The Importance of Google Reviews and How to Get Them

Google Reviews and How to Get Them

Want to know how to invite your guests and clients to give you a great Google Review?

Google Reviews are a powerful way to promote your business. So we have created this step by step guide to show you how to create a specific link you can send your clients to write a review.

If you’re like the 2,065,523 small businesses in Australia, you know the importance of standing out as a local business to earn a reputation and referrals.   While social media plays an important role in branding, it is only a fraction of the entire picture.

According to Internet Live Stats, the number of daily searches on Google are 3.5 billion, which equates to 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

This is the leading resource for those looking to invest in products and services near them.  So, how does a consumer stand out in such a high-traffic space? The quality and quantity of reviews on Google is one of the most important ranking factors for local Search Engine Optimisation- in simple terms- imagine Google is a librarian and everyone has told her the new best seller is amazingly resourceful. This is going to be the go to book she shows people asking at the counter what to read. That said, it is crucial for your brand or business to have a presence there.

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To put it simply, customer reviews provide all those social keys we talk about in our workshops- it provides social proof, credibility, authority, likeability and trust- the best bit? It can result in a higher conversion rate.

For that reason, we are showing you an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to get your business onboard, by creating a direct link to your Google reviews page, making the process much easier for your customers to review and share.

STEPS TO CREATE A LINK FOR CUSTOMERS TO WRITE GOOGLE REVIEWS

STEP 1: VISIT GOOGLE’S PLACE ID FINDER

Google’s Place ID Finder lets you annotate a location specific to your business.  This way, Google can discern your business from others in the area, as well as, populate reviews unique to your business.

STEP 2: ENTER YOUR BUSINESS NAME

Enter your business name into the designated field. Make sure you enter in whatever your Google My Business name has listed so it automatically populates and ensures brand consistency.

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STEP 3: COPY YOUR PLACE ID

Once your business is displayed, your place ID will be listed under your business name. It will appear as a string of letters and numbers, about 25 characters long. Copy this code and paste it somewhere safe, like a word or pages document.

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STEP 4: ENTER YOUR ID INTO THE FOLLOWING URL

Next, paste the following URL in a new browser, with your Place ID where written below.

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=PASTE PLACE ID HERE

When using the above link, the url with the place ID should end up looking like this example:

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJjRUVZNU91GoRXr8XrFZixIM

Note:  This may not be the most appealing URL to give to customers, so consider using Bitly’s URL shortening option which allows you to make a smaller and even customizable option!

STEP 5: SEND THE REVIEW LINK TO CUSTOMERS

Use the link you created to send to customers! Once they type it in and hit enter, a window will appear in their browser that instantly prompts them to leave a review from their Google account.

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Keep in mind that it is against Google’s policy to solicit reviews from customers by offering incentives.  Make sure that your request for reviews is just that –a respectful request sharing their experience with your products and services.

Let us know how you go! Remember we have our one on one workshops now happening in the Geelong CBD! Contact us for more info. 

Make a Coffee and watch this: one of our faves from the legendary Seth Godin

 

How The Digital Space Provides Storytelling We Crave.

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It’s been a good 30,000+ years since the cave paintings in France were used to depict the lifestyles of bull fighters back in their time.

Mythological, oral and archeological recordings date back as early as 5,000 years ago, with the oldest discovered form of coherent writing beginning with Sumerian script.

For as long as we can recall, we’ve been using every means we could to share experiences and educate others in various topics.  In fact, storytelling is the key to understanding and learning.  While our enthusiasm to tell stories hasn’t changed, our resources allowing us to do so have expanded significantly.  We’ve evolved from tribal cave paintings to social media posts and video blogs.

Communication is sharing ideas and interests.

Communication in marketing has been said to be the transfer of enthusiasm and passion of a product or service to the consumer directly.  That said, all businesses seeking to use the digital space to market should strive to tell a story in a way that quickly and effectively shifts the consumer from interest to investment. Curiosity to conversation and then conversation to conversion.

The subconscious, anthropological mind craves the need for “the story” and the digital space provides this, amidst a Western World that has substituted real-time relations with digital dialogue. Storytelling closes the “digital divide” and invites back in the emotion that prompts conviction and connection. Digital communication and social media really tick those “story telling” boxes we yearn for.

As Quantified Communication states, “research shows that messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just facts.”

