Not every business can afford to hire a full-time public relations expert – although by hiring a marketing firm, you can often rely on their public relations expertise. However, it is important that you devote much of your marketing efforts to positive public relations and not just typical marketing strategies like paid advertisements. One of the most essential cornerstones of effective public relations is how your company handles negativity on your social media profiles.
Nielson reports that 92 percent of consumers trust earned media, perhaps because they know you’re not simply forking out cash to earn a spot on a website or a recommendation from an expert in the industry. If your company seems friendly and approachable, it will do better in the face of negativity. If you invite questions and encourage customer engagement with your social media, blog posts and videos, you’re more likely to earn consumers’ trust when you attempt to make things right for an unhappy customer. Create and post original content on a regular basis – at least a few times per week – and provide more opportunities for existing customers and potential customers alike to interact with your company in a positive way to drown out the few negative complains that do appear.
Monitor Social Media Terms
According to Marketing Interactions, 53 percent of shoppers rely on peer recommendations instead of
advertisements. That backfires when someone posts something negative about your brand or company on social
media. The best way to counteract negativity is to monitor popular social media like Twitter and Facebook for terms related to your company and products or services. When you see a negative complaint, reach out to the person and express your sympathy for their dissatisfaction. This is especially necessary when a customer tags your business’ social media account into the discussion. Respond promptly.
Resolve the Problem
Offer to help resolve a problem. Don’t just hand off a dissatisfied customer, as that only makes them more frustrated. If you have a customer complaint line or email, recommend it to the person, but also state that you’re willing to help if that doesn’t work. Oftentimes, customers do start there and it’s a bad customer service department experience that prompts someone to complain online, so simply telling them to call or email again won’t help. If you’re a small enough operation, you can see that the issue is resolved personally. If you’re part of a large corporation, you should still have a public relations expert follow up on these type of complaints personally.
No matter how hard you work to ensure your products or services are the best they can be, there will always be some negativity about your brands and company online. The people most likely to make a public comment are the ones most dissatisfied. (Conversely, the ones most happy about your goods are services are the second most likely to post, so these posts can help outweigh the bad.) You can’t and shouldn’t try to silence unhappy customers. Instead, remember that other customers are watching and handle the situation by putting your best face forward.Read More
Search engine optimization has been widely used by businesses of all sizes for over a decade – and like any popular
form of marketing, it’s in a near-constant state of fluctuation. Since its inception, SEO has undergone countless
changes. Some of these changes were facilitated by prominent search engines altering their algorithms, while others came about organically. In order to remain competitive, companies need to stay current with the latest developments in search engine optimization. Heading into 2016, your business can’t afford to ignore the following SEO trends.
Social Media is Consistently on the Rise
Considering how popular social media outlets have become over the last decade, it should come as no surprise that more and more companies are choosing to shift their SEO efforts to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As Impactbnd reports, over 75 percent of marketing professionals have used social media outlets to build brand awareness and maximize their SEO efforts. Ever since the mid ‘00s, each year has seen a substantial increase in the amount of attention paid to social media – and 2016 is looking to be its biggest year yet. This year, your competitors will be pulling out all the stops to incorporate popular keywords and hashtags into their social media posts, so don’t allow your company to be left in the dust. Keywords play a large role in getting your posts noticed – particularly on Twitter – so take care to pepper your updates with industry-centric keywords and hashtags.
Mobile Optimization is Paramount
These days, smart phones and tablets are people’s preferred web browsing devices. Although traditional computers are still abundant, research has found that people now do most of their browsing on the go. As a result, Google and other popular search engines now factor in mobile functionality when generating search results. This means that if your site gives off a laggy performance on mobile devices – or is outright incompatible with them – you’ll need to have it configured to run smoothly on them. If your site’s mobile device compatibility leaves a lot to be desired, get in touch with an experienced web designer posthaste.
Digital Assistants Should be Catered to
Not all search engine queries are text-based. Recent years have seen a considerable rise in the popularity and prominence of digital assistants like Siri. Instead of typing their criteria into search boxes, many modern-day Internet users have their digital assistants carry out their searches for them. Companies can capitalize on this by adopting a more casual tone in their blog posts and feature articles. Web content that is conversational or colloquial – that is, web content that sounds like people talk – is more likely to elicit attention from digital assistants than content that sounds uniform and flavorless.
