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Use Facebook to win over your local market

Written by Kevin Plankey
On the

If you're a local business owner, it makes sense that you want your company's listings showing up at the top of consumer search results. 


After all, it doesn't help a restaurateur based in Boston to have a California native land on his or her website while looking for a bite to eat. And it certainly doesn't benefit a local barber when a person halfway across the country is trying to get a haircut and winds up on your site. 


So how can you make sure your website is the first to show up? Tailor your marketing strategies to meet Facebook's local search requirements.


What 'local search' can do

According to Facebook's website, "local search is the use of specialized internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically constrained searches against a structured database of local business listings." 

Social media - The tool that improves customer service, loyalty and sales

Written by Kevin Plankey
On the

Social media gets a lot of hype in the business world, to the point that it's been labeled a necessity. But is all that hype warranted? 


A recent study revealed that it is. Not only that, but the report indicated that you should be jumping at the vast opportunities social media marketing provides.


The survey polled decision-makers who have joined the world of social media, and they identified several advantages, including:


* Marketng (cited by 86 percent of respondents)

* Customer Service (73 percent)

* Sales (31 percent)


And those numbers appear to be on a steady incline.


Mining for gold - Picking the right social networking site for you

Written by Kevin Plankey
On the

You may have caught on by now to my strong feelings about incorporating social media into your marketing strategies. 


I've called social networking sites an advertising gold mine in the past, and a recent survey revealed that small business owners are beginning to share those feelings. LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest all grew in popularity exponentially over the past year, and 82 percent of respondents now consider Facebook an effective marketing channel. At the same time, more than half of respondents said they need help with their social marketing strategies. 


Do social media well or don't do it at all

You've probably seen the flashing lights and heard the emergency warnings by now about the importance of social media: You absolutely need to have a Facebook and/or Twitter account going forward if you want to be able to compete.


Yes, it's true that you will need to implement some form of social marketing strategies, but keep in mind that's far from the entire truth. 


Social strategies can affect your sales - both ways

Whether you're a social media fanatic or not, chances are a large portion of your customer base is. 


Social networking sites, from the aforementioned Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest, have essentially become regular mediums of communication. People use them to stay in touch with relatives, friends who have moved away, former colleagues and, apparently, their favorite brands. 

Social media - Integrate, don't stand alone

Written by Kevin Plankey
On the

Social media advertising has been all the rage for some time now. You've probably heard from every self-proclaimed expert, myself included, that you need to market to your audience on Facebook, Twitter and whatever other sites they use regularly. 


You might be alarmed, then, if you saw the results of a recent study, which found that more social media followers hasn't necessarily equated to more sales. Coca-Cola, for instance, which has 61.5 million Facebook followers, the most of any brand, hasn't seen any statistically significant relationship between their buzz and their short-term sales. 


That means you should pull the plug on social media marketing, right?


Not by a long shot. 


Use new Twitter tool to improve targeted marketing strategies

If you're involved with your company's marketing campaign in any way, one topic that's bound to come up is how you can ensure your messages are reaching the right audience. 


Unlike giant corporations, small businesses don't have the luxury of developing large-scale ads that will reach the majority of the population. It would be nice to produce a minute-long commercial that appears at 7 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, but for most companies, that's slightly outside their budget constraints. 


If you fall into this category, you really have no reason to worry. Through the use of innovative technology, you have more effective channels than ever by which you can reach your customer base. Better yet, you have more effective tools at your disposal to determine what those channels are.


Starting up a business? Use social media to target customers

The past few years have been less than ideal for those hoping to start a business, but those who did knew the company's survival would depend on its marketing strategy because reaching customers was going to take some smart planning. 


So what do you do? Depending on your business, you could host do-it-yourself workshops, send out a mass email for a grand opening, and more than anything else, employ Facebook and Twitter to develop a targeted marketing campaign.


In addition, Facebook ads really allow you to drill down into your demographics. As a result, I recommend setting up multiple ads targeting different people and then watching the results.


Utilizing local marketing for a competitive advantage

By now, there's a good chance you've visited one of the many frozen yogurt chains that have popped up nationwide. 

You know the ones I'm talking about - where you get to pick the flavors and toppings of your choice, and by the time you check out, you've spent 10-plus dollars on frozen yogurt.

Two frozen yogurt chains have opened in my town in the past year alone. More recently, a local gelato parlor opened up that's located within walking distance of its competitors. 

So how exactly can a private small business expect to compete with the big bad frozen yogurt chains? Employing an effective local marketing campaign will likely be pivotal. 

The Ultimate Survival Tool - Mobile Marketing

The other day, I was trying to think of a good birthday present to get my mom. When I was on my smartphone, I noticed an email with a subject that read, "Purchase gift cards for store of choice - no shipping costs." When I opened the email, however, the format made it impossible to read on my phone.


Later that day, I ended up finding a gift card at CVS instead, and the message will likely remain unread by me until the end of time.


This is a relatively common problem with email advertising, but as a small business owner, do you have a strong enough incentive to invest valuable resources in mobile marketing campaigns? A recent study indicates that you do