Social Media Strategy and Integrated Marketing can be challenging, and seeing a return on your investment, even if it’s just your time, can be even more challenging. With ever changing rules and algorithms across so many different social media sites, there is an overwhelming amount of information to keep up with on your own. If you are brave enough to attempt to manage your social media marketing on your own, you need to start with an effective website, and coincidentally enough, this is where we see most people and businesses make their biggest mistakes.
Without a doubt, the number one problem we see when helping business owners with their social media strategy is that they failed to do some important planning and research before getting started.
And we mean before doing anything, don’t even buy your domain or URL before this stage, even if you think it’s obvious what it should be. Now, you might have thought your website developer had you covered, but this is a lot like hiring a graphic designer to manage your entire ad campaign. Six months down the road you have these beautiful ads, but nobody is seeing them, because he is a graphic designer, not a specialist in ad placement or getting press exposure, or optimizing your keywords.
If you are planning a new website for your business, or already have one, but are starting to wonder why you paid a lot of money for no visible results, read on. Starting from the beginning, let’s start with how to plan the content and location of your website, the step that most people miss when beginning their integrated marketing plan or social media strategy.
- Know your keywords: This is by far the #1 most frequently skipped step in small business social media strategy. The main benefit of your website should be that people can find it, and you, when they don’t know they are looking for you. If I already know that you own Mike’s Autobody or Joe’s Family Restaurant, and I like you enough to do business with you, I’m probably not searching generic terms like Autobody, or restaurants near me, I’m just going right to your page, or better yet just showing up at your door. The way you benefit from your website most, however, is getting it out in front of the people that don’t know you are there, and just want to know what restaurants are near them, or who can fix the ding they just put in their wife’s car at poker night before she finds out. For example, we recently analyzed a local gym chain that didn’t show up in the local search results for a gym until every other gym showed up three times, guess who is losing all of their potential new members to the competition?
The first step in any social media campaign should be finding the appropriate keywords for your business, finding out which ones get the most traffic or searches, and creating a plan to place yourself in front of the people looking for what you are offering.
Finding your keywords should be part of your strategy for planning everything from your URL to your website content and your profiles and content across other social media platforms as well. If 5000 people are searching for Paint Job a month in your area, but you never use those terms on your website because you prefer auto-body, you are missing 5000 potential customers who are looking for your product. The same goes for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. because search engines are using all social media platforms for content and ranking now.
- Make sure your long-term content strategy also includes using those keywords regularly. If your blog never mentions those words, and neither do any of your other social media pages, you will eventually lose ranking to someone else who does, so do a little research and planning up front, and you will reap big rewards over the long term.
Now that you’ve figured out what your customers are actually looking for, use your URL, website content and other social media pages to get out in front of those search terms and actually bring customers through the door.
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