What To Do When You Think Social Media Isn’t Working for Your Business

It can be difficult to judge whether the hard work and time you invest in social media is working or not.  For a small business owner, with limited time and resources, it may be difficult to keep your eye on the big picture when it comes to social media.  Small business owners tell me all the time, “I’ve been posting consistently for weeks but I feel like I’m not seeing any ROI.”  Before you give up on social media, here are 4 things you need to keep in mind.

Social media is not like traditional advertisingWhat To Do When You Think Social Media Isn't Working for Your Business

Many small business owners get jammed up with social media because they consider it a form of advertising for their business.  Social media is not meant to function like traditional advertising.  Before you can be successful on social media you have to shift your thinking and understand what social media is meant to do.  There are many things social media can do for a small business including:

    • Create awareness
    • Provide a customer service platform
    • Improve SEO
    • Drive website traffic
    • And one of the most important….

Social media can help you create relationships

Consistently posting to social media can help your business create relationships with clients, potential clients and potential business partners.  When it comes to clients and potential clients, social media can be a means of establishing trust and credibility.  When it comes to potential business partners, there are many opportunities to find and connect with other like minded individuals that may be able to open some doors for you and your business.

You’re consistently getting in front of your audience

It is important to remember that unlike traditional advertising, social media gives you the opportunity to consistently drip content on your fans and followers.  This can help keep you top of mind.  While they may not be ready to buy your product or service right at the moment, through social media you can consistently keep your company in front them until they have decided they need you.  With traditional advertising this could be difficult and expensive!

It takes a long time to see results…we’re talking years!

It can take years to see success with social media.  It’s a process.  You need to create brand awareness, establish trust, establish yourself as an expert and remain consistent.  Then you need to set goals and develop a strategy to achieve them.  Social media is not going to be an overnight success for most companies.  You’ve got to stick with it and stay consistent.  In time you’ll see social media success!



5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Business’s Online Presence

Do you want to improve your business’s online presence?  Of course you do, most small business owners know that a business’s online presence is important they just aren’t sure exactly what they need to do to make it better!  Of course you could call Small Talk Marketing and we can help, but if you’re more of the do-it-yourself type, here are 5 things you can tomorrow to start improving your business’s online presence.

5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Business’s Online Presence5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Business's Online Presence

  1.  Claim your local listings –  Claiming your local listings is an easy way to improve your business’s online presence and increase your chances of coming in up search results.  Most of the major search engines likes Google, Yahoo and Bing all give you the ability to claim local listings for your company.  On top of those sites there are about 100 others (literally) that web experts recommend you get listed on.  To see a full list, go to yext.com and have them run a test.  They’ll send you a report detailing what sites you’re on and not on.  You don’t need to add yourself to everyone of them, unless you have the time to do it, but focusing on the first 10-20 on the list should be fine.
  2.  Write a blog post – Keeping your site fresh and creating original content regularly is a great way to improve your business’s online presence and good blog content can help position you as an expert in your field.
  3. Post to social – Keeping your social media accounts up to date and active can go a long way in improving your business’s online presence.  Even if you don’t have a top of the line social media strategy, having your accounts up to date when visitors stop by is better than leaving them idle for months.  Take the blog you just wrote and share it to all your social channels.
  4. Update your website – The content on your website should be reviewed and updated regularly.  In addition to keeping your blog current, looking at all the pages on your site and refreshing their content from time to time can improve your business’s online presence.  You want visitors to have accurate information about your company.
  5. Think mobile – If you have not already, make sure everything you do is mobile.  Look at your website and even email marketing campaigns you are running to make sure everything your business does online is mobile friendly.

These are 5 simple things most small business owners can do on their own to improve their business’s online presence.  You should do all of these things consistently if you want to truly benefit from your efforts.  If you are looking for a more thorough online marketing strategy, give me a call at (716) 650-4111!

3 Reasons Your Social Savvy Kid Shouldn’t Handle Your Company’s Social Media

Having a social savvy kid can come in handy as a parent learning to navigate the world of social media.  I say this as the daughter of a parent who can barely check their own email let alone post to Facebook.  As a small business owner, it may be tempting to tap into your child’s social expertise to help you navigate social media for your company.  Before you turn over the reins, I encourage you to take a step back and make sure your savvy kid has what it takes to represent your business well.

There’s More to Social Media Than Posting3 Reasons Your Social Savvy Kid Shouldn't Handle Your Company's Social Media

Being social savvy and understanding social media marketing are two very different things.  There is far more to social media marketing than posting things that get people’s attention…that’s only one part of the puzzle.  You can post all day to social and get tons of engagement but if your followers never convert to customers how is social helping your business?  Here are 3 more reasons that having your social savvy kid handle social media for your small business probably isn’t a great idea.

1.  Strategy

Effectively using social media to grow your business requires a strategy.  Most kids, even young adults (and some social media managers for that matter), don’t know the first thing about building a strategy for social media.  An effective social strategy requires you to create a plan based on your company’s goals, manage it and measure it.  Then you need to know what to do if your strategy isn’t working.  This type of game plan is best created by collaborating with an experienced social media manager.

2.  Branding

What you post on social media essentially becomes a part of your brand.  When considering involving your child in your company’s social media efforts you need to ask yourself if he or she will be able to uphold your company’s brand and interact with your customers the way you would want them to.

Some kids, especially those that have not yet had professional work experience may not understand the importance of proper spelling, punctuation and grammar because kids are a lot more casual when posting on their own accounts.  Being too casual could come off as unprofessional and potentially hurt your brand.

