Websites and Social Media

Websites and Social Media

Social Media and Websites

Websites can be managed to work with social media so they both complement each other. A business can provide links from its website to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media resources. This can increase the credibility of the business and can give the website visitors more opportunities to find information and learn more about what the business offers.

 

Different Businesses Need Different Social Media Resources

There is a wide range of social media tools that help businesses in their promotions. Individual businesses can choose what tools will best meet their needs. Information can be shared on Facebook, images can be shared on Instagram, and videos shared on YouTube, just to name a few of the possibilities. Below are some of the most popular tools.

Blog Sites

More and more today, websites need blogs to increase their value and their traffic. While the blogs are designed to serve visitors, they can be set up to automatically post on other social media assets, such as Twitter. This multiplies the value of the time invested in the blog posts.

Facebook

According to CNN, Facebook reached over 2 billion users in February (CNN website 02/01/17). Giving your business the ability to connect with customers and prospects all over the world, Facebook is an absolute necessity for social media marketing. It is a communication tool that is very easy to use. With a connection from posts on your website, it can complement the sites content.

Twitter

Used with limited content, Twitter posts can include links to outside content that can expand the message being communicated. Skillful use of the tool can cause messages to go viral and spread to a wide range of viewers. This can increase the number of followers a business has. The value of a short and sweet message to thousands of followers can exceed the cost of the time invested many times.

Instagram

To show photos and short videos to followers, Instagram is an ideal tool. Businesses can promote events, products and people by posting images on the service.

LinkedIn

This B2B social media tool is ideal for connecting to business professionals in any industry. LinkedIn has a feature called LinkedIn Groups that are established and used by business in specific niches or markets.

Pinterest

Businesses can upload, save, sort and manage images on Pinterest. These images are known at “pins.” This tool has been known to serve as a more powerful sales generator that other social media tools. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what are hundreds of pictures worth? Pictures can generate sales and that makes them worth a lot!

“In one case study of a fashion website, users visiting from Pinterest spent $180 compared to $85 spent from users coming from Facebook. These users spent less time on the company’s website, choosing instead to browse from the company’s pinboard. Further brand studies have continued to show Pinterest is more effective at driving sales than other forms of social media. A study carried out by Wolfgang Digital study found that site traffic originating from Pinterest Business pages was more engaged spending up to five times longer on site.”

Wikipedia.org

YouTube

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth? More businesses are beginning to see value in YouTube. It is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine. Businesses use it to promote their products, educate their market, train employees and do many other things.

For a look at how powerful a video can be, take a look at this video on social media:

Small Business Marketing in 2017

Small Business Marketing in 2017

Changing Times For Web Marketing

“The times they are a-changin’” (-Bob Dylan, 1963). One of the most famous lines in rock history is as true today as it was over 50 years ago. Even more so, if that’s possible. This holds true for every element of our society, and especially in small business marketing. Change is exciting. And changing times create opportunities.

Look what marketing was like thirty years ago. The small business had to pay for a spot in the local Yellow Pages. They ran regular ads in the local newspaper. They put ads on the local radio station. They sent flyers to potential customers in their local markets. Most small businesses were somewhat confined to their local markets.

Expanded Market Area for Small Business

The web has allowed a range of businesses to expand their market areas. Thirty years ago my family was in the building supply business in a small town. We would have customers that wanted specialty products, like custom designed arch windows. The fact that we knew where to find carpentry shops that would create these items gave us a competitive advantage. Our builder client didn’t know where he could get the work done. So he ordered it from us. Now, the builder who needs the window can search for carpentry shops and find them on the web. Then he can make the purchase and cut out the middle man. Today, this happens across a wide range of goods and services.

Local Web Marketing

Local businesses are changing tactics. They use local web marketing in place of the good old standbys. As time passes fewer people are using the Yellow Pages. Local newspapers are losing subscribers. Local radio stations must create a local element to retain existing listeners. When the members of our communities are looking for goods and services, most go to the same place, the web. Many of these newspapers, radio stations and other mediums have tried to make their place on the web with websites and social media. The effort is failing to attract followers and advertisers. When the public is looking for goods and services it goes to the search engines instead, even in their search for local goods and services. This makes local web marketing a necessity. Businesses that don’t implement it are leaving money on the table.

