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Posts Tagged ‘Social media’

Enhance Your Facebook Business Page

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 by Nadia Romeo

Facebook has over 250 million users, 52 percent of which use it daily. And it is no longer just for the youth audience, the 35 and older demographic now represents more than 30 percent of users. That means using Facebook to promote your business is becoming a more and more effective way to reach potential customers. To help you build a stronger presence on Facebook, iMarket is offering an enhanced Facebook business profile.

With this new service, we will design a full banner and a landing page (like the one here) which entices people to “like” your business page. This is a great place to offer incentives, such as a special discount for Facebook fans, which will convince people to want to connect with you on Facebook. After the person has “liked” your business, a special Welcome page will display for them.  From the landing page, your welcome page, and a contact tab under your banner, your visitors will be able to access an integrated contact form so they can email you right from Facebook! All of these features will be designed to match your website and increase brand awareness of your business.

Why get this service? The new landing page is much more effective at converting visitors into “likers.” And the more people that “like” your page, the more people your posts will reach.  Social media is an excellent form of word-of-mouth marketing, which allows new customers to hear about you through their friends. There is the added benefit of allowing these potential customers to get to know your company through your posts and be able to contact you instantly.

Social media marketing can be very powerful, but you need to utilize it effectively.  Since most companies today are embracing social media, an enhanced Facebook presence will put your business ahead of the crowd. Combined with our content management package, in which blogs posts are sent out to your Facebook page three times a week, you will establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource for your customers. For more information, contact us today!

Facebook Reveals New Changes

Friday, September 23rd, 2011 by Nadia Romeo

If you have been on Facebook in the past few days, you might have noticed some significant changes. In order to compete with the new Google+, Facebook has changed its friend lists to allow more privacy, added a subscribe button, and added a real time feed with the latest updates. But this is only the beginning of  the alternations that Facebook has planned. At the F8, its annual conference, Facebook announced that it would be releasing a major overhaul of user profiles, as well as new apps for music, video, and social news.  An example of a feature is timeline, which will display all of your important events of your life (that you shared on Facebook) on a single page.

To learn more about all of the changes that Facebook is planning on roll out, check out this video on Mashable.com: http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebook-f8-live-video/#26983Timeline-Mobile

Twitter Analytics

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 by Nadia Romeo

Twitter is one of the main social media tools, businesses as well as people are able to share their 140-character tweets to connect with their customers and talk about special deals. But does Twitter actually drive traffic to your website? Or are you only getting to your customers thru Twitter itself? To answer this frequently posed question, Twitter recently announced that it is releasing a web analytics tool to show businesses not only how much their content is being shared on Twitter, but also the amount of traffic that is being driven from Twitter to their main website. While only in beta right now, Twitter plans to roll out the full verison to everyone in a few weeks.

To learn more, check out this article on Mashable.com:  http://mashable.com/2011/09/13/twitter-web-analtyics/

Easy Ways To Get More Twitter Followers

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 by Nadia Romeo

Twitter is an excellent way to keep in touch with people and companies in which you have an interest. It is also a great way to promote your own company. Twitter, like all other social media, is a way to connect to your customers and build their loyalty. It lets them get to know you on a more personal level and interact with you more often. This helps create not only loyalty but also top of the mind awareness, so you are the first one they call when they have a problem you can fix.

It takes a little time to learn how to use Twitter, but it is very easy once you get the hang of it. The hardest part is getting started. Here are a few ways to start building your Twitter Following:

  1. Follow other people: an easy way to get more followers is to start following other people and companies. Focus on local companies and organizations. Try to reply to things they post and some of them will begin to follow you.
  2. Tweet about local events: they are more likely to get “retweeted” and thus bring more people to your Twitter profile.
  3. Make it easy for people to follow you: put a link to your Twitter page in a newsletter or email signature.
  4. Tell your customers about it! Offer exclusive deals or contests for your Twitter followers.
  5. Retweet (forwarding another user’s Tweet to all of your followers) things you think are interesting:
    • Find a Tweet you think is interesting
    • Click the arrow in the top right corner of the post
    • Choose the “Retweet” option

If you have done any of these five things you will have increased your number of Twitter followers and hopefully learned a bit about how to use Twitter for business. If you need help with the basics on how to use Twitter, check out their Twitter 101 Guide.

Five Easy Ways To Get More Facebook Fans

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by Nadia Romeo

Facebook is a great way to interact with your customers and help build their loyalty. But if you are new to Facebook, how to use your company page effectively might seems a little confusing. The most important thing you need to know about Facebook is that it is a way for your customers to connect with you and get to know your company better. It is also great way to get involved in your local community. And if you have customers who are already fans of your company in real life, it isn’t too difficult to translate them into facebook fans. Here are five easy ways you can get more fans on Facebook:

1. Invite people to like your page

  • Go to the Get Started option on the left sidebar
  • Import your contacts (Outlook, Constant Contact, .csv file, etc)

2. Get your company involved. Ask your employees to “like” your page and ask them to tell their friends
3. Make it easy for your customers to “like” your page; tell them about it, include a link or call to action in your newsletter, on your business cards,  or in an email signature
4. Offer special Facebook deals, contests, or promotions that are only available to people who “like” your page
5. Create good Facebook content that appeals to your local audience:

  • Talk about local community events (local kid wins spelling bee, ABC HVAC is sponsoring the Toys for Tots program, etc.)
  • Ask questions
  • Give trivia or helpful hints
  • Tell jokes
  • Respond personally to whatever your fans post

Doing any of these things will increase your popularity on Facebook, and the longer you have a Facebook page the more “likes” you will get.  Good luck!

Bing, Facebook, and Google +1: Who’s Going to Dominate Social Search, and What It All Might Mean for HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical Service Businesses

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011 by Nadia Romeo

As we discussed in some previous blog posts, Bing is making a bid to challenge Google’s dominance in the search world. We’ve already looked at Bing’s deal with Blackberry, which may give Bing a lot more traction in the mobile search market. Now we’re going to look at Bing’s deal with Facebook, which adds an exciting “social” aspect to Bing’s search results – and Google’s attempt to strike back.

Here’s how it works. Bing search results will now include “Likes” from Facebook. If you’re logged into Facebook when you make a search – say, to find a local plumber – you’ll get a list of plumbers’ websites, and if any of your Facebook Friends have “Liked” any of the websites in the list, you’ll see a little thumbs-up “Like” icon and the name of your friend(s) who “Like” the site.

Of course, when your Facebook Friends make searches in Bing, they in turn will be able to see which websites you have “Liked”. To make it as easy as possible for everyone to contribute their opinion, There’s even a Bing toolbar that lets you “Like” a website right from your browser controls – you don’t have to hunt on the website for the little “Like” icon.

It’s certainly handy to be able to see at a glance if one or more of your Friends “Likes” a website – especially when you’re trying to evaluate something you don’t know much about. Many people rely primarily on word-of-mouth to choose heating, plumbing, and electrical contractors, and “we think consumers searching for service businesses will quickly come to use “Likes” to choose one contractor over another.

But the Bing/Facebook integration goes deeper than that. Bing will actually use your Friends’ “Likes” to help calculate the search engine results it presents to you – that is, the sites that your Friends “Like” will get a higher spot in the listings. And because each person has a different group of Facebook Friends with different “Likes”, Bing will present a different set of search results to each person – a truly personalized search.

For businesses, this means that it will be increasingly important to encourage happy customers to register their satisfaction online. There are some great ways to do this, and we’ll revisit this topic again in future blog posts.

How to Encourage People to Connect to You on Social Media – a.k.a. Let Me Bribe You to Become My Friend

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 by Nadia Romeo

Some people, especially satisfied and loyal customers, will become your Facebook Fans simply because you ask them to. But many people are starting to become a little jaded and wary when it comes to online contacts. They have suffered too many spam attacks and received too many urgent fundraising emails, and they want to be sure that it’s worth their while before they give away their online contact information.

A recent Dilbert cartoon showed Dilbert bribing a woman in his office to become his Facebook Friend, making her a “Frienditute”. As long as you do good work and treat your customers well, Frienditution won’t be necessary, but when you ask people to become your Fan or Follower, you will probably need to follow it up with a value proposition of some kind. This basic proposition should be part of your “please become our Fan on Facebook” speech that you’ve trained all your employees to give.

