Most business is generated by repeat customers, and new customers frequently come as referrals from those existing customers. In this episode, Barbara Langdon, an email and social media marketing expert, owner of Market Momentum and a Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert, tells you how to use these tools to build your revenue by driving repeat business and customer referrals. Learn some simple but effective best practices for making more effective use of your email marketing program.
SCORE is proud to partner with Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources and our digital marketing expert speaker to offer this program.
Published: Monday, November 14, 2016
Five social media platforms are most applicable to small companies: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
I spoke with Barbara Langdon, a SCORE mentor and the president of Market Momentum, about Facebook.
Q: What is the value of social media?
A: We want our businesses to be found online. We want to enhance relationships with people we already know and build new relationships.
There are two distinct strategies for online marketing: having someone find your business online (Search Engine Optimization, or SEO) and connecting with your audience.
Websites are central to a company’s online strategy because you control that space. You can tell your story just the way you want — in an organized and thorough way. If you want to build a repeat referral engine, then email is the best way to stay connected with existing customers.
It is important to make it easy for the people who love you to refer you, and that’s what social media does.
Use these media to build relationships and stay in touch. Depending upon the source, it takes from seven to 12 touches before someone’s willing to buy from you. Someone goes to your Facebook page, they see a post, they see a tweet, they get an email — those are all touches that are getting you closer to establishing that buying relationship.
Q: Barbara, why is Facebook important?
A: Facebook is everywhere, so my knee-jerk recommendation for most small businesses, but not all, is that you should have a business page on Facebook. One and a half billion people from all over the world have profiles on Facebook. There are over 800 million unique logins a day. If a geek like me goes on Facebook 10 times in one day, that counts as one, so you have exposure to all kinds of people. That’s the power of Facebook and why it’s the best choice for most small businesses.
The other cool thing about Facebook is, unlike Twitter, you don’t have to post that much, maybe three to 10 times a week. What I’ve been seeing and reading is that less is more. The industry seems to be moving in a direction of slightly fewer higher value posts and content sharing online. The incredible thing about Facebook and all the social platforms is the analytic information they provide. These powerful platforms tell you everything.
Facebook is visual. Your page should be entertaining and you should keep in mind that when people are on Facebook, they are not there to be sold. They want to socialize, to connect with people, to learn something interesting, maybe even have a laugh.
Therefore, your content needs to be interesting and engaging. We measure success on the social platforms based on engagement. For Facebook, that is likes, comments, and shares. Themother lode is a share.
Q: What about using plain text?
A: I suggest that you use great content, videos and text updates. Don’t be afraid of plain text if it’s brief and informative. One thing you need to be aware of with Facebook: Just because you posted, doesn’t mean everyone who likes your business page is going to see it.
If 100 people like your business page, you’ll be lucky if five or six actually get your post delivered to their news feed. Why is that? Because the volume is so incredible, Facebook has developed an algorithm called Edge-Rank. They figured out, of all the people who like your page, what kind of content they like.
They base that on how they engage with your content and other people’s content. What kind of things do they comment on? What kinds of things do they share? The age of your posts and how successful you have been in engaging people in the past also goes into that Edge-Rank. Of all your posts, which one stimulated the most engagement and which fell flat?
Q: How do you use the analytic information?
A: The importance of analytics is that they help us do better as we go into the future. You can see the type of post, video link or photo, and the average reach. The reach is how many people saw that post. It tells us what kinds of posts are doing well. It gives us a thumbnail of the actual post, what type it was, and what the engagement was. You can quickly know, “Wow, that was a standout post.”
Facebook will tell you the gender, age group, geographical location and what day of the week and time of the day they are online. Go into your analytics, find out when your audience is on Facebook and that’s when you post.
Things happen quickly on social media. If you post something and 50 people post after you, your post will be pushed way, way down and the person you want to see it might not get that far.
Find out what content is the most popular with your audience, and use that information to guide your content strategy in the future. For efficiency, use Facebook scheduling tools to schedule your posts. A week in advance seems to be the sweet spot. We will explore other social media platforms in future columns.