Introduction to SEO for Small Business

An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization for Small Business Owners (Part 1 of 3)

In this first post we introduce basic SEO principles and how they apply to a typical small business website. Then, the second and third posts will go into detail about specific techniques that can increase traffic to a website. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of posts similar to this one that comprehensively cover SEO in great technical detail. This series is bit different, as the aim here is to explain the concepts in a simple manner. If you were going to write your college thesis on SEO, I’d check out Moz, Ahrefs or Search Engine Land for tips. If running your small business is hard enough and you just want a simple explanation of the basics, this post is right for you. The following are four SEO concepts to start thinking about.

#1. It isn’t about doing SEO. It’s about doing everything right as you make your website.

We aren’t making a website and then sprinkling some SEO onto it at the end. We are baking the SEO right into the muffin (I mean website). Having a quality site that is useful to visitors, really is a great big step in the right direction for SEO. Google wants to do the best job it can to please its users. It will send its users to the websites that will best satisfy their search query. Be one of the best sites (in your specific niche) and Google will send you the traffic.

A common misconception about SEO dates back a few years to a time when it may have been possible to be sneaky with a few techniques that could trick a search engine into giving a page an artificially high ranking. That is not happening in 2018. Google is smarter than us and is looking out for its users. The better we make a website, the better experience the user will have. The more Google notices users having a good (optimal) experience on a website, the more people Google will send to the website. Build the pages on the website that matter most to your goals into excellent resources for someone who is a potential customer. Make the site secure, fast to load, and relevant to those who are shopping for your product …and don’t miss an opportunity to tell Google about it!

#2. Keywords are important!

We will get right back to making the site relevant and telling Google about it, but let’s change gears for a second and talk about keywords. Keywords are the words and phrases that searchers (potential customers) enter to find a website (business like yours) that will answer their question. This is great for you as a small business owner because you know your business better than anyone and have a head start on those words and phrases. They may describe product sold, service provided, or whatever would make people want to go to your website.

Let’s take an example of a business that sells kitchen supplies and they have a product they want to be found on Google. Guess what it is? It’s a muffin pan! And not just any muffin pan, an aluminized steel ceramic coated muffin pan. There is a page on their website for this muffin pan. An important SEO concept is to assign that page a focus keyword. The keyword chosen for that page is “ceramic muffin pan.” This would be a great place to go off on a long SEO nerd tangent about the ins and outs of keyword research. However, for our purposes, let’s just say they didn’t choose “muffin pan” because it was too general. The big brands already rank 1 – 10 for “muffin pan” on Google and a small business isn’t going to be up for the ridiculous amount of work required to compete there. They also considered a less competitive keyword for their product’s page, “commercial grade aluminized steel ceramic coated muffin pan.” They could surely get their website’s page to rank for this phrase, but in reality, no one is actually typing that in to Google. So, they decided on “ceramic muffin pan.” Determining the practical keywords to be known for helps the cause.

#3. Make the website easy for Google to understand

Remember back in #1 where we said to make a relevant site …and don’t miss an opportunity to tell Google about it. How do we do that? …With the Keywords! Just as you or I will read a website, so will Google. …well almost. You’ve heard of Googlebots, right? In case you haven’t, Google is using automated software (aka webcrawlers, aka spiders, aka Googlebots) to browse the internet, reading websites to collect information about them for their index. Websites are made up of code and they read it. It is our job to not miss an opportunity to help the Googlebot collect important data about a site by putting the keywords in the code for it to read. (Digest that concept and you’ve got a good handle on the next post.) The need for attention to detail is found here and Yoast SEO plugin is a great tool for WordPress sites in this regard. We call this “On-Site” SEO and cover it in further detail in the next post.

#4. Amplify a website using other websites

Acquire links to your website from other, more well-known websites. A link is that clickable text that is sometimes underlined and blue. When a user clicks it, they leave one website and go to another. Google is aware of this. When a respected, authoritative website has a link to your website, some of that authority rubs off on your site. This is an example of “Off-Site” SEO (the topic of the third post).

