Posted by: Floridadude | April 17, 2014

What Is Your Social Media Strategy For Your Business?

OK, so you are familiar with Social Media as a platform and you know you need it to get your branding out there to the masses.  Great.  But how are you going to do it?  What is your game plan?  How are you going to win?  While there are many with the old phrase “It worked for me!” how a small business markets their brand depends on many variables.  There are however a few key and simple plan of action items you can embrace.  Here are a few tips I have come across and have engaged as best practices with my clients.

  • How old is your customer base?  You have to know your demographics that you are trying to sell to.  If your client base are baby boomers, they probably like Facebook.  Believe it or not though, teens are not so much on Facebook much anymore but are really loving Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat. Know your demographics and make sure you have a presence there.

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Posted by: Floridadude | April 5, 2014

Making Your Marketing More Milennial

Ah, those young people and some of those “out of touch” small business.  Why isn’t your marketing strategy not working?  Well as they would say, “Well Duh!!” Milennials  are social and everything they do is digital.  They are connected digitally with their friends, family, and their shopping habits.  Are you marketing your brand digitally?  Are you advertising digitally?  Are you using social media to get your name out there?  Did you know 57% of milennials tell their friends about their purchases via digital connections?  (text, Facebook, ect.)  44% show a picture of their purchases via their cell phones.( Mooslyania Digital Survey)  So if you are sitting on your duff marketing via the “Old Skool” frame of the Sunday Newspaper and a coupon here and there now you know why those “youngsters” are not seeing your digital store front.

Millennials  expect your business to be up front and personable with them.  They want to see your business on their cell phones, their social media platforms and they want to interact with you.  They want to ask questions from the comfort of their home, the café, at the bar they like to hang out before even stepping foot into your establishment.  Times have changed.  One other point that Mooslyania brought out that is not too “Old Skool” yet is emails.  Millennials still like to get emails from stores  they buy from.  40% of them as a matter of fact.  While some say even emails are dying on the vine, this proves otherwise.  The average person looks at their cell phone 150 times a day.  Social Media is alive and well as are emails.  Welcome to the real world.

Posted by: Floridadude | March 23, 2014

Why Your Social Media Strategy Is Failing Your Business

OK, so you got your Facebook landing page up. That Twitter Account is rolling.  You even posted a few Instagram Videos.  You spent time, maybe even invested in assigning an employee to mange your social media.  So where are all the customers?  Why isn’t anyone interacting with my business? Is anyone even out there?  Putting your brand out there and expecting instant results takes more than just creating the platforms.  It does take work.  It also takes interaction and response.  Here are a few reasons why you be failing to attract new customers or clients.

1.  Advertising or interacting? Social Media overall is not the place to advertise your business.  While maybe running a coupon or announcing an upcoming event is OK here and there, your platforms are to engage your client base about relevant events such as new products or services  that may relate or effect what you provide.  Create interaction with your streams on social media but do not make it an advertising wall.  It turns people away.

2.  Updating your content?  How often to you go to your platforms and update your content or answer your followers questions?  You should check in daily or at the very least, several times a week and add or respond to your followers.  To say “We are on Facebook or Twitter” just to say you are on there without doing anything is really a waste of your time and your followers and gives a very poor representation of your brand.

3.  Social Media means being social.    Make your content to where it will create conversation or be forwarded on to others.  This helps with your analytics and branding being spread out there in cyber space.

4.  Autopost or not to autopost.  Using software like Hoot Suite or similar is great and I am guilty of this as much as the next person.  We get busy.  However it is always good to try to individualize or at the very least check in on your individual platforms and make them personal by adding unique posts and respond to your followers.  Your email can be set up to where someone responded to your post so you can at least answer them or say “thanks” for forwarding your post.

5.  Responding?  Are you responding to posts?  Someone asks you something or  says something negative are you responding?  You must.  If they say something negative about your business answer them.  Don’t delete and say stick it buddy.  They have a reason and they need addressed.

