Category Archives: Brand Management

3 Things That Blow Your Social Media Credibility (And How to Avoid Them)

Small businesses use social media for different reasons—to share content, to engage in dialogue with their customers, to boost online visibility, and to preserve their online reputation, among other things. One of the most critical reasons to be on social media is that it can give you credibility; by sharing valuable information, you can build thought leadership and earn trust.

Yet, in some instances, social media activity can have the opposite effect—actually detracting from your credibility rather than enhancing it. In this post, we’ll guide you through three of the biggest offenders, and offer some suggestions for staying on the straight and narrow.

Only Sharing Links to Branded Content

To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using social media to share company blog posts, videos, or sales pages.

The problem comes when that’s all you share—because, quite simply, it makes you come across as salesy, only interested in tooting your own horn rather than adding value to your customers’ lives.

And on top of that, the all-branded-content, all-the-time approach can make your social media presence become static and uninteresting. No matter how you slice it, it’s a bad approach.

But what can you do instead? Our suggestions:

  • Aim for a balance between branded and curated content; ideally, only about 20-30 percent of your content should be branded material.
  • For curated content, look for articles, blogs, videos, editorials, and infographics that convey meaningful information about your industry and add value to the reader’s life.
  • Focus on educating rather than just selling all the time; treat your content like a product in its own right and keep the emphasis on benefits to the end user.
  • Make sure you balance your links with other kinds of content, too—like images, polls, or posts that simply ask questions or offer tips.

Seeking Followers Through Illegitimate Means

As you may have heard, fake Twitter followers are abundant—but now, they are also being investigated by the government. Many big brands, including celebrities and politicians, are losing followers fast.

Don’t try to buy followers, no matter how tempting it may seem; it’s not going to work out in the long run, and when you lose millions of followers overnight, it will cause you to look pretty hapless.

Instead, we recommend:

  • Focus on organic growth! Don’t buy followers but earn them. Use the value-focused, balanced content marketing approach we outlined above.
  • Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint—and you’re not likely to win a ton of followers all at once. Instead focus on patiently building relationships and developing credibility.
  • Finally, remember that 100 real-life customers, who might actually buy your products or recommend you to a friend, are far more desirable than a million bots.

Trying to Please Everyone

There’s nothing wrong with sharing memes or funny videos on your social media profiles—so long as they’re somehow relevant to your core business offerings.

But when funeral homes tweet out funny kitty memes, that’s obviously a little weird, to say nothing of off-brand.

Tactics like this make it look like you’re desperate to win everyone over to your brand—but remember: You don’t want everyone. You just want your targeted audience—the people you’re trying to reach with your products and services. (See your buyer personas for more!)

Use Social Media to Boost Your Credibility

With the right strategy, you can use social media to offer value, entertainment, and engagement—building your credibility in the process.

We’d love to show you how. Contact the Grammar Chic, Inc. team for a social media marketing consultation. Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Manage Your Online Reputation with These Four Essential Assets

When’s the last time you made a major purchase without first doing a little online research? If you’re like most of us, you spend a little time online doing some due diligence before you ever commit to a high-priced product or service. And after all, why wouldn’t you? Googles makes it quick and easy to do meaningful consumer research, potentially saving yourself from a big, expensive blunder.

For consumers, online research is invaluable; for business owners, things are a little more dicey. After all, you can be certain that your consumers are using Google to vet your brand, your products, and your services before they give you any of their hard-earned money.

Your Online Reputation is One of Your Most Valuable Assets

As an exercise, you might take a minute to Google your brand, and see what comes up. If it’s all good, positive stuff, then congratulations—you have a solid online reputation, one that should encourage potential customers to buy from you in confidence.

But if your Google results are less than stellar—if they include negative reviews or unwanted news headlines, for instance—then you may actually be losing customers at a fairly high rate. We’re not exaggerating, either; online reputation can be truly make-or-break.

That’s why we recommend taking a proactive approach—something that’s not nearly as difficult as the high-dollar online reputation management firms will claim. Actually, a dedicated content marketing effort—focused on a few key assets—can help you preserve and even enhance your brand’s online image.

Online Reputation Management: A Four-Pronged Approach

Your Business Blog Provides Thought Leadership

For starters, if you want people to find positive listings when they Google your company name, it’s important that you actually create those listings. Positive content won’t write itself!

A regularly-updated business blog is helpful for a few reasons:

  1. It provides regular updates to the Google search algorithms—feeding the content monster and keeping your brand’s listings fresh.
  2. It allows you to display thought leadership—earning the trust and confidence of your customers.
  3. It provides opportunities for social media shares—another important way to generate some positive online mentions.

Press Releases Create Buzz

Getting some local news coverage is another important way to boost your positive Google listings—and that’s why we still recommend press releases for many of our content marketing clients. While this is seen as something of an old-fashioned approach, the reality is that it’s an easy and effective way to build buzz.

The important thing is to send out news releases about actually newsworthy events—such as:

  • New products or services
  • New locations
  • New hires
  • Involvement with a local charity or non-profit

Social Media is an Avenue for Customer Services

Something else you’ll want to do is maintain some active social media accounts—and not just for the obvious reasons. Yes, social media channels make it easy for you to distribute positive, brand-enhancing information—but they also provide a way for you to engage with your customers directly.

This can be either a blessing or a curse. To use social media effectively, it’s important to check in every day and respond to questions and complaints professionally—essentially viewing it as a chance to flex your customer service muscles. This can help minimize the occurrence of bad reviews or negative listings; if your customers see that you respond to their issues, they may not be as tempted to vent about you on Yelp or Foursquare.

Online Review Sites Add Luster to Your Brand

That brings us to the last of our vital assets—and that’s online review sites. To many business owners, these review sites are a scourge and a threat. Certainly, they pose a risk to your brand—but they also offer some opportunities. Here’s our advice for tangling with these site:

  • Above all, make sure you monitor your online reviews; always know what people are saying about your business.
  • If you spot some positive reviews, take a minute to say thanks.
  • If you come across negative ones, pause to offer some customer service. Coolly and calmly try to make things right.
  • Actively seek positive reviews; ask your best, most loyal clients to help you out by offering some positive feedback.

Take Your Reputation Seriously

Given the centrality of online research to the consumer experience, you can’t afford to think of online reputation as secondary, or as optional. Your brand will have a reputation, whether you like it or not; it falls to you to make sure it’s a good one.

And we can help! Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to discuss any and all of your content crafting needs—including blogs, social media, press releases, and beyond. Contact us at 803-831-7444 or www.grammarchic.net.

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Do These Four Things to Land More Eyeballs on Your Content

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really happen? And if your brand produces the world’s greatest content but nobody reads it, will it make any impact?

We can tell you with certainty that the answer to this last question is no. Content creation is innately limited by content promotion; if you can’t get eyeballs on your blog posts and other written content, you’re not going to reap any of the benefits of improved brand recognition, consumer trust, etc.

Yet getting people to read your content is one of the true challenges of content marketing. It’s something small businesses especially struggle with. Sure, it’s easy for Fortune 500 companies to generate interest in what they do—but what can the little guy do to build buzz?

Actually, there are four practical steps you can take today to boost your content’s reach and its readership. These aren’t flashy or gimmicky strategies, but they do really work, and Grammar Chic uses each of them on our own content.

Here are those four recommendations.

Tag Industry Influencers

First and foremost, you should always be sharing your content on Twitter—but don’t stop there. Start a conversation around it. Bring in the movers and shakers within your field, inviting them to be part of the dialogue.

There are different ways to do this. If you can, cite their work in your own content—then tag them on Twitter, giving them due credit and encouraging them to share the content. Or, you could simply ping their Twitter handles and ask them to weigh in with their feedback. Whatever attention you can bring to your content is good, especially when it’s attention from industry stalwarts.

Use Facebook Ads

There’s a time and a place for Promoted Posts, but what’s even more effective is going into Ads Manager, where you can actually target the people you want to reach with your content—by demographics, by relationship to your brand, etc.

Yes, this will involve some financial investment on your part—but did you know that solid content is one of the keys to ad success? If you have a good content offer, paired with some ad dollars, that can really make waves.

Include Content in Your Newsletter

A periodic email, including links and summaries of your best content, is a great way to win a few clicks from people who might not otherwise be following along with your blog. Plus, it allows you to repurpose your content; not only does it show up on your blog, but it’s fodder for your email list, too—killing two birds with one stone.

Publish to Medium or LinkedIn Pulse

Finally, remember that you can publish on many different channels—and we’ve had great success sharing some of our best posts on Medium and Pulse. Both publishing platforms have good, built-in SEO traction that makes it so much easier for your content to be discovered, even by people who aren’t otherwise familiar with your brand.

The bottom line? There are small steps you can take to make sure your content isn’t invisible. To learn more about bringing in traffic, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Social Media, Web Content

6 Reasons Why Guest Blogging Still Matters

SEO and content marketing are in a constant state of flux—and some of the strategies that worked well three years ago (or even three months ago) are of dubious impact today.

Yet there are some strategies that are tried and true, and remain very much recommended. One of the best is guest blogging. Simply put, submitting authoritative posts to relevant blogs—other than your own—is one of the smartest ways you can build your online brand.

Allow us to explain why. Here are just a few of the top benefits you can expect from guest blogging.

What Do You Get Out of Guest Blogging?

Targeted Traffic

First and foremost, there’s traffic. Even if you don’t get a backlink, you will almost certainly arouse the audiences’ interest—and that can lead to curious readers flocking to your website. Not only do you get traffic, but—assuming the blog you write for is relevant to your own industry—that traffic will probably be well-matched to your own customer demographics.

Relationships

Something else that guest blogging provides you? Connections. Developing some common bonds with other bloggers and contributors can open the door to more possibilities down the road—more guest blogging opportunities, more social media shares, more collaborations.

Social Media Shares

Speaking of social media, when you write a blog for another publication, you can bet that the owners of that publication will promote it—meaning you can expect social shares and re-tweets from a lot of folks who aren’t otherwise aware of your brand or your content.

Authority

When a respected publication agrees to host your guest blog, it’s a vote of confidence—a vouch for your authority. This can increase your visibility and prestige within your industry, and also lead to more social media followers—people who determine that your brand must be legitimate, since your guest blog was accepted by their favorite publication.

Links

We’re burying this one deep down in our list because most everybody knows that this is a benefit of guest blogging, and if anything it’s overemphasized. Still, the point must be made: Guest blogging is the best way to build up your backlink profile, which is an SEO essential.

Brand Awareness

Finally, guest blogging simply gets your name and your writing out there in front of people who probably wouldn’t see it otherwise—and if even one of those people becomes a paying customer, the guest blog has served an important purpose.

Start Guest Blogging Today

The benefits to guest blogging are many—but how do you get started? We’d love to chat with you about mapping out a guest blog initiative for your brand. Reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. to begin that dialogue: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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What Will Google Stamp Mean for Content Marketing?

Over the summer, news leaked out about a curious new product development from Google. According to tech insiders, the search giant is hard at work on a new platform that will rival Discover—one of the more popular features on Snapchat. It’s called Google Stamp, and it’s likely to become one of Google’s core products.

But what do we know about Stamp—and perhaps more to the point, what can we speculate with regard to its impact on content marketing?

Everything We Know About Google Stamp

Start with the name. Stamp is a portmanteau of the words story and AMP, the latter referring to the accelerated mobile pages technology that has turned online publishing on its head. And there you have, basically, the whole point of Stamp: It’s conceived as a publishing platform, intended to catch fire with mobile users.

The development of Google Stamp began shortly after Google’s failed 2016 bid to purchase Snapchat outright, so it’s no big stretch to assume that it’s intentionally imitating some of Snapchat’s more popular features.

The intended launch date for Google Stamp hasn’t yet been revealed—but we do know a few things about what it will do. Essentially, it will work like Snapchat Discover, allowing mobile users to swipe between various pieces of content—content that might include written text, video, and still images.

But if the technology functions in a similar fashion to Snapchat, there is a major difference—and that’s user intent. Most people don’t view Google as a social network. (Remember Google+?) Those who come to Google are searching for products, services, or answers to their questions—which begs the question of how this new platform will really be used, if at all.

The most likely scenario is that Stamp will be seen as a way to discover products or services—basically, a way to engage consumers who are at the top of the sales funnel. And that brings us to the question of content marketing.

What Will Google Stamp Mean?

Right now, it seems like Stamp will be open only to very large enterprises—at least at first. Don’t be surprised if it’s ultimately opened up to lower-tier content creators, though, and provides new avenues for companies looking to publish consumer-centric content.

In essence, all this shows that the line between search, advertising, and content creation is getting increasingly blurry—and that engaging customers might mean straddling the line between all three. Google Stamp might well become a significant new avenue for companies looking to position their products and services as solutions to consumer problems—in the most engaging manner possible.

We’ll keep you posted. For now, remember that content creation remains vital to all digital marketing channels. It’s never a bad time to invest in it—and for help, you can always reach out to us directly. Get content marketing expertise from Grammar Chic, Inc. today: www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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Make it Easy for Local Customers to Discover Your Business

When people want answers, they turn to Google. That includes those who have questions or inquiries about local companies. New to town and need to find the best Chinese takeout? Google can show you. Looking for a reliable plumber in your neck of the woods? Google can show you. Not sure where the nearest Laundromat happens to be? Google can show you.

But if Google is where people turn with their local business questions, it’s up to you to position your brand as an answer. In other words, you’ve got to show up on those search engine results pages. You’ve got to make it easy for local consumers to discover you.

That’s what local SEO is all about. And this is not just an abstract marketing concept. This has real, bottom-line significance for your business.

A recent Forbes article puts it this way: “50 percent of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store that same day. And if your business’s visibility is not ranking highly in your area, your brick and mortar location could be losing out to competitors.”

So how can you improve your visibility among local consumers? How can you make sure your brand is discoverable by people in your area who are asking the right kinds of questions? Allow us to offer a few suggestions.

Improving Your Local Visibility

  • Put contact information on every page of your website. It’s especially critical to include a local phone number, with area code, that helps Google know which customers count as “local” for you.
  • Seek opportunities in the local press. This isn’t necessarily something you’ll be able to do overnight, but reaching out to local papers and blogs—or sending out press releases—can help you get some off-site citations. This is an important ingredient in local SEO.
  • Get local links. Seek out opportunities to have your website linked from a local business bureau, professional organization, or chamber of commerce.
  • Improve internal linking, as well. Your website should have a lot of interconnectivity—specifically, links to relevant blog posts or evergreen Web pages, guiding website users through your site.
  • Don’t forget meta data! Both your title tags and meta descriptions provide useful opportunities for you to insert geographic keywords.
  • Make sure you have a Google My Business profile. It’s an important way to shore up some SEO cred.
  • Seek out customer reviews. We talk about reviews all the time, and it’s because they are really important. If you want to show Google that your business is a trusted resource, you’ve got to ask customers to furnish you with five-star ratings.
  • Provide meaningful content. There is no better way than a blog! Create helpful and informative content that local customers will want to bookmark, send to their friends, or even share on social media.
  • Promote your blog. Writing is half the battle. Going out there and promoting your content with other bloggers in your industry helps you get more backlinks and grow your SEO visibility.  Use a tool like Linkio to plan and track your backlink campaigns and be consistent about performing blogger outreach and getting your content in front of people who would find it valuable.

Remember: Local SEO is all about bringing in new, paying customers. To get started, follow some of these tips today; and for help with content creation, reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc. Find us at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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How Social Media Can Drive Brand Loyalty

In most areas of life, quality is of considerably greater importance than quantity. Case in point: Social media followers. It’s definitely significant for your company Facebook page to have a lot of followers, for instance, but it’s not especially meaningful if those followers don’t ultimately become faithful customers. Most businesses would surely prefer 10 followers—if they are loyal, paying customers who recommend your business to all their friends—to 100 followers who are casual and uninvolved.

And as it happens, social media can be a powerful tool for cultivating this kind of loyalty. We’ll offer you a few ways how.

Using Social Media to Enhance Brand Loyalty

Focus on value. We say this all the time, but it’s important: The best question you can ask when considering content shares is, what’s in it for my customers? Everything you offer should address their pain points or their needs, or at the very least make them chuckle. Remember to follow the 80-20 rule here, and keep roughly 80 percent of your posts strictly informative. You can directly market your company the other 20 percent. Providing real, free value over spammy self-promotion is how trust is formed.

Post with consistency. If you want your social media followers to stay connected and engaged with your brand, and to keep your company in the forefront of their mind, you’ve got to post regularly. We really recommend a post or two daily; posting once every nine months, meanwhile, is really just a waste. You might as well not post at all.

Remember the social in social media. A lot of companies post content to social media sites, but are they actually interacting with followers? That shows you’re willing to go the extra mile. Be vigilant in answering questions, responding to complaints, and being a part of your own online community.

Position your brand as the solution. When you do promote your brand directly, it shouldn’t be portrayed as just another consumer product, or a faceless online company. Instead, connect the dots. Show how your brand solves the problems your customers are facing. If you’re also building authority by giving away free, valuable information—as we noted above—then this will really help you appear as a trustworthy ally.

With a smart, strategic posting strategy, you can use social media to develop a faithful user base—and we can help you develop just such an approach. Reach out to the content marketing experts at Grammar Chic, Inc. to learn more. Connect at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.

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