iMarket Solutions Blog : Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

How to Maintain a Quality Social Media Presence

Monday, June 10th, 2019

Social media is an invaluable tool for your business. If you’re a business owner struggling to use social media to its fullest extent, you’re not alone. The term “social media” encapsulates a wide variety of topics—sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. We’re here to help you reach your greatest potential. Social media marketing for contractors doesn’t have to be intimidating.

The Three Tenants of Quality Social Media Presence

If you only walk away from this blog post with one piece of knowledge make sure it’s these three keys to a great social media presence:

  1.      Driving Business Growth
  2.      Creating Genuine Brand Awareness
  3.      Attracting Quality Candidates

Get SMART

If you read everything above and thought, “How can I do this?”

First and foremost, it’s important to create SMART goals. SMART stands for:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Time-Based

You never want to create a vague goal. Let’s say, for example, that you’re looking to gain more followers. We’ve illustrated the difference between an average goal and a SMART goal below:

  1.      I want to gain followers.
  2.      I want to gain 150 new followers on my Facebook account over the next three months.

Example A is imprecise while example B is SMART. Example B is specific to Facebook, uses “150” as the measurable amount, and has a time-based goal of three months. What makes something attainable or relevant is more personal to your business—gaining 10,000 followers in three months would probably be unattainable in most circumstances. For someone else, focusing on a Twitter account when their Facebook account is the one lacking could be irrelevant.

Understanding your specific business helps you make SMART goals.

Know Your Audience

Once you’ve established a definitive goal it’s time to outline how you’re going to achieve this goal. Do you know who you’re talking to? Answering this question with “customers” isn’t enough! Define your audience by their age, location, needs, challenges, and interests, hobbies, or behaviors.

Most HVAC companies are looking to target 25 to 65-year-old homeowners in their service areas. Their needs are typically different depending on the season (I.e. air conditioning repair in June versus a heater tune-up in December) or your top products and services. When it comes to interests, hobbies, and behaviors, it’s always good to find people who have an interest in home improvement or home repair.

Fine-Tune that Content!

Now you have an understanding of your audiences, they deserve content curated on a personal and authentic level.

First, determine how many posts and categories of content support your goal. How will you balance out the remaining posts to delight and entertain your audience?

The content you post should be captivating and concise. Here are a few ways that you can make the most of what you post.

  • Quality: Make sure your grammar, punctuation, and the overall flow of your posts is up to par. Clarity is key.
  • Structure: Format your posts so they’re easy on the eye by breaking up long paragraphs.
  • Frequency: There is a “sweet spot” when it comes to posting on social media. You don’t want to post too often and bombard your followers, but you also don’t want to post so little that people forget about you. Posting three to four times a week ensures that you’re on the minds of your followers without getting on their nerves.  
  • Linking/CTA: If you’re linking to a website or a contact us form, be sure to state a clear Call-To-Action, such as  “Schedule an appointment with our team today!” make sure that the link leads directly to the scheduling window rather than to the homepage of your website. If you’re adding a link to a social media post, make sure that it’s a shortened link so you can utilize your word count to the fullest extent.
  • Hashtags and Emojis: Hashtags are a great way to attract people to your page. Make sure the tags you’re using are relevant and site appropriate. The sweet spot for Facebook and Twitter is about 2-6 hashtags while Instagram is about 10-15. Additionally, emojis are a great way to add a playful tone and approachable feel to your posts.

Make the Most of Your Interactions

Don’t stop after you post! Make sure that you monitor your content too. Take about 15 minutes out of your day every day to look through your social media accounts and interact with your followers. Reply to comments, use the “reaction” features on Facebook, “like” posts from your followers, and answer questions or address concerns that have come your way. Do anything to keep the conversation going!

Your social media doesn’t always have to be strictly campaigning either. It’s also great to post about weather notifications, business announcements, equipment recalls, or even employee milestones. The more authentic you can be with your content, the more engagement will naturally rise.

Look Back Over Your Work

We’re taking it back to the grade school basics with this one—always check your work! Using analytics is the best way to get to know your social media. Your ongoing analytics help you track the overall health of your social media through metrics like interactions, likes, followers, and shares.

Your campaign focused metrics will vary from campaign to campaign and depend on the SMART goal you’ve set, but they’re also a great way to measure your success. Understanding your analytics is the best way to ensure that you are posting the right content to grow.

Leveraging Social Media for Omnichannel Marketing

So you’ve built a great social media presence… now, what are you doing with it? Sometimes reaching the right audience doesn’t always give you your desired response. Social media is a tool that can help you fine-tune your omnichannel marketing.