6. Tracking and gaining followers.  Use analytics to track your ROI.  Social Media within itself is a part of your business strategy.  We don’t  do it for fun or because the younger generation is doing it.  We do to market our brand.  Track your time and investment and see how it is growing your business.  As my title says.  If it is not you are doing something wrong. 9 of 10 times it is because you don’t put any effort into it.  If you don’t have the time, hire or appoint someone within your staff to manage it or take your platforms down until you do have the time.  Having dead space is worse than having something there just because my competition does.  Use Google analytics or something similar to track your activity.  It is just the same as websites I see of businesses that are nothing more than a place holder.  No fresh content, the staff pictures are outdated, the business has moved or remodeled and their website has content from 5 years ago.  Would you do business there?   Same with your social media.  Be fresh, be responsive, and don’t use your platforms as a “big sale” advertising gimmick. Good luck.

We have all been there.  The customer is not happy.  They want your product or service discounted or even free.  So when is saying you are really sorry appropriate?  Is the customer as the saying goes, “Always right?”  We do not like bad feelings, bad press, or with today’s social media, a blast saying don’t do business with so and so because they shafted me.  Many times we do owe an apology because we did in fact screw up.  We missed the boat.  An employee did something wrong, the product was defective, the service was performed wrong, we did not smile right, it could be a number of things.  In this competitive world, we have to sometimes save face and take the loss and say we are sorry. How can I make this up to you?

Then you have the typical customer out there who is always looking for a freebie, a law suit, or anything to capitalize off you.  They make their living at it and you just got picked today.  In my research and past experience in business, here are some simple tips for you to kick around.

1.    Is the customer’s demands reasonable?  If you find the complaint small or within your company’s policy then by all means fix it.  If not, telling them you are sorry is not needed.  You did the service or sold the product to the best of your and the companies’ ability.

2.  Always take time to understand the complaint and tell the customer you will look into it if it does not involve you directly.  Maybe the complaint is an afterthought or does not even involve you or your business directly.  Third parties sometimes cause the complaint. Just caring sometimes will fix the complaint.

3.  If you get someone like I mentioned above, Mr. or Miss  “I want this for free by golly I will sue you to get it!” then you need to also be firm and contact your legal team and many times, a simple letter from them to your irate customer will calm the waters fast.  It may cost you some money but your reputation and your brand is worth the damage control with these type of people.   Remember, social media is world-wide and one bad rap can go viral in a hurry.  You need to ask yourself. “How important is my reputation and my business?” A few hundred bucks here is well spent.

Posted by: Floridadude | March 1, 2014

Tweeting On Twitter For Customer Loyality

Twitter is a  business social media tool.  If you do not think that, think again.  If you are using it for your business, are you taking full advantage of the capabilities of Twitter?  Here are a few tips on using Twitter to engage your customer base and perhaps add to that.  Twitter as well as other social media platforms are an extension of your brand.  You may have set office or store hours but social media is your marketing arm that is open 24-7 365 days of the year.  When you are not there, it should be selling for you.  Let’s get to my points.

Photos:  Twitter now allows photos. Using interesting eye-catching photos will draw attention to your tweets.  Make them fun but not stupid. Don’t make them overbearing either like “Buy Now!” Use them to show your brand or for “inside” events. Allow interaction with your followers as they may want to know more about the photo.

Reply:  You get tweets with questions or comments, take time to reply.  Yes I am guilty of this sometimes but if you pick up followers, follow back.  You get a nice comment, thank them.  You get a question, answer them.  This builds rapport

Don’t blab on and on:  Twitter max characters are 140.  Keep your posts to that or less. Attention span today with social media is less than 3 seconds under most cases, especially with young followers.  They don’t care nor have the time to read all your stuff. Try to keep it short

The “Other Guys”:  Follow what your competition is doing.  If you sell widgets, see who else is selling widgets in your market area.  If they have 500 followers and you have 75,  you need to get on the ball and figure out what they are doing right and what you are doing wrong.

