Why Small Businesses Need a Mobile Optimized Website ASAP

Yodle and Research Now polled 400 US small businesses. What’s shocking (according to this poll) is that 40% of small businesses have not implemented either a mobile optimized website nor mobile optimized emails or SMS marketing.

There is so much opportunity out there with a mobile optimized website. More traffic, more leads, more product sales, etc. Everyone is mobile (has a smartphone and/or tablet). Over half of web traffic is mobile. Mobile users buy more (according to one Adobe report).

Google favors mobile responsiveness (think search engine placement ranking). If you use Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest in your small business marketing strategy, referral links off your social media posts mean that incoming website traffic will be accessed via mobile devices. NOT having a mobile optimized website is just leaving money on the table.

Facebook Ad Tips and Optimization Hacks

Create right column ads with your company logo and basic information (name, website, and location if appropriate). These ads should be boring: they should make your logo and business name very visible, but not entice the viewer to click on them. Next, place top bids on these ads; with high cost per click (CPC) bids, your ads will consistently show up on your target audience’s Facebook pages but few people will actually click on them (meaning they won’t cost you much money but will increase your visibility).

Make sure you Segment Your Ads by Channel. Don’t lump their ads and let them run on both desktop feed, desktop right, and mobile feed (and third party apps). Segment = They all have different click characteristics.

Write text on images (old school tip). In most verticals, this is almost guaranteed to increase your CTR.

Digital Press Relations Tips & Essentials

image

A short, brief list of digital PR tips & essentials.

-PR blog posts and press releases views happen mostly on Mondays and Wednesdays. First thing in morning.
-Tuesdays are a bad day to issue a PR or a good story on your company’s blog….people tend to work and stay focus on Tuesdays.
-Fridays are bad. Fridays see very little traffic to content. Everyone is out to lunch on Fridays or gets in late to work.
-If you do send out a press release (wire), post it on your company blog as well = more traction.
-Ideal blog post length is between 1,000-2,000 words.
-Make your PR or story post link-worthy. Do not forget a great image (hi-res) or visual to your digital content like an Infographic.
-All Press Releases and PR campaign’s must contain complementary digital assets in order to get links. Links are symptomatic of good PR.
Twitter is a PR wet dream. Use Twitter for media relations. Busy reporters & reviewers do not answer their phones and receive countless e-mails, but they do pay attention to Twitter! Twitter is a great way to link a press release or a quality company blog post. It adds traction and traffic (value-add). Twitter can also be used to Pitch. Before any pitch has been made on Twitter to @journalist follow them for a few months. Get to know them. If you like what they are doing and reporting, retweet them or give them props! Share their stuff and links to their articles. If @journalist needs info or asks for help, reach out immediately and make it your priority. Help them out, and they will help you out. It goes both ways. Let the reporter know you’ve been driving traffic to their story. Keep the pitch respectful and short. Example: @journalist Do you accept story pitches? @journalist I just sent you an email, take a look when you get a chance. Its a good fit for your outlet.
-Facebook. Yes, @journalist use Facebook as well. @journalist will use Facebook on their own or through their publication page. Share their stories + interact with their readers. Interact with them and become visible by liking and commenting on their posts. Establish a professional relationship.
-Build a journalist / reporter list for your niche. Need to build a good list of Press for your particular product or service? Start with research. A good shortcut is to use JustReachOut. JustReachOut is a website dedicated to finding reporters who have written about your particular product or service. Just add your company’s product category in the search box, and the engine will bring up reporters interested and have written about your industry. Connect with them and reach out.

Lastly, Monitor your analytics for referral traffic. Figure out what works, and what doesn’t.

How To Make Your Website More “Shareable”

If your producing great content, why not make it more shareable. This helps create and drive traffic, conversions, and ultimately SEO.

For LinkedIn, make sure your source code complies with “Open Graph Protocol (OGP)” and certain image requirements specific to LinkedIn.

