Do you feel as though you’ve maxed out your local lead potential and hit a wall in your sales? Unless you have been living in a cave, you are aware that technology, and digital marketing in particular, are the keys to business growth in the 21st century.
The problem for many business owners is the rate at which technology and marketing trends change, and the befuddling number of digital marketing options (how many social networks are there?!). Just sorting through it all can feel like a second job.
To help you out, we have put together a list of a few proven ways to expand your business outside of your local sector, and attract new customers.
Put Yourself Out There
The next time you attend an outdoor event in the heat of summer, say a 4th of July Parade, you will probably notice that the kids selling water are doing big business. This is because they are putting themselves in front of people who need their service.
Nowadays, the people who need your product or service are looking online. A 2015 study revealed that 57% of consumers take recommendations found on social media into consideration before purchasing a product or service.
Start out by using just one or two social media sites, say Facebook and Twitter, and post about new products, sales, job openings and your participation in community or charity events. Be sure to pay attention to what your customers are saying on social media about the offerings in your industry- this can point you towards innovations that will put you ahead of the curve.
Writing a blog is another great way to keep the conversation going. You may think that you don’t have time to write a blog for your business, but by utilizing content generation tools and services, you can publish content that will generate leads and establish you as an authority in your field.
It is now more important than ever to make sure that you are staying up with the technological advancements in your field. By combining your natural creativity and entrepreneurship with these changes in the active field, you can discover new ways to develop your products and market the outcome.
This results in much more attention from your customers in addition to an improved return on your investment. When your clients see that you are ahead of the curve and frequently innovating, they will want to learn more about your business and how they can become a part of it.
Due to increasingly streamlined technology, business owners can look forward to optimizing their operations and reducing the need for micromanagement. This frees up your time and allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
Solutions like demographic trackers and SEO tools like Moz can allow business owners to stay ahead of the competition, especially if they are based in a particularly competitive field. Through these technological solutions, you can take a look at the statistics that matter the most.
You can see how successful your products and services are with a target audience, and you can run product tests more efficiently to determine how successful your products are.
Consider employing a content team to help you keep up on new mediums (apps, social media etc.) that may be beneficial for your business. With a content team, you can expect to keep up with your customers on a much more personal basis, especially when you are advertising for new services or specific discounts and deal plans.
Utilizing the most intuitive small business software available for your industry can make it easier for you to keep up with these mediums as well. Many software programs include mailing list options and all-in-one updaters that can allow you to upload content simultaneously across multiple platforms.
The Big Picture
While every business owner starts out focusing on their local prospects, it is crucial to begin expansion at the appropriate stages to improve brand awareness. A creative look at the latest technological solutions can be invaluable in helping new business owners expand and fine-tune their business plan.
When you are running an online business of any kind – be it a blog, an ecommerce store or just a marketing campaign for a tangible, offline company – you have multiple sources of content distribution at your disposal.
YouTube, blog platforms, Twitter, Facebook… social media has become the way of the future in online business. Failing to properly utilize such a resource will severely damage your online visibility, which is crucial in today’s world. Social media is changing the way we are doing keyword research, produce and market content.
Identifying Weak Areas
When trying to analyze the effectiveness of your content strategy on the web, you should take some time to review and understand what it is you are currently doing right. This will also show you where you need to improve. You can do this through a content audit, which is essentially putting together spreadsheets of all social media campaigns to find where you are lacking.
Once you have taken a fair look at what you have been doing, start looking at how much you are really posting, and the relevance of the content. For example, are you meeting your desired quota for blog posts per week? Are they generating the right response? Are tweets being replied to or retweeted? Have you been communicating with your Facebook fans on a personal level? Are you published a good balance of links, original updates and comments or replies to readers?
If you are clear about what you have and have not been providing, you can improve your social media marketing and so your overall content strategy. These three apps can further help you along the way:
An editorial calendar is a must have item for anyone who is posting online but especially for those who are want to run a multimedia campaign using social sites and methods. It is just too easy to lose track of what you are going to post without one… Not to mention it lessens the quality of your content to fail to plan ahead.
Technically, a spreadsheet works fine to plan posts. But if you want to really take advantage, an app like DivvyHQ can be what you need. It is a scheduling application that allows multiple users, reviewers and help in better targeting your posts.