Small businesses effectively using storytelling know that our brains often don’t distinguish between fiction and reality, therefore, we immerse ourselves in stories as if we were a part of them.  At Geelong Social Media, we practice this also and wish to share with you how easy it is for you and your small business to do the same:

3 Steps to Easy Story-Telling via Social Media

1.Make it easy on yourself and your team. Identify the problem that your customer is facing in the industry.  What service or product is lacking?  Use an avatar that is your niche demographic, this way the reader immediately can identify that they, too, are your ideal target audience.

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2. Then, briefly share a story that either identifies an avatar dealing with this struggle (and the emotions that accompany such) or share a story about how you learned of the issue and began to research the problem more. What did you discover? This shows credibility of your business values and entices them to continue reading for anticipated resolve.

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3. Lastly, share what you created or tailored your products and services to do to counter or correct this issue and the fruits of such labor. How did it directly benefit the customer or consumer with original concern?

The most successful small businesses are using digital media to engage with their audience on a personal level, inviting them to hear their story while also being a part of the story as they encourage opinions, questions and requests.  Master this storytelling strategy and your small business will be well on its way to becoming an effective communicator on digital media.

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Would you like to book a one on one workshop for your business? Perhaps you would like to develop your story and communications strategy? Contact our team today and find out how we can wordsmith for you and help you discover your key messages and unique edge. Contact kirsten@geelongsocialmedia.com

5 Ways To Smash Writer’s Block

So you have a deadline looming, or you want to write that content. A blog, or perhaps a manuscript, there’s a hidden “book within” and … nothing. Perhaps you are a seasoned writer, and for one reason or another, you find yourself with a blank page, an empty screen feeling disgruntled. Maybe you are a business owner in need of content but are left scratching your head.

So to get creative- you can do a couple of things to help stimulate that wordsmith mind.

I often say in our workshops; writing has a certain elitism to it that is incredibly overrated. Writing began as scratches in the dirt to communicate. It continues to communicate. If we wish to utilize Search Engine Optimisation, then we need to be using the correct bindings of grammar and readability. However, FIRST- writer’s block.

1) Often creativity arrives peripherally. You know when you are straining your mind trying to think of something, and it just gets blocked up, nothing comes through- zilch. Then, when you divert your mind to something else- bang! The answer pops up just like that. For example, you are trying to remember that 80’s TV character, it’s evading you. Then the next day you are shopping for vegetables and BINGO! You remember Cringer is the alter ego of Battle Cat from He-man. So encourage your peripheral creativity, how so? Get it doing something different!

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2) Nature Walk – beach or bush – as humans, we relax when we are in nature, and it can be incredibly stimulating to be in and around a natural environment. When we unfocus our minds from “other thoughts” and focus on the “right now” an outdoor wander can be the light bulb moment. Don’t forget to take a smartphone so you can voice record your ideas as they come through; then you can keep them for later. Often when we get a great idea, we aren’t carrying a notebook, and we can forget those nuggets of wisdom. If you have something on hand to record your thoughts- you will start to accumulate them like shells on the beach. (Social media tip- don’t forget to take a pic of something nice on your walk for your Instagram and Facebook feed.)

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3) People watch- the opposite of the nature walk. Find a great cafe, and people watch. Complete strangers- look at them (don’t stare too long though or you will gain creep status). Use some imagination. Where are they going? What happened to them yesterday? Are they sad? Then make the rest up. What star sign are they? Do they like their kitchen clean or are they messy folk with a phobia of moths? Let your imagination take over; there might be a story in there. People watching was the go-to for Hemingway in Paris in the 1920’s and remains a wonder tool for the uninspired.

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4) Try and write a paragraph about a topic without using the words typically used for it. For example, try and describe a field of grass without using the word green, soil or sky. This can be quite tricky, but it gets you thinking in “words” that are outside of the square and gets the brain-cracking in a different direction. An indirect thought is a wonder for creative stimulation. If you go to the pantry and it is nearly empty you will end up creating something different and unique- same goes here. write for 5 minutes and go back and replace all the verbs with something unusual- THIS IS GOLD!

5) Ernest Hemingway said “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Start with this. What is the truest sentence you know? Start from there, and words will form. Write them down. Procrastination can be a beautiful bedmate. To counteract it-

Sometimes you need a footy coach rip, a harsh reality checks to get you going. Some no fluff no BS words of wisdom. Stephen King has sold millions of copies of books around the world. Many people know him for his horror genre not realizing he is the master wordsmith behind Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile or by Me. The man is a genius and his other talent, and he doesn’t suffer fools. This includes his university lectures. I quote:

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Remember if you want a long length of string, you have to unravel it and let it roll out, it’s no good sitting in your pocket.

If you would like to learn more about writing excellent content, monetizing your content, sculpturing ideas into articles that rank and all the tools of the trade be sure to join us for our Writing Masterclass at Point Lonsdale. Tickets are at Eventbrite, you can click this link for more info.

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Can You See The Future?

By Kirsten Macdonald – wordsmith and digital yoda at GSM.

Intuition- how relevant is it to the business world? A crystal ball would be handy sometimes!

Many years ago, my business partner and I met a lovely entrepreneur who sought our services. She was engaging, passionate about her new venture and used the words integrity and honesty a lot. The first time we spoke on the telephone, she told us had been to another company ( a well known and regarded one.) According to her, they were too expensive, and when we offered to meet at a local cafe for an informal introduction, she insisted on meeting at a free business center 20 minutes away because they had “free coffee.” Something very small inside me thought this was a little left of center. But I then discarded it. I did an internal trade-off because we can’t judge someone on two little sentences, can we? What if are wrong?

Six months in, and boy did I wish we had both trusted that internal squirm.

Was she lovely? Absolutely. Did the business have potential? Without a doubt! But underneath her surface, there was a storm of issues that held the exports operation back from being successful. One was a lack of reasonable capital, a whole lot of unreasonable expectation and a whole lot of “free.” Everyone else was wrong, all of the successful PR companies, the SEO specialists, even the accountant. In retrospect, someone driving 20 minutes for a free coffee- using $10 worth of fuel, $10 in parking and 40 minutes of time, might tell you something.

What did it cost us?

The uncomfortable yet gentle act of business uncoupling and a LOT of energy, stress and time- which equals money. It was a good lesson albeit a hard one.

So what did we learn?

It is all about being still, paying attention to the feelings that arise and then reading the feedback. Intuition is spending time with your instincts and learning to read them and rely on them.  I learned to trust my intuition.

Intuition isn’t guessing. It’s sophisticated pattern matching, honed over time.” Seth Godin-2

So how else can we be intuitive?

We can utilize the array of digital tools at our fingertips. Social Media for example. People think they have to be on social media to create pretty pictures and get likes, which might convert into sales when they get it right. But how do they get it right? Some people have convinced themselves it doesn’t work and is all a big ploy by social media magnates to make money. Ouch!

What do we know?

We know 80% of the country is using the computer to find out information and we know that close to that amount are using social media and it’s growing. So how does this help your intuition and decision making?

Let’s dig down another layer. Behind the front of social media and computer use, there is analytics. Digital platforms are observing and collecting habits, responses, and reactions from every user. So here is a prime opportunity to be intuitive with our clients, our audiences. We can observe their interaction with us, their likes and dislikes so we can better deliver content to them that makes us

Useful

Valuable

Likable

Remarkable

Remember if something is remarkable it is because someone thought it was worthy of making a remark (able.) about it.

Intuition isn’t guessing. It’s sophisticated pattern matching, honed over time.” Seth Godin-3

Data mining (ethically of course) is another way you can be intuitive with the help of digital tools. Data mining is the ability to extract insightful information about internet users. I am not talking about names and addresses or personal details based on identity, I am talking about their user habits, interests and the words they use to search for information online.

Google is the genie of answers to questions.

“I’ll google it” is often the catch cry. In fact, reports show that people google flu symptoms before they go to a doctor. This information alone has helped medical industries pre-empt flu season and track the influenza progression. I know right? Google analyses everything that is searched online by humanity. That information is available, and it can be used intuitively to future plan, test and succeed.

Intuition isn’t guessing. It’s sophisticated pattern matching, honed over time.” Seth Godin

So how can we use this in the digital space?

Remember other people are intuitive too, are you real? Are you conveying passion and integrity? Trust your gut and infuse that into your digital content. What do you want people to know about what you do? Why did you start this business? How can you solve a problem for people? What are they searching for online around what you have to offer? What are the correlated words? Where are they located? Are you selling meditation classes to stressed-out people? Go to the corporates! Where do they live? What are they reading? You see where I am going?

