A Clean Sweep of Your Plan

It’s surprising how many organizations are so eager to get results, that they jump into action and completely miss out on the key aspects needed to make their marketing work for them. While we understand the enthusiasm, the consequences of not having a strategic plan in place can severely impact your organization; specifically, when it comes to collecting data and evaluating your efforts.

Think about this:

  • Without proper objectives, goals or benchmarks, you don’t get the data needed to evaluate whether you’ve reached your mark.
  • You overextend your business’ resources because you are on every platform instead of being strategic about using the proper channels.
  • You try to evaluate progress but get multiple streams of data and then have difficulty sorting through results.
  • Or you are completely successful and have a good amount of data, but you have not taken the time to review and evaluate it , therefore you’re not sure what exactly worked well for you.

If you have limited resources, you have to make a plan. Without a plan, you may start to feel overwhelmed, However, with a good plan in place, you can avoid the misfortunes highlighted above. This doesn’t need to be your outcome. As Stephen Covey mentioned in “7 habits of Highly Effective People,” begin with the end in mind. By just taking a moment to develop a plan that will act as a road map these issues can be avoided. When strategizing there are a number of items you should consider.

  1. Look at the Big Picture

Review what is already established. Your plan doesn’t have to start from scratch. Many times, organizations have a business or strategic plan in place that outlines the organization’s overall goals. Revisit that plan and line up your marketing actions with the company’s goals and objectives.

  • Be S.M.A.R.T!

Next, consider what you want to achieve through your marketing efforts and establish your S.M.A.R.T Goals; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Remember to work smarter, not harder.

  • Consider Who You are Trying to Reach

Establish your target market with the help of a buyer persona. Determining your buyer persona allows you to picture who you want to reach and how you want to reach them.  Visualize your target so you can reach the right audience in the right spaces with the right content. Consider the following questions;

  • Who are the people you are trying to reach?
  • What type of platforms do they utilize?
  • What are they interested in?
  • What type of content would attract their attention and provide engagement?
  • How do they use particular platforms?
  • What are they talking about? Interview some of those that are close to your organization?

Get on the phone with an ideal sponsor or volunteer and ask questions. This will help focus your outreach strategy and provide you with the answers you need. Not only looking at demographics but psychographics as well, which are things like attitude and concerns about topics. Once you realize who it is you are talking to, you can determine what information will be most pertinent to them and begin to develop your strategy.

  • Map It Out

With an eye on the organization’s overall objectives and S.M.A.R.T. goals established, a timeline for completion accompanied by a budget andmetrics for evaluations, you can now complete your strategy for success. Prioritize your plan in a one-to-three-year roadmap and work to obtain buy-in from stakeholders. Consider your resources such as who is on your team that can help provide content. Think about the size of your team and if outsourcing will be necessary. If so, make sure to incorporate these costs in your budget.  Within the budget also consider whether there will be a focus on organic content or paid ads. Make note of any roadblocks such as a lack of time, people, or money, and consider how these items may affect your goal, timeline, and budget.

  • Create and Evaluate

Now, we come to the portion everyone seems to jump into first, content creation. However, this time we have taken essential steps to ensure a successful journey. This strategy can also be used to establish the development of your content, no matter what format it may be in. It doesn’t have to be daunting. Here is a quick structure to help put together your strategy.

  • Review your persona and the content that would be most appealing to the people you are trying to reach.
  • Think about what will make it valuable or useful to them.
  • Look at what channel resonates with your demographic the best and go there.
  • Then think about the information we just went over.
  • Consider posting times for best traction and when your audience may be online.
  • Get team buy-in? Who on your team or in your organization has the information you need and establish a funnel for that information to get to you.

Content releases should help reach the organization’s objectives and meet S.M.A.R.T. Goals. However, to determine success, you must evaluate your metrics.Keep an eye on your content and engagement to identify where change is happening and then decide where you need to adapt. What better way to do that than set up metrics that will provide you with the answers you are looking for so you can make data-driven decisions.

According to Hubspot, “Bad data is costing businesses an astonishing 15% – 25% of revenue a year.”

Bad data is costing you money and you don’t need that because you need all of the resources to support your services, programs, and business.