Back to our muffin pan example. Let’s say that ceramic muffin pan page did a wonderful job of explaining in great detail how aluminized steel spread the heat to the muffins for even baking and how the ceramic coating allowed for easy release of the muffins from the pan. The way the technology was described was so well done that when Bobby Flay wrote a blog post on bakeware, he linked his post to that small business’s page! Big win! It is great because not only does the ceramic muffin pan page get more referral web traffic from all of Bobby Flay’s fans clicking the link. But also, Google is paying attention to what an authoritative publication (like a celebrity chef’s blog) thinks is worthy to link to. This reflects nicely on the muffin pan page in Google’s eyes and they will now be that much more likely to send anyone typing in “ceramic muffin pan” to the ceramic muffin pan page from now on. Side note (it isn’t easy to get a link from Bobby), but the same principle applies with other less famous but still authoritative websites, for example mybakingaddiction.com or joythebaker.com. Those are solid industry publications and their links will absolutely help. Long story short, this is where a good amount of the magic happens.

OK, this SEO thing isn’t so bad. Make a quality website that is secure, fast to load, and a relevant resource for users. Know the phrases that potential customers are entering in to Google when they shop for a product and incorporate them strategically into the website. And then enhance the websites notoriety with incoming links. We are off to a great start! We’ll go over all this in greater detail in our following posts.

Sam Costanzo
DARCI Creative
Digital Marketing Manager

The Case for Authenticity

If I could give you one word that sums up how to create and build a powerful Brand that works, it would be ‘authentic.’ Keeping it real is not just something you want to aim for in your romantic relationship, after all. Be real with how you communicate with your audience. Getting real about who you are as a company is the absolute first step to creating a Brand that is unique. Once you are clear about who you are and what you offer, you will have clarity about who your target audiences are. Who’s going to resonate with your Brand? Is it young, busy moms? High net worth individuals? Retired baby boomers? It makes a big difference when you truly understand your audience and you can communicate with them authentically. They will be drawn to what you’re selling when you are real.

Darci Knowles
Owner & Creative Director
darcicreative.com

6 “Must Haves” For Website Success

When’s the last time you updated your website?

In today’s digital age, web design best practices are always evolving– and yet, there are a handful of core design elements that your website really should have at all times. Think about it: your website is a marketing tool that works for you around the clock, marketing to digital users from all corners of the web.

So, take a look at these key ingredients for keeping your online brand presence polished and up-to-date.

1. Mobile Friendly Design.
This used to be an option, but not anymore. Your site will be viewed on more mobile devices than desktops, and that statistic is growing every day.

When a website is optimized for the mobile experience, it’s called a responsive site. We optimize every single website we design for mobile, because it’s 100% relevant to digital users today. You wouldn’t want to exclude any of your site visitors and lose potential clients in the process by only tailoring to desktop viewing, would you?

2. High Quality Imagery.
We’ll be honest, stock imagery isn’t our favorite. (Go ahead and Google ‘stock imagery’ if you don’t know what we’re talking about.)

Investing in professional photography helps elevate your brand by giving it that essential personal touch. High quality imagery is crisp, professional, and 100% unique to your brand. So, it’s important!

3. SEO: Search Engine Optimization.
Is your site SEO savvy? When designing a new or existing website, we always recommend speaking with an SEO specialist (ahem, we have one in-house) about optimizing your content for search engines like the #1 Google. The stronger your SEO, the higher your website will rank, and that means you’ll see more traffic and increased brand awareness for your business.

4. Company Information.

When designing and writing your web content, let your offering shine – but don’t forget to share key company information like your team members, mission, office location and contact information. Usually this information will appear on an About page. As for your contact information – display this on every page, such as in the header or footer of your website. That will insure the information will be easy to find for those warm leads that want to get in touch.

