WHAT MOST SMALL BUSINESSES SHOULD FOCUS ON
While social media is the hot new toy, it is not the most important priority for any business. Like email marketing, it is best to start both growing, and then make sure you optimize everything in this post before you worry about the ROI of Social Media. These are in priority order based on importance, so DO start at the top!
IMPORTANT TIP: If you only need to do something once, or rarely, hire the very best to do it for you. There is no reason to invest your time and money learning a skill and keeping current if you only need it once – or once a year. Focus on learning skills you need to do regularly.
If you can afford it, hire someone to do important tasks for you.
Experience makes a huge difference in the results obtained.
Trying to do everything yourself does not save you money – it costs you in lost opportunities and sales.
1) BUILDING YOUR LIST
Are you capturing visitors to your site? If you aren’t, you are losing people who might have become buyers because they forget to come back! So first make sure you have your list building operation in place.
We use and recommend FeedBlitz because it is optimized for social media and integrates both email marketing and social media marketing. Another choice many use is AWeber because they have high deliverability rates and are easier to learn to use. There are many others, but if you use any other than these two you need to do due diligence so you don’t end up losing your list.
Setting up email marketing, autoresponders, learning to write headlines that get your emails opened, knowing how to measure open rates, and writing copy that converts are important skills. If you can afford it, consider hiring an email marketing expert to teach you. Here are DIRJournal, we rely on Rebecca Caroe of Creative Agency Secrets as our FeedBlitz expert.
Usability simply means how well your site is laid out, how easy it is to use, and whether it is OBVIOUS what it is about on every single page of your site. It won’t really matter what else you do if people land on your site and are not immediately sure why they’re there. They will just leave, and you will never know why.
Usability includes social media icons to make it easy for people to find you on the major social media networks. Which ones matter I covered in Most Important Social Networks. Decide which ones you want to feature on your site and add the icons in an attractive, easy to find manner.
It also means sharing buttons in each post and on each page. Although the scrolling sharing bars are most popular, having the specific social networks that are most important to you coded directly into the blog works best. The scrolling bars often create issues that prevent readers from being able to see all of your content.
2.5) ECOMMERCE USABILITY AND CONVERSIONS
If you have an ecommerce site that converts at a consistent rate, driving more of the same quality targeted traffic to that site will increase your sales. How could it not? If you can find even better quality traffic you can increase your conversion rate.
If you spend your money on improving your conversion rate by hiring a conversion optimization expert like Dr. Pete who offers usability testing or Bryan Eisenberg, you will increase your profits because you make more money from the traffic you already have.
You could invest in learning conversion optimization skills yourself and apply them to your existing online store, or to create ecommerce sites, or to offer your services to others who need them.
3) REAL SEO – NOT WHAT PASSES AS SEO
Instead of dealing with people who think they’re SEOs who may get you banned from Google because they do not actually know what they’re doing, you could hire experts like the SEO Team Bill Hartzer leads at Standing Dog Interactive
Or you could invest time in learning to do SEO correctly from SEOBook or SEOMoz. Be careful doing SEO yourself, because there is a ton of disinformation and many well respected “SEO experts” sincerely believe they are right when they have jumped to unwarranted conclusions.
Only listen to those who actually test themselves, and even then unless they have common sense and continually think about alternative reasons why their theories might have been wrong you will be led down the garden path to failure.
3.5) SEO RESOURCES
Here are some excellent SEO resources and tips from the very best:
- Dr. Pete’s Top 1 SEO Tips for 2013
- LocalVisibilitySystem: Ten Favorite Local SEO Posts of 2012
- David Mihm: Local Search Ranking Factors
- Local SEO Guide: How To Do Local SEO
- Mike Blumenthal’s Google Plus Local Places Category Tool
Many struggle because they do not know who they can trust, what strategies actually work, and where to go for assistance. All those mentioned in this post are the best in the world at what they know.
Whether you can afford to hire them, or you benefit from what they freely share online so that you can learn these skills yourself, these are the people you need to know, read, and follow.
I encourage you to save and share this post so it benefits others.
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When you’re ready to focus on social media, I encourage you to read Social Implications. Why not stay on top of our best content? Subscribe to your choice of the DIRJournal family of blogs here.