Let’s Review

  1. Start with the big picture! Review established plans.
  2. Put the pieces in place:
    1. Establish your S.M.A.R.T. goals
    1. Evaluate your target market and develop your Buyer Personas
  1. Construct your roadmap to help guide the way by developing a strategic plan
  2. Create and evaluate
  3. Repeat these actions, over and over again, making adjustments that will help you succeed along the way.

Once you have what you need, you can make strategic decisions instead of using intuition to help drive and reach your goals. So, let’s get, checkout some additional tips that can help prepare your strategy and keep an eye out for additional information on strategic planning concepts. Need additional resources or support getting started? Contact the Bekoz Team for a brief discussion regarding your next steps.

Flexing on Flexibility

It seems we never know what we are going to wake up to these days. The year 2020 was a whirlwind forcing us as business owners, family members, friends, and more to become flexible in ways we may have never imagined. Our original plans were crumpled up like a paper ball and then smoothed out in new creative ways that have us moving forward now, at whatever pace it may be. Even at the forefront of a New Year with promise in mind, we have seen how we must remain flexible. So, let’s just say it.

If your original plan isn’t in shambles by now, then you aren’t living your best life!

Quite frankly, if you have not adapted to the changes presented before us, or reevaluated your plan several times in the past year, you and your business could be in shambles. Adjustments are deemed necessary in this ever-changing environment. But, don’t fret.  If you are not living your best life, then we simply have some work to do.

Pivoting Your Plan

In a recent series of “Back Stage with Bekoz,” we encountered two businesses that have had to completely pivot the way they conducted business to meet the requirements that would continue to push their business goals in the right direction. Like many businesses, both Sankofa Yoga Center and GLOSS Sisterhood have had to shift their marketing plans and initiatives to meet the demand of a consistently changing society, and become familiar with video and online avenues that create engagement and interaction for their consumers and members. Even here at Bekoz, we have had to adjust to utilizing creative platforms for messaging and consider how to make our content for visual. We’ve brainstormed around developing more:

  • Catchy gifs
  • Video interviews and updates
  • Virtual events vs. in-person
  • Expanding reach through different platforms (e.g. Tic Tok)

Regardless of the shift, here are a few considerations as you work on sustaining and maximizing your new plan in the New Year. It’s time to reach out, even though you may be locked in.

  1. Strategize

No matter where you are in your planning process, if you don’t have a strategy, stop! Back up and create one. Need some support? Contact us! You may need to develop one from scratch or you may need to re-evaluate and re-define what you already have. Many times, we set goals for ourselves and our businesses that sit in the corner and collect dust. Well, dust it off and work your plan.

Take a moment to look at the goals you have set and see how they can be expanded. Be flexible! Make adjustments as needed. We have mentioned several times about the importance of making SMART Goals. A New Year equals new beginnings and a fresh start to what we may have been, old dreams. Ask yourself – “What didn’t work in the past, and why”? Then make the necessary adjustments to achieve your planned outcome.

2. Identify Your Target Market

First things first, establish a user persona so you can entice and engage.
Results will not come if you just throw money at the wall and hope someone sees what you are putting out there. User personas are a character you can create that resemble different groups of people who may use or purchase your services and products in a similar way. Developing these descriptions will help familiarize yourself with who you are trying to reach and the best ways to reach them.

3. Take Action!

The scene is set! You have goals in place and you’re reaching the people. It’s time to create, package and distribute! Time to pull out those Branding Guidelines and put them to use. Take what you have created for the look and feel of your company and dive in.

  • Looking at increasing your social media reach? Develop a social media content calendar to structure and organize posts.
  • Looking to increase your lead generation? Create campaigns that will gain the attention of your target market and provide ways for you to interact with them often.

4. Evaluate

Take a moment to review your SMART Goals and make notes along the way. Look at items such as reach, general engagement and other measurable activities. See what benchmark adjustments should be made to accomplish your goals and make modifications where needed.

This is where you get into a repetitious cycle that may seem a bit tedious but will benefit you in the long run. We promise. It goes something like this.

  1. Strategize
  2. Take Action
  3. Evaluate
  4. Repeat.

Remember, things change so you have to remain flexible in order to adapt to the customer’s needs and wants. In this way you have the ability to maximize and sustain your new plan.

In future post, we will be sure to address how to start or revamp your strategy, define your target market, build campaigns and more. So be sure to sign up for notifications so you will get the latest information on this year’s focus; Building Your Marketing Foundation with everything you need to get started on the right track.

