I had the pleasure of speaking at the Imagination Network of Wisconsin meeting in Fond du Lac, WI on Tuesday, September 10th. It was an incredible opportunity to speak to a room full of entrepreneurial-minded individuals eager to learn more about social media marketing! I enjoyed learning about all the different businesses and answering lots of great social media questions. Here is a recap of what was discussed…
Marketing Has Changed
The way businesses market their products and services have changed dramatically over the last five years. In the good old days, a business would have a listing in the Yellow Pages, advertise in the local newspaper, send direct mail, and purchase radio and television advertising in an attempt to improve business. Well, fast forward a few years… when was the last time you picked up the Yellow Pages to find a business or sat through a commercial on TV? People no longer want to be interrupted with information that they may not be interested in. We now have DVRs, TiVo, satellite radio, and caller id. Although “outbound marketing” is still important to create brand awareness, not only is it very expensive, but it has its limitations due to new technology.
According to John Jantsch, the author of Duct Tape Marketing, the definition of marketing is: “Getting someone who has a need, to know, like, and trust you. That’s it!” Consumers want to make an educated decision before they make a purchase. You earn their trust through “inbound marketing” tactics such as:
- Social media
Since we had a limited amount of time, the Imagination Network members requested to learn more about what makes a good Facebook page, how blogging could improve their business, and some basic do’s and don’ts of each.
Exceptional Facebook Pages
I chose to show two businesses that are doing an excellent job with their marketing efforts on their Facebook page.
The first page was Earthegy (https://www.facebook.com/Earthegy). Here are some of the positive aspects of their page:
- Great cover photo image that changes on a consistent basis
- Impressive use of apps and thumbnail images below the cover photo
- Included their website and keywords in the “About” section
- Lots of recommendations from happy customers
- The ability to shop right from Facebook using an iFrame app https://apps.facebook.com/iframehost/
- Strong fan engagement. They have numerous “Likes” and comments. They respond rapidly to their fan comments.
- They entice fans to sign up for their email mailing list, by promising exclusive sales by using a Constant Contact app.
- They offer daily specials with a strong call-to-action, telling their fans where to purchase.
Down to Earth Garden Center
Down to Earth Garden Center has two garden centers located in Eau Claire and Cadott, WI (https://www.facebook.com/downtoearthec). Here is what they are doing well on their Facebook page:
- Beautiful cover photo that changes with the seasons
- Great use of photographs
- Timely posts related to the growing season
- They use their Facebook page to promote free classes
- Use of humor with the pictures
- Promote store sales and Facebook only sales
- Exceptional use of giveaways. For every 100 Facebook fans they receive, they give away a $100 gift card
- Offer other contests such as a “caption this photograph” contest
Poorly Done Facebook Pages
I showed two examples of poorly done Facebook pages. One of the pages was guilty of over posting. They posted six times in one day. I recommend posting to your Facebook page a minimum of once per day with a maximum of twice per day. The second page I shared was guilty of not posting at all. The last time they posted was in February.
A Few Facebook Tips
- Respond to comments and posts by fans.
- It shouldn’t be all about YOU! Add value! Do NOT be overly promotional.
- Post interesting and valuable content! 10:1Rule: Ten posts of value to one promotion.
- KISS. “Keep It Short & Simple.” Posts with less than 80 characters get more shares.
- Facebook Hashtags. Test out a maximum of 1-2 hashtags per post. Do not include hashtags in every post. Start testing on your Page and see what engagement looks like for posts with hashtags versus posts without hashtags.
- Calls-to-action….What do you want your fans to do? “Like” your post? Come to your restaurant? Go to your website?
Blogging for Business: How Content Can Improve Your Sales
Educational content on your business blog can help improve your sales. Here are a few reasons how:
- Shortens the sales cycle
- When you answer questions your customers have, you become trustworthy. When you share helpful content it builds trust; trust equals leads; and leads equal sales!
- Forces you to stay up to date with new technology in your industry.
- You become better at explaining things in a way the consumer can clearly understand. (In other words, you become a better teacher.)
Do’s and Don’ts of Blogging
- Do: Be Real.
- Don’t: Be stuffy, dull and use business jargon. A blog isn’t a lecture hall or a billboard (i.e., one-way or solely self-promotional), but is ideally a place for people who are hungry for good information to find you and start to see you as a reliable and trustworthy resource.
- Do: Blog often. Find an optimal posting schedule that works for you. The more you post on your blog, the more traffic you’ll attract.
- Do: Focus on posting quality content consistently and constantly. Establish an editorial calendar that helps you plan for future articles and topics.
- Do: Set reasonable deadlines. If you know you can’t publish daily, don’t establish that as your goal.
- Don’t: Publish junk just to keep up with your calendar. It’s better to miss a post than to post gibberish.
- Do: Keep the Four E’s in mind when writing your blog posts: Educate, Entertain, Engage, and Enrich.
- Do: Mix it up to ensure your message is delivered in the way that your ideal reader wants to consume it.
- Do: Create scannable content. Break up your content with shorter paragraphs, headings and bullets.
- Do: Add images and incorporate video.
- Create an engaging title
- Include a number in the title
- Use long-tail keywords (3 – 4 words together) in your title, in the post, and in your meta description. (See the free keyword research tools below.)
- End the blog with a call-to-action such as: “email or call me, sign up for my newsletter, click on this link, comment.”
- Be passionate about your subject/topic. It is okay be controversial or start a debate!
- Understand your audience! Remember, your readers are thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Consider the problems they are facing.
- Write at the level of your reader.
- Be consistent. Have a schedule. Commit to the process of blogging.
- Focus on quality instead of quantity.
- Be patient. Success will not happen overnight
- You need to network – repurpose your content as many places as possible (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and email).
- Comment frequently on other blogs & LinkedIn groups
- KISS. Your blog should be “long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to make it interesting!” I would suggest around 300 words if you are blogging frequently.
- Engage with those who take the time to comment
- Know your goals. What are you looking for? Comments? Store or website traffic? More paying customers?
Free Keyword Research Tools
- Google Keyword Planner. Combines Google Keyword Tool and the AdWords Traffic Estimator. https://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home?__u=6296326586&__c=5448562826
- KeywordSpy. www.keywordspy.com
- Bing Keyword Research Tool. http://www.bing.com/toolbox/keywords
- WordStream Free Keyword Tool. http://www.wordstream.com/keywords
- Ubersuggest. ubersuggest.org
- Suggestions: Google, Bing, and Yahoo
Do you have questions regarding your social media marketing efforts? Contact me at 715-577-8745 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to help!
Imagination Network is an Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club that is open to all and meets every second Tuesday of the month at the Elks Lodge, 33 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac, WI. It’s a great way to connect with and learn from peers and other resources in a fun, supportive environment. Relaxed mingling begins at 5pm along with dinner and drinks available for order. The meeting starts at 6pm and usually lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours.