How Your Business Can Market on Twitter

As a small business owner, you are probably thinking how can a social platform like Twitter impact my business?  What can I really say in 280 characters? If this sounds like something you would say – you could not be farther from the truth.

Social media has proven to be an effective marketing strategy for small businesses.  With the technology driven world we live in today, consumers expect all businesses (large and small) to be on social media and provide them with updates, specials and information at the press of a button.  Twitter is not just for teens, tycoons and celebrities – it is a marketing tool that can help grow your business – and many smart small business owners are using Twitter as one of their main online marketing tools in their tool belt.

The numbers are convincing. Twitter has been around since 2006 and has grown substantially.  Today, there are more than 284 million monthly active users, according to stats released by Twitter on their website.  With almost 500 million tweets sent per day, you can see why this is a powerful marketing tool for any small business owner.  As staggering as these stats may seem, you are probably asking yourself, how can Twitter help my business?  Here are just a few strategies you can implement to build your brand on Twitter:

  • Connect – With the number of active users on Twitter, it makes it one of the best places to look for and connect with potential customers. Small businesses that cater to a niche market find that they are able to connect with their existing customers and interact with new customers easily, allowing potential customers the opportunity to learn more about their business and their brand. And stay informed of sales, promotions & special events.
  • Brand Awareness – While the big brands do not need an introduction to get followers, small business owners need and want more people to know about their products and services. Twitter allows you to drip brand information on your followers.  Before you know it, you are recognizable, reliable and known for your brand to millions of followers.  Creating that trust with your followers is key in building lasting relationships with them, which will drive sales for your business.
  • Relationships – Positive relationships are the key to growing your business. Your Twitter followers will feel connected to you and your business as you make an effort to post updates and tweets that your customers will find interesting and helpful.  Value driven content is more powerful today than any other type of information presented.  There is a balance needed – keep your direct marketing or sales promotions to a minimum – too many ads can make you come across to your followers as pushy.
  • Informational Marketing – Introducing new products and services or making important announcements via Twitter has some great benefits. Not only is this a more cost effective way to release information on new products and services, but it also can potentially reach millions of people much faster than other marketing methods, such as print advertisement and even radio and television.
  • Immediate Feedback – many small businesses are using Twitter to monitor, survey and handle feedback from their customers. This is a very efficient tool in gathering your customers’ opinions and it allows you to respond quickly.  Responding to both positive and negative feedback, can set your small business apart from that big competitor down the street.  Managing your online reputation in a professional manner, creates a positive atmosphere with your followers.

So Twitter can be a very useful tool for small businesses in a multitude of ways.  Twitter can help you reach your consumers in ways that you never thought were possible.  Here’s a few examples of how a few twitter savvy businesses used Twitter to build their small business:

  • Coffee Groundz is a coffee shop in Houston, and was one of the first businesses to use Twitter for takeout orders. They fill their Twitter stream with promotions, upcoming events, pictures, and the announcement of their special flavor of the day.
  • Crème Brulee Cart was a small side business started by a carpenter. Within a very short period, this business owner learned that customers were finding the cart each day through Twitter.  As customers would stop by the cart, they would then tweet where the cart was and what they purchased.  This business owner quickly started using Twitter to post where the cart was located every day and what the daily flavors were.  Today, there are more than 20,000 followers on this Twitter account and the business owner was able to quit the carpentry business!
  • Roger Smith Hotel located in New York City needed an edge to compete against the big name hotels in Manhattan. Twitter provided this hotel an edge that no one could have seen.  After reaching out through Twitter to some online influencers and inviting them to stay during their next visit to NYC, the Roger Smith Hotel got exactly what it hoped for – happy guests that tweeted about their stay.  Word spread quickly and now they are consistently booked.  The hotel gives their Twitter followers special discounts and even has a special Twitter kiosk in their lobby to give them a special welcome.

Social media can be the driving tool for small businesses to develop awareness of its products and services.  As a small business, you are in the perfect position to use Twitter to your advantage and build your business to heights you never thought possible.  Maintain your values and remember the tips mentioned above.  Before you know it, your followers, and sales will increase.

Social media is not going away.  So don’t be one of those businesses that struggle and make the mistake of ignoring the potential of social media – especially Twitter. It’s one of the most economical ways you can increase your visibility and reach your audience.  Which is why it so popular among small businesses.  Make it a part of your marketing strategy for your small business – reach your audience quicker, and easier than ever before.

 

How to Turn Facebook Fans into Paying Customers

Here’s the deal. Your business can have a huge presence on Facebook with thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of fans, but still struggle to get new clients. Why is this? Well, it is because you’re not doing a good enough job of turning those fans into actual paying customers.

You have done a great job with the first step in the process which is attracting people on Facebook and building a raving fan base. Now is the time, however, to take that next step of turning those fans into people that pay you money for what you have to offer.

Here are 4 strategies to consider that will help your fans turn into customers.

Be Consistent with Content

In the overall scheme of things, it is important that you keep your Facebook fans engaged and keep your brand in front of them at all times. To that end, it is very important that you as a business owner maintain a consistent approach to the content you are publishing for your followers. A good practice is to put something out there once a day that is likely to be shared or liked a lot. Not only will this help your content go viral and get in front of more people, it will also establish you as an authority in your industry.