Wondering what omnichannel marketing is? You probably understand the practice but might not know the name. Omnichannel marketing is a method of marketing that focuses on delivering a consistent, personalized, experience for customers across all channels and divisions. The name of the game here is “streamlining”—we’re catering to the customer to generate better engagement.

The opposite of omnichannel marketing is multichannel marketing. Multichannel marketing means that every single channel is different from the others—they work in a vacuum with independent strategies and goals. While this might be easier on the business owner, it’s inferior to omnichannel marketing because it creates a confusing and impersonal customer experience.

Social media is a great tool to generate awareness and consideration for your brand to help drive leads for your business and continue the relationship with your loyal customers. A great social media presence falls in line with your preexisting omnichannel marketing practices. We’ll highlight services and products that are true to your brand and give you a confident and consistent voice.

You can rely on our tech-savvy team of Social Media Specialists here at iMarket Solutions to fine-tune your business. Contact our team today to learn more about the best social media practices.

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Upgrade Your Marketing: Digital Marketing Tips for Contractors

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

You have many options when it comes to developing a marketing plan for your contracting business. Creating the right strategy is a vital part to helping your business thrive. This includes traditional marketing methods as well as newer, digital marketing strategies.

We mentioned this briefly in our last blog post about selling in the shoulder season, though it applies year round—forming a reputable digital footprint in today’s online and mobile environment is not optional. It’s key to helping you build your brand, attract leads, and build customer relationships.

If It’s Not Digital, Is It Even Marketing?

There is of course still value in traditional marketing practices, such as sending direct mail pieces that advertise your products and services, promoting your business and services from a booth at a home show, or even setting up charity events in your local area. But there is no denying that today’s consumers are increasingly mobile and web-based. Therefore, it’s essential to have a solid digital marketing plan in place.

What does this look like? Here are just a few digital marketing tips for you to keep in mind:

  1. Create a Well-Designed Website: It’s not enough to simply have a website up—it must be well designed. This means creating a site that is visually appealing, allows site visitors and customers to figure out what you’re about right away, is user-friendly (customers can find what they’re looking for instantly), and properly optimized. Don’t forget that it has to be fast and responsive—this means it works on any online and mobile device.  
  2. Optimize Your Web Pages and Blog: Weak keywords are the worst enemy to a well-designed website and blog. Choosing the right keywords to attract your target demographic requires a long-term strategy that includes understanding your competition and knowing exactly what web visitors are searching for. Trusting an experienced marketing company to create your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy will ensure that this is done correctly and that you avoid what’s known as “black hat” SEO practices—tactics that can get your website flagged by Google and other major search engines.
  3. Invest in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads: Also called “paid advertising,” PPC ads are an essential component of any effective digital marketing plan, especially in highly-competitive markets. A PPC ad is what you see on the top and right sides of search engine results pages. They’re named as such because advertisers pay each time a web visitor conducting a search clicks on one of those ads.
  4. Have a Social Media and Email Marketing Plan in Place: There’s a lot still to be said for “word-of-mouth” advertising. Social media has taken this form of marketing and amplified it. Businesses can now easily reach customers where they’re at, not necessarily to make a sale, but to engage directly with potential consumers in order to build a relationship. Email marketing is another way to effectively get the word out about your business to leads and members of your community. From eNewsletters to promotional announcements, email allows you to get your business top of mind when the recipient needs a home services contractor down the road.

Not all products are right for each and every contractor. You’ll want to work closely with a qualified professional who specializes in marketing for contractors to help determine the right mix of products for your particular contracting business. When you work with our team, you don’t have to worry about your knowledge of the digital marketing space—that’s what we are here for!

iMarket Solutions is your resource for the leading digital solutions, and other great marketing tips. We would love the opportunity to assess your current digital campaign and see where your lead opportunities are. Contact us today!

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4 Lessons From Rand Fishkin At Content Marketing Retreat

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Pamela Muldoon, iMarket Solutions & Rand Fishkin, MOZ

Pamela Muldoon, iMarket Solutions & Rand Fishkin, MOZ

Recently I attended the Content Marketing Retreat on Whidbey Island in Langley, WA. This is the fourth consecutive year for this retreat, sponsored by the Langley Center for New Media and FusionSpark Media, both located on the island. This year’s theme was “Best Practices for Measuring Content Marketing ROI,” and the list of presenters took on such topics as SEO, tracking the right metrics, converting rich media to leads and measuring word-of-mouth marketing.

iMarket Solutions proudly partners with MOZ to track the various SEO tactics for our clients. The opportunity to see co-founder Rand Fishkin present his keynote was a pleasure and a learning experience all in one. Rand’s presentation “Why Your Content Marketing Will Fail” offered up some wise reflections on how online marketing has evolved, and provided some excellent tips on helping your business get the most from its digital space.

