Since the pandemic hit in early 2020, around 42% of the American workforce now works from home (WFH). While some companies have moved to completely WFH, others have a mix of in-office and online workers.
Whichever one your business has switched to, you might be facing challenges with internal communication.
If this is the case, not to worry. In this article, we’ll show you how to improve it so you’ll encourage a healthy and positive “workplace.”
Avoid All Caps
Maybe there’s something you really want to emphasize to your company. You want to make sure they’ve definitely read it. So why not use all caps, as it’ll be eye-catching and very difficult to miss?
The thing is, all caps can be perceived as shouting. And we’re pretty sure that your employees don’t want to be shouted at!
Instead, you should utilize other formatting tools such as bold or italics to emphasize important phrases and/or sentences. This can be better for healthy internal communication.
Be Cognizant of How Your Emails Are Crafted
It’s easy to whip up internal emails from your perspective, and yours only. But to communicate effectively, you must put yourself in everyone’s shoes before hitting that “send” button. What you might read as innocuous in your point of view might be viewed completely differently by others.
For example, you might send out an email about how annoying it is to have screaming children in the back of Zoom meetings, so please keep kids out of the room when in a call.
But what you might not know is that 25% of children under 18 live with just one parent and no other adult. So these parents might be struggling to run a household singlehandedly while working remotely too. So that email can be disheartening for them.
Always take a step back to try and read email drafts from the perspective of every person in your company, even if it’s just a short one. You never know when something you’ve typed might come across in the wrong way.
You Don’t Always Have to Use Email
Just because email is more advanced technology than other methods of communication doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick to just emails for internal communication. There are other ways to get in touch with employees and coworkers, after all.
If you need to talk about something quite serious, it might be worth picking up the phone instead of texting or emailing. It’s much more personal to speak face-to-face, but considering the tough times, phone calls can be an acceptable substitute.
Phone calls are also a great middle-ground between texting/emailing and video calls. This allows both of you a degree of privacy while still adding a personal touch.
Improve Internal Communication With Our Tips
For those who have always worried about how effective your internal communication is, we hope that this article will help you improve things. By brushing up on your communication skills, you’ll make the pandemic not as horrible to get through.
If your company would like assistance with marketing, then get in touch with us now. We’ll help your business take off successfully!
PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s a form of online advertising where advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked on. This method of advertising is essentially a way to buy visits to your site rather than to generate traffic organically.
Some of the most common PPC ads show up on search engine results pages. You can probably recall Googling something and the first couple of results that show up are labeled as sponsored ads. Those are PPC ads.
You might be thinking that there’s not much point in paying for ads when you can use SEO and drive substantial traffic organically. But research shows that people click on Google ads over organic search results at a ratio of nearly 2 to 1 (WordStream Research, 2019).
Advertisers will bid on ad placement within a search engine’s sponsored links so that when someone searches a particular keyword relating to their business, that advertiser’s sponsored ad will pop up as one of the first results. The number one search engine in the world runs its own ad business to manage bids. You may have heard of it…
Google Adwords runs a PPC advertising system and it has almost become an art. Adwords select “winners” of these ad bids to get the top spots on search results based not only on the highest bidder but the quality and relevance of keywords and ad campaigns.
Google Adwords determines the quality of keywords with a Quality Score. With Google, the Quality Score actually matters more than your bid, because Google is more concerned about user experience than maximizing profit. A Quality Score is calculated by the relevance of your keywords and the quality of your landing page.
Keywords must be well-researched so that bids on ad placement are worthwhile. It’s best to create lists of keywords, and then group these keywords based on what the goal of an ad is on said keywords.
Google will look at your keyword lists and determine how relevant they are based on the content of your ads and your site. So your research has to be exhaustive. Don’t think about just the common search terms people may use relevant to your products or services, but also very specific, less searched phrases particular to your niche.
Keep in mind that more commonly search terms will be more expensive to bid on, while specific, long-tail searches will be less expensive. Don’t rule out bidding on those either. And don’t just do your keyword research once. People and searches are always changing, so your keyword lists need to be continuously refined.
Landing Page Quality
A landing page is simply the page a user ends up on after clicking your ad. This is the final step in generating a lead from a search engine, so the content of your landing page must be specifically tailored to the search query that leads the user to click on your ad.
The content of this page must have a persuasive call-to-action. Landing pages should make the user feel like it was worthwhile to click on your ad. Google takes this into account when calculating your Quality Score.
…and whoever gets the highest Ad Rank wins the ad auction!
PPC for You
So, now you understand a little more about how PPC ads work, and how Google determines who gets the best ad placement on search pages. Consider maximizing your web traffic by bidding on PPC ads. The keywords you choose and your landing page content are the most important factors in getting the best ad placement, even if you’re not the highest bidder!
To say the last few weeks haven’t affected all of us both personally and professionally would be a disservice to our families and businesses. We want to reassure you that we are here for you and remind you of the importance to stay engaged with your clients – even online.
It may be your gut instinct to preserve your business by making cuts to your budget – particularly in marketing. However, studies of recent recessions have shown that businesses that refocus spending outperformed businesses that made sweeping cuts. Businesses that take a more progressive approach to spend during recessions have higher profitability and come out of recessions ahead of their competition.
That’s why it’s so critical to not direct funds away from marketing, but instead, reallocate funding into marketing. When we work together we can ensure that your sales and marketing efforts will not only continue but potentially thrive and lead to a greater chance of success when this time of crisis passes.
Here are some suggestions we have for continuing to reach your customers during the pandemic:
1. Be Easy to Find Online
There are currently more people online than there are people in their cars or walking around outside. Eyeballs are on screens. It’s never been more important to be searchable online.
Now is not the time to be hidden online. You should have:
An updated websitewith information about how your business is handling COVID-19
It’s not just to remind your customers that your business is still here and needs support, it’s an opportunity to show your audience real empathy. Never has been there a more ideal time to stand out in the marketplace by showing sensitivity and consideration toward people.
Show the people behind the business – staying at home, managing social isolation just like everyone else. Show how you care and how you’re helping – maybe by doing charitable acts or
fundraising. You can promote these good deeds on social media to build your brand. This will resonate with people and they will remember when this pandemic passes and money can flow more freely again.
3. Focus on SEO & Online Reviews
During the very few times many of us leave our homes, we want to stay close by to get food and supplies. Using SEO strategies to optimize your website can help put you closer to the top of the list of search results when people are making location-based searches.
Additionally, now is a great time to accumulate positive online reviews. If you can provide great service during a time of crisis, you can prove the best of your business’s reputation. Ask past customers and, especially, customers you serve during this time to leave you a review either on Google or Facebook.
4. Be Flexible & Connect in Uncertain Times
Nobody really knows what’s going to happen with how COVID-19 plays out and how much it will affect the economy so it’s imperative to remain flexible and fluid with your business during these times. Stay in touch with your customers – via email, social media, snail mail, website, or otherwise – and let them know how you’re adapting your business during these times. For example, if you’re a restaurant – delivery or curbside pick-up. Or if you’re a consultation-based buisness– online meetings only. Let your network know how you’re handling the changes as they come.
5. Use the Downtime to Finish To-Do Lists
Now that we’re restricted to working from home and have reclaimed some time from daily commutes back and forth to the office, it’s likely you have some extra time. Now is a great time to address those marketing to-do list items that have been sitting on the backburner.
We need to stay relevant and top of mind with our clients, especially when the dust settles from this coronavirus pandemic. This disruption will not last forever and we can still reach clients via email, social media, website, and snail-mail. Simply stated virtual is now our reality, but content is still king! As you know, the content that you present becomes your voice. Please reach out to CommCore Marketing if you need assistance with marketing during these uncertain times. Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by this crisis, please take good care of yourself and your family.
The short answer to this question is: As often as it’s worth updating.
Your next question is probably: what’s worth updating?
When you run a business, there are always changes being made, whether it be new products or services, news about your company, new tips, new staff, or industry news. Ideally, you would like to update your users as often as these changes happen. But that’s just not practical or possible.
So instead, we suggest you try to make updates once a month. This goal is far more manageable for most people. Now you may be wondering—why should I update that often?
Let Your Users Know That Your Website is Alive and Active
Imagine you pass a store every day and you never see any activity there, so you’re not sure if the store is open or not. Would you be compelled to buy something from there? Probably not.
It’s the same with websites, but even more so because websites are like virtual storefronts. You want to keep your website fresh so people know it’s active and being used, rather than just being there.
Good for SEO
Search engines favor new content. In fact, Google will look at your website more often as you update it and take this into account when ranking you. Google, like its users, doesn’t like stale content either.
More updates mean more pages to index. More pages to index mean a better chance at boosting your SEO.
Updating your content is also great for increasing your authority because with more content comes more activity and therefore links into and around your site. And as we know from our article What is SEO? quality link building means more authority and higher rankings on search engines.
Good for Social Media
Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with content to share on social media. It can also be easy to forget that the ultimate goal of using social media for your business is to drive traffic to your website.
So when you make updates to your website regularly, you add fuel to your social media promotions. Updated content on your website means new content for your social media and new reasons for people to visit your site.
Key to Successful Content Marketing
Content is king. It’s key to having good SEO, it’s key to establishing expertise in your industry, and it’s key to remaining relevant online.
You always want to be creating new or repurposed content for your users, because content means value. The more content you create, the more value you offer.
So with this in mind, it’s almost a no-brainer that you need to make regular updates to your website. It’s not just for keeping things fresh for your users and for Google, but for the sake of your marketing efforts.
If you keep offering value to users, they’re more likely to return to your website to get more value, share your content, subscribe or sign up, buy your products or services, and recommend your business.
Don’t underestimate the power of good content. And don’t let your website suffocate from stale content.
It’s Not an Easy Answer
So the long answer to how often you should update your website is that it really depends on your industry, your resources, your time management, and how often you have changes worth the update.
All in all, it’s more important to consider why we update content rather than how often. There isn’t some secret formula for the timing of updating content. There’s no doubt that updating your website should be made regular. But that regularity is up to you. However regularly you decide to update your website, try to commit to it.
We all know that Facebook is the king of social media. As of the end of 2016, Facebook had 2.41 billion monthly active users (Statista, 2019). That isn’t anything to scoff at.
When you have a pool of over two-sevenths of the human population to reach out to at your fingertips, it’s really a no-brainer that you need to be showing up on Facebook.
Facebook is free, the advertising on this platform is cheap, and it’s easier to implement customized features on Facebook like running a small e-commerce shop or running contests than it is to implement on your website.
If your business doesn’t have a Facebook page, it’s time to get one set up. Here’s how to do it…
Creating a Facebook Page
Making a Facebook page requires you to have a personal Facebook profile. As the creator of that page, you can interact as the business— so no need to worry about your personal information mixing with the business page. They are two separate identities.
So the first step (once you have a personal Facebook profile) is to go to the Pages header on the left side navigation menu. Next, you will click Create a Page in the upper right-hand corner.
Facebook then gives you six categories to choose from to identify the type of page you are creating:
After you select one of these options, you’ll get a list of fields— category, business name, address, phone number. Fill in all these fields then click Get Started.
Facebook will then walk you through all the sections to complete for your business page. You are always able to skip a section and finish it later. But do make sure that you fill out the About Me section, a profile picture for your page, and your website just to start.
We would also recommend you add categories that relate to your business (in the 1. About section). Facebook has its own page ranking system and adding categories will help your page come up more in relevant Facebook searches.
With this in mind, it is also to your advantage to the 4. Preferred Page Audience section because this will further refine who your page will display in front of the most. You can select relevant locations, age, genders, interests, and languages as they relate to your business.
After completing these sections, unless you are running the page alone, you will want to select admins. You can select admins by going to Settings in the upper right-hand corner of the page then clicking Page Roles on the left-hand side menu.
Under the heading Assign a New Page Role, you will notice when clicking on the drop-down menu that there are more page roles than just admins.
You can select from six different page roles and there are descriptions under the entry field bar for each. Remember to add someone to the page with a role, they must either be your friend on Facebook or you must add them by email. Only add people you trust!
Once you have completed these steps, your business page will be ready to go.
To further manage your page, go to Settings (top right-hand corner) and then the Edit Page button (left-hand side menu). From there you can change the template of your Facebook page, adjust the settings of your page’s tabs, or add a tab.