Your Facebook/Twitter value proposition can be simple and doesn’t have to cost more than your usual advertising:

  • You’ll offer tips to help people save money and avoid expensive repairs (this only costs the time it takes to write and post the tips on Facebook or Twitter)
  • You’ll offer Facebook- or Twitter-only specials (you probably offer specials periodically anyway – this is just a different place to publish them)

If you’re finding that your basic value proposition isn’t sufficient to overcome people’s reserve, you can offer people specific rewards for signing up, such as:

  • A coupon that they’ll get immediately when they “Like” your Facebook page or sign up to follow you on Twitter. The better this coupon is, the more Fans/Followers you’re likely to get.
  • A year’s membership in your service plan. (This will not only be a great enticement to “Like” your Facebook page; it will also build repeat business by showing customers the value of your plan.)

Of course, whenever you offer coupons or specials, especially big-ticket ones, you want to offer them for a product or service you want to get people excited about/hooked on anyway.

You can also offer people something that has absolutely nothing to do with HVAC, plumbing, or electrical services. This will be appealing to the many people who hire you because they are not actually interested in the mechanical aspects of their homes – and who may not get that excited about coupons for services.

For example:

  • You can team up with another local business to offer coupons or gift cards. (A great choice is to work with a business that sells products that appeal to women, since women are often the decision-makers when it comes to services for the home. What woman will be able to resist a coupon to a local spa?)
  • You can enter your new Facebook Fans/Twitter Followers into a drawing for something really exciting. For example, one of our clients has a drawing every month to give major league baseball tickets to one of their new Facebook Fans. This is a great choice, even for female customers – a lot of women are sports fans, and those who are not will feel like heroes when they present the tickets to friends or family members.

One caution: you should only offer major coupons or other big-ticket items as incentives if you have a well-developed plan for your Facebook Page – that is, only if you already have an outside provider or have designated someone on your staff to be responsible for updating your Page regularly. Otherwise, you may be wasting your marketing dollars developing a channel you won’t use.

But here’s a Facebook/Twitter development strategy that is always worthwhile, even if you never use Facebook or Twitter again: connect your social media efforts to local charities. For example, a local bank in our area is donating $5 to the local animal shelter for every person who becomes a Fan of their Facebook Page. Another organization in our community is giving a pair of warm winter gloves filled with candy to needy kids for every new Fan. Both campaigns got free front-page mention in our city’s newspaper, including the actual URLs where people could go to sign up.

This is a win on so many levels!

  • You help a charity you care about
  • You build up a Fan and Follower base
  • You’ll attract people who may not know much about you but who care about the charity – and then you’ll be able to use your social media posts to win them over as customers
  • You’ll enhance your reputation in the community
  • You may get free publicity in your local paper (especially if you send out a press release)
  • You’ll get great word-of-mouth publicity – all the people who work for/care about the charity in question will talk it up to their friends and neighbors
  • You’ll do all this for the cost of a donation that you would probably have made anyway

We can’t recommend this strategy enough. Be creative, have fun, and do some good this holiday season!

How to Incorporate Social Media into Your Selling Strategy

Thursday, November 18th, 2010 by Nadia Romeo

The only difference between Facebook and your local Chamber of Commerce gathering is that Facebook happens 24/7 and has a much broader reach. (And you can network on Facebook in your pajamas if you want.)

It’s very useful to keep this analogy in mind as you decide how you’re going to use social media as a sales tool.

When you go to a local Chamber of Commerce gathering, do you walk in and start blasting your sales pitch in the face of the first person you see? Of course not. You mix and mingle and expand your business network. You show, rather than tell, people that you are competent and trustworthy and community-minded.

This is exactly how you should use social media for your business.

Your goal on Facebook (and Twitter) should be the same as your goal when you walk into a Chamber gathering: to expand your network and win the trust of the people in it.

The #1 rule: Your Facebook and Twitter posts should not be sales pitches. Your role on Facebook and Twitter is to provide people with useful, meaningful, unobtrusive information that shows that you are invested in your community and care about the people in it. Whatever you post on social media should help someone else besides you.

Of course, you do ultimately want to reap some benefit too – but the benefit is that you build a reputation as a trustworthy local businessperson with local ties, who isn’t fly-by-night, and who isn’t going to screw people because you value your reputation for integrity.