Below are the og: tags that must exist and their correct format:

    <meta property=“og:title” content=“Title of the article”/>
    <meta property=“og:image” content=“http://media.example.com/ 1234567.jpg”/>
    <meta property=“og:description” content=“Description that will show in the preview”/>
    <meta property=“og:url” content=“http://www.example.com/URL of the article” />

Here are the image requirements specific to the LinkedIn sharing module:

    Max file size: 1 MB
    Minimum image dimensions: 80 x 150 pixels
    Recommended aspect ratio: 4:1 or 1:4

For Facebook, add Facebook Like Buttons to your Content. Embed Facebook Sharing in Text and Images. Debug Your Website for Facebook Graph. You can run a quick audit with the Facebook Debugger. Always beware of the Open Graph Protocol requirements on Facebook.
 
For Pinterest, choose Eye-Catching Images.  Once an image draws someone into your post, they’ll want to know more about what your post covers. Create an attention grabbing description. Also, make sure you add a website widget and Pin It buttons your website. A great resource on how to add these buttons (and even build it yourself) to many popular platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc., can be found here. Make it easy for people to collect things from your site.
 
For Twitter, add a Twitter icon on all your website content (this also goes for Facebook, Pinterest, LinkeIn, etc). To increase Retweets and shareability, use Twitter cards. You’ve probably seen these cards before if you follow any news organizations like the New York Times. There are currently 8 types of Twitter cards. Two are specific to sharing apps. Integrate the card code into your site either via plugins or custom code.

There are three high-level steps to this process:

    1. Add the code to your site
    2. Validate (test) it using Twitter’s validation tool
    3. Get approved to use Twitter cards for your account
    
Steps 2 and 3 are repeated for each type of card you’d like to use for your site. You can either use card code PlugIns or build it yourself to use for your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpage, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “Card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers. A good tutorial on adding Twitter cards can be found here.

If your website publishes a lot of content like “articles” or “reviews” or long-form journalism, its imperative to add a Instapaper widget to let your readers SAVE interesting articles, videos, cooking recipes, song lyrics, or whatever else you create. Instapaper syncs your website articles and videos/content so that your visitors can save on all their your devices – iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle. Visitors can read anything they save, anywhere and anytime you want, even offline. Instapaper is the only app that supports advanced kerning and ligatures for a better reading experience.

Social Media Crisis Action Plan

image

Whether your a big or small company, a celebrity or some kind of a famous personality with a large amount external exposure, chances are you may have to deal with some kind of social media crisis sooner or later. A crisis can occur at random (insensitive tweet), or it can occur with a product misstep or even a social media account hacked. In this digital world, speed of these harmful conversations can implode on you or your company in mere seconds.

While there is no once size fits all approach, the below basic social media action plan will help you quickly identify the crisis (issue) and resolve it before it goes viral and turns into disaster.

The first stage of social media crisis planning is to identify the problem or issue in real-time before it gets out of control and goes viral. There are many tools out there that can help you keep tabs and monitor the majority of social media platforms. Most of these social tracking tools depend on keywords important to you or your company. Keywords such as “Company” or “product name” “name of person” “events” “competitors” “social media accounts” etc.

A short list below:

  • Social Mention. A great social real-time listening tool for your brand. It measures your influence within four key categories: passion, sentiment, strength, and reach.
  • Google Alerts. Track your brand mentions across web and news sites.
  • Mention.net. Track your brand across blogs, news sites and forums.
  • Talkwalker. Track your brand across across mostly blogs.
  • Twazzup. Real-time monitoring and analytics for Twitter.
  • HowSociable. Measure and track what your competition is doing in Social Media.
  • Spredfast. A great Social relationship platform to monitor your brand as well as tailor and engage in the right audience.
  • Sprout Social. Great tool for monitoring and measuring your brands.
  • Radian6. A salesforce product. It allows you to quickly and efficiently track, monitor, and react to comments, questions, and complaints as they happen on most all social media platforms.