Content Marketing Is Not A Straight Line

When we design content for the web, we often treat it as a step-by-step process that our consumers will take to locate us, click on our offer and subsequently buy our goods or services. Anyone who has ever searched the web knows that this is not the case at all. We battle against baby photos and cat videos on social channels, Facebook posts from friends, and the latest celebrity meltdowns screaming across the news sites. Consumers have a low attention span – especially on the web – and they rarely need us when they see us. It’s when they need us to solve a problem that we want them to remember us.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - P Muldoon

Content Without Community Will Not Work

Content spreads because it inspires a community. Great content can reinforce an already set belief in the person exposed to it. It often refutes an opposing argument which can bring about heated, passionate conversations. Content that is in someone’s financial or promotional interest will also gain momentum. If it makes the person sharing it look smarter, feel more important and perhaps come across as a bit more worldly, it can gain some ground. Content does not necessarily need to be mind-blowing. It simply needs to build a community with a connection to the message.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - Brian Vellmure

SEO Is Content’s Most Powerful Channel

According to Statisticbrain, over 6 billion searches take place on Google every day. While search traffic is distributed via keywords, social allows for a more highly concentrated effort. Of all the social networks, Facebook continues to be the biggest driver of social traffic to websites. (SimpleReach) When done right, content marketing becomes the rising tide that lifts the SEO ships. Without it, it becomes incredibly hard to earn the types of links that will provide domain authority and rankings in search engines.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - M Heinz #2

Do Not Give Up Too Soon With Your Content

A solid content marketing strategy allows the process to gain momentum over time and permit the analytics to deduct subsequent steps, changes or modifications. Too often we stop too soon. Content marketing is truly a marathon, not a sprint, and failure only occurs if you do not learn from the experience. Keep pushing on, trying new ideas and being patient and persistent. We often quit just before the momentum can take hold, and a steady effort can make a world of difference.

Rand Fishkin Preso Tweet - What Now Exactly

Don’t let your content marketing efforts fail. Take to heart the lessons shared by Rand Fishkin and you, too, will find more success in your digital marketing efforts.

And if you’re looking to add a unique marketing conference to your list in 2015, consider attending the next Content Marketing Retreat in May. With top-notch presentations in a beautiful location featuring an intimate theatre setting, next year’s conference should be well worth the price of admission.

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Increase Followers with the Bing Social Search Feature

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Google and Bing have confirmed that social media activity is taken into account when determining your website’s search engine ranking, but Microsoft is looking to make its search engine the most social way to find what you are looking for on the web. One of the ways they plan on doing this is through the Bing social search feature which displays within their search engine results at Bing.com.

Bing has introduced a panel on the far right of its search engine interface known as the “social sidebar”. This panel contains social media updates from Facebook, Twitter and more. With Facebook, users can log in to their personal Facebook accounts and interact directly with their friends, asking questions and providing answers relevant to content that they may be searching for through Bing. Bing also searches through Twitter to find highly active and optimized Twitter profiles that are tweeting information relevant to users’ searches, and displays the tweets within the panel.

Below you can see an example of how Bing social search works with our client, JD Plumbing Company:

Bing social search result screenshot

 

When searching for a plumber in Raleigh, NC, Bing was able to locate JD Plumbing Company’s Twitter profile and find a tweet that was created and optimized by our team. As a Social Domination client, we created tweets and then used hashtags to categorize them with SEO-related keywords. This allowed Bing to find and promote JD Plumbing Company through their social search toolbar. This is a huge benefit to businesses that are effectively using social media to promote their product lines and connect with fans. People are 90% more likely to connect with brands endorsed and recommended by a friend, so not only is social media a great SEO enhancement; it is also a great sales enhancement. Brands that are not utilizing social media are missing out on this amazing opportunity to be found in the search engines! Between the Bing social search feature, Google Knowledge Graph and Google Local Carousel, search engines are just begging to help increases your company’s visibility.

Find out how we can help you and your business with one of our social media marketing solutions by visiting our website today!

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Enhance Your Facebook Business Page

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

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!

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Facebook Reveals New Changes

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

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

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Twitter Analytics

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

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/

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Easy Ways To Get More Twitter Followers

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

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.

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Five Easy Ways To Get More Facebook Fans

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

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!

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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

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.

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