(Been to the Hamilton about a dozen times in the last couple of years – had no idea they had this classy night spot downstairs.)
Because of the people who were on the panel, I was really interested in going – not just because I know some of them, but because having that much combined knowledge on this topic in one room is a rarity. I’ll prove it to you with this video from Tara Lewis, of Yelp.
Panelists: Lisa Byrne, Social Strategist for Pappas Group, Founder of DCeventjunkie & DC Wine Week Tara Lewis, Regional Director of Marketing for Yelp Laura Wilson, Social Media Manager for Hilton Hotels & Resorts Katy Adams, Marketing Manager for Clyde’s Restaurant Group Monica Bhide, Food, Culture and Lifestyle Writer Luigi Diotaiuti, Chef/Owner of Al Tiramisu
This was definitely a “had to be there” event, and not just because
we were in a sold-out room packed full of great people who were fun to network with
the panel was outstanding
there was both a free photo booth
instead of just one free drink, Pappas Group unexpectedly kept the bar open.
(Yeah. Next time I say an event is unmissable, maybe be there? Just kidding. It was really great though. I work with some of the people involved from time to time, but you’ll be able to see by the pictures, video and tweets that this was a worthwhile event, and not just my bias.)
You will have one advantage you’ll have over us as you view the featured tweets and photos below – you’ll have the panelists and moderator Twitter handles handy.
(In fairness to the event coordinators, it’s not like there was anywhere to post them – and the announcement has BOTH the Twitter handles and LinkedIn pages, unlike some other listings.)
Ah, Social Media Week. Each year I both anticipate and dread it, as I do all DC conferences.
I love the idea of being able to do a lot of networking, meet brilliant start-up geniuses, and learn all types of new things.
But unlike the conferences that involve major travel, the major local tech and business gatherings often seem to be ill-timed. Thank goodness for Metro and Uber or I’d just stay at work/home half the time!
But I digress. This year, Social Media week had some exciting sessions. My intention was to go through the list of things that sound most interesting, particularly those that compete with sessions I must attend, only to find that some of the best sessions filled rather quickly. I almost missed out on going to the session I told you about earlier this month.
So instead, I’m only choosing from sessions that have tickets available as of this writing, or that you can watch via live stream. To keep this short and sweet, given that I get rather rambly, we’ll highlight these three items:
The Social Media week session and its hashtag
Why you want to Go
Livestream or Attendance link
Top Available Social Media Week Sessions for Tuesday
#SocialGov Summit 2013: Forwarding Citizen Experience With Social Data - #SmwGov
Presenters from NASA, NIH, Department of Defense and more, gathering to talk about social media and government. To me this represents the beginning of real-time citizen participation in government, which is what I believe our forefathers intended when the world was small enough for this to be feasible.
Social Media & Smart Autos: The Car IS the Latest in Technology - #SmwAuto Hi-tech cars. I don’t really have to say more than that do I? Also, it’s moderated by someone from Beekeeper Group – you always hear great things about sessions they’re involved in and wish you’d have gone.
Feed Your Enthusiasm: Sharing with Podcasts and Blogs - #SMWFeed Connection and content are the top two things people come to the internet for, so it’s worth learning how to get it into the hands of the people who want it the most.
In the Know: Twitter for Public Health - #SM4PH
A CDC project is putting this on,the intersection of health and social media will fascinate you even if you’re jaded, and who knows, there may be some Zombie Preparedness information shared. Come on, how can you not support an event put on by an organization that has a special zombie section on their website?
DC Tweet-Up Happy Hour & Discussion: Build Relationships, Followers Will Come - #SmwEdgarSocial
The great thing about the global pervasiveness of the web, particularly through mobile and social media, is that it enables you to build leads, contact peers and even conduct business with people you might never otherwise meet face to face.
The great thing about living in a metropolitan area where it’s possible to do so, is that meeting people in the flesh, even just once in a while, can accelerate your mission.
Plus I met one of the organizers, Ann Tran, about 18 months ago and she was a warm, fun person.