Examples of content that you can post daily are how to articles, tips related to your industry or even interesting photos that your fans may want to see.  The key is to make this content as engaging as possible so that it keeps getting shared and it keeps your fans coming back for more.

Now, when one of your fans needs the service or product you offer who are they going to call? Exactly! They will call you because they know who you are and consider you an authority in your industry.

Reach More of Your Fan Base

To convert more fans into customers, first your fans must SEE what you are posting and promoting so they have the opportunity to become a customer.  One of the most dramatic changes Facebook has made recently is minimizing organic reach for brands.  This means that only a tiny fraction of your fans will see your updates in their newsfeed.  According to Edge Rank Checker as of March 2014 it was estimated that you reach about 6.5% of your fan base with every post you make on your fan page.

There are several ways you can increase your posts visibility within your fan’s newsfeed, and one of the best ways is to promote your posts.  A promoted post starts off just like any other post you’ve made on your fan page.  You simply choose a post you want to promote, like a special sale, or a story you want to share about your business.  Then you set a budget and the post is shared to a set number of Facebook members depending on your budget.  Your post will be seen by your fans, and even friends of your fans depending on your budget.  Promoting your posts is a very inexpensive way to ensure you get maximum visibility.

Another way to ensure your fans see your updates is to educate your fans that they can ‘Get Notifications’ from your Page.

Most of the time, users aren’t even aware that they aren’t getting to see your updates.  Simply by telling them how they can stay better informed with your businesses special promotions will boost the number of people that actually see your posts.

Create Offers with Urgency or Scarcity

If you want to turn more of your Facebook fans into paying customers, then you are going to have to market to them – plain and simple.

Now, a common and effective practice to use is creating offers and posting them to Facebook that have an element of scarcity or urgency to them to get people to act right away. In other words, why not post a coupon limited to the first 10-people who claim it for a certain percentage off your service? Or what about a special offer on a service that expires in 24-hours? Make the offer something that your fans cannot pass up and you will see the phone begin to ring! That said, once you end driving your fans from Facebook through your doors it is your job to keep them coming back. Use these special offers to get them there – it’s up to you to keep them there.

Another way to reach your audience with a special deal is through Facebook Offers. This is a form of paid advertising where you can create an ad and target specific people with a special offer that will fit their needs.  Once the ad is created and displayed it will have a “get offer” button on it. When a user clicks this button, they will be directed to an area where they can claim the discount offered by your company. The thing that makes Facebook Offers unique and very powerful is that they will email the person that claimed the offer to remind them to use it. In other words, they will do some of the dirty work for you to ensure that the person becomes a paying customer!

Drive Fans to Your Email List

Having a robust fan base on Facebook is great and can be very profitable but there is an even better way to engage these people to turn them into customers. What is it you ask? Simple, it’s email. If you can drive your fans to your email list, then you will be able to communicate with them on a whole other level.  Email newsletters are still the best way to communicate directly to your audience.

Think about it for a moment. Not only are you engaging them within Facebook, but now you are also engaging them within their inbox. This is very powerful as the more “planes of engagement” there are between you and your potential customers the more you will see your bottom line increase.

The best part about building that email list from your Facebook fan base is that it’s easy! You simply need to drive your fans from Facebook to an email opt-in form on your website or to an opt-in form right within Facebook. There are many apps out there that make it easy to create these lead capture forms right within Facebook, so the fan never has to leave if you don’t want them to.

Please keep in mind that people will only opt-in to your email list if you give them a good reason. Don’t be afraid to offer a discount or some other valuable form of content to ensure they sign up right away!

Show Them Some Love Too

A final strategy to turn fans onto customers is to show them some love too! What this means is making sure you are active on Facebook and sharing content that your fans have produced. This will create a feeling of reciprocity between you and your fans and show that you are just a normal person too – not a corporate machine.

People love being engaged with in social media. If you take a few minutes each day to engage with some of your fans, then you will see that investment on time come back to you tenfold. Suddenly, a normal fan will become a raving fan just because you reached out to engage them. Who do you think that person will do business with when they need what you have to offer?

All in all, getting your Facebook fans to turn into paying customers is easy if you know what you are doing. Just follow the strategies that are outlined above and watch your business take off like you never thought possible!

Can LinkedIn Help Your Business?

LinkedIn is one of the peculiarities of the social networking experiment. It’s not ubiquitous like Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest. Yet, it has found a niche all its own, as a business tool, and particularly for small to mid range companies who want to network and reach their intended market.

The only problem you might be facing is, how do I use this tool—seemingly with unlimited possibilities—specifically to promote my business?  We’re going to break down seven strategies that can’t fail you.

  1. Make Valuable Connections

Like any social networking site, the ultimate goal of LinkedIn is to connect people and allow you to network your brand to new leads, or new business associates that can help you. While you may only find a few friends and associates based on email searching, you can take advantage of LinkedIn Groups, and connect to people in your niche industry or in local and regional locations.  You can also used the Advanced Search option to target a specific market and find people, companies and industries of interest by keyword.

