2018 is Right around the Corner: Here is What You Need to Know about Upcoming Social Media Trends

Social media, for all its flaws and benefits, is not going anywhere in 2018.  This is good news for businesses, even ones that are not fully taking advantage of all they can do in social media.  If you are hoping to step up your game in the new year, begin preparing now.  These predicted trends can help you put together an effective and comprehensive plan for 2018.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Social media is heading into the VR and AR realm.  The latest iPhone updates incorporate a chip that allows users to enjoy augmented reality experiences through their devices, and while the gaming world will be impacted the most by this, social media is also likely to be affected.  For instance, Instagram and Snapchat could support filters that make it possible to post selfie pictures projected via AR.  Businesses might also be able to project their products into various environments.

Speaking of Instagram, Instagram Stories will continue to make an impact in 2018.  More than 200 million people currently use the platform at the moment, and it is predicted that half of all Instagram users will be using the in-app video feature by the end of next year.  Instagram Stories is a great way to begin incorporating video into your online marketing plans.

Influencers Will Continue to Dominate

The use of influences marketing has been widely successful and its use will continue to grow in 2018.  Traditional advertising strategies struggle, but influencer marketing allows you to connect with a wider audience.

Gen Z Focus

Members of Generation Z, the oldest of whom just turned 22, will be one of the major target audiences for the first time.  These people are just entering the workforce and beginning to earn their own money, and they are open to modern forms of online advertising.  If you have not thought about ways your business can target Gen Z, now is the time.

Live Streaming

Live streaming is now a mainstream part of social media, and it is being used by both large and small businesses.  Livestreaming on Facebook and other platforms allows you to share compelling “in the moment” content and it is one of the most powerful tools available online.

Facebook is also working on a development called Spaces which is another way friends can connect through virtual reality.  And since the company owns Oculus – one of the most popular names in VR – it is no surprise theyare headed in this direction.

Want more tips to prepare for 2018? Give us a call!

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End the Year Strong with these SEO Tips from 2017

If you have felt overwhelmed by SEO you are not alone.  The average business owner has no idea where to begin and where to go once they are started on SEO unless SEO is their primary business.  And as tempting as it is to look the other way and not worry about SEO, doing so is going to cost your business.  In order to make the most of the opportunity you have online to grow your business, you need to employ a few SEO techniques.

The better understanding you have for the latest trends in SEO the better.  If you are hoping to end 2017 strong and give your business an SEO boost for the better, consider these trends:

Mobile Use

Being on the internet means being accessible to customers on their mobile devices.  There is no longer a way to “be online” and not be mobile.  Nearly three-quarters of all internet use takes place on a mobile device, so your business’s site must be a part of the mobile world.

Not only does it make it easier for people to find you when your site is mobile-friendly, it improves the odds Google will send people your way.  You need to be directly accessible when people look for your business, but you also need to make it easy for them to find you if they are just searching in your area or searching for a product or service you offer.

Searchers use one of two tools for searching: their browser search function or an app, and the majority of mobile users utilize apps, and among those, the most commonly used app is Facebook.  The best way to make the most of these app searches is to use hashtags correctly, use keywords abundantly in captions, comments, and descriptions, and geotag your business.

Voice Search

Finally, you will need to make sure your keywords are natural, especially when people are using voice search.  Think of it this way: keywords used to be phrases like “handbag brown leather”.  Nowadays, they are using voice search to look for things and saying natural phrases, such as “Where can I find a brown leather handbag?”

This should make things easier for you, but it means undoing some of what you have learned in recent years.  You will want to begin to use natural sounding search phrases, mostly in the form of a question, and think about some of the questions a person might ask that could lead them to your business’s front door.

For more tips on improving your SEO, give us a call!

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Three Ways to Improve Your Reputation Online

Many brick and mortar businesses still fail to see the power they have to improve their business through the internet.  Even if you do not actually sell anything online, it is still important for your business to have a presence online.  If you have not established yourself online or you have let others form your online reputation, you are hurting your business.

  1. Know What is Being Said about Your Biz

The first thing you need to do is begin monitoring your reputation online.  Do you even know if people are talking about your business on the internet? Is what they are saying positive or negative? Take some time to read online reviews about your business and find out what is working and what is not.

There are several sites you can check for chatter about your business.  Start with review sites, such as CitySearch and Yelp.  Next, check social media sites that offer reviews, like Facebook.  Finally, you will want to look at what is going on with Google.  Set up a Google alert for your business so you are being notified whenever something is posted about your business.