From December 2012 to January 2013, NAWBO, in conjunction with web.com, surveyed 552 women business owners about their businesses. Some of the results were not what I expected. One thing that startled me was how much the state of the economy was a concern, though a distant second to acquiring new customers, it also came in ahead of generating revenue.
This surprised me for two reasons, though I’m well aware the first reason is that I was indoctrinated with the idea that there are ways to survive, even thrive in any economy. I also find, personally, that things are much better than they were in 2008.
The other reason I wasn’t expecting these results, was that I’d think that access to capital would be a much greater concern, considering the fact that it’s statistically harder for women. I wonder if we have different ideas about accessing capital from outside sources, or if most of us just assume that we’re meant to bootstrap our entire entrepreneurial journey- I know I did.
Another thing that intrigued me, though it was not as surprising: 29.4% of women business owners that responded to the survey believed that having a social media presence was somewhat or very unimportant, or weren’t sure, and 31.3% didn’t think search engine optimization was important.
Social media i can sort of understand – it’s still sort of new to most people.. It makes me wonder whether it’s getting through that social media and search engine optimization are two things that in the short and long term respectively, can make your site “findable” or that the two are increasingly related.
You can download The State of Women Owned Businesses for yourself for free. It’s a really interesting survey – there’s no email capture to fill out, just be aware that when you click the link, it takes you directly to the PDF file.
Even what I’ve touched on here doesn’t cover half of the survey, and the data collected is presented in a clear, straightforward manner. It’s 26 pages though, so if you don’t have time to go over the entire thing now, here’s the infographic.
No matter what industry or field you look at, you will find specialties. There are small animal vets, and there are equine vets. There are fashion designers who specialize in baby ready-to-wear and ones who produce haute couture. There are business coaches who only work with women, and psychologists who only counsel children.
As you can see from the examples above, specializing within an industry or field helps you stand out – and it can help your small business stand out, too. Specializing has many benefits, but for marketing purposes, here are 6 reasons “going niche” will improve your marketing strategy:
1 – Stronger brand
Trying to be everything to everyone is not easy – or feasible. By specializing, you can create a brand that stands out for its focus on doing one or two things well. Your visual identity and content will be stronger as a result, making it easier for customers to connect with you.
2 – Clearer messaging
When you focus on a specific niche, your value proposition and overall messaging will be clearer. You can speak directly to your customers and explain the benefits of working with you in a way that resonates with them. Additionally, by being clear about what you do and for whom, the quality of your leads will increase.
3 – Fewer products or services
I learned in a Forbes article that Starbucks locations in the U.S. serve over 20,000 drink choices – 20,000! While that might sound impressive, it’s not. More choices makes it harder for people to make a decision. When you specialize, you will automatically offer fewer products and services, thus making it easier for your customers to find what they want and buy from you.
4 – Highly developed expertise
When you specialize in a niche area, you will, by default, develop specific expertise around products or services. That expertise can be spun into thought leadership via the content you create and share.
5 – Better SEO
Because of your niche, the keywords that are most applicable to you will have less competition – think “trompe l’oeil fine art interior painter” versus “painter” – making you easier to find online.
6 – Less competition
This is alluded to above, and it may be obvious, but by being specialized, you will have less competition, thus increasing your business’s potential for growth and revenue – as long as there is demand!
7- More focused target market
A vet who specializes in household pets has a much different target market than one who only works on horses. When you specialize, your target market becomes much more specific and smaller, making it easier for you to find them online and reach them through online advertising.
What other ways does being highly specialized, or niche, benefit your business?
If you’re marketing to moms, you need to know where Mom is spending her time—and increasingly, that’s on social media, according to BabyCenter’s 2013 Social Mom Report, conducted with comScore.
From new moms to mothers of teens, social media is an essential part of Mom’s day no matter what stage of parenting she’s in. The study found mothers are 20 percent more likely than the general population to use social media, with a whopping 91 percent of moms reporting they use social media regularly–up 20 percent since the prior study was done in 2010. In fact, more than 2 in 10 moms say that friends or family who don’t take part in social media are not as much a part of their lives as those who do.
