How do local online customers find your business? Make your business easier to find online with these tips.
What’s New in Social Media for Small Business?
Is your small business on social media? If so, staying up-to-date on new tips, shortcuts, platforms, and features is important. Not only can staying current on social media trends make your job easier, it can also make your company’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, or Pinterest boards work harder for your small business.
We’ve captured some of the newest social media features and updates that can help small business owners discover new and improved ways to interact and engage with their customers and online audience, promote their business, and grow their sales. Read on to learn how social media can be one of the most powerful tools in your small business marketing toolkit.
What’s new on Twitter?
Increased character count. Tweets have always been limited to 140 characters – that includes any @ mentions, links, and photos or files you’re attaching within your tweet. Twitter recently announced that over the coming months, the 140-character limit will no longer include links, mentions, and photos. What this means for you: You’ll have more space to clearly communicate your messaging and share compelling information about your business in each Tweet. Display more engaging photos or post more polls to interact with and collect feedback from your users without them cutting into your character count.
What’s new on Facebook?
Messenger app for mobile users. Facebook is pushing its mobile users to install a separate Facebook Messenger app for chat, rather than using the mobile version of the site. Users have been advised that soon, the Messenger app will be the only option for mobile chatting. What this means for you: Since it’s a separate app, you may be able to continue reaching customers via Messenger even if they stop using Facebook. Use it to instantly deliver news about special offers and exclusive deals to your customers, or update customers about payment receipts and delivery status updates.
Customers can connect with you directly through Facebook ads. A new “send message” button on Facebook ads enables customers to connect directly with your business pages through ads in their news feeds. What this means for you: You can create a new local awareness ad and select “Send Message” in the Call to Action field to give customers a direct link from their news feed to your business page – and open the channels of conversation with your audience.
You can reply to customer comments with a private message. In the past, Facebook page admins could only reply to customers in the same way as the customer left feedback. For example, if a customer left a question or comment on your business’ Facebook page, your only option was to reply publicly to the comment. You can now reply with a private message instead. What this means for you: You’ll be able to solve customer problems and address issues in a private, one-on-one conversation which, in many cases, proves to be more effective. Plus, the original comment will show a note that you’ve followed up privately, so other page visitors will know that your company is addressing the comment.
What’s new on Instagram?
A new look and a new logo. Instagram recently rebranded, with a new look and feel to the app as well as a new pink logo. What this means for you: If you have an Instagram icon on your business’ website, you’ll want to update it with the new pink logo – a quick swap but one that shows you’re paying attention to the social media world. You’ll also want to monitor the logos, wordmarks, and branding of any other social media platforms you promote on your website regularly to ensure you’re always using the most up-to-date versions.
What’s new on Snapchat?
People are now spending more time on Snapchat than Instagram. Over the past year, Snapchat has overtaken Instagram in the “time spent on app” category, currently second only to Facebook. In fall 2015, 19 percent of teens said Snapchat was their most important social network. Fast forward to spring 2016, when that number grew to 28 percent, a jump of nine percentage points – the biggest mover during that period. What this means for you: If you’re not already using it, consider whether Snapchat might be a good fit for your business’ audience. Snapchat is a great way to let your audience enjoy a virtual front-row seat at your live events, from a new product launch to a new store opening. Use it to deliver private content, such as exclusive offers, to your most valued customers or new followers. It’s also a great hub for contesting and engaging with your audience.
What’s new on Pinterest?
Promoted pins are driving sales. According to research, 93 percent of Pinterest users consult the app when making purchases, while 87 percent of pinners have bought something after seeing a product they liked using the site. Promoted pins are particularly effective: they’ve been proven to drive five times more incremental in-store sales per impression compared to ads seen elsewhere. What this means for you: Create some promoted pins! With an affluent user base (nearly 40 percent of Pinterest users earn more than $100K per year), Pinterest is not only a great platform for reaching potential customers, but also for engagement. Every time one of your pins is saved, it’s shared to the pinner’s network as well. Setting up a promoted pin is easy: choose your best Pins, target the desired audience, and decide whether you want to pay for engagement or click-throughs to your site. Throughout your campaign, you can track the results and make updates to help with performance.
You don’t need to exhaust your budget on an elaborate website. If your business doesn’t rely on e-commerce, chances are your customers (and potential customers) will only be visiting your site for the basics—hours, location, contact info. Here are a few options for creating a low-cost, bare-bones Web presence.
Here are three alternatives to an elaborate Web presence:
1. Facebook Only
2. Landing Page Only
3. Website Template Builders
NEW YORK — Larger and medium-size companies are establishing digital business models based on the latest technology, but many of the smallest corporations are still taking the very first steps toward establishing an online identify. Yet even the smallest companies must establish an online presence, according to Robert Herjavec, star of angel investment reality show Shark Tank. Tech plays a key role in his new show Small Business Revolution on Main Street, an online series developed by business services company Deluxe Corp.
Main Street is a reality series in which Mr. Herjavec and Amanda Brinkman, the chief brand and communications officer of Deluxe Corp., help revitalize the town of Wabash in northern Indiana, investing $500,000. They work with a handful of small businesses, each featured in a segment of the show, which debuts Sept. 27 at smallbusinessrevolution.org and streams on Hulu beginning Oct. 12. Deluxe, of Shoreview, Minn., is a 100-year-old public company that says it invented the paper check, and has since moved into business services and development for small businesses and financial institutions.
On Tuesday, they screened the second episode of the series, which features the strategic overhaul of Harry’s Old Kettle pub, a labor of love for owners Harry and Judy Kilmer, into the hopefully self-sustaining Harry’s Old Kettle Pub & Grill.
“One of the things we tried to do was encourage people to believe in themselves … and compete with other businesses in other towns, on a global scale. And it’s really what they do with the money, and the information and the infrastructure that we have helped them with,” said Mr. Herjavec. He says many small businesses lack even a basic online presence. Inc. reported in 2015 that 60% of very small businesses, those with one to five people, don’t have a website.
“At the time, Harry’s did not have a website … which is not only difficult from a bar perspective, but from a restaurant perspective. If you’re not listed in online directories, if you are not findable online, if your menu isn’t online, it’s very hard for you to get drive in traffic, especially from outside of the community, as well as within,” Ms. Brinkman said. “So, we thought that was a really important thing to implement for them.” In the case of Harry’s, it was necessary to extend the pub’s online presence to about 20 online directories.
Mr. Herjavec, who also runs an IT security business, Herjavec Group, said technology was a key part of the work that the pair put into Wabash. “People used to say to me what is your best sector to sell into, and we used to say, finance. Today, I don’t say that anymore because every business is a technology business,” he said.
They made use of a range of social platforms, but Mr. Herjavec remains a proponent of email marketing, too.
“I will tell you one thing that … I also learned from Shark Tank .. We see a lot of small businesses that are jumping to Snapchat, to Instagram and getting big business that way, and leaving email marketing by the wayside. It is almost this indignant attitude, oh, email, nobody cares about that anymore,” he said. “But it is fundamentally cheaper to sell to an existing customer than it is to sell to a new customer. And by using that database of customers and emailing them on a regular basis, you can really increase your revenue at a very, very small cost.”
By Steve Rosenbush