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5 Ways to Improve Local SEO and Drive Sales

The instant Internet access afforded by smartphones has changed the way people use search. Not tethered to computers and home networks, searchers now tap into the Internet on the go to fulfill their immediate needs — like finding a good restaurant, a tow truck, or a public restroom.

SEO

The instant Internet access afforded by smartphones has changed the way people use search. Not tethered to computers and home networks, searchers now tap into the Internet on the go to fulfill their immediate needs — like finding a good restaurant, a tow truck, or a public restroom. Search engines and social media have adjusted and expanded to take advantage of this newer, decidedly local clientele. If your local business isn’t doing so as well, you might be missing out on some business.

Search engines, including Google, are devoting more space to local search results, which can be your business’s chance to connect with prospective customers in your area exactly when they need your product or service. To do this, you need to focus on the ever-evolving discipline of local search engine optimization (local SEO). Here are five things you can start doing right now to tap into local search and get more customers in the door:

Make Your Website Mobile-friendly

Because so many people are accessing the Internet from their smartphones, you need to make sure that your site looks good and works well on the small, small screen. You might need to hire a mobile optimization expert to get it just right, but the boost it can give to your local SEO efforts will certainly be worth the cost.

Add Your Business to Online Directories

Yelp and Foursquare get a lot of press, but it doesn’t stop there. Add or claim your business on Google Maps, Facebook Local Search and Yahoo Places — these will help people find your business as they wander around town. Also add or claim your profile on places like YellowPages.com, CitySearch, and SuperPages.

Ask your current customers where they go to look for business recommendations in your industry. This can lead you to more great sites where you should add your business.

Join Social Media

Social media is where people talk about your business and your industry, whether you’re there or not. There are a lot of social media options these days, so do a little research and find the ones that are best for you.

Having a Twitter account lets you find people in your area who are looking for a business just like yours and speak directly to them. It’s also a great medium to let your fans know about great deals or goings-on happening at your place.

To really tap into SEO, though, you need to have a Google+ Local Page (which is what Google Places has become). The information put there — your business address, phone number website and more — will appear in Google results, along with a link to get directions right to your door.

Upgrade Your Website Code

The code behind your website is getting smarter and making it easier for search engines to find particular types of information, such as addresses and phone numbers. Do some research on semantic markup and the new HTML tags added to HTML5 to learn how to take advantage of them.

Add Great Local Content

Search algorithms love great content, and the more your content focuses on your local community, the easier it is for both those algorithms and your prospective customers to find you and see that you are a part of that community. A business blog is a great way to get your business out there and talk about local issues and happenings.

Improving your local SEO can help new customers find you and get them to your door, but that’s only half the battle. The greatest things you can do for local SEO is to do good business. Wonderful customer service and a great product are what keep people coming back. They’re what turn customers into fans, and fans will recommend you to their friends, both on online ranking and reviewing sites and the real world. Word-of-mouth is the best kind of marketing, and today’s new technologies take word-of-mouth recommendations directly onto the Internet, where search engines and new customers can find them.

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Social Media

How to Define Your Brand’s “Twitter Voice”

twitter

Your Twitter is failing, if you don’t have a strategy and strong brand image behind it.

That’s where your Twitter voice comes in. It’s the strategy and tone that should flow easily through your entire profile. Want to know how to find yours? Read on below.

What Is a Twitter Brand?

To define what a Twitter brand is, let’s look at someone who’s rocking their own unique one. That brand…Wendy’s. The other-wise and previously non-opinionated chain makes a splash on Twitter.

No one was expecting them to “come after” other burger chains or even individual users like they do. It made a lot of people not only laugh but respect Wendy’s more.

And due to the way they conduct themselves on Twitter, we know Wendy’s doesn’t mess around with sub-par ingredients and practices.

Like the time they tweeted about using never frozen beef, unlike other big chains. A twitter user (who has since deactivated their account) tweeted them back saying that was impossible.

Wendy’s fired back a tweet saying something like “don’t blame us because you forgot refrigerators exist”.

A harmless comment in the long run, but it got the point across. We could write a whole article about Wendy’s tweets, but we’ll leave you with one more before we move on.

