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Survey Shows Facebook Has the Most Potential for Small Businesses
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As you develop a social media presence for your small business, where should you put most of your energies? If you’re like most businesses, Facebook ranks tops when it comes to both current ubiquity and future potential, a survey from The Creative Group reports.

More than three-fourths (76 percent) of advertising and marketing executives polled in the survey say their company has an active presence on Facebook. In contrast, only about half report having an active presence on Twitter (52 percent), LinkedIn (48 percent) or Google Plus (48 percent).

The survey also asked which social media site has the greatest potential for business. Facebook beat out other contenders, cited by 45 percent of respondents—far ahead of second-place Google+ with just 13 percent of respondents.

What do the results of the survey mean to you? Three lessons stand out to me.

  1. If social media intimidates you, get started by creating a Facebook page for your business. In most cases—especially if your company sells to consumers, as opposed to other businesses—Facebook is the best place for beginners. In fact, for some small businesses, it may be the only social media presence you need (at least for now). With even seniors now feeling comfortable on Facebook, it’s far and away the most widely used social site—not only by business owners, but also by consumers.
  2. Don’t get complacent. While Facebook is currently the 800-pound gorilla in the room, it won’t always be that way. Keep your eye on up-and-comers like Pinterest and Instagram. While these sites capture far fewer users, if your business is highly visual—such as a boutique, home décor store or hair salon—these image-focused social sites could be huge traffic drivers. And don’t ignore Google+–even though many of its users’ accounts are rarely used, the power of the search engine giant means you can’t count Google+ out of the running. Spend some time every week keeping up with social media news and trends so that you won’t be taken by surprise when a new social media site springs up or an old one surges in popularity.
  3. Remember that social is a two-way street. No matter what social media site/s your business relies on, success at social media requires a different approach than pure advertising or even public relations. Instead of talking “at” your fans and followers, you need to talk with them. Use the power of social media to solicit their opinions, emotions and insights. The information you gain by holding a conversation with your customers can only improve your business in the end.

Need more help getting social? SCORE mentors can get you started. If you don’t have a mentor, visit www.score.org to get matched with one today.

 

Rieva Lesonsky - CEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship.
www.growbizmedia.com | @rieva | More from Rieva

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How to Write Effective Ad Headlines
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“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.“ David Ogilvy

Very simply, online ads need to do three things:

  • Target the right group
  • Capture attention
  • Prompt action (click through)

An effective headline, therefore, is critical to having a successful online ad campaign.  Here are a few tips taken from writers, famous advertisers and researchers:

Use headline templates, which are based on headlines that have worked in the past:

  • Who else wants …?
  • The Secret of ….?
  • Little known ways to …
  • Get rid of <<problem>> Once and for All
  • Here’s a Quick Way to Solve <<problem>>

 

Be short and to the point. Less is more, so spend the time to cut out extras or swap out ho-hum words. (Who hasn’t at least read the “Cut Out Belly Fat” ads?)

Trigger strong emotion. Include language that appeals to core aspirations or fears. This useful Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer can help you test out several results.

Use questions. Some recent studies show that questions perform better than statements  by building intrigue and enticing a response from the reader. So consider leading with “What If you could…?” or “Would You…?”

Use specific numbers. Numbers and percentages (the more specific, the better) automatically lend a feeling of authority and measurable results. Consider “How to” –headlines such as “How to save on average $72.35 on your monthly electric bill”

Highlight real testimonials.  Faces and stories have natural appeal. Use a real quote and photo from a happy customer showing how “this product changed my life”.

Show big rewards. For example, “Be the #1 Sales person”.

Run A/B tests. After generating several compelling headlines, run smaller trials to see what performs best with your target group. Ideally you should test a combination of two images and four headlines. While it may add a few weeks to your ad campaign launch date, you will save money and improve click thru results.

Jeanne Rossomme - President, RoadMap Marketing
Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.
www.roadmapmarketing.com | @roadmapmarketin | More from Jeanne

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