The Essentials of Facebook Marketing

Facebook can be a valuable social media platform for personal service/products oriented businesses. But only if you use it strategically.
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It’s About Inquisitiveness and Boredom

I have to admit that I hate Facebook, its fake news, its business practices, its destruction of democracy, and most everything it represents. I dislike the type of people that are obsessed with it. Like nicotine and heroin, it is an addictive product. However, in business, you are not necessarily out to do what you like to do. You are out to help your customers and fellow man.
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So I am still (however reluctantly) writing this post about Facebook marketing. It is useful for some small businesses, especially those that provide personal services. And it is especially relevant for those who target hobby, gardening, household, fashion, exercise, and entertainment activities. Although for these I recommend their less evil sister Instagram.
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Graphic of why people use Facebook.

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Listening for the Passion

Not many professionals use Facebook for development or product research. If you are going to reach them, you will do so tangentially while they are using the platform for personal reasons.
Listen to what your fans are posting and sharing so you can discover their interests. You want to use emotion invoking strategies to tie your content into your fans passions.
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Entertaining is the Ticket

While Twitter is more of a communications platform and more mobile friendly, Facebook is more of an entertainment platform for small business. It is also heavily skewed toward use on mobile devices. Your website must be mobile friendly if you want your Facebook fans to visit the content you promote from there.
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Facebook is more shallow than most social media platforms. Most users are not there to be enlightened or educated. They are there to keep up with their friends and gossip. It is celebrity-oriented. Your content must be entertaining if you want to cut through the fluff and nonsense that makes up most of your fans’ timelines.
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Notifications are not quite as critical as they are for Twitter. Still, you may want to set them up. Go to settings and select how you want to be notified of your notifications.
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Driving Traffic to your Website

In an earlier post about blog posts, I noted that building significate traffic to your site via content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The same goes for social media, and Facebook is no exception. In fact, doing it via Facebook marketing is more challenging and less rewarding than other social media platforms for most small B2B firms. You need to use Facebook smartly and strategically to succeed.
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You need to answer questions, demonstrate your expertise, solve problems, inform and more.
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Promote evergreen content from your site. You want your fans to trust your content judgment and value the original content you post. That will make them more likely to click through to your site and give you a chance to convert them into customers of your products and services.
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For better or worse Facebook is now a “pay to play” platform when it comes to small business marketing. At best only 2 – 5% of your page’s fans will organically see your posts in their timelines. If you want traffic to your site, you need to hand Facebook some of your cash.
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Acquiring Fans

Here are some tips and strategies for gaining fans:
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  • post great content.
  • use relevant #hashtags.
  • make sure you have a follow button on your website.
  • make sure you have share buttons on your website’s pages and posts.
  • guest post content on other companies pages that offer complimentary products or services to yours.
  • have links to your Facebook page on your other social accounts, in your email marketing, and in your email signature.
  • swap promotional posts with other companies pages that offer complimentary products or services to yours.
  • have experts in your niche answer questions from your fans in a special Q&A session.
The more you post, the more users you will get to like your page. Posting great, shareable content with strategic #hashtags is paramount to success. You will also need to share quality content via curation. There is more on that below.
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Setting up your Facebook Company Page

To optimize your page:
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  • fill out your entire profile.
  • make sure your images are the appropriate size and compelling.
  • have informative content in the about section.
  • use appropriate tabs and strategically sort them.
  • activate your CTA Button.
  • add apps as needed.

Types of Posts

Continue reading “The Essentials of Facebook Marketing”

The Essentials of a Twitter Marketing Strategy

Twitter is a fantastic tool for learning and sharing knowledge that benefits both you and your customers.

It’s About Knowledge

Like several social media platforms, the content on Twitter contains a fair amount of nonsense. A large part of its traffic involves commenting on television during live broadcasts and streaming. Politicians and “celebrities” can vaingloriously spout off about themselves. And it’s not immune from mean-spirited trolls.

Yet, it is still a valuable tool for small businesses like yours. You will benefit most from using it to get and spread knowledge. In reality, Twitter is more of a news platform than a social platform. Most people are readers, not tweeters.

How can you make the most of these potential benefits? Start implementing your Twitter marketing strategy by doing the following three things.

Listening to your Prospects

Social media is perfect for listening to your prospects and current customers/clients. People are not shy about venting on Twitter. They feel free to be more forthright because they can have an anonymous username.

It will be easy to see the frustrations and problems your customers struggle with daily. Paying attention to their tweets will give you the knowledge you need to develop and promote products that solve their problems.

Pay attention to what people are tweeting. Pay special attention to what they are favoriting and retweeting as well as who they are following. Follow your prospects’ influencers yourself.

