Small business owners rarely write their own copy.
Most of the time, they have copywriters to do it for them. The great thing with copywriting is it’s a
learnable skill. It’s not rocket science. You can start with a few basics and
build your copywriting skills as a business owner.
Let’s take a look at copywriting and find
opportunities to practice copywriting for your landing page, sales funnels, and
Copywriting looks a bit too easy. After all, you
just need to find the right words to get more people to buy from you. But after
spending hundreds of hours on your first copy, you realized you can’t just
write a bunch of emails, send them to everyone on your email list, and expect
to find more customers.
Copywriting is 80% research, 20% writing. So, before
writing your copy, you’ll need to get these down first:
proposition. This answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” or “Is it
for me?” To answer the question, you’ll need to do some research. Interview
people, conduct a survey, look for customer reviews at Amazon, or visit forums
like Reddit. Try to look at people’s problems and frustrations, and create your
value proposition around those issues.
you’ll be doing a lot of email marketing through your
autoresponders, segmenting your email list is a must. Lay down a list of
categories in your demographic such as age, gender, specific interests, brands,
etc. This will come in handy when writing your email copy for your drip mails
and email campaigns.
We won’t go much into the details like the length,
type of language, and font size. You can find lots of video tutorials on
copywriting over the internet. Instead, we’ll give you some ideas on how to practice
your copywriting with our Small Business Dream Sales and Marketing
Internet marketers spend a ton of work on their landing
pages, for good reason. Landing pages are essentially print ads and commercials
on a web page, but they’re more specific to a given audience and allows for
user interaction (call to action).
A well-written landing page copy can instantly
double your sales and is way more cost-effective compared to traditional
advertising. However, you can’t just read one article and write amazing copy for
your landing pages overnight. You need to do some actual work and test things
out yourself. Small Business Dream Sales and Marketing
Automation helps you become a better copywriter by giving
you templates to experiment on.
Notice there’s no navigation like a typical
website. Landing pages are more direct-response — visitors will either leave your
page or take the offer (click the ‘call to action’ button). Your copy should state
your value proposition in your title and copy text.
You can slowly improve your landing page copy by making
a slightly different version of it to see if it makes any difference on your
conversion rates. Small Business Dream provides an easy way to do your own A/B
Split Testing or you can try our DFY (done for you) package and have our team
of experts set it up for you.
Copy — the AIDA Principle
For those who are new to sales funnels, AIDA
stands for Attention/Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. These are
sequential steps your visitors take in the buying process. Some compare this to
a buyer’s journey.
Sales funnels are extremely versatile. You can use
it solely for sales conversion or for many other purposes such as up-selling, cross-selling,
one-time offers, customer acquisition, lead generation, and so on. You can practice
your copywriting skills using Small Business Dream’s sales funnel template.
Begin with your title and value proposition, similar to a landing page. However, with sales funnels, you can take a step further. You’ll be able to narrow down your audience to a particular type of customer based on how they respond to your offer. They can take the offer straight away, choose a different option, or they can decide later, in which case, you can keep them interested by offering freebies, one-time offers, and newsletters.
Sales funnels are a bit slower compared to direct marketing, but the goal is pretty much the same. One advantage of using a well-executed sales funnel is that it almost guarantees high-quality leads and repeat customers every single time. Combined with a solid email marketing strategy, sales funnels are an amazing, must-have tool for your small business.
Email never gets out of style. Don’t believe it?
Find any Android and iOS phone that doesn’t have a built-in email app, or any
online service that doesn’t require an email account (think Google Play, Apple
Store, etc.). However, getting people to open, let alone respond to your emails
is more challenging than ever.
The problem lies with not being able to properly
segment your email list and poor copywriting skills, e.g. sounding too robotic or
salesy. The key to successful email marketing is to be relevant with your
recipients. Hence, you have to be very specific with your email copy.
What’s truly amazing is that with Small Business Dream Sales
and Marketing Automation, you can fine-tune your email campaigns,
drip mails, and follow-ups, all the while using automation. Set up a survey
page, and automate certain tasks like sending them to your landing page, sales
funnel, or switch to a different email series when clicking specific items on
your survey page.
