about being a kid at recess in elementary school.  That was a socializing activity.  When we acted social at playtime, we found children our own age also interested in playing marbles, swinging on the playground swings or closely examining ants marching along the ground in a column, etc. Our desire to be social and share common interests is natural in virtually every activity humans do.

When businesses engage online in SMM, marketers share messages (called content) that interest specific prospect types for that business.  So, think of being online like being on the playground back in elementary school.  You are engaging with prospective friends, but it is for business now.

For example, suppose you are a medical doctor.  You write lots of prescriptions.  To write prescriptions, you need ink pens.  Pencils will not do because graphite can be easily erased.  Since you don’t manufacture them yourself, you need someone who sells pens.

You instinctively look online for places that sell pens because for many years now businesses trained us to shop online.  Shopping is a social activity.

According to Statista (https://www.statista.com/topics/871/online-shopping/), in 2016 global e-retail sales amounted to 1.9 trillion US dollars with growth projections by 2020 increasing up to 4.06 trillion US dollars. In business, we buy and sell goods.  To effectively and successfully run a business, you must be social to let medical doctors know you sell ink pens.

The same is true for all businesses. Social media marketing is an activity you do to let a specific group of people know you have the solution to a certain problem or challenge they are experiencing.  As you socialize, you build business relationships with them.  This is done by providing content to which your target market immediately relates.

By sharing content relevant to your target audience, your company can increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.  The more your company’s brand regularly appears online in many places, (like a familiar TV show), the more you build a fan base.  The more you socially build a reputation for being a trustworthy company, the more sales you make and the longer you stay in business.

  1. Socially engage with your target market using digital marketing. What exactly is digital marketing?  Digital marketing describes online marketing activities where you share your marketing messages on mobile devices and online using emails, SMS messaging, and real-time reporting in the form of analytics.  Marketing online is electronic compared with offline marketing which commonly uses the US mails to mail marketing messages on paper, networking meetings, live public presentations, etc.
  2. Tell compelling stories using content marketing. What is content marketing? We all love to hear an interesting story.  Content marketing revolves around storytelling.  In content marketing, you share online stories through videos, blogs, and social media posts that show how your business solution changes lives for the better.

When effectively using content marketing, the messages you share connect genuinely with a targeted audience. They provide valuable information to consumers and create an eagerness to purchase company products in the future.

To see 30 examples of genius content marketing, check out this link https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/12/30-genius-content-marketing-examples-2015.html.

  1. Do’s of social media marketing
    1. Pretend you are dating when it comes to social media. Just like going on a date with somebody new, put your best foot forward.  Be genuinely friendly.
    2. Take it slow as you get to know your target audience a bit at a time. Remember, you are building a meaningful relationship with target market influencers.
    3. Look for common interests between you and your ideal prospect. Talk about those interests in your social media content.
    4. Talk about the problems associated with the common interests you share. Then, share your ideas that make those problems better.
    5. Deliver value rather than just sell your products or services. Be a business friend, but not one that is just in it for the sale.
    6. Recognize that it takes time to build relationships with new customers. Just like in dating, on the first date, you talk the things you may have in common (rather than when you’re going to get married.) Find out about each other and see if you have something in common.
    7. When commonalities are discovered, build on those commonalities. (Similar to when you learned if your ideal marble playing friend in elementary school liked to play with clearies, steelies or cats eyes marbles, etc., in marble games.  In other words, in your first Tweet, drop a nugget of information that helps your ideal prospect in some way.  Make your social media messages all about your prospect.
    8. After you write your content, promote it everywhere that’s appropriate to reach your target market.
  1. Don’ts of social media marketing
    1. Don’t spam by posting and breaking rules of the social media site.
    2. Don’t talk about features of your products/services and reasons to buy. Talk about benefits to the end user of choosing to solve his/her problem.
    3. Generally, don’t be all about the sale (unless it’s an ad)
    4. Don’t say disparaging or inappropriate things about other people. This can destroy your business reputation and credibility.
    5. Don’t misspell content. If you need to hire a professional writer, do it. If you’re just starting out and have limited marketing funds, see if you can trade services to get things done.
  1. What the statistics mean to those in business:
    1. If you are not using social networking, you are losing money. Returning to the playground example, if you were the shy kid and played alone, that doesn’t work well in business.  If you feel afraid to reach out and network, consider getting some professional counseling.
    2. If you are socially networking, are you using a social media content calendar with relevant target market topics? Get a free social media content calendar template from Hubspot here. (https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33415/The-Social-Media-Publishing-Schedule-Every-Marketer-Needs-Template.aspx

When you write content, have an end result in mind.  For example, if you are selling musical instruments to children, talk to the parents about the value of their child learning how to play a musical instrument. You could write a blog post on how playing a musical instrument develops self-discipline.  Another blog post might be about how it helps kids get over shyness.  Create a calendar of blog posts that methodically show how it helps kids in many (specific) ways.

  1. Further tips on providing meaningful social media marketing include talking about the emotional aspect of your message. People act for emotional reasons.  When you say something that makes readers FEEL, your message is meaningful.  For example, if you sell hummingbird feeders, a FEELING Tweet might be, “Love feeling amazed watching hummingbirds fly? Imagine what would happen by putting up a hummingbird feeder in your own yard.”  Compare this with a salesy Tweet, “Hurry!  Hummingbird feeders on sale now at Sally’s Lawn and Garden.7. How marketers can make relevant use of social networking to win customers.
    1. Know your target market. When you write social media messages, use the language, words, terms, and passions of your target market.  Speak to them in a way that means something to them. For example, if you sell photocopiers, and a concern for your target is saving money on copies, talk about how they can get more copies by using the toner-saving feature. Talk about what matters to your MARKET more than what matters to YOU.
    2. Provide relevant content of high perceived value to your target market. The content you provide reveals strategies, tips, tricks that make your target market’s jobs or lives easier, time-saving, satisfying. Find out what matters to your target.  Do this by listening and using their feedback. Then, genuinely show them that their interests are valid and important to you.  A great video that helps you understand their need to be validated it this brief video called Validation.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao
    3. Approach well-known target market challenges, issues and/or problems from a new, interesting, helpful angle. For example, suppose you sell sleep apnea and snoring relief products. Instead of only talking about how sleep apnea is a medical condition that could contribute to causing unwanted health issues, talk about sleep apnea and how a person’s snoring might be negatively affecting his or her relationship.  Those who snore may be unware how important it is to have sleep apnea checked out by a doctor.  But the clincher to send them to their doctor may be to reveal the benefits of a better relationship with a spouse by having it checked out.  This can all be conveyed using compelling and relevant social media marketing messages.

Content marketing in your social media messages works well to win customers.  Prospects like to hear and read testimonials, case studies and personal accounts about problems solved by using a specific product or service.  It helps build credibility and goodwill for your company products.

Lucé Media’s goal is to help small to medium-sized businesses grow new leads and sales. We offer a free social media audit. Click here to sign up and we will get to you as soon as possible.

Now that we’ve shared some tips with you, would you share yours with us?  Leave a comment about your own social media marketing strategies and successes for others to enjoy.