There are many reasons moms on social media are desirable customers, but a big one is that these moms are more likely to shop online than those who don’t use social media. Overall, moms accounted for 32 percent of total online spending in the last quarter, even though they make up just 18 percent of overall Internet users.
What are moms buying online? Home and garden products, baby supplies and clothing were the most popular items, cited by more than 60 percent of moms.
Moms are relying on social media more than ever, with nearly half of them saying they’re emailing less frequently than in the past because they are communicating via social media instead. When they need information fast, more than 6 in 10 moms turn to social media. Nearly three-fourths say they rely on recommendations from social media when they’re researching products or deciding what brands to buy.
With their busy lives and reliance on social media, it’s no surprise that moms are going mobile when it comes to social media. Nearly 9 in 10 moms who have smartphones use Facebook on their phones. In addition, moms are more likely than the general population to own smartphones (81 percent compared to 54 percent). Moms’ smartphone ownership is growing by 25 percent and tablet ownership is growing by 79 percent year over year.
Of particular interest if you’re trying to attract moms on social media, 61 percent of them use Pinterest—more than twice the percentage of the general population that uses it (30 percent). Moms also care a lot about getting deals—78 percent of them say they’ll like or follow a company on social media in return for discounts or special offers, compared to just 55 percent of the general population that do so.
One of my favorite sources of marketing information is MarketingProfs – I learn so much from them. In a recent post, they wrote about the types of content that Google loves the most. I went through the list and pulled out the top 7 types that I thought were most relevant for small businesses – and that you are probably already doing.
Here are the 7 types of content that search engines like and you should be creating (if you’re not already):
1 – Interviews
Search engines like interviews for 4 main reasons: they get read, they get backlinks from the interviewee (bonus if the persons is an expert), backlinks are from trusted sites, and the content is unique.
You don’t need to conduct interviews in person unless you want to tape it and turn it into a video. I conduct most of my interviews via phone, but you can do them via email, too.
2 – Lists
Lists are usually fun, easy to scan, and easy to read – and readers love them. Search engines like them as long as the content is unique, and – bonus for you – they can be really easy to write. You can do lists of your favorite industry books or blogs, best airports for business travelers, best pieces of advice you ever got, top industry best practices – you get the idea.
3 – Resource Centers
Creating a resource center on your website is a new content marketing trend for small businesses. Think of it as a library of your content – ebooks, top blog posts by category, products, services, FAQs, etc. Because people share them, link to them, and spend time on them, search engines love them.
4 – Social
Did you know that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks are pulled up when you conduct a search? So, yes, the quality of the content you post on your social media accounts – and the amount of interaction it gets – helps boost your search rankings.
5 – Case Studies
Because case studies built around client success stories are interesting, people read them and share them. Your customers will link back to and share your blog posts, all of which is activity search engines really like – but you know that by now, don’t you?
6 – Predictions
You know the blog posts and articles that always come out around the new year that list industry predictions? People love them, read them, comment on them, and share them, so they tend to great search rankings.
7 – User-Generated Content
Search engines love user-generated content, whether it’s blog posts, images, or videos. Hold a contest that requires entrants to submit original content; if you allow others to comment on and vote for submissions, search engines will go crazy for all of the interaction.
Have you created content that showed up in the top of search results? What drove so much interaction?
The Hispanic population in the U.S. is the nation’s largest minority group, and it’s still growing. Some 16 percent of Americans ages 6 and up were Hispanic in 2012, an increase from 14 percent in 2006, according to a recently released report from Experian Marketing Services. The New American Consumer: Trends in Hispanic Consumer Demographics. Among younger age groups, an even larger percentage is Hispanic, signaling that this demographic will have even more purchasing power in the years ahead. While fewer than 10 percent of Americans age 50-plus are Hispanic, nearly 25 percent of those aged 6-34 are.
Hispanic households have major purchasing power. They account for 10 percent of all discretionary spending in the U.S., or $164.2 billion—an increase from $143.9 billion in 2011. While discretionary spending by non-Hispanic households remained pretty much flat in the past year, discretionary spending by Hispanic households increased by 14 percent.
