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3 Things Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know About Online Marketing

Marketing for a small businesses can be tricky, to say the least. What to post, when to post, which platforms to use. It can be overwhelming, but we want to help you navigate the waters – because it’s worth it. With 2.1 billion active users on social media, it’s a relatively safe bet to say you customers or potential customers might be there. Here are three things every small business owner needs to know about online marketing.

1. YOU NEED TO DEVELOP A PLAN. 

One of the biggest mistakes we see is small businesses make is the Seagull Approach. Business owners dive bomb onto Facebook or Twitter, drop in a post or two and then swoop back out. When they are hungry again, they pop back in for a post or two and fly back out.

The problem with the Seagull Approach is it isn’t very effective in the long-term. It’s scattered and haphazard, and like seagulls themselves, it can be messy – or worse yet, annoying.

Small businesses need to develop a plan with online marketing and make strategic steps to move toward their goals. This includes identifying your target audience – and we suggest being more specific than simply “customers.” Specifically who are you talking to and what are their interests? Think about the ages, demographics, lifestyles, and locations of your customers or perspective customers. Identify goals for yourself and your team – maybe you are looking to gain followers, perhaps you are looking to increase the open rate on an email, perhaps you are looking to actively engage and speak to your customers, maybe your main goal is to drive the right customers to your website to generate leads for your sales team.

You need a plan. Squawking at a beach full of people isn’t going to cut it, so select one to two channels and start doing them well and with purpose.

2. FACEBOOK ADS ARE NO LONGER OPTIONAL.

The typical Facebook user could see about 1,500 stories in a given day, but in order to show users more relevant content, Facebook filters that down to about 300 posts per day. A few months ago, Facebook took that a step further and changed the types of stories from businesses users can see to decrease posts it deems “promotional” – i.e. posts that solely push people to buy a product or enter a contest or promotion.

Facebook put it this way:

“Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see.”

You have to remember that your post is being seen alongside hundreds of stories from friends and loved ones. You are competing with pictures of weddings and videos of babies’ first steps, with graduation announcements, enchilada recipes and political quizzes.

Bottom line: If you want to be seen, put a little money into making that happen. Facebook ads start as low as $5 and are broken down into a few basic categories.

News Feed and Mobile News Feed Ads – These stories show up seamlessly in the user’s News Feed and mobile News Feed, right alongside updates from friends and relatives. They are marked “sponsored,” but other than that, they are simply a regular post within the News Feed.

Right-Hand Column Advertisements – These are ads on the right side of the screen, directly next to the “Trending” topics section. There are two ads per page, which gives advertisers a decent amount of real estate on a user’s browser.

By adding even a small promotional budget to your Facebook ads and posts, your content could be seen by thousands more people – and Facebook even gives you the power to select who you would like to see the ad, by allowing you to select location, ages, gender, interests and more. You can get really granular with who you are speaking to in your ads, which will help you create the right messages for the right people.

3. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. IT’S ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE.

In a way, this is what has always set small business apart from the Goliaths– small business, at its core, is customer focused and obsessed with delivering exceptional experiences. So why should online marketing be any different? It only makes sense that small businesses make marketing about their customers as well.

Remember that statement from Facebook?

“Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see.”

As much as marketers hate to see things like that, there’s an element of truth and goodness to that. The online experience is about the user. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, your goal is to add value to their already chaotic lives – and their chaotic News Feeds. Make it about them.

Online marketing isn’t always about selling. In fact, we argue that the majority of time shouldn’t be spent selling. It should be spent building authentic relationships and adding value to the lives of your customers.

Think about it this way – unless you are posting something that you’d actually want to engage with yourself — don’t post it.

Would you like to learn more on this topic? Contact us today to get your small business on the right track with your digital marketing.

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