You don’t need to be an Einstein to be successful at online marketing. You just need to know how it all works together and the steps to take to effectively market your business online.
What is the magic formula for successful online marketing?
Social Media + Content Marketing = Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
It’s that simple. Watch this video:
Once upon a time, to reach your target market, you paid a lot of money to broadcast your message and hope that your target market saw it and was compelled to call or visit you. That was outbound marketing. Now, the consumer searches for what they want, when they want or need it. It’s called Inbound Marketing. And it’s up to you to be found when someone is searching for what you have to offer.
Google owns search. Google has over 88% of all search globally. Google’s goal is to give the searcher exactly what they’re searching for; Google wants fresh, relevant content written for the human reader in natural language = Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (Source)
It’s a paradigm shift: you have to think like the searcher. What are they going to enter into the search box to find you? The consumer is in control. You have to put yourself in their shoes.
It’s a 3-part strategy. It starts with content — a blog, videos, podcasts or gallery providing the fresh material that Google is looking for. Plus you want to become a content magnet. How do you do that? You promote that content and engage with your potential customers on social media. You must have a website that’s set up to capture leads. You want to convert a visitor into a lead, then have them in some sort of email automation system to nurture them into a sale. You can’t do one and not do the other 2 and expect to get good results.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
- It establishes you as an expert in your field
- Builds brand awareness and helps distribute your marketing message
- It’s networking on steroids – social amplification – when someone with a lot of friends shares your content, your reach increase by the number of followers they have.
- Sharing useful information about your product or service. Educating your potential customer.
- Helps drive traffic to your website
- Helps with SEO
All this effort is to build trust and credibility because people buy from whom they know and trust. And we know in today’s world a reputation can be lost in seconds. Credibility is the most important aspect of your business that you can build. How do you do that? By participating – being active on the social networks and creating and sharing content that shows you are an authority in your industry or field.
The Major Social Media Networks
Each of the social network has its own culture and audience. They “drive” differently.
- Twitter is like a sports car – fast, newsy – life in 280 characters or less
- LinkedIn is the Luxury sedan – professional, classy no fooling around
- Pinterest is the minivan – 60% women half of them have kids – if you want to reach soccer moms, they’re on Pinterest
- YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are like a convertible, they are media channels to get exposure. People who drive convertibles are hip want to be seen
- Facebook is the crossover – about 60% Business to consumer (B2C) and 40% business to business B2B
So, which network should you use to promote your business?
You should have a presence in the major ones – they’re free billboards & listings! Even just listing your website in your profile helps with SEO. However, focus on the ones where your target market frequents the most, the ones that are driving traffic to your website & where you’re building valuable relationships.
This is how it all works together
The “W” is WordPress – that’s your blog and website together. Your write your blog post, share it on the social networks, encourage comments, put excerpts in your e-newsletter with a link back to the blog and website to read more. Talk to your target market and reach them in groups like those on LinkedIn and Facebook and Google will index it in the search engine.
Which are the Major Social Media Networks?
Facebook is the largest social network with over 1 billion active users logging on daily. Everybody is on Facebook – all generations. However, in March of 2018, they changed their algorithm to give more visibility to users’ posts and less to posts from business pages. This now makes it more challenging to grow a following organically (non-paid). Video marketing is the key to success on Facebook as well as participating in Groups. Related: What to Expect in 2019 in Social Media Marketing.
If you have a local brick-and-mortar, you are a “Location” to Google. That location will come up in Google Maps both on desktop and mobile searches. You need to go to business.google.com to set up your Google account. You’ll need a Gmail address. Don’t use your personal one. Create one for the business.
Your business will need to be verified local. Google will send you a postcard with a PIN number. Enter that number on your account profile when you get it. Once you’re verified you’re set. If you work from home or are an Ecommerce business, do not use Google My Business unless you want your house to come up in Google Maps & people walking up to your door.
YouTube is the second largest search engine next to its parent, Google. People prefer to watch a video than read a page of text. Video converts more than static web pages. “How to” is the most searched-for phrase. Videos and visuals are hot! You can also upload videos to Instagram, IGTV, Facebook, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Here’s an article on visual marketing.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network w/ over 650 million members. 2 people join LinkedIn every second so your network is constantly growing. It’s more B2B, but LinkedIn users are consumers too! Your personal profile should have a professional-looking head shot and be 100% complete -making you an “all-star”.