One reason for the spending could be that overall, Hispanic consumers are more optimistic about both the U.S. economy and their personal financial situation than the average U.S. consumer–5 index points above the average, according to the report.
However, the importance and influence of Hispanic shoppers varies depending on where your business is located. In the South and West, for example, Hispanic households account for a much bigger portion of discretionary spending than in the Northeast and Midwest. Hispanic households in the San Antonio, Texas, area account for 60 percent of the region’s discretionary spending, but Hispanic households in the Washington, DC, area account for a mere 6 percent of discretionary spending.
If you are trying to reach Hispanics—even those who are American-born and/or primarily speak English—it’s important to advertise in Spanish as well as English. Why? Experian found that emotional ties to Spanish create a positive effect for companies that advertise in Spanish. More than half of Spanish-dominant Hispanics and nearly one-third of English-dominant Hispanics agree with the statement, “When I hear a company advertise in Spanish, it makes me feel like they respect my heritage and want my business.”
That means if you have a website or ecommerce site, you need to offer the option to access it in Spanish (especially important if you’re targeting Spanish-dominant Hispanics).
Last, but not least, Experian notes that Hispanic consumers tend to be early adopters of mobile devices, and are heavier users of these devices than the average consumer. That means making your website not only Spanish-accessible but also mobile-friendly is also crucial.
Still muddled about which social media platform you should be spending your marketing efforts on? The easy answer is “All of them,” but if you’re thinking about slacking off on one of them, don’t make it Facebook. According to a new infographic from lab42.com, 87 percent of U.S. consumers who use Facebook have liked a brand on the site. If you want customers to like your brand, you need to give them a reason. Post news about your store or restaurant, success stories from happy customers or winners of an online contest you held. Check in with Facebook often so you can reply to comments and answer questions about your product or service. Don’t make the mistake of getting users to like you, only to disappear from their feeds.
Do you think your business is boring? Not fun or easy to make fun? Not very engaging or entertaining? Do you work in logistics? Supply chain management? Network engineering? Sheet metal manufacturing? Underwriting? Government contracting? Bueller?
Unfortunately, we can’t all be Disney World, Target, Bud Light, or [insert sexy company or brand here]. However, there are lots of ways to make your brand approachable and interesting – it just requires a little more creativity. If Dollar Shave Club can do it with razors, you can do it, too.
Here are 5 basic marketing tricks of the trade that can help turn your boring business into a fun one:
1 – Write like a human being.
No one likes to be bored, so don’t be boring. That means writing like a human being – in other words, write the way you talk. Use slang, contractions, and colloquialisms to make your content easy to read and understand. Just because your business might be on the serious side doesn’t mean you need to be super formal.
2 – Be personal.
In your tweets, Facebook updates, and email marketing – or any other message that you send to your customers – be personal and casual. Call your customers by their name, not Sir-or-Madam. Keep track of them in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool so you can add personal messages too (“How is your daughter adjusting to college, Steve?”). Publicly declare how much you like your customers.
3 – Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Be self-deprecating. Acknowledge how boring your business is – and embrace it: “Did you hear the one about the network engineer? Of course not – who wants to talk about a network engineer?” If you have a great company culture and employees with side-splittingly funny senses of humor, shine the light on it and them.
4 – Use Pinterest.
Your business is probably more visual than you think. Let’s go back to the poor beleaguered network engineer. I typed “wires” into Google image search and got back some pretty beautiful images. When I typed in “microchips,” here’s what I got – again, some beautiful images came up in the search results.
5 – Tell stories.
One of the smartest things you can do to make your boring business interesting is to turn customer success stories into blog posts. Have fun with it. You could start your stories with “Once upon a time” and end with “and they lived happily ever after.” Your readers will get to know you better, and they’ll be entertained, too.
Is your business boring? How do you make it fun in your marketing?
As you’re planning this year’s marketing strategy for your small business, don’t forget to consider radio. Both online and traditional AM/FM radio boast powerful reach, and the number of Americans who regularly listen to online radio is growing rapidly, according to a new national survey by Arbitron and Edison Research. Here’s some of what the study found:
One out of three Americans age 12 and up listen to online radio at least weekly.