  1. Build Your Authority by Showcasing Your Knowledge

Publicizing your name under the guise of answering simple questions is a great way to generate brand awareness, and also get a keen insight into the mind of your potential customers.

A few years ago, posting articles on online directories was a fairly good way to prove your authority. However, it wasn’t long before VIPs in the search engine industry realized that the lack of interaction between writer and readers was less than impressive.

The truth is, people are far less inclined to believe someone who gives a speech, than a person who takes unscripted questions and can reply.  This shows your potential leads and associates that you know your industry well enough to interact with the public in an objective and neutral way, and gives you the opportunity to repeat your name and brand publicly without link spamming.  In general practice, avoid just talking about your opinion and instead quote reputable sources and include your own expertise.  Leave your answer open-ended to encourage more conversation and perhaps make more connections.

  1. Get Endorsements on Linkedin

A recent study from Dimensional Research shows that positive endorsements from sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, & Amazon influence a decision almost 90% of the time.

Endorsements are easier for a connection on LinkedIn to put in a positive word in for you without going to the trouble of writing a recommendation.

These endorsements are like reviews for your small business.  You can use them to build up your business’s reputation.  Plus endorsements can lead to recommendations which we’ll talk about below.

  1. Get Recommended and Build Authority

The age old saying that you should “let someone else say it” rather than saying it yourself proves true in online marketing. It always has.

People are more persuaded by word of mouth, by the seemingly objective endorsement of other people.

This shows your audience that your service or product is great enough to earn other people’s recommendations. Recommendations are like referrals, and referrals are gold!  Best of all, LinkedIn’s recommendations appear on your page, and even better, they cannot be forged.

  1. Host an Event and Keep People Up to Date

Hosting an event via LinkedIn lets you build awareness for your brand and generate additional leads, since the event is advertised to your network. The Event Platform is easy to work with and helps you “promote the event” by asking questions about your purposes and subject. Online RSVP will help you keep in touch with your most important targets, and the announcement also shows up on their page.

LinkedIn has an Events Tool search that lets people find your event based on mutual interest, as well as geographic location and industry. The flexibility of this online tool has resulted in many more links and connections being made, since you are no longer limited to traditional in-person events but can organize workshops, virtual webinars, phone conferences, round table discussions and more.

One of the hottest strategies right now is to organize a regular monthly event, online or otherwise, and build visibility with your regular audience and with new members that hear about the meeting from LinkedIn announcements from friends of friends.

Other tips you can try incorporating include:

Creating a logo, using simple and free software, that will make it stand out.

Come up with a creative title so that it will capture attention and hopefully be shared (and shared on more social media sites than just LinkedIn)

Always finish with a call to action. We remember this in articles and yet we forget this golden rule in social media. If you don’t tell your audience what to do at the end, they won’t do anything. Always include a strong call to action after advertising a meeting.

Include keywords that describe your industry and reason for the event.

Promote your event in groups, preferably the most relevant groups to the theme of the event. It’s not blatant advertising if you’re providing value

Post about the meeting on your status messages. Remember an active page represents a busy company. Ideally, you tie in the latest company event with your status messages, generating excitement for the event

Much like other social networking sites, the ability to speak openly & candidly is another way you address any issues and provide amazing support to potential customers, so use it wisely.

  1. Use Sponsored Updates

If you are afraid of coming across as an aggressive or too spammy, then using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates to reach targeted users can help and generate greater paid lead generation than many other social media strategies. Recently, HubSpot worked with LinkedIn and reported a 400% lead increase with their targeted audience.

  1. Reach Out and Make the Personal Connection

The biggest mistake people make using LinkedIn and other social pages is to lie back and wait for the traffic to generate.

Particularly because this website is professional and the opposite of the informal Facebook atmosphere, people tend to be suspicious when you add them without explanation. It is better to be proactive and to send personal messages to people before or as you add them. This way you can create the emotional connection that so many companies are missing in an overly optimized and online market.

The best approach to these messages is to look for areas of interest that you might have in common and then write to them personally, not as a form letter. Mention why you are reaching out and create an honest and meaningful message introducing yourself.  HP recently used LinkedIn for greater emotional engagement with its social media audience and reported 300,000 new followers in two months, along with an increased attrition and engagement rate, and even a 2.5 increase in customers who refer the company’s products to friends, family and acquaintances.

The biggest mistake people make using LinkedIn and other social pages is to lie back and wait for the traffic to generate.

Chances are, if someone was searching for you, you have a targeted lead that would not so easily dismiss a personal message. The Who’s Viewed Your Profile option received 76% of respondents’ votes for the best feature of LinkedIn.

As you can see, using LinkedIn has several benefits but only if you are willing to use its variety of tools and features consistently… As opposed to blindly posting and visiting once every month.

This doesn’t mean that you must spend hours at a time that take up your entire day.  Most people couldn’t bear to spend hours a day on a social networking site, right?  Err… Sorry Facebook devotees. Make the most of your efforts by spreading out the time you spend on LinkedIn, try to check in daily, or at least a few times a week. This way you can keep your presence consistent, your name ubiquitous and your brand promoted.