Whether you use Twitter to market your business or not, it is a good way to educate yourself about your industry and customers. Take advantage of it.

Communicating with your Customers

Twitter is a mobile-oriented platform versus a desktop-oriented one. This makes it a great tool for communication.

Some businesses, especially those in consulting or tech, use Twitter to communicate with prospects and clients. It is very useful for customer service communications. Be sure to set up notifications for when you are mentioned in a tweet so you can reply within an hour. Set them up for new followers, retweets, and favoriting as well.

Driving Traffic to your Website

Like your blog, building significant traffic to your site from social media is a marathon. There’s no instant fix. Like email, you should never buy followers.

While it is a bit of a vanity metric, you will need to acquire followers on Twitter. To gain followers, you will need to share quality content. The best way to do this is via curation. There is more on this below.

Similar to your blog content, your Tweets should demonstrate your expertise. Answer questions. Solve problems, inform and even entertain your followers.

Be sure to share the evergreen content on your blog consistently. If your followers value the content you tweet, they will trust your judgment and visit your site’s content as well.

Acquiring Followers

@Buffer has shared ten effective ways to gain followers.

The more you tweet, the more followers you will gain. All the advice in this graphic is valuable. But posting great, shareable content and using #hashtags are critical.

Types of Tweets

Continue reading “The Essentials of a Twitter Marketing Strategy”

Why Social Selling is the best selling

Social media platforms are the third pillar of your content marketing strategy. And they are a fluid pillar, evolving daily.

Bring the Rain

The social platforms your business should use will depend on your industry, your business, and most importantly your customers.

You will need to go where your customers and prospects are engaging with social media. Our other posts look at individual platforms. But, a common thing you will do with all of them is engage in social selling. It is the tactic that can make your sales team into Rainmakers.

Hubspot has a good definition of social selling:

Social selling is when salespeople use social media to interact directly with their prospects. Salespeople will provide value by answering prospect questions and offering thoughtful content until the prospect is ready to buy.

Social media is also where your sales team will find and research prospects. They can initiate a relationship and nurture it through the sales cycle.

As you know, relationships are at the heart of any sales success. Social selling just lets you develop them at scale.

How is social media different from the other pillars of content marketing? Contently has a good explanation:

…social is inherently spontaneous, while content tends to be carefully crafted before it’s set loose upon the world. Social tends to be reactive; content, on the other hand, sparks conversation. And, finally, content is generally made by an experienced creative professional: a writer, designer, video producer, etc. Social? Not so much.

Social media is where your team members (that are not your content producers) can help your marketing efforts. However, they will be posting and sharing on their individual social media accounts, not your company accounts. And they should have separate accounts for business as opposed to personal accounts.

However, they will be posting and sharing on their individual social media accounts, not your company pages. And they should have separate accounts for business in addition to their personal ones. For example, if they have a personal Twitter account they should open a second one for social selling.

In Sales, Change is Constant

The profession of sales is quickly changing, but the role of social media in sales is changing even faster. These new communication methods are vital tools that will play a big role in your future sales success. The concept of social selling involves using them in a strategic manner in order to strengthen relationships with your clients and prospects.

But before we get into what to do with your social selling strategy lets take a quick look at how the sales process is changing.

By the time a potential client contacts you they are 60-70% through the buying process. They have been researching potential products and solutions in a “self-service” manner on a variety of online platforms. These include your website and blog. Social selling helps your team get involved in the buying process at an earlier point. The best way is by sharing content from your site/blog via social media.

Duct Tape Marketing believes you need to change your sales strategy in order to be relevant to potential customers. And most importantly to be useful to them. I agree. They note:

Today’s marketing minded salesperson thinks like a publisher and builds their own expertise by sharing and crafting a platform.

That platform is social media, and you need a social selling strategy to succeed in today’s market. You want to be providing the information your potential clients have been reviewing in a self-service manner prior to contacting a vendor. You want to be interacting with them online before they get 60% of the way through the buying process.

The goal is to become a resourceful and useful asset in your customers lives. You want to be seen as a trusted authority in your field. Your usefulness will make existing customers more loyal. And it will make potential ones more likely to initiate a relationship with you. Being useful and developing authority is part of effective content marketing.

After finishing part three of this book, you will have a better idea of the social platforms you need to use in order to create great relationships with your clients.

Concentrate on using two or three well rather than all of them poorly. Again, you want to go where your target audience is interacting with social media.

Now, let’s look at what you need to do to develop a social selling strategy.  Continue reading “Why Social Selling is the best selling”

It’s closing time. Use landing pages to ask for the sale.

Well planned and executed landing pages turn your email, social media, and blog content into sales.