Those weekly online radio listeners listened for an average of nearly 12 hours per week—an increase of more than two hours compared to last year.
Much online radio listening takes place on smartphones. More than half of Americans age 12 and up own smartphones; among the 18-to-34 age group, three-fourths own smartphones.
Traditional AM/FM radio has grown to 243 million weekly listeners.
Those weekly traditional radio listeners spend about two hours a day listening.
Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of Americans age 18 and up say they turn on AM/FM radio in the car “almost all of the time” or “most of the time,” making in-car AM/FM radio far more popular than CD players (15 percent) portable MP3 players (11 percent) or satellite radio (10 percent).
The ubiquity of devices that can allow consumers to listen to radio whenever and wherever they want—in their cars, on the go or on their phones—is a big factor in the growth of online radio, the report states.
What do these trends mean to you?
Cover your bases. If radio is a good o Consumers today don’t want to listen to their favorite stations just in the car—they’re plugging into them on headsets using their smartphones or tablets. If radio is a good option for your business, consider using both online and traditional AM/FM outlets to advertise. Consider AM/FM music stations as your ad venue of choice. Of the 45 percent of Americans who believe it’s important to stay up-to-date with new music, three-fourths (78 percent) say AM/FM radio is the best way to do so. Be cognizant of your audience. The most important factor in any online or traditional radio ad campaign is to know where your target customers spend their time. The radio station should be able to tell you their audience demographics and, if the station is a good fit, can direct you to the times and shows that will best target your exact audience–whether that’s the drive-time news hour or the 2 a.m. electronic dance music show.
The interesting thing about social media is that consumers are paying close attention to what other people are saying about brands, not the marketers. They believe other people, not paid professionals. But what if the other people aren’t saying nice things about you on places like Yelp?
Yelp lets people give their own reviews and ratings of restaurants, home services, hotels, churches, stores, and salons and spas. That means that if enough people say good things about a business, customers are more likely to visit it based on those recommendations. And avoid it if there are enough bad things about it.
Since Yelp is both a website and a mobile app, that means that people can leave compliments — and complaints — while they’re still in the parking lot. What do you do if you get a complaint on Yelp?
Before you start, just know that fighting back will only make the problem worse. The complaint is already out there, and if the complainer is well-connected, it has reached their Facebook friends. If you fight back, the entire incident will be magnified and shared, and could even go viral.
Instead apologize, then fix the problem. By responding positively, you can allay the person’s negative feelings, and even convert them to a loyal fan.
By fixing the problem, future visitors who see the complaint will also see how responsive and helpful you are, and understand that you’re very committed to good customer service and making everything right.
But never let a Yelp complaint go without a response. Even a quick apology and an invitation to come again so you can do better next time goes a long way.
If you’ve got a Facebook Page for your business (which is different from your personal profile), you’ll want to know how it’s performing, to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
That’s where Facebook Insights comes in handy. It gives you some basic analytics to see how your page is doing in terms of visits and interactions. According to the Mashable.com’s Beginners Guide to Facebook Insights, there are two basic insights you want to look at:
User Insights: Total page Likes, or a number of fans, daily active users, new Likes/Unlikes, Like sources, demographics, page views and unique page views, tab views, external referrers, media consumption.
Interactions Insights: Daily story feedback (post Likes, post comments, per post impressions), daily page activity (mentions, discussions, reviews, wall posts, video posts).
This tells you how your page is doing, whether people are visiting, which pieces of content they like the most, which ones they don’t like, and even what they share and tell other people about. And with things like external referrers and media consumption insights, you get to see what brought people to your page — was it a Google search or tweet? — as well as what they looked at, read, watched, or listened to.
Keep in mind that these insights are all anonymous. You can’t see who came to your page, but you can see how many did. By seeing this kind of data, you can get a good idea of which parts of your content and conversation are doing well, and which parts aren’t. That lets you choose what to focus on and what to drop.
When you’re trying to find people worth following on Twitter, you don’t want to just follow everyone when you’re first starting out. I mean, you can, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But if you’re trying to save some time or reach the most number of people in the shortest time, you need to reach the most influential people in your city.