  1. Make Yourself Part of the Conversation

To boost your brand loyalty and get things moving in a positive direction, you are going to need to be a part of the conversation.  Begin by responding to the reviews left by clients.  You will want to thank reviewers for positive reviews and address the concerns raised by negative reviews.  You should view negative comments as a way to turn something bad into something good.  Every review your business receives is an opportunity to improve your online reputation.

Keep in mind, no matter the tone of a negative review, you will want to remain positive.  If someone is trying to cause trouble, simply apologize and move on.  Occasionally, you will come across people you would not be able to make happy no matter what you do.  In general, though, you will be able to make things right – publicly – when you have made a mistake.  This is a powerful opportunity that is one of the benefits to doing business in the modern age.

  1. Establish Your Expertise in Your Field

Your final step in improving your online reputation is to become an expert in your field.  The internet allows you to build a reputation as an influencer and someone to be heard in your industry.  Use your knowledge and experience to educate consumers and the general public.

If you would like more tips for boosting your online reputation or you are not sure where to begin when it comes to establishing your business online, give us a call!

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Five Mistakes You are Making with Your Blog

You have built it, but they did not come.   We are talking about your blog.   You have put together a great blog that you love, but you have only a few visitors and all too often, your blogging efforts seem like a waste of time.

First, make sure you know whether or not people are reading.   Just because they are showing up does not mean they are sticking around.   There are a few ways to tell if people who visit your blog are reading your content.   Look at how long they remain on your site.   A few seconds indicates they probably are not reading, but if people tend to spend a few minutes on a page, chances are they are.   Also look at heat maps that allow you to see where they are mousing and of course, check your comments on a regular basis.

If you have determined you have got a reader problem, you can try a few of the following things to fix the problem:

Promote Your Content

You can write the greatest blog post ever created, but if you do not tell people it exists they are not likely to read it.   Make sure you are using your social media accounts to promote your blog.   Research shows people are 40 times more effective at gaining blog visitors and eventually paying clients when they promote their blog posts on Twitter and Facebook.

Optimize

A good blog post is not just interesting and well-written, it is also optimized for search engines.   You need to make sure your content appeals to search engines, as well as to human readers.   Doing just one or the other is going to cost you readers.

Speed Things Up

If your site is too slow it is going to cost you blog readers.   Make sure everything loads quickly so visitors can get to reading as soon as possible.   Install a cache plugin, optimize and compress your images, and consider a faster web hosting provider if you are unhappy with your current one.  

Devise a Content Strategy

Make sure your blogging efforts are not just willy-nilly.   You need to appeal to your target audience.   Random posting on various topics is going to confuse readers and it’s not going to help you accomplish your goals.

Your content strategy allows you to plan your posts, and determine when and what you will be publishing on your blog.   It takes some time to create a strategy, but it is going to save you in the end.

 Make Things Interesting

Finally, make sure your blog is visually appealing.   If people arrive at your blog only to see big chunks of text and nothing else, they are going to be bored before they even begin reading.

Break up your text into chucks and include pictures that correspond to the posts.

Want more tips? Let us know!

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About to Launch an Email Marketing Campaign? Here is How to Ensure Success!

Email marketing can be one of your most powerful tools for growing your business, but there are so many businesses using email marketing yours can get lost in the shuffle.

Though it is important to grow your email list, just reaching out to the people on your list may not be enough.   Your goal is to turn your email recipients into customers, and doing so is going to take some fine tuning to your email marketing campaigns.

Here’s how:

Start by organizing your email list.   If it is been awhile, chances are there are a few accounts that have been abandoned.   By removing the inactive emails, known as segmenting, you are able to better analyze the success of your campaigns.   In addition to removing dead accounts, take some time to clean up those that are just plain wrong.   Maybe they were fake email addresses or were entered incorrectly by mistake.   Either way, get rid of them.

Now that you have a complete accurate list of recipients, make sure your emails are not ending up in their spam folders.   You can protect your emails against being marked as spam by using an HTML rich campaign that features a variety of text and imagery.   Avoid large chunks of text and make sure any text you include is formatted properly.   It can also help to encourage subscribers to mark your emails as safe.

Finally, make sure your emails are not marked as suspicious by email service providers and internet providers.   IP banning will stall your campaign’s success faster than anything else.   You can do this by having a lengthy roll out of your emails that takes place over the course of several days.   This way it does not look as if you are spamming anyone inbox.

