Social Listening Ain’t Just Good Manners: Why Your Business Needs it in 2018 (Facebook changes, etc.)

pexels-photo-561870.jpegIf it doesn’t get shared…does it really exist? In 2018 maybe not.  As a business person, there are a couple of important things happening that you need to know about:

Everything old is new again!

Facebook’s newsfeed is changing. Facebook announced this month that it will show users more stories, photos and videos that their friends have posted, hoping to bring back “meaningful social interactions”. For those of us publishing branded content, the chances of getting it across our targeted market’s newsfeed just decreased. So, what’s the solution? After the Facebook algorithm change, users will need to engage with your content when it comes across their newsfeed to keep it coming up.

Surprise! This is what we were supposed to be doing with our content anyway; make it engaging. Every time your audience interacts with your business on Facebook, it feeds their machine’s equation, telling them, ‘This fan is interested in this content.’ And then Facebook’s AI concludes, ‘I’ll show this user more of what they like.’ However, now more than ever you will likely have to pay for this visibility  through ads.

Then there’s “Content Shock”

The term, coined by Mark Schaefer, means the blog post that you spent hours working on will not get the same number of views as it would have yesterday, even when you pay to promote it. This is the new reality. We have so much content constantly thrown at us that we are all suffering from content overload. How can we get our message through? More is clearly not the answer. But don’t give up – there are some tactics you can use. Three key points to consider:

  • Be prepared to pay for ads on social media to reach even your current audience and potential new customers.
  • Produce content that gets shared. And how do you know what might get shared? By listening to your customers! Just posting content or pushing your message is not effective. Try social listening! Look for trends and themes in your customers’ reviews and social media comments you can craft content that your audience might want. Is there a particular problem they keep mentioning? Are they confused about your service? This kind of social listening will help you refine your content to be truly helpful to your customers.
  • Interact with your followers. Remember – social media is “social”. Specifically, for Facebook, instead of just responding to users’ remarks, actively work to generate conversation within Facebook comment threads, where engagement can truly happen. Create Facebook groups that may be safe from the new algorithm. Reach out and talk to them via video, polls, contests, stories, questions, giveaways.  Let them know you want to hear what they have to say!

Once they are engaged, your customers can be messengers for your business and help promote new buyer trust. These customers advocating for your business through reviews, comments and shares help increase trust in the products and services you provide. Social listening is good for your bottom line…and probably your soul.

Remember, we can help with Google and Facebook advertising. Reach out to us for a free discussion and quote.

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I want my website to be at the top of Google! Solving SEO Struggles for Beginners

wordcloudAlmost every time I meet with a new client to audit their site and discuss SEO I hear this familiar refrain, “I want to be on the first page of Google and at the top of the page!” I actually am glad to hear this because it gives me a chance to explain SEO…to educate my client about how search engine marketing works.

These days anyone can have a business website built in a couple of hours using popular providers like GoDaddy, Vistaprint, Wix or Weebly. However, once it’s launched, the real work begins and many new business or small business owners don’t even know what SEO is, let alone what to do or the impact it will have on their business growth.  Even worse is being taken advantage of by paying for services that promise top ranking, extra packages or add-ons they may not need or understand.

SEO is about optimizing your site to deliver search engine friendly content so you can be found quickly by your prospects, make it easy for them to interact with your site and ultimately do business with you.  Let’s break this down:

  • optimize your site – on-page content with keywords and relevant information that solves your customer’s problems is the key. Make sure your site loads quickly and has no broken links. Google hates slow websites. Also, having a secure site (HTTPS encrypted) is now a signal in Google’s ranking algorithms.
  • search engine friendly content –  be relevant to what users are searching for with your  content, don’t just rely on keywords; use phrases that solve your customers’ problems. 72% of marketers said relevant content creation is the most effective tactic when creating SEO strategy.
  • found quickly – social media signals, blogging, links, online reviews and Google maps are crucial. Having a local marketing strategy is key. 30% of mobile searches are related to a location (Google, 2016)
  • easy to interact with your site – a mobile friendly site is a must, that loads quickly, with good internal navigation that boosts user experience. More than 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load!
  • do business with you – 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (Demand Gen Report, 2016), 88% of users trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal).

There are two more important points I want to highlight:

  1. Time: It’s going to take time to rank on Google and other search engines. Regardless of your strategy, unless you are paying for ads, you may not see results for a few weeks (depending on your business and competition). Remember, even if you become #1, your competition is likely doing the same work on SEO you are and will outrank you if they can!
  2. Voice Search: In case you are thinking you might get away without an SEO strategy, the future has already arrived with voice search. According to HubSpot (2015) 19% of people use Siri at least daily and 60% of smartphone users who use voice search have begun using it within the past year (Search Engine Land, 2015). Further 43% of mobile voice search users do so because they say it is quicker than going on a website or using an app (Statista, 2015).  If you are a local business, let’s say a plumber, you don’t want to be left out when someone stands in their living room and asks their Echo, “Find me a plumber in xxxtown with a five star rating.”

SEO isn’t rocket science, but it takes planning, execution and persistence. Google search rankings are important, but if you are getting sales and growing your business then this is the real measure of success.

As a small business, you might consider hiring someone to help you with SEO, so make sure to find a trusted partner that has your best interests in mind.

Thank you for reading and feel free to contact me. Please share if you think it will help someone or share your owns SEO success or struggle with your business.