We like two tools in particular that can help you find those people, the people who can motivate people to new actions, to read or visit certain websites, and even to try your restaurant.
Twitter Grader is a tool that shows a person’s Twitter rank out of a possible 100%. Anyone who is above an 80 is pretty influential, and you’ll even see a lot of 99.7s and 99.8s. While this isn’t everyone in the city, it’s at least a good indicator of who’s doing Twitter right, and has the followers to show for it.
TwellowHood.com is a Twitter locator that groups people by looking at the location they put in their Twitter bio. To find influential people in your city, visit Twellowhood, drill down to it in the map, and then follow everyone who has more than 100 Twitter followers, but not over 20,000. We’re setting the bar very low, because the people with a few followers may be fairly influential, and the people with more than 20,000 may not pay much attention to you.
While there are other tools to do the same thing, we like these because they’re easy to use and fairly accurate.
If you’re new to social media marketing and you’re trying to promote your business, there are a number of books you can choose from to get you started. One book we’re partial to is Shama Kabani’s The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue.
The book is written for the social media marketing newbie, giving readers some basic insights into the different tools you can use — blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, group coupon sites like Groupon, and video — and some of the best practices that will get you the traction you need for growing your own business.
We’ve found that a lot of small business people just don’t have the time or patience to sit down and learn how to start using social media at a high level. But the thing Shama’s book does very well is explain why it has to be done, and then finds the easiest ways to get you up and running as soon as possible.
Shama uses simple language and simple ideas to explain what may be seen as a complex and unwieldy marketing channel. If you’ve been letting social media marketing’s overwhelming size be a reason to stay out of it, what will happen when that becomes the biggest game in town and the only efficient way to reach your customers?
Hint: That day is already here. You’d better get started.
If you’ve been on the fence about whether social media marketing is right for your company, The Zen of Social Media Marketing may be one of the best books you can get.
A couple days ago, we talked about how you can promote your store with Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way for people to share cool photos of things they have done, things they want, and even ideas for things they would like to do. We wanted to talk a little more about how you can use Pinterest successfully for your own gift shop.
We’ve seen food recipes, things to build, and things to buy. Pinterest is a good way for people to communicate simply and easily, and even use it to manage special events, like a wedding registry.
1. Start by growing your network.
Add people to your Pinterest network by following them. Since social media is based on reciprocity, people will follow you back. And as you re-pin and comment on their items, they’ll do the same for you (plus you may find some great stuff to bring into your store). If you already have a big Twitter or Facebook following, import those users into your network for a quick network boost.
2. Post photos of your best inventory online.
You can either use Instagram and share photos to your Facebook page or upload the photos to your Flickr or Picasa account, and then pin those. Create a board of “Cool Stuff In Our Store,” and let people know what you’re sharing.
3. Pin photos directly from your ecommerce store.
We talked about building an ecommerce store yesterday. If you actually have one, pin photos of your inventory. If someone clicks the photo to be taken back to the original source, which many people do, they will be taken right to your store’s page and that particular item. If they’re impulse buyers, you may get a sale out of it.
Twitter can be an invaluable tool for restaurants. They can use Twitter to communicate with fans and regulars, which will keep them coming back. Fans become regulars, regulars become evangelists. You need more of these people, and you can use Twitter to do it.
1. Get a Twitter handle for your restaurant’s name so that people know it’s you. @JaxBurgers is too generic, but your own name — @SteveSanderson — is too unknown. Pick the shortest possible name that people will still recognize: @PunchPizza, @Thr3eWiseMen, @BoogieBurger are all good examples.
2. Respond to people immediately. Whether they’re asking for directions, asking about the specials, or complaining about the service, respond immediately and publicly. Twitter is a great way to reach a lot of people easily, so even if you’re answering the same questions over and over, keep doing it. People will see it. And when people complain, if you can solve their problem, they’ll tell their friends you did, and people will see that too.
3. Ask fans to share photos, answer questions, or even help decide your next menu item. There are a couple of restaurants where I live that have asked their Twitter fans to vote between two different food items for their menu. It increases fan engagement, and their friends see that communication, which boosts word-of-mouth marketing.
One hint: When @replying to tweets, if your tweet starts with the @ symbol, only people who follow both of you will see it. But if you drop a space in front of the @, then everyone who follows you can see it.
One of the least expensive and most effective advertising tools you can use is Facebook. Unlike your other advertising options, Facebook advertising lets you reach exactly the people you want to reach for pennies per ad.
The great thing about Facebook advertising is you can specify exactly who sees your ad on their Facebook page. Unlike radio and TV advertising, Facebook lets you target a specific group of people, and is only seen by that group.
Facebook advertising lets you specify how much you want to pay per ad, and even lets you put a daily cap limit so you can stretch your budget further.
You get to choose who sees your ad, based on their demographics and their likes. For example, if most of your customers tend to be 20-somethings who live inside the city limits, you can target the ads specifically to them.
When you buy your ads, choose their age, gender, city, how much you’ll pay per click, and the daily cap limit — say, women between the ages of 25 – 35 who live in Miami, FL, with a click rate of $.50, and a cap rate of $30. Write the web copy, drop in an image, and launch it. Make changes every few days, and see which versions got more traffic.
Send ad viewers to your home page, or to a specal offer page of your choice.
Facebook advertising lets you reach potential visitors in a way no other medium can. Use it wisely and it can be one of the biggest traffic builders you’ve ever used.
This week, we’ve been talking about salons and spas, and how they can use social media to promote themselves. During our research, we found an interesting story about one particular salon that, with the help of a digital marketing agency, saw some impressive social media success.
First, Robert Andrew had a reputation management issue to solve, namely a few negative online reviews, plus a former employee running their own personal smear campaign. Robert Andrew also needed to overcome a lack of awareness by most potential clients.
So Jocelyn’s agency created an Ambassador Program that asked long-time, loyal clients to share their love for Robert Andrew with their own social networks. By using Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, Robert Andrew received some excellent traffic, and more than 40 positive reviews to counter the negative ones.
Here are some of their wins:
Flickr Photo Views: 47,727
YouTube Video Views: 1,389
Facebook Page Views: 3,257
Twitter Post Views: 517
Review Site Posts & Views: 300
Online Forum Posts & Views: 333
Robert Andrew Blog Views: 168
Of course, it doesn’t take a digital agency to do all this; you do need to invest time into it. But the payoffs can be stellar, making social media one of the most cost-effective (and successful) marketing channels available.
Salons and spas that want to take advantage of social media’s popularity should look at these three tools as a way to promote their business online.
This is the sharing site that lets you show your friends, “I like this!” by pinning things you find online, or photos you take. Pin something to your board, and your Pinterest (and Facebook) friends will see it and repin it. It’s become a smash hit, especially among women, who make up anywhere from 58% to 97% of their total traffic, depending on who you talk to. Take photos of new products, new techniques, and even of your best work, and pin it. Ask your clients to do the same.
Another photo sharing site, but this one is only of the photos you take; you won’t share things you find online. By applying some fun, artsy filters to the photos, you can take pictures of clients, your salon or spa’s new decor, or even after a fun day with friends. You can even encourage your clients to share photos of themselves on Instagram and Facebook, which you can then Like, or even pin to your Pinterest boards.
Yelp is a review site where people can give reviews of restaurants, clothing stores, and — you guessed it — salons and spas. While you won’t be able to write reviews about your own place, keep an eye on your own entry to see what’s being said about you. Encourage clients to leave positive reviews, and if someone leaves a negative one, respond positively and publicly. Let others see you solve customer service issues.
The best way to grow your restaurant’s Twitter network is by following people who are likely to visit you. That means local people, not people who live in other states, not celebrities, not other companies. Here are three ways you can grow your restaurant’s Twitter network quickly.
1. Put your Twitter handle on your menu. Give people a 5% discount or free soft drink for following you and then tweeting a message with your handle in it. While that may seem like a premium cost, keep in mind that you’re not only getting a new follower, you’re getting word of mouth marketing out of it too. Some marketers would pay $5 apiece for a contact like that.