Here are five basic steps to include in your social media crisis plan:

1. Act quickly. Speeds kills, but speed also resolves! Explain the issue or problem FIRST and what your going to do to address it ASAP before it takes hold on Social Media. Be very transparent. You need to do this before it destroys your brand or major lawsuit.
2. Take charge. Step up and take charge of the issue and move fast (even if its at 2am).
3. Be transparent. If its bad and your company screwed up. Take ownership. Own up to the problem or issue!
4. Engage. Engage all the nay-sayers. Engage all the Social Media Trolls and critics.
5. Spread the word. Post your PR response on your website, company blog, social media pages and media releases.

Bottom line: Don’t wait until the threat to your company’s reputation becomes visible. Identify the crisis and get out in front of it before it takes hold.

Why Your Website Needs Social Referral Traffic

As Social Media continues to rise as the new dominant communication platform. Its crucial that Digital + Social Marketing teams must pay attention to this valuable referral firehouse (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, etc). Directing traffic back to your website (think sales) or online media publication is essential. Its a huge traffic opportunity. Newer users and demographics are starting to bypass search engines for this more “social” interaction to find new content and websites. Referrals are more legitimate and more trusted coming from a social media feed than most search engines nowadays. 

What makes this platform (Social Media) effective is that its free and very interactive

Lets take a look at the latest compelling sadistics (as one of my Economics professors use to say)….I mean statistics.

Pinterest drives twice the website referral traffic of Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + combined (Shareaholic image) via: Danny Wong @ Shareaholic

Its crucial now more than ever to integrate Social Media into your traditional marketing activities.

Useful Tips: Social media traffic is at its best when you use more than one social network. Make sure you post the links back to your website + use #Hashtags. Always add sharing buttons to your websites blog posts. This make it much easier for your readers to share your posts to their own friends and followers. Understand your audiences and tailor content accordingly.

Always make sure you track your referrals thru the Google Analytics dashboard, Social Mention, or any analytic traffic service. Its critical to monitor your Social Media efforts and make adjustments on the fly.

How To Set Up Your Small Business on Instagram

image

  1. Grab and download the Instagram app in the App Store on an iOS device (iPhone, iPod, iPad), or in Google Play for an Android device.
  2. Open the App, fill out and register. Your Username will be visible and is how people will search for you. If it’s a business account you are creating be sure it reflects your organization. For your profile name, choose an account name that’s the same as the Twitter handle of your business.
  3. Your given many options like “search for contacts based on contacts on your Phone” or "invite your Facebook friends to follow”, do what feels natural if your customer are on your Facebook or contact list. 
  4. Once your Instagram account has been setup, along the bottom, you will see 5 different icons. Press the rectangle icon that looks like a newspaper (far right) . This takes you to your profile settings. Click ‘Edit Your Profile’. Here you can add additional details including Go to Account, Edit Profile to finish your profile settings. Enter your First and Last name (if you want them shown), your URL, a short bio, and whatever other information you want to complete for your public and private profile. You can also add a profile picture. Add some of your business personality to your profile. This can include having an image of your office or employees, or your logo, rather than personal profiles which often have a photo of the user. A key to good business is responding to your customers, enable notifications so you can see when people share or comment on your photos. This will let you engage with them more quickly. Be sure to hit “Save” when you are done.


Getting started. Start taking pics! Be innovative. One example might be to brand your photos so they all have your logo attached. A simple way to do this would be to have a small printed out logo to hold up (by hand) in the corner of your shot as you take it.

image

  • Post pictures of your place of business/work.
  • Post images of your products or related services.
  • Post pictures of your team doing innovative work "behind the scenes”.
  • Post pictures of your customers happy faces.
  • If your a restaurant, post pics of your signature dishes.
  • If your a clothing boutique, post pics showcasing your new clothes. Tell your story behind your fashion brand.
  • If your an artist, showcase your latest work, crafts, or inspiration.
  • If your a contractor, showcase your latest project.
  • Add a caption to your photo and upload it. A good tip for business users is to ask questions in your captions to increase the possibilities for engagement. Asking questions increases engagement. 
  • Use Hashtags! Hashtags are a key tool for organizing your photos and helping Instagram users to find photos on topics that interest them (such as your products or service).

A promotional tip: Bring the customers to you. If you make updates based on a geographical location, mention that you’ll be there and to come on down for a free prize giveaway or to check out the new items in the store.

Lastly, Monitoring Your Analytics! You need to know what people are responding to. Analytics can help you with your goals (increased sales or brand awareness).

How To Set Up Your Small Business on Pinterest

image

First, create a business account. Start with an eye-catching profile. Start here pinterest.com/business/create

1. Verify your website (business website). 
> Go to your profile and click on the pencil in the bottom-right corner of the name box. Don’t see the pencil? Go to the menu in the upper right corner, select Settings, and go to Step 2.
2. Enter your web address in the Website field, then click Verify Website.
3. Follow the instructions on the next page. You can verify with an HTML file or a META tag.
4. Once your website’s been verified, you’ll see a checkmark next to it and will have access to your web analytics when you’re logged in

Add the Pin It button to your site. Make it easy to Pin from your website or blog. Go here business.pinterest.com/pin-it-button

Now that your set-up with a business account, below is a quick guide tips, tricks and best practices on using Pinterest. 

1. Get creative. Make your Pinterest board stand out in the crowd. Use high quality .png images. Example, If your a clothing boutique, take digital pics of all your new inventory (clothes) hanging in your store. Images sell. Your selling your store, your style, your products, your design. High quality digital pics drive customers to your store. Think about it being an online mall your walking through. Create a range of boards that showcase your store’s personality and taste, and make sure each board has enough pins to make it feel substantial. Remember that people can choose which boards they want to follow, so not every board has to appeal to everyone. Pinterest users have been more heavily female (about 65%), so keep that in mind as well.  If your customer base is mainly men, Pinterest might not be right for you just yet.
2. Make sure you have your Pin logo up on your website that will allow online traffic to click over to your Pinterest page.
3. Use rich pins to automatically include information like prices, availability, ingredients and reviews with your pins. All you need to do is add some meta tags, keywords, and #hashtags.
4. Learn and keep checking your Pinterest Analytics dashboard! Pinterest Analytics dashboard shows you which pins are most popular with pinners and which ones are driving the most traffic to your site. You can also see what boards your stuff appears on, how the pins are described and what people pin along with your stuff. All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about your merchandising, product development and pinning strategy. 
5. Motivate people to pin. The more people pin your content, the more discoverable it becomes. To encourage more pinning, make it easy to pin from your website and email marketing, and promote pinning in your social channels Like Twitter & Facebook, packaging and advertising. Push people to your Pinterest website and in turn they will visit your actual business website and store in real life. Be sure to add links to your company website and Twitter page on your Pinterest profile. You can also bring users to specific web pages by adding the URL in the pin description.
6. Pin at least once a day so your followers get fresh content in their home feeds. Just like with boards, thoughtful descriptions will make your pins more inspiring and searchable. Never Pin inappropriate material. Keep your personal Pinterest account separate from your business account. What makes a good pin description? Check out these tips: 

  • Recipes: Describe the main ingredients of the dish and how to cook it
  • Fashion: Include what kind of clothing, the designer or season to wear it
  • Travel: Tell people the local on and the kinds of things you can do there
  • DIY: Describe what it is, how you make it and what materials people need
  • Photography: Name the photographer, year, subject or publication 
  • Design: Mention the designer, medium, publication, etc

Last tip: Once you are on Pinterest, add the Pinterest follow button to your social media pages and even your printed materials. This is a good way to jump start your Pinterest presence.