The benefits of using social media tools

The benefits of social media tools

Managing social media pages can be overwhelming for small businesses, especially when first starting. Once you create a profile your staff has to carve out time to think about content – both copy and images – while also taking part in social conversations, and answering client questions. Though the rewards may sometimes take long to reap, or even hard to pinpoint, the work that goes into social can bring in more clients. But what can your staff do to make social media easier to manage? Bring on a tool that does the groundwork for you.

Consistent branding

Compelling images are probably the hardest to attain as a small business with limited resources. Some social management tools, however, will also offer professionally designed profile images across all of the main channels. This will help your online presence look consistent so current and potential clients know they found the right business.

Reduce content creation time

If you’re looking for true value, find a tool that can offer you pre-written content that’s specific to your industry. This feature can act as a hired writer but without the cost of training, computer equipment, experience, etc. You will also be able to have the post scheduled in advance so your team can plan ahead.

More time on engagement

With your posts being taken care of your team will have time to spend on what’s most important: engaging your audience. Your audience includes people who follow you, as well as people who don’t.

For those who do follow you, they may predominantly be clients who are already loyal to you with a mix of potential clients. Both will use the channel to ask customer service questions. Research has shown that more than 80 percent of customers expect responses from businesses within 24 hours, with almost half anticipating a reply in less than an hour.*

For those who do not follow you, the best acquisition strategy to look for industry-specific conversations and take part in them. This will grow your following, and in turn expand your online presence to find new clients.

 

Social media is a must for your business, so it’s a great idea to find a tool that will save you time, and keep your staff focused on their main roles.

*https://www.nsdesign.co.uk/need-quicker-response-times-social-media/

Why does Google remove some reviews?

Why Google removes some online reviews

Google reviews can help a small business expand their reach to more prospects. But at the end of the day, Google controls the content that lands on their social network, Google Plus. This has left many of us wondering, ‘Why did Google remove that review?” According to their review policy, there are nine types of review content that they consider ‘prohibited and restricted.’ But what they could explain more is why they classify some reviews as ‘spam or fake.’ The answer is: the IP address.

Customers sharing the same IP address

Your internet service provider assigns the computer you connect to the internet with an IP address. If your customer brings a family member in, and they go home and both decide to leave a review for business on their shared computer, Google considers this a duplicate. In the world wide web, duplicate is another word for spam. So there goes their nice gesture and your chance to keep these two new reviews.

Customers reviewing with your WiFi

It’s no surprise that you have logged into your business’ Google Plus from your business WiFi. However, if you offer this same WiFi to customers and a happy customer decides to leave you a review while they wait, you’ve run into the IP address issue again. Another problematic scenario is if they simply log in to their Google Plus from your WiFi and leave the review later at home. The fact that they were on your IP has already left a trail.

Happy employees leaving reviews at work

Whether you asked your employees to give your business a Google Plus review, or they took it upon themselves, this is actually against Google’s guidelines. This is also another case where the search engine giant can sniff this out through the IP address. The employee is either leaving the review at work with the company WiFi, or they’ve signed into Google Plus under the WiFi and then left the review in another location like at home. Since this removal can be prevented, it’s probably best to ask your employees not to leave reviews.

Another option outside of the IP address is customers deleting the review themselves. This happens often with incentives. If you extend your offers or giveaways to a wide range of customers in exchange for a review, you may see reviews removed once they redeem their prize. Consider cherry-picking the customers you offer the incentive to in order to avoid this.

As we saw in the review policy, there are many other reasons why Google may remove a review from your listing. Because it’s almost like the luck of the draw, just remember the big picture which is to have an overall positive online reputation. As long as you have enough 4+ star reviews to keep you competitive against others in your industry, you’re in good standing.

https://whitespark.ca/blog/google-remove-reviews/

LinkedIn on a Budget

Linkedin Strategy for Small Businesses

As a small business, it’s important to have tools that will help you recruit top talent, find peers, and curate helpful content for you at an inexpensive rate. LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, is a great option to help your business fulfill those needs. Although there are paid options on the platform, with strategic time and effort you can get your recruiting, networking and educational needs fulfilled from LinkedIn for free. Here are some easy-to-implement tactics.

Recruiting:

  • Posting jobs as updates

Instead of paying for Linkedin Recruiter, you can post about open positions on your feed for all of your followers to see. In your post, encourage your followers to tag someone that may be a good fit for the position. This will give you immediate leads, and expand the reach of your post to that follower’s feed as well.

  • LinkedIn Salary

One of the hardest parts of recruiting is establishing a fair pay rate for you and the candidate. LinkedIn offers a salary estimate tool that assesses the job title and years of experience needed for the role so you can stay competitive when hiring.

  • Search bar – people

Outside of posting your open positions on your feed, you can also be proactive and search for the specific role and location you need a new hire in. For example, ‘graphic designer los angeles’ brings more than 43,000 results. You can also use the filter to narrow down by school or previous companies worked for. When you find some top candidates send them a message, or use the introduction box when requesting to connect to explain why you’re reaching out.

Networking:

  • Search bar – companies

Being a small-business owner can be hard when you need advice, or just reassurance that you’re on the right track. Instead of paying money to attend networking events or conferences, search for those companies and look for peers you want to connect with. People are often surprised how open others are to network on LinkedIn and trade tips. Make sure to leave a note in the introduction box when requesting to connect.

  • LinkedIn Groups

Another great way to find like-minded individuals is by joining LinkedIn groups that are pertinent to your industry. Groups often post relevant articles and engage with posts to start a conversation.

Learning:

  • Educational content

Sometimes it’s helpful to get out of your ‘publication rut’ and read articles from thought-leaders or blogs you’ve not heard of before. Start by following companies, media agencies or people who inspire you in your industry that post content. What they post will show up on your feed, as well as content that they ‘liked’ or commented on, which will help expand your learning horizons.

  • LinkedIn Learning

If there is ever a new skill you want to learn, or a strategic tactic you need inspiration on, take advantage of the free 1-month trial of LinkedIn Learning. They have topics from that span across business, creative and technology. There are also Learning Paths for specialities like becoming a manager, or an excel expert.

LinkedIn has a lot to offer business owners who are looking to expand their team, network or expertise for no cost. It’s truly the sophisticated social media channel that can help you achieve your goals without breaking your budget!

Creating an Engaging Instagram for your Salon

Creating an Engaging Instagram for your Salon

As a hair stylist, your Instagram page has become the new portfolio. Now you’re not just showing prospective employers you’re cutting and dying skills, you’re also showing prospective clients what you can do.

In a world that is over saturated with competition, it’s important for your career to create an engaging Instagram account so your audience not only likes your work and shares it with others, but likes you as well.

Keeping your audience engaged is a science, so here are some tips to help you get started.

Go live with Instagram stories

As of November 2017, Instagram Stories amassed 300 million daily active users.* This is all the proof needed to know people are watching, and that viewership has only grown. When you’re doing an edgy hair dye, or even cutting a classic medium bob, have someone hold your phone for a live Instagram story.

Take note on what type of content gets more viewers, and at what time. If you’re receiving good attendance for those unicorn hair dye jobs, consider announcing that you’re going live ahead of time. More people may tune in, including your peers who have been meaning to learn that new, trendy skill. And remember – people can tune in even after you’ve gone live. The story will stay on your page, and at the top of their feed, for 24 hours.

Respond to comments

Comments from your audience are one of the best forms of engagement. It’s great to hear opinions from like-minded individuals, or receive praises from prospective clients who love your work! Having said that no comment should go unresponded to, even if the response is a simple ‘thank you.’ That follower took a couple of minutes of out of their day to show you true appreciation, so it has to be reciprocated.

Also, you’ll probably notice the more you respond, the more comments you’ll receive. People love to experience that kind of connection on social media.

Create shareable posts

Memes are a good example of a post that followers often tag a friend in, or send to a friend via direct message. This is because those posts are relatable, and that has to be part of your secret engagement sauce. The more your posts are shared, the more your following will grow.

Mix in some posts that are comedic to your industry, or life in general. You can also try inspirational quotes, or a fun boomerang. It doesn’t always have to be hair related, but you can keep your posts industry-only to have a consistent theme to your content.

Tag brands for the exposure

As a stylist you’re using top name brands on your client’s hair, so let those brands know! Tagging a brand in your Instagram post will expose your work to them, and introduce your followers to the products you’re using. If your post is worthy of sharing, the brand may re-post it on their Instagram. Learn their official hashtags as well to further expose your work and your Instagram to a larger audience. This will help grow your following, and give you credibility as a stylist.

Having an engaging Instagram account is a daily task. The more time and effort you give to your account, the more engagement you’ll receive. Some influencers post 2-3 times a day to stay top-of-mind in their follower’s feed, but do what works for you. And remember – have fun with it!

 

*http://mediakix.com/2017/11/how-many-people-use-instagram-stories/

The benefits of Demandforce Local for your business

Demandforce Local is a public, searchable directory of 28,000 small businesses located in your neighborhood and across the U.S.

For Demandforce customers, a Demandforce Local business listing provides multiple benefits, and in today’s article, we’ll examine a few.

DF Local increases your business’ online visibility

Demandforce Local was designed to increase your online visibility, so you can extend your reach to new customers and boost local sales. Your DF Local business listing can be quickly and conveniently updated directly from within your DF portal, so you know your data is always up-to-date.

DF Local offers strong SEO support to boost your business name in a Google search

For a small business, having a strong presence online is a crucial part of how you attract new customers and continue to grow. The more sites you can get listed on, the better—especially if those sites are recognized as trustworthy and helpful to Google’s ever-updating algorithm that ranks sites. Where your business shows up in a list of Google search results basically boils down to the strength of your online reputation – and Demandforce Local can help. With the help of automatic review requests from Demandforce’s online marketing platform, your business can collect and highlight certified customer reviews all on one site. This strengthens your online reputation and helps widen your reach to new customers.

DF Local allows you to post targeted special offers for your customers

One feature of Demandforce Local is its ability to post targeted special offers to your customers. This allows you to foster customer loyalty and entice new customers to try your services over a competitor’s. You can view a list of the online specials you offer within your Demandforce portal, along with a summary of the activity generated from them, allowing you to test and learn which offers work best for your customer and prospect base.

DF Local provides useful metrics and customer insights for your business

In order to grow, you need to understand your customer, and one of the best ways to develop keen customer insights is by tracking metrics such as the performance of certain marketing campaigns, or numbers of appointments booked on specific channels (e.g., via Facebook, your website, or an email link). You can view these metrics on your Demandforce Local homepage, including how many appointments were booked via your page, and how many times your profile has been viewed.

DF Local gives you the opportunity to network with other local, non-competing businesses

Cross-sell opportunities are often an important aspect of building and maintaining a small business. The relationships you foster with other local businesses can help introduce your business to new customers, and you can boost your local reputation. One of the benefits of Demandforce Local is that your business is promoted to a network of non-competing businesses, and you can track activity in your network, in case you want to connect with other local business owners for promotions or events.

These are only a few of the ways Demandforce Local can benefit your business. To learn more about Demandforce Local, you can set up a complimentary consultation with a Demandforce expert. Call us at (888) 272-7821.

Find out how to get more Google+ reviews

If you’re a small business owner, you probably already realize the importance of Google+ reviews for your business or practice. Google is often the first point of contact between a potential patient/customer and your office. The idea of searching on Google has become so ubiquitous, “Google it” is an instantly recognizable phrase.

Therefore, Google+ reviews are strong online currency that can boost your online reputation and make you the first choice for new customers. Online reviews strengthen your social proof, which refers to a human’s natural reliance on feedback and the actions of others to determine what is good or bad in a given situation. Social proof is the reason why studies often show that an overwhelming majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations when making a purchasing decision.

A 2014 study done by the marketing firm BrightLocal found that the more reviews a business has, the more trustworthy it is deemed by customers; plus, most customers read up to six reviews to make up their mind about a business.

How many Google+ reviews does your business have?

Don’t worry if that number isn’t as large as you might want it to be. There’s a simple way to generate more Google+ reviews for your business: request them from your previous patients and customers!

With Demandforce, this process is simple to set up. Google+ does not accept third party reviews, so we have created special email templates that you can send out to your database, to request Google+ reviews.

Here’s how to set up a Google campaign in Demandforce

Click on CAMPAIGNS and turn on your ONE-CLICK CAMPAIGNS, and select the “Review us on Google+” option. You can preview the email, and edit the audience or scheduled delivery to best fit your business. By default, the email will send to all customers who rated your business on Demandforce Local or another logged site four stars or above, and will run once every two weeks. However, rest assured – a single customer will only receive the email twice a year.

GoogleReviewExample.png

Once your email has sent, you can view the sent and open rate results in the RESULTS section of the CAMPAIGNS tab. You can also edit or stop the campaign at any time in this area.

For more detailed information on how to set up or use the Google+ campaigns, click here.

5 Common Social Media Misconceptions

In this day and age, if you don’t know what “social media” is, you might have just emerged from a cryogenic state, or you’re living a bit off the grid. But for those of us who do utilize it in our daily lives, and even for those of us who might be resistant (or a bit intimidated) to it, we all recognize its power. Social media especially can be an incredible tool for small businesses looking to boost their online reputations, attract new customers and broaden their reach.

But before you delve headfirst into social media, we wanted to share…

5 Common Social Media Misconceptions

Avoid these and you’ll be well on your way to winning new customers and owning your social media presence!

I Don’t Need Social Media for My Business

Don’t believe the naysayers who believe a social media presence isn’t necessary for small business. The opposite is in fact true: social media might just be the missing ingredient in your marketing strategy. The stats don’t lie. Not only have the number of social media users steadily increased from 2010 to 2016, but sites like Yelp!, Google Local, and Facebook have become trusted sources for consumer reviews.

Social Media Is Just People Posting About What They Ate for Breakfast…

So if you’ve stood at the sidelines of social media and just watched others use it, you might think that social media (Instagram or Facebook, anyone?) might just be people posting about what they ate for breakfast, or discussing politics, posting pictures of their children, or their pets. But in reality, sites like Twitter and Facebook can help boost your customer communication and engagement. You can find new customers on Twitter by searching for relevant keywords and phrases. And you can create a Facebook Business Page for your organization – and on it, you can not only share updates about your product or practice, but you can also celebrate your customers, provide interesting articles, and celebrate your company culture.

You Can’t Track Value on Social Media

Some hardline data hounds might want to avoid social media because they think you can’t track value on it versus other, more traditional marketing channels. However, the reality is that social media is among the easiest channels to measure, because quantifying results is ingrained into the social media culture. Valuable information comes from metrics surrounding client engagements (likes, comments, sharing), and you can see immediately what posts engage your customers most, and what people want, and like.

It Won’t Bring In Sales

Another common social media misconception is that, while posting is all well and good, focusing on social media won’t actually bring in sales. The answer to this is two-fold. Not only do you need to remember that your customer’s story is more than just the sale. While of course your business’ bottom line is the driving force behind everything else, experts agree that social media cements the relationship between a business and its existing customers, making those customers more loyal, and more willing to refer and advocate for the company. And in straight stats, 78% of people recently polled by DDB Worldwide said that a company’s social posts impact their purchase decisions.

My Customers Don’t Use Social Media

If you think that social media might work for “other businesses” but not your customers, think again. Have you really dug deep into your customer demographics? A misunderstanding about your customers’ behaviors might be driving this misconception. For instance, many businesses that work with seniors think that their customers don’t use social media, but in reality – 65% of U.S. adults ages 50-64 are on social media more than cable and satellite television, and 49% aged 65+. (Statistica, 2015)

These are just 5 of the most common Social Media Misconceptions we have heard, what about you? Have you checked out how you look online lately? You don’t need to be a social media expert to run your business, but you could incorporate a stronger social media presence and strategy into your business plan moving forward. With a platform like Demandforce, social media strategy is incorporated into everything else we do to help your business grow. Don’t pay for a la carte experts or software when you can get an all-in-one solution for your marketing, social media, and customer communications. Contact us today at (800) 246-4853 to find out more, or set up a demo with us, and speak with an expert about your specific needs and business goals.