The SEO landscape is constantly changing. Although search engine optimization can be an effective way to attract new business, companies need to stay on top of the latest trends in order to maximize their SEO efforts. Failure to do so is liable to give your competitors a tremendous advantage and result in copious missed opportunities. To ensure that your forays into search engine optimization continue to thrive, find ways to make the above-mentioned trends work for you.Read More
Between content product and website meta tags, advertisements and social media, your marketing department (or just you, if you operate a website alone) spends a lot of time trying to optimize your website to get more traffic. However, focusing on the most popular keywords in your industry isn’t enough. If you want more traffic to your site and you want to convert more traffic into paying customers, you need to focus on locally-relevant keywords when increasing your search engine optimization.
According to Search Engine Watch, 50 percent of mobile searches are done to find a local business – and 61 percent of those searches led to a purchase. Capitalize on this trend by focusing on keywords that are specific to your area or the area in which your target demographic tends to reside. For example, instead of focusing on something generic but relevant to your industry like “buy used books,” add your store’s city name to it the term: “buy used books Philadelphia.” If you have stores in multiple cities, include multiple city names on your keyword list.
Few businesses are going to have the word of mouth and search engine result power of multinational corporations like Wal-Mart. These gigantic businesses are the ones that will pop up first for search terms like “new towels” or “buy wedding supplies.” By adding a city, state or even country name to the keyword on which you’re focusing, you’re competing with fewer other businesses, which greatly increases your chances of ranking toward the top of a relevant search term.
The Pew Research Center reports that 86 percent of consumers feel that a search engine helped them learn something new or increased their knowledge about a topic. When you participate in the community or communities in which your business is based or tends to attract the greatest number of customers, you become a more visible part of that community.
Educate your website visitors about events and causes relevant to your community. For example, if your store is among the sponsors for an upcoming marathon benefiting disease research, you can tie your keywords to search terms relevant to that event and redirect people back to your website through a blog or social media post discussing the event. For instance, you might focus on the keyword “cancer research marathon Chicago” even without any words relevant to what you sell because anyone looking up information on that event or charitable cause will want to learn more. Your website can then provide that information via a post discussing your sponsorship of the event. While the visitor is there to learn more about the event or cause, he may become interested in your products and services.
For most businesses, focusing on local keywords simply makes more sense regardless. If you deal primarily with local customers, you don’t need people in another country reading about your business. If you do accept national or even international orders, your time is still better devoted to finding customers in the most populated areas in which your customers tend to reside. Learn how to incorporate local keywords into your SEO effectively, and see your traffic and conversation rates soar.Read More
Social media can be a time-consuming aspect of your business’ marketing, but when you do it right, it’s worth every dime you spend and every employee hour it takes. Conversely, if you do it wrong, it can cause more harm to your business than do good. Consider hiring a public relations expert, either as a new staff member or through a third party marketing service, to take control of your business’ social media presence, particularly your Twitter account.
Twitter Users Are More Interactive
An active company Twitter account will provide you with a better sample of your average customer’s feedback. GfK MRI reports that Twitter users, for example, are 506 percent more likely to write a blog and 314 percent more likely to post a review or a comment than non-Twitter users. These are the consumers most likely to spread the word about your products and services or to share your blogs. They’re more likely to accept free samples for review and share their enthusiasm for your services or products. To build a loyal Twitter following, you need to offer content they’ll enjoy reading.
It Makes Your Company More Approachable
While the last thing you want to do is post anything that could be offensive, an innocuous but more “human” approach to Twitter posts will go a long way. For instance, 360i claims that 85 percent of Tweets are original content, not retweets. Few will be interested in your account if you mostly retweet industry news or simply post links to new products or blog posts. Post Tweets that are relevant to hot trends, your industry or the season in a way that makes your feed seem less like it was written by a robot and more like it was written by an actual person who loves your company.
