Social Media 101 for Small Business

Your small business has a website. Great. Now what? Use social media and be human to create online relationships the way you would in person.

Once you have a great website for your business, or a client’s business, it’s time to get it out there. No longer is the Internet a Field of Dreams where people just show up. Using Social Media can help grow your brand awareness and show customers how engaged with them you are.

I had the distinct opportunity to be part of Beginner Day at WordCamp Los Angeles again in 2018 to help small businesses maximize the use of their time on social media. It’s only 24 minutes long.

Watch the Video

Do you have questions?

Just as I did in the video, if you leave a comment here with a question, I’ll be happy to give you specific advice.

Specialize and Refer – Grow Your Network

How do you grow your network? That’s easy: specialize and refer. We all live off of word of mouth, if it’s not your specialty, refer. Right?

I was thinking of writing about this and then saw Rebecca Gill’s tweet. So this post came alive.

Why Specialize?

“Do one thing and do it well.”
“If everyone is your client, no one is.”
“Do it right or don’t do it at all.”

These are the clichés that make up business advice we all know. Okay, the last one was from my mom.

But the point is you can’t do everything – and do it well. Which reminds me of the ‘good-fast-cheap triangle’ tweet my friend Rachelle Wise just sent last week.

Thinking we can do everything is not only delusional, but distracts us from the things that really make us money. We’re in business for a reason, right?

If you’re a roofer, be a roofer. Go horizontal if you want, and do HVAC, but don’t start installing windows.

If you build websites, build sites. Go horizontal and make apps, but don’t start making videos.

Do what you know. Do what you can do well, efficiently, and make a profit.

How do you refer?

Knowing that we should refer and knowing how to refer are two different things. If you refer the right way, you’re still providing a valuable service to the client. It’s not losing business, it’s about being that go-to person, the expert, and the well-connected person.

If someone asks me if I do Facebook Advertising, I say,

“Sorry, John, I don’t do Facebook Ads, but my friend Jason at Thought House does.”

You can either give your client their contact information or write an email to them both. “John meet Jason. Jason meet John. John wants Facebook ads, I told him, you’re the best.”

This way, you’re making an introduction, and keeping your brand top of mind to all parties involved.

How do referrals grow my network?

Referrals work on the human emotions of trust and reciprocity. Firstly, by referring, I am extending my brand to another. I am saying, I trust this person, you can, too. So be careful about referring to people you don’t trust.

Secondly, if you send enough business someone’s way, they will also begin to refer you. That’s reciprocity. Heck, if you are just a nice person, your network will send people your way. I cannot even tell you how many dozens of people have sent others my way in the last four months.

Sometimes, they come in the form of public tweets. I have amazing and generous friends.

Do you refer, Bridget?

I absolutely refer. Firstly, I don’t build websites, I refer people to agencies. And I’ve even agreed to a partnership with Roy Sivan of ARC(CTRL).

I also don’t do Pinterest. I refer them to my very good friend Carol Stephen of Your Social Media Works. I don’t blog. I mean, I can, but I’d be way too expensive. So I refer clients to my friend Jen Miller of Need Someone To Blog. She has a system. She’s efficient. Guess what? She doesn’t do social. She sends me leads.

Do you see how it works?

Be serious about your brand and your focus. Kill the things that consume too much time. Specialize and refer the rest. You’ll never regret it.

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Twitter is the Best Platform for B2B Marketing: 5 Reasons Why

Twitter is the best platform for B2B marketing. It serves several marketing purposes including brand awareness, public relations, listening, content curation, and relationship building.

Watch the Video Here

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is high-level, less-tangible, and difficult to measure. It’s almost a word-association game. I say “tissue;” you say “Kleenex.” I say “photocopy;” you say “Xerox.” You want your brand to be able to be associated with your purpose. Recognition of the logo on Twitter because of your presence is a great way for a small business to compete with the bigger operations. The big guys rarely invest in social media.

Public Relations

You have news. People want to know it. Share Promotions, sales, new ventures, employees that join in, partnerships, case studies, etc. Write on your WordPress blog everything relevant to your audience and publish it on Twitter. Every brand has the ability to publish and gain influence and audience.

Listening

Listening is the most powerful thing you can do with Twitter. It’s so important to understand who you audience is and what they want, need, and how they think. This allows you to become a better communicator — meaning, you’re communicating in a way that resonates with them.

Using Twitter Lists to Listen allows you to:

  • Pain points.
  • Correcting personas.
  • Responding.
  • Engaging.
  • Focus Group.