#AllThingsTrending

Have you ever wondered how bloggers with the best content come up with those mouth watering topics? It’s the kind of information everyone wants to know and will search to get it! It’s the kind of content that starts to trend and helps generate traffic to their website, social media, and more. Don’t just sit back and envy others for the content they are posting. Instead, learn the tricks of the trade, and begin to provide engaging content that will leave people wanting more. With a good strategy and additional items to add to your content marketing tool box, you’ll be delivering content that will lure your target audience right through your virtual door.

Develop a Keyword Strategy

Let’s start by developing a keyword strategy. Identifying a few key words that align with your organization and industry can help bring attention to your content and lead people who are searching for specific services or products right to you. We need to consider the dos and don’ts of keyword usage in content development.

Do…Don’t…
Consider your CLIENT first. Think about search terms used by your target market to search for specific items.Search engines are smart. Don’t OVERLOAD your content with keywords. Instead use synonyms or similar terms as well.
Keep content keywords, topics and the overall message VALUE-DRIVEN.Do not post IRRELEVANT topics or items that will take away from your focus.
Develop a list of words that can be placed into CLUSTERS and act as subtopics for your main subject. Avoid SPORADICALLY spreading topics across your site. Develop a strategy that will add to the user’s experience. 
Use KEYWORDS in the post/page url and topic titles.Do not GIVE UP on your existing SEO strategy.

https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2020/07/23/how-to-use-trending-keywords-from-current-events-in-content-marketing/

Identify trending topics 

Now that we have an idea of what to do and what not to do, how do you find trending topics and incorporate keywords into your content creation? By now you should have thought of several industry, product or service related keywords to utilize. If not, here’s an example to give you an idea. Let’s take a healthcare organization focused on providing educational awareness regarding the latest with COVID-19. Keywords may include the obvious:

  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Pandemic

But what about also including:

  • Vaccine 
  • Symptoms 
  • Quarantine 

These keywords can be placed into groups and incorporated within main topics helping to guide the direction of your content. Keywords can also be utilized to bring attention to topic titles. Back to our healthcare organization example…

  • Top 5 things to know about the Coronavirus.
  • COVID-19 Resources, what to do if infected?

However, the question still remains, are these topics people want to know about and will they draw traffic to your website? There are a number of tools and resources (free and paid), that can help you determine what may be trending or what popular topics are within a specific industry. 

Quara

See what people are discussing on Quara.com. Quara is a place anyone can go to share knowledge and ask questions. Visit the site and take a look at the most popular posts. Using this site, you can gain ideas about what people are thinking about topics and develop content surrounding those ideas.

Google

Plug terms into the Google search engine and scroll down to the bottom to look up related search suggestions. Utilize the “Autocomplete” tool. When putting a term into Google’s search box, a number of terms will drop down appearing below the term you have listed. These terms, questions or phases are the most searched items related to what you have placed in the search console. Another Google function great for finding related content and popular trends is Google Trends. Visit the site and see what great information you can obtain by listing a simple word or phrase.

Another way to determine how well your topic is trending is to utilize Buzzsumo, which will allow you to see how well topics are doing across social media or articles.

By doing a quick search and  utilizing these sites we found some popular topics across the U.S. 

The most interesting ‘top searched for’ results from across the globe:

US

  • Most popular news resources: Fox News, CNN, ESPN
  • Most popular retailers: Amazon, Walmart, Ebay
  • Most popular streaming platforms: Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu
  • Most popular food chains: Domino’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s

Globally

‘Dalgona coffee’ – the homemade coffee prepared from instant coffee, sugar, water and milk, which looks like the coffee from the best coffee house which quickly became a hit on Instagram, – is the most trending keyword globally. 

US

When President Donald Trump signed the CARES act, Google searches for the keyword ‘Stimulus check’ exceeded 20 million searches per month, and became the most trending keyword in the U.S. in 2020 and still is so far. 

Top Google Searches

Everyone wants to have a trending brand or topic, but with so many trying to achieve the same goals, how do you separate yourself? Take into consideration featured articles based on content topics that match your target market personas.

Build Topic Clusters

Topic Clusters help with content organization by connecting subtopics to main themes and keywords. They are a great addition to your SEO or content marketing strategy. Content clusters help both the person searching for information,  as well as the search engine itself. Search engines are looking for information and content they feel will be beneficial to the searcher. Think of clusters as subtopics of similar information which can be linked to a broad core topic and provide insight of a main topic at a deeper level. Adding trending topics into the cluster to provide information about a core topic will help search engines find your content helpful as it fulfills the need of what your market is searching for. 