In a response to Bailey (@Mr._Anderson 36) tweet “@Wendy’s Where’s the beef?” The account replied:

“@Mr_Anderson36 In our cheeseburgers and on our timeline”. In case you’re behind on the times, beef is another term for a drama or disagreement.

Not into the catty stuff? Smart Circle tweets are inspiring, instead.

Defining Your Own Twitter Voice: How to Do It

First thing first, you need to understand yourself as a brand. What’s your image? What’s your brand definition? What’s your mission? If you are or you work at a well-established business, this is probably all wrapped up in your past work.

That means the about page where your mission statement and purpose are, but also the tone in past articles and publications. Even your Instagram captions define and describe your brand.

So if you can’t write out who your brand is and describe it in three ways, do some research. That’s step one.

Step 2: Find Your Audience’s Interests

Wendy’s is lucky in that they have a pretty wide audience. They know that they’re the “one” different competitor between McDonald’s and Burger King. At least that’s how they’ve always marketed themselves.

And they know that their followers see them that way too. If they didn’t, they’d go to one of the other chains instead of Wendy’s. So it was easy for Wendy’s to know that poking fun at the other brands would go over well, as a marketing tactic.

But you may not have that clear cut of an audience and there’s no one secret to finding out what they like. Okay, there is – research and hard work. Check out your current followers and audience. Who do they follow?

Who do they retweet? What tone are those tweets? That’s where you should aim to meet them (where they already are).

Step 3 (The Final Step): Be Consistent

Wendy’s doesn’t always tweet mean things, but if you look through their Twitter, you can definitely see their attitude. You don’t have to be catty or clever all the time but sprinkle those tweets through.

You want people to expect that from you. Deliver it more than or at fifty percent of the time.

Follow these steps and you’ll find your Twitter voice. It’ll take research and practice, but you’ll come off as and be more authentic along the way.

Want to know that we practice what we preach? Follow us on Twitter.

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How Social Media Can Influence Buying Decisions?

ppc advertising on mobiles

Social media started out as an online platform for people to share personal photos and communicate with others. However, it has systemically evolved to become the holy grail of marketing.

Recent research reveals that social media is playing a major role on influencing buying decisions. This means that it’s about time that companies start paying more attention to their social strategy.

It’s unfortunate to see companies diving into social media marketing without any clear strategy. These firms only end up with disappointment. There’s strong evidence that shows that if social media is approached correctly, it can influence people’s buying decisions. But, how does social media influence buying decisions?

Buying Decisions

In order for you to understand how social media influences buying decisions, you should comprehend the psychology behind decisions. Buying decisions are much more complex than you think. Social media has gained a lot of traction for influencing consumer decisions because of these reasons:

Emotions can Influence Decisions

Buyers are influenced by emotions. People make buying decisions using both the right and left regions of the brain. They aren’t robots, so it’s highly unlikely that they’ll make decisions based only on analytical and logical basis. Think about when you’re buying a smartphone. You may have seen a photo of a cell phone on a social media post by the company selling it and then rationalized your buying decisions by checking its specs. This can happen with anyone.

Indeed, many people who purchase something say that they landed on it and had not thought about buying something like it. The reason is that emotions can sometimes affect our decisions and we can end up buying something we hadn’t planned.

We Are Naturally Suspicious

Sales representatives usually find it hard to convince people to buy. That’s because we’re naturally suspicious. Strong emphasis must be placed on establishing trust and credibility with customers before one can pitch their idea. In this regard, social media is extremely effective as people trust a product when they see that their family or friend have bought the same. They’re influenced by people they can trust.

Crowd Mentality

People feel safer to move in large groups. That’s because human beings generally have crowd mentality. Thus, it’s easier to sway people when they’re in group. That is one of the reasons social media is so powerful in influencing buying decisions. People will be convinced to buy something if they see their peers purchasing the same. All a company has to do is show them how their friends and peers have benefited from the same product. Thus, positive customer reviews are extremely important for social media marketing.

These are just a few of the ways in which social media influences people’s buying decisions. If you’re looking to promote your product or service, you should consider using social media as it has the ability to reach potential customers and influence their purchase decision.

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Social Media

Which Social Media Platform Performs The Best For Start Ups

startup

Social media is an essential marketing tool for startups. It’s a great way to get your message out there for not much money, although it does take some effort to get noticed. When you launch your business, it’s a good idea to establish a presence on social media as soon as you can.