5. Call-to-Action’s… on every page.
Similarly, incorporate a call-to-action (or CTA for short), on every page of your site. Your CTA may be simply, “Contact Us Today” or “Download Your Free eBook Here” – but whatever it is that you want your audience to do when browsing your site, make it clear that there is an actionable step to take. We like to design these buttons in a color that compliments a site’s design and also pops off the screen. Strategically place those buttons so they are easy to find.

6. Social Media Buttons or Links.
Last but not least, link your website to your social media accounts! And if you don’t have a social media account, go create one in the next 60 seconds and make a note to link the two. It’s very common for a visitor to look for an Instagram or Facebook page, because it shows that the brand is current and connected with their online community. A website tells your story in one way, and social media is where your brand’s personality can shine through regular, consistent posting. So go ahead and add some social buttons to the header of your site – and, you can also link your accounts via text throughout your web copy.

We could go on and on with more digital boxes to check off, but for now, make sure your site is mobile friendly, SEO optimized, connected to social, and includes key information, CTA’s and quality imagery. From there comes the fun part – those unique toppings that make your recipe rise to the top. Let’s get cooking!

Darci Knowles
Owner & Creative Director
darcicreative.com

Facebooks latest updates

The Latest Facebook Updates, Unveiled

Did you catch our last post on the latest Instagram updates coming this year?  Today, we’re dishing all things Facebook, and exactly what the social media giant has in store with its latest updates.

Ready? Here’s a quick overview of the latest Facebook features to expect to see soon:

1. More Quality, Trusted News

You heard it from Zuckerberg himself. Earlier this year, the Facebook CEO claimed that Facebook will now show “more high quality, trusted news” to users of the platform. What does this mean? For one, news from broadly trusted resources nationwide. Facebook also claims to promote news from local sources that are relevant and credible.

Says Zuckerberg: “If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in the News Feed. We’re starting this first in the US, and our goal is to expand to more countries this year.”

2. An Eye On Fake Accounts & Bots

At Facebook’s annual F8 Conference, a developer event that takes place each spring in San Jose, Zuckerberg addressed election integrity and the Russian interference in the 2016 US election. He vowed to “make sure this never happens again,” promising that Facebook will be more vigilant going forward in regards to fake accounts and bot activity. The trend seems to be shifting towards a more authentic, trustworthy online experience – and let’s all hope that’s true.

3. “Clearing History” Tool

No doubt a direct result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that impacted Facebook earlier this year, the network has recently announced the rollout of a tool called “Clear History,” found in users’ privacy settings on Facebook. It will allow users to determine what websites and apps share information with Facebook (and vice versa), with the option to wipe this information from their account.

What does Zuckerberg have to say on this? “To be clear, when you clear your cookies in your browser, it can make parts of your experience worse. You may have to sign back in to every website, and you may have to reconfigure things. The same will be true here. Your Facebook won’t be as good while it relearns your preferences.”

But he did add: “But going through our systems, this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have.” (We’d better hope so.)

4. The Test of the Downvoting Button

After many years of requests from Facebook users, the network is now testing out the waters with a trial of the “downvote,” a feature that allow users to give comments an “up” or “down” vote. (Sounds a bit like Reddit, doesn’t it?)

A spokesperson noted: “This feature allows people to push those thoughtful and engaging comments to the top of the discussion thread, and to move down the ones that are simply attacks or filled with profanity. This does not affect your personal News Feed or interactions with friends.”

Facebook hasn’t told us how long the trial of this feature will last or how many users it’s being tested on, but we’ll be on the lookout for the downvote as the year progresses.

And there you have it! As we have all experienced since the start of 2018, the organic reach on Facebook for brands and small businesses has declined with the algorithm shift, with a trend toward paid social campaigns to get seen on the platform. As marketers, this makes our jobs a bit more difficult to reach our target markets and retain brand recognition. But it’s all the more reason to take a strategic approach when launching campaigns on Facebook, without resorting to click bait for engagement.

Keep your messaging relevant, genuine, and above all, create content that matters. It’ll help you break through the noise, no matter how many algorithm changes try to stand in your way.