Use subtopics for blog posts, downloadables, and more.  Be sure to link subtopics to core pages where applicable. Be sure these topics support at least one of your products or services. Use your content to educate, entertain and engage, then watch them keep coming back. 

If we go back to our health care example we can develop core

  • Core Topic: Healthcare
    • Beat the Coronavirus by building your immune system.
    • Signs and systems of Coronavirus.
    • Preexisting conditions that can worsen the effects of the Coronavirus.
  • Core Topic: Education 
    • Where to get tested for COVID-19.
    • What happens when testing for the Coronavirus.
    • 6 things to do while in Quarantine.
    • Telehealth options when you can’t leave the house.

Determine what’s trending and implement these few steps for your SEO strategy to enhance traffic your website! Interested in gaining more  helpful ways to see what’s trending? Download a checklist of items to consider and utilize when developing your content.

Change Starts with You – Stand Up!

Looking to make a difference but not quite sure where to start? Our passions draw us to certain causes and sometimes we are compelled to act as a result of a strong feeling to particular activities. Maybe it is something in the past that pushes us to move in a certain direction or area. Maybe it is something we witness that pulls out inner thoughts and emotions. Could it be, that we just want to give back in some way? Regardless of what it may be, nothing happens by remaining silent and sitting on the sidelines. For change to occur, you must stand up and show up.

Although we are eager to act, there are times when we may not know how to get involved or who to contact. Here are some key points to consider when starting your activism or volunteer journey.

Research:

Become educated about the topic. Start by seeking out content regarding the cause, by using keywords that are associated with the topic. Google is your friend, the internet is full of information that is at the tips of our fingers. One word can open a door to an overflow of resources. Spend time researching the topic you have an interest in and desire to learn more about. While the internet is a great source for information, you may need to verify its validity by identifying additional resources, people and organizations.

Reach Out:

After the research is done and you feel comfortable with your knowledge base of the cause you want to get involved in, reach out. Recently, many who had an interest in coming together on behalf of racial injustice, participated in protests to seek answers and incite change. Flyers circulated, word of mouth spread, and social media was a critical communication channel to mobilize meetings. Consider a different kind of cause (koz), how about those who felt compelled to work on behalf of businesses after they were forced to shut down during a global pandemic. Many came together to provide support to these businesses in various ways. They worked to ensure that although there may be a struggle, our economy could thrive again once the nation moved forward. Some business owners connected through social media groups and helped connect those who had the same interest. Others, have facilitated discussions and supported interest by conducting webcasts or lively chats via podcasts. Regardless of where you may get your information, there is an avenue to connect with others to help further your cause and get involved.

Stand Up:

Make a move! You’re armed with information and you’ve made connections. Everything is in place for you to make a move and get involved. Show up and be relevant. Your voice and actions could bring about the momentum needed to implement change. 

These are three simple steps to get you going. Do your research, make some connections and Reach Out, then do your part and Stand Up! Change can happen today starting with us. #StandUp #SpeakOut. The Bekôz team is dedicated to social improvement and we hope you will join us, Bekôz your voice matters and you can make the difference.

Prepare a Crisis Communication Plan

In every business a crisis may be viewed differently. For instance, what may be defined as a crisis and its impact for some businesses may be completely different for other businesses in a separate industry. However, what every business should have at their disposal is a clear and concise Crisis Communication Plan. When we get our day started, we are never really sure how it may unfold. We go to work or run our businesses just as the day before; setting goals and establishing a plan to move forward. However, there may come a time when having a Crisis Communication Plan can save your business’s reputation. 

A Crisis Communication Plan is a plan that clearly indicates how communication will be handled should a crisis occur. It is not something that you may think about on a day-to-day basis but it is something you should definitely take time to consider. Start today with the few fundamentals below and expand as needed to ensure your business is prepared for the unexpected. You can be better prepared, by jotting down a couple of items you may consider during a crisis and then discussing them with your team. 

To some the current state of events with COVID-19 may not be considered a severe crisis to their business. There are companies that have continued to conduct business as usual. However, there are others who have had to change their entire outlook and business structure as a result of what they consider a crisis for their business. There are others that may not see an increase in sales as a crisis, however, the tremendous demand for products from Amazon and general grocery stores left the businesses unable to supply as they were initially unprepared for the tremendous increase in demand. Other companies have completely changed their operational statuses affecting their income, employees, and customers. Who saw this coming in 2020? While no one knew the extreme impact a virus could have on business around the world, having a communication plan in place can help with quickly responding to stakeholder concerns, decreasing panic, and managing your brands reputation. 

Simply start by outlining your plan with these fundamental considerations in mind.

Identify Crisis Scenarios. What type of events could lead you to activate your communications plan?

  • Develop a list of every crisis you think could impact your business; consider what could go wrong.
  • Group these ideas by levels of impact the crisis would have on the business, employees, staff, and stakeholders. (i.e. Red – Emergency, Yellow – Caution)

Establish your Crisis Team. Who is on your crisis communication team and how would they be notified if a crisis occurs?

  • Make a list of their contact information (email and phone numbers).
  • Consider how soon they should be notified and what next steps may be.
  • Determine the company spokesperson.
  • Determine who will respond to phone calls regarding the matter and how communication will be handled with staff.

Determine your level of response.

  • Refer to your crisis list and how they were grouped. A smaller crisis may only require you to contact those involved to rectify the situation before it escalates, while a larger crisis may entail contacting local news sources, a legal advisor and others.

Prepare key messages. Pre-established messaging will allow you to act quickly should something happen. Developing messages in advance will give you an opportunity to clearly think through each situation without the stresses or pressure presented during a crisis.

  • Release a timely statement. No statement or a late one could have a huge impact on how stakeholders and others view your company. A timely response will stop others from writing your narrative for you.
  • Consider your social media and if scheduled posts should be put on hold or exchanged with new messaging.
  • Provide frequent updates.

Develop an Emergency Contact list. Who should be contacted immediately if a crisis occurs? Consider the fastest way to contact them such as establishing a phone tree. It will help lead important decisions quickly in order to generate a timely response. Individuals to consider:

  • Legal advisor
  • Financials advisor
  • Media associates and personnel
  • Key employees

Follow-up and clean up. List questions that will help you assess the crisis and your response once things have calmed down a bit. This will also prepare you for future incidents and allow you to tweak your plan where needed to become more efficient and effective.

While there is so much more to consider, starting with these key areas will get you on the right track to dealing with any unexpected event and could possibly save your companies future. Do you need help with preparing your Crisis Communication plan? Contact us today – we’re here for you.

Stay Connected to the Community During the COVID19 Crisis

Have you checked your inbox lately?

In the past week, inboxes have been inundated with multiple emails regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how companies and organizations are assuring their customers and constituents that they are here and available to them.  COVID-19 has turned the lives of many upside down. We have begun practicing social distancing, schools have closed or moved to relying heavily on online learning, more people are working from remote locations and in some areas entertainment facilities, restaurants, gyms and more have shut down. However, this separation doesn’t mean you have to be disconnected from your constituents and audience. There are many options to engage with your community virtually. Although we may not see each other, our communication doesn’t need to stop. Instead we may have to think of more innovative ways to connect.

Email is only one way to communicate with customers or your teams, but consider some of these other options to engage with your community virtually and ways to promote general communication among your colleagues, customers, families and friends while separated. 

  • Hold a Tele-Town Hall: The NAACP hosted an Emergency Tele-Town Hall a few weeks ago to address COVID-19 and its potential impact on communities of color. They offered a call-in number as well as a registration form for members of the media. Invited panelist, including the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, were on board to share updates and answer questions. After the town hall session – NAACP provided an audio recording of the session for individuals that couldn’t attend or those that wanted to review the discussion again.
  • Conduct Facebook Live: Consider a live broadcast using Facebook Live to keep your members, partners and constituents informed about the organization and your current initiatives. Last week Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook conducted a Facebook Live with Dr. Anthony Fauci who leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Zuckerberg and Dr. Fauci had a 30+ minute discussion around the wide-spread of COVID-19. A great way to reach audiences that may look to get their news from social media channels like Facebook rather than traditional news outlets.
  • Schedule Virtual Office hours sessions: Let your community know you are still listening and you hear them by conducting virtual office hour sessions. Invite your audience to submit questions in advance, let them know the date and time that you will address the questions virtually. You can conduct the sessions every Friday at noon to address questions your organization received throughout the week.

A few additional tips to consider when planning your virtual sessions:

  • Make time for dry-runs and testing: While some of your communication efforts may need to be rapid-response, please try and make time for dry-runs and/or testing of the platform. We may have used these platforms before, but have we expected the amount of participants that may dial in or join? Do we have them all muted-upon-entry? Is the chat mechanism set up properly to accept questions? Last but not least, is your camera set up properly so that folks can see you and your team. That is one important aspect of connection, being able to see the person that is delivering the message.
  • Stay positive through all of this: You may want to even consider a virtual lunch bunch or virtual happy hour with your team to keep everyone connected, and positive. Although these are crazy times it doesn’t mean we have to lose the good in what we do. It has just forced us all to re-evaluate how we are offering support and services. If you’re feeling really fun and funky – throw a dance party like D-Nice’s “Club Quarantine” – a fun way to bring everyone together (virtually) during a crisis!

Bekoz Marketing is still open and available to you. We practice what we preach and we use Zoom and Google Hangouts to connect with you. Undoubtedly your organization and business is working through how to properly communicate with your constituents and focusing on how to reassure them during this time. Let’s work together on this!

5 Tips for Your Marketing Plan

Whether you’re working on the marketing section of your business plan or developing a standalone marketing strategy for your business or organization, we have five tips you can use to establish a thorough roadmap of how you will attract and retain consumers.

1. Define your target market.

Really get to know who you are targeting with marketing messages about your product or service. How old are they? Do they have a specific gender identity? Where are they located? What stage of life are they in? Where do they spend their time and money? What are their beliefs, interests, and values?

Also get to know your competition. Who are your competitors? Who are they targeting with their marketing messages? Are their marketing efforts effective? If so, how? What can you learn from them and apply to your marketing?

We like Hootsuite’s guide to audience research. https://blog.hootsuite.com/target-market/


2. Determine the 4 Ps.
Figure out the mix of tools that you will use to reach your target market.

  • Product — Do you have an actual, tangible product or service that you are offering? What core product (benefit to the consumer) is associated with your actual product or service? Are there augmented products you offer to help consumers use your actual product or service?
  • Price — How much are you going to charge for your product or service? What pricing structure will you use for your product or service?
  • Place — What physical and/or virtual channels will you use to distribute marketing messages about your product or service? Where will consumers be able to access information about your product or service?
  • Promotion — What marketing messages will you use to make consumers aware of your product or service? What marketing messages will you use to persuade them to purchase your product or service? And what marketing messages will you use to keep them coming back for more?

3. Describe your unique selling proposition
Make sure you have a clear understanding of the value of your business or brand and your product or service. What makes you different from your competitors? What can you offer consumers that your competitors cannot?


4. Develop your positioning statement
Ensure you and your internal team have a clear vision for how you want consumers to perceive your brand or business. This one-sentence statement answers the following questions: 1) Who is the target market? 2) What does the target market need? 3) How will your business meet their needs? 4) What differentiates your product or service from your competitors? 5) Why should consumers in your target market believe your claims?

We think Hubspot’s positioning statement template is a great starting point. https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/positioning-statement

5. Determine your key performance indicators
Before you begin implementing your marketing plan, make sure you know how you are measuring success. What are you trying to achieve with your marketing efforts? Increase brand awareness? Generate more leads? Increase your market share? Improve traffic to your website? What key performance indicators (or metrics) do you need to monitor to measure your success?

Reference this list of marketing metrics from CoSchedule. https://coschedule.com/marketing-strategy/marketing-metrics-kpis/

At Bekoz Marketing, we can assist you through this process, and help you implement innovative strategies and tactics to accomplish your marketing goals.

Learn more about us: https://bekozmarketing.com/capabilities/.

Getting the Best out of Facebook Part II: Engage Your Audience with Content

There is so much you can get from a business page that your personal page does not provide, including the ability to check page insights so you can determine who you are talking to, where they are coming from, as well as what content is attracting attention and the time of day your page has the most activity.  Why miss out on the opportunity to do this for free?

Yes, a website does provide potential customers with the same information but forces customers to search the internet to seek out information about your business or service. While websites are essential and offer you an online hub, it is best if this information is also provided on the platforms your customers are already on. Reach them right where they are.

Once the page is set up and branded to match your companies look and feel, use these tips to take full advantage of what the platform has to offer by gaining the attention of the people you want purchasing/supporting your product or services.

1. Be Engaging

  • When customers contact you, use Messenger, a separate application built into the page to reach out directly. Acknowledge customers who leave comments in a timely matter. Reply as soon as you can. If a message is left in the Messenger after hours or you know you will not be available, use the away message function. Connecting with your followers will help build longer, stronger relationships. According to Facebook Representatives, one in three Instagram stories gets a direct message. People are watching. Respond, and you may have a new business lead! 
  • Use events and groups to share. Share events by giving them their own little space on your page. This will allow people to share your activities and note if they plan on going,  enticing others to consider attending the activity as well. Facebook Groups will allow your online community to come together to freely share thoughts, questions, ideas, and interact through discussions. Setting up a group can help you establish the culture of your brand with customers. It will also give you a space to see what is on customers minds.

2. Go Live!

Facebook provides you the opportunity to communicate with your followers right from your desktop in real time with Facebook Live. Once people join, watch the comments come in and respond to questions on the spot. A small number placed at the top of the feed will allow you to see just how many people may be watching. To get the most out of Facebook live, be sure to:

  • Announce when you plan to go-live in advance. 
  • Give just a few minutes for people to join right after you have gone live. This can be done with light conversation in the beginning or by taking the time to acknowledge people as they enter.  
  • Be sure to answer comments and questions that are coming in while you are live or acknowledge people who have joined you in the middle of your session. 
  • Remember to mention what the discussion is about during your session. Not everyone will be joining at the same time. Some may participate in the middle or even towards the end. By reiterating your name and how they can get more information, you ensure as many people as possible are getting the information you are trying to deliver. 

3. Create Content

  • During the Boost Conference, owners of local businesses discussed critical items that helped them succeed. Items included being consistent and taking the time to plan out your content. Set time aside to thoughtfully create your post and use applications like Hootsuite to schedule them. If you are not interested in using an outside platform, draft and schedule posts using the “Publishing Tools” feature embedded into the administrative portion of your page. Review and schedule posts to come out so your posts will come out automatically.
  • Have a good mix. Don’t just use the platform to sell, sell, sell. Engage followers with educational content that makes them want to come back and learn more.   
  • Once posts have been released,  be sure to check in on them. Analytics are provided for you to determine what topics are getting the best traction.  Reviewing these data points will allow you to make changes that will continue to increase engagement. 

4. Get a BOOST for your business through advertising

Just like anything, before you start spending money on boosting a post or setting up an ad, you need to understand what you are doing and establish a plan. So here is a quick synopsis. You can boost a post when the content has already been provided on the page. When you “boost a post,” you are paying to expose content that has already been created – increasing the number of people who see that particular post. You can specify your demographic, boost duration, and budget. Click the boost button in the bottom right-hand corner of the post. An ad, on the other hand, is created from scratch, adding text, visuals, and call to action buttons that will grab attention enticing people to buy, shop now, etc. In either case, consider what the ad objectives and your end goals are. Is it to:

  • Create Ad Awareness
  • Push Traffic to a page by promoting your service/product
  • Create lead generation that will help gather information on your users, which will convert them into customers, increasing conversion levels. 

Your goals may also affect how the ad will be displayed. Consider these format choices:

  • Slideshow in photo and video formats
  • Carousel with up to 10 photos
  • Video
  • Or if on Instagram – Instagram stories

Getting the Best out of Facebook Part 1: Build Brand Awareness

Company leaders must do what is necessary to keep their business at the forefront of customers minds. Especially, in an environment where visuals are becoming more elaborate, and speed reading is a daily occurrence; if folks are even reading at all.  Business leaders must learn how to take advantage of available resources, particularly if the resources are free to use or can be used for a small fee.

Last month, the Bekoz Marketing team took a day to venture out into Northeast Washington D.C. in an effort to gain information from the largest free social media network, Facebook. The key words here are the largest, free, and network. As marketers, the first thought that comes to mind when exploring popular networks such as Facebook is – “How can this be used to reach your target audience?” Well, you’re in luck! We’re going to save you some time because we did the work of information-gathering for you. We’ve pulled together a three-part blog series to share all the tips and tricks we learned. During the Boost with Facebook conference, Facebook representatives shared descriptive details about getting the best use out of the platform, and now we are going to share it with you.   