Stretching yourself across every social media platform isn’t really possible, especially when you’re short on time and money, so choosing the best one or two platforms to focus on is smart. There are several big name players in social media, and choosing between them take some thought.

Does One Social Media Platform Work for All Startups?

The first question that you might have is whether there’s one social media platform that will work for all startups. If there’s a king of all social media, you want to be on it. However, there isn’t exactly one social media platform that will work for everyone. Each platform has different benefits and it suitable for various content and differing audiences.

B2B brands might find that professional network LinkedIn is the best option for them. Fashion retailers could find a highly visual platform like Instagram to be the right choice for them. You can expand your social media presence later, but if you want to start with just one, you need to think about which one is best for your startup specifically.

What to Consider to Choose the Best Network

You might want to take the overall numbers of each of the highest performing platforms. If you’re looking for the biggest audience, you’ll find it on Facebook where more than two billion people can be found each month. It’s followed by the likes of YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram and Tumblr. However, numbers aren’t everything. It’s not just about founding the most users, but also the most suitable audience for your startup. When you’re trying to decide which platform to start with, you should consider the demographics of your target audience.

Younger social media users are increasingly choosing platforms like Instagram and Snapchat over Facebook. Pinterest has more female users than male, while LinkedIn is clearly better for targeting other businesses and professionals.

You need to think about your goals before you choose a social media platform. What sort of content will you be sharing? How do you want to communicate with your audience?

The Benefits of the Major Players

Every social media platform offers different benefits to startups. It’s important to know how each one could help you to reach your audience and promote your startup business.

Facebook

Facebook has the most users of any social network, but it’s important to recognize that things are starting to shift. There’s a great range of users across different ages, locations and genders, but younger people are starting to move away from it. Facebook is excellent for posting a range of different content, from links and text posts to images and videos. It also has its own PPC advertising platform, and you can pay to promote your posts too.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is best for any startups trying to reach professionals and other businesses. If you’re promoting a B2B business, looking for staff or perhaps trying to connect with other business people for funding purposes, LinkedIn is a great choice.

Twitter

Twitter can help you to get in touch with professionals, but it’s good for B2C brands too. The short posts can be good for conversation and banter, and several brands have found success with humorous Twitter interactions. Twitter doesn’t have the highest user base, but there are still plenty of people on there.

Instagram

Instagram is a visual platform, perfect for sharing photos, videos and Stories, which lets you share a series of photos or video clips. The audience on Instagram is a little younger than some other platforms, so it’s ideal for finding a younger audience.

Using Social Media Together With Your Blog

Blog posts provide the perfect content to share on social media. A business blog is an essential content marketing strategy, so get started by setting up a blog on your website. By writing regular posts and sharing them on your social media channels, you can bring more people to your site. When you share on social media, for example by creating a Facebook post or tweeting a link to your blog post, you can use social media tools to monitor the performance of your post and see how people are engaging in it. For example, Facebook offers you analytics so you can see how many people have clicked on your link, on your post or on your page.

You need to choose the right social media platform for your startup by considering your audience. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may be better for sharing blog posts than more visual networks.

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How to Grow Your E-Commerce Business with Instagram

ecommerce

Instagram is a social media platform whose growth has seen a huge boom in the last couple years. This means good things for companies. Brands are gaining new customers and increasing awareness like never before through engagement with both new and loyal followers on the app.

This social network offers a wide range of features that can truly help your brand thrive. The trick is developing a sales and marketing strategy that pays off. Read below for tips on how to grow your e-commerce business with Instagram.

1. Try Advertising

Paid advertising isn’t always necessary, as organic content truly is quite effective. However, formal ads or sponsorships can help boost your reach and give your sales numbers an edge.

You can pay for Instagram Ads and tailor them to reach a specific, targeted demographic. Paid ads can be an effective way to meet a number of promotional goals such as gaining followers, raising awareness or increasing sales. You’ll need an Instagram business account and a Facebook page for business in order to run paid ads. There are numerous types of ads from which to choose such as photo, carousel, video and Instagram Stories.

