Taking advantage of the benefits of Twitter for small business

Let’s be honest, Twitter is an interesting world! We follow our favourite celebrities or footballers and we’ve winced at some of the stuff they’ve shared. A scandal hits and one of the first places we turn to is Twitter! We’ve also all had that sneaky look when our phone signal goes down, just to see the comical responses that people post. Why do people get so angry? It can be an intimidating, as well an interesting place!

And in a professional sense, it can be a place where you might think, it’s best just to steer clear and concentrate your efforts on LinkedIn – especially within the B2B world.

Yet, Twitter is actually a very powerful marketing tool and an extremely effective and valuable one to build relationships with your clients (and prospective clients). We’ll be honest, we love it!

You can learn an incredible amount about your customers; you can engage with them; you can make your brand more human and importantly, you can add value by sharing relevant and engaging content. It’s also a great way to stay ahead of what’s happening in the industry and build awareness of your firm. What is there not to like? What’s more, it’s free.

However, the reason people don’t appreciate the value and power is that they do not appreciate the time and effort that is required. You get out of Twitter, what you put in!

So, here are some of our quick tips to help you find that value:

Understand what you want to achieve.

What are your goals? Is it…

  • Increasing sales?
  • Becoming a customer support channel?
  • Increasing brand awareness?
  • Tracking industry trends?

Maybe, it’s a combination of the four, but always be clear and remember you can’t be all things to everyone.

Have a clear content plan

Posting interesting and engaging content, such as blogs and white papers, is important to maintain the interest of your followers. Relevant content grows your following and increases your brand awareness. Complement your own content with relevant third-party content that will be of interest to your following. But, have a plan and remember you need to be tweeting around 3-4 times day. Mix your content up, use images, create GIFs, embed videos – make sure your newsfeed is engaging and looks your own.  But don’t forget while ‘quantity’ is important when it comes to tweeting, it cannot be at the expense of ‘quality’. If you over-post, you run the risk of coming across like an aggressive spam account.

Use Hashtags

Make sure you use relevant and popular hashtags in your tweets. Look at what hashtags are trending with your target audience. This play a big part in growing your following.

Engage, engage, engage

Twitter is not just a place for broadcasting announcements, you have to engage with your community. Retweet posts you find interesting. Add a comment or click Like. If someone comments on your posts, good or bad, reply – professionally! You’ll get positive results from Twitter when you genuinely engage with people, but this requires a time commitment. One simple tip: just take 5/10 minutes a day, maybe during your commute home, to scroll through your feeds and comment and retweet.

In most industries, Twitter is full of influencers; make sure you also follow, retweet, comment and like their posts. If you can build up a relationship with these individuals, there is a chance they will begin retweeting your content. The benefit? They have significant reach and exposure.

Measure and keep track

Twitter analytics enables you to analyse your activities:

  • You can track the performance of your tweets daily and monthly. From this, you can get an understanding of what kinds of content gets the best engagement and you can tailor your plan accordingly. It will also give you an indication of the most effective times to post.
  • You can also track how your following has increased/decreased over the last 30 days, and how many new followers you’ve received per day. You can, therefore, look at what kinds of content was posted on the days you lost followers, did you post too much that day?

Finally, don’t expect overnight results. It takes time to build a relevant and engaged community. So, stick with it and the success will follow – no pun intended!

Twitter is an ‘interesting’ world, but it’s also an extremely effective one. If you would like some support with your Twitter or wider social media strategies, we’d love to chat.

A version of this post originally appeared on our good friends at South Thames Marketing’s blog.

Social media and lead generation in 2019 – how to get quality leads with minimum fuss

Generating more leads and better-quality leads are the top priority for businesses. More leads mean more sales. We are all familiar with landing pages and forms – however, this is not the best way to engage customers in 2019 anymore. They prefer something that is more engaging and personal, and businesses prefer high-quality leads over just quantity. Here are some tips on how to draw in your potential customers and help turn those leads into sales. What types of content work and how can you use social media ads to optimise impact?
Before you start thinking about the type of content that will generate leads for you, think about which social media platforms will serve you best. Who is your ideal customer? Are you more likely to find them browsing through their Instagram feed, or searching the latest industry trends on LinkedIn? Once you have identified where your money is best spent, you can consider the type of content you want to share to pull in customers.

