insightfulmarketing

Simple, effective and insightful small business marketing

How Much Time Does Your Business Spend on Social Media? November 2, 2012

A new survey from email marketing software firm VerticalResponse found that 43% of small businesses (100 employees or less) spend at least six hours a week on social media, with seven percent spending over 21 hours a week on Facebook, Twitter, and such! Wow, with hectic schedules and the many hats they wear, small business owners are spending more time on-line, suggesting that more businesses are either realizing or actually seeing the benefits of social media marketing.  “Our survey confirms that small businesses are understanding the value of social media,” said Janine Popick, VerticalResponse CEO/founder. “They’re spending more time doing it, and investing more money into it at a faster rate. But the extra work will likely lead to time management issues, especially for the small business owner who’s handling social media on top of all the other responsibilities of running a company. This implies that small businesses are in need of tactics and tools now to help them save time.”

It’s interesting to note that small businesses are realizing the value of content – but, again, time is an issue.  More than half (55 percent) of small businesses surveyed have a blog.  (Of those, 43 percent publish a blog post at least once a week. Nearly half (45 percent) spend one to three hours to create one post, while 16 percent spend more than three hours.  (I can relate as it often takes time to come up with content, write the blog and then post it).  So, nearly half of those who blog spend up to three hours per blog post on at least a weekly basis – time that, prior to having a blog, would have been used on other business activities. This suggests that small businesses are recognizing the increasing importance of generating content for social media, over other business activities.

However, while they’re realizing content is valuable, time is still an issue. Respondents reported that finding and posting content to their social networks are the most time-consuming, followed by: learning and education; analyzing their social media efforts; and following their competitors’ activities. Answering questions posted on social media is the least time-consuming.

budget

Even with limited marketing budgets, small businesses are finding value in paying for social media. The survey data show social media budgets are increasing at a faster rate than overall marketing budgets.  More than 22 percent reported an increase in their social media budget compared to a year ago, while only 6 percent reported a decrease. So, there are nearly four times the number of small businesses that have increased their social media budget, versus those that have decreased.

Take a look below at the inforgraphic illustrating this data:

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How Pinteresting February 22, 2012

How many of you are pinning?  Pinterest, the newest social media site, just hit more than 10 million unique visitors, making it one of the fastest growing websites ever. In the past six months, visits to Pinterest grew by 4,000%, receiving 11 million hits in just one week! I have been seeing or hearing about the site everywhere…from the delicious recipes I was perusing on Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures that had a link to her Pinterest page to the friend at my son’s basketball game last weekend that shared she recently got an amazing recipe and her kid’s Valentine idea from the visual pinboard.

English: Red Pinterest logo

Pinterest was named the best new start up of 2011 by TechCrunch and is doing a great job of driving traffic, leads, and sales. In fact, early research indicates that Pinterest is more effective at driving traffic back to a website compared to other social media sites, even Facebook. Josh Davis includes some interesting stats on his blog:

  • Pinterest is now driving more traffic to the Real Simple website than Facebook is.
  • Warbly Parker, the hip but inexpensive eyeglass retailer, reports that 11% of its social traffic is coming from Pinterest. 18% is coming from Twitter.
  • Like many early bloggers, Kate Bryan managed a blog that was based around her interests, but it never generated many readers. She blogged about her professions of hairstyling and jewelry making, and also her craft projects. Hairstyles are extremely popular pins on Pinterest. Kate started pinning her own work and rapidly started generating traffic. In five months, she achieved over 14,000 new subscribers to her site as well as generating over one million page views from Pinterest.

What’s unique about Pinterest compared to most social media websites, is that it reduces the number of steps from discovery to the coveted conversion. This means that visitors from Pinterest convert into leads or sales faster than from other social media sources. Pinterest is also a great tool for increasing links back to your website, thus driving more traffic.

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Let’s look at Twitter, as one example. If a person reads a tweet regarding a product, it’s less likely that a user will buy that product from just seeing one tweet – well, we’re all a little shallow so maybe unless it’s celebrity-endorsed. Are you in the market to pay big bucks for Snoop Dog, Tori Spelling or the Kardashian’s to endorse your tweets? Ummm, probably not!

