Marketing your business, post-pandemic and beyond.
Content & Creativity has been in business for over six years, and since Day One it’s been a struggle to convince some people, especially sole proprietors, of the power of social media. It didn’t matter how well we did our job, some business owners failed to see any ROI and the benefits of connecting with customers in ways other than face-to-face.
Then one day someone on the news said we had to stay home for two weeks. Those two weeks turned into months and months of masks, social distancing, and shutdowns.
After the initial panic and, tragically, countless business closures, those who were left standing had the time to reevaluate how they connect with their customers. That’s when our phone began to ring. Business owners who had never considered social media before were finally getting on board.
The problem was that years of ignoring their online presence resulted in either a non-existent or messy mixture of inactive social media pages, outdated listings, and a website from 2007. That prompted us to decided to “pivot” and offer a larger array of digital marketing services.
“Tell me again why I need a website.”
Just about every new client we onboarded had a terrible website. It either lacked mobile optimization, the metadata didn’t exist, or it had any number of problems that would affect the client’s visibility on Google and Bing. We knew that if there isn’t a working website to link back to then our social media efforts would not be nearly as effective. So, after years of building websites on an as-needed basis, Sara and I decided to offer site design as part of our services as well as become WiX Partners.
Working with WiX allows us to make a quicker, cost-effective option for our clients without skimping on the functionality. There’s nothing wrong with a WordPress or other platform for a website, but our clients needed something up and running quickly. WordPress designers might take months to finish a site, and if it’s not routinely checked and updated for functionality it can fall apart pretty easily. Not only do we create websites quickly and affordably, but we do routine monthly checks to ensure that the site is running smoothly.
“What is SEO?”
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what improves the quality and quantity of your website traffic. Organic SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct/paid traffic like Google ads or social media advertising. Unpaid traffic may originate from different kinds of searches, including images, video, or keyword searches. If you have a powerful website, both the backend (technical) and on-page (copywriting) SEO will work in your favor to draw in more viewers.
“But I don’t use social media!”
Despite the growing fears of a dystopian future created by the twisted mind of Mark Zuckerberg, social media continues to thrive. Facebook alone has grown 12% in monthly active users since 2019, and it’s the third-most visited website in the world. We often say that a Facebook business page is like a second website, and sometimes will come up in Google searches higher than your own website.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, has over 1 billion users that average 30 minutes per day on the platform. An even more interesting statistic for businesses is that 81% people use Instagram to research products and services. If you’re selling something, especially to women, and not utilizing this platform you are leaving money on the table.
You might not consider it social media (we do! – see Social Proof below) but Google My Business is another powerful tool for your business that creates credibility and visibility. When you search for a business and the Google Card pops up on the right side of the screen, you can see all pertinent information about that business as well as content posted by that business. We include Google My Business management with all social media plans because giving as much relevant information to Google about your business as possible maximizes your potential to be found by more prospective customers.
LinkedIn is THE platform for B2B companies. In fact, 95% of B2B companies use LinkedIn in some way. LinkedIn has proven to be an effective platform for lead generation and customer acquisition. The platform is 277% more effective than Facebook in generating business leads.
Another great platform for selling products is Pinterest. In the US, Pinterest reaches 83% of women aged between 35 - 54 years of age. This same audience accounts for 80% of the buying decisions in US homes.
If you’re a company looking to expand into a national market, Twitter is the best place to start! With over 192 million daily active users, you have the potential to reach a large amount of people with little to no interference from a prohibitive algorithm.
YouTube, like Google, is a powerful search engine that if used correctly can strengthen your online brand. Surprisingly, more adults in the US use YouTube than Facebook! Any business in any industry would likely benefit from using YouTube and adopting a videocentric social media strategy.
Finally, the newest social media goliath that has entered the world’s stage is TikTok. While many adults use this platform with some success, it’s main demographic does not have major purchasing power yet. TikTok has one billion active users, worldwide, with 100 million of them in the U.S. The biggest demographic is Gen Z (ages 9 to 27), with 38% of the TikTok U.S. market. Unless that’s your target market, TikTok, while fun, may not be where you want to put a lot of effort.
The most important things to remember about your social media efforts are:
• Know your audience
Identify the demographics, the platforms they are likely to be active on, and appropriate keywords/hashtags
• Share relevant content
People will continue to follow you if your content is relevant to them, informative, and entertaining. (Hopefully all three!)
• Be consistent
We typically post 5x a week on our clients’ main platforms (Facebook/Instagram or LinkedIn), and twice a week on Google My Business. The less you post, the more you will likely lose your audience, to the point that if you only post once a month the sole benefit is that people will know you’re not out of business – IF they happen to be looking for you.
• Mix it up
You wouldn’t go to a party and talk nonstop about your business and then expect people to keep listening, would you? Same with social media. Facebook is not your portfolio – that’s what your website is for. Social is for developing relationships and engaging your audience so that they engage back with you.
“What is Social Proof”
We consider any site that allows people to leave testimonials, reviews, comments or even “likes”, to be a social media platform. Of course, that includes Facebook, etc., but also Google, etsy, eBay, Amazon, and even your website, if you have an online testimonial function.
We cannot stress the importance of social proof enough. Many people, especially millennials, will not trust your company or give it business if they don’t see reviews on Facebook or Google!
“Video is King”
Out – “Content is King”. In – “It’s Video now, baby!” Even Instagram, once considered a photo-sharing platform, recently redefined themselves as a video-sharing app.
You know that video is important, so how can you make them and use them? There are a lot of different ways to create video content for social. You could produce a video via your phone or a camcorder which could be uploaded on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube - and beyond - either in full or in bite-sized content (which is perfect for TikTok and Instagram Reels). If you produce educational content, you could record a Zoom call or Webinar and use as you wish. Something that’s a little less time consuming is livestreaming, which you can do on many platforms. If you were to livestream on Facebook or Instagram, for instance, all of your followers would get a notification when you go “live”. Facebook Live gets much greater organic reach than a regular post or video on those platforms. Plus, you have the option of saving your video forever in your feed for future viewers.
While the options you choose depend upon your skill level, time commitment and budget, don’t be too concerned about professional quality. Unless you are a national brand, your audience will probably appreciate a more down-home personal approach than a slick production. Just make sure you share valuable content that easy to see, hear and understand.
“Whew! We’ve finally come to the end!” (For now.)
Taking charge of your entire digital marketing effort, while also trying to build your business and serve your current clients, is a daunting task. This is complicated by the fact that the rules and algorithms of every platform change all the time. If you are fortunate enough to be busy, your marketing efforts are likely to be the first to suffer. Our advice is to focus on one or two platforms, and get that under control before you add anything new.
This is just a quick, introductory look at what we do, and what we believe it takes to run a successful digital marketing strategy. If you’d like to discuss how Content & Creativity can help grow your business online, visit https://www.contentandcreativity.com/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.