Is Social Media The Right Fit For Your Small Biz?

I recently attended a friend’s dinner party where I was introduced to her mother. The conversation went as you would expect, with the eventual (and sometimes dreaded) question, “what do you do?” being asked.

Of course, I told her that I was a content marketer, and I went on to explain what Spokal was and what my position entailed, only to find out that she was in the midst of starting her very own business!

You go girl!

Excitedly, she began to ask me a few questions about online marketing until eventually she asked about social media. But it wasn’t what I expected. I assumed she’d ask about best practices, about different platforms, about effectiveness etc. but instead she confessed that she wasn’t on any social media platforms at all, and wondered if she was missing out?

From what she told me business was going well, she was generating plenty of leads, and she was hard-pressed for time to fill in orders already.

So I think I just mumbled some statistics about how 71% of people say they’re more likely to purchase from a brand they follow online, or how 93% of marketers use social media, and concluded with a very confused “probably”-type answer.

Social Media

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For the rest of the week, I couldn’t get it out of my head – Was she really starting a business without any social media presence? And, moreover, was she better off for it?

I know, I know… what am I talking about? Shouldn’t I be answering her with a resounding “YES!”? I felt like I was betraying my own role as a content marketer!

But the reality is that not every small business needs, or should, be on social media.

Here’s 5 questions to ask yourself before you decide whether your small business should be on social media or not.  

Content Marketing: The Lifeline of Your Online Business (Blog Series Part 2 of 10)

In last week’s blog post, Introduction to Spokal’s 3 Pillars of Inbound Marketing (Part 1 of a 10 Blog Series) I told you that you’d be hearing a lot more about content, and I wasn’t bluffing! Content is the foundation of inbound marketing, and by that I mean – nothing can work without it.

spokal's 3 pillars of inbound marketing - content marketing

The only way people will ever look at your website, is if there’s content on it. The only way people can discover you on social media, search engines, advertisements etc., is through content. The only way you can nurture leads, is through content.

You’ve probably heard the term “content is king” before, right? Well, it might be bit cliché, but I’ve yet to see anyone adequately disprove it. Sure, you might have people claiming that content is no longer king, and say… quality is. But how, may I ask, can one have quality content without, well… content?

You see what I’m getting at here?

Content is the lifeline of your online business. Without content marketing, there is no inbound marketing. It’s an absolutely necessary subset of inbound marketing.

The good news is, the barrier of entry into who can create content is pretty low. As long as you can put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – you can create content. But the bad news is, content marketing isn’t easy. It takes perseverance, hard work, consistency and innovation (as well as a whole bunch of other things too!)

But I’m not here to tell you it’s going to be easy, I’m here to tell you it’s going to be worth it.

35 Awesome Marketing Automation Statistics From 2013 – 2015

35 marketing automation statistics from 2013 to 2015

It nurtures leads, entertains followers, tracks your customers, reduces human error and streamlines repetitive tasks so that you can spend your time doing something more productive… marketing automation seems like a no-brainer for businesses looking to get online! 

But the reality is that it’s been slow to catch on. 

Whether that’s because of a lack of education, priorities lying somewhere else, or a complete misunderstanding as to what marketing automation is and what it can do for your business, there’s one thing that’s undeniable: It works.And the marketing automation statistics speak for themselves. 

But why have I only cited marketing automation statistics between 2013 and 2015? 

Well, they say that statistics as it relates to the internet become outdated after about 2 years or so because, as we all know, the internet is growing rapidly all the time. And while older statistics can be still useful, as long as you take them with a grain of salt – there’s only so much salt you can add before your cholesterol starts to spike. 

So, in the interest of your health, I didn’t want to bog you down with anything that might be irrelevant. 

Introduction to Spokal’s 3 Pillars of Inbound Marketing (Part 1 of a 10 Blog Series)

SPOKAL'S 3 pillars of inbound marketing

Everyone’s on it! And, these searches aren’t just about browsing for funny memes, cat pictures and games to play when you’re bored with 78% of users say that they use Google to research products and services! 

That means people are using the internet – and the content that’s on the internet – with the intention to eventually buy.

For a business, the internet is probably the most amazing marketing tool at your disposal. Never before have you been able to reach so many targeted potential clients at such scale before. It’s unprecendented. It’s your Yellow Pages, TV adverts, magazine ads etc. all rolled up into one.

Not All Marketing Automation Platforms Are Born Equal. Don’t Choose The Wrong One. Part 2.