 

Alanna Hogan
DARCI Creative
Copywriter & Executive Assistant, Social Media Manager

Coming to Insta in 2018

Ah, social media. It changes every day (or at least, it sure seems that way).

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook (the owner of Instagram) shared a few new Instagram updates coming in 2018 at their annual F8 Conference, a Facebook and Instagram developer event that takes place each spring in San Jose.

To get you caught up, here’s a recap of the latest Instagram features according to F8, coming to a mobile device near you:

1. New “Explore” Page

Word is that the developers of Instagram launched a redesign of the Explore tab – something we expect to see rolled out soon.

We’re used to the Explore page showing us popular posts and posts we might like, based on our activity and engagement with other content on the platform. But now, Instagram will allow users to explore content according to their interests with a new “Channels” feature. In other words, instead of Instagram suggesting content that it thinks we might like, it’s giving us the freedom to search ourselves, from “fitness” to “kittens” and everything in between. You’ll see broad categories to search as well as relevant hashtags, like #kittensofinstagram.

No word on a specific launch day yet, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled in the Explore tab!

2. Hello, Video Chat

You heard it here – video chat is coming to Instagram. Think FaceTime or Skype, but now through your Instagram app.

So, users can now talk privately with another user, or a group of users, over a video call in Instagram. It’s like the Direct Message feature that we’ve all come to know and love, but when you tap the video chat icon (to be released soon), it will call your friends, instead. (Better be ready for your close up.)

You will also be able to shrink your video chat to the corner of your screen while continuing to scroll and engage on Instagram at the same time. (Not that you won’t be paying attention to your caller, of course…). Talk about multitasking.

3. Share Your Favorite Spotify Songs Right In Your Instagram Story

No more taking a screenshot of your current jam and sharing that static image with your followers on Instagram Stories. Now, you can integrate Spotify right into the app to have a clip of that song play for your followers to hear.

The sharing process actually happens through Spotify (we’ll assume you use the Spotify app, then). When you come across that feel-good hit that you just have to share, you’ll tap a “share” icon in the Spotify app. It will appear as a “sticker” in your Instagram story, allowing your followers to listen to their hearts’ content. Groovy.

4. Create Your Own Face Filters

Those of you who enjoy those Instagram Stories filters with dog-ears and crazy glasses will enjoy this one. Soon, users of the app will be able to create and share their own unique facial features on Instagram Stories – a nod to augmented reality technology.

If that tickles your fancy, keep an eye out this year for the rollout. We’re guessing it will be available to influencers and big brands first, before us small businesses and individual profiles get access to it. (Sigh.)

5. Filter Out the Haters

Last but not least, Instagram is releasing a new anti-bullying feature that will allow users to filter out offensive comments with language-learning technology. When harassing comments appear on a post, Instagram’s new tool will recognize the negative language and automatically delete the comment (that’s the idea, anyway). We’re curious to see how this one will play out, and just how accurate it will be in shutting out the haters.

By the way, this feature will be automatically enabled for all users, so keep an eye out on your “Comment Controls” section in Settings to learn more.

And there you have it! What are your thoughts on the new Instagram features from the F8 Conference? Love ‘em, hate ‘em – just trying to keep up with all of them? (Us, too.)

But we do know one thing: Instagram is becoming an important tool for small businesses to utilize in the social media sphere, and it’s not going away any time soon. Better keep up, friends.

Alanna Hogan
DARCI Creative
Copywriter & Executive Assistant, Social Media Manager

How to Tell If Your Website Needs a Do-over

Your business has a website, so why would you need a new one? Well, if it’s working for you – driving traffic, converting sales, increasing your brand awareness – then maybe you don’t.

However, websites are not like crockpots. You can’t just set it and forget it. You need to keep up with the times. Technology changes, so at a minimum you need to make sure that your website is keeping up. User behavior changes and so do design aesthetics. Ignoring these trends will make you look outdated and may, in fact, turn prospective business away.

I’m not super technical. And that’s not really what I’m talking about here. I like to think about website design from the perspective of your ideal client. Leave the technical stuff to the web designers and developers.

So how do you know if it’s time for a refresh? First and foremost, is your site mobile friendly? At this point, there’s no excuse for not having done this yet. According to socPub, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. If your site doesn’t load properly on a mobile device or tablet, you are likely to lose that business.

Does it take your site forever to load? I’ve recently been told that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Whether or not that’s true, the fact of the matter is that humans are not sitting around waiting for your site to load. We are living in a time when end users expect things to work immediately. There’s no time to hang around and wait. So, if your site is as slow as molasses, it’s definitely time for a do-over.

While this may sound frivolous, website design has changed over the years. Just like fashion, certain aspects of web design have come and gone. It’s important to look current – otherwise you lose a bit of credibility. Today’s websites are cleaner, more streamlined. Is yours?

Having a pretty web presence isn’t all it takes, though. Your website content needs to align with your brand strategy. In order to attract the right audience, you need to have the right content. Creating the right content is a process that takes thought. It’s not just putting nice words on a page. It’s putting the right words on a page so that your brand promise is on-point and your message is clear. A lot of web design companies leave the content to you, which means you may not be hitting the mark from a strategic brand standpoint.

If someone navigates to your website, will they be able to find what they were looking for? Again, this comes back to immediacy. Anyone who lands on your site is expecting to find what they are looking for – pronto. No one has time to read through lots of copy or to click all over your site to find what they are looking for. Make it simple. Easy to navigate. Keep your audience in mind and make the most relevant information easy to find. Don’t waste their time by forcing them to dig through your site to find what they’re looking for. You’ll lose them in the process.

If you’re not hitting the mark in these areas, I would advise you that it’s time to redesign your site. Oftentimes, your website is where you make your first impression. Make sure it’s a good one!

Pam Oulundsen
DARCI Creative
Project Manager & Data Analyst

I Have a Theory

I have a theory about the current state of social media… I don’t have statistical data or lots of numbers to prove it; it’s just a gut feeling. If you’re a small business, surely you’ve tried using social media as a tool to promote your brand, increase awareness, gain customers and even drive sales. And you probably want to pull your hair out daily, as you try to navigate new algorithms and what’s new on social media. Day after day we hear new strategies and tactics to get more “likes” or interaction on our posts. What’s a small biz to do to keep up?

Here’s what I’m thinking…

It’s obviously important to get those likes, especially since the ‘social media gods’ tell us we have to. But I don’t think you should be totally discouraged if you aren’t. Here’s why: people are still seeing (and maybe even liking) your activity – they just may not be clicking the heart or the thumbs up button to let the world know.

Why not, you ask?

Well, there are lots of reasons… perhaps they liked your post on Facebook, then hopped over to Instagram (or vice versa) and felt like that would be too “stalker-ish” if they liked your post there too. People might start to think you have nothing better to do than scroll through your social media accounts.

Perhaps they saw it, and thought it was okay, but are kind of tired of your content because it’s always the same… but they still saw it. And you still made an impression. It just may not show up in your analytics as a “like”. (Hint: if this is happening a lot, it might be time for a new content strategy.)

Maybe people are getting even lazier. We know we only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention on social media. No one wants to wait for anything anymore. But what if we’ve become so attention deficit that we aren’t even taking the time to click “like” anymore?

And, some of you might not like this, but maybe your audience is growing tired of all the self-promotion. It might be a bit snarky of me to think this way, but I’ve grown tired of seeing photos of the same beautiful people promoting how wonderful their brand is. I get it, you’re adorable and successful… but what’s in it for me? (Hint: if this seems to be the case for you, it’s time to rethink your strategy.)

So, what does this all mean?

It means don’t give up, and don’t be discouraged. Rethink your strategy. Mix it up. Try a different angle. Social media is still a valuable tool – I’d even go as far as to say it’s critical to your marketing strategy. So stick with it and keep trying new things. (Hint: if you need some help, give us a call!)

