Is Social Media A Dead End For Your Business? (And What To Do About It)

Implementing a paid advertising strategy is key to success on social media.

Implementing a paid advertising strategy is key to success on social media.
Marketing on social media used to be pretty easy.

Three or four years ago…

You created some posts, tossed them on Facebook, hit a huge segment of your customers, and watched the engagement roll in.

Piece of cake, right? Facebook even helped you by putting your page and posts in front of lots of likely customers — for free!

Crazy…

Now, Facebook has a tight leash around all your posts and you get minimal exposure.

Twitter’s hit a plateau and even though it’s still a great place to be for conversation, growing your brand is a major challenge unless you grabbed a following when the platform was booming.

If you’re like most companies, now you’re flocking to Instagram, because it’s actually generating some results today.

But that’s not a forever type of deal, is it? Just over the last 24 months, Instagram has become super competitive for brands and there have been massive engagement drops across the board.

It’s only a matter of time before Instagram gets buttoned up similar to Facebook, and becomes almost entirely a pay-to-play marketing channel.

When that inevitably happens, where are you taking your social media focus next?

The thing is, you have to stop relying solely on just posting to social media and expecting the platforms to do the hard work for you. Those days are gone.

As hard a pill it is to swallow, scaling your business from the typical day-to-day social media posting is a dead end for most brands. Instead, if you want to drive customers through social media, you need a paid social advertising strategy and you need to pull back the reins on your day-to-day content production, because it’s ineffective and inefficient.

Want Proof Organic Social Media Isn’t A Reliable Path?

Unilever owns some of the largest consumer brands on the planet — household names like Dove, Axe Body Spray, Lipton Tea, Dollar Shave Club, and plenty more.

Go skim the Dove Facebook page, paying attention to the dates they’ve made new posts. See how infrequent they are?

Or the Axe Facebook page. They haven’t posted anything since May 25!

We’re talking about a huge consumer brand with almost 4 million Facebook fans and a target audience of younger men — some of the heaviest users of Facebook.

The brand still doesn’t see the value of organic posting on social media; they’ve shifted the majority of their resources to paid social advertising and more significant content (like video) integrated with broader marketing campaigns.

You should too.

If diving into social advertising sounds like an overwhelming task, that’s because it is. Digital advertising can be a money sinkhole if you don’t ask the right questions up front and establish a working digital sales funnel.

Not only that, but there’s a lot of technical work on the back end to set up your landing pages, integrate them with your CRM or email management tool, create the ad campaigns and establish good targeting, and properly track campaigns for optimization.

The question is, are you going to fall behind the marketing curve or will you make that bold decision to put your business in a position for success?

4 Hidden Features of Evernote to Keep Your Business Organized

4 Hidden Features of Evernote to Keep Your Business Organized

4 Hidden Features of Evernote to Keep Your Business Organized

It’s no secret that Evernote is a leading tool for organizing your thoughts and documents online. After all, it’s helped over 200 million users save reminders, ideas, and documents. With over 5 billion notes created in the past ten years, it took 70 days for the platform to transfer all the data to Google’s Cloud in 2017.

People use Evernote for many different reasons, whether its as a simple reminder tool or a complete content management system. Since its founding in 2007, Evernote has continuously evolved with the digital age, adding plenty of features along the way, like the web clipper.

But the basis of Evernote has never changed: it ensures people can save ideas, deadlines, and articles they want to read later in an organized, digital format.

These four lesser-known features of Evernote are sure to help keep your mind from feeling chaotic and your business from being disorganized.

1. Context

As you’re writing your notes, there will be times where you need some inspiration from external sources. Evernote’s Context feature can provide this by searching for related content. Without the need to even click a button.

Evernote Context Feature

It works through AI by identifying keywords within your notes and searching through related content from reliable sites.

In Evernote’s own words, it offers the following benefits:

  • Notes from your own account: As you type, Evernote searches through your existing notes or notes a coworker has shared with you, and surfaces anything related to what you’re currently working on.
  • People from your network: If you include the name of a person in a note, and you’re connected to them on LinkedIn, Context brings up their LinkedIn profile.
  • Articles from trusted news sources: Evernote provides you with relevant content for free from trusted news sources such as The Wall Street Journal.

As you can see, it’s a highly intelligent tool that automatically carries out research on your own notes and those of the team. Context can be an invaluable asset as you seek to improve the quality of your work and discover related content.

2. Templates

From time to time, it can be difficult to know where to start with a blank note. For example, you could be looking to create a meeting reminder or a project plan, but you’re not sure what you should include.

Fortunately, Evernote teamed up with Simplify Days in 2017 to create a number of business templates to help you get started.

Evernote Templates for Business

The templates include:

  • Meeting notes: As pictured above, this template covers all the details you need to set up a meeting. Complete with drop-down menus, it makes the entire process far more efficient and allow other participants to know what to expect.
  • Employee goals: Setting clear objectives for your employees need to strike a balance between company and individual goals. Having a template handy will ensure consistency across the board, while allowing for flexibility.
  • Business cards: This is the template you use to quickly type in new contacts. These could be leads, potential customers, or a key influencer within your niche. Once saved, you can simply use Evernote’s search function to quickly bring their details back up.

These are just three of the several template options, which also include marketing plans, monthly calendars, and project budget plans. They are designed to give you a solid foundation to work from and can easily be customized to suit your specific business needs.

3. Forward Emails to Evernote

In today’s fast-paced world, the way we communicate is constantly evolving. Facebook and Instagram are the leading social channels, while Slack is an emerging force in the workplace. Yet, for many, email still reigns supreme.

This is backed up by a recent survey suggesting 94% of respondents prefer to hear from businesses via email.

As a result, it’s likely you will receive important and valuable information in your inbox. Evernote’s email forwarding feature enables you to easily and quickly aggregate all this information in one accessible platform. Once there, you will be able to take full advantage of Evernote’s capabilities — like using Context to search through your emails to find related content and other ideas.

4. Turn Your Notes Into a Blog Post

If you’re an active user of Evernote, then you’ll have plenty of content on the platform. Since it’s where you store your best ideas and plans, it’s likely other people will want to read it too. Sharing your notes with a blog is a great way of doing this.

You can do this without having to copy and paste your notes to another third-party site. Postach.io is a blogging platform for Evernote users. Once set up, you can turn your ideas into finished blog posts by simply tagging them “published” in your notebook.

Evernote Integration with Postachio

Postach.io integrates with Evernote to offer users fully customizable blogs. As well as having a number of unique themes, you can code your own if you understand HTML. It also works with additional services created by technology heavyweights, including Google Analytics.

Alex Laramee

Alex Laramee is the CEO of Postachio, a simple blogging platform that lets you turn any Evernote notebook into a beautiful blog or web site. Follow Postachio on Twitter at @postachio and check out their blog.

Social Media Marketing 101 for Small Businesses

Social Media Marketing 101 for Small Businesses

Social Media Marketing 101 for Small Businesses

Guest submission by Victoria Greene.

Social media marketing and advertising are almost universally-applicable — they scale up to enterprise businesses, and right back down to entrepreneurs.

They’re also essential tools for local small businesses, like restaurants who are increasingly taking proactive steps with their social game — social has the spectacular power of offering access to engaged communities of customers.

Not every small business should be running off and posting daily videos on YouTube, or has the resources to support a unique visual social strategy across multiple social platforms!

Read on for actionable tips on social media marketing for your small business.

Developing a Brand Personality on Social Media

Growing a presence on social media often comes down to having something interesting to say, so developing a distinct social voice is key to standing out from the crowd and attracting followers.

Social media is an opportunity to show the personality behind your brand. When planning your campaigns, consider how your brand will be able to cut through the noise.

  • How can the way you speak differ from your competition?
  • Is there a hidden story that’s waiting to be told?
  • Is there room for a spokesperson or mascot figure in your brand?

Remember — don’t promote your own product or service in every post. Instead, allow your brand values and personality to shine through in a subtle, yet sincere way. Be comical. Be entertaining. Be authoritative. Be motivational.

Decide how you want your brand to be perceived and what customers will likely respond to positively, then drive your social tone in that direction.

Creating and Curating Social Content

With content that entertains or speaks to your customers’ pain points, a small business can form a strong bond with followers.

So how do you go about curating and sharing social content?

Sharing Your Own Social Content

Sharing content from your blog attracts prospects to click through to your website, so periodically work in your own content accompanied by strong calls-to-action, enticing headlines, and quality images. You can share the same blog more than once, especially if it’s evergreen content, but test out different times of the day and switch up the accompanying copy to speak to different stages of the buying cycle — cascading from neutral to more hard sell, but keeping the focus on quality content rather than “buy, buy, buy.

Curating Social Media Content

Writing content is time-consuming. There’s no great way to automate this process, since social always demands a human touch. To cut down on time, you can source content from other blogs or articles and share on your social platforms. Just be sure you tag the writer or company that published the article to give them proper credit (and potentially generate a share). My suggestion is to set up a Feedly account and subscribe to RSS feeds of relevant blogs and media outlets in your industry, then you can quickly scan these sources when you need help thinking of fresh content.

Emphasis on Visual Content

Visual content is emotive and captures peoples’ attention in feeds, so use images and video in your social content strategy. You can easily find design help online, from free self-help tools like Canva to affordable freelancers on Upwork or Fiverr. So don’t rule design out for your business, because of time or budgetary constraints.

Carefully Craft Your Calls-to-Action

Think about exactly what action you want your followers to take. Do you want them to share, click through, like, buy, or follow? How do you want them to feel?

When writing your social media posts and your calls-to-action, always filter your ideas through to the KISS method — Keep It Simple, Stupid. The second you leave your audience guessing what they’re supposed to do is the second they scroll past your update.

Also, consider using emotive, persuasive words and phrases that are likely to grab peoples’ attention, and think about how you can clearly imply value using a few words. Words like ‘free’, ‘now’, ‘exclusive’, ‘limited time only’ and ‘join’ are popular for a reason — they work!

These words and phrases are even more important in your paid social advertising campaigns, where brevity and value-added are key drivers of success. Wasted impressions or clicks = wasted money.

Be Savvy With Scheduling

For your social media delivery, it’s a good idea to set up a content schedule to ensure you publish posts consistently. The old adage “failing to plan is planning to fail” rings incredibly true with social media.

While you definitely need to keep the door open to real-time posts, I suggest having the bulk of your posts planned in advance. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself struggling to carve out time some days to post, and that quickly becomes a bad habit.

Before you know it, you’ve gone dark for a week or two on one of your platforms — that just looks untrustworthy and disingenuous as a business.

Don’t be afraid to re-post the same piece of content more than once, if it’s appropriate and in line with the etiquette of the social platform.

For example, you can get away with sharing the same blog post on Twitter multiple times a week or month, but that’s less acceptable on Facebook or LinkedIn. With Instagram, you can drive people to the same content regularly in the captions of individual posts, but you should use different photos each time.

Another way to vary your delivery on social media is to re-purpose content using different media formats.

For example, re-purposing a successful blog post by turning it into a video is a great way to make your content go further. Or break down your blog post into multiple social media updates, creating a unique image for each social post.

Keep an Eye on Goals

As with any business initiative, especially marketing, it’s important to know how effective your social media presence is.

So you definitely need to measure the impact of your activity on website traffic, sales, and overall social engagement (which factors into metrics like brand awareness, brand loyalty, community growth, and so on).

You can keep track of your social activity using social analytics tools and, of course, make sure your Google Analytics account is properly set up to record web traffic. Check these analytics tools every month or two, and make note of trends.

  • Do certain types of posts perform better, like photos vs. videos?
  • Is your overall community size growing organically? If not, you might need to allocate some of your budget to social ads to increase community growth.
  • Are your social updates not driving enough traffic? Maybe you need stronger calls to action in your posts or incentives to encourage clickthroughs.
  • Do people visiting your site from Facebook convert at a higher rate than people coming from Twitter? Instagram? LinkedIn?

Don’t Bite Off Too Much Early

If you’re worried you’ll get overwhelmed by social media, you should start with just one platform and expand later. So often, businesses jump into social media and try to build a strong presence on multiple platforms, but it’s unlikely you have the resources or expertise to make that happen immediately.

Pick one platform you’re confident you can give full attention to, test to determine if your audience is present there, then invest time into growing a community on that platform.

As you feel more comfortable generating content and you understand what your customers like to see on social, you can expand to other platforms.

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About The Author

Victoria Greene: I love working with my small business clients — together we focus on creating content and campaigns that add value, stimulate conversations, and bring in new business.

Jonathan Payne leads as the CEO of JP Digital with nearly a decade of digital marketing experience helping both small businesses and national brands like Old Forester, Early Times, KORBEL, and University of Louisville.

JP Digital exists to remove that feeling of being overwhelmed by digital marketing and replace it with confidence and optimism about the future of your business. Let’s chat if you’re ready to take charge of your digital marketing!