Types of content that work for social media

Gated content is one way to ensure that your leads are high quality, this type is especially successful for B2B marketing. The important thing here is that the content you share must be ‘valuable’ to your customers. The only way for somebody to access your content is to fill in a form and give you their details. Only then can they access your latest white paper, webinar, case study or blog post.
Alternatively, you could create content that allows your potential customers to register their intent in other ways, for example by entering a contest. You draw them in by offering a prize that will only speak to people who are interested in your product.

This could be an extended trial period or an upgrade, or any other special deal for your product. It may even be a sample give-away or a sign-up for an event that you have planned. You can see that this will generate high-quality leads because customers are openly showing interest in your company’s product and are willing to give you their invaluable details.

Social media lead ads

Social media lead ads are another way to help you turn interest into leads. When you pay for adverts on social media, you are already paying to target specific audiences for your product. With lead ads, the focus is on making it easier to capture your potential customers’ data. The ad content could be a contest, as mentioned above or a newsletter subscription. Alternatively, you might create a quiz or a poll for your customers to engage with. In that case, the ‘pay-off’ for the customer would be access to their personalized results.

The advantage of lead ads is that the user will not be forwarded to a landing page with a form, but can stay on the same website (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) and the form is already pre-populated by the social media platform. This means that the user only has to agree to send the details through, and then they can carry on scrolling through their feed.

Geotargeted advertising

And finally, you should consider geo-targeted advertising to generate relevant leads for your business. Targeting potential leads based on their location allows you to focus more precisely on those leads that are most relevant to you. For B2B marketing you could, for example, ringfence those target users that are visiting a certain industry event, which results in focus on an audience that is more likely to be interested in your content and engage with it. And hey presto, you will generate high-quality leads.

As you can see, leads in 2019 still mainly consist of forms being filled in – however, the classic landing page form is slowly on the way out. People are still happy to fill in forms and give away their details, but as marketers, we have to find ways to make it ‘worth it’ and create minimal disruption to the customer experience on social media. The more engaging and interactive your content, the more quality leads you will snap up.

5 marketing challenges for small businesses and how to fix them

marketing challenges

The statistics for small businesses in the UK make for grim reading. Around 80% fail within a year, only half make it to five years. The good news is though, that knowledge is power. Good, efficient marketing is the most important thing for putting your business on the map and getting those customers flocking to you.

We’ve created a list of the 5 main marketing challenges and tips on how to tackle them in a way that will give you the upper hand over other start-ups.

Here’s what most businesses struggle within the all-consuming whirlwind of opening and running a successful business:

1.Time, resources and budget

Business founders often try to control everything and end up neglecting the big, important things. You want more leads and a better online presence, but don’t think you have the time. Because cash and budget are slim, you might feel that you haven’t got the resources for good online content and marketing.

How to fix this:

  • The best tool is to invest time at the beginning
  • Create a solid 12-month plan and strategy and think about how you will measure progress and set goals
  • Hire the right staff that can bring many different skills to the table and people who you can trust, they are the biggest form of resource you have
  • This will free up time for you to manage the big stuff, like budget
  • Don’t rely on only one or two big accounts to keep you going; if one of them leaves, there’s trouble
  • keep marketing all the time to create a bigger, diverse customer base
  • choose 1 or 2 marketing platforms that are best suited to reach your ideal customer
  • There is loads of helpful advice out there – such as this blog – which will break things down for you and get your strategy up to scratch in no time

2. What is your/your brand’s story, who is your audience?

The top reasons why businesses struggle in their first year are all in some way connected, so if you tackle one, you will improve elsewhere too.
Your storytelling links back to your business plan. If you don’t know who to target, why you are in this game, or why customers should buy from you, you need to go back to the drawing board.

What to do:

  • Research and define your perfect customer and based on this, choose the best marketing platforms
  • Why did you choose this business? You wouldn’t do it without motivation, that passion needs to be communicated to your customers
  • What is your USP? Why should customers buy from you instead of your opposition?

3. Producing Content and marketing challenges

Producing consistent and quality content seems a scary process, but it doesn’t have to be. A blog on your website will bring you greater online presence and boost your profile.

What to do:

  • There may be a talented writer or two on your team, give it a go.
  • Do your research – on other, similar blogs, advice blogs, LinkedIn, etc. and find out what your customer base wants to see and how to create that content within your means
  • The best strategy here is: less content, but higher value content
  • Targeting your clientele on the right platforms

4. Spreading Brand Awareness

Most people don’t know where to start with this, and just opening the door and putting an ‘open’ sign up is not enough.

