19 October 2017

Small-Business Marketing Evolves with Social Media

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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 more complex.

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.

Click here to access the full article on USA Today.

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