Monday, 31 March 2014

Warning: 5 Ways You Are Losing Engagement By Not Using Social Media For Your Business

Social Media
** Update 20th May: Normal blogging schedule will resume shortly. Thank you again for your patience and understanding during this busy time! **

The opportunities are endless for today's business owner to reach potential consumers and convert them into lifetime customers. But in this modern landscape, users want to engage in a virtual community where they can be advocates, share ideas, and get the latest scoop on new product offerings and services. Making your presence known in a social space is essential for growing your business.

Interestingly enough, some of the most successful business owners have learned how to use technology to gain an edge. Rather than shelling out thousands of dollars on prime air-time, companies are learning to generate buzz by creating viral content and encouraging shares and likes. If you are not currently using social media for business, there are five things you need to know where you may be missing out on engagement:

  1. Let's face it - Anyone who's anyone is on social media these days - Not being on social media is like not listing in the Yellow Pages in the 1980's. If you aren't utilizing these channels wisely you are limiting your audience and making it harder for potential clients to contact your business easily. A social media page is now like using a search engine. Consumers want information that is easily accessible and they want it at the stroke of a key. You want to be ahead of the pack by greeting your visitors with amazing content that is up to date and ready to go viral at a moment's notice.

    1. 72% of online adults are using social networking sites.
      http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/08/05/72-of-online-adults-are-social-networking-site-users/

    2. In 2012, nearly 20% of respondents reported not using social media tools; in 2013 that number was down 11% http://moz.com/industry-survey

  2. Maintaining your reputation - Be it positive or negative, engaging with your customers through social media can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive highlight for your business. Earlier in 2013 after a hacking incident, Buffer showed great poise in the management and response to such an experience. Customers sometimes just want to have a voice. We all know the reach a negative impression can stretch and often it goes unnoticed or unresolved. Having that personal conversation with the customer shows them that you are not only engaged, but place great customer value for the service or product your business offers. Making a positive customer experience allows your reputation to shine and in turn, social advocacy will start turning its wheels. Maintaining your reputation allows your fans or followers to make suggestions for improvements, share the latest updates, and voice opinion on which products or services they would like to see most often.

  3. Beating your competitors at the game - Having a popular social media page with a large following increases your exposure over your competitors. Being able to engage directly with potential customers gives you a strong advantage over a competitor who isn't online.

    1. By being on social media when your competitors are not, you're already delivering better customer service.

    2. This is a great place to start developing trust for first time buyers. It signals that you care about your customers if something went wrong.

    3. Pushing content-based and promoted ads to the Facebook News Feed in 2014 will prove to give you that competitive edge. Even spending $1 on Facebook ads per day will get you in front 4,000 more consumers than your competitors. That's a win in my book.
      http://moz.com/blog/1-dollar-per-day-on-facebook-ads

  4. Social media is a fun place to engage - Showing fans your authenticity is very important in the eyes of today's social media goers. Being in command of your social media page allows you to be more personable when it comes to interacting with your customers. You can reply directly to their comments and re-adjust your tone to accommodate the given situation. Just like a search landing page, it is important to make your content exciting and interesting. Your page needs to stand out, because it is typical for a searcher to spend less than 20 seconds, before deciding whether or not they will take an action in a buying decision. Make the page pop with visual appeal by utilizing photos, videos, and banners. Social media gives you an easy opportunity to improve brand awareness and build your identity. Be quick to the punch and put a human voice to your brand - one that people, your customers can connect with on a personal level.

  5. Now more than ever Google is placing more recognition on social behavior - In a vast digital arena where Search Engines grade your rankings based off social interaction and reviews, really depends on a business owner's willingness to obtain technical prowess. Not having a social page can cause your presence to decrease on Google's radar and slip down the search results, potentially loosing visitors to your website. Social media will help you increase the amount of traffic your website receives. Social media is an SEO ranking signal and has grown increasingly important. Being talked about and mentioned on social sends a positive signal and drives Google to seeing your site as more authoritative, which will help you rank better in organic SEO.

So what are the main take-aways for your business to become social savvy?

  • Be Proactive! - Build your social media page to fit your business' consumer base and start creating a buzz! Make your content engaging and most importantly, have fun!