It’s Closing Time

Let’s start learning how to use landing pages to ask for the sale.

As we saw in my earlier post, copywriting is essential to any business’s marketing success. It becomes a high art form on landing pages.

Landing pages are ones where you want the viewer to take a single, particular action after viewing them. They drive the second A in your AIDA sales process. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. These actions could be to sign up for an email list, download a piece of content marketing, enter your online store or most importantly, purchase your product(s). They are where you want to focus viewers’ attention on your vital message.

Visually, a landing page should be simple, clean and easy to understand. If you are driving people to your landing page from paid advertising versus organic search, you want to tie the look and message of the landing page directly to that of the ad. Or vice-versa. Like any page on your site, but even more importantly, it must load quickly. If you have moved someone near closing, you don’t want to lose out because of poor website performance.

It is worth the time, effort and cost to do A/B testing with your landing page. Have two versions and see which one converts best. Over the course of time change your headlines, visuals and the designs of your call to action button. You want to continuously test these elements and repeatedly optimize your landing page. Your landing pages are where you get income from your viewers so invest in making the pages perfect.

Only essential information should be on your page. It must be relevant to the message you are communicating and the action you want the viewer to take. Most landing pages consist of the following elements:

  • an image or visual
  • an attention-grabbing headline/title
  • sub-headings
  • body copy and content
  • the close and call to action (CTA)

Here is an example:  Continue reading “It’s closing time. Use landing pages to ask for the sale.”

How to make sure your blog posts are seen and read

If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.

Let’s start learning how to write a blog post and how to get the most out of them for your small business.

Posts are Most of Your Content Marketing

If your blog is the heart of your content marketing world, your blog posts are its lifeblood. They are what will move visitors from being prospects to becoming customers. They are what you will share with social media to draw people to your site so you can convert them into customers. And they are what you will promote in your email marketing to current customers in order to deepen loyalty and gain a larger share of their wallets.

Blog posts are the most important form of your marketing media.

Blog posts will be where you establish thought leadership in your industry. They will demonstrate your expertise and authority. They will create trust and get people to like you and your business. They will build your brand and your business. They will draw relevant traffic to your site, the types of visitors that will buy your products. Your posts will show your value up front. They will qualify your leads. Paradoxically they will generate leads best if you don’t try to generate leads. If your site is your online salesperson, its posts are the subtle tools of its trade.

Posts are also an excellent resource for your sales and customer service teams. They can share posts in their email conversations with clients and prospects. They can even be used to educate new employees and win over vendors. They can help you gain access to capital. Blog posts are the most. So, let’s look at how to write a blog post.

What to put in your posts

Continue reading “How to make sure your blog posts are seen and read”

Power tools you need in your content marketing toolbox

There are many marketing mediums requiring strategic and creative tools in order to be used successfully. 

Marketing Essentials

The power tools you need in your content marketing toolbox

Most businesses are small businesses. And yours is probably no different. Unfairly or not you, have to compete with larger and better-funded opponents. Content Marketing is a weapon that your David can use against their Goliath. But to do it right, you have to have the right tools. This post lists many that can help you attract visitors to your website and convert them into customers.

There is an ever-growing myriad of digital marketing mediums and platforms. And they require many marketing tools in order to be used successfully. These include strategic and creative tools. In this post, I want to share some useful lists of mostly free ones that I’ve come across. I will also note which tools I use in the various categories to create effective content marketing.

Before I get into the lists, let’s look at the dominant player in content production tools, Adobe. For your in-house design and marketing efforts, Adobe’s Creative Cloud products are a no-brainer. Programs like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator allow you to create project proposals and marketing pieces that as are as professional as any on earth. This service is a paid cloud-based toolbox that is an incredible value in my opinion. The price is around $50 a month and up. You get every creative program Adobe makes and always have the most up to date version.

See all the Adobe Creative Cloud programs here
. They allow you to create print advertising, websites, eBooks, videos, podcasts, animations, mobile apps, and more. So if you are creating your content marketing pieces, I recommend using what I do, Adobe Creative Cloud.

However, the lists below include free and nearly free marketing tools that let you do some of the same things designers do with Adobe’s professional-grade products. You must have a strategic plan in place before begin creating any marketing content, and a few of these lists describe tools for developing one.

So whether you want to create some of your content marketing in-house, are a freelance designer, or just want to understand what your agency or content strategy partner is talking about when it comes to production – here is some useful knowledge to absorb.

Read through the post first and then go back to check out the lists and other links. Bookmark this page to reference later. It is extensive, and you may want to peruse it at your leisure.

Continue reading “Power tools you need in your content marketing toolbox”