Medway Businesses Get Social…Social Media – March Meeting Recap
Social media and managing your online presence is essential for every business looking to engage existing and prospective customers. Most consumers and businesses use the internet to find information about where they can buy products and services they need and to learn more about a business they are considering patronizing.
It’s more important than ever for businesses to understand and shape the information available about them online. Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo all “crawl” the internet looking for information, and it’s not just enough to have a website. To improve visibility and page ranking, a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp and other social media sites can make a significant impact. Likewise, updating website content is key because search engines look at a variety of information when determining the results presented in response to an online search.
The March 16 Medway Business Council event held at Charles River Bank in Medway featured social media and digital marketing experts from Nowspeed. Max Rielly and Jillian Guzinski, from the Westborough digital marketing agency, shared information on how to better manage your social media and digital marketing efforts.
According to Guzinski, businesses should spend time thinking about what they want to accomplish with social media and look at what similar businesses are doing to get ideas that might work for them. Develop a strategy with an editorial calendar of what to post and when. There are free tools such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social that allow businesses to schedule posts in advance. Using a scheduling tool makes the process more manageable and allows more time for planning and setting that plan in motion rather than having to react on a daily basis.
Set measurable goals and use the free tracking tools available on social media platforms to track your success. Goals may include how many people follow your business, how many people share or comment, how many people visit your website as a result of a post, or how many people complete a form or make a purchase. When considering what content to post, Guzinski recommends leveraging content your company has created for your website or other purposes to share on social media. This includes links to existing pages on your website, photos, testimonials, news, events, white papers, press releases, articles and videos. You can also share links to industry content that you find in industry blogs, publications, journals, news, customers, partners, etc.
Max Rielly shared that it’s definitely worth businesses investing the time to develop their social media presence and sharing content on an ongoing basis. These are key factors in helping your business be found and making a positive impression on current and prospective customers. While there is a time commitment, it’s possible for a business owner to undertake establishing a social media presence without significant cost. One way to leverage your time investment in social media is by encouraging your employees, who use social media, to participate in your business’ social media efforts by liking, commenting, sharing and retweeting company posts. This extends your reach and creates free impressions. If 10 employees with 100 followers share your post, it creates 1,000 impressions to an audience that might not otherwise know about your business. Admittedly, it’s important to find a balance as most employees don’t want to constantly “sell.” However, sharing fun information and photos can make it easy for your employees to increase awareness of your business with their network.
Because social media is such a large realm, start small. Pick one social media platform that you’re comfortable with and begin learning. Given that Facebook has by far the greatest number of users, it can be a good place for consumer-focused businesses to begin.
Rielly also shared the importance of businesses claiming or adding their profile listing on Google My Business. The search engine uses and displays this information in response to searches. Be sure that your profile is complete, including accurate location, hours, phone and even photos. If your business has multiple locations, be sure that each location has a Google profile. This is extremely important so that your business will show up in local map results.
While there is so much more that can be learned and shared regarding social media and digital marketing, MBC was grateful for the comprehensive and informative overview provided at the session. While a variety of answers were certainly provided and questions clarified, ultimately each business needs to spend some time thinking about their individual goals and then dive in. The best way to learn with social media is by doing. Start by creating your own personal profile and searching to see what others in your industry are doing. A lot can be learned simply by getting involved and looking around, which will then inspire your own strategy and action.
A special thank you to Charles River Bank for graciously hosting the MBC meeting and providing the refreshments. Your support is greatly appreciated by MBC and its members.
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By Wayne Texeira, MBC Board of Directors and Marketing Director at Murphy Insurance Agency