There are plenty of ways to customize your page, just using Facebook’s settings. So be sure to go through and familiarize yourself with all the different settings.
For more information and guidance for setting up a Facebook page, visit here, or CommCore Marketing can help you get your Facebook Business Page up and running!
The answer to this question is not an easy one. Unfortunately, there is just no cookie-cutter strategy for how frequently you should blog.
However, there are several points to keep in mind when seeking success with your blog…
You Have to Build a Reader Base
As a new blog, you will have to put some time into the content. Blogging is not a “build it and they will come” type of industry.
The internet is saturated with content, and you have to work to get your voice heard and noticed. Presence is key– let the internet know you are here and you have something of value to offer.
If you are starting out, you can post anywhere from once per month to a few times per month. This way, you are committed to getting your blog out there but not stressing yourself out.
If you’re running a more established blog, you have more flexibility. You can post once a day, a few times a week, once a week, or occasionally.
In any case, you will want to stay consistent with your output. The more content you put up, the easier it is for you to be discovered and for people to engage with you. Consistency helps hold people’s focus.
It’s About Quality, Not Quantity
What matters more than how much content you put out is the quality of content you put out.
Why do people come to read your blog in the first place? Because they are seeking some sort of value. It’s not of any concern to your readers how much content you’re publishing if it doesn’t offer something of substance.
Quality content is what generates engagement. Quality content is what generates leads.
Remember that the purpose of content marketing is to offer value and demonstrate expertise to your target market. This can only be accomplished if your content is delivering that purpose.
Blog Strategically, Not Just Frequently
Sure, blogging with some sort of frequency is important. If you consider that your content is your product, you will want to keep offering it so you keep people coming back. The success of content is measured in views, engagement, shares, and links. You need to keep this in mind as you dedicate time to your blog. It’s not always about creating a new product– or content –it’s about driving up those metrics.
One in ten blog posts is compounding, meaning that organic searches increase its traffic over time (HubSpot, 2016). And over its lifetime, one compounding blog post creates as much traffic as six decaying posts (HubSpot, 2016). Because of this, HubSpot dedicates time to update their old posts to capitalize on this traffic trend. So blog success isn’t necessarily dependent on your posting frequency, but more so the strategy you use to drive traffic.
Also keep in mind that the more content you publish, the more search engines will notice and the more you will have to work with. But at the same time, you don’t want to publish so much that you burn your readers or yourself out. The strategy is key in blogging.
Pro tip: Make use of guest bloggers, who can provide great content for you on your blog and freshen things up for your readers.
What is the Major Source for Your Blog Traffic?
Search engines, social media, or direct traffic? What source gets you the most traffic?
Search engines favor longer-form, quality articles. If they’re really good pieces they will continue to rank in search engines. If you get the majority of traffic from search engines, you can get away with posting less.
Social media, on the other hand, is far more demanding. If you get most of your traffic from social networks, you will need to be posting at a higher frequency. And that content is typically better if it’s short-form, in listicle format.
If you get most of your traffic from email subscribers, your frequency will fall in between posting to please search engines and posting to please social.
All of the most successful blogs have experimented with the frequency of their posting at one time or another in order to understand what schedule best suits their audience.
We strongly encourage you to do the same. Every blog is unique and what will work best for each blog is unique as well.
Every blog is different, but every blog must produce quality content if it has any hope at succeeding. Quality will always win over quantity. The strategy is more important than just frequency.
Bear in mind the source of your traffic when considering the frequency, but embrace that the internet is a fickle being and experimentation is the best approach to learning what works best for your blog.
Back when ranking on search engines was the main motivator for content marketing, marketers were all about written content.
Now it’s all about video. In fact, almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. So there’s a reason that every single major media platform is becoming video focused…
Facebook users consume 100 million hours of video every day (TechCrunch, 2016)
82% of Twitter users watch video content on the platform (Twitter, 2015)
45% of marketers plan to add YouTube to their content strategy into the next year (HubSpot, 2018)
45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. (HubSpot, 2016)
When Instagram introduced videos, more than 5 million were shared in 24 hours (AdWeek, 2013)
Video will represent 82% of all IP traffic in 2021. (Business Insider, 2017)
When it comes down to it, video just offers a whole different level of connection to your audience. But there are deeper reasons beyond just jumping on the video marketing trend that are of benefit to businesses.
If you haven’t started using video as a part of your marketing strategy yet, here are four reasons why you should.
1. Video Educates
Here’s the thing about inbound marketing: it all starts with awareness and education.
After the awareness stage of the A.C.E. funnel, buyers want to learn more. And what do you typically do when you want to learn more? You hit up Google. But are most people more likely to read an article about it or watch a video?
According to Pearson Prentice Hall, 65% of the population consists of visual learners.
The overwhelming majority actively seek out video visuals to educate themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about creating an awesome blog, but the statistics speak for themselves. The video format is simply where most people seek value.
So it’s really silly not to give the people what they want— which is videos. I talk a lot about social distribution and how to get your value out there. Video is indisputably pertinent to distributing value.
If you want people to be educated by what you have to offer, then put it in a video.
2. Video Earns and Retains Audience Attention
55% of people consume video content thoroughly (HubSpot, 2016).
We at The Modern Marketer have discussed how short the average attention span when it comes to reading articles. Most people only read about 1/5 to 1/3 of an article. So that being said, and considering the statistic above, you would think capturing attention with video marketing is a breeze, right?
Just because you create videos doesn’t mean people will pay attention. Just like with written content, it doesn’t mean you can simply create it and people will flock to engage with it. Millions of videos are being uploaded every day, so there’s a lot of competition to consider.
Content is still king. You have to go deeper to provide value that’s worth people’s attention. You have to earn that attention still.
The best strategy for grabbing that attention through video is to create it consistently. You still want to be providing value that your audience wants to see, but by keeping it up consistently you can engage people at different angles and perspectives and effectively cut through the competition.
Consistency will always be key with the content you put out in any context. But video is especially crucial to invest in consistently because of the ROI. 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI (Adobe, 2015).
So the benefits of video really do pay off. You just have to be able to consistently deliver that value.
