Tagged: digital marketing strategy

10 Easy Ways to Promote Your Business During the Coronavirus Outbreak

- by Alyson Shane

Social distancing is our only option to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread. But the impact could be devastating for many businesses, especially those that rely on foot traffic and offer on-site services.

As a result, businesses are looking for easy and efficient ways to promote themselves during the outbreak. Luckily, there are lots of tools at your disposal to stay connected and build awareness about your brand.

Below are 10 ways to keep your customers engaged from a distance:

1. Be active on social media

People are turning to social media to stay connected so make sure your brand is active online.

This is the best time to focus on community engagement. Leaving comments and having conversations with your audience and followers shows your business is tuned-in and humanizes your brand.

If your business can afford to contribute to local food banks or other community services, now is the time to lead by example. Share the news on social media and encourage others to do the same. 

2. Connect with your customers through email

More businesses are online than ever before, so cut through the noise and to talk to your customers where they live online: in their inbox.

Use your email newsletter to promote discounts, events like live streams, webinars and online training, and anything your customers might care about.

Depending on your business, this might also be a good time to do something different with your newsletter.

For example, for the next few weeks the Starling Social weekly newsletter is switching to a “Good News” edition where we’re highlighting positive stories from our community and across the globe as a way to spread a little more joy in these uncertain times. If you’re interested, sign up here.

3. Revisit your pay-per-click strategy

With more people performing searches than ever before, now is a great time to invest in pay-per-click (PPC) marketing to help your business get found.

But if your customers need to leave the house to engage with your business, it may be worth hitting “pause” on any PPC campaigns promoting those services.

If you can, focus your ads on services and promotions that customers can access and enjoy from home. Revisit your keyword strategy and consider what new and different searches they might be making from home, and focus your ad dollars on those searches instead.

PPC marketing is also a great way to use any marketing budget that needs to be reallocated due to social distancing, as Google Ads offers an impressive return on investment (ROI) of $8 for every $1 spent.

4. Revisit your SEO strategy

With more people sitting at home browsing the internet than ever before, it’s vital that your business ranks as high as possible on a search engine results page (SERP).

For reference, before the pandemic started Google SERP rankings have a return-on-investment (ROI) of roughly the following:

  • 1st Position: 31% click-through rate (CTR)
  • 2nd Position 15% CTR
  • 3rd Position: 9% CTR
  • 4th Position: 7% CTR
  • 5th Position: 5% CTR

Organic CTR for positions 7-10 is virtually the same

As we can see, the CTR drops off dramatically after the first few results, so it’s critical to make sure your website ranks as high as possible. 

Looking for more insight on improving your SEO rank? We’ve got some resources that may help:

5. Publish content on your blog

People are hungry for content to consume with all this extra time. If your business has a blog, use this opportunity to share posts that inform, amuse, or excite your readers.

Use any SEO and PPC research you've done to inform the topics you discuss on your blog, since searches give you insight into what people are looking for. If you provide answers to the search in your post, your blog has a higher chance of ranking higher on the results page.

Bonus: publishing blog posts regularly gives you extra social media content to share, making this task a little bit easier, and gives your website a natural SEO boost.

6. Highlight gift cards and take-out options

Gift cards give your business an infusion of cash right away and guarantee that the customer will return to your business in the future. In Seattle, customers are going out of their way to buy gift cards from local businesses to keep cash flowing. 

To promote social distancing, set up an e-card program and promote take-out as an option if you run a restaurant, cafe or bakery.

7. Host contests and giveaways on social media

Contests are a great way to engage your audience and gain more visibility for your brand, just make sure they’re tasteful. Book publishers can give away audiobooks and e-books to their followers as a way to pass the time indoors, for example.

A great way to support other local businesses is to collaborate on a contest giveaway - just make sure all the prizes are either digital or can be sent through the mail.

8. Promote discounts

Now is a great time to entice long-term purchases by offering discounts. If your business offers memberships, encourage customers to lock into a one-year membership now at a discounted rate. If you run a retail store, consider offering free shipping for online orders.

Depending on your business model, you can also use traditional promotions like “buy one get one” (BOGO) and free incentives.

9. Keep customers engaged with live video

If you have a store opening, product launch, or celebration planned, use Facebook and Instagram Live to stream it to your social media channels.

If you don’t have any announcements planned, use video as a way to go behind the scenes with your business. Share how your team is connecting remotely. Walk viewers through how a product gets made. Offer a live Q&A. The possibilities are endless, just be creative!

Video is a great way to keep customers engaged and put a face to your brand in addition to selling your products and services. Promote your live events and increase attendance by offering a special discount code to the first 50 or 100 people who join.

