So, you’ve got your Facebook Business page setup and you’re posting regularly. You’ve even got some likes and shares. That’s great! But why stop there? With over 1.79 billion users active on the platform every day, there’s a lot of real estate to cover, and your content can only reach so far without a little help. That’s where Facebook Paid Ads come into play.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a Facebook paid ad?
According to Facebook, “With Facebook Ads, you can create targeted ads to reach different audiences and meet your business goals.” It seems pretty straightforward, but let us elaborate.
Facebook Paid Ads are a simple and cost-effective strategy for your business to reach a specified demographic. You can promote your custom ads and content to reach an audience of your choosing. What’s more, you can use the ads to collect data that will help you improve the ads to increase their efficiency.
How to build an effective Facebook ad
When you’re building your ad, there are a few important factors to consider:
Choose your audience
Deciding which demographics you want to target is one of the most important parts of optimizing your ad. Choosing a broad range is effective for some businesses, but you’re more likely to see results by narrowing your terms. For example, if you’re selling video games you might want to target men and women between the ages of 15 and 40 with interests in video games and entertainment, since that’s where your customers are likely coming from. If you’ve optimized your audience to your business, you’ll reach people who will want to follow your page.
Create a compelling message
Your Facebook Ad has limited space, so make sure you’re saying exactly what you want to. Are you offering a deal? Hosting an event? Showcasing products? Make your message relevant to your audience and give it a call to action! Don’t forget to add an image, too. Ads with photos are much more likely to attract attention than those without.
Switch it up
Why make only one ad when you can make two? Creating more than one ad gives you multiple sets of analytics so you can determine which ads work and which ones don’t. If you find your ads are working well, it’s still important to switch them up every so often so the message doesn’t stagnate. People get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, so keep it fresh!
You’re all set to get started! Facebook Ads are a great way to get your products and services in front of potential customers. Facebook has some great resources to help you get started. Even a low ad budget each month can help you attract new customers and find new business. Although Facebook advertising is extremely important, creating and running ad campaigns can be a time consuming project. Consider using our Digital Advertising, and with our reporting, you’ll be able to clearly see the ROI and what you’re getting for you $$.
You may not be aware of it now, but it’s likely that your business has suffered at the hands of incorrect business listings.
And as a customer I’m sure you know from experience the impact it can have. To put it bluntly, when someone is trying to buy a product or service and an incorrect listing makes that process more challenging, that customer will waste no time finding another place to spend their hard earned money.
Don’t let your customers lose out on business because of incorrect listings—claim and correct them instead!
Out with the old, in with the new
As you are probably aware phone books are starting to corner the doorstop and firestarter market. As tech-savvy generations age and account for larger percentages of our population, target customers are continuing to shift further away from paper and toward digital. 63% of people under 40 never use phone books to find local listings. This means having your business listed online is critical to tapping into a huge demographic of potential customers in the up-and-coming 80-million Millennial generation.
The Internet’s hottest spots
With 85% of consumers browsing online to find your business, it’s more important than ever to be showing present and accurate NAP (name, address, phone number) data in the internet’s hottest spots. For this article, we will narrow our focus on “The Big Four”: Bing, Yelp, YellowPages and Google. These four listing hubs account for 85% of all search traffic and providing businesses with access to 314 million monthly users, these are the listings you want claimed, corrected and working in your favor for free.
Bing is a big up-and-comer in the digital world. This engine now accounts for 30% of all searches performed online. That’s a huge amount of traffic for local consumers looking for your business. Accessible from Bing Places, getting a business online is as easy as one, two, three!
Traditionally known as a review platform, Yelp has evolved into a one-stop-shop for your businesses to manage information and reviews, as well as post photos, promotions and events for your customers all under the roof of one little listing. Yelp is a huge draw to businesses because it has so much to offer and so much traffic! With up to 36.3 million monthly users looking for reputable and trustworthy businesses, wouldn’t it be great to get found on Yelp? Get started now.
Aptly named for its predecessor, YellowPages (or YP as we more affectionately know it) has taken over where the original Yellow Pages left off. With a built-in user base from its paper days, YellowPages has already wormed its way into customer hearts and become a reliable source for listing information. On top of all that, YP has some of the highest US local search numbers in the game, making it the perfect place for your business to get found online. Get started here and get YellowPages working for those local businesses of yours!
“Just Google it” has become a common phrase in most of our daily lives, so it should come as no surprise that its listing source, Google My Business, makes our Big Four. Unique to the other three, Google’s demographic reaches far beyond the female decision makers, 45+ age group, and $60,000+ income earners using Bing, Yelp and YellowPages. In fact, part of Google My Business’ draw is that its listings are seen by everyone who uses Google. With up to 175 million monthly users across every demographic, that’s a pretty big draw.
Not only does Google My Business get you found in searches, but on Google Maps as well! Accounting for 78% of mobile travel usage, if your business isn’t on found on Google My Business, there’s a good chance it’s not getting found in real life either. Don’t send customers driving around in circles; get your businesses on Google my Business now.