The Technical Stuff:  Learn how to use the tools of Twitter.  Consider adding HootSuite  so you can automate your tweets.  It is free or you can move up to the business paid platform.  Learn to use # hash tags to broaden your “hits” on your tweets.  Learn to use the . (period) to allow all your followers to see your tweets instead of the @ symbol which is a single reply. (Unless you really want to just reply to one follower obviously)

Good luck with Twitter and I hope these points were of value to you!

Posted by: Floridadude | February 15, 2014

Getting Your Brand Out With Social Media and On-Line Services

You may be already using the main 3 for social media (Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, but there are other resources out there that you may be missing.  Social Media is more than creating a site and then sitting back and watching. You have to interact, respond to posts, and keep your content fresh. Having platforms means maintaining them .  Besides the above mentioned platforms, I would like to share with you, some others that you may have overlooked that will help with your branding and marketing efforts.

Google +-  Google Plus is popular for business social media.  While the growth of Goggle + has leveled in the past few months, it is still a popular social media platform for having your circle of friends or business associates.  Google+ is also great for video conferencing. You may have a Google + page set aside for you as well you don’t even know it. Google your business and see. If it comes up, simply claim it set up your admin rights for it. If you need to create your site, make it business friendly and also attractive for people searching for you so they will stop and visit. Don’t forget all your local important details about location, phone, address, ect.   You can also use Google Alerts, another service, to monitor what people are saying about your business such as service or product reviews you are offering.

Besides Google +, there are some other on-line services (not necessarily social media) that can help with your branding and business.  Yahoo, Bing, and some others offering free business listings.  As to their effectiveness, there have been mixed reactions as to the search clicks they generate.   If you really want to seriously track who visit your web page or your listings, you can purchase SEO tracking software such as Spyglass.   My last suggestion and again, how effective they are has led to mixed reviews is YP. (yellow pages digital)  With hard copies phone books almost a thing of the past, Yellow Pages is now on-line and as a business. you should  list with them.  Google or Bing search is probably the two most popular search engines but using YP brings right to the business and their information.

In summary, only you know your business and how it’s brand needs to stand out to your customers. Make maximum use of what is out there in social media and search platforms.  Keep content fresh and updated and pay attention to posts and reviews about your business. It can only help you get better and increase your profit!

 

Posted by: Floridadude | February 1, 2014

Getting Your Marketing Moving in 2014

A little under the weather this week so going to keep this blog short.  I have spoken before about most business owners try to a one man show when it comes to their marketing or social media.  A recent study showed over 75% of small business owners were not well versed on how to apply or manage digital marketing or content.  Too many were trying to do it all.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging and still run a business. While it may be a control issue or you just don’t trust anyone else with talking about your brand, here are 3 tips to help you manage your digital marketing if you are the only go-to guy or gal.

1.  Make sure you block your time. Do not procrastinate. Not a good idea. Start your project and do a little at a time and as you get into it, your desire to engage in the project will grow.  Set a daily task goal of what you want to accomplish.

2. Surf the web for Content help.  There is a lot of support and information you can tap about your products or services you offer.  Other business owners with similar marketing ideas will post blogs or forums about concepts and you can use those to help you. Also local groups offer ideas and tools which you use to boost your marketing efforts.

3.  Automate.  I have talked about this before and there are various automation tools out there to allow you to pre-program your digital media efforts.  Tools such as Hoot Suite, email auto responders such as Mail Chimp, and others can help make your digital campaign marketing so much simpler.  Give these tips a try and best of luck!

Posted by: Floridadude | January 11, 2014

How To Make YouTube Videos Work For You

I have had previous discussions that video is going the be the “Go To” platform in Social Media. YouTube is fast becoming one of those platforms. With 1080p video available from your smart phone and free downloadable apps to edit them, most people with any common sense can upload a video and get hundreds of hits.  So the question is, “Why can’t I do that?”  Why do some go viral and get millions while others don’t get squat.  When it comes to marketing, going viral is not so much important  over the fact you have the right content and you are reaching your target audience.  While it is exciting to go viral many videos that are doing that have nothing to do with business but are silly or funny videos that some kid made. Not all are that but don’t concentrate on viral videos but quality and getting your message out.

