Social Media Marketing: Utilizing it as an Effective Tool

The average person uses social media websites for approximately 136 minutes a day, and as the number of social platforms increase so does the time being spent on them. Time spent on social media is greater than time devoted to grooming, eating and drinking, or even in-person social interactions. Using social media as a marketing tool is the most cost effective and resourceful way for a small business to grow their audience, which is why 97% of marketers are using it.

Why social media? Simply put, your customers are there and consuming colossal amounts of content daily.  It’s estimated that 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile, and that there are more than 2.5 billion social media users worldwide. With the boundless number of consumers using social media platforms each day, small businesses are presented an unparalleled marketing avenue. It is necessary to be present and active on the channels that your target audience is using most often. Refusal to affiliate your business with social media pages neglects potential engagements that you could be having with your current and new customers.

Social media is a place where we connect to the world, expand our network, and keep in touch with our friends and family. The users of these platforms aren’t necessarily there with the purpose of being marketed to, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t following the brands they find valuable. Social media outlets allow you to unmask a more personal side of your business, demonstrating your voice on an intimate level, and supports authentic connections. Consumers are overwhelmingly more responsive on social media than they are to traditional, direct marketing messages. Brand recognition and visibility are increased as your content presents your business’ true voice and nature. While the consumer may have never heard of your company before, they are more likely to explore and become better acquainted with your business after noticing you across various social networks.

Another benefit of social media is that it allows you to more specifically target your audience, rather than broadly putting a message out for anyone to see. Targeting your audience will generate higher quality leads, and eventually boost your conversion rates. While not only being a more objective advertising avenue, it’s also more financially worthwhile than conventional advertising. Social media is estimated to be at least 3 times less expensive for paid advertisements than traditional media, but you also have the option of using it entirely free.

 

By being more active on social media, your search engine exposure increases. Search engine algorithms are alerted by links to social content, shares, likes and comments. The livelier these engagements the better your organic growth and visibility on search engine sites. Your competition can also be found on social media and search engines, so this engagement favors the diligent.

Consumers also use social networking to find recommendations. A survey found that 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations! Use customer feedback, positive or negative, to thank them for their support, expose necessary areas of growth, and to boost your glowing reputation! Ask your current customers to leave reviews of their experiences, because 90% of future buyers rely on positive reviews to influence their purchasing decisions!

When executed correctly, social media is an unbeatable device. To feel like you aren’t getting the reciprocation deserved when investing your valuable time and effort is defeating to say the least. Before giving up on social media, ask yourself these questions: Are you posting the right content for your market? Are you posting enough? Are you simply posting at the wrong times? Research the various social media outlets to find the optimal times and days of the week that each platforms’ users are most active!  Know your audience, be persistent, and share content of value regularly! Best of luck in your social media endeavors!

 

 

 

 

Sources Cited:

Asano, E. “How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media?” Social Media Today, January 2017.    Retrieved from https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic

Smith, K. “15 Reasons Why Marketing Through Social Media is a Must For Every Small Business.” LYFE Marketing, January 2018. Retrieved from https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/marketing-through-social-media/

Bhat, U. “4 Reasons Why Your Social Media Posts are Not getting Engagement.” Cloohawk Blog, July 2018. Retrieved from https://www.cloohawk.com/blog/4-reasons-why-your-social-media-posts-are-not-getting-engagement

The Importance of Social Media for Small Business

 

You’ve probably heard it over and over, how important social media is for your business. Well here are some of the reasons as to why having those social media channels and making time each day to post on those platforms is so important. 

Americans spend nearly a quarter of their online time on social networks and blogs. Chances are much of your target market is probably already using social media. If you want to reach clients and prospects, you need to be where they are and by using social media you’ll increase those odds.

Having a dedicated business Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and a host of other social platforms is a guaranteed way to:

  • Increase you brand recognition:  Increased brand recognition can help you generate more prospects and convert them into paying customers. Social media platforms will help boost your business’ visibility with your current customers and even potential prospects down the road. It gives your business a direct way to share it’s brand and content with customers. A customer today expects a business to be highly accessible and easily recognizable online. When they search for a business or product and don’t find information from your business, they’re going to assume your business does not exist and move on. 
  • Improves business customer service: Many of today’s consumers flock to social media to seek assistance, ask questions or provide feedback to a brand’s customer service team. Your business will miss those customer conversations if you not engaging on social media. When a customer posts their positive experience with your company, you should share it as a testimonial to all of your followers, and explain how others can benefit from your business.
  • Marketing costs are lower: Traditional marketing such as print or digital ads, postcard mailers, etc can be very expensive for a new or smaller business at the start. While those tools are still important for your business, it is important to incorporate lower-cost social media marketing. This can stretch your marketing budget substantially. Having your best customer post to their Facebook account about the great service they received from your business can be more powerful than placing an ad in the paper. You can post multiple times each day on social media, for FREE!
  • Boost your SEO rankings: Search Engine Optimization is something that often gets overlooked but is still a crucial part of social media. Search engines, such as Google, will consider a company’s social media presence as a factor in determining where that business will rank on a search results page. When writing posts on your business’ social media pages, consider ways that you can help your followers to spread your business. Perhaps you can do that by offering something for free or at a discount if the follower shares the post. 
If you lack the time in your day to spend an appropriate amount of time on social media for your business, we would suggest signing up for a social media management platform. A place where you can link all your social media channels, schedule posts, and send posts out to all those channels all in one feel swoop! 

Franchisee Technology Wish List

Even the most technology resistant among us are coming to realize, through constant bombardment by its bombs of influence, that the explosion of technology has become one of the most important factors to success in business. Franchisees will benefit greatly from association with a franchisor who leverages technology to maximum effect.

Here’s are several franchise-crucial web and other technologies:

1. Training

The primary value to be gained from a franchise is access to the unique ideas and processes which constitute the core of the service or product that it sells. And the most direct and effective way of gaining access to and quick experience with that value is thorough, experience-based franchise training. Hands-on training gives franchisees what they need to “hit the ground running,” drastically reducing startup time and delays in earning first dollars.

Staff Training

2. Websites

An impressive web site sits at the core of franchisee online marketing efforts. Social media, email campaigns, pay-per-click campaigns, and paid advertising will likely be focused on getting people to visit the company web site where they can be monetized through sales channels. Prospective local customers need to be able to easily find local franchisees on the main corporate site.

 Franchise Locations

 

3.  Online knowledge platform

An information-packed private intranet is the go-to place for all franchisees, new and old. Technology how-to’s, operations manuals and more can be found on a system like this, saving lots of time for both franchisees and franchisors. Franchisees won’t need to call or email the franchise’s corporate office for every issue they’re experiencing, which can free up the franchisor’s support staff for the big stuff.

Intranet – Resource Center

4.  Social media marketing

It’s important that visitors to your web site have access to the remarkable phenomenon of social media through “share” buttons which allow them to easily post on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.


Delicious Bookmark Sharing for Franchises

In 2011 Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, the creators of YouTube, purchased the already popular social bookmarking site delicious.com with plans to transform it into a social bookmarking destination using the same talents that enabled them to sell their last creation to Google for 1.65 billion dollars.

Social bookmarking is a simple and powerful way for franchises to organize and share notable web resources by depositing them in a business intelligence bank. Useful “landmark pages” discovered during your staff’s daily web browsing activity are remembered, organized and shared, forming a sort of “intranet.”

High Touch High Tech (ht2) research has shown that a large share of web researchers use Delicious bookmarks for sales presentations, social media content, and direct site links. Thus it makes sense for franchises and their franchisees to bookmark their own web pages to spread the word, increase search engine rank, and potentially create viral web traffic boons. Find out more about the ht2 marketing team and all they are doing to maximize their franchisees’ income potential.

Signing Up Through Facebook & Twitter

When you sign up with Facebook or Twitter, Delicious will import your name, username, and if you’re connecting with Facebook, your email address. This means you won’t have to connect to them later. Delicious will also import links you share on the service you connected to.

By default, links imported from Facebook or Twitter are set to private. You can change your default setting or disconnect from connected accounts in your account settings.

If you don’t want to use this feature, simply use a separate email and password when you register for your account and bypass the import features.

Connecting Delicious to Facebook

The “Remember” Bookmark Stream

One of the most intuitive aspects of Delicious profiles is the chronological order of bookmarking. Think Facebook Timeline. Gone is the necessity to save bookmarks into folders and order them manually. Delicious keeps your links in tidy chronological order; how often do you want to revisit the most important links from yesterday’s browsing? This is superior to a browser’s own bookmark and history features because your Remember page can be accessed from any desktop browser, tablet, or phone without having to slog through the chronically flawed import/export ritual which routinely mangles the pristine folder hierarchy you have so carefully crafted!

If you find the service as valuable as I think you will and would like to import your browser’s bookmarks, the Delicious help files will walk you through the process.

Delicious Profile Page - Remember Tab

Tagging

Organizing links into “Folders” is done quickly and easily by adding tags to each link when you add it. Each tag describes the subject matter or use of the page. When you tag a link, Delicious creates a new “bucket” of links on the left side of your profile page. You can organize the buckets by alphabet or number of links per bucket.

Sharing Features

The magic of working with Delicious bookmarks in franchise operations happens with the Network feature. Just like Twitter and Facebook, you can follow team members so that you’re privy to the public links that they are adding. On the Remember tab you will retain your personal collection, while on the Network tab you will see all tags added by team members you are following. As you peruse the franchise’s storehouse of links, you can easily copy a link of interest to your own collection by clicking the plus symbol. Again, these links will be organized by tag.

Delicious.com -- Recommended People

Designate a branded tag for operations purposes. Whenever a team member adds a bookmark of franchise relevance, they add the designated tag. This way, when fellow team members add that link to their profile, it will be organized by and accessible through the tag name showing on their page. All franchise-related tags adopted from team members’ profiles will be accessible by clicking the designated tag link. Quick. Easy. Dynamic. Timely.

Private Bookmarking

Whenever a franchise staff member adds a bookmark with the Private box checked, it will not appear on the Network tab and will not be visible to outside users at large.

Take advantage of all of these Delicious features and watch your staff get smarter and more unified as they share knowledge in an organized, fun, and social way!

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Facebook Ad Targeting for Franchises

Franchises which draw their consumer base from specific demographics will get all the traditional benefits of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising with facebook ads while keeping costs low. You are able to choose the location, gender, age, likes and interests, relationship status, workplace and education of your target audience.

Since your ad will only be shown to users relevant to your target criteria, the number of clicks will be lower and the quality of users visiting your promotions will be much higher. Ask your franchise marketing team if they provide systems or guides to empower your social media advertising campaigns.

Interests Targeting

Interest targeting helps franchises target facebook users based on information they’ve added to their timeline and profile. This considers information such as the pages they like, apps they use and other information.

Facebook Interests Settings

Facebook Ad Interests Targeting

For example, High Touch High Tech franchisees specialize in fun and educational science programs for kids. So franchisees might display their ads to users who have shown an interest in general science topics, science education, parenting, and teaching. Interests targeting will help them reach those customers most likely to make a program reservation.

Intrigued? Meet our franchisees to see if investing in a Science Made FUN! franchise is right for you.

Age & Birthday Targeting

Birthday targeting lets you create ads that are targeted to people who have a birthday in the next week. This helps you create highly relevant ads or highlight special discounts, offers or promotions that are available to people on their birthdays.

Facebook Age & Birthday Settings

Facebook Ad Age & Birthday Targeting

Location Targeting

If your franchise business sells primarily to your local community, location targeting is right for you.

You can target by:

• Countries

• Specific radius from city

• Zip code Facebook Location Settings

Facebook Location Settings

Facebook Ad Location Settings

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

The Must of Social Marketing

Playing Along

Like it or not, the web is a world of appearance and trends wielding enormous and growing influence on what we consume, with social marketing riding the crest of this wave. The way to set your franchise business apart from competing interests is not to stay home. Join the pack and get in the game!

Skyrocket Web Visits with Viral Messaging and Imaging Channels

Though enigmatic in its routes of influence, communities of interconnected friends and business relations leverage the viral force of billions of followers, friends, and contacts. Blog articles, viral videos, compelling photo albums, and targeted messaging have an uncanny, if somewhat nebulously motivated, ability to generate thousands of visits every month to franchise sales vehicles. Each social media property becomes a spoke in an influential wheel of interconnected web traffic, each spoke amplifying the effectiveness of every other spoke and driving consumers to the hub of the wheel: a franchisee’s main web site.

Case Study: a handful of blog posts which have gone viral by being posted and shared on Pinterest have multiplied visits to ScienceMadeFun.net tenfold. This increase, startling in its initial explosion 8 months ago, has not dropped off since then.

Here’s an article which will help franchises develop viral messaging strategies by learning what types of content are most likely to be successful: Hard Thoughts About SEO & Link Bait.

To Search Is To Find

Since one of the largest factors determining your franchise site’s Google rank is the number of links from other sites, social media’s ability to automatically blanket the web with links is an invaluable tool helping your site to achieve placement on page 1 of search results. Every site has a Google rank—a relative number from 1 to 5 determining its importance. And the keywords on every web page have an aggregate content bias which, when linked to your pages, reinforces your content’s topical relevance. Since Google’s bread and butter is revealing the most relevant content for a given search, strong linking and strong content relevance mean higher listing position. To explore the reasons for this behavior, read How to Improve Site Credibility Through Search and Social Media.

Today in America there are nearly 1,000,000 franchises covering over 3,000 industries. A third of those markets, or 1,000, have appeared in the last ten years. That means new and successful franchises are being started in new industries every day. The ht2 business model has bred successful businesses since 1992 using novel concepts matching the trend of service-oriented franchise growth.

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

How To Write Your Business’s Story

In a lot of ways, people don’t buy products anymore — they buy your story. That means companies must constantly refine and redefine their stories and present them in innovative ways.

A brand story envelops your mission as a company, your culture and your history: How did you get started? Why do you do what you do? Where are you going? Our story specifically shares the idea development, research of the idea and viability, and growth and success.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Our Story

Because shoppers are so connected through social networks, marketers should aim to present their stories in such a way that people will want to share them and their friends will want to connect with them. One advantage of social media is that we can have some control of our story. We can either passively hope people find our story appealing — or we can intentionally shape it to try to resonate with prospective customers. Either way it is a very important part of marketing your business.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Marketing

Here are a few suggestions on how to convey a more powerful story:
One of the best things a company can do is be transparent about why it is doing what it does.
Not quite sure how to go about brainstorming your “why”? Try these suggestions:

Ask your customers:
Put up a blog or Facebook post asking your customers why they stick with you?

Ask your employees: Your team is the closest to what you are doing and the why behind it, so ask employees why they work for you and what motivates them to come in every day?

Read your web mentions: Google your company’s name and see how people are talking about you out on the web.

 

Share your “why” in distinctive ways.
Make your story engaging and easy to share. Social media consumes one out of every five minutes spent online. That means your audience is most likely spending a significant amount of time online sharing content. Here are a few ideas for getting customers to share your content:

Put a video on your site. Rather than just telling your story in text or in the About Us section of your website, create a video as well. It could feature employees talking about why they work for you and how they hope the company’s products or services will help customers. Consider accumulating a number of videos and creating a YouTube channel. Be sure to make it personal.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: YouTube Channel

Post photos. One of the easiest ways to enhance your story is to add images to your site, social network, or facebook page. If you have a cool office or store, showcase it. Also, post photos of customers and your team to highlight the people behind your brand’s success.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Facebook

Add a few quotes. Many sites put up long testimonials from customers, but you should go further. Get quotes from your leadership, customers and especially business partners. This will help tell the “why” of your story. Then showcase only the words or sentences that really tell the story and give them a beautiful visual treatment.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Partnerships

Give your “why” more real estate.
Is your company’s story tucked away in the footer of your website with an “Our Story” link? If so, it’s time to give your story greater visibility. Ideally, your story should be laced throughout the text on your entire site, but that can be challenging. Instead, start with some of these baby steps toward giving your story more of the spotlight:

Put it on the home page. Rethink which content should get this prime real estate. What could be better than putting a video up on your home page that describes why your company exists and why you do what you do? Tell people something that encourages and inspires them to learn more about you.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Mission

Link to it from social profiles. Companies are investing heavily in social media and teams to manage those conversations. Make your story a critical part of that interaction. Link to videos or website pages that help your followers understand what makes you special.

Write about it on your company blog. Your blog can be a great place to call out your story. Transparency in business resonates with customers, so talk openly about both your company’s struggles and successes.

High Touch High Tech – Science Made Fun: Blog

Marketers should rethink what exactly they are selling. With so many products and services out there and so much noise in the social sphere, it’s your story that can really differentiate you, and separate you from the competition. Careful attention to how you tell that story and how you showcase it can make all the difference.

If you want to check out what we’re doing, visit any of our social media outlets. We’d love to get your feedback!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/HTHTWNC
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/@HTHTWNC
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/HighTouchCorp
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/hthtworldwide/
Blog:   http://sciencemadefun.net/blog/

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

Smarter, not harder! Social Media

As a small business owner, you have to wear many different hats to keep your business running and growing. Between staffing, scheduling, purchasing, customer service, marketing, and all the other tasks, you’ll start to wish you could clone yourself just to get it all done! Well, any successful business person will tell you that success comes from working smarter, not harder!

With this in mind, today’s blog is about the use of social media. Now, our company currently has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube ChannelPinterest Pin Boards and a blog. In a small office like ours, it takes an army just to keep all of these mediums current and engaging. Now, you may notice, we’re missing on of the “biggies”, namely, Linked In.

Needless to say, we were ready to dive in head first when we got our hands on a step-by-step guide of how to use Linked In company pages for marketing. Our eyes lit up and our imaginations ran wild as we reviewed the guide, researched other company pages and quickly scheduled a meeting. However, we were somewhat underwhelmed by what we saw and began to realize that our initial thoughts and goals for launching a Linked In page might not align with what they have to offer. Our enthusiasm quickly began to deflate when we realized the amount of work necessary to set up the page, build the connections and maintain the page. It was at this juncture that we determined our investment (time & effort) might not yield the desired results.

In lieu of building a Linked In page, we took a step back, evaluated the benefits of our current social media outlets and asked how we could do better with what we’ve already got. Ultimately, we want to generate leads, so we asked ourselves how else can we drive traffic to our websites, increase our brand awareness and educate our customers about our products and services. The result: revised Pinterest Pin Board themes with brand specific pins and website link backs; SEO aligned descriptions on all YouTube videos with website link backs; new photo albums and engaging content on Facebook; and the list goes on and on.

So a meeting that started with the goal of introducing a new social medium to our arsenal, which would have added to our overall workload, ended with more than a dozen, actionable ideas for enhanced user experience and interaction on our existing social media outlets.

Efficiency is key and making the most of your time and resources is critical to your overall growth and success. Stick to your strengths and maintain social media efforts that can actually be maintained by your current resources. Don’t get in over your head! It’s easy to get sucked into the “social media machine” and jump onboard every opportunity in every medium, but sometimes, less is more! Social Media outlets that are out-dated or not maintained on a regular basis can be just as damaging as not being involved in social media at all.

If you want to check out what we’re doing, visit any of our social media outlets. We’d love to get your feedback!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/HTHTWNC
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/@HTHTWNC
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/HighTouchCorp
Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/hthtworldwide/
Blog:   http://sciencemadefun.net/blog/

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.