The Top 7 Questions Small Businesses Ask About Social Media

Presence on social media is gaining importance as more and more small businesses are realizing the benefits they can gain from it. They are increasingly using platforms such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, to mark their presence in social media.Those who are not yet used to the effect internet has had on marketing, are daunted by the technology of social media marketing. They find comfort in doing business the traditional way, in the safety of a building.Novelty seems intimidating in the beginning, until you explore it. Similarly, small businesses have concerns for which they require reassuring answers. More and more people are accepting social media and small businesses are realizing that its presence is not temporary.The following are the most frequently asked questions of small businesses. Maybe one of the questions below will address any of your concerns:1. What is Social Media Marketing?Communicating with stakeholders through social networking platforms such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, is called Social Media Marketing.You use the pages made on social networking sites to share information about your business, customer feedback, guidelines for using your products/services etc. By doing this, you not only allow the customers to get to know you better but provide a platform to them to share their opinions also. All this helps in building relationships with customers.2. Why does my business need to get involved?Business and marketing has become fast paced due to the increased access to information. Customers get real-time information through their smart phones and tablets. In today’s era, customers want convenience; therefore, they expect your business to be present online.By having a presence your business will:

Be readily available online

Be able to introduce/promote products and services

Be able to strengthen bond with present customers

Be able to capture potential customers

Be able to enhance customer traffic through social interaction.
As your presence increases through your online interaction such as likes, posts, comments, tweets, it will have the added advantage of increasing your search engine rankings.3. HELP! I don’t know where to startSocial media marketing works the same way as traditional marketing. Begin with a plan and chart out your goals and objectives for the campaign.Losing focus is easy when you are marketing using social media. A well laid-out plan will assist you in concentrating.4. How much time should I spend on each platform each day?When you concentrate on the target, you need not spend excess time on social media marketing. It does not demand much time. As long as you remain focused, 10 to 20 minutes, twice a day would suffice in running a profitable marketing campaign.5. When should I post?Your timing should depend upon the schedule of your target audience. Research into the lifestyle of your target audience follows and post accordingly. For instance, if you were targeting business-people or the working-class, morning would be the best time to post. They mostly check updates on their way to work. Similarly, communicate during lunch-hour as well as after office hours, when they will be travelling back home.You can post mid-morning, afternoon and evening if your target audience is the non-working or the retired individuals. As you learn more about social media marketing and your audience, you will become better at your timing. You will have to monitor the responses your posts generate (or do not generate) and see what timing generates the most responses.6. Which platform should I use?Out of the numerous options, keeping the usage in mind, Facebook is the apparent choice. It already has more than 1 billion users; and the number is growing daily.Most of the people on Facebook are regular users, checking updates throughout the day. The diversity of users makes it a good platform for small businesses to be able to use varied advertising options. Tweets are gaining popularity. People follow tweets more than they follow the news, since it is faster. So that is another good option for you.You need to be able to communicate effectively in limited words, because tweets’ characters are limited to 140. Considering the enormity of information people sift through online, the character limitation is in line with the short attention span of people. People do not read details, they just overview.It’s worth mentioning 3 relatively platforms gaining popularity.

One of the visual platforms is Pinterest. It allows the uploading and sharing of photos concerning any possible subject. Starting off by capturing the interest of female audience, the platform has now started capturing the interest of male audience as well.

The second one, Google+ (Google+) is also in the phase of stretching its branches in social media. Google+ with the advantage of strong financial backing of its giant owner Google is expected to contest Facebook in becoming the leading social network.