The site now connects with Facebook, according to a recent Open Graph announcement, which enables users to automatically post new pins to their Facebook news feed for others to see. This translates into more people from other channels getting access to the images you post to Pinterest. However, for business marketers, right now Pinterest only connects with personal Facebook profiles, not business pages, so there is no way for businesses to automatically share their pins to their Facebook pages. In order to do so, marketers must manually share the link to the pin on their business page.

Yet, if marketers sign up for Pinterest using the same email address used for their corporate Twitter account, they can automatically share the pins they post to their Twitter account.

So ask for your invitation and start helping your customers plan their wedding, select their next pair of shoes or just let them get to know your business brand better through the visuals you pin.

Happy pinning!

 

Local Business + Social Media January 27, 2012

Your small business can learn a ton from large corporations and their social media tactics. It’s not rocket science and you don’t need a dedicated team to do it.  Local businesses have a unique opportunity that doesn’t often present itself in the face of big corporations. If your local company isn’t trying these local social media opportunities, it’s time to get started! Here are 7 productive ways to begin that cost you nothing…but your time!

 

Creative Ways Local Businesses Can Use Social Media

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1.) Complete all of your profile/page information. I know, it’s not very creative, but the easiest to accomplish. As search gets more social, it’s more and more likely your social profile could show up in search results. Make sure you’ve filled it out with adequate information about who you are, what you do, where people can find you, and how to get in touch with you. Of all the social media networks to consider when leveraging an organic search presence, Google+ is currently at the top of the pile. With its consistent incorporation of Google+ profile and page information into search results, brand presence on Google+ is quickly becoming a social media must. Are you there?

2.) Monitor social media mentions. Of your brand…of related products and services…and of your competitors. When people are talking about these things, you should be the first to respond with a coupon, information about your product or service, or just a helpful answer to their question. People use social media for real-time information, and if you’re the one who provides the answer, you elevate yourself as a local expert and a trusted source. This tactic will help you generate new leads, close more sales, or just keep prospects, customers, and your community happy.

3.) Do a little investigating. Check out your fans’ and followers’ profile information to see what they like, and edit adjust marketing activities and communications accordingly. This helps you create buyer personas, refine the style, tone, and content of your messaging, and ensure you’re talking about the things your audience likes to prompt more social engagement.

4.) Become a resource for local events in your industry. Keeping your ear to the ground on events — whether live or web-based — that your audience would like to attend makes you an indispensable resource. Aggregate everything that’s happening in your industry, and maintain groups on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, or Circles on Google+ that keep interested parties up to date on can’t-miss activities. And be sure to show up to these events, too; your future customers will be there! Why not create another impression?

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5.) Maintain your presence on local review sites. Sites like Yelp! often appear among the top results in search engines. How does your reputation look? Consumers hold peer reviews in high esteem (I do), and it’s crucial that their first impression of you is a positive one. Plus, these sites help answer common questions for customers like addresses, hours of operation, and contact information that people are frequently checking on their mobile devices when on the go. You should be actively involved in maintaining your reputation on these sites by keeping your business information up to date, soliciting positive reviews from satisfied customers, and working to resolve issues with those who have posted negative reviews of your business.

6.) Ask your employees to use their social networks for your business. National companies may ask their employees to do this, but they won’t reap as much benefit unless their employees connect with people that are overwhelmingly interested in their industry. What do people tend to have in common with lots of their connections? Location! If their networks know their friend or family member works for a local company, you can be sure they’ll contact them the next time they need a local dentist, doctor, health food store, pet sitter, t-shirt maker, custom closet designer…well, you get the point.

7.) Connect with other local businesses and consumers. Get active in online conversations. Connect with people that live in your city and businesses that are doing cool things in your area (especially if they could act as a referrer of business!). It’s important to stay locally connected and network with people even if they’re not directly related to your industry; you never know when someone has a secret passion for something you offer or a need arises further down the line for your products and services.

Your local business can use social media to remain a fixture in the local online community and at your storefront.