10. Host webinars and online events

Social isolation is leaving people more time to invest in training and personal development, so now is the ideal time to hone any online offerings your business may have, like webinars or online certifications.

Many businesses rely on in-person events to generate income and leads, so if you have a conference or training event that has recently been cancelled, consider reformatting it into a webcast that attendees can join from home.

How to promote your business during the coronavirus outbreak: conclusion

Nobody knows when things will go back to “normal” or even what that “new normal” will look like, so it’s more important than ever for businesses to connect with their customers online.

Invest in your social media and in content that keeps your customers engaged and excited about supporting you during this crisis. If you need help, drop us a line.

If you want more tips like this (plus good news from our community and elsewhere) sign up for our weekly, hand-picked newsletter

Above all, stay safe out there. 

xox 

The Starling Social Team


 

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

- by Alyson Shane

Are you planning to invest more time and resources into your business’ social media in 2020?

There’s a lot out there about what you should do in the coming year, and the marketing trends to keep in mind… but what about what not to do?

Just in time to start planning your next year’s marketing strategy, we’ve got a list of the top 5 mistakes to avoid. 

So dig in, take note, and start preparing for a successful year on social media:

1. Failing to plan your strategy

Here at Starling Social, we put our clients through a rigorous onboarding process that involves creating multiple, brand-specific documents like:

  • Audience/buyer personas
  • Copywriting style guide
  • Affiliates and competitors lists
  • Company info sheet
  • Content calendar
  • Social media master strategy document
  • How-to documents per social network and deliverable

This might seem excessive, but going through all this work beforehand means that we have a deep understanding of who our clients are before we begin posting on their behalf.

It also means that we can explain our reasoning to our clients, and refer back to agreed-upon documentation when making decisions or reviewing a process.

2. Not doing audience research

Spoiler alert: your audience isn’t “everyone.”

One of the reasons why we build audience personas is to develop a better understanding of exactly who we need to be talking to online.

This research matters because different demographics of people spend their time in different places online. For example, a B2B salesperson in their mid-40’s is more likely to be spending time on LinkedIn than Instagram. On the other hand, a millennial is much more likely to be spending time on Instagram than LinkedIn.

Audience research also helps you understand the specific pain points felt by different people who might want to buy from you. Having a deep understanding of their pain points and how your business solves them is critical for effective social media marketing.

Use our guide to building effective audience and buyer personas, and make sure you’re marketing to the right people in the right places.

3. Using engagement bots or buying followers

Some brands who feel anxious about their social media following may feel tempted to “invest” in tools that automatically like and comment on Instagram posts, or in purchasing followers to boost these numbers.

If this is something you’ve considered, we strongly suggest you reconsider. Here are two reasons why:

  • Fake engagement doesn’t build real relationships with your followers. People want to buy from brands they trust, and that means spending time showing them that you’re paying attention by doing the work of manually engaging with them.
  • Fake followers don’t help your business grow. Fake followers aren’t people who genuinely care about what you have to offer, which defeats the purpose of having them. Sure, having 20K followers might look great. Still, those 20K followers don’t have any value because they aren’t genuinely interested in buying what you have to sell.

We talked about how using engagement bots is against our company values in one of our older blog posts, which you can read here.

4. Posting on too many social media networks

The key to staying ahead of the competition on social media in 2020 is to identify the best social networks for your brand and to develop individual marketing strategies based on those platforms.

Spreading yourself too thin across too many social networks stretches your resources. It often leads to poor implementation of your social media marketing strategy.

Doing the audience/buyer persona research, we talked about earlier is critical to determining the best places to spend your time. Once you’ve identified the top 3-4 social networks, focus on developing unique and exciting marketing messaging for each one and hone as you go.

5. Ignoring LinkedIn and Pinterest

We’ve seen a resurgence on LinkedIn throughout 2019, and this momentum appears to be building as we move into 2020.

40% of monthly active users use LinkedIn every day. People using LinkedIn typically use the platform to find new and relevant content, which makes them more receptive to anything you may be sharing.

Pinterest is a unique social network because it acts more like a search engine than other social media networks. Even better: pins on Pinterest can continue to drive traffic to your website for years after your initial pin.

Avoid these social media marketing mistakes in 2020

Building a social media presence that generates awareness about your brand and grows your business takes concerted time and effort.

By keeping these mistakes in mind, you can avoid some of the pitfalls marketers find themselves in, and create a lasting, positive impression about your brand in the minds of your followers.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning and get posting!

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Want help developing a social media marketing strategy that gets results for your business? Drop us a line and let us know how we can help.


 

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