3. The Most Intimate Form of Marketing
Video is by far the most intimate of all contextual formats. Through what other medium do you have the opportunity to be as raw, transparent, and upfront as you can be with video (particularly live video)? Certainly not through written content.
Marketing is all about storytelling. Video goes beyond just the intimacy of showing an audience your body language and the way you speak. It teaches people how you think.
That aspect of video is perhaps the most significant benefit of all. If you’re on the path of thought leadership, this is the best format to really put your brain on display and show people some of the deepest value you have to offer.
And over time as your thoughts change and evolve, this will reflect in your videos. People get to see your story play out in front of them.
Your growth as a brand and as a person is so well documented in video that if you lost everything tomorrow— your audience, your clients, your advocates —you have an entire archive of your digital assets there to provide value.
Video truly personifies who you are as a brand and documents your story well beyond any other format.
4. Video Gives You a Reputation for Wisdom
No matter where you are in business, whether you’re just starting up, you’ve been in business for years, or maybe you haven’t even started yet— you have an idea.
Putting that idea out there is an integral step to brand awareness, right? So when you put that idea out there through video format, you’re presenting an opportunity to demonstrate to an audience a type of value that is very seldom replicated: wisdom.
But it doesn’t come right away, and it doesn’t come to everyone. Everyone can talk a big game. Everyone can call shots and miss. But if you really, truly know what you’re talking about you can amaze people by speaking your vision into existence.
Value can also be heightened in videos when you speak about a trend. People always want to hear about the latest thing and what it will do for them. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. People always want the latest information.
That relevant value does wonders for your reputation and adds value to your brand as a whole through wisdom.
If you haven’t been convinced yet that video marketing is for you, then you’re making a big mistake. Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users (Aberdeen, 2015).
Don’t hesitate to include video into your marketing strategy: no matter your industry, video has the opportunity to impart value and heighten your marketing game like nothing else.
When it comes to branding, it’s critical to be consistent wherever you promote your brand. Both online and offline, your promotional efforts have to align with each other to be effective. Wherever your business has a presence, your brand identity needs to be clear.
When searching on the internet, people are not thinking of going offline to discover more about your brand, so neither should you. Your website is the ideal platform online to create a brand image with continuity so that any user who comes across it knows exactly who you are.
But how exactly does one create a lasting brand identity on a website that can also be leveraged offline? Here are five tips that will guide you in unifying your branding identity.
1. Branding Identity Basics: Your Logo, Typography, & Colors
If you haven’t already branded your business with a set of colors to use and a brand logo, this is the first thing you should do. You may not think it’s a priority, but these visual factors play a strong role in keeping your brand lodged in the minds of viewers.
First things first: your logo. If you haven’t already, get a logo designed ASAP. There is no shortage of graphic designers who are willing to help you design a logo. Then be sure your logo is on every material you put out as a business– your website pages, business cards, letterheads, etc. When you pick your brand colors, you need to consider that each color has psychological impacts. Red tends to convey feelings of excitement or intensity while gray gives off feelings of balance and calm. Do some research into the meanings of each color and decide from there which colors communicate the feelings you want to be associated with your brand.
Then– stick with the colors you pick. This will help reinforce your brand in a potential buyer’s mind. When you’re not consistent with color schemes, your brand becomes less memorable.
2. Use Language that Aligns with Your Brand
Your brand voice is incredibly important. Just like with your brand colors, you need to use language that speaks to your ideal buyer and client base. If you’re not sure what
language to use with the people you want to reach, start by considering how you want your brand to feel to your audience.
Write down a list of words and pick just three that you want to use for the base of your brand in the form of text. Here are just a few ideas:
What words jump out as ones that would work with your brand? If you’re a lawyer, you probably wouldn’t want to choose “fun, trendy, and laid-back.” These words might fit with a bowling alley brand, but a law office might be better off using words like “formal, informative, and dedicated.”
Brainstorm your list using words that could apply to your brand. You can find a list of more brand voice descriptors here. Then consider the tone and description of your voice. Will you use slang or formal language? Will you use long-winded sentences or short, pithy sentences?
These are all things to consider before writing content for your brand. Language is important in conveying your identity.
3. Use Relevant Imagery
Images you use on your website or any other materials your business puts out there must be high-resolution and quality, however, these are not the only factors you need to consider when selecting images for your website.
A picture really is worth a thousand words (or more). With that consideration, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Someone viewing your website, social media profiles, or brick-and-mortar business wants a real glimpse into the brand that they’re researching.
Many brands choose imagery as if it’s just a checkbox on a list of how to create a good brand. These images are often stock images that are vaguely related to the brand. But
why would you use imagery that’s open for public use to describe your brand– a brand that you want to position as unique?
You need to use original imagery that truly describes your brand and gives viewers an idea of what you’re like. Include images of your staff, your products, and services, your office. All of these original and unique images communicate a sense of trustworthiness to viewers because it’s more transparent and authentic.
4. The Essential Branding Info
Many businesses neglect to make use of this opportunity to distinguish themselves from others in their industry. No matter what your brand does, you should always have a page on your website describing who you are and what your brand values are. This is the chance to get explicit about your brand mission and vision and drive home what makes your brand unique as compared to your competitors.
Once you have that information on your site, you can use the same verbiage on social media, at networking events, and on marketing materials to uniquely position your brand.
This may not seem like it belongs in a discussion about branding, but it’s imperative to connect the dots between branding and business. If a person who wants to reach out to your business cannot find contact information, your brand is in serious trouble. You’re a business; you want people contacting you! Make sure anyone who goes out of their way to find how to contact you can do so easily. Include as many contact methods as possible: phone, email, physical address, hours of operation, etc.
5. Get Social
Many brands think of social media as a to-do item on a list to be a successful business. But social media is not just a nice addition to your brand– it’s an extension of your brand.
Think of it this way: there are more eyes on social media sites than there are on your website or inside your store. Instead of leveraging people off of social media, engage them directly where their attention is. Your social accounts should be just as active as you are in your business.
Be sure to link all of your social accounts to your site and make it easy for people to find your various social channels when they’re on your website. Social media should be a big part of your branding strategy.
The key to brand unity is to be sure to be consistent with your logo, brand colors, language, and imagery you use. Make it as easy as possible for people to learn about who you are, and make it easy for them to engage you where they’re already giving their attention. Want more guidance on unifying your brand’s identity? Reach out to CommCore Marketing today!