  • Engage your Customers and Create Social Advocacy - Personalize your brand to your consumers and let them know what real customer value is all about!

While it takes time to be a social media Jedi, social media engagement is no longer an option but an essential part of your online business plan.


About The Author: Anna Johnson is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at seoWorks and takes a great interest in everything marketing, social media and internet related and enjoys sharing her knowledge on these subjects.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Anna and myself know by leaving us your valued comments below.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Related articles:
Facebook Branding For Online Business
Five Effortless Things Business Owners Can Do To Boost Their Social Media Presence
How Pinterest Can Help Your Small Business

For more business tips plus helpful articles on marketing your business on social media, use the following links:
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/Business%20Tips
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/Social%20Media%20Marketing


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar on the left-side of the screen or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on NetworkedBlogs, via Email (maximum of one email per day), on Facebook and Google+ or by subscribing to our blog feed at:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509, Google+ and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
https://www.google.com/+DerekJonesUK

Until my next post on the basics of business networking, I wish you every success with your business!


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© 2014. This article is DMCA protected. Republication is prohibited.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Finding Perfect Venues For Business Events

Business Events
Since you are reading this article, you most likely have a business or corporate event coming up and you need to find a suitable location. Business events are nowadays crucial for setting up collaborations, networking, offering awards and education. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that there are basically hundreds of different venues that you can consider. Many can end up feeling overwhelmed to see such a variety.


Locating Suitable Venue Options

Event success is highly dependent on where it is held. This is a reality that we cannot dismiss. The good news is that the internet can help out a lot. There are always websites that list business venues so that you can see what options are available. For instance, if you live in London, Venue Search London can be used.

Make a list of all the options that seem to be suitable based on the information that you find about them on the internet. Then, try to narrow down your list by looking at events held there in the past and how successful they were.


Questions You Need To Ask

Before you decide to actually consider a business venue location, you need to ask yourself some really important questions. For starters, you need to know what the available budget is for the event. Then, you have to think about how many people will attend and the business outcome that you expect. Based on these questions, you can actually end up making a good list of venues that are suitable. However, things do not stop here.

Questions have to continue and need to be focused on the exact event type that is organized. For instance, do you need to host people for more than one day? Do you need food or entertainment? To put it simple, lay down on paper everything that you imagine your event to need. Then, see if it is possible with the considered venues and if not, try to find some that do. You basically have to think about everything from parking to extra staff needed.


Proper Planning Takes Time

Organizing a successful business event is not something that you do in a week or two. This is especially true when referring to those that require overnight stay or are held for more than one day. It is always a good idea to have a team that is in charge of the entire process and that you plan everything way in advance.

When referring to choosing a suitable business venue, there are many mistakes that are made and unfortunately, in most situations people end up faced with problems that they did not see coming. As a very simple example, let us say that we talk about a conference. A speaker might require projection equipment. Does the venue have this or do you need to rent one? Such questions appear as you organize an event.


Finding A Perfect Business Venue Location

To sum up, we cannot tell you what venue you have to consider since this varies from one business to the other and from one city to the next. However, we can tell you that the most important thing is making sure that the venue can accommodate exactly what you had in mind. Never hurry your research since this is definitely the most important part of the process.

Consider as many venues that seem suitable at first glance as possible. Your initial choices will be based on available budgets but keep in mind that negotiations are sometimes possible. You cannot dismiss a venue before meeting with a representative of the company that owns it. Those meetings are the ones that will actually showcase if you can hold your event there or not.


Did you find this article helpful? Are you planning a business or corporate event? Please let me know by leaving me your valued comments below.

Related articles:
How Easy Is It To Hold A Successful Networking Event?
How To Match A Speaker's Style To The Audience

For more business tips, use this link:
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/Business%20Tips


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar on the left-side of the screen or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on NetworkedBlogs, via Email (maximum of one email per day), on Facebook and Google+ or by subscribing to our blog feed at:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509, Google+ and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
https://www.google.com/+DerekJonesUK

Until my next post at the end of the month on 5 ways you are losing engagement by not using social media for your business, I wish you every success with your business! See you back here on Monday 31st March!


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© 2014. This article is DMCA protected. Republication is prohibited.