So what do you post on social media to establish your reputation in the online community?

  • Mostly, you should think of your Facebook and Twitter accounts as additional outlets for your blog content. (Because, of course, your blog is chock-full of useful, meaningful information, right? If your blog is just a bunch of bald-faced sales copy, it’s time for an immediate course correction!) There are even software programs that will automatically “push” your blog posts to your Facebook and Twitter pages without your ever having to think about it – ask your web team to set these up for you.
  • Building on this foundation, you should add a few unique posts that are not on your blog. Scared that your posts won’t be “cool” enough for social media? Don’t be. Social media is full of ordinary people who talk about their children, their pets, their health, what they’re cooking for dinner or watching on TV. All you need to do is come up with 140 characters that will be of interest or value to other people just like you.
  • Start with useful information – something you’d tell a neighbor just to be neighborly. Like, “It’s going to freeze tonight, so don’t forget to empty and turn off your outside faucets!” Is it thrilling? No – but how much are people going to love you after you save them an expensive plumbing bill?!
  • You can spice up your social media posts with trivia that is related to your business, like (on the first really nice day of the summer) “Did you know that you can save $80 a year by hanging your clothes outside in the sun?”
  • And, our favorite: you should post often about your community and charity work. This is a win-win: it gives valuable publicity to worthy causes, and it makes your business look like a real team player.

Of course, the best social media content in the world will only help your business if people are reading it…so next week we’ll give you some useful strategies for increasing your “Three Fs”: Friends, Fans, and Followers.

iMarket Experts Teach Intensive Web Design and Online Marketing Seminars at the 2010 Meeting of Quality Service Contractors (QSC)

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 by Nadia Romeo

iMarket was the lead presenter at the CONNECT 2010 meeting of QSC (Quality Service Contractors) in Las Vegas on October 27-30.

A self-supporting business unit of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association, QSC offers high-level training programs by expert consultants to help its members run their businesses more profitably and provide a superior level of service to their customers.

The meeting was attended by 87 plumbing companies from all over the US.

iMarket’s seminars for QSC members covered all the “Power Tools for Internet Marketing”, including:

  • Website design and programming
  • Online lead generation
  • Website and online advertising metrics
  • Search engine optimization
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Social media and content strategy

The goal of the seminar series was to enable contractors to understand how to create an effective online marketing strategy for their business, and hire the right people to develop and implement it.

The seminars were very well attended by CONNECT 2010 attendees. We received a lot of positive feedback, including this comment sent to iMarket President Nadia Romeo:

“Nadia, I wanted to let you know that you and your company did an outstanding job on the website presentation last week in Vegas.  I picked up several pieces of great information that will help separate my company website from many others in the industry.  The internet is constantly changing and very difficult to keep up with.  You guys are on top of your game. I felt the knowledge behind iMarket Solutions was amazing! Thanks, Rob Basnett, Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC”.

iMarket offered the following seminars over the course of the weekend:

  • Building a Web Site – Web Design and Programming Do’s and Don’ts. Business owners inevitably have many questions when they launch a website. This seminar answered many of them, including: What are the best practices for building a website? What tools do I need to have an effective web presence? How do I tell the good web designers from the bad?
  • Branding & Lead Generation – Integration of the Internet into Lead Generation and Tracking Using Google Analytics. In this seminar iMarket experts explained how best to track customer acquisition channels and the costs associated with those channels. We also showed how to evaluate “return on investment” to determine which channels are the most profitable. In particular, we explored the valuable online metrics offered by Google Analytics.
  • Search Engine Optimization – The Basics and Pay-Per-Click Marketing and Google Analytics. In order for a website to be an effective marketing tool, it has to “speak” to the search engines—the online tools that help customers find your company. This seminar showed how to make sure that Google and the other search engines see and understand the value of your website so that your website gets strong placement in online search results. We also explained how to use online paid advertising to supplement free search engine results.
  • Social Media and Content Strategy. This session explored social media and content strategies that service companies can put into practice easily without expert help, plus some advanced strategies that are worth hiring outside experts to implement.

Click on the links above to view each presentation, or go to the full list of iMarket presentations.

Contact us if you’re interested in having iMarket present similar seminars in your area!


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