There’s a Fine Line to Walk When Companies Use Twitter
Do not make the mistake of hashtagging the first popular trending hashtag you see, as it could turn into a public relations nightmare. An expert will research the tag before deciding if it’s appropriate for your company to weigh in on it. If it’s something fun, for example, “#HolidayMemories,” then your Twitter account could post happy holiday memories from many of your staff members before sneaking in a promotion to buy something relevant to the holiday every few tweets. If the hashtag is related to bad news in the world or some controversy, do not jump into the conversation, as people will find a corporation weighing in on it offensive. The one exception is if a social issue – for example, LGBT rights – is important to your company’s goals and virtues and you’re willing to storm the angry comments from detractors.
A Twitter account, even for a business – or especially for a business – needs to be engaging and prove more than a place to advertise your latest sales. If you want Twitter users to actively follow your company’s Twitter account – to be invested in it – you have to offer them more. The right public relations expert will straddle the line between unprofessional and too “corporate” to make more Twitter users a fan of your social media posts.Read More
After putting your all into creating a user-friendly, aesthetically-pleasing website for your business, the general lack of traffic your site has received is disenchanting, to say the least. These days, getting people to your website is equally as important as getting them into your brick-and-mortar establishment. The era of the Yellow Pages is long past; Google and other prominent search engines now reign supreme in the minds of modern-day consumers. As Forbes reports, nearly 80% of consumers now turn to search engines when looking for businesses. That being the case, it’s imperative that you boost your website’s search ranking. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to do this with the help of search engine optimization (SEO).
Many people associate SEO with keyword-rich content – and for good reason! Inserting industry-centric terms and phrases in the blog posts and articles that appear on your site is a great way to elicit recognition from search engines. Although keywords are effective when plugged into the body of your content, they tend to work best when incorporated into titles and headings. Additionally, make a point of not overusing key terms and phrases. Not only will this make your content sound stilted and unnatural, it can also draw the ire of search engines that become aware of what you’re doing.
If links to your site can be found on a fair number of websites, search engines will look favorably upon you. With this in mind, you can benefit from setting a link building strategy into motion. If there are any prominent news sites or online publications that cater to your specific industry, inquire about purchasing ad space. You may also consider a quid pro quo arrangement that entails having them host links to your site in exchange for you hosting links to theirs. As Digital Current’s Jarrod Hunt explains, guest blogging is another effective way to make prospective customers aware of your business. Furthermore, encourage any satisfied clients with sites of their own to link to your business’s website – possibly in exchange for a discount on your services. Regrettably, despite being effective at generating new traffic, links posted on social media sites have no effect on search engine rankings.
Search engines like Google show preference to sites that reference trending topics, so if there’s a way to incorporate a hot news story into one of your articles or blog posts, don’t hesitate to do so. However, when producing content of this type, it’s important to tie things together as organically as possible. If references to current events are sloppily wedged into your posts, your audience is likely to take notice and start regarding your site’s content as negligible click-bait. Furthermore, if Google catches wind of what you’re doing, you can expect to see your search ranking fall.
In recent years, it’s become difficult to find a successful enterprise that doesn’t have at least one SEO strategy in place. Even if you’re a latecomer to search engine optimization, it’s never too late to boost your website’s ranking in Google, Bing and other search engine mainstays. Entrepreneurs who are eager to get their websites the attention they deserve are urged to embrace the magic of SEO marketing.Read More
You know that regularly posting new content is key to getting potential customers to visit your website. HubSpot reports that businesses that post between five and 20 blog posts per month get five times the amount of traffic as businesses that post four or fewer. However, good content alone isn’t enough. You have to figure out how to get people to your website to check out the content. (Once they’ve visited a few times, they might check back on their own if they like what you offer.) That’s where website optimization comes in, but you may have heard a few things that no longer work or never really worked in the first place.
Myth: Repeating Keywords Is Better
In the early days of the Internet search engine, website owners figured out that the more often certain keywords appeared on their website, the better their chances of getting a high ranking in a search result. For example, a business that sells used books might want to appear high in the results for the search term “where to buy used books,” so they’d repeat that phrase “where to buy used books” over and over again on the site, even when it read awkwardly. Not only does this seem clunky and obvious to visitors and might make them unlikely to return, but search engines are smarter now and are actually more likely not to favor a website with too much repetitive use of the same terms.