Companies have company profiles which are like the yellow pages. A business cannot have a personal account, which is needed to create a business profile. You are publicly linked to your company page as an employee.
You can upload videos to LinkedIn & LinkedIn Live Streaming is coming soon! LI Groups are a great place to network with like minded people, your target market & referral sources. And being on LinkedIn gives you credibility. Remember, people buy from whom they know and trust.
News no longer breaks, it tweets. If you want to know what people are talking about right now, you go to Twitter. It’s a never-ending news ticker. Tweets come up in Google search based on keywords. If you want exposure and SEO, you need to tweet daily. You can easily do 10-20 tweets a day because it moves so fast. With a free tool like TweetDeck you can schedule them out throughout the day and post eye-catching pictures directly to Twitter for extra exposure.
Pinterest is more than just cupcakes and wedding planning. When someone pins a picture or video from your website, it takes the link with it, thus helping with SEO. People pin what they’re planning to do – how they’re planning to spend their money – whether planning for a trip, wedding, baby or remodeling. And interestingly enough, the fastest growing demographic on Pinterest are men.
Instagram is owned by Facebook and it’s all mobile. You can share pictures and short videos. The demographic is 35 and under. Links don’t work in posts so it’s a good idea to brand your pictures with your logo or your website. Instagram is also hashtag-heavy. Use them consistently. When you’re setting up your account, make sure to put your website in your profile. That’s the only place on Instagram that you can put your web link without doing paid advertising. For brick-and-mortar businesses, you can add your location to your profile and then it’s easy for customers to tag you and your location.
If you want to reach the younger generation, under 34, then you need to be on Snapchat. Their biggest demographic is 18-24. Snapchat is like Instagram — totally mobile.
At any time of the day you can log on to Twitter and see what thousands of people are talking about – or what’s trending. Ok, some of what trends on Twitter may seem stupid, but sometimes, they give you a gift and you can ride the on the trend’s coattails. However, always check to see WHY something is trending to make sure that it’s not some crisis. There are certain hashtags that trend each week, like #MondayMotivation, #TuesdayThoughts, #WednesdayWisdom, etc. Watch and plan for them and spin your marketing message around them. Search this site for “What’s Trending” to learn what’s going to be trending in any given month.
What are Hashtags?
A hashtag is the # sign in front of a word or phrase that makes it clickable and searchable. If you click on a hashtag, all the posts with that hashtag come up. They work on all the networks. They only use letters and numbers and are not case-sensitive. Use them consistently and have a strategy, especially for your major keywords and for events. Learn more here.
Pulling it all Together
Today’s marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in it for the long haul. The minute you stop, people and Google will think you fell off the face of the earth. And it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work.
Don’t dive in without a plan! You’ll be wasting time, money and effort and you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Don’t buy Twitter or Instagram followers or Facebook likes – they are fake accounts! Sorry, but there are no shortcuts in social media.
The 10 Steps to Successful Online Marketing
Here’s what it takes to get started.
- Clearly define your target market – you can have more than one. Grab the Free Define Your Target Market Workbook
- Research – where are they hanging out online? What are their habits? What keywords are they going to enter into the search engine to find you?
- Set SMART Goals.
- Develop a Strategic Plan – this outlines the strategies to accomplish your goals.
- Then a Tactical Plan -that’s how you’re going to implement the strategies.
- Set-up, brand & optimize each network page for SEO, have share and follow buttons on your website. Make it easy for people to follow you.
- Learn How to Properly – AND EFFECTIVELY – Use the Tools
- Create & Curate Content – write blog posts, record videos or podcasts, find trusted sources of related and relevant content to share with your target.
- Implement, Engage & Build a Following by sharing not selling. Just do it! It takes about 90 minutes a day for the first 30 days to build a following if starting from scratch. If you don’t spend that time up front, it will take you longer to start seeing results. Afterwards you can manage your social media in 30-minutes a day with the free tools.
- Monitor & measure monthly – check your analytics and insights to see what’s working and not working, adjust your strategic and tactical plans accordingly.
This article originally appeared on the AZ Social Media Wiz Blog