How To Mix Up Social Media Content, By Percentage

When developing a smart social media strategy, it can be hard to determine what type of content to post. We have discovered that the answer is a good mix of several different types of content. Not all types of content are made equally, so some should be used more often than others.

Below we've listed the types of content you should be delivering to your readers regularly as well as the corresponding percentages of each.

Keep these percentages in mind when marketing to your social media followers and connections. These percentages will help you to stimulate interest in your business while avoiding social media mistakes such as coming on too strong with too many in-your-face marketing tactics.

Organic Posts - 70%

The meat of your social media marketing strategy should consist of what we like to call "Organic Posts." These posts include anything that gives your followers value, stimulates interest, or provides a personal connection or insight.

You may choose to post a simple comment or update about something that is happening with your business. The more personable you can be, the better. You want to avoid writing in a voice which sounds like "marketing speak," and instead let your customers get some insight into your business. Help them realize that there are real, live people running it.

You may also choose to engage your customers directly by asking them questions or by getting their opinion on a new service you are providing. Make them feel like you are there and ready to listen to them. You may also choose to create a poll for your followers to answer.

Organic content also includes any content you have created which provides value to customers. Your website should have an active blog, and you can use social media to share these posts with your customers and get them to visit your site.

If you have created Youtube content, videos, or infographics, you should also share these with your customers by using social media.

Informing Your Audience - 20%

The next most important type of content to share with your social media networks is content that informs. While your own blog posts and original content should do a good job of informing your customers, you can also link to external content, news articles, and sources.

You may choose to share an article or blog post written by an expert that is relevant to your particular industry. Use news articles and these articles to inform your audience, somewhat indirectly, why they should use your services and help them to understand the value of what your business provides.

For this type of content, you can also include other types of external content, such as humorous videos, memes, or funny photos that you think will be relevant to your customers and your industry.

It's okay to have a sense of humor and making your audience laugh can do wonders in helping them to feel a connection to you and your business. You don't want to overdo it with this type of content, however, but it is certainly okay to "cut loose" every now and then.

Promoting Your Business - 10%

It may come as a surprise to many, but the actual promotional posts should be the last thing you should think about posting on your social media accounts.

Today's consumers are very smart and don't like to be bombarded with promotional messages and marketing hype. Typical marketing tactics are less welcome on social media sites and make your business seem cold and impersonal.

Social media is meant to break down the walls between consumers and businesses. Typically, if you're great at the other 90% of social media post types, customers will actively seek out your services and will take it on themselves to discover what your business has to offer.

While you shouldn't over promote on social media, you should regularly post info about your services and products. Be sure to make each of these posts worthwhile and highly engaging. If you have an exceptional new product, be sure to let your social media followers know. If you're hosting any upcoming events or sales, you can let your customers know.

Just make sure that this type of post is kept to a minimum to make sure that customers don't click that dreaded unfollow button.

Final Thoughts

While there are no hard and fast rules to social media usage, we have found the above mix to be ideal for the majority of businesses.

Although it can seem daunting at first, creating an excellent social media strategy doesn't have to be a complicated task. Just make sure to keep the specific characteristics of social media marketing in mind.

Social media isn't the place to shove products and services in the face of customers but is instead a great place to build a connection and cultivate ongoing relationships.

Make sure to provide value to your customers while helping them to remember that there are real people behind your business. If you do, you'll be sure to make your social media channels shine and grow your business faster than you could have possibly imagined.

Happy Marketing

– Phil Fisk, President Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


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5 Steps To Improve Your Local Search Engine Visibility

The key to any successful business is valuable customers. However, getting customers can prove quite a challenge in the fast-paced world of search engines if you are unfamiliar with what to do. Below we're going to go over five simple steps to help improve the visibility of your business in the local search engine results.

1. You Must Have A Mobile-Friendly Website

Having a responsive theme on your website is imperative to landing on the first page of the Google search engine results. Searchers are using mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones, more than ever before. Google realized this and chose to reduce the rankings of websites that weren't mobile friendly. They don't want websites showing up that searchers are unable to get information from. So if you want to gain any visibility on Google you must have a responsive website, period!

2. Claim Your Google Business Page

Google is an information collecting machine. It scours websites to find the contact details for businesses in local areas. Your business is most likely already listed on Google when your business name or the services your business offers are searched in the local area. Many times your contact information, business hours, and website address can be wrong or missing.