Play around with them to see which best suits your content and your intended audience. Monitor your analytics to determine which ads are most successful and adjust your future ad spending accordingly. You can rest assured that your money will be well-spent, as Instagram offers an incredibly high advertising engagement rate compared to other social media platforms.

These are a handful of techniques you can put into place if you want to grow your e-commerce business on Instagram. With some planning and strategy, you’ll soon see things moving in the right direction.

2. Make Your Posts Shoppable

These days, social media platforms are allowing business users to sell their goods and services more easily. Instagram is no exception. This social network gives you a number of ways to create shoppable posts that give your followers the ability to buy the items that interest them with just a few clicks. Including products in your Instagram posts is absolutely not spammy, as long as you do it sparingly. Mix things up a little when it comes to content.

Add photos, contests, Stories and more that are related to your niche, sprinkling in product posts every now and then. Although you can’t put direct links into your photo captions, adding product tags into your post is easy. You can also use shoppable stickers in your Instagram Stories.

Now followers can simply tag a photo in order to see a product appear. Once they click on it, they’ll arrive at the product page where they can check out. Shoppable posts will have a shopping bag icon on the upper right-hand corner so that people can recognize them easily. Be aware that you must have a business account and connect your profile to a Facebook catalog of your merchandise.

3. Use Captions to Your Advantage

Writing Instagram captions can be difficult. It’s intimidating for many of us to decide what to put in that spot that will speak to our audience. Marketing your product might seem even trickier. It’s tempting to write a simple one-line caption, but that’s usually not an effective approach. Longer captions tend to make more of an impact when it comes to selling on Instagram. Think of your caption as a shorter version of a blog post.

The point is to be informative, as well as provocative. It should send a message, promote a feeling and pique interest. People actually seem to enjoy reading longer captions and will usually interact more when there’s a story to tell. Feel free to mix things up, though. You can vary the length of your caption content for each post to provide some visual interest.

4. Get Others Involved

When it comes to your e-commerce business, you’re likely to gain more success when you involve others in your promotions. Engagement matters when it comes to social networking. You want your audience to participate in your posts and to feel a part of things.

The more personally invested they feel in your content, the more likely they will be to trust your brand. There are lots of fun and creative ways to add new voices to your feed and keep things fresh. One is to simply invite your fans to contribute to your feed. Create a hashtag and ask them to tag photos of themselves using your product. Then you can give featured accounts a shoutout of recognition.

You might also post user testimonials to your Instagram account. These are both great ways to feature user generated content. Collaborations with influencers are also big hits for many campaigns. Approach a well-known Instagram influencer relevant to your niche and invite them to work together on a campaign. Bringing in new voices and fresh perspectives is almost always welcomed by followers. It keeps things from becoming boring or repetitive and can often drum up new followers.

5. Find What Works for You

There are several features meant to facilitate sales and grow your Instagram. However, it doesn’t make sense to use them all and just hope one shows a return for you. Instead, analyze the features that interest you and plan for the ways in which they might most appeal to your audience and be used in a way that highlights your brand.

Then, put your strategies to work, monitoring the results and leveraging what works, while pitching the ones that flop. Some features to consider testing out include tagging products in Instagram Stories and in your feed, swiping up in Instagram Stories to make purchases and simply adding an e-commerce link to your Instagram bio.

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Social Media

How To Manage Your Business Instagram Like A Pro

instagram

With the help of Instagram, businesses of all sizes can extend their reach, engage with new customers and build a strong brand presence in the increasingly influential social media sphere.

That all sounds incredibly attractive, until you consider that newcomers to the platform might be baffled by the most impactful ways to use it.

Rather than floundering around and relying on guesswork, use these tips on how to manage your business’ presence on Instagram to get the upper hand immediately.

Set A Publishing Schedule

Like any modern social platform, Instagram audiences can be built successfully if high-quality content is drip fed regularly to followers. This not only encourages sharing, but also means that users will know when to expect updates.

There are tools that can take charge of auto-publishing on Instagram so that you can focus your attention on crafting the posts themselves, rather than worrying about whether or not you will remember to send them out at the right time.

Also build a publishing schedule that is most likely to garner views, likes and interactions. 5pm is the peak period for Instagram usage, with commuters flocking to their phones to scroll through their feeds.

