Tag Archives: Small Business Marketing

Facebook is Rolling Out Local Business Verification Badges. Here’s Why You Should Get One.

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Have you ever been on Twitter or Facebook and noticed an account with a little blue checkmark beside its name—say, the account for a celebrity, a musician, a professional athlete, or a politician?

These check marks show that the account is verified. All this means is that it’s the real deal. When you see Chris Rock on Twitter with a blue check mark beside his name, that means that it really is the Chris Rock—not a fan and not an imposter. By contrast, if you see a Chris Rock account without the checkmark, that’s probably a Chris Rock fan page—still funny, maybe, but not affiliated with the actual guy.

According to Marketing Land, Facebook has rolled out a new verification system—this time marked by gray badges, to distinguish from the blue ones. While blue is still the color for celebrities, gray is now used to verify and legitimize local businesses. The feature is being rolled out to businesses across several countries, including the United States and Great Britain.

For verified businesses, the gray checkmarks will now show up beside the business name in Facebook searches and on the account page itself. For companies looking to get verified, the process is fairly simple. All you’ll need is a couple minutes of time and a business phone number. Details are available here.

This is something we recommend local businesses do, and for a couple of reasons. One of the stated reasons from Facebook is to ensure that consumers are finding the authentic business listing. A lot of companies have duplicate pages on Facebook, perhaps created by former employees or perhaps generated through social media “check-ins.” The gray badge lets consumers know that they have found the real, official business listing.

And piggybacking off that point, verification badges provide consumer confidence. Your business has to be fairly legitimate to qualify for this—it needs a real phone number and a physical address—so opting to get verified is a sign that you’re running a real operation. It’s a sign that consumers can confidently do business with you.

For businesses not able to qualify for the gray checkmark—perhaps because they don’t have physical locations that consumers can visit—there are other ways to ensure credibility, such as using testimonials, sharing customer reviews, and showcasing thought leadership. But if you do qualify for the gray checkmark, there’s really no reason not to get one.

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Prepare Your Content Marketing for 2015

happy-new-year

As we cross the finish line and prepare to enter into a new year, it’s worth pausing to reflect on how far we’ve come, and where we’re all headed—particularly where content marketing is concerned.

For the small business owners out there, we hope that you’ve had a productive 2014, expanding your online marketing knowledge and efficacy; similarly, we hope you’re ready to step up your game and make even more of an impact in the months to come.

To ensure that you hit the ground running in 2015, it’s important to take some time now, in the waning days of December, to think strategically about what it is you’d like to accomplish—and how.

Setting the Right Goals

As the Grammar Chic team has noted before, content marketing works best when the goals are clearly defined.

Setting some specific goals for 2015 is helpful. It will provide your content marketing endeavors with some direction, and help you better measure your ROI. The question is, what sorts of goals should you be setting?

Some specific metrics will help. Perhaps you want to grow your e-mail subscription list by 2,500 names. Perhaps you want to increase website traffic by 30 percent. Perhaps you want to hit a certain number of Facebook likes. Such goals are helpful because they are actionable and measurable.

However, we would also recommend setting some goals more specific to the various facets of your company. Maybe you have a certain product or service you really want to push on Twitter, or members of your marketing team whose gifts you’d like to better utilize. These, too, are supremely helpful goals, even if they may be a bit harder to directly quantify.

Reflecting on the Past

Even as you look to the future, it might prove helpful to ponder the past. Have you been content marketing in 2014? If so, how has it gone? Which strategies should you hold on to, and which should you discard?

Did you have a particular post, blog entry, or promotion that did exceedingly well? Any content that just sort of flopped?

What would you say was your biggest content marketing success in 2014? What was your biggest challenge? What was the most important lesson you learned about your customers, fans, and followers?

And critically: What have your competitors been doing with their content marketing?

All of these are important considerations as you set the stage for a successful 2015.

Pulling it All Together

By reflecting on what you’ve accomplished and what you’d like to accomplish, you can clarify the tools and strategies you need to implement in 2015. You might also come to the conclusion that you need some help, either with strategy or with content creation—and if so, then the Grammar Chic, Inc. team can help.

Reach out to us today: www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

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Salvaging Small Business Marketing | The Interview We Thrive On

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

In the vast infinity that is our universe the following conversation may have (regretfully) already happened or may yet occur at some undefined point in our future.

Disclaimer: The following is meant to make a point. The interviewee and business are make-believe (see: “Fiction”), as are the circumstances under which the following was conducted…

The Plot

Francis Smithton is a small business owner in Muleshoe, Texas, a small, 5,000-person town in the northern handle of the state. He recently approached Grammar Chic because, well, his social media campaign was struggling at best. He may either be a private residential contractor, a cobbler, a hedge fund manager, or you. Let’s hope he’s not.

He approached GC on the eve of his one-year “Open for Business” anniversary. Mr. Smithton was struggling; he had clients and walk-ins, that’s for sure, but local business wasn’t the only avenue for Smithton & Sons’ success. He wanted to reach out to nearby cities, develop some ecommerce, and build up a recognizable brand. Francis, desperate and out of options, gave us a call.

The Interview

The conversation over the phone was like many others. He explained how he had his son Frank Jr. set up a Facebook account, had a neighbor girl with mad laptop skills make a website (that cost him dozens of dollars), and kept a stack of windshield flyers in a drawer. But no matter what he did, Smithton & Sons wasn’t generating any leads from his efforts…

*The following took place on December 9, 2013, just before 4:00 p.m. EST.

Francis Smithton: “So I’ve got it all set up, right? I don’t even know why I’m calling you.”

Grammar Chic Rep: “I’m looking at your Facebook profile right now, Mr. Smithton. I’ve got to say, I’m surprised you have so many followers with so few posts.”

FS: “Haha, yep. All trusted family clients and friends, that’s for sure. (pause) Don’t really know what to do with it, to be honest. Seems like there’s not much to say about my business except that we’re the best.”

GC: “Are you?”

FS: “Darn right. One of a kind in Muleshoe. Still, been trying to reach out to some new clients across the county, and not one has gotten back to us.”

GC: “How so?”

FS: “Pardon?”

GC: “How are you currently marketing your business? What are you telling your potential clients?”

FS: “Well, everything there is to know about us. We do a lot at Smithton & Sons — too much for those tweet things to say, that’s for sure. Turns out no one likes us there, either, Junior says. He’s at practice, but I don’t think he knows the first thing about the family business. He’ll grow into it, I suppose.”

GC: “Have you considered beefing up your website and social presence?”

(At this point, the representative with Grammar Chic is scouring the Internet for Smithton & Sons’ website. After a tumultuous search, the rep finds it. There is a nasty jpeg image of a cowboy, an address, and nothing at all that explains what the business is. The representative mutes speakers to avoid the site’s soundtrack. There is a pop-up.)

 FS: “How so?”

GC: “Well, for starters you could write up what your business does, what it has done in the past, who you are, the services you offer, etcetera. You can do the same on blogs that you share through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms.”

FS: “Like a school paper?”

GC: “Not exactly. More like a rundown on who you are and why you’re actually the best at what you do. Once that’s set in place, we can start writing high-quality blogs that tie Smithton & Sons into its…multi-faceted industry. That way, more clients will be able to figure out what you do as a company by visiting your website and profiles.”

FS: “So…lots of papers?”

GC: “More like little assignments, Mr. Smithton. We’ll help you create small puzzle pieces that add up to a big picture. On Facebook, for instance, you could publish a post describing a new product you’re trying to put out there. Next, you’ll want website-based materials to support your campaign and share them through Twitter and other platforms. It’s reciprocal, Mr. Smithton.”

FS: “Oh.”

(At this point, Mr. Smithton is confused, overwhelmed, and dreading writing anything. Fortunately he doesn’t have to, nor does Texas’ up-and-coming small business owner have to handle any of his social media, blogs, and content.)

GC: “You get me?”

FS: “Yep.”

The Results

The interview was only the first step in helping Mr. Smithton capture clients throughout his county. We started off by helping him fill up his site with legible, informative content that explains to visitors why Smithton & Sons exists. Next, we ironed out his social media accounts and bolstered his brand through tractional posts that pulled in likes, follows, and shares. Soon enough, every satisfied client was following away for discount deals and because they were interested in Smithton & Sons’ overall growth as a business.

Since then, we’ve been in contact with Mr. Smithton and have developed a professional publishing schedule to keep his social mediazation on track. These are mostly blogs that he comes up with, ideas he has that are interesting and related to his industry. We convert his prompts into entertaining, thoughtful, informative, and sharable blogs/posts/tweets.

The Truth

This didn’t happen, though thousands of small businesses need a pick-me-up when it comes to social media marketing. Why? Because most new business owners are using Facebook and Twitter like they do from a personal perspective. The goal is to create a mix of entertaining and company-endorsed content that keeps interest levels high (i.e. avoids newsfeed shunning) and explains what a business can do for its clients.

Will we get some obscure shoe-making, pseudo-investment professional contractor client from Muleshoe, Texas? Maybe. Until we do, we’d like to share the number one truth we’ve learned about online marketing: Everyone can do more.

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