How to Manage Your Reputation on Facebook

How to Manage Your Reputation on FacebookWhen it comes to branding, you can’t ignore the importance of Facebook and social media. It’s important to build relationships with other small business owners just as it is to build with customers. The more active your Facebook page is, the more networking you can benefit from. This includes when you have an upcoming trade show, event, product launch or anything else.

There are a lot of opportunities for businesses on Facebook – and this doesn’t have to cost you any money at all. You will be able to get your name out there in the community and engage with your customer base in a way that was never possible.

Here are some small business tips that you can follow when it comes to managing your reputation on your Facebook page properly.

  • Your Facebook Page

    If you don’t already have a Facebook page for your small business, create one now. Take the time to fill out the About section of your business’s Facebook page. Many businesses skip this and then miss out on telling customers about who they are and what they do. This About section should be a brief description of what your business does as well as the core values. Be sure it is written in the proper voice so that it helps with your branding. Be sure to include links back to your website and other social media accounts.

  • Stay Vigilant with Posting

    Once you get started on social media, you have to maintain it. If customers see your Facebook posts taper off, it can lead to your sales tapering off as well because you aren’t communicating as much as you need to be. You can handle the posts yourself or hire an additional employee or marketing firm to do it for you.

  • Engage Your Customers

    Don’t just make posts that are read and ignored. Ask questions about what products people like, what they would like to see and what they thought about something that just recently appeared in the news that applies to your industry. When you get more people involved in the comments field, it can make it easier for you to attract new customers and stay on the minds of those you already have. When a customer interacts with your Facebook page, that activity can then be seen in the News Feed of their friends, and the cycle continues.

  • Maintain Your Business Page

    If a customer leaves a complaint on your Facebook page, you have to be sure that you comment back. Try to resolve the entire problem via the comments section. This will show other customers that you are committed to making everything right. If you ignore the comment or don’t post a response, it can send the wrong message to other customers. If it’s a complaint that you’d rather not resolve in a public manner, then politely reply to the customer that you would like the resolve the situation, and ask that they contact you directly via email or by phone.

Facebook is a great tool for you to manage your reputation. Best of all, it’s a free tool that you are able to use in order to leverage more customers and more appeal within the community.

Five Reasons Your Small Business Needs to Have a Blog

Blogging is a great way to increase traffic and revenue to your website.Unless your small business already has all of the customers you can handle, you are probably wondering where to find marketing tips to drive more traffic to your website. Many small business owners are already wearing so many company hats—manager, customer service, bookkeeper—they think adding one more iron to the fire may be too much.

Blogging won’t add more time to the daily clock, but it can certainly drive more traffic to your site and help you increase sales if done properly. With the added revenue, small business owners can outsource their blog content tasks to a professional writing team or assign those duties to new hires as the business grows.

To help you decide whether blogging is right for your business consider the ways that adding a company blog can benefit your company with the marketing tips below.

  • Connecting with Customers

    A blog is a convenient and effective channel for one-on-one conversations with your current and future customers. The content allows small business owners to provide more details about products and services. Through the comments visitors post, you can find out more about what consumers think about your services and what they are looking for in the products they purchase. It is a chance to build and enhance an ongoing relationship.

  • Increasing Traffic to Your Website

    Research indicates that companies with a well maintained blog enjoy approximately twice as much traffic as non-blogging sites. More visitors equates to more potential sales and increased return on investment.

  • Reduced Marketing Expenses

    Perhaps the best marketing tip, or factoid, is that blogging is free or almost free—excluding the time element, of course. If you are concerned about busting your marketing budget, blogging is the perfect addition to your overall marketing campaign. If you can budget one hour per week, you can start a blog to promote your small business. The more often you post and the more informative and helpful your content, the more traffic your blog will attract.

  • Analytics and Traffic

    Everyone knows that increasing revenue is the ultimate goal of any marketing effort, so it makes sense to spend your valuable time on potential prospects rather than casual browsers. By adding traffic analysis tools to your blog, you can qualify leads more accurately. Blogs generate leads— both good and bad. With the proper tools, small business owners can determine which leads are most likely to be converted to sales.

  • Become More Competitive

    Since blog visitors expect the most timely, relevant information available, blogging requires that you spend time exploring the latest technological releases and product upgrades. When you spend time examining what is developing in the market place and what your competition is doing, you will naturally be more informed and able to respond to consumer needs more effectively.

One of the best small business tips you will come across, is to add blogging to your company marketing plan.

Make Your Business More Visible Online and Offline

Being visible brings customers to a small business. It’s an age-old axiom, and in modern business it’s practiced regularly through marketing and advertising. Yet visibility starts with first understanding where the business is today and where it needs to be to get in front of customers.

Imagine for a moment, you’re a tourist in your town. You need a particular product or service but it’s the first time you’ve ever visited the location. What would you do first to find that service or product? If in a highly urban area today, most people would use their mobile device and some kind of app to locate local businesses quickly that serve the need and are within reach. However, let’s say the town is a bit off the beaten path and your cell signal isn’t that great. Most people then revert back to the traditional tools available, which generally include the local yellow pages, the newspaper, local classified ads, and finally referrals by a local, knowledgeable person.

A business desiring to improve being seen locally can only hope to influence people into becoming reliable referrals, but it can definitely do something about placement and visibility in local papers, phone books and local searches on the Internet as well.

Consider the following marketing tips:

Business Listings

List your business in the yellow pagesThe phone book is an easy avenue to initiate. However, it’s only effective when caught at the beginning of the printing cycle. Otherwise a business has to wait for the next printing, which usually occurs once a year. However, you can now add your business to online business directories, listings and review sites, such as YellowPages.com, or Yelp.com. Make sure that the information listed for your business is always accurate.

Get a Website

Small Business Tips: Get a Website with PowerSites

In this technology-fueled world, if you have a business, you NEED to have a website. If you don’t already have one, let PowerSites help you. Once you have your own website up and running, make sure that all listings and pages about your business link back to your website. This includes your Yelp page, yellowpages.com listing, Facebook Page, Twitter Account, Google+, and any other business listing or social media page.

Search Engine Optimization

With the website established and complete with necessary information and the critical contact data included, the website needs to be profiledand listed on search engines to be picked up. A business has two options for this part: pay for a better search engine listing position or make the website real interesting with constantly changing content and SEO. If one doesn’t have the time for daily website work, Entrepreneur Magazine suggests paying for the search engine ranking spot may be the better way to go. If you’re a local business owner looking to try paid search, you don’t have to go it alone. Check out PennySaverUSA.com‘s paid search service, PowerClicks.

Print Ads

Finally, print ads still matter. While it may sound old-fashioned, newspaper and classified ads still work exceptionally well in driving local customers to a business. Local papers and classified ads still provide key links for locals and visitors to quickly find services they are looking for in the immediate area. It’s also a great way to attract new customers, by enticing them with offers and coupons.

So, to boost online and offline awareness a small business should work on multiple levels of advertising, as noted above, simultaneously. This covers both traditional and technological ways of marketing for products and services. It also covers a wide generational spectrum of customers, which can mean more business and more awareness overall.

7 Tips for Local Search Optimization

Local search optimization doesn’t have to be hard. If you can afford a consultant, great, but you don’t need one to make an impact on the local marketplace. Here are a few tips for improving your local search marketing efforts:

1. Be Easy to Find

A newspaper or classified ad seen by thousands of people in your town doesn’t do you much good if you don’t include your phone number, official website URL, product listings and other details. With things like QR codes, it’s easier than ever to let people find you on the web through local print ads, and of course, you shouldn’t even be wasting time on online local marketing without putting your information out there.

2. Focus on the Important Keywords

Keyword stuffing looks bad and it looks desperate. Give people what they’re looking for with sharp SEO for hyper local marketing, but don’t overwhelm them with keyword stuffing. Focus on important keywords.

3. Establish a Visual Presence

Your corporate logo, pictures of your store and videos can all be a tremendous help in establishing your brand. The web makes it easy to advertise with multimedia, don’t ignore the opportunity. Use the appropriate social media channels to expand your reach and communicate with your customers.

4. Check for False Listings

Browse the local phone book and search listing sites to make sure that your information is correct. Check to make sure that you don’t have the same name as some other store in town, and try to establish a distinctive identity in the local community.

5. Keep People Up to Date

Verify all of your listings and keep them up to date. Your Facebook account is doing you no favors if it still lists your old address and website URL.

6. Coupons and Sales Still Work

Many small business owners get so obsessed with web marketing and new developments in local marketing that they forget that the old tricks are still, sometimes, the best. Don’t neglect coupons, and use the web to get them into more people’s hands.

7. Study Your Analytics

And don’t just study them, do something about them. Pursue the marketing channels that are working, fix or drop the ones that aren’t. Analytics aren’t just there as a status symbol for businesses, they are there to let you know what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not adjusting for the data that analytics produce, then why use them at all? Track, study, research and adjust based on the numbers you’re getting.

Build A Large, Valuable Network with Social Media

You have heard the buzz and been told to do it for sometime now; Get involved with social media. Where do you start though? Social media is everywhere from LinkedIn to Facebook and beyond. Customers and potential customers do not interact with the world around them anymore.

People post everything that goes on in their lives be it minor or major on twitter feeds and in status updates. They hardly communicate with their friends, so what makes you think they will thumb through the phone book or even do a Google search for your services?

Word of mouth is still the power behind most business and that likely is not to change. What has changed however is the “mouth” that the word comes from. Companies can be crippled by bad online reviews and Facebook troubles. For an example of this, have a look at this recent news story. Potential clients and current ones need to know that you understand their needs and are there when their need arises.

There are many examples of companies staying relevant and becoming integrated with their public. To further the point of the importance of the reliance on social media by consumers, have a look at a few surveys at SurveyGizmo or Google consumer surveys. There is a reliance on using social media for finding goods and services. It is no longer an option whether or not you need to be involved with social media; it is now the bare minimum you can do to get by. Choose not to be involved at your own peril.

So, getting to the point, here are small business tips you can use to become involved in social media.

What Not To Do

  • As you may have read before, customers are prone to become angry and nearly hostile if they feel they are being taken advantage of online. If another customer has been victimized or been taken advantage of, mob rule can quickly take over on the internet.
  • Stay ahead of problems and monitor the internet about your company. This includes internet searches and Facebook and LinkedIn searches. If you find a problem or someone has a complaint about your services, address it and do what you can to solve it before it snowballs. Here are several small business marketing tips and actions to NEVER do.
  • Never censor online posts on your company Facebook or other media site. There are exceptions, such as vulgar content and if there is a violation of terms or conditions. Customers hate to be censored or otherwise feel that a business is trying to cover up an incident.
  • Never attack a client no matter how belligerent they become. This seems to be understood, but sometimes internet users say things that are mean spirited and or slanderous. Do not get drawn into the fray. Address problems; offer to solve them if any arise and stay as diplomatic and customer service friendly as possible. Do not become the next Meme (it is possible to have a good Meme however) or internet company scandal.

What To Do

  • In a word, research. Knowing your audience or your clientele is essential to build a network. It will take time to find out some of their habits and tendencies, so stick with it. Start a Facebook and get involved. First, find out what companies are doing it right. It does not have to be a company that is in the same field as you, just a company that customers.
  • Start conversations online. Communicate with friends that add you, and do not just post things about specials or discounts. It is ok to post about a new product or service; just do not let that be the only thing you post. Post relevant (and vetted) articles that may be pertinent to your field.
  • Here is a list of social media tips and “definitely do’s” to get you started.
  • Interact. Do it frequently and make yourself seem like a caring, human company.
  • If there is a questions to you written or posted on a Facebook page, make sure it is answered quickly. If there is a problem, it is urgent that you get a head of it and if it is a query or question, you have to address it fast. Customers want businesses that not only understand them, but that go out of their way to help. If you do not answer their question and answer it fast, they will take their business somewhere else.
  • Stay focused. If you are going to have more than one social media account, that is fine. Just make sure not to bombard fans or followers with redundant content. Use one source to post the bulk of your communication. It is good to diversify, but it you are focused on posting your weekly or monthly discounts, or your newsletter, that makes one destination a “go-to” place. If customers have to search multiple platforms and sources for what they need or want, you can guarantee that will go somewhere that has what they need in one location.

Tips for Launching a Successful Email Campaign

Email marketing can be a successful endeavor for your company, putting your business in the spotlight to attract new clientele. However, there are do’s and don’ts to email campaigns that are worth learning in order to achieve your objectives. Developing a first-rate email marketing strategy is key to getting the outcome you desire. The following provides some email marketing tips that can help get your campaign off the ground and generate positive, long lasting results.

Ask Before SendingTips for a Successful Email Campaign

Before bombarding unsuspecting individuals with your emails, get their consent. If you think launching a massive email campaign that targets “everybody and anybody” will garner positive feedback, think again. Unsolicited mails are generally deleted without even being given a glance. By getting a recipient’s consent, you open the door to attract their interest in what you have to offer.

Remember to Link

By scattering links throughout your mails, you can draw more people to your website where they can get a better picture of your wares. Your links should clearly stand out in the text and be accompanied by decisive calls of action to get positive results.

Downplay Images

Including images in emails wastes time and space as most people don’t bother to see them. Well designed HTML messages are more effective in getting your message across. Mobile phone email readers use text versions only; therefore, attach a text version along with your HTML to capitalize on both fronts.

Use Clear-Cut Text

Keep your text concise and to the point to maintain reader attention. Key points can be highlighted in bold or different colors to stand out. You can include small business tips in your text along with any other information you feel pertinent to your subscribers. The content of your mails can make or break the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, so make sure it works for you.

Schedule Your Emails

Send your missives on a regular schedule so subscribers look forward to receiving them at specific times. According to icontact.com, the most opportune times to send mails to businesses are after 9:30 am and 1:30 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The best timings for consumer mailings are evenings between 5 and 8 pm on the same days. Weekends are also good times when people are home relaxing.

Enhance Deliverability

Encourage subscribers to add your email address to their contact list to ensure they receive your missives safely. By using the same “from” name for all your missives, subscribers will recognize them right away and be more inclined to look them over. Avoid tactics using all caps or exclamation marks to draw attention to your message as these can trigger junk mail alerts and deviate your missive to the junk mail folder.

Email campaigns offer great potential for increasing business prospects and clients. By taking advantage of these tips and others, you can greatly benefit from all this marketing technique has to offer.