There is plenty to get confused about when it comes to navigating social media marketing. Afterall, social media is still fairly new in the world of marketing.
But there are some basic, yet important, things you will want to avoid when it comes to social media marketing— particularly if you want to make the most of your time, efforts, and money.
Here are several things to avoid and, more importantly, how to avoid them:
Not Knowing Your Target Audience
This is the biggest mistake when getting started on social media. It’s really the biggest mistake you could make when getting into marketing, period.
It is crucial to know who you are aiming to sell your products or services to, even if it’s a broad market.
Here are some questions to help you draw up a clear picture of your target audience:
How old is your ideal customer?
Where do they live?
What do they do?
Are they part of a family?
What kind of income do they have?
What are their interests?
Be sure to do your research first!
Jumping In Without a Plan
This is a common mistake and is often due to the pressure for businesses to get on social media. The consequence is a seemingly purposeless profile, which will likely become a dud in mere weeks of its launch. While your business should have a presence on social media, you need to have goals, intent, and strategies in mind before you get started.
Make a plan. Keep in mind that social media is a time investment, and you will need either a team or a very dedicated and consistent person to manage interactions on any platforms on which you choose to operate.
Not Committing to Social Media Long Term
Many businesses are hyped up right after the launch of their new social media. But in a couple months, they either forget about posting or become discouraged with the lack of success from the page.
It’s easy to get discouraged with social media— it’s a time commitment after all, and success doesn’t just happen after day one.
Instead, you must invest in and dedicate energy to it. The results are slow at first but the longer you commit, the more results you will see. Take at least 10 to 20 minutes each day to manage your social media accounts– responding to messages and comments, engaging with other pages, and generally being present are all parts of this management.
Too Much Automation
Having a program do your social media posting for you seems ideal, right? Wrong.
Many businesses make the mistake of having every blog post automatically post to social media or having the same exact content post to more than one platform (like Facebook posting to Twitter, or Twitter to Facebook).
Each social media platform has its own language, format, and context. So posting the same exact thing to Facebook and Twitter is a waste. Users can almost immediately pick out an automated, thoughtless post as opposed to one that was posted with thoughtful intent.
Be careful with allowing apps to update your social media with blog posts. It can get spammy very quickly if you’re not careful. Know the difference between automation and scheduling.
No Lead Generation Strategy
Social media is great, but if you don’t have some sort of strategy in place that drives traffic to your website or blog, you’re really missing the point of social media marketing altogether.
You don’t want to waste time and energy building a following and not get any customers out of it.
Always provide a call to action!
Not Posting Enough
Going to a Facebook page and seeing that they haven’t posted in months is one of the most discouraging things to see as a user.
Maybe you’re busy and don’t have enough time to post on social media. But you need to be posting. Make time to sit down and schedule the posts ahead of time, or delegate this task to someone else.
There’s no definitive minimum for posting, but it’s a good goal to post at least a few times a week.
Posting Too Much
On the flip side, posting too much is also an incredibly off-putting behavior. Spamming your page with loads of posts is a great way to get your business page blocked or have your posts hidden.
Each platform is different in terms of what’s considered “too much” but you should definitely not exceed five posts per day on Facebook or 15 posts per day on Twitter.
Be sure to also spread out your posting. Do some research on social media insights to find the best times to post.
Overloading with Social Media
There are so many social media sites out there nowadays— Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, the list goes on and on.
The worst thing you can do is try to have a presence on all of them. You will spread yourself far too thin, and will totally overwhelm yourself.
Focus on one platform to master. Just one to start! Facebook is the most ideal in getting started in social media marketing.
Don’t get caught making any of these mistakes! Do your research, plan ahead, and stay focused.
This is actually not a new term, as entrepreneurs and the like have been using it for decades to describe the measurable success of marketing and advertising.
Before there were established metrics for digital marketing, anyone could claim themselves as a “digital marketing guru” and sell desperate business people a variety of un-measurable methods of digital marketing.
That era was like the Wild West– self-acclaimed gurus were essentially scamming businesses, just hauling in money without any real knowledge of what they were doing… because no one really knew what they were doing when it came to marketing online without any way to track or measure it.
Fortunately, that era has passed and we now have far more ability to measure the success of our digital marketing efforts as well as a wealth of data to support the marketing choices we make. But…
Measuring Digital Marketing Can Be Difficult
Nobody wants to, or should, throw their money at digital marketing without being able to later evaluate the ROI. Yet despite improved metrics, businesses still experience difficulty when it comes to measuring ROI as it relates to digital marketing.
90% of global marketers are not trained to calculate ROI and 80% struggle with being able to properly demonstrate to their management the business effectiveness of their spending, campaigns, and activities (The Fournaise Marketing Group, 2014).
Between content marketing and SEO, social media marketing, and online ads, it can all get tricky to track. This is in part due to the fact that we try to track our digital marketing with the same traditional methods that we use to track traditional marketing– like TV ads, radio, newspaper, etc.
There are far more factors involved in digital marketing and it can get very confusing when trying to measure the new ways with the old methods.
A Simpler Measurement
It’s far easier to measure ROI for digital marketing by calculating the revenue to cost of marketing ratio.
For a good ROI ratio, we recommend 5:1. This means that for every one dollar spent on marketing, you yield five dollars in sales.
What should count into this ratio?
Cost of content production
Social media ad campaigns
Cost of outside marketing and ad agencies
Measuring in terms of a ratio makes it far easier to determine whether your digital marketing efforts are worth the cost or not. If you only make a 2:1 ratio, for example, you’re only really breaking even. In that case, your efforts might not be worth it.
That being said, not every marketing effort can be measured perfectly. Oftentimes content can generate leads months after the content is published. With this in mind, you can see how this might be difficult to track.
This is why the ratio is ideal for measurement. It’s ongoing, it’s all-encompassing, and it’s simple.
There Are Tools to Help You
You don’t have to stress over measuring your ROI. Analytics software and software programs like HubSpot, Marketo, and Google Analytics all provide tools for you to more easily measure ROI more efficiently.
