Many business owners spend a lot of time on positive, proactive marketing, but considering that nearly 90% of consumers look to online reviews before making a purchase, you may be missing a key portion of your business' digital reputation. Whether you own a large, successful company or a small shop, these tips will help you convert more potential consumers to customers with a few easy steps.
First, some facts. Google My Business has become integral to click through rates. Six out of 10 new consumers now look to the platform for reviews on local business. Your Yelp, Facebook and TripAdvisor (where applicable) profiles will also pop up below Google reviews and are frequently the next stop for customers. (If you haven't claimed your business on these sites, this should be your first step to gain control of reviews). Word of mouth matters to consumers, but these days, online reviews are an acceptable substitution for word of mouth according to 91% of 18-34 year olds. Reviews can be contested by business owners, but rarely result in the review being removed, making reviews more legitimate to consumers. In fact, nearly 70% of consumers are more likely to consider purchasing or hiring a business with positive online reviews.
Positive reviews aren't enough. More than half of consumers (57%) will only consider a business with 4 stars or more, and the number of people who value the quantity of online reviews climbs each year (49% in 2019 vs 35% in 2016). So what do you do to encourage people to change their rating and potential customers to trust your brand and business ethics? You must respond to negative online reviews, even better if you take the time to respond to all online reviews.
How you manage reviews matters more than any other method employed in your digital marketing strategy. Eighty-nine percent of consumers read the business owner's response to online reviews, while 63% of consumers say that a business has never responded to their review. This is a bad business practice. Your customers want to know that if they do encounter an issue with your business, you will immediately and satisfactorily fix the problem.
Responding to good reviews is easy, but how do you respond to negative reviews?
Don't have the time? Not sure how to proceed? I've got you covered. Contact me to learn more about CRM, review management and bulk email services. We offer options to fit every business' budget.
With "May the Fourth" just past, it seems like a great time to talk about avoiding copyright infringement in social media posts on your business page. We recently discussed copyright infringement in another post, so this article will focus on the use of intellectual property, particularly content owned by major corporations.
So you see a meme featuring main characters from a beloved movie about another galaxy far, far away, or maybe the hidden wizarding world of the UK. Either way, you figure you can throw a catchy pop culture reference over the top and apply it to your own business. These sorts of posts undoubtedly attract engagement and could drive traffic to your business. You certainly can use the faces of copyrighted characters on your business page as part of a larger marketing strategy, but you cannot use it to sell goods or services. It's Schrodinger's meme: Both a marketing tool and not at the same time.
It's important to remember, should you choose to use a copyrighted character in a post on your social media channels, no where in the post or comment thread can there be an allusion to something you sell. This is an incredibly thin line to tread, particularly if your customers or potential customers take the commentary in that direction and you interact with them to that point. And of course you would want to, who would want to drop a potential lead?
You might feel like a small fish in a big pond who could never draw the attention of a large corporate entity to get caught in "minor" copyright infringement violations-- it's just a funny/cute post after all. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. It's precisely the large corporate entities that have the time to seek out businesses, large and small, infringing on their copyrighted work. These corporations have all the money in the world to go after you for unapproved use of intellectual property and it could cost you a lot of money, if not your entire business.
When creating content for or consulting with social media clients, I have a general rule to advise against creating anything that could be construed as copyright infringement, this includes mimicking a font or look and feel of an easily recognizable copyrighted product. You'll see this a lot on May the Fourth, when businesses post graphics that mimic a familiar yellow block font against a star spangled background.
So how can you get in on the fun of these engagement-driving memes and graphics? Share away, preferably from a non-commercial page, avoid all mention of sales and services and keep the copy lighthearted. If this all seems complicated and worrisome, give us a call and let us take care of your social media content. We'll ensure everything posted is in keeping with copyright laws and keep your marketing strategy on track.
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Digital marketing can be a litigious minefield with laws struggling to keep up with ongoing platform changes and unpredictable regulatory needs. Some laws, however, are longstanding and fully applicable to internet marketing as-is, like copyright infringement laws. And you might be surprised to learn that even if you've hired a "social media expert" to manage your business' online marketing, it's you and your business could be on the hook if your marketer lacks scruples or basic understanding of copyright laws and uses copyrighted imagery or music.
You're not here to read through paragraphs of copyright laws, so let's skip to the bullet points:
If you aren't able to verify a specific image is free for commercial use, do not use it. This is an entirely too common mistake made by novice marketers, low-cost marketers (particularly sourced from outside the US) and unwitting business owners or employees. The most common mistake is pulling an image from an image search or another social media channel and posting it without credit to the original source to your business' website or social media channel.
You get what you pay for. This is especially true when hiring an inexperienced or uneducated marketer or someone from a foreign market like Pakistan or India, where you might pay as little as $7 an hour, but with zero assurances of legal practices or protection, and a very real risk to your business.
