A New Outlook on Google: Stop Complaining About Changes

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A New Outlook on Google: Stop Complaining About Changes

For the modern business owner, Google can seem like your best friend or your worst enemy. Online marketing encompasses a plethora of different categories, and developing a complete marketing strategy can be a daunting task. With so many free resources, many businesses find that Google makes strategy much easier to devise and traffic much easier to monitor. On the other hand, Google constantly makes changes to its search engine index and to the tools that it offers for free, which can make it difficult to stay on top of the newest and best practices. more

Is Your Business Safe from Brandjacking?

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Is Your Business Safe from Brandjacking?

Companies spend countless dollars on brand management, using online marketing and a variety of other tactics to ensure that they build a strong reputation. Without proper planning, these companies can undergo serious damage from harmful brandjacking if they do not plan for the threat appropriately. Like any challenge in business, the key to combating the threat is first to identify what you are up against. Once that is established, you can fight against it with proper brand management tactics. more

Brandsplat’s Secret Recipe, Part II

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Brandsplat's Secret Recipe

 

(Editor’s note: This is the second installment in our Secret Recipe series. If you missed the first helping of our tips on content marketing greatness, click here.)

Main ingredient alert: We’ve reached the part in the Brandsplat Secret Recipe where we disclose a big, protein-dense tip on successful content marketing. It’s the one that has moved more than one client to accuse us of using slight of hand and other forms of magic to boost their website traffic and conversion rates. (Hey, we’re not above that; if your coven has any tips, please let us know.) But getting more visitors to your site isn’t magic — nor is getting them to offer up their email address for your newsletter or to engage with your company or brand on social media. more

Brand Management: How Social Media Can Impact Your Brand Image

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Brand Managment

There is nothing new about the concept of branding in business, and with the new technologies that pop up each day there are more and more opportunities for a business to work on expanding its brand. Among these opportunities, social media presents an inexpensive and easy way to relay unique messages. With the proper brand management, social media experts are showing businesses how to get their messages directly to the consumer.

Creativity and Originality

The most important place to start with any social branding efforts is to ensure that a compelling brand statement is already in place.  And if it doesn’t have the right kind of supporting content, no amount of promotion is going to be effective.  Every piece of information shared must be in line with the company’s brand and each piece should demonstrate, directly or indirectly, why that brand is better.

The truth is that you can hire the best social media experts in the world to help with your brand management and get absolutely nowhere if you don’t already have a clearly understood branding statement.  You need to know what sets your company apart from the competition, and come up with some creative ways to express that. Once you have the overall strategy in place, your social media manager will be able to get the appropriate content to convey your brand image.

Always Stay Consistent

Of course, anyone can get set up on social media, so don’t feel accomplished just because you have a Facebook and Twitter page for your business. For these pages to help with your branding efforts, you must remember that consistency is key. In this case, consistency is not just making sure that everything you post is in line with your brand image, but also that you are consistently posting new content to keep your users engaged.

This is one of the biggest struggles that new businesses face when working to get their message out there, and one of the primary reasons that businesses find their social media presence to be a source of great frustration. The truth is that for someone who does not understand how to use social media channels properly, this type of branding is a waste of time. For those who are engaged with social media, they find that these channels can be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to brand. This is ultimately why so many companies turn to social media experts when it comes time to help with brand management, and why those companies are able to produce such impressive results.

Don’t Miss an Opportunity: Understanding Facebook for Business

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Facebook for Business

Social media has taken a significant role in the marketing and operation of businesses in the digital age. This influence has been so profound that it has produced an entirely new type of marketing job in the form of a social media marketing specialist. Before hiring anyone to manage the social media for your company, it is important to have a basic understanding of the impact each social media community can have on your marketing efforts. In terms of Facebook for business, the key is to engage customers so that you remain at “top of mind” when the time comes to use your service.

Facebook is more about Branding and Customer Retention, Not Acquisition

It is important to understand when establishing a Facebook presence what your goals are. As any experienced social media marketing specialist can explain, each outlet has different uses in the marketing world, and Facebook is no exception. Many times, people think that if they set up a Facebook account for their company they will magically start getting likes, and their brand will simply explode due to all of the extra exposure. This is unrealistic.

Though Facebook will occasionally lead a customer to your company, and can be quite effective in that regard for certain industries, the simple fact is that the platform is not intended for businesses.  However, Facebook can work as a great tool to keep your business on your customers’ radar. By regularly posting updates, your product or service can stay fresh in peoples’ minds.

Your Only Expense is Time

Though there is the option to purchase Facebook ads, which can be very effective, the cornerstone of a successful Facebook marketing strategy does not require any paid advertising. The real keys to success are simple: keep a consistent voice and remain true to your brand, regularly make posts, and engage with customers. If your business is small, you may even be able to devote enough time each day to do this yourself.  If you can afford it, you can hire a company to monitor your account and keep your content fresh.

Ultimately, the key to success on Facebook is the same as any other marketing program. You need your message to stay in front of customers, and let them know that your value. By establishing this connection, you can help ensure that your business comes to mind when they need your service.

Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

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Three Benefits of Blogging You Might Have Missed

 

Most business owners now understand the importance of blogging in terms of raising the profile of their business, both online and in their local community. But even those who were early adopters of blogging as part of their marketing strategy for their business don’t always think of the following three benefits:

1. Ward off competition

It’s true: Blogging can help your business stave off a competitor. Let’s say you run a small consulting firm specializing in helping companies save money on their telecommunications bill. If you’re doing it well, your blog is full of stories of satisfied customers and tips that make it clear that you’re the expert in a particular niche. Why would a potential competitor want to have to try to prove that she is more awesome than you when you’ve already cornered that market?

2. Attract investors

In the same vein, having this record of your thoughts and experiences can also lead to someone saying, “That company has a great business model and is led by a fabulous person. I’d like to meet with them and see if I can be part of their future success.” And once you sit down with this potential investor, they already feel as though they know you, your dreams and your company’s raison d’être.

3. Organize your own thoughts (and get feedback!)

Kind of like keeping a journal, a business blog helps you keep track of ideas that you’re considering for your company. Better yet, they’re ideas that your audience can weigh in on. Say you run a small chain of coffee houses in a tri-state area and you hit upon an idea: What if your stores hosted an open mike night or a poetry slam? By blogging about it, you can both record your idea and gauge potential interest in these events. Maybe your readers aren’t that interested in either idea, but they would like to see you make room for a mother/daughter tea event. There’s extra revenue, just like that.

We know what you’re thinking: “Man, I have GOT to get on this blogging thing, even though I have no time!” Don’t worry… we can help you out. We work closely with our clients to go beyond informative blog writing — we study your industry, learn its acronyms, talk about your dreams. In short, we capture your voice.

So when it’s time to finally start that blog, or turn your existing one over to a professional who can be sure it gets updated more than once a quarter, give us a call at (800) 299-5498 or shoot us an email at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com. We’ll have your blog working for you in no time!

How NOT to Attract Business with Your Blog

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Just as responsible attorneys deplore ambulance-chasing hacks, we here at Brandsplat get our dander up when we see the art of attracting business through blogging debased with thoughtless posts. After all, our writers take great pride in their work and enjoy partnering with our clients to establish just the right tone and content necessary to increase traffic to their stores or offices. So we occasionally get little rants emailed around the office when they stumble across something especially bad.

Here are the top three types of posts that you DON’T want to have associated with your business (and which we promise never to write for you):

1. The Not-So-Humble-Brag Blog: This post is irritating in part because it has so much promise. The business has won some kind of recognition or reached a milestone and rightly wants its customers to know. So far, so good; sharing these accomplishments can help improve a company’s image with its current and prospective customers or reinforce an already good reputation. But in this case, the writer went tone deaf and belted out an egregiously self-congratulatory blog, forgetting to thank the company’s employees as well as other stakeholders. What could have been a gracious reminder of why customers choose to do business with this company instead prompts customers to ask, “Do I want to be associated with this kind of pompous behavior?” Brandsplat tip: Spread praise evenly for best results.

2. The Close-But-No-Cigar Blog: We’ll admit to geeking out a bit when a blog comes across our laptops with a Big Idea. Maybe it’s a philosophical confrontation of the nature of a company’s business a la Jerry Maguire. Maybe it’s a connect-the-dots piece that helps us write even more meaningfully about a certain topic. These types of blogs are rare and, when well done, command attention. However, the great majority get bogged down by a lack of proper execution. Some of them start out well, but the line of reasoning isn’t clearly borne out. Others have so many grammatical errors that we can’t see the argument for the typos. And nearly all need a good editor to stand back and say, “I do not think it means what you think it means.” Even your shampoo bottle knows enough to recommend that you rinse and repeat — or in this case, wait a few hours and review your work with fresh eyes. Or, even better (and this brings us to our Brandsplat tip): Have someone else look at your blogs before you hit the big button.

3. The My-Political-Opinion-Is-Better-Than-Yours Blog: Sure, most of us know that business and politics don’t mix; you’re more likely to offend someone and lose their business than you are to impress an already-like-minded individual and gain theirs. Unfortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for the politics of business to creep into a company’s blog (say, proposed tax code changes or a news story that criticizes hiring practices in a company’s industry). That’s usually when the trouble starts. This is particularly true when the business owner is handling a lot of the marketing him- or herself, as there’s no counter-check on what’s being put out there (see point 2). But let’s say the writer pulls it off and pens a post in praise of something he or she considers innocuous, like helping little old ladies cross the street. That’s when the blog’s readers take over and start commenting, adding their own two inflammatory cents. Haven’t enabled comments? That’s OK, they’ll just share your blog on Facebook with their own take — likely one you’d never want associated with your business. Brandsplat tip: Remember, it’s all too easy to start out writing about the virtues of a particular position and end up sunk in vitriol.

Interestingly, these poor choices often happen when writers feel pressured to “put something up on the blog already!” and don’t have the time to think through what they’ve written. That’s just another reason to hire a content marketing service, and we happen to know a good one. Let us know if we can help by emailing hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com or calling 800-299-5498.