Get right down into your emotional honesty about why you do what you do, then convey that in content that is of outstanding quality. If you get the smallest feeling and it triggers that squirm- pay attention to it. Spend a little time turning it over in your hand before agreeing to anything, or doing anything. When in doubt- hang about and sit with it.

It could be fear or it could be intuition, either one is worthy of your time and consideration.

If it is fear… well, that’s a whole other article! Stay tuned.

If you would like to know about our Digital Data Mining service- email kirsten@geelongsocialmedia.com

For more information about our upcoming Blog Masterclass- click the image!

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10 Tips for Instagram for 2018

by Geelong Social Media resident Wordsmith, Journo, and Marketing extraordinaire Renae Failla.

Instagram.

Many of you may have experienced the array of touchpoints with this progressive platform but are you using Instagram in your business to its fullest potential? With the shifts in algorithms and the migration of brands to Instagram, the importance of infusing the full functionalities of the platform into your strategy is becoming imperative! This is why we have collated 10 bite-sized tips for the year!

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Follow hashtags

Businesses can remain at the forefront of their industry and discover like-minded people by following hashtags. All you need to do is search the relevant hashtag and click follow. Posts with these hashtags will appear in your feed allowing you to expand your feed beyond the profiles you follow. For example, if you are a Naturopath, you may start following the hashtag #nutrition or #healthexpert.

Include hashtags in your profile description

This feature has only been introduced a couple of months ago. It’s a way to put forward your interests and niches to new users so they can discover your profile and mutual interests.

Insta stories

Insta stories are ideal for the content that is not good enough for a post but that you would like to highlight. Insta stories can be viewed as disappearing ads providing a new touchpoint from business to consumer. Instagram saw an opportunity to jump on this temporary digital tool and the take up of this feature took over the use of Snapchat for many. Instagram stories are important for brands as Snapchat stories were not an effective marketing tool and they allow brands to provide real-time updates (think Twitter) but in a visual manner.

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GIF stickers work to add a level of excitement in the digital age. Taking a page out of the meme culture handbook, businesses can use these stickers to connect on a deeper and less sterile level. Simply put, Millennials and Gen Z are accustomed to seeing these iconic moving images in their feed and by employing these as a business you are able to reach that audience.

The silent frame of advertising

It’s time to appeal to the audiences who can’t hear the message. Ad Espresso, Hootsuite reports that in 2017 only about 15% of Facebook and Instagram users chose to watch videos with the sound on. For this reason, it is important to ensure that the description includes a call to action and that your image is empowering enough to stop the feed. Bright colours in the design such as orange or yellow are a great way to do this.

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Hootsuite

Instagram scheduling was always wishful thinking for many. Previously, many scheduling platforms would allow scheduling of Facebook and not Instagram. Some platforms would employ push notification alerts which can be likened to a calendar reminder on your phone. This posed great difficulty for many brands to stay active on both channels, yet in 2018, Hootsuite has addressed the need for Instagram scheduling, thus increasing productivity, planning, and engagement of audiences.

Legend

Take your stories or posts that step further with easy text animation to engage the audience. Their tagline is ‘Legends speak louder than words’, instead of your regular text on image post, there is a range of animations. This particularly comes in handy when you are promoting an event or aspect of a product on your Insta story. Combining videos and photos helps break up the content with slides of stunning text animations such as ‘To find out more head to our website…”. 

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Did you know that you can easily create animated posts on your iPhone with the swipe of your finger? The iPhone now facilitates the advancements of social media allowing you the option of a Loop, Bounce or Long Exposure on live images. Features like these foster creativity and user engagement.

For more information about how Geelong Social Media can help you achieve an outstanding Digital Footprint Click Here 

A Little Bit of Vitamin F

Mark Z- not only did you create an application for personal news, you created a social connectivity masterpiece, the savannah watering hole for humans to share and online. The digital age is here, front and present and evolving at lightning pace.

We’ve spoken in the past how important it is to have a digital presence. In this article, however, we’ll look specifically at the two most common social media apps, Facebook and Instagram, both which have more users than Twitter and how they can help your business.