By claiming your Google Business page you can correct and add necessary information so that potential customers know how and when to reach you. A business page will allow you to read reviews people are leaving about your business and let you keep track of your business's overall rating by consumers. In addition, Google Business pages offer valuable statistics including the number of views and phone calls your business receives.

You can claim your Google Business page at https://www.google.com/business.

3. Claim Local Citations

Citations are best described as mentions of your business on other websites. These mentions of your business name, address, phone number, and website help to prove to search engines, like Google and Bing, that your business is real.

Some examples of online local citations include Yellowpages, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Superpages, Whitepages, Merchant Circle, Foursquare, Angie's List, Healthgrades, City Search, and Phonepages. The more local citations that you get the more trusted your website becomes in the google search engine results and the more visibility your business will receive from potential clients looking for your services.

Want to run a test on your business? Use our free visibility tool here.

4. Optimizing Your Own Website

One major factor in ensuring your website shows up at the top the search engine results is optimizing it correctly. Telling the search engine what your pages are about through keyword-rich meta titles, meta descriptions, optimized URLs, and alternative image tags are imperative.

When a user is searching for a specific service, such as a lawyer in Miami, the search engine wants to return websites that provide information on that subject. By including the necessary words of lawyer and Miami in the areas listed above, the search engine will better connect your website with being the ideal result for the searcher. If a website is not optimized the search engine has no real way of knowing what the site is about and therefore will not show the site at the top of the search results.

5. Focus On Getting Good Reviews

Search engines are paying more and more attention to the reviews that businesses are getting from customers. Google is listening to what people have to say about your business. It's important to work on getting as many good reviews as you possibly can. This will help to improve your rankings in the search results and, most importantly, give reassurance to new customers that your business is the right choice for them.

A business can get reviews from tons of online review sites. A few examples are Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Angie's list. Having reviews in all these places is good, however picking the most popular review sites that the majority of new customers will be using is the best approach to increasing your customer base.

For example, if you are in the restaurant business, many new customers are likely to look at a site like Yelp to read your reviews and star ratings. On the contrary, looking for a contractor on Yelp may not be so popular. For that industry, reviews on sites like Homeadvisor.com are where customers are looking.

It's a good idea to take some time and think about potential sites new customers will be looking for your services on. Then work on encouraging your existing clients to leave you a review on those sites. If you provide a valuable service, many customers will be more than happy to leave you a review.

If you take action on the five steps listed above you will grow your business's online presence. Your website will start to show up for more local search results relating to your industry. And remember the more of these steps you consistently do, the more online visibility your business will receive.

Happy Marketing

– Phil Fisk, President Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


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2 Biggest Facebook Marketing Mistakes

Facebook. It's the place we go to keep in touch with old friends, to share moments of our lives with the world and to occasionally be bombarded by political discussions that we'd rather be left out of entirely. While Facebook certainly drives our personal lives significantly, it's also one of the most important tools in any online marketer's social media arsenal.

Some brands do really well on Facebook. These brands generally create a feeling of community on their pages, a place where like-minded individuals come together to not only discuss the products, but to discuss the lifestyle related to the brand. I see this a lot with cosmetics companies. The pages of popular cosmetics stores and lines frequently become popular hangouts for teen girls to chat about makeup, beauty and everything under the sun. Every online marketer dreams of creating a page like that.

Sadly, for every makeup company-turned-hangout-spot, there are thousands of Facebook brand pages that are real disasters. To ensure that you don't fall into that category, here are the two biggest mistakes I see time and time again on Facebook, in addition to some tips on how you can avoid them.

Mistake One: No Clear Message

Unlike a Twitter account or a blog, a Facebook page really thrives on that aforementioned sense of community. Facebook is the best platform, hands down, for creating a conversation. Sure, people can communicate on Twitter and Instagram, but the structure of the conversation tends to be clunky and hard to follow. Conversations on Facebook are well-structured and easy to follow.

This is why it's exceptionally important that marketers create a Facebook page with a clear message. By that I mean that not only are posts regular and frequent, but they follow a common theme. Remember, as the person with control of the page, you are the one guiding the conversation. Think of yourself as the host of a dinner party. If you bring up conversation points that seamlessly connect to each other with a good flow, you'll have a lively conversation. If you randomly bring up whatever point pops into your head, the conversation will be a disaster.