2. Follow people in your city. Use Twellowhood.com to find people in your area. Also, look for #hashtags about certain local events or festivals, and follow people who live in the area. Talk with them on Twitter after the festival as well, and invite them to your restaurant.
3. Follow who your competition follows. Go to the competition’s Twitter page, see who they’re following, and then follow them. You want to follow the people they are following, rather than the ones who are following them, because they’re (hopefully) following locals. But they can have all sorts of spam accounts following them, so you don’t want to bother with that. Also, don’t worry about following celebrity accounts and national brands. They won’t be patrons, so save your energy.
Ecommerce websites are not just for large companies anymore. And they’re not for computer gurus who need a lot of programming knowledge to be able to build it. Ecommerce sites are inexpensive and fairly easy to build.
If you have a gift shop or specialty boutique, you can generate extra revenue by having an online store. This will open up all sorts of new sales options for you.
You can ship items that customers order for faraway friends.
You can reach customers who have moved or live in other parts of the country, like tourists.
You can become a specialty store for hard-to-find items.
You can help the local customers who need to do holiday shopping late at night or during a time you’re not open.
Of course, you may not have the time or experience to set up an ecommerce site — they’re fairly easy, but not dead simple — so look for a professional who specializes in ecommerce sites. They can get it set up quickly and easily, and troubleshoot any problems that you may have.
It’s also a good idea to have this person provide you with monthly analytics and sales figures so you can see how much money your store is making, which products are big sellers, and which ones either need some promotional help or should just be removed completely.
An ecommerce store is just one more source of revenue your gift shop or boutique can be bringing in. And if you do it well, it could be as big a moneymaker as your regular store.
The secret to promoting your online store is not to continually add new items. It’s blogging and
social media promotion.
Blogging helps you with search engine optimization, so people can find it more easily on the search
engines. But more importantly, if you have an unusual or uncommon product, blogging lets you
demonstrate what the product can do to make people’s lives easier or help them solve a problem.
Let’s imagine you make a sandwich cutter that cuts a child’s sandwich into creative, fun designs.
With a blog, you can explain how the sandwich cutter works, show how to clean it, offer sandwich
recipes that work best with your sandwich cutter, and even create videos of the cutter in use.
There’s usually no place for things like this on an ecommerce site, but a blog lets you publish as
much as you’d like.
A quick check of Google’s keyword analytics tool shows that the phrase “sandwiches for kids” is
getting 6,600 hits per month. So you can blog about “five fun sandwiches for kids” and “five easy
sandwiches for kids, as well as any other topics you can think of that contain the key phrase.
By doing this on a regular basis — twice a week is ideal — you’ll start winning a lot of search results
and getting visitors who are interested in the different articles you’ve written. As people read the
articles, they’ll see the links to your ecommerce site, and purchase the cutter to make some of the
fun recipes, which boost your sales all without any expensive advertising.
Blogging about important topics and keywords can help you boost your ecommerce site’s search
rankings and overall sales.
If you want to sell products online, there are any number of ways you can do it. You can take the
direct route and put a shopping cart solution on your website. But if you don’t want to mess with
the time and expense, or you only sell the occasional item out of your brick-and-mortar store, here
are three (nearly) free ecommerce tools you can consider.
This is a site for artists of all styles. Whether you sell earrings and jewelry or large scupltures,
Etsy.com takes a small percentage of the items you offer for their payment processing. You upload
the photos, write the descriptions, send customers to the individual page, and once they place an
order, you send out the product. Etsy is not only an ecommerce solution, but a community for
Many people sell ebooks they have written, and it’s a great way to generate some income. People
who don’t want to go through the traditional route of publishing, who want to sell their materials
faster than a publisher can move, or who want a bigger share of the royalty pie, are turning to
Amazon as a way to build their professional network and make money by writing and selling ebooks.
eBay is the original storefront. Just like Etsy, eBay lets you sell anything and everything. Whether
it’s old comic books, new clothing, or even things you have made or purchased for reselling, eBay
handles everything for you — a place to host your sales information, payment processing, and even
a place to build an entire storefront.