How to Create a Simple and Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy

three-keys-to-successful-small-business-ownershipWhen a client reaches out to me to for a marketing consult, my first question is always: “What are your current marketing efforts?”

I’m shocked at how often the response is, “Well, we’re on Facebook…”  Though some companies are in multiple outlets and mediums, I’m surprised how often that is the extent of their marketing plan.

Don’t get me wrong, social media CAN be a great way to get eyeballs on your business, but it certainly doesn’t count as a full marketing plan.

It’s critical for small businesses to create a “Web Strategy” that is part of an overall marketing plan.  Though we won’t go into full details on creating a full marketing plan here, I do want to give you an overview on how to make a social media strategy work for you.

As we talk through these options, remember my definition of marketing is:

Marketing is getting the right MESSAGES, through the right MEDIUMS, reaching the right MASSES so you can make MONEY.  Use this definition as a guide as you walk through these steps.

First, define your objectives.  EVERY marketing plan needs to start with some goals.  Not all marketing goals need to have a monetary ending.  Though that is, of course, the ultimate goal.

Good goals could include:

-Increase in page views, visitors or time on your website. (My favorite use of social media.  Get people to YOUR Home Court Advantage and away from the distraction of the social networking site you’re playing in. And it’s easier to sell through your site and email list than through social media outlets.)

-Increase in likes, shares, followers on social media (though watch this one.  This can be only a celebration in visibility but may not always increase sales.)

-Increase in opt-ins/subscribers to your email list.

-Increase in sales from repeat customers.

-Increase in sales during slow seasons/times of day.

-Increase in sales of a specific product or package.

-Increase in month-to-month or year-to-year sales.

EVERY company could benefit from the above objectives in one way or another.

Second, define how you will evaluate the success of your objectives. You need to put numbers on your goals.  When you say, “Increase in page views,” define what a successful increase would be.  20%?  30%?

GET SPECIFIC and you’re more likely to achieve the results you desire.

Third, when it comes to social media, unless you have full time help or are a large business, you don’t have time to make the impact you need in EVERY social media outlet.  It’s important to focus and choose your top one or two outlets that will reach your target market best.  Focus is important because it gives you an opportunity to go deep and be effective, instead of skimming the surface of many.  Tiffany Peterson says, “I would rather have one, one hundred foot deep well; than one hundred, one foot deep wells.”

At Startup Princess, we’ve spent a lot of time on Twitter over the last five years, and our efforts have paid off.  We made that our primary social media community and playground.  We have a loyal following and we make great connections with speakers, guest posters, and the media there.  It’s a great compliment to our website and we drive traffic from twitter to our site.  It has been our highest source of web traffic for years.

I think it’s important to have a PRESENCE in multiple outlets, but be clear where you’re playing, and invite people to join you there.

As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats.  If that time is spent in social media all day, you won’t get done the things that you need to.  That’s why focus is key.

How do you decide which ones?  Ask yourself the following question:

Where is my target market “playing” the most?  If you’re in the craft/hobby/fashion/travel business, you should be on Pinterest.  If you’re in the business-to-business market, you need to be in LinkedIn and Google+.  Sure, lots of people are on Facebook, but Facebook makes it harder and harder for businesses to get the exposure they want.  If you decide that Facebook is it, keep up with the changes.

Fourth, EVALUATE, EVALUATE, EVALUATE.  With social media (or ANY aspect of your marketing plan).  Take time each week and each month to review your efforts and track your results.  Here are some good questions to ask of your social media strategy.

What posts/messages got the greatest response (likes, shares, retweets, etc.)?

What times of day were people the most engaged in your messages/posts?

What outlets convert the best to web traffic?

What outlets/messages convert the best to email opt-ins?

What messages generated the most sales?

The bottom line is this: start with clear objectives and track your efforts so you can improve as you go.  Lots of companies are having great success with social media, but it’s not because they are blindly throwing things out there. It’s because they have tested and tried the right messages and timing and they know what works.

Beware, though, trends change.  If what worked last year isn’t working this year, it’s time to start with a clean slate and try some new things.  Try different messages and different times of day, and maybe consider a new social media outlet all together.

Also, one final note.  It would be remiss if I didn’t share with you this last thought.  Remember that social media is for seeding and serving, NOT sales.  Use social media to build connections, plant seeds of your products and services and provide information on your industry, trends and company.  Sell through other means like phone calls, through your site, emails, etc.  Use social media to brand and get eyeballs and supplement your marketing plan with other strategies to convert your social shares to sales.

Share with us!  What social media outlets are working for your business?

Originally Published on StartupPrincess.com on May 29, 2013

 

Is SEO dead?

This is one question I get asked the most...So I reached out to my friend and expert Eric Chang to weigh in.

Eric and I were eating lunch a few weeks ago and I asked him the question that I get asked all the time, “Is SEO dead?”  I know it’s not, but I really wanted his take and I talked him in to creating this content for you.
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Here’s what Eric said:
I always thought it’s kind of funny and inclined to chuckle a bit when people ask me the question: Is SEO dead? [In case you don’t know what SEO stands for, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.]
Why? Well, typically with my experience, the people who are asking the question usually don’t have a good understanding of how SEO works and/or have been struggling using SEO as an online marketing strategy to grow their business.
I’d like to take this opportunity to present some facts on what SEO is and why so many people are not seeing successes with SEO. After reading this, I’ll let you decide for yourself whether SEO is dead or not.
According to InternetLiveStats.com, Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
Whoa! That’s a ton of searches. With that stats in mind, with over 3.5 billion searches per day, that’s a massive amount of traffic to websites generated through the search engines along. I can confidently tell you that SEO will live as long as people are doing searches on Google.
Search Engine Optimization is a practice by optimizing the contents of a webpage, along with establishing authority of the page, to increase the placement or position in the search results.
The reason why many people claim that SEO is dead is perhaps because of their focus on wanting to get ranked high in the search results with competitive keywords. That my friend, I can tell you it has nothing to do with whether SEO is dead or alive. It has everything to do with competition! The number one reason why many has failed in doing SEO is because they take on the wrong challenge.
I don’t know about you, but I like to win. Personally, I much rather compete in a junior high track and field than in the olympic game. I know that I stand no chance whatsoever in competing and winning in an olympic game, however, I’ll stand a great chance of winning if I’m running in a 400 m junior high track and field competition! You may think it’s really not fair, but when it comes to SEO, I much rather win than lose in this game.
How do I do that with SEO? I simply focus on competing against the less competitive keywords. This is where “Keyword Research” comes in. Keyword research is the essence of SEO. If you are not spending at least a third of your time doing keyword research, your efforts with SEO will likely be DOA.
The reason why the keyword research process is so important, is because it is similar to laying the foundation of a house. If the foundation is not solid, the house will likely crumble after it’s built. The keyword research process should help you reveal the following information for every keyword:
– competition
– search volume
– related keywords
Knowing these information will help you narrow down the type of games you can compete in. For example, if I am starting a new e-commerce store selling watches online, trying to get my website ranked for the keyword “watches” is basically suicidal. However, after doing keyword research, I’ve discovered that a keyword such as “watch strap color rules” has waaaaay less competition. Getting one of my web pages to rank high for that keyword will be a bazillion times easier than popular keyword “watches”.
That’s it! That’s how I do SEO every day for my clients and my own e-commerce websites.
P.s. I know this may not mean a whole lot to some people simply because anyone can make any kind of outrageous claim on the internet, but in case you are still not convinced, I’ve been able to generate over $1 million dollars in sales online just for doing SEO for my own e-commerce websites. Yes, you read that right, it’s websites with “s”, meaning I’ve done this in multiple industries and I can guarantee you that SEO is definitely NOT dead 😉
P.P.s. I have partnered with Michelle to put together a Private Mentorship Group on SEO. In 2 weeks, you will learn not just how SEO works, but being mentored by Eric and leave with actionable SEO tips for your own website. One of our previous members, Brandi wrote and tell us this: I’m so glad I joined in on the mentorship…!! It’s been very helpful being able to ask questions and to hear everyone else’s questions and your answers!
The Private Mentorship Group is limited to 10 members max. If you are interested, reserve YOUR spot today: http://airau.com/michelle-mccullough-mentorship-seo/

Eric Chang is the Director of Marketing at Airau Marketing. Airau Marketing is a full-service marketing agency serving clients from United States to Canada in a wide array of industries: E-commerce, Retail, Entertainment, Food & Beverage, Education, Non-profit, and Technology.

In addition to running Airau Marketing, Eric also operates several online businesses utilizing the same marketing strategies he teaches in his Private Mentorship Groups.

Eric was recognized as the Top 40 Under Forty by the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and BDO in 2016.

How to Get Back on Track With Your Goals

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Success Coach Michelle McCullough shared what to do when we get off track with our New Year’s Resolutions.

What do you do when you “Fall Off The Wagon” – Many of us slip up on our goals. We binge at a party, waste money that we should have saved, or mess up a relationship we’re trying to improve. Instead of giving up, here are 4 ways to get back on the track to success.

1. Revisit Your Why
2. Reexamine The Finish Line
3. Change Up Your Plan
4. Don’t Let Past Mistakes Hurt Your Future Success

How to get back on track with your goals

Why Choosing a Goal Partner Will Increase Your Chance of Success

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Success coach Michelle McCullough tells us why it’s so important to choose an accountability partner when setting goals.

Choosing An Accountability Partner – Studies show that if you have an accountability partner your probability of completing that goal increases to 65% if you are accountable to someone. In this segment we’ll share three ways to select the best accountability partner for your specific goal(s).

Choosing An Accountability Partner to Help You Reach Your Goals Or Make It Happen With An Accountability Partner

1. Choose the RIGHT Partner
2. Choose a Regular Schedule to Meet
3. Share Your Goals and Plans
4. Tell Them How They Can Support You

Watch the video Here.

Four Tips for New Years Resolution Success

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Success coach Michelle McCullough shares her plan for success when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions.

Turn Your Resolution into Simple Plan for Success – Four tips for not just having resolve, but creating a plan to make it happen.

1. Write Down Your Goals
2. Create Four Milestones
3. Add Action Items to Your Calendar
4. Tell Someone About Your Goals & Plan

Watch the video here.

For more from Michelle go here.

2 Days to A Strategic Marketing Plan

In four weeks, small business owners, marketing professionals and direct sales representatives will be converging in Utah and online at my 4th Annual Marketing Blueprint Workshop.  I created this event because so many of my clients and friends were struggling with marketing planning for the new year.  What I created is a workshop where you come and walk through each module for a step-by-step marketing plan.

Give me two days, and you’ll leave with a strategic and effective marketing plan PLUS you’ll learn tips and trends that are specific to marketing in 2017.

Every year I share some core exercises to help you create your messages, campaigns and budget, but each year I also share what’s new in marketing, social media and getting media attention.

It’s never the same event twice.

Don’t take my word for it.

Check out this video of past attendees and what they think of the Marketing Blueprint Workshop

You can join us LIVE or LIVESTREAM wherever you are in the world.  Register here:  use code: speakmichelle for $100 off live or livestream

http://marketingblueprint16.eventbrite.com

I’d love to see you on the list!