One follow up tip: Make sure you analyze your campaigns once complete.   Actually, do not consider a campaign complete until you have done a debriefing of the campaign.   You need to know what is working and what is not so you know what to use in the future.   You will make mistakes – we all do – but knowing how to fix them or when to let something do will get you on the path to success much faster than sticking with what is not working.

The most successful email marketing campaigns do not just spring up out of nowhere.   They are the accumulation of trial and error over time.

Want more tips for using email marketing to your advantage? Give us a call!

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Local SEO Can Help Your Business Grow – Here is What You Need to Do!

Small business owners must be Jacks of all trades.   In addition to the daily operations of the business, they also need to master marketing – especially of the online variety.

Online marketing allows you to reach the world with your business’s message, but it also allows you to target potential customers locally.   This is essential for brick and mortar businesses.   After all, local customers are your bread and butter! Gone are the days when your SEO was just trying to get you to the top of search engines based on subject alone.   Now you want to reach the top with local searchers.

Here are a few tips for accomplishing this:

Make sure you are making it clear why your business is the best of all the options.   Your value statement – which should explain why someone needs to buy from you – should be unified across all your pages and sites.

Your value statement is about more than the deals you offer – it encompasses all that is important to your business.

Local Directories

Next, make sure your business information is correct and consistent.   You need to be in as many online directories as possible and people need to know when and where they can find you.   The last thing you want is someone out there wanting to do business with you, only to be confused about how to contact you.

You can manually add your business to all of the directories yourself (or hire someone to do it for you), or you can choose a software solution that blasts your information to a number of sites.   We will help you take care of this if you are not sure what to do next.

Social Media

Using social media is an essential part of local SEO.   You should be posting to social media no less than one time per week.

A social media schedule can help you stay on top of posts and ensure your posting is consistent.   It is also important to make sure you post a variety of things, including links to interesting information or to videos you have created.

Reviews

Reviews are your way of letting search engines know people are talking about you.   Make sure you are encouraging customers to give you reviews on the various review sites online.   The more attention generated to your business the better.

Links

Links from other related businesses can also be a great way to boost local SEO.   Ask for links from your local Chamber of Commerce or from other area businesses.   And if possible, see if you can get some online media attention.   Sometimes local magazines like to interview business owners about their role in the community.

For more tips on boosting local SEO, give us a call!

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Want to Boost Your Landing Page Conversion Rate? Try This!

Your landing page plays a major role in marketing plan and it needs to be specifically targeted.   Unfortunately, all of the effort many business owners put into their landing pages – the copy, the headlines, all of the other content – is wasted because visitors do not understand the layout.   Instead of the goals you have set out to achieve, visitors to your page are confused and they never convert into customers.

How do you change this?

First, make sure your landing page appeals to all visitors.   More and more these days people are using mobile devices to reach your landing pages, and if your page is not optimized for mobile, you are missing out.   You need a responsive design that loads properly and makes sense when customers arrive at the page on-the-go.

Next, try a heat map to cut down on distractions.   A heat map is a tool that tracks how someone moves around a page.   This will let you see specifically how people interact with your page, and whether or not portions of it are not working.   Make sure your call to action attracts attention and pay attention to the parts of your copy that are attracting the most attention.   These things can help you make decisions and future choices for your page.

In addition to all the things your page needs, you might also need to eliminate a few things.   If you are asking for too much, you are overwhelming visitors and you would not be able to complete the sale.

In most cases, a name and email is a good ask.   Expanding your request to include address, phone number, or anything else tends to drive visitors away.   Only ask for what you absolutely need to build your relationship with landing page visitors.

Enhancing your content is also a good idea.   In addition to the written word,  you can share images and video with landing page visitors.   This allows you to reach the visual learners who are not likely to read the text you have posted.

Videos are also a great way to make a major impact on visitors, and in many cases, they are more likely to get shared with others.   Even a short video of a minute or less can generate a great deal of attention for your landing page.

Finally, make sure you include testimonials from happy customers on your landing page.   This allows you to share social proof from people who have experience with your business.   It is one of the best ways to say “these people were pleased with my business and you will be too. ”

For more information or to lean what you can do to increase your conversion rate from your landing page, give us a call!