Boasting over 1.9 billion active users, Facebook is one of the most widely used apps for networking, something highly important to small business owners. Having a business page on this platform increases your brand exposure, builds brand loyalty by allowing interaction between your brand and customers, increases traffic to your website, and allows you to gather more leads for potential clients or customers.

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Through its sophisticated advertising options, Facebook allows you to target your audience down to age, location, and even interests. The Insights feature of Pages allows you to see what type of posts perform better with customers so you can give them what they care about most alongside stellar customer service without the need for extra software on your website. Compared to some others, marketing strategy on Facebook is rather cost-effective. Facebook collects data on EVERYTHING. So, for example, imagine you own a pet shop and you could send out a letterbox advertising campaign. You pay someone to print and deliver brochures about your story, about your why and a special for new customers ONLY to the people that own pets in your area. This is precision targetting. How much would you expect to pay for this? With Facebook you can do this for as little as $3. When you put it like this it’s very logical to be actively engaging social media right? You need to be injecting some Vitamin F and Insta into your business plan.

Instagram brings humanity’s penchant for visuals to the forefront of marketing 300 million daily active users and 500 million monthly users making this app highly influential and presents a new demographic. Since its inception, Instagram has grown to not only allow for photos and videos, but also for Snapchat-esque features like Stories (posts that disappear after 24 hours) and the ability to go live just like Facebook.

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Hashtags are a great way to help other users find your brand’s content on Instagram, and numerous strategies abound for tapping into its capabilities. You can use Instagram to share your products or behind-the-scenes snippets of your process. You could create special hashtags and ask customers to share their photos of your products/services and tag you. Another use is hosting exclusive giveaways to raise brand exposure and interaction, or post exclusive Instagram-only deals and sales. You can also embed your Instagram feed into your website’s layout to draw in followers.

Layering your social media presence with Facebook and Instagram will benefit your SEO (seacrh engine optimisation), your digital presence with an audience that will engage once you create content that is appealing and beneficial.

Consumers are social creatures who favors visuals over anything else. Using both of these social media platforms will tap into that, unlocking unlimited growth and sales for your brand.

About Geelong Social Media
Geelong Social Media is a high-performance team made up of business mentors, wordsmiths, photographers, graphic artists, and inspirers that thrive on developing multi-layered brands that gain a loyal following through trust and integrity. Hosting a passion for research, curiosity, growth, dedication and helping people and businesses find their voice and shine their brightest through digital interaction, in the world that demands continual and meaningful engagement, entertainment, instant information, and rewards. For more information, please visit: https://www.geelongsocialmedia.com/our-services/

 

ONLINE MARKETING IS CRUCIAL FOR BUSINESS

Developing an online presence is crucial for the success of your business. The world is no longer merely brick and mortar; it’s binary and virtual.

Business owners are not all born marketers, so for many, the thought of having to become a salesman alongside businessman is daunting and downright scary. However, the way consumers make purchases has drastically changed.

No longer are they flipping through the yellow pages; they are Googling. Social media is another way consumers research a business or product before making a decision. Make sure you are on it as well as having a dedicated website storefront. As such, it’s important for businesses to show up in those search results if they want their business to succeed.

Online marketing is made of convenience, allowing your business to be open and reachable 24/7. It’s also cheaper than traditional marketing that requires physical products to be made (and therefore it’s easier to see a ROI). It furthermore allows for distance to no longer be an obstacle. You are able to target and reach an audience no matter where they are located.

Speaking of, targeting and personalisation are the big bonuses of online marketing. Being able to pinpoint your client and tailor an advert to the exact kind of person you want to attract is magical. Online marketing is also a fantastic means of fostering community and interacting with potential clients. Happy customers are repeat customers (and are your source for positive reviews and testimonials). For example, the Harvard Business School Executive Education released an article on their website showing the link between social networking and revenue growth in online businesses.

If you match this expertise with integrity and a very real passion for what you do- you are mindfully and with polish creating a niche that provides a great business!

Whilst online marketing and social might seem an overwhelming hurdle, with the right training and environment, it can actually become a wonderful message stick- from you to your person.

