3 reasons your business needs a blog
A blog is a valuable asset for a small business. It gives your company a face and a voice, and sets you apart from the competition. In a digital world, competition is not only the shop down the street, it's everything that distracts your customers and keeps them from finding you. Increasingly, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels are essential to business today. Still, a blog lets companies control their message and provides a home base for disseminating accurate information and responding to questions or criticism. Blogs are search engine friendly, too. A regularly updated blog provides the search engines with the keyword-rich, timely content that drives better ranking.
Keep the (blog) ball rolling
Now that you have a blog going, how do you keep it going? And where do you find the time? A blog that's rarely or never updated is worse than useless. Here are 13 tips for staying in the blogging habit. Publishing a blog is a lot like publishing a newspaper or magazine. Planning ahead and staying focused are essential. Running surveys, inviting guest bloggers, and doing interviews with friends and colleagues are some of the ideas highlighted here.
Blog posting is a form of publishing and needs a schedule
We learned that it's critical to publish regularly, but how do you know how often to post? Posting too much may be as bad as posting too little: your readers may feel like you're spamming them and turn you off. Here's a well-reasoned piece recommending a once-a-week blogging schedule. Once a week is often enough for search engine friendliness, often enough to keep you in practice, and often enough to keep in front of your readers without overloading them.
Facebook helps out Wordpress bloggers with new plug-in
WordPress now powers more than 60 million websites. Facebook has just released a new plug-in for WordPress to help bloggers make better use of the social media platform and deepen their blog's integration with it. It's easy to install in Wordpress. Autoposting to a Facebook profile or page, mentioning Facebook Friends and posting directly to their Timelines, and using the Facebook Comments system are just a few of the features of the new plug-in.
The return of "Less is More"
Here's an interesting piece on website design that highlights the power of simplified sales funnels on the home page. Well-designed funnels lead prospects quickly to the information that turns them into buyers. The key is to simplify home page design, moving away from wordy, cluttered pages, and building more visual and streamlined ones.
Smartphone buyers keep on growing "Three objects were considered essential across all participants, cultures, and genders: keys, money and mobile phone." - Jan Chipchase, Nokia
Nearly half (46%) of U.S. adults now own smartphones, and more than half of them use their phones to shop online. Although there's a long way to go before the market for smartphones is saturated, businesses need to establish a mobile presence now or risk missing out on this big shift in customer buying preferences. This infographic sums up the 4 keys to a successful mobile campaign.
Retailing lessons from the Genius Bar
Apple has done a lot of things that go against conventional wisdom in retailing -with spectacular results. Apple stores are fantastically efficient at selling, with off-the-charts results in terms of sales per square foot and overall profitability. And their stores are always full of people (they're meant to be) and are designed to make a visit pleasant and buying easy. Here's a look at how what Apple does may improve your retail operations.
Eight of 10 U.S. companies are on Facebook... but are they effective?
Also, 48% are on LinkedIn, 45% on Twitter, and 31% use YouTube. Most companies have now set up Facebook pages, but many are not using them effectively. Remember, social media takes commitment. Companies need to post regularly, follow up quickly and personally, and let consumers lead (because they won't just follow anymore).
Comparing Pinterest and Facebook Pinterest users outdo Facebook users in how likely they are to buy something they see online. Nearly six in 10 (59%) of Pinterest users have purchased items they saw on the site, compared with 33% of Facebook users. They engage with more companies, too: Pinterest users follow 9.3 retail companies compared with 6.9 on Facebook.
Teens, tweens, and social media marketing
Does your business cater to a young demographic? The youngest consumers are a choosy, short-attention-span generation. Go ahead and learn from Justin Bieber (23 million Twitter followers). He and his social media team have mastered how to create and maintain a feeling of personal engagement for his followers - beyond his popularity as a singer.
Learn more about your social media audience - from social media
The more you know about your online audience, the better you can engage with them. Here are some questions that social media can help you answer about your online audience:
Â How do they describe themselves? Look at bios of fans, followers, and connections to learn about how they see themselves.
Â When are they active? Tools are available that will tell you. You'll be able to schedule social networking more efficiently.
Â Whom do they listen to? It's easy to find influencers in some niches. Klout topic pages show who the top, community-moderated influencers are.
Â What content do they want? Again, look at users' profiles to see the social media sites they frequent. Or run a survey to learn more about them.
Social network tribes
People thought Facebook would crush all the other social networks and serve as a home base for, well, everybody. Instead, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter are all thriving. Each platform has a different flavor and its own demographics. The bad news is that you can't just use Facebook and call it a day. The good news is that if you are willing to invest in your social networking marketing, you can reach just about everybody. This infographic and article provide a look into which audiences are using.
Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to"). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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