Accuracy really is everything
Now that we’ve talked about where to be listed online, let’s talk about how your business information should be listed online—100% accurately! Customers trust Bing, Yelp, YellowPages and Google to give them the correct information they need to find the business they’re looking for, and when the information is incorrect, customers lose major trust in the brand. Not only can inaccurate business listings and inconsistent NAP data diminish your brand, but did you know it can also affect search engine optimization (SEO)? Yep, you read that right! Listings with false location information are the #1 negative local ranking factor when it comes to SEO. So, not only can false listing data make it hard for customers to find you physically, but online, too.
As you can very well see, being present and being accurate where it matters most in online listings is crucial to survival in today’s dog-eat-dog digital world.
A strong social media presence is one of the best ways to be heard, and businesses are no exception to this rule. Forget the doorstep; there’s a whole world of potential customers and fans at your fingertips who are actively looking for brands that they can identify and engage with on a personal level. However, social media skills have to be learned, and many businesses struggle to find an audience and connect with them online. If yours is one of them, what can you do to make the best use of social media and all its benefits? How can you create content that gets people to stop scrolling and start reading, liking and sharing?
These 7 social media strategies will help your business build a presence and a following in the most crowded rooms online by creating content that entertains, educates, inspires and engages.
1. Make a plan
Before you rethink your entire social strategy, ask the tough questions. What are your goals as a business, and how will a strong social media presence help you to achieve them? What actions are you going to take to build presence, and how will you measure your success? Establish achievable and quantifiable objectives that are informed by your marketing and business goals, and put a time-frame on how long they should take to achieve. Find the right KPIs and tools to evaluate your progress, and don’t be afraid to change your tactics if something isn’t working.
And remember: don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! If you’ve done something in the past that worked well, think about how and why it worked, and let it inform your strategy as you go forward. Similarly, look to past failures and learn from them: how have your past social efforts missed the mark, and how can you avoid these mistakes going forward?
With a roadmap to social success in place, your business can begin to make guided changes to its social strategy that work toward definite goals.
2. Know your audience
There are so many eyes and ears out there on the web, but do you know who is going to listen to your brand’s voice? Identifying and empathizing with your demographic and how they spend their time online makes a huge difference in making your voice heard. Picture your ideal customer. What interests them? What are they passionate about? What do they read, watch, and talk about with their friends? What are their goals, and how can the things you do help to achieve them? The better an understanding you have of your ideal customer, the easier it will be to find people like them online and speak to them with your content.
Listen to your audience and their conversations online about your industry in general and your brand in particular. Find the keywords and phrases in these conversations, learn how they’re used, and put them into practice in your own content. These keywords, which can include anything from industry jargon to misspellings of your company’s name, make up the language that your customers speak – to walk the walk, your business needs to talk the talk.
Finally, knowing the social media influencers your audience follows and engaging with the things that interest them can put you straight into your audience’s line of sight. Learn from what influencers do to engage your audience, and put it into practice in your own social media strategy.
3. Tell your story
Just like every person, every business has a story; no two are alike. Use your social media channels to build a narrative around your business that shows how it got to where it is today. Invite your audience to think about where they enter into that narrative: how are your followers involved and invested in your success? How can the things your business does change a person’s day, or change the way they live their lives?
One way to nail a narrative is to find your niche and own it. If your service or product fits into a certain lifestyle, build a story around it, and highlight your place in it. You know the unique value of your business – tell the world about it, and appeal to an audience that will benefit from it.
4. Get conversational
Social media is a two-way street, and driving engagement with your brand means taking hold of the reins and engaging with your audience. Make your business part of the conversation online by asking and answering questions, making friends, and following back. Things don’t always have to be about sales: sharing holiday greetings, discussing local events, and starting a dialogue about current news stories are all ways a business can drive engagement from their audience and learn more about their demographic.
Most importantly, share with your audience and encourage them to share with you! Ask your audience about what they want to see, take the feedback and deliver on it. If you see someone doing something cool with your product or sharing a success story, like it, retweet it, or give a shout out! When your audience is engaged with your brand, you become a part of their network, and everyone gets to see how your business fits into the lives of people just like them. This widens your audience and compounds your chances of generating engagement.
5. Go live!
Facebook Live has quickly become a powerhouse marketing tool for the biggest brands. Your followers are notified the moment you go live, and can join at any time to watch you broadcast the things that matter to the both of you. Is your company reaching a milestone, or releasing a brand new product? Has your warehouse just received a long-awaited and much anticipated shipment? Go live, and share the moment with your fans! Hold a live Q&A session, give fans a sneak peek at exciting things in the works, or simply broadcast a day in the life of an employee. When your fans see the real people behind your products or services and share in their successes, it lays the foundation for a fanbase that is engaged, loyal, and eager to see more!