So create an ROI ratio goal for your business and focus your marketing efforts on achieving this goal. This will be far less stressful on you and make your digital marketing efforts that much more justifiable.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action (Content Marketing Institute).
Content can mean:
Social media posts
Flyers and other print material
Content in any of the above formats can provide value to an audience. And if it is both relevant and consistent enough, it will drive profitable action from your audience.
Content Marketing Actually Offers Something Your Customers Want
Traditional marketing is becoming far less effective while content marketing is on the rise. Why?
Because content marketing provides what traditional marketing doesn’t: value and relevance.
When you understand how the buying cycle works, you can start to see where content marketing succeeds and traditional marketing falls short:
Awareness: The customer becomes aware there is a solution to a need they may have
Research: Upon becoming aware of a solution, the customer will educate themselves on offerings of solution
Consideration: After deciding they have obtained enough information about the solution, the customer will compare and evaluate the tangible solution offered by different vendors
Purchase: Once the customer has selected a vendor to fulfill their need, they will move forward with the transaction
Traditional marketing is good for the last two steps— offering an option, a sales pitch, and a call to action for how to buy the product or service.
Traditional marketing is also known as push marketing which is all about pushing the ad message out in front of anybody.
Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing
In push marketing, there’s no room for the first two steps of the buying cycle.
But with content marketing, the first two steps are the most important. The aim is to raise awareness and then educate an audience on a solution they may not have previously considered.
By tapping into the first two steps of the buying cycle, content marketing does a great service to consumers by offering them honest, valuable, and relevant information. There are no strings attached. There is no luring and no shady sales tactics in content marketing. It is honest and upfront.
This is why this type of marketing is otherwise known as pull marketing. Because it is designed to attract customers through search engine optimization, which allows the consumer to find brands through relevant searches.
The consumer is pulling marketing to themselves that they find relevant and of value.
When the first two steps of the buying cycle are accomplished by you, the marketer, you have established ethos with the consumer. With that trust, you can establish customer loyalty far more effectively than any form of traditional marketing can.
So How Do You Get Started?
First, you need a plan. Like with any marketing, it’s not wise to just throw money at something and trust that it will work simply because someone told you it would.
Ask yourself these questions:
What am I trying to achieve with content marketing?
What media make the most sense for my target audience?
Which social platforms do my target audience spend the most time on?
What kind of content schedule can I commit to?
What kind of content should I create?
When you have answers to these questions, you have the skeleton of a marketing plan in place, which is all you really need. You shouldn’t wait and dither around until the cows come home. Having some content out there is better than having none.
So then, it comes down to execution.
You have a few options when it comes to executing your content marketing.
Do it yourself
Assign the role to someone in-house
Hire a professional content marketer to do it for you
Pros & Cons of DIY
Saves you money
You have full control of your brand voice
You have full control over your content distribution
Huge time commitment
Takes a lot of energy away from your business
You have to stay up to date on the best content marketing practice like SEO and the best times to post
Pros & Cons of Doing it In-House
Might save you money
Takes the job off your plate so you can focus on building your business
Might be more reliable than doing it yourself
Takes away some control of your brand voice
Your in-house staff person may or may not be a good writer, and they may or may not have the aforementioned skills required to be a good content marketer
Pros & Cons of Hiring a Professional
You get high-quality professional work
You get someone who’s highly considerate of your brand voice and your target audience
You work with someone who understands the context of a larger content strategy with your goals in mind
You relinquish a lot of control of your brand voice
A good writer might not quite fit your budget if you’re not fully invested in content marketing
Some freelancers will charge you per hour, some will charge you per word,
but many professionals with marketing experience will charge per project
Search engines, like Google, use search algorithms to rank page results that come up when you put in a question or keyword. We try to optimize our content to appeal to or influence these algorithms with SEO techniques. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is simply the act of attempting to improve search engine rankings by showing relativity and their authority. Higher ranking can mean more web traffic, and more web traffic means a better shot at creating conversions.
Relativity is what Google deems what you would most likely find relevant as results to a given search term. Authority has to do with the number and quality of links from other pages. It’s kind of like an Internet recommendation—the sites with more and higher quality links have more trust and credibility than ones that have fewer links.
However, relativity and authority are not the only factors Google’s algorithm cares about. The developers at Google are always working to update the algorithm so Google becomes an even better tool to us. Since everyone started using smartphones, Google decided a couple of years ago to add “mobile-friendliness” into their algorithm.
That means sites will be ranked lower on Google if their site doesn’t have a readable and easily usable layout on a smaller screen.
So, how do you optimize your rankings on Google?
By creating content that uses words and phrases people use when searching for products and services related to your industry
By having your content linked and shared
In simple terms, you’re trying to establish relevance and authority within your industry on the search engine.
When you create content that really offers something useful to the market of interest, you’re doing a great service to your target market. They’re getting good advice from you—for FREE! People love getting valuable information for free.
To make this valuable and free information more accessible, we do research to find out which keywords and key phrases are most optimal to be used in your content so that people who are interested will have an easier time finding it. Hence, more traffic!
You might be thinking “well, hey I know what words and phrases my target market is using. I’ll just load my content up with these words!” Not a good idea. This is called keyword stuffing, and Google will penalize your site in the search rankings if too many of the same words or phrases end up on the page together, or too close to each other.
Google isn’t stupid. The algorithm helps it read your content so it can rank it for user experience. Ultimately, search engine ranking all comes down to user experience.
Keywords are just one on-page factor that contributes to SEO. Other things to consider include:
Slug (this is the part of the URL that comes after the site name.)
Alt tags (tags on images)
Create Authority by Creating Value
When you get more traffic, more people will want to share the valuable information you have to offer. Google will take note of this and say “Hey, this site must have something of value to people, we better put it up higher in the rankings so it’s easier to find!”
And just like that, you’ll have more authority on Google. But you can’t just be shared or linked to by any old website. You could have 10 really poor quality websites linking to your content and that wouldn’t mean as much to Google as one really high-quality website linking to your content.
In fact, if you do have poor quality websites linking to your content, Google might actually penalize you! Why you might ask? Because years ago before Google ranked sites on quality, everyone was trying to get as many links to their website as they could to manipulate search results.
Google caught on to this and put a stop to it. Now you can’t have any old spammy site linking to you. You have to have sites with good authority linking to you. Just like with people, in the search engine ranking world, you are only as good as the company you keep.
This is called backlinking. In addition to backlinking, other off-site ranking factors can include:
Paid search results
(Yes, your paid ads will affect your organic rankings!)
Don’t get on Google’s naughty list, do SEO the right way. (Also known as white hat SEO.) Create valuable and useful content with researched keywords and phrases, strong links, and thoroughly optimized on-page elements—content so good that people have to share!
At this point, you get it: content is integral to your marketing efforts. You probably understand that it builds a foundation on which you can build your business because it gives you credibility and authority.
But to what ends are you creating this content?
At one point or another you’re going to hit a wall with content creation and wonder what this is all for. If you don’t know the answer to why you’re creating content, your passion and thoughts and ideas are going to dry up and fade away.
The reason behind your content creation should lie much deeper than to simply check off a box on a list of things to market your business well.
Your content is an extension of yourself— the written and spoken pieces of yourself that will stand out amongst the noise of all the other content out there.
So what do you want said?
If your voice isn’t heard, it doesn’t exist
It’s harsh but it’s true. There are plenty of voices out there and most of them are just adding noise. We can all agree that to at least be recognized, our voices need to be heard.
The culture, the value, the methodologies, and the things that go on behind the scenes in business are the things that really matter. If these things only exist inside your head, that’s fine and dandy, but if nobody knows about it, it doesn’t exist.
So you have to create content for the sake of being heard, for being seen, and for adding something of value to this world. Documentation is not a checkbox, it’s a means to creating something bigger than yourself.
That being said, if that “something bigger than yourself” isn’t seen or heard, it cannot actually be bigger than yourself.
Video is the best way to communicate your voice
The best way to get your voice out there and heard is through video. Period.
You may think this whole video marketing thing only applies to people who are extroverted and outgoing, but that’s not true.
There’s personality inside of everybody. You don’t have to be an off-the-wall, energetic person just to justify doing video. It’s okay to be yourself on video everyday.
Every single platform out there is tailoring to video. So if you’re going to create content that resonates, then you have to be on the cusp of what’s actually happening. Communication is never going away and it is always evolving.
This means your brand will forever have to learn how to communicate effectively. And in this modern day, that means being on video.
Consistency is the means to an end
Consistency is a marketing strategy. Just doing it once or twice isn’t going to work.
And it’s not just about staying consistent, it’s about retaining attention. Sure, your consistent videos may draw new attention, but are they retaining that attention?
That consistency is merely a strategy for building something bigger. There’s no guarantee you will retain attention just because you show up regularly.
You have to create that reason for people to show up.
Give your audience a reason to keep coming back
You have to strategize how you’ll retain attention. Don’t be that brand that fades out over time.
If you look at what’s going on inside your content strategy right now, is it driving people that show up multiple times a week? And if there are people who do show up multiple times a week, how many more can you get to do the same?
Your strategy for retaining attention is simple: develop authentic relationships with people using your content.
Give yourself a reason to keep creating content
If you want to be an ever-flowing source for content, you have to know why you’re creating it in the first place.
So is your content good enough to cut through the noise?
At the end of the day, you’re not just creating content to knock out your agenda or your client’s agenda. Where’s the greater meaning in that? We’re in business to tell our stories because these stories are worth being told.
So what are you really doing? If you’re just here to own a business, that’s all your content will communicate. Document what you want remembered.
Following through with your content
Are you inspired to create your content? Maybe so. Will you be just as inspired a week from now? A month? A year? Maybe not.
When you get all wrapped up in your to do list and your emotions, you exhaust yourself. You lose sight of what really matters.
So ask yourself: why are you creating content? Are you doing it because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do? Or are you creating it because you truly want to resonate with your audience?
Think about it. It’s not something you’re going to figure out after one day. It’s a continual process you work on everyday.
And as you figure out what you’re leaving behind, continue to document. Don’t just document the good stuff, document the bad stuff too. The best content is formed from storytelling.
So keep on documenting for the sake of something greater, and you will produce amazing content.
Overwhelmed by social media? Struggling to keep up with an online presence? At times, we all struggle to keep up. It’s a time investment. That’s why it’s helpful to have tools that make the task of managing your social media a little easier.
Evernote is an app and web extension that enables you to clip web pages and images, organize notes, and find text in images. It also has a messaging feature so that you can discuss and share your notes with your team. Evernote is almost like an Internet notebook.
WeTransfer is a web-based file sharing service. It’s as simple as entering the recipient’s email address and the files you are sending. WeTransfer allows up to 2GB to be sent for free. It comes in super handy for quickly sharing content to schedule on social media. 2GB is a lot of data to be able to send quickly for free!
Buffer is a useful tool for scheduling and publishing posts across multiple social platforms. It also features analytics and allows for multiple users to collaborate at once. You can schedule posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you use multiple social accounts, scheduling posts can be done just once by clicking on the desired social channels.
The easiest way to make quick graphics is Canva. Even if you aren’t much of a graphic designer, it’s easy to create beautiful branded graphics. Canva has many easy-to-use features and you can even create graphics with sizing for all and lets you create graphics with sizing for all the different social platforms.
Grammarly is a web extension and app that edits. It empowers you to edit everything you type – from work documents to your emails to your social media posts. This is the easiest way for you to improve your communication. No more excuses for grammar mistakes!
Don’t stress about your social media! Take advantage of the free tools available to you and look around to see what else is out there. You might be surprised by what you can do for free!
Local Women Owned Small Business Entrepreneur Graduates from VISION St. Charles Leadership Program
Laura DeVries, founder and principal of CommCore Marketing, LLC and 2017 recipient of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council’s Women Owned Small Business certification, graduates from the VISION St. Charles County Leadership Program.
The VISION St. Charles County Leadership Program’s mission is to educate community and business leaders by providing experiences that will increase awareness, develop leadership skills and motivate participants to be actively engaged in St. Charles County. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the program.
DeVries was selected as one of 30 applicants to participate in the 9-month program. “The program changed my perspective on everything,” states DeVries following her April 26, 2018 graduation ceremony. “As an independent company, I didn’t know what was happening in my own back yard. The VISION program changed that by putting me in touch with a phenomenal network of people, events, and settings I otherwise never would have encountered.”