Monday, 17 March 2014

How Facebook Can Help Your Website SEO

Facebook and SEO
Today, SEO is critical to the success of your website's online marketing campaigns. For best results, you've got to cover every aspect of SEO, and that includes using social media the right way. Learn how Facebook can help your SEO.

When it comes to building a successful SEO strategy, you can't ignore social media, especially Facebook. When used the right way, Facebook's power to drive traffic is phenomenal. How do you use Facebook to help your business and improve your SEO?


Social Media Links Matter

Today one of the many factors that Google considers in ranking is your social media presence and chatter. Facebook provides a more legitimate means of determining the human interest in your company, beyond just how many links you may have bought or artificially built to your site. While SEO experts like to debate about how strong Facebook links really are, the truth is simple: the more people talk about your company on Facebook, the better your website will rank in the search engines. Regularly posting updates on your Facebook page will help your website earn new links even if your SEO campaign is taking a breather. Remember: the age of your links and how many new ones you have pointing toward your site is also a ranking factor!


Facebook Lets You Gather Useful Information For SEO Purposes

Probably the most important role of Facebook for SEO purposes is the supply of relevant information about your company's audience. Websites are typically a one-way platform where businesses can stand on a soap box, so to speak, and blast information and ideas at whoever's visiting. On the other hand, Facebook is much more interactive and serves as a forum where conversations can occur. Using Facebook will keep you in better touch with your clientele and help you get to know more about the people who either are or will become your customers.

Providing fresh content that your readers want and need is important to the success of any website. Using Facebook will help you a lot when it comes to creating content and coming up with new ideas. The best internet marketers are always gleaning information from their social media interactions so they know:

  1. what their target market needs;
  2. what their customers want to know more about and care about;
  3. how customers describe their products or services.

You can translate this knowledge you gained from Facebook into marketable keywords. If you see that a certain topic has sparked conversation and comments, you can translate that into a new post for your blog.


Social Relationships Translate to Powerful Website Links

Using Facebook and social media to build relationships with others in similar industries can help your SEO efforts tremendously. When you connect with other website owners via Facebook, opportunities arise to link to each other's sites via guest posts or even interviews. Relevant links like these are some of the best links to have in terms of increasing your site's rankings and overall traffic.


Your Company's Facebook Page: a Second Website

When it comes right down to it, SEO is all about reaching your audience. Facebook is the best social media tool you can use to do that well. If you do it right, your Facebook page should work a little bit like a second website. You can use Facebook to drive traffic to your commercial website when you release a new product or promotion. While you might want to save all of your SEO tricks for your main website, using a lightweight version of your overall SEO strategy on your Facebook page will improve your page's success and strength. Make sure you use keywords wisely when choosing the title of your company's Facebook page.


See How Facebook Helps Your Website SEO

As is the case with any SEO strategy, it is important to carefully track the effectiveness of your Facebook efforts in your overall web strategy. You will find that consistently updating your Facebook page will eventually translate into better search engine rankings. Create a plan today for your Facebook use and see how it helps your SEO.


About The Author: Julie Crawford is the internet marketing director at rural wireless internet service Broadband Blue.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Julie and myself know by leaving us your valued comments below.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Related articles:
The Recent Google Update: What This Means For You
Why Content Is Still King In 2014
7 Things You Need To Know About SEO In 2014
How Twitter Can Help Your SEO

For a full list of helpful articles on SEO, use the following links:
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/SEO
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/SEO%20Tips


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar on the left-side of the screen or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on NetworkedBlogs, via Email (maximum of one email per day), on Facebook and Google+ or by subscribing to our blog feed at:
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You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509, Google+ and on Facebook at:
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Until my next post on Wednesday on finding the perfect venues for your business events, best of luck with your SEO efforts! See you back here on Wednesday!


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© 2014. This article is DMCA protected. Republication is prohibited.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

How To Find The Perfect Balance Between Traditional And Online Marketing

Traditional vs. Online Marketing
The world's most popular brands can be found both online and offline. At the same time, many small businesses hope to reach a global audience via Internet marketing. Thanks to the modern technology, physical boundaries are no longer a constraint. Business owners and service providers can reach customers from all around the world with a few clicks. However, marketing online means added expenses for many companies. Finding the perfect balance between traditional and digital marketing can be difficult. That's why you need to experiment and try different strategies to see what works best for your business.