6. Call to action
Make your statements short and sweet, and provide a way for your audience to follow up and learn more. Succinctness is a virtue and brevity is the soul of wit, especially in the fast-paced world of social media, and many social media platforms have embraced this philosophy to the point of integrating it into the very nature of user interaction. Twitter’s 140-character limit is an obvious example, but Snapchat’s ephemeral photos and videos and Instagram’s bite-sized Boomerang and Stories features are more recent examples. These limitations allow you to create captivating copy and striking visuals that inspire interest and are digested at a glance. Once you have their attention, encourage users to follow up by clicking a link, signing up for an email newsletter, or looking through a complete product line to get more of the content that hooked them!
7. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…
Finally, always be improving. Don’t focus on a single successful formula and stick to it. Variety is the spice of life, so keep an eye out for new trends, new conversations, and new mediums to get your message out there – but be scientific about it. Keep your eyes on the KPIs, put your strategies to the test by comparing their results, and learn from your failures as well as your successes to evolve along with your audience and your social media networks as they grow.
To wrap things up
The world of social media is constantly evolving, and with these tactics your business will find its place in the world beyond a brick and mortar shop or a domain name. Take stock of how far you’ve come, and set clear and measurable objectives that correspond to your business goals. Get to know your audience, tell them your story, and get involved by listening to what they have to say. Go live, give your followers a taste of what you have to offer, and provide the means for them to learn more about what you can do for them. Always pay attention to what works, learn from what doesn’t, and test out new ideas to keep improving your reach. Most importantly, remember the point of social media: to connect people! Use your social media channels as a platform to connect to and grow your audience, not just as a megaphone to talk at them. Now get out there and give the people something to talk about!
The importance of responding to customers online could not be more prevalent as reviews continue to grow more than ever before. Aside from the fact that reviews from customers help others decide whether they should visit a business or not, reviews are now more prevalent on search results pages—meaning a lot of eyes can see what is being said about your company online.
The influence that reviews have on shoppers is staggering: more than 88% of online shoppers incorporate reviews into their purchase decisions (Webrepublic, 2015). Businesses are told to get more reviews on review websites to keep attracting new customers. With so many review websites out there, where does a business even begin? Your business may be afraid to manage customer reviews on review sites as you may not want to end up in one of these situations:
receive zero reviews
receive zero recent online reviews
receive negative online reviews
or, your business simply has unmanaged online reviews across multiple review websites
Unfortunately, your business is missing out. This lack of free online word of mouth is actually hurting your business through inaction, because reputation drives conversion.
1) Business reviews and social posts help shape your company’s online reputation
In fact, one of the worst things your business can do is ignore your online reviews and social posts. As easy as it is to make a mistake when handling your business’s online reputation, it can also be easy to recover if done properly (and with apology). While damage will inevitably happen, your business can take steps to mitigate the degree of damage that can occur. The biggest mistake of all your company can make is not participating in helping to shape the conversation about your company online.
2) Business reviews provide valuable feedback for your business
While it can be easy for your business to take negative comments to heart, it is important to recognize that reviews are constructive feedback. All in all, reviews are valuable feedback! They help your company gauge their performance and see how you can improve. There is always room for improvement and a lot can be learned even from positive business reviews. Through reviews, your business can see which products or services you should be boasting, which needs work, and even discover which employees rock at customer service.
3) Your business reviews can now appear in search results
Search engines have caught on to the popularity of reviews and are now displaying them more prominently. So, if someone searches for your business, there is a chance that reviews from review websites could be displayed on the search engine results pages. In Google’s markup—the annotated content that appears in search—of a company or product, business reviews and ratings can now be included in search results. In other words, when a user performs a search on Google, Google will find and possibly display review summaries from online business reviews and consumer ratings. Below is an example of how business reviews now showing up in search results.
How can businesses get more reviews?
There are a variety of methods your business can employ to ask for more business reviews, including emailing consumers manually, using surveys, asking consumers to leave reviews with codes and review sites on their receipts, or utilizing review generation software to automate the business review process.
Three important review website management tips:
1) Remember to add or claim listings on the top review sites
It’s a good idea to add or claim a listing or business profile on the most popular review sites (unless your business doesn’t fit with the niche), correct your business’s listing information and start getting more business reviews!
2) Your business should keep asking customers for reviews
Asking the average customer for a review can be hard work. Granted, it is often easiest to get reviews from consumers that are either really happy or really unhappy with the level of service they were provided. Your business should always remember to ask as customers are busy creatures and will not remember unless they are asked or reminded to leave feedback.
3) Customers are more open to leaving reviews on review sites
Why not just ask for business reviews or testimonials on your business’s website? Well, asking consumers to leave a review on your business’s website seems a lot more screened and inauthentic than simply asking consumers to leave reviews on a trusted review site. Since the review site is a third party, it feels more open for customers to leave an honest, unbiased review.
Business reviews are here to stay
In conclusion, there’s no getting away from business reviews. The good news is that there are methods to get more business reviews as well as effectively managing reviews from customers. Also, businesses needn’t fear negative online reviews, as there are ways to negate the effect of negative reviews.