That's not to say that every single post has to be directly related to your brand. You can absolutely post popular memes and videos, just make sure that they tie into your overall theme somehow. For example, the aforementioned cosmetics company would be foolish to post a viral video involving a monster truck, but they'd be fools not to post a viral video of a girl using items from her pantry as makeup.

It's not so much about posting things that relate to your brand as it's about posting things that you know your target demographic is interested in discussing. This goes back to my emphasis on how important it is to understand your buyers' persona. If you haven't read my article about this, please do.

Mistake Two: Too Focused On Selling

There's no web marketing professional on the planet who will advise brands to bombard their audience with ads on social media and yet so many companies seem intent on doing it. I can't stress this enough: Your social media is about creating a conversation and a community that promotes the lifestyle related to your brand, not about spamming people with ads for your products.

In the early days of web marketing, people weren't savvy enough to understand when they were being sold to versus when they were reading genuine content. This is why a lot of rather unscrupulous web marketers were able to make a lot of fast cash during the dawn of online marketing and affiliate programs. I can guarantee you that not many of those unsavory types are still working in this field today.

No one is saying that you can't post things that promote your products. However, it should never be a bombardment of ads. Instead, it should be a soft sell that provides genuine content to the reader. To return yet again to the cosmetics company example (they really do well on Facebook), a lot of these companies' posts announcing new products will be accompanied by a visually appealing video or photograph of someone actually using the product.

It's also okay to post announcements of sales, discounts and promo codes. Just be sure to pace these well and not overwhelm your audience. People take advantage of these deals when they seem sporadic. If they see a new one every day, there's no rush to buy.

In Closing

If you can avoid these two mistakes, you can use Facebook advantageously. Remember, your end goal on Facebook should be about creating an active community. Once you have that, those enthusiastic commenters will translate into sales. Create great content and you'll enjoy great, loyal customers.

Happy Marketing

– Phil Fisk, President Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.


online reputation management

4 Steps To Bring Millennials Into Your Small Business

The Millennial generation has an undeservedly bad reputation. Every time I hear about them, it's the same story - they're entitled, they're lazy, they're all special snowflakes who can't work in the real world. Every time I encounter someone from that generation, I see something different. This is a generation that works hard, but doesn't always see the fruits of their labor. It's a generation that certainly wants to be rewarded, but that is willing to sacrifice for those rewards. More than anything else, millennials are a generation that wants to do things their own way - but they're fiercely loyal to those who will work with them.

For businesses, millennials can be scary. Because they don't fall into the patterns of previous generations, it's easy to dismiss them. After all, it's hard to capture that millennial dollar and many businesses just don't want to put in the work. That's a shame, because millennials represent a huge chunk of the adult population - and their spending power is continuing to grow. If you want to succeed in the future, you've got to respect this generation. You also have to know what they want. The four steps below can help you understand the millennial generation and help gain their business at the same time.

1. Be Honest With Millenials

I care about honesty. I'm sure you do, too. You probably don't care as much as the millennial generation, though. This is a generation that came of age during an era in which almost everything has been called into question. The world around them seems to change by the day and they've become incredibly aware of the fact that some people want to take advantage of them. If you don't believe me, take a moment to look at the internet - there are a million articles about how to take advantage of millennials and trick them into loving your business. Millennials don't just know this, by the way - they've got an almost instinctual ability to sniff out fakes.

What does that mean for you? It means you're going to have to be honest about what your business does and how it accomplishes its goals. Don't go for spin - go for honesty. Don't hide behind marketing language or false promises, but rather be genuine in your advertising and your communications with your customers. Millennials know when they're being pandered to and most respond to it with disgust. You can't afford to lose their business, so it's time to pull back the curtain of marketing and deal with this generation in a fair and equitable manner.

2. Millenials Are A Mobile Generation

Most online traffic now comes through mobile devices. It doesn't matter if it's on wi-fi or using precious data, more people are looking at your business on mobile phones than on traditional computers. Millennials are driving this trend, and for good reason - they've grown up with mobile phones. Even the oldest of this generation have had cellphones since high school and they were among the earliest non-business adopters of smartphones. If you can't keep up with them, they'll find someone who can.