They have plans from $25 to $195 a month, as well as custom pricing for larger companies of more than 20 people and a 30-day free trial. They even have in-person or online training for implementing social media strategies.
This platform works by putting together a report on what your audience is searching, reading and otherwise showing interest in at every stage of the content creation process. This allows you to better target your own campaign and post writing, as well as provides a direction for links and status updates.
Skyword works by making sure your SEO, usability and content quality guidelines are being taken serious.
What makes it different from a basic SEO app is that it actually was created to factor the data into the writing process itself. Currently, it is in the beta stage and so asking only for feedback from those that choose to use it. It is free to create an account.
A simplification app for content creators and managers, this works by creating a “site map” that involves all media content you have to get done. You set in the parameters and turn it into single page collections that can be shared and edited by invited parties.
The platform costs $66 minimum and for that you can maintain 10 active projects and add an unlimited number of users.
Working out a way to increase the efficiency and workability of a content strategy takes time, effort and a bit of know how. These apps will help you to get it done much more quickly, and without the stress.
Add in the fact that two of them are free and the other more affordable than any similar service I have personally found, and you have every reason to try them out.
Editor’s note: In the light of big news coming up of Facebook pioneering war against social media identity theft, we thought this piece by SEOchat contributor was very timely. Enjoy!
Social media has become the top way for brands to increase awareness of what they’re doing, from promoting new products to interacting with customers. Experts encourage entrepreneurs to regularly post high-quality content in the hopes followers will share it across their own networks.
This means spending hours developing insightful updates, linking to your own great blog posts, and sourcing images from stock photo sites.
After putting all of this work into your content creation efforts, it can be even more disturbing to find your information posted on another site. It may even be a competing business’s blog or an industry magazine. Even if the site credits you as the author of the work, using your content without compensating you for it is a violation.
“There are several situations where social media content can be stolen,” says Robert May, founding attorney at The May Firm. “Increasingly publications are using social media posts as part of their news stories, as seen here. When they get permission first, it isn’t a problem.
Unfortunately, less professional sites fail to get that permission. Sometimes a site uses an original photo or copies a blog post that has been linked on social media. In more extreme instances, a business owner may find a fake account has been set up using his own name and likeness.”
Whatever the type of theft, it’s important to act quickly to make sure the content is removed. Here are a few steps you should take if you find your social media content has been stolen.
Step One: Make Contact
Before doing anything, send a friendly email politely asking that the content be removed. Don’t use forceful language in this initial contact. Simply state the action you would like to have taken as a result of the letter. If you want the content removed, ask politely that they do so within a certain number of business days.
If you are agreeable to being compensated for your content, state the price and offer removing the content as an alternative. Hopefully the offender will remove the content and send a letter of apology for the inconvenience. If not, wait the stated number of days before taking further action. If the content was posted on a site by an employee of an organization, take your complaint further up the chain before checking into outside options.
Step Two: Check the Terms of Service
While you’re waiting, carefully review the terms of service on the social media site where your content was originally posted. Facebook allows you to report copyright infringements using this tool, while Twitter’s tool is here.
Both are products of the Digital Millennial Copyright Act (DMCA), passed in 1996 to protect copyright holders from online theft. You may also want to check into the policies of the website where the content is posted, since they’ll have their own copyright infringement notification procedures.
DMCA Takedown Notice
In addition to the tools offered on various social media sites, copyright holders can also have content taken down using a DMCA Takedown Notice. You’ll need to determine the Internet Service Provider hosting the site where the content is posted and direct your letter there.
After an investigation, you’ll often find that the content is removed without having to wait for the person who posted it to respond. DMCA charges for the service through its site, but you can craft a letter for free using the instructions provided on the National Press Photographers Association site.
Contact an Attorney
When other recourse has failed to bring action, it’s time to seek legal assistance. Although attorneys will charge an hourly fee to help with copyright infringement, often content can be removed through a cease and desist letter. Such a letter packs a heavy punch when it comes from a law office.
If for some reason that letter doesn’t achieve results, however, an attorney can go through the courts to have a cease and desist order placed on the content, which requires that it be removed.
Having your content stolen can feel like a violation. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to let offenders know that you won’t allow your photos and text to be used for free. By having tools in place to use in the event your content is stolen, you’ll be prepared to take action if it ever happens.