We are currently running workshops to facilitate this very thing, succinctly and simply with all you need to get your presence online and amplify your message. To register your interest email Julie at admin@geelongsocialmedia.com

Digital Citizenship for Business- The Big Why

Digital Citizenship

The importance of having an online presence is undeniable for businesses. Digital citizenship is no longer about encouraging extra business but about being identifiable and easy to spot from the start. It’s about being recognised in your industry of choice and keeping in touch with your customer base (potential or current) in new and exciting ways.pretty-joyful-girl-in-dress-talking-on-mobile-PRJDPXW.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If a potential customer types your industry, your product, or your message into the search engine, you want them to see you, know who you are, and what you are about—whether in results found under News, in Images, and or even more importantly; social media.

Once thought of being a fad or something only young people engaged in, millions of people now use social media daily. According to Social Media Statistics Australia, “Facebook’s recent data shows there are now 17 million active Australians on Facebook. Therefore approximately 70% of the total Australian population is an active Facebook user. This is a huge number.”

Furthermore, LinkedIn has over 8 million users based in Australia, and Twitter is increasing with over 3 million monthly active Australian users. The potential for reaching an audience and expanding your brand is endless. We urge business owners to have a presence on LinkedIn, it is the professional Facebook for industry. 

Being a digital citizen in business is important because:

Humans are visual creatures. Photos, videos, GIFs, etc. grab attention and get a better response. Most social media algorithms are geared to preferring visual content organically, meaning these are more apt to be seen without having to pay for advertising. However if you do wish to amplify your presence, outsourcing a team who knows how to leverage your platform is crucial. A good team should be able to provide you with an ROI also, not just a huge expense for little outcome. It needs to be AFFORDABLE! If you are a doctor, you need to focus on being a doctor, not a social media specialist! It can sometimes be easier to get someone else with the know-how to handle this end of your business for you. However it needs to be an expense that can fit into your cash flow healthily. Spending thousands of dollars with a small return is not healthy for any business, particularly in the current Australian Economic climate. Social Media can be used to stimulate more business- and more business is the name of the game 🙂 Rustic%20Desk%20Set.H03.2k.png

Social media is a platform perfect for networking, interaction, business and community growth, and engagement-fostering more brand loyalty. If you have a passion for wellness, or beauty, you can very easily tap into that audience and demographic. This can create an amazing bridge of communication between the two of you, P2P and B2B.

Content marketing influences an audience and drives sales. Digital media often gives quicker turnaround results than traditional media. And as many of us in business know: more sales means more revenue. For example, social media is like sending out a letter  to 3000 houses that fit your perfect demographic. This is possible with Facebook, for under $10. If you know how. 

You also have the ability to make an emotional connection with your audience. We have seen first hand with clients how exciting it is for them when they find themselves interacting and sharing the knowledge they feel born to share with people, helping them, and assisting in a way they only dreamed about. Connecting with your ideal client is a really joyful experience. It really does have the ability to take potential possibilities and turn them into enjoyable realities. So, being a Digital Citizen isn’t just about filling your pockets peeps! It is also about filling hearts and promoting value, trust and connection. isolated-open-mail-box-with-mail-PL63X8Y.jpg

Online visibility leads businesses to insights on their customers, which are valuable in growing a business. Customers will often seek assistance or contact on social media first, they may check you out, see what you are about. So it is important that what they see is professional, interesting and representative.

Expanding your business to have an online presence also allows you to monitor what your competitors are doing. Remember, if you aren’t on there, your competitors will be. So be a Digital Citizen, you might just amaze yourself and grow in ways unexpected. 

The Blueprint for Successful Event Marketing

The Blueprint for Successful Event Marketing

Here at Geelong Social Media we recently experienced one of the most perfectly run events down to the finest details. We were lucky enough to be a finalist at the Geelong Small Business Awards (GSBA), in the Social Media Influencer category and the event organiser thought of absolutely everything. It was so impressive, we were inspired to blog about it!

Samantha Krajina, a member of the Geelong Women in Business, the event organiser, reminded attendees that having a small business can be extremely difficult highlighting that owners of the business can be the Managing Director, HR, Marketing as well as the sales person and sometimes you may feel that your skills are not up to scratch in a particular area. Realistically it’s all about learning on the job.

If you have decided to hold an event for your business there are a few key things that you must remember to make the night a success. We have broken it down into crucial categories that MUST be covered:

Strategy

A complete strategy is needed for a successful event, who do you want to attend? What is your intention and goal for the outcome? Who do you want to attract? Delegation is also an important factor, get your team members that are best suited to each area on the job. It is also important to know which systems you will use and create a workflow with a checklist, a whiteboard with lots of coloured markers is a great starting point!

