In my previous post, I gave a quick overview of the basic framework for digital marketing to give you the general process and reasoning behind spending time on this for your business. Today I will talk about activating your website with advertising and promotion to drive traffic and conversions. You’ve probably heard this as a phrase many times if you’ve done any research on digital marketing recently! Important to understand though. Whilst a website is a great tool for marketing your business, relying on that alone will generally result in a very slow path to growth. The real fun begins when you leverage your website for better results and that requires promotion. This is where most of the questions that small business owners have around marketing come into play because it’s the visible part of marketing I guess. Although there are a gazillion options I’m going to talk about the top one’s that I’m personally using for my clients. You won’t be surprised to learn that promotion mostly happens in Google, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. So here is part two and a little on what I think about the social media and search channels for online promotion.
Google provides organic and paid results in their search engine. Organic results are based on your well-built website, fresh and relevant content and the authority your website has online. Paid ads are also based on your website and content relevance but you pay for position. These ads are good for when you know there is demand for your product or service and you just need to be seen by potential buyers. Your bid, your ad copy and your landing page experience are all key to conversions with Google Ads (previously called Adwords). I have found that both content and ads are necessary to keep a steady stream of enquiries coming in. Using content updates and profile building to rank for well-searched keyword phrases brings people to your website when they are actively looking for your product or service. Ads are a great way to boost that when needed and also to run campaigns to achieve shorter term goals. I think of these as levers that can be used to adjust the ‘lead flow’ as needed to suit goals.
Facebook organic requires building an audience and posting regularly. When you do this people who like or follow your page see that content in their ‘feed’. You can leverage organic content to reach more people via shares and likes. Therefore a key metric for your organic posting is engagement (likes, clicks, comments). If you’re not getting likes, clicks or comments then your post won’t be shown in people’s feed. Even with a loyal and engaged page audience, organic promotional posts trying to elicit a direct response don’t get great visibility in Facebook. Read up on Gary Vaynerchuk’s famous ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’ strategy if you’re not sure what I mean here. What works is helpful, relationship building or entertaining content. Always keep in mind that what shows in someones feed is based on their interests so if they aren’t liking and commenting on your content they eventually won’t see it. You definitely don’t want that to happen!
With Facebook Ads you pay for visibility and this is a very exciting form of advertising for anyone who needs to reach specific groups of people. The targeting is nothing short of amazing. You can place your ads in front of very specific groups of people by creating custom audiences or choosing common demographics such as location, age, but also interests and behaviours. Given the number of people you can reach very easily with Facebook it’s a low cost ad medium. As with all things advertising online this is changing.
Instagram, where all the beautiful imagery lives and hashtags rule. Like Facebook the advertising options provide very specific targeting. I would say here don’t bother if you don’t have good images or graphics which I believe are ESSENTIAL for instagram. The calibre of creative here is top level. Not only must each image look good on it’s own in the feed, you need to ensure that they work well together on your page. This makes planning a must. Check out Planoly for a good free method to plan your posting. Consistent posting is another essential e.g. I think I would rather see one post consistently a week vs three one week then nothing for 10 days.
Do your research on hashtags for your industry. Remember that if you target the massively popular one’s you might only be at the top for hashtags searches literally seconds before someone else has your spot – so mix it up with some that are lower popularity but higher relevance.
And of course Instagram with live’s and IGTV you have a means to stay top of mind. This is definitely a decent amount of work and doesn’t suit every business.
The instagram algorithm dictates engagement just like in Facebook so the hot tip here is that if you want people to engage with you then you need to engage with them. Commenting and liking and following others (people in your target market for example) is a requirement for success if you’re going for organic reach. The top accounts I have seen are either sharing knowledge or inspiring people with lifestyle choices that look amazing. Whilst the number of followers you have is often the key measure people are talking about I actually prefer to look at engagement. And with whom we are engaging. If those commenting and liking your posts are in your target market then I think you are doing OK regardless of the number of followers. If not, time to research more and adjust your content and tactic.
There seems to have been a giant step over from Instagram to LinkedIn lately. It makes sense as marketers tend to gravitate to where they get the most reach without paying. LinkedIn is definitely less visual space and a more professional place to network and stay in touch with your industry and the industry of your clients. The sort of content you share here is going to need to be carefully considered. Although there are a heap of sales gurus teaching using LinkedIn for basically cold call connecting my advice is to go easy on that. It’s the same as any other medium where you need to develop a relationship and provide value before you ask for something in return. Therefore, sending direct messages to connect randomly isn’t going to get a good result. Find and follow your target market. If you request a connection do your research first and have something good to say that shows it.
I will leave it there for today (time is getting away this morning!) after I quickly throw in mention of TikTok which will be the next big one for business. Check it out, it’s a fun place. Thanks to the COVID-19 lockdowns and all the work from home going on I would say TikTok got very real very fast and this is going to be a good thing in future.
Enjoy your week!