 

Pam Oulundsen
DARCI Creative
Project Manager & Data Analyst

Is Face-to-Face Networking a Thing of the Past?

In this day and age of social media and smartphones, you may be wondering if in-person networking is a thing of the past. Sure, it’s easier to “make connections” online – but are those connections real?

Trust me, I get it. Networking can be super awkward and uncomfortable. I’m a shy girl who would gladly choose going home to my family than attending another networking event. I’ve tried to “network” using various social media platforms. But lately I’ve had to put on my big girl pants and just get out there! And let me tell you what I’ve learned.

Get over it! Networking isn’t as bad as you’ve led yourself to believe. First of all, you’re not the only person who feels awkward – there’s at least one other person in the room who feels or has felt the same way you’re feeling. So get over it!

Find the right event. There are tons of networking groups out there. In fact, I think you could spend most mornings at a “coffee & connection” meeting and most evenings at a “business after hours” networking event. The trick is to find one that matches your goals. Are you networking for your business or product? Or are you networking to make connections for a career change? Whatever your reason, be selective.

It’s more than just a meeting: Yay you! You made it to your first networking meeting. Now what? Well, remember why you went in the first place… to make connections, right? So, #1 plan to go to another one and #2 reach out to the people you met! A quick email or shout out on social media goes a long way.

Be prepared to be surprised. Approach your next networking event with your eyes wide open and be ready for the unexpected. What I mean is, you may be attending this event for business purposes but leave with new knowledge of a volunteer board you may be interested in joining, or a new restaurant to try. You just never know what nuggets of information you will take away from networking.

And most importantly:

Authenticity. Let it be known that authenticity is actually the #1 lesson you need to learn in business. And the only way to be authentic is to develop real, human connections. You can’t do that online. You have to get out there and talk to people. Create a dialogue; share your passion.

The takeaway? Face-to-face networking is NOT a thing of the past. In fact, I think it’s more important than ever. Whether we know it or not, we all enjoy the times when we can step away from our screens and devices and actually have real conversations.

I encourage you to give it a try.

Pam Oulundsen
DARCI Creative
Project Manager & Data Analyst

Tips for how to stay focused as a Mamapreneur

When my daughter was just 8 months old, I made a massive decision. I took the leap and left my decade-long corporate career in collegiate athletics marketing for the opportunity to be present with my little one and to begin building my dream career.

When I first launched my business, I had less than 2 hours a day, during naptime, to coach clients and grow my tribe. I found some immensely helpful tips that I want to share with you.

Here are the top 5 ways I grew my business while raising my baby:

1. Focus on top priorities daily
In the beginning, it felt like there were hundreds of things to do – and there were. It was a steep learning curve, but being a mama led me to need to learn how to prioritize.

First things first: make a list and prioritize by importance and urgency of the projects on the docket; then set deadlines and get workin’ to maximize your precious (and limited) time.

2. Ask for help
This was absolutely crucial to my success. I learned that it was okay to ask my husband for help at home or to ask our parents to spend some extra quality time with their sweet granddaughter once a week or on a weekend when I needed the space to crank out deliverables.

As mamapreneurs, we can have the world on our shoulders and feel like we should be able to carry it alone, but the gift we give others by asking for their support is priceless.

3. Learn how to be uber-efficient
When I learned about block scheduling and hired a Virtual Assistant to the team, the game changed. These two things were life-savers and I was able to pass off techy tasks that were not in my zone of genius and zone in on my genius during those naptime windows when I had to get content out to my tribe.

I could’ve spent hours trying to get things done, or tried to fit into everyone else’s schedule. Instead, I found what worked for me and got a lot more work done in those small pockets of time.

4. Ditch the comparison game
I realized, very quickly, that comparing myself to my non-mom friends and online idols made zero sense. I grounded in to gratitude every day and celebrated the fact that I traded in my daily commute for the moments I could never get back with our girl.

I made a pact with myself that it was, perhaps, going to take me longer to achieve my career goals…but becoming a mama was a life goal that I wasn’t willing to squander for anything.