The Rise of Online Marketing

Traditional media is on the decline. Most people use the Internet to read news, search for information about their favourite brands, and stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends. Only a few are still buying newspapers and print magazines. Digital marketing has surpassed traditional methods of marketing such as radio and newspaper ads. It makes perfect sense for companies to reach out to their prospects on the Internet.

While direct mail marketing and multi-channel marketing still work, print media has lost its power in today's digital world. Advertising products and services online is more affordable and convenient than paying for radio or TV ads. Commerce is shifting more and more online. Statistics indicate that over 61 percent of Internet users research products over the Internet. Approximately 92 percent of business owners who have blogged several times a day acquired at least one customer through their blog.

Recent studies have shown that 20 percent of customers have purchased something because of ads they saw on Facebook. More than 64 percent of smartphone users are shopping online from their mobile devices. These numbers show how popular Internet marketing is. If you don't promote your small business online, you are missing out on potential clients.


Online vs. Traditional Marketing

Digital marketing offers measurable results and involves lower costs. Business owners have access to a wide range of tools for tracking their online campaigns. They can check the number of clicks through sponsored links and assess the success rate of campaigns through Google Analytics and other programs. These features do not exist in radio or TV advertising. Unless your traditional marketing campaign has a direct call to action, such as "call this number" or "check out this website," there is no way to assess your results in real time.

Whether you use email marketing, social media marketing or SEO, promoting your business online will save you time and money. While it is true that many business owners remain sceptical about using digital marketing, its benefits cannot be denied. People who find your brand online become familiar with your products and develop trust. You can interact with your target audience on social networks, blogs, forums, chat rooms and other online platforms. Sending out tweets or sharing industry news on Facebook is free and can dramatically increase your exposure.

If you want to reach a local audience, you should use both traditional and online marketing. Think about who your customers are, how they buy, and where they go. For example, if you own a clothing store, you can distribute flyers and brochures in your area. At the same time, start a Facebook fan page and then set up a Pinterest account. Share photos of your products, connect with potential clients, and encourage them to visit your clothing store. Offer special deals and promotions to those who "like" your fan page or follow your brand on Twitter.

When you find a balance between digital and traditional marketing, you not only engage your prospects, but also give them a reason to choose your brand. Promoting your business online is one of the best ways to learn more about your customers. The data they leave behind indicates their buying preferences as well as their concerns. Business owners can use this information to assess customer behaviour, request feedback, and improve their products.


Did you find this article helpful? Do you use both online and traditional marketing strategies for your business? Please let me know by leaving me your valued comments below.

Related articles:
Why Online Marketing Is Just As Important As Traditional Marketing
Traditional Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing For Beginners

For more articles on traditional and online marketing, use the following links:
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/Online%20Marketing
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/Traditional%20Marketing


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar on the left-side of the screen or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on NetworkedBlogs, via Email (maximum of one email per day), on Facebook and Google+ or by subscribing to our blog feed at:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509, Google+ and on Facebook at:
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https://www.google.com/+DerekJonesUK

Until my next post on Monday on how Facebook can help your SEO, I wish you every success with your marketing! See you back here on the 17th of March!


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© 2014. This article is DMCA protected. Republication is prohibited.

Monday, 10 March 2014

5 Steps To Setting Up Your Own Business

Business Startup
So you've decided that now is the time to set up your own business. Congratulations, it's a brave move but in my experience it's the best decision you will ever make! Now that you've decided to take the leap, there are 5 key steps to getting set up that will stand you in good stead.


1. The Idea

For me, this is always the hardest step. There are so many products and services to potentially get involved with that it can be hard to choose. My advice would be to focus on an industry that you have worked in previously or have a good knowledge of. This will give you a head start in your planning as you may already understand the competition and opportunities in the market.

One thing that works well, particularly when going down the product route, is to look for either an exclusive or a way to create a product under your own brand name. Plenty of suppliers will label your products under your brand name, good examples of these for getting started in selling products online are Alibaba, VapeLab, and Print Clothes. These sites and more will let you create custom branded products, helping your business to stand out amongst the crowd.

