One of the biggest challenges faced by organisations is how best to leverage developments in online marketing to increase enquiries, leads and sales. Sprout Online asks new clients the following questions:
1. Do you have a presence on social media?
Social media is no longer viewed as a passing fad or trend. It is clear that having a well managed presence on social media is crucial for growing organisations. A high portion of small businesses in Australia are building their online presence through social media, as outlined below:
- 83 per cent of Australian small businesses use Facebook
- 27 per cent of Australian small businesses use Twitter
- 20 per cent of Australian small businesses are on LinkedIn
- 12 per cent of Australian small businesses use Google + or YouTube (Sensis, 2013).
Why is a presence on social media important? Your customers are likely to be hanging out on social media. Research indicates that 62 per cent of Australian internet users have a presence of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and nearly half of online Australians participate in social networking at least once a week People are increasingly asking their friends and online network for recommendations and advice when purchasing products and services through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Having a presence on social media is not enough though – regular and relevant posts of interest to your target audience are essential to building an engaged following on social media.
2. Do you have a social media strategy?
Every organisation will have a different approach to social media depending on their objectives and the location of their target market on social media. For example, a large national corporation might use social media to connect with a large audience in order to gain national exposure for their brand and product while a small, local business may use social media to build a loyal and local customer base by proactively developing strong relationships. Organisations selling products or providing services to other organisations may be more likely to focus their attention on connecting with other businesses on social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, while organisations whose target market are consumers are more likely to invest their time on Facebook and Google+.
3. Is your website and the content you post on your social media platforms mobile friendly?
Smartphone use has reached critical mass in many western nations (53 per cent of Americans own a smartphone). As smartphones generally have internet access, more and more people are accessing the internet from their mobile phones and using it as a tool for connecting with friends and family, researching products and services and making purchases. This is evident by recent research which reveals that average referral traffic from Facebook mobile has grown 253 per cent between September 2012 and September 2013. If the website or the content posted on the social media platforms of your organisation is not mobile friendly (ie website images are not downloadable, website takes too long to download, status updates on social media platforms are too long and include long links, etc), it will be difficult for anyone to engage with you online from their mobile.
4. Can your organisation be easily found online?
The internet has changed how organisations interact with customers. Long gone are the days when people went to the yellow pages to find an organisation suitable for their purposes. Nowadays, customers search for organisations online. To be found by your target customers, your website needs to rank highly on search engines like Google. The process of having your site rise up the rankings (without having to pay Google for advertising) is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This process of SEO requires choosing the right keywords to target for one’s campaign. This requires a good understanding of what people who you are targeting are typing into search engines like Google to find your product or service. We assist you to select the best range of keywords that will lead to good quality traffic to your website resulting in enquiries and sales. To get your website highly ranked for these keywords, we create valuable content for users. We positioned this content in the right places on the web, and drawing attention to it using smart promotion techniques. Doing this well, so well in fact that content created is shared by others and goes viral, allows the rankings for your selected keywords to go up.
5. Are you developing good content to post on your website and social media platforms?
Content is king when it comes to developing a strong online presence. Posting relevant and informative content on your website and social media platforms on a regular basis not only increases your ranking on search engines; it also increases your fan and follower base on social media. Overtime, this will assist your organisation to build an engaged audience who trust your organisation, are willing to buy from you and most importantly, promote your promote or services to their network. Content should be conversational rather than self-promotional and where possible, a range of calls to action (CTA) should be adopted, depending on the nature and purpose of the content. For example:
- CTA to encourage engagement: ‘Please take a moment to leave your comments or thoughts below.’
- CTA to drive the visitor to other content: ‘For an in-depth look, sign up to download our free white paper.’
- CTA to increase signups or capture leads: ‘To get regular updates, sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.’
- CTA to nurture leads: ‘Watch this video for a more in-depth look at how you can use this product.’
- CTA to improve sales: ‘To get immediate access to this training and other opportunities, click here.’ (Social Media Examiner podcast, November 2013).
Posting YouTube videos and high resolution images on your website and social media platforms is also recommended.