Do incorporate keywords relevant to your business and website, but be careful not to repeat them more than a few times per page.
Myth: Small Updates Make a Big Difference
You may have heard tips suggesting you change the colors of certain phrases (like “click to purchase” or “buy now”) on your website to make them stand out. A consultant will then provide you with evidence that Website A changed “buy now” from a color associated with “stop” (red) to a color associated with “go” (green) and more people then clicked the phrase and completed a purchase. While changing colors doesn’t hurt your website, unless you choose colors that are gaudy or difficult to see, it doesn’t make a big difference, either.
Stop thinking that tweaking the small details with lead to a higher conversion rate. If something’s not working with your current website design and optimization practices, you need a big overhaul, not a small one.
Myth: Feedback Surveys Are Useless
Too many businesses bypass the idea of asking their own customers what they’d like to see improved on a website because they have some general statistics that consumers like this or that thing. Your established customers are more relevant to your website than the people who took a general, limited survey. Ask your customers what they like and dislike about your site and make large-scale adjustments accordingly.
Incentivize your customer surveys so you encourage more customers to participate and you get a broader, more accurate picture of how effective your website is.
Keep posting quality content. According to Traffic Generation Café, once you’ve posted between 24 and 51 blog posts, your traffic increases up to 77 percent. Good content is the backbone of website optimization because even if you’re able to get people to visit your website with optimization techniques, it’s the content that keeps visitors there and encourages them to come back.Read More
All things considered, your first foray into business ownership has been a moderate success. You’ve recruited a knowledgeable staff, attracted a fair number of repeat clients and managed to turn a profit every month since your company’s inception. Still, being the go-getter that you are, you know there’s always room for improvement. Although you have a loyal base of repeat customers, you haven’t attracted any new business in months. If you’re determined to expand your clientele, enlist the services of a seasoned public relations expert. With this person’s assistance, your modestly successful company can become a resoundingly successful enterprise.
Identifying Your Target Demo
A lot of fledgling businesses make the rookie mistake of trying to be all things to all people. Suffice to say, this approach almost never breeds long-term success. Focusing on too many different areas will essentially make your business a “Jack of all trades but master of none.” Many first-time entrepreneurs express an unfortunate, albeit entirely understandable, hesitance to target a specific type of client, as they believe this will impair their ability to attract a broad range of customers. However, committing to a particular type of product or service and marketing it to a demographic that’s very likely to need it will ultimately work to your company’s benefit. A PR expert will play an integral role in helping you determine your business’s core strengths, as well as the types of people your promotional campaigns should target.
As Forbes’ Robert Wynne points outs, PR experts specialize in promoting clients through editorial coverage, or “free media.” This runs counter to advertising agencies, who focus on promotion through advertisements, or “paid media.” In essence, their goals are the same: building brand awareness for clients. However, their respective approaches couldn’t be more different. Whereas a public relations specialist will work to get your company mentioned in newspaper articles, online publications, web series, podcasts and television programs, an ad agency will simply pay for promotional coverage. Since the PR approach has the distinct advantage of third party validation, it tends to be more effective at winning over prospective clients. After all, anyone can buy ad space, but it takes a special company to obtain shining endorsements from neutral parties.
Getting Your Message Across
After identifying your company’s core strengths and target demographic, a knowledgeable PR expert will take measures to get the word out. Depending on the type of business you run, this may entail organizing community outreach events and social media promotions. She’ll also compose and distribute snappy, well-written press releases to noteworthy publications, both print and online. In essence, this person’s job is to strengthen relations and promote communication between clients and their respective customer bases.
Even the most well-oiled machine needs an occasional tune-up, and your ambitious little start-up is no exception. Bringing a skilled PR expert into the fold will help you grow your business and attract a sizable array of new clients. If an influx of excited new customers is what you’re after, don’t hesitate to contact a results-oriented public relations specialist.Read More