So, what do you do? I'd recommend making sure your site is optimized for mobile. I'd also look into building an app that rewards customers for their loyalty. Millennials are frugal and they love loyalty programs - combine that with an app, and you'll definitely go far. Don't make the mistake of marketing towards outdated technology just because you're more comfortable with it - millennial visit your business through mobile browsers, so get used to it now.

3. The Social Connection

There's probably nothing more cliche than saying that millennials like social networks, but it's true. Honestly, everyone likes them and everyone uses them. Millennials have simply grown up with them and understand how to use them a little bit better than their older counterparts. As a business owner, you've got to jump on the social bandwagon so you can benefit from the millennial love of social networking.

Once you're on there, you'll be walking a fine line. Like I said before, this is a generation that craves authenticity. They'll know that if your'e pandering and they'll know if you're just using ad-speak. If you can make a legitimate connection, though, you'll gain a group of followers who will stick with you through thick and thin.

4. Millennials Care

While there's always a lot of noise about this generation being disaffected or selfish, that's not something I've really seen. Millennials tend to care - maybe not always about the same things, but they've got a general care for humanity that's admirable. Millennials care how you treat your employees, how your business functions in the community, and the overall impact of what your business does. If they don't believe you're acting in good faith, they won't want anything to do with you.

The fact that this generation cares about how your business works is a fantastic opportunity for you. Think about all the times that sticking to your guns about your principles has caused you to miss opportunities or make less money. Imagine, now, that your customers actually care about those choices and will reward you for them. This is what millennials bring to the table - rewards for acting like the kind of business owner you've always wanted to be.

Millennials are already changing the way the world works. Whether you want to admit it or not, your business is going to live or die by how well you interact with them. This generation of change represents an incredible opportunity on your part, especially if you want to stick to your own principles. If you can be honest, embrace technology and make a real effort to be one of the good guys, millennials are going to be interested in your business

  • Phil Fisk, President Coastline Marketing Group, Inc.

Landing Page Audit Report - SEO Monterey

Digital Marketing & Your Business

The influence of the internet has led to business owners being inundated with tons of noise regarding the importance of updating their digital marketing plans. By now, you have probably received solicitations from multiple marketing agencies proclaiming that their strategies are the next big thing that will turn your business around. While increasing your visibility and enticing new customers to your doors is always a good thing, it is hard to know who to believe or where to even start with developing an effective strategy that stays true to your brand. Fortunately, you don’t have to lose sight of your goals to drive sales when you understand the power of focusing on one effective strategy.

Do One Thing Well

A simple business concept that you may have learned your freshmen year is to take one thing you do well and make it better. Many of the marketing agencies out there take an overboard approach that never allows any of their strategies to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, this tends to lead to weaknesses in your marketing plan when it becomes impossible to keep up with it all. Look at it this way. It is better to drill one 1,000-foot well that hits the liquid gold than to drill 1000 1-foot wells that completely miss their mark. In business, time and energy equal money, so make sure yours goes where it is profitable.

If a marketing agency tells you that their strategies are a fast track to building your business, you should be skeptical. Building an online reputation takes time since each new review, comment and update serves as a springboard for future interactions. Over time, it is these interactions between you and your target audience that drives sales. While you may get lucky and manage to squeak out digital content that becomes viral, it is more important to focus on building long-term relationships with your customers that establishes your business as being reliable. Avoid wasting all of your efforts by leaving the band right before it gets signed.

Working With Multiple Agencies Doesn't Work

A major mistake many business owners make is to invest in multiple marketing agencies that all promise to do different things. While diversifying is usually a good thing, trying to keep up with multiple agencies makes it harder for your company to stay on message. In fact, your dedicated customers can actually pick up on the differences in the messages that are conveyed by different agencies, and it generates confusion that results in a lack of trust for your brand. Instead of spreading your marketing budget and personal energy too thin, it is best to choose one marketing partner that encompasses all of what you hope to achieve in your digital marketing efforts.

Digital marketing can be a major asset or a huge headache. When you built your business, you knew that there is no true get rich quick scheme or else you’d already have been retired. Instead, choose a marketing agency that knows how to partner with your business to develop a real plan for success that opens up the door to new customer relationships and opportunities.

-Phil Fisk
President, Coastline Marketing Group, Inc