Get the attention of your audience through unique and authentic storytelling!

“A story can cross the barriers of time – past, present, future – and allows us to experience the similarities between ourselves and through others,” says Andrew Stanton, a filmmaker at Pixar.

Customers are looking for something that is unique and relatable to them and storytelling is an age-old method that allows businesses to relate to potential buyers.

Here are 3 elements of storytelling that can help turn the mundane into something of great appeal:

Emotion. Take your customer back to those times they will never forget with emotional appeals, such as sympathy, envy, or intrigue. Move them through from one emotional state to another as the narrative unfolds. This only intensifies their connection with your product and brand.

Authenticity. Be honest. Speak truth and life about the brand and the audience it is speaking to. This will grab their attention while also creating a reputation for your brand.

Relatability. Make a connection to your audience. Do your research on who you are targeting. Appeal to your audience through situations they have also experienced, and also challenges they have overcome.

Use these strategies to make a connection with your audience:

Make Your Story Centered around their Situation and Needs
Make People Feel a Part of the Story Experience
Listen & Create a Relevant Context
Showcase Your Values

Once you have made an effective connection is when your message was absorbed deep in their hearts and minds.

Email us today to find out more about how to become an effective storyteller for your business!

Having social media accounts for your business is critical in this digital age. But are you getting the most out of them? Social media marketing works best when people are engaging with your business. Here are our top 10 no-sweat tips to get more engagement for your business on social media.

1. Use attention-grabbing headlines. Why did you decide to read this article? It probably had something to do with the headline. Headlines that start with an exclamation, or “How to…” or “# Ways to…” or that ask a question that your customers might ask themselves tend to get the clicks you’re looking for.

2. Use images, animated gifs, and memes. Posts with visuals perform better, period. Memes and gifs can also bring humor into the mix and increase the chance that your audience will share your content.

3. Create and share videos. Over 100 million hours of videos are watched on social media every day. Get your piece of the pie!

4. Don’t only post your own content. Curate and share content made by others that you think your followers will enjoy. That way, with less work, you get more content and your audience gets added value.

5. Post more often. Making frequent posts boosts your organic growth.

6. Share an excellent piece of content more than once. That’s right: it’s okay to post the same material multiple times if you vary the accompanying message, and it can get you up to 31.5 times the number of click-throughs as posting once.

7. Use hashtags. They can double your #engagement rate!

8. Tag people and businesses you quote or reference. When you tag someone, like a guest blogger, they usually respond or repost, getting you more exposure.

9. Optimize your posting times. Schedule your social media messages to post at peak times to increase your reach.

10. Recycle your evergreen content. Some content doesn’t have an expiration date. If it’s timeless, share it again later!

We know that as a business owner, you’re busy. If you don’t have time to beef up your social media marketing, we can help! Contact us today for more information.

Are you putting social media to work for your benefit? Follow these 10 strategies to reach social media success!

1. Choose the Right Platforms

Every business is different. Make sure you consider both your customers and your business. Find out what social media sites your audience uses most, and think about which sites are the best fit for your products, too.

2. Create Unique Content for Each Platform

Your customers use different social media sites for various reasons and purposes. Make sure you’re crafting content that reflects the strengths of each platform.

3. Create a Social Media Calendar

Get organized by creating social media calendars to help you post consistently and effectively.

4. Optimize Post Times & Frequency

For that calendar, make sure you incorporate the best times to post on each site and the optimal frequency of posts.

5. Encourage Engagement

Make sure your social media is social! Interactive posts will encourage your customers to engage with you.

6. Target Your Social Media Outreach Expertly

Go for quality over quantity with your outreach: utilize your business advocates, peers, and “big fish” influencers to your advantage.

7. Avoid Over-Promote Your Brand

Don’t give in to the temptation to directly promote yourself every time. Some experts recommend the 1-in-7 rule: for every 1 openly promotional post, make 6 content posts.

8. Share Video

Visual content, especially video, is a proven attention-grabber.

9. Build a Community Around Your Brand

Another common pitfall is trying to get the most followers possible. Instead, we recommend you focus on cultivating a loyal, engaged customer base.

10. Provide Value to Your Followers

To keep them engaged, give your customers something useful, whether you entertain or inform them. This will help you gain followers and spread your content to a wider consumer base.

For more information or assistance with social media marketing for your business, contact us today at smsinc@nc.rr.com or (919) 906-6785!

Every time a user comes to your website or social media page you have the opportunity to interact with them and turn them into lifelong customers! We want your customers to enjoy coming to your page and to look forward to viewing your content. So that leaves us with the question, what does your target audience want to see on your page?

Here are some of the top ways that you can encourage viewers to get involved on your page:

Trivia Questions

Give your followers a chance to show off a little bit of their knowledge! Also, if you can come up with interesting bits of trivia for them, it will spark a lively conversation on your page and give viewers a reason to share your post.

Interactive Infographics

These are a great tool because they are visually pleasing and eye catching, but they also can pass along useful information about your business or industry to your potential customers.

Polls

A poll shows your audience that you want to hear what they think and gives them a chance to make their voice heard on your page.

Live Video Streaming

There isn’t a better way to make the viewer feel like a part of your company then by giving them a live window right into your office! They can feel confident knowing exactly who you are and what you do!

Interactive Mobile Apps

Make an easy to access App for your customers to use. It will allow them to stay constantly connected to your business.

All of these tactics are going to give your targets the opportunity to engage with your business. This will show that you care more about just making the sale, you care about your customers and want to hear from them. This will go a long way towards building followers that will stay with your business for a lifetime.

For more help engaging your customers, visit us at http://StrategicMSI.com.

Promote your brand along with its good reputation on social media and other platforms. However, things get a bit complicated when you have to deal with bad reviews.

First, keep a good reputation by being honest, transparent, setting clear expectations for your customer, and by being in business because you genuinely want to help people around you. It goes without saying that shady practices are a no-no.

Second, you have to prevent any dissatisfaction by a customer from escalating by addressing every complaint you get. It has to be fixed at this level immediately while the customer is still trying to reach out to you. Because once they have felt frustrated and think they have to warn others about your practice, things can get messy.

Nonetheless, you have to set your radar for negative reviews. One good way to do this is to set up Google alerts for your brand terms and name.

What else can you do to safeguard your brand?

Claim your brand name
Build a consistent identity

Whether your brand is your name itself, your business name or your product name, you need to make sure that no one else can misrepresent you online by owning a piece of your brand. Make sure that you own domain names and usernames associated with your brand.

Suggested tools:

KnowEm.com
NameChk.com

Build a consistent identity on major channels:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
YouTube
Pinterest
Tumblr
Quora

Publish content regularly:

The content you publish will define and reinforce who you are, what you stand for, and what your business is all about. This will make up the values associated with your brand. Anything inconsistent with these values will not be immediately convincing to your customers who know you.

Let me know if you need more information. We’d be glad to help.

Brian Weathers
smsinc@nc.rr.com

Social media allows so much information to be at our fingertips.

It allows business owners to connect with potential customers in new and exciting ways.

It also gives customers new ways to reach out and share their opinions, and it is inevitable that sometimes those opinions will be negative.

We want to make sure you know just what to do with the inevitable happens so that your customers keep coming back.

The first thing to do when you see a negative review is to take a step back. Never respond in the heat of the moment. Never indulge in an angry flash. Compose yourself and address the review in a cool, calm and collected manner.

Also, work to identify authentic bad reviews from those who are just “trolling” looking to waste your time. If a review is unnecessarily inflammatory, profanity-laden or unintelligible, odds are the reviewer is just targeting you for argument sake. In these situations, the best thing to do is just step back and let it go.

Once you’ve identified true reviews, start by acknowledging the mistake and apologizing. Sometimes a simple sorry is all the reviewer needs to hear. At the end of the day, consumers want to know they matter and that they are not just another number. Demonstrate this with a polite and sincere apology.

Even if it wasn’t your mistake, it doesn’t hurt to say that you feel sorry about the misunderstanding or bad experience.

Next, see if you can make it right. Is there something that can be done to fix it? If not, offer other perks or benefits, such as free shipping or a discount in the future. Also, make sure you’ve identified an accountability process to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Finally, thank the customer for taking time to leave feedback. Feedback gives you the tools you need to improve to become a better business.

Addressing bad PR is easier when you have our marketing team on your side. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

Digital advertising has been proven to be an effective tactic to increase your business’s visibility, traffic and sales. And there are many different digital advertising pricing models to choose from. Here are 6:

1. Cost-per-click (CPC) – you pay for every click
2. Cost-per-mille (CPM) – you pay for every thousand ad impressions
3. Cost-per-mille-views (CPMV) – you pay for 1,000 viewed only ad impressions
4. Cost-per-interaction (CPI) – you pay when a user interacts with your ad, such as installing an app
5. Cost-per-lead (CPL) – you pay based on leads acquired
6. Cost-per-action (CPA) – you pay for a defined action, such as a user buying your product

Cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-mille (CPM) are the most common models, and an increased focus on performance-based advertising has increased the popularity of cost-per-action (CPA) and cost-per-lead (CPL) models, but they may or may not be the right fit for your business.

It’s important to evaluate which model is best for your business. Each type has different strengths, some of which may align better with your business’s goals. It may be useful to consider what growth stage your business is currently in, as well as where you want to go. And, of course, consider which is the best platform to use based on your business’s unique needs and goals.

At Strategic Marketing Solutions Inc., we can help you answer these questions, find the pricing model and online advertising strategies that work best for you, and more.

Contact ~Representative at smsinc@nc.rr.com or (919) 906-6785 today to get started!

Businesses around the globe are cashing in on Facebook’s massive audience and unique features to increase their growth, sales, and overall success.

Is your business using Facebook Ads yet? Are you apprehensive to get into Facebook Ads?

Never fear! At Strategic Marketing Solutions Inc., we can help you get a well-deserved Facebook boost by:

1. Capitalizing on Facebook’s huge captive audience: Facebook has over 1.7 billion active users, and features that help you target your ads so that they’re seen by your potential customers.

2. Transforming Facebook visitors into customers: turn your cash into traffic to your landing pages and conversion funnels. Facebook even lets you re-market towards users who have engaged with you before.

3. Utilizing Facebook’s powerful Call-to-Action feature: Unlike others, Facebook Ads lets small businesses choose from a variety of call-to-action options, which lets you focus on exactly what you want your audience to do.

4. Developing demand generation advertisements: The average Facebook users spends 40+ minutes a day there to explore, connect, and discover. Help them discover just how much they need what you have to offer!

5. Testing your content before you spend money to maximize engagement: Another reason to advertise on Facebook is that it lets you get the most bang for your buck. How? You can test how engaging your content is by posting it on your page for free and analyzing your Insights. Then you can put your money on the most successful posts!

6. Creating video ads: Facebook videos have high rates of engagement and can help create buzz around your business.

Ready to begin your next Facebook Ad campaign?
Contact us at smsinc@nc.rr.com or (919) 906-6785 to get started!

A Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner revealed that Facebook is the most popular channel used by 94% of the survey respondents.

Twitter follows with 68%, LinkedIn at 56%, and Instagram at 54%.

72% of B2C marketers project an increased Facebook usage more than their B2B counterparts at 63%.

Are you actively promoting your business on Facebook?

Wouldn’t you like to know how what your customers are thinking? How are they going to act? Well, you can! You just need to track how your current customers are interacting with your business.

You or someone on your team needs to be continually answering the following questions in order to get to know your potential customers.

How many customers are you getting every month?

Even in the craziness of running your business, you need to make sure you have a way to keep track of all of your customers that you are serving. You also need to make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page and using the same system for tracking.

How many of them are coming from your website?

You need to be asking how your customers found out about you and keeping track of customers that are coming from your site.

Are they coming from your SEO efforts? Social Media? PPC?

You or someone on your team need to be monitoring how users are finding your website to learn what is working for you and what can be tweaked.

By what percent of your visitors are converting?

Track how many people who are coming to your site are actually becoming customers.

How high is your bounce rate?

Monitor the percentage of people visiting who are just viewing one page of your site and then navigating away.

Which pages are most visited?

Take note of the pages that users are going to the most often and see if they are the pages that will lead them into making conversions.

Which pages do they spend most of their time on?

You should study the pages that users are spending a lot of time looking at and see how you can make other pages interesting to your potential customers.

What’s the winning conversion path?

Find out what path the customers are taking to make conversions and make sure that your site is designed around making that path as easy as possible.

Make sure someone on your team is answering these questions often so you can optimize your website design to get a greater number of conversions.

For more information on tracking your website visitors, visit us at http://StrategicMSI.com.