Some simple tips to do quality YouTube videos are found right within YouTube.  Use a good title, allow people to rate your video if you wish and enable sharing. Link your videos to your Facebook landing page or your website.  Feel free to link your videos via texts or emails. Create a YouTube channel and keep your videos on a channel line up. (You simply need a gmail or google+ account)  The bottom line is promote, promote, and promote.

As far as the production itself, keep it short and sweet.  Try and shoot and upload in HD. (minimum 720p)  Today’s viewer attention span is very short.  I suggest a two to maybe a 3 minute video but no more.  If you are not throwing up a cell phone video that is “self descriptive”, make sure you have a script that tells what is happening at the beginning and a cool ending. Add music and a good narrative.  Have your contact info as well.  Know your target audience. It has to be entertaining, engaging, and offer the viewer a reason to watch. You must capture them in the first 5 seconds or forget it. A boring video goes nowhere.  You can spend thousands with a production company and still come up with nothing. If you chose to do your videos yourself remember this. Good production, good script, be entertaining, and don’t expect your first few videos to be academy award winners.  Allow time to develop a following. If you get negative comments, embrace that and learn from it.  Today’s viewers are critics but they also are the ones spending time trolling for videos. If it gets to you, block allowing comments but you won’t learn how to improve. Best of luck on your YouTube Videos!

We have all seen the recent changes to video apps in the latter part of 2013.  Vine, Instagram, Social Cam among others have seen surges in their apps. Times, they are a changing.  Social Media is becoming for visual.  Instagram however has become the King of Video. Vine you may say has settled in as it’s Queen.   Both have had their moment in the spotlight but Instagram has become more mainstream , more profitable, and more versatile.  As more use social platforms for telling their short 30 to 60 second stories, Instagram will skyrocket in 2014.  We are a visual society now.

As for the battle between Vine and Instagram, I think Twitter will settle on Instagram to be used in its mix as  Facebook  (who owns Instagram) has allowed pictures from Twitter to be now used  in full without having to link to it. Cutting each other’s profit throats is not going to be the solution.  Video will surge as a marketing tool.  We can also talk YouTube here as well. Besides the other video apps, YouTube will continue to grow as a content marketing tool for showing video. I would be remiss without mentioning  SnapChat.  This up and coming app also has emerged as a player in video but at the moment lacks marketing and advertising resource tools due to the nature of the videos going to selected groups, its length, and the capability of being removed. Some fine tuning and changes of SnapChat could however, make this app competitive with Instagram and Vine.  Keep your visual eyes tuned to the video walls in 2014 and see the changes about to unfold in 2014 as we move from print to visual content!

Posted by: Floridadude | November 28, 2013

Using Google+ For Your Business

Google + is fast becoming a legitimate Social Media platform for small business.   First, just being a product of Google within itself makes it a powerful tool.  The SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities of having a Google + account is huge.  While it is still not the #1 Social Media platform, it is gaining popularity.  So if you do not have a Google + account for your business, you should.  Here are some quick tips for getting your business up and running on Google Plus.

First you do need to establish a “Gmail account which not only gets you a Google Plus site but also links you to You tube. ( you should have that as well for your business but that is another topic all in itself.)  Next, complete your business “about page” Make sure you use keywords in your tagline so Google’s powerful search engine finds your business.  Make your introduction strong and make sure to link your other platforms such as your website.  Do not forget your contact information as well.  You may want to also connect with Google Local Pages This allows your customers to see where you physically are and your business overview and hours of operation.

The next items is building and marketing.  This includes making great content, sharing that content with your other Social Media platforms, and promoting the same.  As mentioned before, keywords, especially with Google search engines is so important.  Make sure you use keywords that promote your product or services.  Use hash tags.  If you are not familiar with that click on my link.  That # sign actually allows links to what you offer for more information.  This is all about sharing your content. Develop circles within your Google + account. Just like Facebook or Twitter, Google + allows you to add circles or business associates and friends.   Finally, promote your page via links, talking with your fellow businesses, or using Google Hangout.  This cool feature allows video interaction as well as live chat.   Check out Google + and good luck with this exciting platform.

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