Continued Transformation

Web Changes

Ten years ago PC sales were hitting records. More and more people wanted a home computer so they could have access to the web. Millions of businesses were designing websites for those devices to provide information and to influence their share of the market. Today, PC sales are declining while the public has found less expensive and more convenient products in mobile devices. Business web design must take this in to account.

PC sales are in decline (Statista.com).

The traditional website has had to be redesigned to fit these devices. The “mobile first” strategy is taking hold. It will be considered the norm very soon.

Another element that websites must accommodate today is the offering of interactive capabilities. Al Agrawal, a contributor at Forbes.com, gives some valuable advice: “Think of ways to get readers to actively participate instead of passively consume. Interactive content can include assessments (such as the classic Cosmo Quiz setup), polls, surveys, infographics, brackets and contests” (17 Marketing Trends to Watch Out For In 2017 – Forbes) Participation is a way to connect in a proactive manner.

Change is Constant

Don’t expect the changes in small business marketing to slow down any time soon. Our capabilities in information handling continue to increase. Moore’s law certainly appears to be holding true today. That is, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles every two years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law). This allows us to put more information into the market place through a growing range of mediums. Today we do this with web marketing.

Be a Leader

Small businesses that don’t change will fall behind. This has been the case for centuries. Keeping up shouldn’t intimidate you. Through vendors, trade associations, trade journals and research of your competitors you can stay aware of the latest changes. Trade contacts should help you make educated decisions concerning the changes you decide to make. And those changes will make you a leader in your market.

The Ecommerce Website

The Ecommerce Website

Selling Products Online

Many small businesses dream about taking their products to the world through ecommerce. If you have a unique product then this can create exciting possibilities. If you have a product that is carried by many other businesses, then you will need to find a way create more value than your competitors. Otherwise you will be competing solely on price.

The “To Do” List

There are several bases that need to be covered to get your site off the ground and selling products online. As with any website you need to purchase a domain name and point it to the server where you will have your website.

Set Up Secure Hosting

The hosting for your business’s website needs to be on a secure server. This insures that credit card information and other personal data of your clients are not compromised. Your hosting service will provide instructions for setting up a secure server.

Choose a Shopping Cart

There is a wide range of shopping cart services available. One of the best ways to choose a cart is to set up a demo account for several and go through the process of setting up your products on them. This will give you a good feel for the shortfalls of those carts and help you make a better decision in choosing. This will require some time, but it is well worth it.

These are logos of ecommerce shopping cart services.

There are many ecommerce shopping carts available.

Different carts work well for some products and not well for others. If your items have a lot of size options, color options and other variables, then you need to make sure the cart will work with all of the options you need for your market.

Enter Your Products

The most time consuming part of building an ecommerce website is often entering the products into the database for the shopping cart. Most shopping cart services have this down to a very simple process. Even so, if you have several products, each with many options, then the number of SKUs can jump quickly. Creating these in a shopping cart can require some time.

Collecting Money

There are two primary ways to collect money for your online sales. First, you connect your secure website to your bank account. Your transactions will process from the website. Second, you need to set up PayPal to give site visitors another option for payment. Clients that do not know you or your business may be reluctant to turn over credit card information to your site. If you don’t accept PayPal, then it could cost you significant sales. Make sure the shopping cart you choose accepts PayPal.

Connecting to Your Bank

Your shopping cart needs to be set up to transfer funds from your customer’s credit or debit cards to your bank account. To get this set up you need to get instructions from the company providing your shopping cart. It will require you to get some information from your bank that directs the payments to the right account.

Review Your Ecommerce Site Regularly

Your shopping cart needs to be reviewed regularly. When you have a change in a product, like the colors available for a shirt, you need to update it promptly. You don’t want to be contacting customers and telling them that you don’t have the item they just purchased. This will cost you repeat business and will likely keep other people away from your site.