Content Curation

Once you’ve built your lists you now have the tool in place to curate content. People often ask me what tools I use to curate content. I tell them that I’m a People Curator — a People Broker, I say.  I curate content by curating people. It really is that simple.

Relationship Building

All business happens because of referrals and word of mouth. Think of the last time you had a new client. How did you acquire them? Think of the last time you found a new service. Did you search for them online? Google? Yelp? Almost no one does business with a total stranger. Use Twitter to build relationships. You won’t regret it.

I went into depth on relationship building in a few of my talks, most recently at WordCamp Ottawa in July of 2016.

What if Your CTAs Are a Turn Off

Every once in a while I come across an article on content marketing that makes me cringe. It seems that even the experts don’t understand the concept.

After a decade plus of generating revenue through content marketing, I can tell you the points mentioned, which included adding CTAs, making the reader take an action, getting subscribers, are absolutely unnecessary. Some are helpful, though they were about getting your content seen. Most are flat out compensation for crap content or ineffective marketing.

The need to keep them clicking or give them an action to take or relying on a CTA are indications the author did a poor job with their content (either the subject itself or how it was written) and getting it in front of the right audience. If your content hit the mark, the reader will choose to take an action without prompting.

Good content which addresses your audience's question, provides a solution, and shows your authority will compel action. If it doesn't, you may need to rethink the effectiveness of your content. ~ @tsomedia Click To Tweet

The negative effect of CTAs

Calls to Action (CTAs) in content has a drawback as well. It can limit social sharing and backlinks. I will generally advise clients against linking to content which includes CTAs, especially if they are obvious. Unless my client has a high degree of authority and experience, that link could result in a lost sale (the last click wins).

While it may be seen as a positive if you received a backlink to an article with a CTA, you’ll still likely have lost more links than earned. While I don’t have a concern about losing clients through links to content with strong CTAs, my content is designed to be educational and informative.  For me, to link to an article which includes a strong CTA (making it promotional) is a huge no. I will only link to (or share via social media) content aimed at educating and informing.

Think about the real world comparison.

Would you ever refer someone to a possible competitor if you knew they used hard-sell tactics? That you could lose your customer. Hell no! You wouldn’t expect referrals if you did the same either. So why include a hard sell in the form of a CTA within your content? Good content doesn’t need it. Authoritative brands don’t need it.

If you feel a CTA is necessary, add one in a non-promotional way.  Try “we’d love to chat” or “if you have questions” used with “drop us a line” or “contact us” linked to your contact form. More than being less promotional, this softer approach is more inviting, more relationship-based, and you’ll likely see an increase in conversions.

“Keep them clicking?”

Internal links shouldn’t exist to “keep them clicking.” They are designed to provide an opportunity for the reader to dig deeper if they want to learn more. Good content can stand on its own. Internal links designed to keep your reader clicking will have them clicking off your site. Your reader wants answers.

If they cannot find what they need in the content you provided, they’ll bounce. Period. And Google will take notice of POGO bounces (If you follow this link, you’ll see it perfectly addressed what I was after and it doesn’t try to convert me. It still earned a backlink and I bookmarked the site for future reference – Those are conversions. Additional links on the page gave me an option to read more and the subscribe box is unobtrusive to a point that I failed to even notice it on the first read — damn good content marketing.)

If your content hits the mark, it will compel others to read more. That is the sign of good content marketing. Keep them clicking is a ploy used by poor content marketers to keep readers on a site. ~ @tsomedia Click To Tweet

The Bottom Line

Well-written (hire a professional content editor if necessary), valuable content which shows authority in addressing a subject matter does not need a hard CTA.

Rather than talking to experts adding gimmicks, let’s get back to basics and talk about what makes for good content. Let’s focus on quality writing (hire an editor if necessary). Learn how to use social media marketing and building the right audience to get your good content seen.

If your content isn’t hitting its mark and you feel the points addressed in the above-referenced article are advisable, let’s chat. (See what I did there? A soft, friendly CTA!)

Robert Nissenbaum is a brand, content and social media marketing consultant at Tactical Social Media with more than a decade of experience.  He is a national speaker and is the Lead Marketing Wrangler for WordCamp Seattle.  An avid sea kayaker, when not online, you can find him on the water.  You can find him on Twitter at @rnissenbaum.

Marketing Isn’t About Tools – It’s About Psychology

Marketing tools are simply that — tools. When you overly rely upon automation to replace human connection you will always fail, regardless of how slick the tool is.

Marketing is about relationships. Relationships take time. No CRM or auto dialer will change that for you.

A brand needs to be relatable. As your customer base relates, they develop affinity to the brand. Affinity leads to loyalty. Loyalty leads to sales.