An element of the VISION program is to create a class project. DeVries’ group developed the Protégé Professional Mentorship Program whose purpose is to enhance the leadership qualities of St. Charles County’s emerging workforce. Its primary function is to match mentees (protégés) with mentors (luminaries) to help teach, develop, and grow future leaders.
“Through the leadership program, I’ve become a better business owner and more involved in the community. It’s been an emotional, life-altering experience for me.”
For more information, contact Laura DeVries, CommCore Marketing, LLC at email@example.com and 314.308.0799. For more information on the Protégé Professional Mentorship Program or to participate as a protégé or a luminary, visit www.visionprotege.org
There’s no doubt the work landscape has changed with the rise of the internet. Unprecedented connectivity has allowed us to break free of the 9 to 5 work schedule and commuting to an office space. It has also yielded a growing workforce of “alternative workers.”
Alternative work is characterized as unsteady or temporary— such as work as an independent contractor or through a temporary help agency (Quartz, 2016). Businesses everywhere are hiring more freelancers as opposed to full-time workers. Why?
Saves You Money
When you’re only in need of help for specific projects, why hire somebody to work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? A full-time employee with salary and benefits can be expensive. Whether a freelancer charges you by the hour or a flat monthly retainer fee, a freelancer is far less of a cost than a full-timer.
Freelancers don’t need to adhere to a 9 to 5 work schedule, so they have more flexible work hours. That means you have someone to take care of work beyond your business hours such as engaging on social media, responding to emails and messages, and making website changes and tweaks.
When you hire a freelancer, you’re hiring someone who specializes in a field or fields and has spent time honing their craft. You don’t need to invest your time and resources into training this worker like you would with a new full-time employee— or teaching yourself the skills you need to do it yourself.
Here are some great jobs to outsource to freelancers:
Sometimes it’s helpful to just get a pair of third-party expert eyes on your projects who are willing to bring their fresh perspective to the table. Freelancers who have been working independently for awhile tend to have a variety of experience and can therefore offer something unique to your business.
Plus, because freelancers make a living off of repeat work, you can be assured that a good freelancer will communicate well, have good customer service, and strive to give you their best work. Freelancers have to continuously prove their worth in order to maintain their job because they’re not permanently on your payroll. Don’t you want an employee that’s held more accountable to the quality of the work they promise to deliver?
Because freelancers are not technically employees, they don’t have the same rights and legal obligations that salaried employees do. If you find that a particular freelancer just isn’t a good fit, they are easy to replace. There are no shortage of freelancers out there and you can shop around to find one that you can form a strong working relationship with.
If you need some extra help with some projects in your business, you should strongly consider hiring a freelancer. It’s a low-risk, low-commitment option to get a job done by a specialist with experience.
By now you know that social media for your business is a must but, if you have any experience with it at all, you’re probably aware of how time consuming it can be. Managing your social sites can be even more cumbersome than managing your website.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of tools out there to help you manage your social strategy. Here are nine to get you started:
What It Does: Evernote is both a web extension available on most browsers and an app. It allows you to clip webpages and images, find text in images, and keep all your notes organized. It also has a messaging feature so that you can discuss and share your notes with others.
The plus and premium versions offer features like saving important emails and annotating pdf files. You can essentially build your own web database with this software and compile a rich resource of content to use on social media. Who Else is Using It: 200 million users
What It Does: It’s a content marketer’s dream. Feedly aggregates content from web browsers and mobile devices and compiles it into useful news feeds for the user to customize and share. You can monitor news by getting keyword alerts from Google, and it even connects with various softwares like Evernote, Slack, and Trello to optimize business usage.
Who Else is Using It: MIT, Zendesk, Foundry Group, and 12 million other users
What It Does: This is a social media management software that you definitely need to know about. MeetEdgar uses and reuses your best content to optimize post views. Edgar offers a categorized library with types of content. You can then schedule the type of content to post at the right time on the right social channel and Edgar will take over from there, week after week. Then Edgar stores the content for later use so he can share it after he runs out of material thereby optimizing post views.
Who Else is Using It: Neil Patel, DigitalMarketer, CopyHackers, Canva, ProBlogger, Foundr, and thousands of other users
What It Does: Like MeetEdgar, Sprout Social is a social media management software with features including a unified Smart Inbox, social CRM tools, advanced scheduling tools, social media monitoring, sophisticated analytics, and team collaboration tools.
Who Else is Using It: UPS, Ticketmaster, Stanford University, Bentley, Hyatt, Evernote, Grubhub, and 17,000 other users
What It Does: WeTransfer is a web-based file sharing service. It’s a really simple platform that only requires your recipient’s email address(es), your email address, and the files you are sending. You can send files as big as 2GB for free.
This is a great tool for quickly sharing files to schedule for social posts. Who Else is Using It: Enough users to send 10 billion transfers in 2016
What it Does: This is the go-to tool for scheduling Instagram posts. What stinks about scheduling Instagram posts is that because Instagram doesn’t share their API, auto-posting is not an option. With Iconosquare, however, you can schedule posts and get notifications when it’s time to post. Plus, the analytics are some of the best and most in-depth out there for the platform.Who Else is Using It: FourSquare, KemperSports, Krupp Group Public Relations
What It Does: CoSchedule is a social media management tool, but it’s also a very powerful collaborative calendar. You can organize all of your social media posts, content, events, and tasks in one place. Plus, the ReQueue feature finds optimal posting times and fills in the gaps in your social calendar with your best performing posts.Who Else is Using It: Convince & Convert, Borshoff, Foundation Recovery Systems, Florida Realtors
What It Does: Buffer is a handy tool for scheduling and publishing posts across multiple social platforms. It also features analytics and allows for multiple users to collaborate at once.Who Else is Using It: Fortune Magazine, Business Insider, About.com, Seattle Times, the Denver Broncos
What It Does: If you want to make quick and easy graphics but you’re not much of a graphic designer, this is the perfect tool for you. Canva is loaded with easy-to-use features and lets you create graphics with sizing for all the different social platforms.
Who Else is Using It: Over 10 million users
No matter what tools you decide to use to help manage your social media, make sure you take advantage of the many free tools out there. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helpful software!