Part 1: Build Brand Awareness using Facebook

First thing is first. It is one thing to use social media networks such as Facebook and Instagram for personal purposes, but it is something different when managing your businesses brand online. For this reason, set up a free business page. Both Facebook and Instagram will give you the ability to do this. Did you know that Facebook owns Instagram? Since the two are so closely related, you will see Instagram tips spread throughout this discussion, but we will be sure to cover the platform in more detail at another time. We understand using social media can be a bit overwhelming, some even view it as a chore, but it’s ok. You have the option to start with the platform that best fits your business, and remember, we are here to help! By setting up a business page, you are given the administrative ability to add, remove, or change page editors providing you with the opportunity to receive and look over the support you have put in place.  Business pages also offer the ability to:

  • Share your business address 
  • Provide a contact button or encourage a call to action such as purchasing tickets or setting an appointment.
  • Provide industry information such as:
    • Business details in the about section 
  •  Imagery (In the profile, cover, timeline areas)
  • Customer experiences by enabling ratings 
  • Provide jobs opportunities using facebook.com/Jobs, which will appear in the job market place and your business profile for FREE.
  • Be sure to follow these best practices:
    • List the job title
    • Job description 
    • Distribute the post by sharing to groups.

Come back and visit us next week for Part 2: Engage your Audience on Facebook with Content.

The Potential of LinkedIn for Lead-Generation

In the Community: Managing Partner, Sheebah Smith, participated in Business Appreciation Week with local associations to learn more about LinkedIn from Thomas Ellis of EWC Consultants.

Are you interested in getting more out of LinkedIn? It seems many are using LinkedIn to stay connected or to simply have a presence, but are you utilizing it to its full potential? Are you engaging with possible leads, enhancing relationships, or establishing yourself as an industry thought leader? Instead of jumping on and wasting time passively scanning your timeline, do just a few things that will place you in a position to generate leads for profitability. Here are some takeaways I gathered after attending the Calvert County Minority Business Alliance and Calvert County Economic Development LinkedIn seminar with Thomas Ellis of EWC Consultants during Business Appreciation Week.

  • Focus on establishing a profile that makes people want to reach out to you. The first step is to evaluate your profile to ensure it is complete
  • Think about what sets you apart from so many others using the business platform. Ellis specifically describes this as what makes you “better, unique, and desirable?” Once these traits are in mind summarize them into the Headline section of your profile. Remember to be bold and colorful, and explain the problems a person or organization may have that you can solve.
  • In a society that speed reads you want to have images, photos, and content that will quickly draw in people. Add pictures and videos if you haven’t already. Not just an inviting professional profile or banner picture, but photos throughout the profile that will visually show your experience. Add them to your summary, under your work experience, and ensure they are inviting (i.e., Remember to smile!) Don’t have any pictures? Start taking them today! 
  • Remember, bullets are your friend. As you entice people with the knowledge you bring to the table, use bullets to help readers quickly get the main points you want them to see. Don’t intimidate them with long paragraphs making it hard for them to find the information they need. This can be done as you explain what you do and who you do it for in the summary section, as well as what you did in the experience section.
  • Once you have completed a job or you find someone is pleased with your work, request a recommendation. To ensure time doesn’t get away from you, do it within 24 hours while things are fresh. Approve recommendations that will promote your services and speak to your target audience. We all know the acknowledgment that comes along with a word of mouth recommendation is unmeasurable due to the trust held between those who are giving and accepting the recommendation. Think of LinkedIn as your vertical word of mouth recommendation bank. 
  • Lastly, engage…engage…engage. Show your expertise by providing content or replying to someone’s post. Build relationships through comments, likes, and shares. Use Google alerts to feed you information on your industry or trends and provide a post with your comments. Then watch the magic occur. In this way alone you begin to establish and strengthen relationships while establishing yourself as a thought leader within your particular industry. Additionally, you remain at the forefront of people’s minds so when they think of someone to refer, they think of you.

According to Ellis, all you need is 30 minutes a day.  After leaving the workshop, I headed to my LinkedIn profile to determine what changes needed to be made. Needless to say, there are always things you can do to make it better. A tweak here and there, now I am on my way to better-utilizing LinkedIn myself.  I’ve added these essential tips to my routine. What about you? Are you committed?