Be wary of stock photos provided by online photo editing programs. Canva is a popular example of one such service. Don't get me wrong, online design programs like Canva and Snappa are great for non-designer types, business owners on the go and even experienced marketers, but the stock photos provided are not all free for commercial use.
Oh no! What have I done? If you're realizing that you may have already used copyrighted material for your business page or website, don't panic. You may consider going through your past posts and scrub any potential photos that could qualify as copyright infringement. If you're currently working with someone on your website or social media content, take some time to review their practices and their past work. If you're wondering if something someone else posted on your business' behalf, you can do a reverse image search on Google and ensure the image is free for commercial use. (Click here for instructions on reverse image searching on your phone).
So where do you find royalty free imagery? There are actually quite a few websites that provide free for use stock photos and several are free. While I pay for a stock photo account through Adobe, I also source photos from Pixabay and Pexels, although those are just two of several free stock photo sites.
It may seem like a lot of pages post copyrighted images, seemingly without repercussions, but thousands of cases of copyright infringement happen every year in the US. Copyright infringement fines can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, so it pays to verify each and every image, video and music file you utilize in your business is free for commercial use.
Not sure how to navigate the world of copyrighted materials?
ContactContact NEW Towns Marketing for a quote so we can help your business grow.
You may have heard a rumor that Facebook is planning on dropping all non-promoted content from users' news feeds. Worried about how this will affect your business page? Don't panic just yet.
Facebook is, first and foremost, a business. They aren't necessarily trying to squeeze every last dime out of businesses, although the side effect of changes their users are asking for do benefit them financially.
Facebook users have been asking to see more friends and family posts and less public page content for a long time, Facebook's response is to cater to them in order to avoid an overall loss of user-ship. In response, they've added a second news feed to the platform, allowing users to switch between friends and family (AND paid adverts) and public pages. The beta version has been released for testing in six countries including Sri Lanka, Slovakia and Serbia. The test results in just a couple days are already showing bad news for public pages with most reporting a 60-80% reduction in engagement.
This is not a new problem for business owners. Social media is the present and future of effective marketing, and has long been accessible for small business owners as an affordable marketing option. Unfortunately, Facebook has made several damaging changes over the last couple of years, most notably the changes that went into affect in spring of 2017, drastically reducing organic reach from public pages.
So what's a business owner to do? Particularly, small business owners? It's going to be tough, and may require a closer look at your business' marketing budget and strategy. As of yet, Facebook hasn't hinted at increasing ad costs-Yet. And they didn't after the changes last spring. Which means it's still a relatively affordable marketing option, especially compared to traditional print and radio marketing.
The real trick for already time-strapped businesses, will be developing effective ads and campaigns and understanding the best ways to target their demographic. Add this strain to the increasing need to create eye-catching visual ads and videos, and you start to realize just how difficult this transition could be for small businesses.
So what can you do to prepare? You could just wait and see. There hasn't been any official statement from Facebook saying these changes will be made across the board. It is, however, a safe bet that changes WILL continue for public page owners. Don't wait for those changes to happen. Develop a strategy now. Understand your demographic and how to target them with Facebook ads. Focus on creating and implementing a few high quality, engaging posts a week to 'boost', but for now, plan to continue with daily posts to keep your page active, informative and engaging for potential visitors.
Need help with strategy, content creation or targeted advertising? Contact us today!
Instagram's Stories is making promising strides, reaching 500 million users a day. And with their early-2017 change to an algorithm over linear reverse-chronological view, business pages are losing ground in organic reach. Unlike Facebook's Day, businesses can (and should) utilize Instagram Stories to make up for the loss.
Identify Your Demographic
Think of Stories as Direct-Marketing Billboards
Instagram moves fast, so it's no surprise the average Instagram user misses 70% of the content in their feed. Stories puts your post at the top of the Instagram feed and sticks for 24 hours, dramatically increasing the odds of your post being seen.
Create Engaging Posts
Before you plunge into Instagram stardom, consider your branding. How do you want your business to be perceived? Starting a social media account just to abandon it doesn't look great for web presence and legitimacy in the long run, so consider your strategy.
Use All the Features
Instagram is owned by Facebook, so the promoted posts work more or less the same. (Keep in mind, any post you boost on Facebook will also appear on Instagram unless you opt out of it, so no need to boost the same post on both apps). You can set up a campaign on Instagram's website, but the easiest way to promote is to upload your post and click the Boost button when it publishes.
Using Stories is a fun and fairly easy way to directly marketing to your consumer. Your engaging posts will drive up traffic and interaction with your brand and to your website. Creating fun, informational graphics takes just minutes with integrated editing features and can heavily influence potential consumers to convert when done correctly and consistently.
Wondering how to make Instagram work for your brand? Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation!