Why Is My Social Media Campaign Failing?

Image: Social Media, Best Practices

If you operate a small business today, then you understand that you simply HAVE to use social media in order to best optimize your opportunities for new business, and reach both potential new clients as well as those you have already converted. Social Media is of key importance today.

So many small businesses try to use social media, but fail miserably. The number one question we get here at Akin IT Services when it comes to social media is “what am I doing wrong.” While we always preach that social media is a process that needs to be treated like a full time marketing campaign, we’d like to offer a few tips that can help supercharge your social media sites to generate a bit more business.

  1. Consistency. Like anything else, if you aren’t consistent in providing new and fresh social media content, you might as well not provide any at all. At a minimum, you should provide at least one social media post on each of your social platforms every other day. That is at the very minimum. We know you can’t have someone hired to just make posts all day long, but the goal should be to try to have 10-20 posts per week across your social media platforms.
  2. Do More Than Promote Your Business. This is where 90% of small businesses fail. In many cases, you are already working 18 hours a day just to cover your job in running your business, as well as all the others that you can’t afford to hire someone else to do. So adding another thing in, like social media, feels like a waste of time if you aren’t focused solely on your business. We get it. That said, that’s 100% the wrong move! Think about your habits on Facebook or Twitter. You generally scroll through and click on something interesting. Only rarely will you look at a specific person’s feed and click because it’s them. Generally, you’ll see a video or a meme that looks interesting and click it to comment on it. If it’s really good, you may follow that person or business, just so more like what interests you comes through your feed. This IS the process. For every post with a call to action to purchase your product or service, you should have at least 4 that are general consumption to the masses. The more you make your social media pages fun and SOCIAL, the more people will like or follow it. That directly relates to that call to action post you make having more eyes on it, and generating more sales (or at least sales contact with your company).
  3. Know Your Hashtags. For years, anyone that has been involved in SEO talked about keywords and key phrases for search engines. Social Media has their own search methodology. With Twitter, and now with Facebook, that methodology is known as hashtags. With so many people these days using Twitter and Facebook to find products, services and other information, it’s imperative that you understand the most popular hashtags related to your products or services. Add them to your posts, and you will become part of the results pages when people search on those platforms.

These are only a few key pieces to a very large, involved process. If done correctly, you will see results. Your social media will drive new business to you. It’s a great tool if used correctly, consistently and without spamming your clientele endlessly. If you are going to put in the time, let that time generate income for you.

If you need help with your social media campaign, please consider hiring Akin IT Services to handle this marketing effort for you.

Are You On Top Of Google?

Most Companies Are Missing Key Elements That Can Help Them!

At Akin IT Services, we are always working with our customers to provide a seemingly simple goal. That's more traffic to their websites, which ultimately can result in more business being generated. Whether you have your website to provide information, to sell products online, to build your brand awareness or to alert your potential customers to deals and specials you are providing, it is worthless if no one can find it.

Every internet marketer in the country will tell you that they can do this and that for you (and yes, we do that too). It's generally honest offerings. The problem though is that so many people don't understand just what they need to be atop of Google, Bing, etc.

While we won't list all the things here, let us offer a couple of easy things that are essential to having a raised standing in searches.

1. HTTPS, NOT HTTP. If your site has not been secured with an SSL Certificate, Google is dinging you. With the uptick in hacking going on throughout the web, they are looking to give credit to those they feel are better prepared to avoid being hacked, spreading Malware or Spyware, and becoming a portal for credit card number theft. How do you know if you have been secured? Simple enough. In your web browser, type in https://www.yoursite.com (replace yoursite.com with your actual URL). If it gives you any sort of error, it's a good assumption that you are not secured. If you need information on this or need this done for you, give us a call at (216) 584-6090 or shoot us an email and we'll help you out.

2. ACTIVE WEBSITE. More than ever, the search engines want and promote websites that are active. They want to know you are still there and doing business, and they give credit to those that consistently add content to their website. There are several ways to do this, with the most common being to add a blog or vlog to your site. It doesn't have to be something crazy - but every couple of weeks you should be adding new content. Doing this will assist your standing in search greatly, especially if your blogs are written with search engine results in mind! Akin IT Services will happily write and post blog posts for you. Give us a call if you need assistance with this at (216) 584-6090.

3. SITEMAP. This is a piece of a website that almost nobody sees except your web designer and the search engine provider. It's like a table of contents to a book, telling the search engine where to look to find information on every page of your website. Once these are placed on your website, they need to be registered with the search engines so they not only know how to crawl your website, but are aware of any new pages that you've added since your last sitemap was posted. We are happy to ensure this is there for you, and to register any existing or new sitemaps for you. Just call us at (216) 584-6090 for assistance.

By no means are these all the things that need to be done to improve your standing in search. They will help though. By all means, if you are interested in a full search engine optimization campaign for organic search, or a pay per click campaign for more immediate results, please don't hesitate to contact us for help. We'd love to assist your rise up the search engine pages.

Remember The User’s Experience When Optimizing

Image: Search Engine Optimization, SEO, User Experience, Google, Bing, Yahoo

If you are a search engine optimization customer, be it with Akin IT Services or another company, then you are someone that understands the importance of raising your company’s profile. You understand how that directly relates to MONEY, or “return on investment (ROI)” as those that like to throw business terms around call it.

Every single SEO and marketing specialist out there will offer you various changes and adjustments you can make to how you do business. The intention is usually good and focused. They realize that when you see an uptick in business, that will directly relate to them staying in business with you. So we do our due diligence. We study. We follow trends. We read the updates Google provides. In short, we make sure every technical advantage is given to you, our customers that we want to see succeed.

But for all the technical expertise that Akin IT Services and our contemporaries can offer, there’s one piece that is overlooked often...a piece that you (the customer) can probably state far better than we ever could. That is the user experience. For all our knowledge of alt tags, SEF URLs and keyword density, we don’t know your customers. To make a search engine campaign successful, you have to provide us with that information.

When working on a search engine optimization campaign, either organic or pay per click, make sure that you are involved in the process. Bring your expertise with your audience to us, so we can incorporate it to our technical expertise. Think about it in the same way you would if you were buying a car. We could put on all the television commercials, newspaper ads, email campaigns and calling campaigns to get you to our car lot. The problem though is that if you got there and found a lot full of lemons from the 1970s, you simply wouldn’t be buying what we’re selling. The same is true with search engine optimization. We can get the traffic to your website, but if we do so while leaving your site unfriendly and unfamiliar to your customers, they will undoubtedly move on to someone else. Your expertise of what YOUR customers look for is every bit as important as any technical change we can make to your website.

Stay part of the process.

For more information on search engine optimization or any other assistance Akin IT Service can provide you, please contact us at (216) 584-6090 or www.akinitservices.com.

The Top 10 Reasons To Use Twitter For Business

Here at Akin IT Services, we talk to customers and potential customers all the time regarding social media. For many people, they have a lot of questions. One of the biggest questions we encounter is which social media outlet they should use. Should people use Facebook? What about Pinterest? Is Instagram helpful to your business? What about Twitter?

The questions are numerous, and there’s really not a stock answer to give other than to say that utilizing social media in 2014 is a MUST for a business looking to reach an audience the modern way. For many companies, they can get by utilizing Facebook and Twitter only; as long as you have focused personnel who understand the purpose of why and how they can be best utilized.

WHY is the other big question we get regarding social media, and specifically Twitter. In short, companies that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years on salesman, cold callers, mailings and other marketing avenues often have a hard time grasping how and why 140 character posts can make the difference between being a successfully marketed company or one that sits in obscurity while their customers pass them by. Even more than Facebook, Twitter has become the social media marketing method of choice.

With this in mind, here’s our top 10 reasons we think you should not only use Twitter in your marketing strategy, but should be proficient in it.

1. Branding / Name Recognition Of Your Company - Twitter is an “at a glance” media; one where people look quickly and remember those posting to it that grab their interest. You can quickly grab interest from the Twitter universe with a good tweet. That interest quickly builds your name recognition, and can establish your brand as a leader in your field...even if you are just starting and developing your business at the time.

2. Connect With Your Customers and Potentials - The fact is that most of your customers and potentials not only have smartphones, but have Twitter on it. As of the beginning of 2014, there were 645,000,000 Twitter uses, with over 135,000 new subscribers joining every day. That’s a lot of audience available to you. Knowing that your target market is on Twitter, it only makes sense that you use this tool to reach them.

3. Jump Past Your Competition Cheaply - We’re all aware of search engine optimization, and if you've been a company more than a few months, you are also aware of the expense to be at the top of any Google Search. That said, Twitter really allows you to jump ahead of the pack with nothing more than smart use of hashtags. A lot of people don’t understand that Twitter is the #3 search tool used by people today (behind only Google and YouTube). Your tweets can be seen by thousands immediately by simply using the appropriate hashtag in a popular Twitter thread.

4. Company News - How many times have you wanted to announce something about your company (a new phone number, a new location, the hiring of a new employee), and had to incur a major expense to get that done. With Twitter, it’s as easy as taking 30 seconds to post out to your entire follower/customer base.

5. Free Marketing - It’s 2014 folks, and cold calling is pretty much a thing of the past. With appropriate tweets and hashtags, Twitter accomplishes this same level of marketing without the high cost of personnel, equipment and time trying to get past the screeners at each company. In short, you can market whatever thought you have to make your business thrive. Twitter can be your new 1st contact that you have hired sales professionals to do in the past. Businesses need to utilize this.

6. Know What Your Competition Is Doing - We all know that our competition is fighting against us for each and every customer and customer dollar. We also know that our competitors are on Twitter. In a sense, being a public social media, Twitter allows you to not only “spy” on your rival businesses, but to gain and learn from their successes. You may not want to admit it, but you can become a better company from watching the movements of your competition. Twitter makes that possible.

7. Promotions / Coupons / Giveaways - Remember in the old days when car dealers would have a hot dog barbecue in order to get people in the door? How about free piggie banks from your favorite local bank to drive new customers? We’ve all experienced that in the past. We’ve also all sorted through handfuls of coupons from a ValuPak delivered courtesy of the US Postal system. It’s 2014 folks, and this can be done easily, cheaply (or free if you choose) with Twitter. A slow Friday can be quickly turned around with a tweet to a large Twitter following that says “save 20% on product X” for the next 4 hours. That message is delivered immediately, and if anyone is following you and actively in the market, they may just purchase AND be available for the upsell that makes it all worth while.

8. The Viral Nature Of A Good Tweet - While this is almost impossible to predict, a good and interesting tweet can go viral in the blink of an eye. While many may read that as reaching 10s of millions of people, the reality is that it could merely mean gaining great attention within the community that would be interested in purchasing your product or service. Once that happens, sales follow. While it’s never a guarantee, it happens a lot in the Twitterverse.

9. Feedback From Your Customers - If used correctly, Twitter can take the cold element between customer and company away. With that in mind, an active Twitter campaign can garner you a lot of feedback, both good and bad, from those that make decisions and more importantly spend money with you. It’s always important to encourage feedback and stay in touch with your customer base.

10. Sales, Sales, Sales - That’s why we do any of this, isn’t it? Last year, Dell Computers reported that they generated almost $7,000,000 in sales that were generated from Twitter. That’s a LOT of profit that this company simply would not have made before Twitter came into being. Twitter is a sales tool, and the sales can be great if you are active and work hard to understand it’s power.

So there you have it. Twitter is a powerful tool for businesses, but you have to understand not only it’s purpose but how to utilize it effectively. If you are interested in learning more about Twitter or having Akin IT Services create and incorporate a Twitter campaign for you, please don’t hesitate to call us during normal business hours at (216) 584-0690 ext.1. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/akinitservices.