Ticket Sales

Make the purchase of tickets easy to do, there is nothing worse than wanting to attend an event with no idea how to buy a ticket! An online solution that we like to use at GSM is Eventbrite. Choose an automatic and easy to use platform that provides copy and paste links you can include in your Social Media posts and your website, as well as your mail-outs.

Social Media

We like to think of ourselves as social media gurus, so this is a really important device for us and something we can say was thoroughly covered by the Geelong Small Business Awards. Keep your channels active in the lead up to the event. This will give you free coverage and help to communicate casually with your clientele. Your clients will love seeing updates, right down to the creation of the show bags. GSBA utilised the Instagram story function to showcase their sponsors and businesses attending. This technique really helps build up the excitement and you might also consider posting sneak peaks of the gift bags or favours that will be handed out on the night making your attendees feel special and appreciated. CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - SEPTEMBER 07, 2014: A Google search home

Use Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to announce dates, venues, ticket sale links and of course make sure to create a countdown. We recommend picking a colour scheme and designing your posts around that to ensure consistency and recognition– your posts will stand out in a sea of other posts and people are more likely to engage. Don’t forget to Tweet! Twitter  is great for short snappy updates.

Gift Bags

The gift bags are a crucial part of the event and can take a lot of thought, consideration and planning. Who doesn’t like getting a present? It gives your guests a lasting reminder after the event as well, and can give contributors an opportunity to promote their services or products. 

Firstly you will need to plan how many things you will like to include in the bag and if they accurately represent your brand or the cause you’re advocating for. The GSBA bags featured mementos donated from each of the small businesses attending the event, some were items like candles and USBs corresponding with the business theme but others were vouchers for business services.

Next you will need to choose the perfect bag to showcase the items. This could be inline with your business colours or an eye catching pattern that will photograph well… remember you want to leverage these on social media making it effortless for your attendees get a flawless post for their social channels.

Your clients will be more inclined to attend the event if you offer added value, this can be in the form of exclusive offers or VIP packages. Of course if it is an event for an inspiring cause then you won’t have trouble-finding people to attend.

Press Release

If you have never written a press release before, don’t be alarmed when broken down they can be super easy. You need to remember to keep press releases to the point highlighting all key points about the event and a point of difference to make the journalist say ‘Hey this has a great angle!’ Basically take out the hard work for them and give them a catchy title and subheading, intriguing quotes from key individuals and don’t forget a short company bio at the end.

You can never win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket, in the same way that you can never expect to get publicity if you don’t put your story out there. Bloggers and print journalists are always on the hunt for the next new thing and can often find it hard to come up with content so you need to fulfil their hunger for a good story.

Key Note Speakers

If you are holding an event- an absolute fundamental to success is having a keynote speaker that is well known, interesting and relevant to the cause at hand. The GSBA chose the perfect speakers/ entertainers for night that could relate to the owners of small businesses and they were Andy and Ben from the Block as well as local radio star Lee Stamps aka ‘Stampsy’. Close up of microphone in concert hall or conference room

Make sure that you leverage the key individuals for your event and come up with a mutual agreement to promote each other. You should make a social media plan stipulating how many times a week they should post, the type of content you would like and make it simple for them by providing them with a pre set list of @handles and #hashtags—this way they a more likely to post content that is beneficial to you.

Check your calendar

I guess this goes without saying but before you start anything check your personal calendar, local calendar and key note speaker calendar. In doing this you will ensure your event can gain the most reach and attendance with the right people and  avoids clashes with other events that would have the same audience.

Additionally you can check with local Facebook community pages and ask if they can share your event details on their pages. Provide them with eye-catching graphics and details of the event and they will be happy to promote your content.

Email Marketing

You may think that email marketing is out-dated but this is immensely untrue as email-marketing tools have grown and transformed in recent years.

EDM programs such as Infusionsoft can assist with automating campaigns for your event such as ‘Send email notification for ticket bought’ following with the sequence ‘Follow up with event details’. You can then take it a step further adding ‘Send email for dietary requirements’ giving attendees the option of filling out a web form with types of dietary requirements, don’t forget the ‘other’ option.

Of course if your business is smaller and you have fewer than 20 attendees you can organise your own emails in a regular email program.