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How to Relocate Your Business – Online

Moving a business is one of the most overwhelming experiences you will have as a business owner. Despite all the work, though, it can be one of the most significant signs your business is growing and heading in the right direction.

The good news is once your move is complete, you can settle into the new location and get back to what you do best. But what about the virtual aspects of your move? What do you need to take into account when moving and your business is online?

Updating Contact Info

Begin with a review of what is out there. Check your site’s contact page, as well as the header and footer to make sure the information has been updated. Make sure all mentions of your previous address have been removed from your site and that the up-to-date information is consistent across your entire site.

Update Google

Once your site is updated, head over to Google. Some people compare this to changing your address with the post office when you move. Google controls how traffic reaches your site and your business, so you want to make sure it has the information it needs to send them in the right direction. You can begin your updates on Google My Business, and then go through the verification process so Google knows for sure the change is legitimate.

Update Social Media

Your third step is to update your social media information. You can share news of your move and let everyone know your new location via social media. It is also important to share information about your move with your email list. Consider a special edition of your newsletter or add a blurb about the move in your next mailing.

Clear Up Loose Ends

Finally, you will want to make sure online directories have the updated information. It might seem as if it is a lot of work to check every directory, but if someone finds incorrect information about your company that is outdated, you will likely lose them as a customer.

For more information or help updating your location information online, give us a call!

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How Google My Business’s Post Tool Can Help Your Business Grow

Google My Business can be a powerful tool to help you promote your business and one of the latest features is the post tool. It makes it possible to post an update that displays as part of your Google listing, which is the box appearing to the right of the search results.

How can this be valuable to your business?

First, it makes it possible to pass information to Google. Up-to-date info about your business improves your SEO and increases the likelihood clients will interact with you. In addition to all of the other information you are able to share via Google My Business – hours of operation, type of business, etc. – the post tool allows you to share daily happenings within your business.

The post tool makes your listing timelier and can literally include anything about your business. Whatever you deem most relevant on a given day or week can be featured when you use the post tool. In addition to the information included, your post can also include an action button that links back to your site. Anyone who searches for your business will see this information.

What Can You Share with the Post Tool?

  • Upcoming events
  • Changes within your business
  • New research about your industry
  • Media features

If there is anything important that’s going on with your business – and even if there is none – you can update with the post tool to share it with your audience.

If you have not already, it is time to claim your Google My Business listing. Make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date. Once you are sure everything is in order, you can begin using the posts tool. Do not overwhelm yourself by coming up with something new to post every day. You can work your way up to regular posting on a daily or weekly basis, but first you will just want to get comfortable using the tool.

If you would like assistance with the post tool or you need to set up your Google My Business listing, give us a call.

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Want to Increase Your Reviews on Google and Facebook? Here is How to Make It Happen!

Reviews on platforms like Google and Facebook are essential to your business’s success. But how do you increase the number of reviews you have so you can benefit as much as possible?

For many business owners, the priority for getting reviews is pretty low.   They know they should have reviews and they would love it if more customers would leave them reviews, but they have done little to nothing to ensure it happens.

If you are hoping to increase the number of Google and Facebook reviews you get, these three tips will help:

#1 Ask

It is as simple as it sounds.   If you want more reviews all you need to do is ask for reviews.

Asking for reviews automatically increases the number you are receive.   But if you really want to see a surge in reviews, there is a certain way you need to ask.

Present your request to potential reviewers as a way to help them be more helpful to others.   Before asking for the review, as them if they want to be helpful or if they consider themselves helpful.   You can even do this when you make the sale.

The moment the sale is complete, ask if a customer considers him or herself helpful, and then let them know you will be requesting a review.   You are getting a commitment from someone that is told you they already want to help.

#2 Make the Review Process as Easy as Possible

You can make getting a review easier by automating the process.   Automating the review process using software of another tool makes it easier for the reviewer and makes it easier for you to stay on top of your review program.   Having an automated process is a surefire way to increase your reviews – sometimes by as much as 200% or more.

#3 Spread the News

Make sure you are using your social media channels to share your reviews.   People are more likely to like you if other people are saying they like you.   This is how you build a strong fan base and make sure as many people as possible know that others are happy with your services or products.   Sharing reviews via social media also helps you grow your online presence and ensures search engines will take notice of your company.

It is also a good idea to include those positive reviews in your newsletters or other communications with customers.   The more people know others are saying great things about your business, the more likely they are to want to do business with you.

Want more tips? Give us a call!

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