What to do:

  • Keep marketing, even when you feel that you are ticking along nicely
  • Make a point of what is special about your brand compared to others
  • Do your market research, so you only give your customers exactly what they want
  • Build strategic partnerships with a non-competing business which has the same target audience, that way you can double your forces
5. Lead Generation

The holy grail for many companies is how to get more leads and therefore more sales.

What to do:

  • Your website can bring you money 24/7, so make sure it is optimized, always up to date and is clear to use; collect customer data whenever possible
  • PR – there are many tutorials and posts that give great advice on how to create a relationship with the local press and avoid blunders
  • Co-Marketing – as mentioned above, team up with another company. Maybe even a bigger, better known one, which will rub some of their reputations off on you.
  • Blogging – regular blogging drives traffic to your site, creates leads, makes you more credible in the industry and helps create an email list
  • Email list – collect customer data whenever possible. This could be online, at events, through competitions, the limit is your imagination…

This is just a short overview of the things that are often overlooked and can easily be rectified. Watch this space for more in-depth discussions on these 5 subjects, if you want more. In our future posts, we will cover each challenge and give you all the knowledge you need to start your business on the right foot.

3 Top Tips to Boost Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile

Did you know that 50% of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions?

You don’t need me to spell out what that could potentially mean for your business.

In the digital age, you can’t ignore or underestimate the value of a well-established company page on the world’s largest professional networking site. One in 3 professionals use it to find connections, engage prospects, make a career move or upgrade their skills and knowledge via content from their favourite brands/companies.

Marketing your company on LinkedIn requires a slightly different approach from other social media networking sites. This is because you need to cater to a professional audience who aren’t necessarily interested in your company or its product/service.

Maybe you do have a presence of LinkedIn but are not getting too much out of it. Or you do get down to posting now and then, but your profile is far from tidy. Whatever your situation may be, here are a few ways to boost your company’s LinkedIn profile.

Give your company page an SEO makeover

Google does take your LinkedIn company page into account when it comes to search ranking. So make your LinkedIn page SEO-friendly by including relevant keywords in the ‘About us’ and ‘Company details’ section. These can include words or phrases that best describe your company, industry, sector or product/service.

Make your copy crisp and engaging. Don’t simply copy paste the same content from your website. Instead, use unique language written with LinkedIn users in mind.

Essential details to include are an overview of your company and its products/services, its USP and contact details. Make sure it reflects your company’s objectives and values and don’t shy away from speaking directly to your followers.

Our tip: Under the Specialities section, list your top keywords and phrases. Remember that these are keywords which would list your company in the search results when users search on LinkedIn.

Teach, don’t preach

The best way to boost engagement on LinkedIn is to share updates that have your target audience or followers’ interests at heart.

The last thing people want is a brand inundating their news feed with boring company updates and sales-y info. Don’t simply broadcast news and content, but also encourage people to engage by asking a question, sharing thought-provoking stats or an entertaining graphic.

People want to be engaged, entertained and educated. So keep things varied by including a nice mix of content. From relevant articles, blogs and resources related to your product or sector to conversations around trends and the latest news. Make sure every post is relevant, valuable and helpful to your target audience.

Our tip: A good rule of thumb is the 4-1-1 rule which as first popularised by Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute. For every content update shared from your company, re-share a relevant post from another source, and then four pieces of relevant content written by others.

Rich-media content FTW

The whole point of social media is to encourage interaction by consistently putting out valuable content so that your company name is seen by a large number of people. Result? Tons of exposure and a boost in engagement.

Using rich media in your content updates is a great way to stand out in the crowd. According to research from LinkedIn, using images in your posts results in a 98% higher comment rate. Posting YouTube video content results in a 75% higher share rate.

In the age of mobile apps and limited attention spans, aim to entertain by using an engaging mix of images, videos, slideshows, gifs, emoticons and other content that make users want to consume your content.

Our tip: To give your company page a facelift, add non-stock images which represent your company or product/service. Keep your branding uniform and consistent with the design, font, colours on your company’s profile photo and banner image.

And there you have it.

We’ve discussed 3 simple but effective ways to enhance your LinkedIn Profile to gain some new traffic and engagement. That said, make sure you experiment with different types of content and different schedules while posting content so that you can determine what works the best for your company.

Do get in touch at [email protected] to discuss any of this, and how we can help you with getting your LinkedIn company page up-to-speed.