Social Media Marketing
Social media is the newest form of online marketing - and for many small business owners, the most intimidating.
Really, though, social media is just an amped-up form of word-of-mouth marketing, with some of the benefits of other forms of online marketing thrown in as a bonus.
Social media marketing offers businesses the opportunity to go to where consumers are already "hanging out" and speak directly to them in a low-key, low-pressure way that makes customers comfortable. When done properly, social media posts are a way to win the interest and trust of customers - and potential customers - by providing useful information and special offers in a relaxed environment. In this way, social media marketing is like word-of-mouth referrals from friends and neighbors. But unlike word-of-mouth referrals, where potential customers often hear about you in a situation where they are unable to pick up the phone and call you immediately, social media marketing offers consumers a direct, immediate link right to you.
Social media posts are also a terrific way to let your community know that you care - you can use your posts to share information about your community activities and local charity work.
In addition, social media marketing is vital to highly-successful SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Search engines give a significant advantage to websites that update their social media pages regularly.
The best part? Social media is 100% free.
To leverage the power of social media for your business, you simply start participating in the conversations on social media sites. To do this effectively, you need to increase the number of your social media friends, fans, and followers. You can use many of the same marketing techniques you use to collect email addresses for your eNewsletter - encouraging online social media signups and asking satisfied customers to "opt-in" to your messages.
Remember, too, social media doesn't only mean Facebook and Twitter. Your social media marketing strategy should also include online review sites such as Yelp, Google Local, and Angie's List. These online review sites are invaluable as a source of leads for contracting businesses.
Despite the many advantages of social media, the vast majority of small to mid-size businesses don't have a social media presence. They worry that they lack the knowledge, time, and resources to use this exciting new marketing channel effectively.
How can iMarket help you with social media?
- Our blog software automatically "pushes" your blog posts to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You'll get the advantage of social media, without having to think about it!
- If you don't have the time or interest to get involved with social media, you can outsource it to us! iMarket's social media experts will set up your social media accounts and post to them regularly on your behalf.
Here are some suggestions for how you can start putting social media to work for your business right now:
- Set up a Facebook Fan page.
- Have each of your employees set up a business Facebook page and link your site to their Facebook page.
- Ask satisfied, loyal customers to become friends, fans, and followers of your business.
- Set up a Twitter account and "tweet" at least once a week. Even the busiest person has time to write 140 characters once a week!
- Encourage your loyal customers to visit online review sites (Yelp, Google Local, Angie's List, etc.) and post positive reviews.
- If there are negative online reviews about your company, ask us how our Reputation Management Service can help you overcome them!
Here's what people say:
Everything has been great with the results and customer service from iMarket. Anything that we’ve asked for has been done quickly and exactly as we wished. Everyone in your organization has been very responsive and are all truly customer focused – you have great people working for you.
Specifically, we’ve been blown away by the organic traffic to the site and the leads and revenue generated from the SEO work that iMarket has done for us. Our SEO placement and leads/revenue went from something that wasn’t even worth tracking to our second highest source of both leads and revenue in just 6 months – the only higher source for either has been customer referrals. The investment that we made literally paid for itself in 6 months – maybe less than that. We should have done this years ago.
When we ran our reports from organic/SEO leads and revenue, it was our most abundant source of lead generation and revenue as well as our most cost effective source of lead generation and revenue – even when we had amortized the entire cost of the new site over just a 6 month period.
In comparison to yellow page advertising, it has cost us less than 10% of what yellow page expenditures cost to generate both leads and revenue. As a result of this, we have already reduced yellow page expenditures for next year that will result in savings that are over 3 times what it cost us to build the new site.
As for the social media aspect of things – everything has been great. I’m not well versed in those arenas nor do I have time to get involved with it, so I asked Martina to take care of keeping us up to date and she’s done a great job with it, updating our pages (as well as our blog) 2 or 3 times a week. I may get more involved with it at some point, but I haven’t had to as it’s being managed for us without me needing to do anything.
Finally on the PPC campaigns, we have not spent a lot of money there – simply because we haven’t had to because we are generating so much organic traffic. What we have spent has been worth it, we are averaging around $30 per lead via PPC which is outstanding when compared to any other paid advertising that we are doing. The next closest source in terms of expense is $90 per lead. We may look to increase PPC budgets in the future as a source of growth. For now though, we have our plate full with all of the organic leads as we are on Google’s first page for nearly every keyword that we have targeted.
Kevin Carney, President
Carney Plumbing, Heating and Cooling
Here's what's going on:
Many people perceive the Penguin algorithm as nothing more than a thug, here to force thousands of small businesses into paid advertisement on Google by tanking their organic visibility. So I’m sure you can imagine the unrest within the community as the one year anniversary of the last update passed. But on Friday (October 17th, 2014), webmasters finally got their wish – Google began rolling out Penguin 3.0. Whether or not it was what they had hoped for is yet to be determined.
It was exciting while it lasted, but unfortunately, Google authorship is no longer supported by Google. But first, allow me to shed a little light on the rise and fall of Google’s authorship markup. The Google authorship rich snippet was first introduced by Matt Cutts at the SMX Advanced conference, back in 2011. For those unfamiliar with this rich snippet; it allowed you to identify yourself as the author of the content within a blog post, which would then publish a small thumbnail of your Google+ profile photo directly to the left of your blog post snippet within Google’s search results.