Take Advantage Of Analytics

If you find that your posts are really flying, then you’ll know that your efforts are on the right track. If, on the other hand, you are struggling to succeed with an Instagram business account, it can be tough to work out where you are going wrong.

This is where analytics become very useful, and Instagram offers its own tool called Insights that unlocks the data behind each picture you post. You can see a wide range of information and how it relates to the performance of your publishing activity, including how posts are discovered by users and what types of interactions they earn.

With cold, hard figures to hand you can take action to improve your strategies and get better results from future posts.

Harness Hashtags

The humble hashtag has become invaluable in the social media age, making it easier for trends to be tracked and content to be sought out in amongst the flurry of perpetual posting that goes on every second.

On Instagram, hashtags have the power to make visual posts easy to discover. They also allow businesses to establish their own branded tags that can generate interest and allow posts to be grouped together over time.

The art of crafting a hashtag is fairly straightforward, and you can piggyback on widely used hashtags to get your posts seen, so long as they are relevant to the phrase in question. Where many businesses make a mistake with managing Instagram is by overdoing it on hashtag use. There is a 30 tag cap on posts, but hitting this will leave it looking more than a little chaotic. It is instead sensible to factor in 5 or fewer hashtags so that the social media savvy audience you are trying to attract will not be alienated.

Hire An Expert

This is something that smaller businesses may not consider as an option initially, especially if there is not much of an internal understanding of how Instagram operates, but it makes sense to get a social media specialist onboard to take charge of the management for you. Outsourcing this can be fairly affordable, whether you opt to work with a freelancer or sign up with a digital agency.

In short, it’s important to take Instagram seriously, recognise the clout that it wields with its billion monthly users and respond with whatever resources you have at your disposal.

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How Important Are Instagram Hashtags?

hashtag

You’re a savvy startup with a finger on the digital pulse, but for some reason your brand just isn’t getting the kind of traction with your target market that you expected.

You’re aiming for a young, cool audience with a healthy amount of disposable income yet discerning tastes. The kind of people who not only command great buying power but also wield colossal influence on social media. The kind of people who can lend your brand enormous credibility among their peer groups.

But if you think that you’re going to reach these people if your only presence is on Facebook and Twitter you may be sadly mistaken.

Social media is changing and many younger consumers are migrating away from the traditional social media giants, especially Facebook, in favor of more visually oriented platforms.

Moreover, organic reach on Facebook for businesses has hit an all-time low since the platform restructured its algorithms to prioritize social interaction between friends and families over interactions between businesses and their customers or prospects.

So, this begs the question…

Should your business use Instagram?

In a word, yes. Instagram has almost twice as many active users as Facebook or Twitter at 800 million a month. By next year that number is likely to hit 1 billion.

Not only is it the platform of choice for many younger consumers, it’s also more attuned to the way in which we’re increasingly consuming our content these days.

Most of us are consuming content, making e-commerce purchases and interacting with peers in short bursts in our downtime though mobile devices.

This means that long form content is on the way out and visuals, infographics and video are increasingly looking like the future. But Instagram can feel like intimidating new terrain for businesses. How can you expand your reach organically while also optimizing your chances for conversion? Hashtags to the rescue!

How Instagram hashtags work

Once you’ve decided to commit to an Instagram presence it’s time to make a splash. Using hashtags will help you to reach the right target audience. However, remember that a hashtag is much like any keyword.

High competition hashtags will be unlikely to get you noticed while more niche, lower competition hashtags will not only increase your chances of visibility but also help you to reach the right audience.

Remember that you can include a range of hashtags (up to 30) in any given post but peppering your post with hashtags may come across as obnoxious. You can circumvent this by working hashtags into the body of your text e.g. “Our model Abdul is looking great in our #hitops. He said they were the most #comfortable he’s ever worn.”.

Why you should use them

Hashtags give you an opportunity to get noticed, especially when you use them in accordance with trending topics (again, like any keyword, make sure that the hashtag is relevant to the body of the text). In fact, a post with at least one hashtag tends to have 12.6% more engagement than one without and results in a 4.5% higher conversion rate.

Of course, hashtags are not exclusive to Instagram. They should be applied to all of your social media posts to ensure that your content reaches the right sets of eyes and increases your chances of robust engagement and conversion.

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