Confused about Marketing Automation? 

confused

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Who isn’t? There is a lot of information about Marketing Automation (MA) out there. It’s a hot topic – and the promises of the technology to business is compelling – more leads, better leads, more customers, less time.

But very little of that information is actually helpful for small businesses looking to understand exactly what Marketing Automation is, and how it can help them in their particular business.

That’s probably why surveys have found that although many people do have success with Marketing Automation, the results often don’t justify the investment and people who buy it rarely use it fully. Especially when it comes to small business.

How to Use Google+ Communities to Promote Your Small Business (Without Being a Creepy Spammer!)

Google+ communities for small business

There’s an unfortunate rumor buzzing around the web that Google+ just isn’t the place to be.

It’s a wasteland!

It’s a Facebook wannabe!

There’s no one on it!

Etc. etc. etc. You get the drift.

Normally I wouldn’t pay any heed to rumors and gossip. I’m a try-it-and-decide-for-myself kinda gal. But I can’t ignore it anymore – not when small businesses are the ones who have to pay the price!

So listen up small business owners, marketers and everyone in between: Google+ could potentially turn into one of your biggest sources of social media traffic.

I know what you’re thinking! No way! She’s exaggerating! It can’t be!

But here’s the thing: Since I’ve started promoting content on Google+, Google+ has become Spokal’s second largest source of social media traffic after Twitter. (click to Tweet this!)

Cool, huh?

How to Speed Up Your Content Curation Process Without Sacrificing Quality

Growing Social Media - content curation

Photo courtesy of mkhmarketing(CC Attribution)

Blogging for your business is, as we all know, essential to any Inbound Marketing strategy. It helps establish your company as a thought leader, it brings in new site traffic, and it converts that traffic into leads and customers.

But it’s not as easy as “build it and they will come” anymore. You can’t just write a blog and expect people to stumble across it on their many Google query travels. Sure, optimizing your content will help you be found through SERPs to a certain extent, but there’s also another – and often just as effective, if not more so – strategy at play: Social.

It’s not rocket science! Your audience loves social media, so you should too.  

Get Your Facts Straight: How to Stand Out From the Crowd with Fact Checking

fact checking

Photo courtesy of Sarah Burke

With the introduction of the internet, fact checking is no longer the domain of scholars and journalists. Instead, anyone who can work a search engine, can type in a query and follow the bread crumbs to its source.

Yet, even with the resources for fact-check at our fingertips, content marketers often don’t do spend time doing these checks. Instead, we take most statements at face value – not from its original source, but from the person who quoted it – and popularize it by spreading the information.

Whether we do it because we don’t have time (I’m guilty for cutting corners ever now and again when I feel under pressure to create content), or we just don’t realize the importance of fact checking, the end-result remains the same: Our blogs are littered with inaccuracies and misinformation.

And worse: Our audience are making decisions based off of our posts – decisions that may have been different if we had taken to time to ensure that what we said was true.

What Is “Conversation Marketing”? And Why Should We Care?

Hey, you! We need to talk about something really important.

I just think – and I don’t mean this in a disrespectable way – but I think we need to learn how to communicate more effectively. It feels like you don’t really listen to me when I’m trying to say something. I tell you about my money problems, and you keep talking about buying that new car that I can’t afford. I tell you about that I’m getting married, and you keep sending me links to dating sites!

Talking

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It’s really annoying.

It seems like all you want to do is talk, talk, talk. You just want to shove your point down my throat and hope that I’ll be persuaded to behave how you want me to in the end.  

Well, it’s not working out for me. I need to feel like we’re having a conversation. Like we’re both listening to the other’s side of the story.

Do you follow?

Of course you do.

We’ve all had this conversation in some shape or form with a friend, loved one, partner, family member, co-worker etc. at least once in our lifetimes. It’s a tale as old as time, a grievance that’s plagued us since the dawn of humanity, a loose thread that just doesn’t seem to want to be tied up…

It’s our inability to get this communication thing really working for us.

As marketers, we’d like to think that we’re communicating with our customers, but are we really? And if we are, why haven’t we embraced Conversation Marketing?

Should You Be Marketing Your Small Business on Tsu?

is tsu right for your small business

If you haven’t heard about Tsu yet, let me get you up to speed quickly.

Tsu a new social media platform that promises to give 90% of its revenue back to the people who’ve made the platform what it is – its users.

That’s right, Tsu, actually pays you to use it.

The idea was inspired by the fact that other social networks actually profit from user’s creating content and having their circles engage with it, without the creator ever seeing a penny from their content.