Use social media to drive traffic to your business’ website

Social media is an ever-increasing facet of everyday business. Companies large (Starbucks) and small (your local car shop) are using social media to expand their exposure and reach a broad base of prospective consumers.

B2B marketers are now spending 30% of their budgets on social media programs, trying to reach, among others, the 21 million+ Twitter users  (per eMarketer). There are big audiences on social media for your company, and using some strategies are more effective than others.

Here are five strategies you can employ to promote your business website through social media.

Engage Directly with Consumers

To generate online conversations, businesses can engage customers and fans with photos, links and more from their blog or website. That conversation can lead to new product insights and customer service issues.

Maintain and Develop Visibility Among Your Consumer Base

Be visible with social media. Post links, pictures and video clips on social networks for your current and prospective customers. Your steady use of social media can help keep your business relevant and known, while gradually expanding exposure.

Target specialty audiences online with a microsite, which refers traffic to your main website. Create SEO marketing materials for direct sales through your primary domain via a website like MyHosting VPS hosting.

Generate Sales Referrals Through Social Media Platforms

Provide links to products or other pages that are likely to prompt consumers to make a purchase. The links you use, and the way you present them through your social media profiles, will have an impact on your business’ performance. Helpful tip: send tweets on your company’s various white papers, articles and case studies to encourage consumer interest in your company.

Data Collection and Analysis to Improve Operations Efficiency

When it comes to data, social media is a gold mine. Data analysis informs you of the size of your social media following, its growth rate and levels of engagement. You can also track total referrals to determine which social networks are most effective in generating new business. Look at these numbers for the percentage of referrals that lead to sales.

Use Feedback to Guide Future Efforts

As you gain insights from comments and data analysis, your internal teams should start to identify areas for improvement. Then you can implement solutions in your day-to-day operations.

By establishing a basic social media marketing approach, you can set yourself on the course to increased revenue and a much greater return on the investment into your website.

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We have to earn our audience’s attention

Listen Vs. Ignore - Toggle SwitchWe have to earn our audience’s attention.  Let’s see how you’re doing at that.

If you own or run a business, I’d like to you take this little quiz.

  1. Would you ignore your business phone 30% of the time it rings?
  2. If a customer was standing in a crowd of your best customers and complaining loudly, would you ignore them?
  3. If you had the chance to have the attention of your best customers and your best prospects for about 3 minutes uninterrupted, would you talk incessantly about yourself?

I have to believe that all of you passed this quiz by answered “good golly no!” to all three questions. After all you hustle like crazy to capture the attention of your customers and potential customers, right? Only a fool would squander the opportunity once they earned it.

And yet…that is exactly what’s happening online every day.

  • 30% of customer questions and comments on Facebook, Twitter and company blogs go unanswered.
  • 71% of complaints on Twitter are ignored.
  • 89% of corporate blogs only talk about themselves, their products, promotions and awards.

No wonder so many business people say that they can’t measure any ROI on their social media efforts. If anything, their ROI should come up as a negative number!

Too many businesses believe that social media networks are simply places they need to put a placeholder in. Like a flag that says, “Look, we exist here too” and then go to some autopilot shout into the abyss mentality. The core idea behind Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or any of the other networks out there is connection.

Real, human connection.

It’s why people share photos, stories of their day and get fired up about politics, religion and what their kid’s school is up to. And into that very personal and very meaningful conversation – most brands just blunder in and shout that they are having a sale.

Ugh.

Businesses spend thousands (and some millions) of dollars putting on elaborate dog and pony shows, with the hopes of capturing someone’s attention for a millisecond. So the assumption would be that they would actually value the attention, once they’d earned it.

But the truth is, most businesses think of social media as the newest necessary evil. They can’t get out of their own way enough to see the potential in it or that they need to approach it with humanity for it to work.

So what would that humanity look like?

Real interactions: When someone talks to you, it’s polite to reply in a reasonable amount of time. If you can’t monitor and react to a social media stream – don’t be there. Every social media tool out there has a way for you to be notified if you’ve actually started or were mentioned in a conversation.

Conversation, not monologue: No one enjoys being talked at. Your goal should be to spark conversation, not spit out rhetoric. Conversations are started when we care about the other person and ask questions, offer helpful information and listen to what they need from us.

Consistency: Just like all of our other relationships – we grow connections partially because of frequent exposures. You can’t get to know someone very well if you only communicate once or twice a year. It’s better to be fewer places but be in the places you’ve chosen more often. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Having a heart: If you don’t actually care – then don’t be there. If you genuinely care about your customers and what’s going on with them, then show that by asking questions, reaching out and being very human.

You can create an amazing referral source and client base with your online presence or you can alienate those who already have you on their radar screen. All it takes is a little humanity to make it work.

 

 

 

 

 

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Social Sharing – what and when works

Figuring out what is best for your company’s social sharing accounts can be tough. Not only do you have to figure out what to share, but you also need to know how and when to say it. The folks at Compendium crunched the data of over 300 companies’ social sharing statistics, to identify some social sharing best practices.

One additional thing they did was break this data down as a B2B vs. B2C comparison, as they learned while going through the data that there were some significant differences between what works for B2B companies and B2C companies.

Check out this info graphic that outlines some of the findings. If you’d like to review their social sharing guides that looks at some of these results, click here.

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Search versus Social – which one wins?

If you’re wondering which is more potent — search or social media — as is often my answer — it depends.

The truth of the matter is that every organization should be thinking about BOTH because they are the yin and yang for each other.  Each feeds the other side of the equation.  When you write quality content about topics that your audience cares about (social) you attract readers, shares and you earn social proof of your expertise.

That content then begins to influence search for those key words and phrases that exist within your subject area and content (Search) and before you know it, you’re impacting Google and the other search engines — becoming more findable and attracting exactly the right people to your content.

Yin. Yang. The perfect combo. This infographic, developed by MDG Advertising really makes the point.  And should be hanging in your office to remind you to go for the one two punch of social AND search.

 

(Click here to download the full-sized version)

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They’ll buy when they trust

Here’s an equation that every business owner needs to understand.

Know + Like + Trust = Buy.

Whether you sell toothbrushes or multi-million dollar medical equipment and everything in between — until a customer:

  • Knows who you are
  • Likes who you are
  • Trusts you

there is no purchase.  The depth of the trust required varies but there must be at least a base level of trust in place before anyone will spend a dime.

One of the things I love about social media/content marketing is that it is hard-wired to help savvy business people maximize this equation.

Know = search.  If I can’t find you, then I can’t know you exist.  Understanding how potential customers are using search when they want what you sell is vital to your business success today. Do you know what key words and phrases you should be mindful of? Are you creating content that will leverage that?

Like = social networks/blogs. When I hang out with you, in person or online, I get a sense of who you are and whether or not I like who you are.  When I read your blog, I begin to learn who you are and what you believe.  Are you out there, creating conversations and relationships?  If not — when are you going to start?

Trust = consistency online and off.  It’s easy to fake being nice, smart or helpful once or twice. But that’s tough to pull off on a consistent basis. We know that when it comes to our offline world.  And we’re learning it’s just as true online as well.  One of the greatest elements of having a digital presence is that it can quickly provide someone with a long term view of who/how you are.  That builds trust.

That equation lines up perfectly with how content marketing/social media is supposed to work.  When you create great, helpful content that aligns with how people search — you create that long tail effect that drives people to you. When you share it through your social networks and it’s done without being pushy or sleazy, people will come to like and respect you. Like and respect evolves into trust when you behave consistently in the same way.

Whether you actually sell online or you have a brick and mortar presence – using content marketing and your social media presence to move prospects along the spectrum of know, like, trust is just good business.

I’m curious — how are you building trust with what you do online?

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