3.  Customer Service

In addition, to the basics of interacting like spelling and grammar, social media takes interaction to another level when it comes to the customer service aspect of social.  Most small business owners don’t realize that social media has essentially become a customer service platform.  It is important that whoever is managing your social media accounts understands your company’s customer service policies and the customer service expectations that you have an as owner.  Plus you need to make sure that if you get an unruly customer posting your page, it’s important that your page manager handles it professionally.

So while it’s tempting to turn your social media accounts over to your social savvy kid to save money and time, think twice before you do.  There’s more to social media than posting if you truly want to use social media to generate business and create a strong digital presence for your company.  If you are serious about involving your child in your company’s social media marketing strategy, I encourage you to get them some formal training, work with a professional to create a strategy they can implement and have them work in your business for a while so they understand your brand.

Low Cost Marketing Ideas to Grow Your Business

Determining what your marketing budget is, if any, should be an important part of every small business owner’s annual planning.  I hear this question regularly, “I want to grow but I don’t have a marketing budget, can you still help me?”  The answer is yes and no!

5 Low Cost Ideas to Grow Your BusinessEstablish a Marketing Budget

When I hear this, the first thing I recommend clients do is take a good hard look at their cash flow and determine if there is ANY money you can allocate monthly for marketing.  Even if it’s $100 it’s better than nothing to start! From there, you need to figure out the most effective way to spend that $100.  I can help you determine this through some goal setting and consulting sessions.  If you determine you have a larger budget than you thought, then we can talk and figure out the most effective way for us to work together!

5 Things You Can Do To Grow With Little to No Marketing Budget

Now, if you determine you don’t have a marketing budget at all, I still may be able to help you from a consulting standpoint where we talk occasionally as your budget allows. But in the mean time you can’t leave your marketing sitting idle waiting to get a budget. Here are 5 things you can do to market your business with little to no marketing budget.

1.  Collect emails and use them – Email is a cost effective way to reach your customers with little to no marketing budget.  There are a few free email marketing platforms that are good and several low cost options as well.  I am Constant Contact provider and their email marketing programs start at around $20 per month.  Here are the details…

2.  Get active on social media – I’ve worked with several companies who have successfully built their business using social media.  The key is being consistent and posting regularly then leveraging your work with some ads buys or boosted posts (if you’re using Facebook.)

3.  Networking – Find some networking groups and attend.  Many are free or low cost to attend so bring a stack of business cards, your brochure and what ever else you can pass out and start talking up your business!

4.  Tap into your existing customer base – It costs far more to acquire a new customer than to retain and develop an existing customer.  Find ways to sell more to existing clients or to get them to promote your business through referral programs or other incentive based opportunities.

5.  Partner with other businesses – Many times you can find other businesses that offer complimentary services to partner with to promote your company or to generate business.  For example, if you are a florist, making connections with event planners, funeral homes, churches, wedding venues and other businesses like that could lead to a nice source of referrals that help you grow your business.  All you’d need is a nice brochure, a business card and maybe drop off a sample or two.

I can work with you to implement items like this by helping you map out a plan of attack and by keeping you accountable!  Contact me to learn more about my consulting calls that work well for small business owners that have small marketing budgets.   And remember…not having a marketing budget is no excuse for pushing your marketing efforts to the back burner…there are plenty of low cost options out there to help promote your business!

Is Not Having a Marketing Plan Hurting Your Business?

Marketing PlanLet’s be honest, writing a marketing plan isn’t all that fun.  In fact, authoring a marketing plan is a lot of work.  Because of these two things, most small business owners go without having a solid marketing plan in place.

Unfortunately, not having a marketing plan can end up hurting your business.  Just like a business plan, a marketing plan acts like a road map for success to your business.  When you don’t have one, here’s what can happen:

No Marketing Plan = No Boundaries

With no marketing plan, there are no boundaries for your business to adhere to.  I see owners without a plan just aimlessly spending money on things they “think” will help them grow their business.  I’ve seen everything from promotional coozies being bought to thousands of dollars in television advertising being bought with no clear plan for leveraging either spend.  Which leads to the next problem…
No Marketing Plan = No Marketing Budget

When there is no written marketing plan, there is usually no marketing budget.  This can lead to overspending and spending on items that don’t have an impact.  Every marketing dollar you spend should have a goal attached to it.

No Marketing Plan = No Marketing Goals

Without a plan, many small business owners fail to define the business goals they want to achieve.  Without clear goals, it is difficult to allocate marketing dollars correctly.  When I ask clients what their goals are for their business I always hear “I want to grow the business.”  That’s a good start but in order to accurately spend your budget dollars, you need to further define what that means.  Do you want to acquire new clients?  Leverage existing relationships?  Increase the average spend of each client?  The answer to those questions will drive how you spend your budget and help you realize your goals.

No Marketing Plan = Overwhelm

There are SO many ways to market your business now a days.  Without a marketing plan it is easy to get overwhelmed with options and to spread yourself too thin.  I see it happen all the time.  Small business owners try to do too much with too small of a budget.  They get overwhelmed by all the options and think if they do a little of everything it will make a difference.  Sometimes that works, but many times it doesn’t.  Having a clear marketing plan in place can really help you focus on implementing marketing tactics that make a difference, not just spinning your wheels to be everywhere all the time!

Thinking about getting a marketing plan in place can be overwhelming in and of itself!  Keep in mind, your marketing plan should be a working document that changes as your business changes.  Also, marketing plans come in different shapes and sizes.  Some businesses need marketing plans that are really in-depth but for the average small business owner you don’t need to go crazy!  You can create a simple marketing plan that contains:

  • A budget
  • Goals
  • Upcoming opportunities
  • Marketing tactics aimed at achieving your goals
  • To-do items

Keep it simple and you’ll see that writing a marketing plan doesn’t have to be painful!