Advertising on social channels

Lastly, you’re doing all of this hard work to get your event out there so remember to make use of the promotion tools within Instagram and Facebook. You pay a little amount and reach a large audience. Don’t forget to get HEAPS of photos during the event that are funny and tell a story, this is great after-fodder for your social media. Show everyone how great the night was and how much fun everyone had- because this will attract more for the next event and it’s a fun way to showcase the hard work you have put in. CHIANG MAI, THAILAND - OCTOBER 03, 2014: All of popular social m

Handy tip: Promote the post on Instagram and share to Facebook as well, that way you only need to pay for the ad once.

Final note- if you don’t have time to get your online Event Marketing done, you can click below to find out how we can do it all for you!

Event Package Facebook Post

Twitter

Twitter for Business

With a multitude of social channels you are doing your business an injustice if you don’t engage in every social channel. Of course you have heard that Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin are cementing themselves in the online world but you should also look upon Twitter with the same eyes.

Before anything you will need to get a grasp of the terminology used on Twitter so that you can interact with your clients/customers and make the most of the functionality of the platform.

A tweet is the message that your business posts on the platform, which can be made up with a mix of text, photos, videos and don’t forget to hyperlink. Keep in mind that all tweets can only be 140 characters—not a lot of content but you will soon get why.

It is crucial that you master the art of hash tagging and mentioning; with 140 characters there is only so much you can write so you need to make your page and content searchable to other users. We always hear of hashtags ‘trending on twitter’ and if you aren’t familiar with this vocabulary, it is the gateway into conversation that is being most talked about. For example #BanTrump is a way for Twitter users to voice their concerns about Donald Trump’s power in the United States and this is a way to find petitions and distaste against his decisions. Now we know you guys are not going to be using your page to discuss political issues but this can be translated in the same way any other business such as a hair salon with #Hairgoals. Mentions are a synonym for tagging people so you can bring a tweet to someone’s attention by @username. You could use it to ask someone a question, thank them or to highlight a piece of content.

Further, with mentions it is important that you keep track of mentions and utilise them properly. There is nothing worse then a customer trying to get through to you and getting no response, consequently they will become a detractor of your brand.

In the academic article ‘Social Media and Customer dialog management at Starbucks’ Gallaugher and Ransbotham stress the importance of communication and consider Twitter as a customer empowered environment where they able to speak directly to brands, “While firms have long recognised the importance of listening to and communicating with customers, they are struggling to navigate the emerging complex, consumer- empowered environment.”

It is also key for brands to understand the power of Twitter for business and how it connects people, as it creates bonds that were never possible allowing customers from different sides of the world to communicate and discuss their experiences of businesses.

“Historically, firm and customer interactions focused on two direct relationships (firm-to-customer and customer-to-firm) and one indirect relationship (customer-to-customer). Social media not only intensifies these existing relationships but also creates new options and new variations on conventional options.”

You then also have the capabilities of replying to a tweet, so this is where your business should monitor the conversation about around your business or subject matter through hashtags to provide expert opinion and assistance to other users. If you are active in replying, you will gain more followers and influential status in your industry. In the same way, it’s important to keep an eye on what other ‘authority’ users are posting, particularly in your industry, as you can retweet this knowledge to your own followers—this B2B lovin’ goes a long way on Twitter

Let’s not forget the power of acknowledgement, Twitter also allows the function of ‘liking’, allowing businesses to show interest in compatible posts while also showing other brands that you are listening to their conversation.

Now that we have established some foundation in Twitter terminology and their role in customer engagement, we need to know how to effectively post. This evidently is how Twitter distinguishes itself from other social platforms.

Attention grabbing content will increase your following and keep them constantly engaged. It would be a shame to significantly increase your following only to see it drop back down to your original figures.

140 characters is not a lot to communicate your content but it is also a blessing because it means that you can use some awesome imagery to draw your target audience in. Ultimately, Twitter is a news platform, not a blogging stage and is made to give live updates.

This is the perfect example of a good tweet.

Tweet

In this example you can see strong imagery, short sharp content and a relevant brand hashtag which iclothing has created for consumer conversation. If the tweet was directing to a blog post, you cold use url shorteners like bitly to assist with directing customers to a particular post or page without taking up too much content space.

 

 

So we hope this has made Twitter a little clearer and yes it is well worth it!