In 2015, social media continued to evolve and present new
challenges in small-business marketing. Lori O’Connor, Green Bay SCORE
volunteer and team member at Prophit Marketing in Green Bay, says that 2016
promises more of the same. Businesses are recognizing that it is not enough to
just exist online; that you need to be relevant and that comes from having
purposeful online strategy, O’Connor said.
She encourages businesses to be more thoughtful about their
online strategies. Last year, one of the greatest movements was in
mobile, where more than half of all Google searches were done on a mobile
device. As this transition occurred, Google updated its algorithm to reward
sites that were mobile optimized. In other words, SEO looks different than it
did a year ago. Facebook has also changed, and businesses that could count on
having all of their posts streamed can no longer do so.
In working with clients, she says she provides the hard
statistics. If a business has 100 fans that like its page and something is
posted, the likelihood is that 15 or 16 of the hundred will actually see it or
have it show up in their feed. Posts need to be engaging to increase the
chances of Facebook showing it in the feed. A result of the changes is that
analytics are playing a bigger and bigger role. A business needs to know
what is and isn’t working. Are ads being viewed? Are they being opened? There
are key statistics that should be closely watched.
But, O’Connor cautioned that you have to be careful not to
get lost in the data. Pick the three to four measurements that are most
critical to your business success and focus on them. It’s easier to manage, and
you’ll stay more focused on the end result. The information should be used in
allocating resources and developing an advertising mix. Traditional media such
as print, broadcast and billboard will continue to be part of it, but
there will be more digital integration. The additional choices make budgeting
There are so many options that even the biggest budgets
won’t cover exposure everywhere. So businesses need to decide which areas to
focus on, map out a plan and follow it. They also need to be flexible and
willing to change up or tweak that plan if it is not working, she added. With
business owners busy at work, developing a plan is something that is neglected
and dollars are often not spent wisely. O’Connor said that entrepreneurs can
get so busy managing the day-to-day operations that they spend too much time in
the business and not enough time on the business. It’s important to write a
business plan and set goals that will sustain the business over the long term.
A final note is to look at marketing a both internal and
external. External marketing brings a customer into your business,
and internal marketing keeps them coming back.
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