The third one, LinkedIn is popular as a platform for professionals. It allows for business-to-business interaction and is brilliant for connecting with colleagues and building professional network.
There are other social media platforms present, but these are the ones on top of the list.7. How much does it cost?It costs in terms of time. So, even if you are a small business with no or limited marketing budget, no need to worry, all you have to do is take out time. However, if your budget allows for moderate spending on marketing, then you can spend on placing advertisements on social media platforms such as Facebook. This would increase reach of your business at an affordable cost.Remember, this list is not exhaustive of all the possible frequently asked questions small businesses might have or the answers to those questions. Just like traditional marketing, successful social media marketing demands customization as per your business, degree of competition, target audience, industry, budget, time and other factors affecting your business.Engage with customers and grow your audience… The sheer quantity of information available on the social sites requires you to be quick at disseminating relevant content to customers. Sharing of irrelevant information will fail in engaging customers.All businessmen know the importance of image and reputation. Dissemination of information, views, feedback has become quick and easy due to the Internet. Customers can now post comments in real-time and other customers can read those comments and in real-time too.Whether you are getting positive reviews or negatives ones, it is essential to be aware of the customer views so that you can respond appropriately and timely.Make sure you keep the following in mind:

Encouraging your customers in spreading good feedback on social media about your business

Keep an eye on what the people are saying about your business on the different social media platforms

Manage your online reputation by responding timely and accurately to feedback, reviews and posts by the customers

Be active in responding to the positive reviews by customers so that relationship with them can be strengthened

Timely detect negative feedback so that they can be responded to as soon as possible

Appreciate customers giving feedback after using your products/services.
Hopefully, through this article we have proved our point and made you realize the value of social media marketing for your business.

How Much Should I Pay For Internet Marketing Consulting?

The new style of Internet marketing includes much more than just getting ranked on Google and Yahoo or Bing. However, these are still very large components of successful web marketing strategies. Qualified, targeted, web leads are necessary to succeed in our technological age.Our current business clients average about 25-75% of their web traffic from “organic” search engine ranking results depending on where they focus their marketing dollars. “Pay-Per-Click” generates about 35-55% of web visitors and the rest of the leads come from blogs, listings, press releases or links from other sites linking back to them. Let’s talk about the “WHAT” you are getting for the money you will spend.There are a number of Internet marketing strategies that will generate user traffic to your website. Let’s cover the 2 major ones.1. “Organic” Search Engine Marketing – SEO(Search Engine Optimization) – This method involves getting your site ranked on the 1st page of Google by optimizing your site “naturally” so you don’t pay when someone clicks on your link. The basic SEO techniques used for this are:· Keyword Analysis – What are your customers searching for? What words didn’t you think of?· Volume Analysis – Which keywords are being searched for more often?· Website Layout – Relevant SEO friendly content and good SEO link structure. So important.· Keyword Density – The keyword ratios of your content and text. Too much can hurt you.· Link Building – “Quality” SEO links on and off your website. Beware of link farms.2. “Sponsored” Search Engine Marketing – PPC(Pay-Per-Click Advertising) – This method involves paying to have your website link placed at the top of search engine ranking results. You bid for the placement and only pay when someone clicks on your link.· Creating a Google AdWords Account· Targeting Ad Campaigns to Your Industry· Keyword Specific Ad Groups· Tracking Better Performing Ads and Cheaper Ads· Managing Daily and Monthly Budgets· Tracking Conversion LeadsAre They Good “Qualified” Leads?You can always generate random, junk, web traffic that is not “targeted” with 10,000 website hits a day with a scam or something crazy. But, that person is not “qualified”. Make sure you are spending your Internet marketing budget on quality web leads who actually want your product or service.The Internet search engines now allow a person to search for exactly what they want. A “Baby Blue Burton Snowboard” is very specific. Where as, “Chicago Pizza” is more general. Both produce ten top search results which any online merchant with a website can market to.If you sell that type of product, and your “Organic” and “Pay-Per-Click” search engine marketing campaign is set up correctly, your website’s link should be showing up on the 1st page of Google when someone searches for it. And if your SEO marketing copy is well written, they will click on your link instead of your competitor’s link.Which Internet Marketing Strategy Should You Use? Good question. Simple explanation.All clients need a customized marketing strategy on the Internet to succeed. If you are a doctor’s office, you need to be marketing to sick people. If you are an auto garage, you’ll need to market to car owners. We always recommend to clients that they pursue both methods.Pay-Per-Click advertising will give you immediate results with cost per clicks. But, once you stop paying for PPC ads, the leads will stop as well. Organic SEO marketing will take longer to rank, 3-9 months sometimes, using ‘White Hat” companies and best practice techniques, but could cost you less in the long run. (“Black Hat” marketing can get you banned from Google.)Why? Because once you’ve paid 1,000’s of dollars for organic search engine optimization in the search engine rankings, clicks are coming in and it can be a low expense to maintain it’s position into the future while the clicks keep coming.This is where the expertise of your Internet marketing consultant pays off the most. They will focus your marketing dollars so that you are displayed in front of those “qualified” people who are looking for your service or product. These are the areas you should be getting upgraded and consulting on to increase your web traffic.How much should I expect to pay for a Internet advertising and marketing?It usually costs about the same as advertising in the Yellow Pages Directory or in a Big City Newspaper. You pay more for bigger coverage. It can be less depending on how competitive your industry is.Promoting a “Los Angeles Law Firm” or a “Houston Plastic Surgeon” is going to be more than marketing a website for a “Denver Auto Mechanic” or “Wyoming Vacation Ranch”. The reason being is that certain industries are willing to put more money into their marketing success.Some web marketing campaigns can be as little as $600 a month for 9-12 months of marketing support for a small niche company or service, while others can be $10,000 per month for 2 years. And, you should always continue with SEO maintenance once you start ranking in Google or Yahoo otherwise your labor will be wasted once your competitors come after you.Remember, your competitors are always after you too. In order to get one of those top ten spots on Google, you’ll need to push someone else off the page. They will notice…I promise.In the end, when you choose an Internet marketing consultant to work with, they should provide you with monthly reports showing:1. How much web traffic you are getting?2. Where the web traffic is coming from?3. What pages on your site get more traffic?4. What pages you are ranking on Google, Yahoo, Bing(MSN) with for your specific keyword phrases?We believe you should see the results that you are paying for. Your Internet Marketing provider should always be sending you a monthly report with the above listed tracking information on it for your marketing campaign.Other than that, look for credentials and previous client results. If they have a good rating with the BBB and they can show you a list of 1st page ranking clients, you are probably on the right track to a successful web marketing campaign. Enjoy the new leads.Web Marketing Example:

Walk Your Way to Fitness

If you are currently carrying some extra weight or have trouble with your knees, ankles or hips, walking with a pedometer is a sure fire way to get back to a comfortable fitness level. Walking? You do it every day right? You walk when you’re running errands, tidying the house, or during regular work routines – but walking for fitness is just a little different and it can help you lose weight, increase muscle tone and live a longer life. You just need a way to measure your current daily steps and chart a path to success with a simple pedometer.Don’t think that just because you want to get into shape you have to join an aerobics class or start an exercise routine that is difficult and could cause you more harm than help you. Yes, aerobic exercise can be enjoyable but it may be too much, too fast, for your system and joints if you’re already carrying a few extra pounds. Being fit has more to do with regularly exercising and reaping the benefits that make you feel good about yourself.Just walking daily for 30 consecutive minutes will give you outstanding results in minimal time. Although sometimes we measure this in total steps for the day with a pedometer you can count on adding a few thousand extra steps to your day to reach your goals. This doesn’t need to be strenuous. Walking is a great way to rebuild muscle and tone your heart. Fitness experts will all agree that walking is the perfect exercise on the path to high health.Fitness experts and gurus aside I think you’ll also find that walking is something that almost all doctors will recommend as well. You won’t have to spend money on expensive equipment, you can do it anywhere (even in the comfort of your own home) and the weather won’t even be able to affect or deter you from your commitment to fitness. Walking is also perfect for pre-conditioning your body for more intense aerobic exercise.Begin with a pace that you are comfortable with but as brisk as possible so that you will burn unwanted fat while flushing out toxins through perspiration. If you cannot manage 30 minutes a day of brisk walking then start with three 10 minute walks per day. You’ll lose weight, increase your energy level, lower your blood pressure, increase your metabolism and strengthen your heart.Once taking 30 minutes walks are no longer a challenge for you, look around for an aerobic exercise you might enjoy. Cycling is a fantastic next step and can also be performed in the solitude and safety of your own home, in any weather.Whichever path you choose, always set a new goal as you near the last one. This keeps you motivated and you can celebrate as you move into the next level of fitness.