Another strategy we’ve talked about in our previous blog about the best follow up tips for small businesses is by giving value each time you send an email like a newsletter or links to highly informative blog articles. Once again, be very specific whom you’re sending to. All your email marketing efforts will be a waste of time if you’re just sending them out to random people.
Need help promoting your own business? We’d like
to spend some time with you. We offer a FREE Sales and
Profitability consultation where we identify key aspects in your
business to rapidly boost your sales. Come visit us at www.smallbizdream.com to learn more about our
5-step system to rapidly grow your sales and profits with less stress.
When it comes to brand awareness, nothing beats a well-thought-out, well-executed content marketing strategy. However, you don’t have to wait for people to come to you. What you need is a system that puts you right in front of your intended audience in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
Content is king, no doubt. But with more than 500 million blogs and a new blog post published every 0.5 seconds, it’s almost impossible to build an audience on Google if you’re not among the few established companies and authority sites dealing on a certain topic. In fact, many businesses that rely heavily on website traffic took a beating after Google started implementing some major updates.
We’ve seen this coming a few years back, and we’ve perfected a system that helps small business owners grow their audience more rapidly without slugging it out with the ‘big guys.’ We’ve learned through experience, after working with over 700 clients, to combine different methods of customer engagement that allows them to attract the right people and keep them coming back.
Create a following on social media
Content marketers would often tell you to just create awesome content and let Google take care of the rest. However, things have changed and it’s no longer just putting out great content, but becoming pro-active in getting the right people to see your content.
1. Facebook & Twitter
No, we’re not selling to people on Facebook or Twitter. We’re here to make connections. Sure, you can buy some ads to give your post a temporary boost, but the main purpose is building that relationship and trust with people who might be a customer or a business partner.
Here’s a great thing about social media. You don’t have to be an ‘authority’ (or sound like one) to get an audience. You just have to use Facebook & Twitter the way they’re supposed to work but with a clear purpose in mind – to get more people into your business.
Show people what you do with your business, share some thoughts, some interesting articles or videos. Interact with users. Better yet, if you have your own blog or website, you can share your featured posts or repurpose old content for social media (e.g. quick tips, testimonials, etc.).
Ideally, you want to have a system already in place before going in on social media. People often make the mistake of going in and not being able to handle it right. So they end up either spending too much time doing everything by hand or sending bulk messages that are too generic to create meaningful connections.
Think of social media as your springboard. It helps you start a conversation but you’ll need to follow up on them and move to a more ‘stable’ platform like your email list as you go by.
We’ve developed our own sales and marketing automation which enables you to collect data and keep track of your conversations on social media. It’s a complete system that comes with a landing page builder, sales funnels, autoresponders and many others.
We’ve devoted an entire blog article on this topic about how to use LinkedIn at networking events to increase sales. It’s the same idea with Facebook & Twitter, but we’re looking to find business partners, preferably those which are complementary to yours. Hence, if you’re a restaurant or catering business, you’ll probably want to partner up with event planners in your area.
We recommend having your own blog or website before looking out for potential business partners on LinkedIn. It creates a bit of impression. Like being able to write your own book, people tend to trust you more with your knowledge and experience when they see your blog or website.
Quality content still reigns supreme, but you need the right tools to get them to the right people – precisely what our system does for many small business owners like you.
Videos will take center stage as technology improves and the majority of online marketers migrate to a much less competitive space. Unlike Google, YouTube is an untapped goldmine for a lot of content marketers. You don’t need a professional studio or expensive video editing software to get a thousand viewers on your channel.
Think of all the YouTube videos you’ve watched with more than ten thousand viewers and subscribers, using nothing more than an inexpensive camera, a whiteboard, or just them talking to you through their smartphones. Even if you’re a little bit “camera-shy,” you can still build a massive following using whiteboard animation software like VideoScribe and Doodly or even a slideshow made from Pixabay images with your voiceover.
Now here’s the best part. Your audience will get notified each time you have a new post by simply clicking on that bell notification icon. And, unlike a static post or webpage, your YouTube videos will continue to get more viewers, comments, and more people will subscribe to your channel long after you’ve published your videos.
Just like your Facebook and other social media platforms you’ll be able to use your YouTube content to get them to your site and keep them coming back for more.
Collect data for your sales and marketing automation
All your content marketing efforts and social media posts should all come down to this – collecting data for your sales and marketing automation. This is where most small businesses hit a dead end. They don’t know what to do with next, or they don’t have a system to capture all the data and use them to turn followers and subscribers into buying customers.
Small Business Dream offers a solution to take your fans and followers into that journey, whether it’s through sales funnels, landing pages, newsletters, drip mail, email series, and push notifications. We’ve covered every possible way to keep them interested after doing all the work of creating great content for your business.
Content marketing doesn’t require a lot of resources aside from your time and creativity. Like any other skill set, you’ll get better with practice and gaining more experience. However, not all business owners have the time and commitment to produce high-quality content. We offer services which includes online and offline solutions to drive your message home.
If you need help, you can reach us and take advantage of our FREE Sales and Profitability consultation where we identify key aspects in your business to rapidly boost your sales. Come visit us at www.smallbizdream.com to learn more about our 5-step system to rapidly grow your sales and profits with less stress.
we’ll talk about LinkedIn, and how almost any business can use LinkedIn to
increase their sales and not tick people off in the process.
LinkedIn and Facebook are the two big ones that we use. LinkedIn is required in most businesses, particularly in North America. I didn’t start using LinkedIn ’til only about five or six years ago. At first I was like, “What the heck is LinkedIn? How’s that going to help me? Isn’t that just really for putting your resume up online and people follow what you do?” That was the question I had. So, I started looking into LinkedIn and developing a LinkedIn profile.
How Important Is Social Credibility in
realized how important it was to add credibility to who you are in business. I’ve
seen a lot of good profiles and bad profiles (profiles with pictures of their
dog instead of their actual picture, pictures that were cropped out from a
group photo, pictures that are out of focus or have a really bad background,
pictures that are not professional-looking, etc.).
is not Facebook. It’s not for posting what you had for breakfast or for dinner.
If I’m going to be looking for people I want to do business with, I’m not going
to Facebook, first; I’m going to LinkedIn.
Collect Data at a Networking Event in 3
a neat little system you could do at a live networking event using LinkedIn to
capture the whole room’s data. Here’s how it works:
One of the things I learned by me starting just from scratch over the past five or six years is there’s a way that you could get everybody in LinkedIn if they have the app. It’s really important that you download the LinkedIn app to your phone.
2. Be in control of the room. Find an opportunity to ‘control’ the room
and get a chance to get the microphone to tell everybody to open up LinkedIn.
At the very bottom of the LinkedIn app there are five icons. The first one
looks like a little house. The second one is two people sitting side-by-side
(that’s the one that you want to click). When you click that button, most of
you in your LinkedIn app will have a little blue circle appear on your bottom
right corner of your screen.
3. Find other users in the room.
That little blue circle has a picture of a person with a plus button. Clicking that little blue button opens up three menu items on your phone. The very first one says, ‘find nearby’—that’s exactly what it’s going to do. Turn it on, and now everybody that is in the room that is on this page in LinkedIn will appear so that you can connect and talk with them right there in the app.
need to make sure they’re doing it on the app, they’ve enabled Bluetooth, and
they need to enable their location services—couple of things they have to do, but
LinkedIn will let them do that right off the bat and you can use this to
connect with an entire room in seconds. It’s really interesting because it
works off of a Bluetooth mesh, so it’s not even a matter of it only meets
people as far away as your phone’s Bluetooth circumference. It actually goes to
the farthest guys in the room’s phone. We’ve been at events where we actually
picked up on someone that was at a train station a good mile from where we
were. So, it’s really, really fantastic technology, but it only works if you’re
‘in control’ of the room.
Things to Keep In Mind
1. Ask for permission
recommendation is, if you’re going to try to do this tip during your 30-second
or your one-minute personal introduction in a room, make sure you have the
organizer or the main speaker’s permission, because if you go fire up something
like this and the speaker wanted to keep the data only for him, you could
really, really frustrate someone and probably not be welcomed back to their
events again. So, make sure you get permission.
you’re worried about ‘giving away your data,’ it’s actually the opposite. What
we found is everywhere we’ve done this, the tone of the event changes to, “Wow,
this is one of the best events I’ve been to. I got some really, really helpful
tips that I can take away and use in my business.” We talked about it at a big
event, but it also works if you’re just sitting around a boardroom with a bunch
of people and you all want to connect real quick. It’s extremely fast compared
to any other way of connecting with people.
2. Make People Want to Connect with You
some networking events that we go to every week. When I stand up to do my forty
seconds, they know what I’m going to do. They’ve already got their phones out,
they’re already on LinkedIn, they’re all ready to go and get in the room
because they know the power of being able to connect. You become the ‘hero’
that everybody connects to with, and you know that the speaker is going to
forgive the fact that you take one minute and forty seconds instead of your
allotted forty seconds because it does take a little time to get everybody to
turn it on and get interacting with you.
to be animated when introducing this cool tip. Stand up and get everybody to
hold up their hand. When I do it I tell everybody, “How would you like to
connect with everyone in the room, raise your hand. Hold your phone up. I want
you to use your phones right now. Get your phone in your hand. Everybody, put
LinkedIn on your phone. Open your LinkedIn app. Raise your hand when you’ve got
LinkedIn on your phones.” Make it interactive. Step by step, tell them exactly how to do
it to get in there and then connect.
you’re not going to send somebody a message, don’t do it. Just connecting with
somebody doesn’t do you any good. At least reach out and say, “Hey, what did
you think at the event tonight?” Do something, say something, and make
that connection. This helps you remember where you met them. So, for instance,
if you copy and paste it to everyone you’re connected with and you get good
engagement right away, you’ll be able to see where you met them when you open
them up in the future.
Why Small Businesses Should Use LinkedIn
can a business owner actually start increasing his sales from the comfort of
his bathrobe, over the morning coffee with a LinkedIn system that allows people
to literally sharp-shoot the best people as far as their ideal client, tracking,
how much work’s involved, and what the flow of the messages are? You create the
engagement instead of just being another person that sends you the 9-page
introduction the minute you connect to them.
many smaller businesses don’t have is a big budget. Same with small businesses,
say, a restaurant that’s not busy for three hours in a day, or someone who owns
a clothing store, or a hair salon. Here’s something you can do with a free LinkedIn
account. You don’t even need premium or Navigator. You do it with free and you could
great thing about LinkedIn is you can go and you can only search, say, for CEOs
in Vancouver, you can search for anybody that has a certain thing in their
description somewhere in their profile, like a title or a job description, skills—any
of these things can all be searched for in LinkedIn.
say you’re a travel business—cruises and all. You could search for certain
areas and search for certain likes and skills. You could search for people that
are in the right demographic area like people that are most likely traveling. A
teacher maybe? They get their summers off and they’ve got the holiday time. They
probably save up for a vacation. Maybe that’s your perfect kind of client.
to put some thought into this step, because if you target the wrong people it’s
not going to work. So, you do need to think outside the box a little bit in trying
to define what demographic of people through what LinkedIn allows you to select
(and it shows you all the things you can select from) would lead you to your
people. So, it’s a really important part of your system that doesn’t even
really get written down other than ‘go look for the kind of people you’re
looking for.’ Defining that and figuring out how to search for them is half the
you’ve done that, my system is simple. You’re going to reach out to and attempt
to connect with 10 people a day. Consistency is key, and you do it the first
thing in the morning. First thing with your morning coffee or your morning
breakfast, have your computer out, your LinkedIn out, and attempt to connect
with ten people in your demographic.
We have this availability in Small Business Dream, enabling users to track it all in the software, but you can do it manually with a spreadsheet. There’s lots of ways to do it. We just happen to have a tool that makes it really efficient. In other words, we’re giving you a great system but we just think it’s better if you use our tool.
The 10-a-day Rule — and Why It’s So
used the system for years, taught the system to people in different businesses
to be able to use it effectively, and what I found is that most people don’t
have a lot of time. So, if I can show you how to use it in just 10 minutes a
day to connect with 10 new people every day and then do the follow-up, they’ll
give that a shot. I could find 10 minutes in the morning before I head off to
work. You do need to find the time to follow up as well, so this will take up
to an hour a day, throughout the day, but at 10 a day you can handle this
to get some follow ups and some questions back. If you do 50, you’re going to
get a lot more questions back, but then you’re going to have even more
follow-ups. Next thing you know, you’re into eight hours every third Friday
just because that’s how things start to fall. So, spreading it out will keep it
much more consistent, easier to maintain and easier to keep up to date with.
Ten is a magic number. That means you would attempt to connect with every day, 300 people every month (that means you’re working weekends, or, just do twice as much on Friday). Out of the 300 people, only about 25% are going to accept your connection, and out of those 75 people that accept your connection, only about 25% of them are actually going to engage with you. So, only about 15 or 20 people will actually turn into a conversation. And out of that, only 25 percent will turn into a possible conversation. So, four or five, and maybe only one will end up being the customer.
Create a Sales Funnel to Boost Online
course, you can increase your odds to a degree with things like a lead magnet
where there’s a free giveaway (if it’s relevant to them), or a free call. A lot
of it will depend on what tools you have in place to create the maximum amount
of engagement. So, having a simple lead magnet funnel where you can collect
their data outside of LinkedIn and with the right giveaway or giveaways, you
might be able to increase that and create engagement a little bit more because
you’re offering help. Don’t give them something they don’t need. Send them to a
lead magnet funnel type scenario if what you had you knew could benefit them
without a cost. So, it’s not a salesy thing; it’s a true benefit.
If you go to 88ur.com/craigbook, it will take you to a sales funnel that will allow you to put in your name, your email and click a button, and you’ll be able to download my book. You’ll be able to learn the whole system step by step on how to increase your sales quite rapidly again. If you have the time and you can do 20 a day and you’re ready for the ‘snowball effects,’ you can do it faster. If you have an employee who’s underutilized, it doesn’t have to be you.
you’ve actually written all of the follow ups, directions and the content that you
want to use through your follow up, you literally assign this to a personal assistant.
You can assign it to your daughter, to your son, to your friend’s daughter. It
doesn’t have to be you until things get serious. When they get serious your
assistant, or whoever is operating the controls for you, would then just reach
out and say, “Hey, you need to intervene with this person because they’re
ready to talk.” The great thing about my system is it’s not confined to
I wrote specifically for LinkedIn, but you can do the exact same system in Facebook. It’s not as easy to target and find people in your demographic without ads on Facebook (Facebook really doesn’t want you reaching out and doing stuff). But with simple ad campaigns or reaching out to your friends, it could work. So, there’s definitely ways to be able to do that.
at the end of the day, the way my LinkedIn system works is not to rely on
LinkedIn. You need to pick up your phone and talk to people you need to as
quickly as possible, making a real genuine engagement and have a conversation.
You don’t want to talk for hours. Also, try to get out of LinkedIn because a
lot of people don’t have notifications on in LinkedIn. Some only check it once
every three or four days, so quickly in your process, you want to try to
capture their contact details whether it be phone number, email, etc.
way to contact them outside of LinkedIn is by trying to build your list. Build
your Linkedin list into your actual money-making list. It’s essentially your
goal. Consistency is everything on LinkedIn. If you’re brand new, the magic
number to get started to get to a number of connections is 500. You’ll see in
your profile how many connections you have whether it’s under 500, and then it
goes 500 plus. You could have a thousand. That way people will connect with you
better, you’ll find your connection rate will increase the more connections you
make sure that you send a custom message when you ask to connect with somebody.
Don’t use any of the LinkedIn default stuff. That’s what the lazy people do and
that’s why it doesn’t work. If you download a copy of my book, I show you some
things that I use that are really popular, that work well, to be able to
increase the engagement. If you can turn that out of the 300, increase it from
25% to just 35% accepting your friends in LinkedIn requests, to 50%, that would
typically get around 75% of the people that I asked to engage and connect with
me; they accept my connection. Why? Because I have over 6,000 connections on
LinkedIn right now, and I’ve done that organically with people, not through any
system, but it’s my own system—nothing automated, one person at a time, connecting
with the right people to build my businesses.
If you’re interested in learning how to increase your sales quickly with LinkedIn, go to 88ur.com/craigbook. If you do decide you need software to help you do it more efficiently, Smallbizdream can help.
Facebook has gone through difficult times. The social media giant had the largest single-day drop in stock market history, falling by $119 billion in value after being heavily criticized for compromising the privacy of nearly 2 billion users. Facebook also changed its algorithm. Ads won’t show up as often as it used to on the newsfeed, and as a result, a lot of businesses are moving away from the platform.
With the latest addition of business page, local, and standalone app, small business owners will have more reasons to promote their business on social media aside from the usual newsfeed post.
Finding More Ways to Improve Reach
Facebook changed the way ads work in response to the recent decline in reach and intense competition on the newsfeed. For anyone following this story over the last year or so, it’s pretty obvious that ads and promotional posts become less visible on the newsfeed.
Facebook business page provides businesses a place to thrive without competing for people’s attention. As a result, businesses can only reach out to a specific audience (similar to permission marketing) instead of showing up on everybody’s newsfeed. It’s a win-win for businesses and Facebook users.
With this new feature, Facebook is betting the social media platform will be more relevant for businesses, hoping people will use the social media platform to find goods and services, or book hotels and make reservations.
Facebook local and standalone app might also help small businesses through organic searches of the nearest shops, restaurants, and brick-and-mortar stores. Small businesses might actually fare better using the service as competition is narrowed down to a specific location.
Optimized for Small Businesses
Facebook page offers a way to encourage more businesses to build a strong brand on social media through CRM integration and data gathering. They’ve also made it easier for users to find information about business by improving its layout, esp. the home page where most users look for specific details like store hours, location, and contact information.
It gives Facebook a breath of fresh air with templates that are more industry-specific. Hence, a Facebook user who runs a hair salon business can choose a template suitable for his or her business. This applies to more than 80 million small businesses that are currently using the platform along with 1.6 billion users connected to them.
Fans and followers can also provide useful feedback about their experiences using the products and services via Recommendations. This, too, will improve online visibility on the page feed and local search.
Faster Way to Promote Business
It’s quite difficult to rank these days without spending a ton of money on SEO. Small businesses won’t stand a chance against big, established ones on Google. Thankfully, we have social media where the playing field is more even. Here, users can talk about their experiences using a product or service and be able to share it with others (also known as user-generated content).
Facebook has been diversified to accommodate both day-to-day social interactions and business promotions. There’s no doubt about social media being more cost-effective in spreading the word about your business than Google. It can be used as a starting point for any kind of business. However, it may not be a long-term solution for establishing an online presence. Sooner or later, you’ll need to be able to market your business outside of Facebook, create your own website and build your own sales funnel.
You can also connect your Facebook leads directly to a CRM service or request for CRM integration. Facebook Page contains a list of popular CRMs for managing leads when you avail of their Facebook Lead Ads.
Building Your Online Presence the Easy Way
Small Business Dream is a simple, yet powerful CRM solution for business startups and traditional businesses wanting to establish an online presence. There are a number of ways Facebook Page can be utilized for Small Business Dream CRM, including:
Lead Generation and CRM Integration
This requires setting up an Ad Account and choosing a daily or weekly budget. Promote your business page or integrate your own CRM like Small Business Dream and lead your potential clients into your custom-made sales funnel. There are at least 4 ways to integrate CRM on Facebook: direct integration, third-party integration, many integrations, and Facebook Marketing Partner.
Create Your Own Sales Funnel
You can easily make your own sales funnel with Small Business Dream and use it on Facebook to acquire new customers. The first method uses CRM integration mentioned earlier in this article. The second method is by customizing your Facebook Page and embedding your sales funnel link. However, unlike the first method, you’ll need to get enough ratings via searches and customer reviews to get results.
Or, you can create your own microsites and use both Facebook Page and Small Business Dream to generate leads. Having a website for your own business has several advantages over Facebook Page. For one thing, you’re not risking your online presence on someone else’s website (Facebook can boot you off of their platform, or it might disappear). However, it would be a great option for small businesses and start-ups who want to accelerate growth apart from traditional marketing strategies.
Giving users the ability to promote their business on Facebook is considered a smart move for the social media giant, especially during these times when the company is in need of a better solution in creating meaningful social interaction, and at the same time creating business opportunities for users.
Take your business to the next level through sales and marketing automation. Visit SmallBizDream.com and start using our suite of tools to increase your sales and profitability like never before.
Facebook offers more control to users on what they want to see on their newsfeed; it will start filtering out ads and content they’re not interested in. This came as a response to the growing concern with regard to social media’s role on our society’s well-being.
In this article, we’ll talk how putting more emphasis on community-building over competition for viewer’s attention on social media can benefit small businesses.
Why a Change in Focus is Vital for Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have changed the way people interact with each other. They paved the way for communities of like-minded people to share life’s experiences and interests over the internet.
Since then, users have always thought of getting more people to like their posts, and it wasn’t long before sharing became attention-seeking. Internet marketers quickly saw its potential for marketing and spared no expense getting more ‘likes’ and comments to stay on top of everybody’s newsfeed.
Other businesses won’t just stand and watch while competitors get all the attention on social media. Facebook ads, page boosts and paid ‘likes’ soon became the norm in social media marketing, and staying on top became increasingly difficult (and expensive) as more and more people and companies fight for user attention.
Ads were just one of Facebook’s many problems. They also have to deal with fake news, scams, clickbaits, and viral posts which doesn’t serve its users. Changing Facebook’s algorithm gave users a much better experience. (Notice how your friends’ most recent posts always come first. Same goes for more informative posts; irrelevant posts are demoted or removed completely.)
Facebook is getting more serious about its purpose as a company. Mark Zuckerberg is a little concerned and vows on “protecting the community” which he believes is “more important than maximizing profits.”
Facebook’s Focus on the Community
Most of us can only look back when YouTube was totally ad-free before Google bought it for 1.65 billion USD in November 2006. It soon turned into a money-making social media platform with ads taking the likeness of TV commercials but with some degree of user interaction. Remember how quickly you skipped the ad as soon as it starts, or piqued when forced to watch all 20 seconds of it?
Facebook went down the same path when it started Facebook Ads, paid likes, and page boosting. However, after dragging users into countless hours of endless scrolling and passive consumption, they’ve decided to redeem themselves by giving more attention on things that matter most – meaningful social interaction.
This might cost Facebook a lot of money, considering most of their income comes from advertising. To get around this, Facebook might give users the ability to choose ad-free subscriptions on a monthly basis for a fee which is approximately the price per user paid for by advertisers on Facebook. Another option is to provide premium accounts the ability to fine-tune their viewing experience and exceed certain limitations not accessible in free accounts.
From the standpoint of a social media marketer who rely on Facebook ads for traffic and customer acquisition, this can be somewhat unappealing, since most of their high-end clients and potential customers who can afford ad-free subscriptions would be out of reach by then, and they would have to settle with what’s left of Facebook’s free user base.
Having an ad-free, community-centered Facebook for users is much more complicated than we think. Facebook’s intention to take away distractions from the user experience is a noble one, although much of it remains to be seen. As with any kind of business, it has to somehow generate income in order to survive, i.e. by giving “free access” to services, paid for by advertising.
What This Means for Small Businesses
One of the biggest advantages of small businesses over large companies is the community that was built around it. Creating and maintaining customer relationships is much easier on a tightly-knit group of customers than having to deal with a very broad audience. Instead of social media being used as the battleground for people’s attention, it will become a truly engaging, interactive space where real businesses and customers with common interests can share their ideas.
Paid advertising will always have its place in the marketing mix, but social media is not really about throwing your ad into a prospect’s face. Be genuine with your customers, speak to them on a personal level and they will refer you to their friends. That’s the power of Facebook, not trying to outspend the competition.
Big businesses who rely heavily on advertising might have to take their outbound marketing strategies elsewhere. And what better place to advertise than Google? This way, we won’t have to worry going against these giants on an ad-free social media. We can devote more of our time and resources building a community of customers and growing our businesses through customer referrals, word of mouth, and other networking strategies.
Having your own site where you can take your customers for a brief tour of your goods and services is the next big step after you’ve accumulated enough audience from social media. This is where your business starts experiencing exponential growth through organic searches and visits driving more traffic to your site.
As a small business, we need to start somewhere, and social media could be one of those places where we can grow our audience. Creating and maintaining customer relationships has always been the key.
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