If you go down the service route, try to not simply copy other ideas. You may be entering a marketplace with plenty of competition, but try to find a way to differentiate yourself and give yourself a unique selling point (USP) that will appeal to potential clients. This can be tricky to do, dependent upon your niche. There's nothing wrong with borrowing elements of competitor's strategies and amending them to create something unique.


2. Funding

Once you have your idea, it's time to create your business plan. The crucial part of an initial business plan is naturally going to be funding. Whether you are planning to save up yourself or take investment you need to consider a lot of different factors here, such as:

  • How long can you survive without taking a wage?
  • What's the lowest wage you can live off?
  • What are your startup costs?
  • Do you really need a physical premise, or can you work from home?
  • Will you need to hire people straight away?

These types of questions will give you an idea as to how much funding you need to survive that first crucial year, both as a business, and with your personal finances.

There are a number of options available for funding, from bank loans to private investment. Crowdfunding has also become a credible option with sites such as Kickstarter successfully funding numerous startups with creative ideas. Crowdfunding ensures you don't have a high level of bank interest or a single powerful investor applying pressure.


3. Making The Leap

Once your business plan is set, and you're confident about your plans it's time to make the leap. This may mean leaving your current employment if you are currently earning a living, or it may just mean formalizing the business.

Register yourself with the relevant authorities including the taxman at an early stage to avoid any surprises later on.

Once you've made the leap and are out of your current employment, make sure you make a big noise around your launch. Get friends and family to share your brand socially, and make your launch a big deal. This will help with step 4, your marketing strategy.


4. Marketing Strategy

You will no doubt have thought about your marketing strategy, in terms of how to generate new customers whilst planning everything out and creating a business plan. However, when you are actually live and running your business the marketing strategy becomes even more important.

Making a big noise at launch should be complemented with other activity in the form of advertising, content marketing, social media, event attendance and other marketing dependent upon your niche. The problem is, the word of mouth element from your launch may be keeping you quite busy in terms of work at this early stage (hopefully), which means that you don't have quite as much time to focus on your marketing strategy as you need.

Make sure you keep some time back from your schedule to continue with your marketing efforts to keep work coming for the long term. Many startups fail because their initial business development from word of mouth is strong, and they don't feel the need or have the time to continue to invest in their marketing for the long term benefit of their business.


5. Surviving The First Few Months

Believe it or not, the setting up part of your business is by no means the hardest part. Once you've made that leap into self-employment or running a limited company, you need to make sure you survive the first few months. The first year is always the biggest challenge, but the first few months can be particularly challenging in terms of generating new customers, getting your name out there, and dealing with issues like cash flow. Prepare for this carefully in your business plan - expect the worst and make sure you can survive it and then you will be in a position to thrive as your reputation grows.

Best of luck with setting up your new business - by careful planning and forethought you can give yourself a much higher chance of success. Strap yourself in for the ride, there will be plenty of ups and downs, but running your own business may be the best decision you have ever made.


About The Author: Bryan Staggers is an online entrepreneur who runs numerous ecommerce sites such as VapeLab. Bryan enjoys writing to share his experience in setting up businesses, with a particular focus on online revenue creation.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Bryan and myself know by leaving us your valued comments below.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Related articles:
Is 2014 The Year To Go Entrepreneur?
Could Franchising Be The Right Route For You?
How To Survive Your First Two Years As A Start-Up
Q & A: What To Consider When Setting Up A Home Business
Most Important Steps To Draft Your Business Plan
Legal Issues For Setting Up A Business

For more business tips plus helpful articles on setting up your own business, use the following links:
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/Business%20Tips
http://www.derekjones.co/search/label/Business%20Startup


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar on the left-side of the screen or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on NetworkedBlogs, via Email (maximum of one email per day), on Facebook and Google+ or by subscribing to our blog feed at:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/DereksHomeAndBusinessBlog

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509, Google+ and on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/djones1509
https://www.google.com/+DerekJonesUK

Until my next post on Wednesday on how to find the perfect balance between traditional and online marketing, have a great week ahead! See you back here on Wednesday!


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© 2014. This article is DMCA protected. Republication is prohibited.