5. Build an amazing tribe
Soul sister power for the win! I could not do this without my tribe of incredible visionary women and cheerleaders.

I deeply value relationships and spend the time cultivating and caring for them as a major part of my weekly schedule. Spending an extra day on a trip to meet up with a friend (taking the online life to real life) can be the meeting that leads you to your next client or key business contact.

Parenthood is one of the greatest blessings and gifts I could ask for. I left my corporate career to be more present for my life and the people in it, and over the last 4 years, I’ve done just that and grown a successful business that has served thousands of women worldwide in the process.


Amber Lilyestrom
Transformational branding strategist & business coach, philanthropist and lifestyle entrepreneur
Facebook
Instagram

We just had to ask Amber to join us as one of our guestbloggers. She’s a mamapreneur who is gettin’ things done, while balancing her family life too. She has been featured in Entrepreneur, Startupcamp.com and Working Mother magazine and is the host of the Amber Lilyestrom Show. She helps women entrepreneurs position themselves as sought-after experts and thought leaders through social media, engagement marketing and the creation of a soul-connected online brand presence. She’s helped thousands of women worldwide and built her multiple six-figure business as a full-time mamapreneur.

Be sure to check out her website and find her on Facebook and Instagram where you will find lots of inspiration. And don’t worry ladies – Amber will be guest blogging for us again in the future, so stay tuned!

When It Comes to Social Media Marketing, It’s Better to be Smart Than Trendy

We get it – everyone wants to sit at the cool kid table. But when it comes to social media marketing, it’s better to be smart (we like to say strategic), than fall victim to the latest trends and the influencers who seem to be doing it all right on social. Don’t get us wrong, these popular figures may, in fact, be doing all the right things for their brand – but does that mean their tricks will translate to your business? Sorry, but no. Let’s talk about that.

Here’s the thing. Social media is an ever-evolving animal, and when you’re just starting out, you’ll want to play around with your strategy until you find that perfect fit for your brand. But know this: the social world is growing in influence every day, and in today’s digital age, you simply can’t afford to be sitting on the sidelines anymore.

Here are a few of our favorite dos and don’ts to steer you in the right direction on a smart, strategic social media marketing path:

Don’t join every social media platform just because you’ve been told you “should”. We believe in quality over quantity, and if we’re being honest, social media burnout is a real thing. Instead, determine the most relevant channels for your unique brand and establish a strong presence there. This means consistency in both sharing content and engaging with other users!

Speaking of determining those relevant channels… do think about where your target audience spends their time online. Is your tribe youthful and visually driven? You’ll probably want to focus your efforts on Instagram. Or are they an older crowd who seek resources in the form of written content and informational blog posts? You might consider Facebook or LinkedIn instead.

Don’t make a post just to post. Be strategic about your content, and experiment with post formats that resonate with your audience. There’s plenty of room to play here, from quality photography and video, to blog posts and GIFs. Not sure exactly what’s resonating with your followers? Don’t be afraid to ask them! Start a poll or ask questions to figure out the kind of content they want to see more of. That’ll keep them coming back for more – and isn’t that the goal?

Do your research. Look around at the competition and pay attention to their approach to social media strategy. Then ask yourself, What can I do to stand apart from the pack?

Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy and switch things up as you go. Love it or hate it, the nature of social media is its constant change. So be sure to measure your success (or lack thereof) as you go and pivot from there (hello, analytics).

The takeaway? Just because the cool kids are doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. Of course, we always recommend paying attention to the latest and greatest trends on social media, because the next new feature could be a key tool in your digital marketing strategy. But a strong line of tactics only will only work when they’re implemented with a clear strategy in mind. (And strategy is what we live and breathe over here.)

P.S. If you’re looking for a bit of social media guidance, or a more hands-off approach altogether, we’re always happy to add a social media management plan to any Brand Muffin package. We’ve got you!

 

Alanna Hogan
DARCI Creative
Copywriter & Executive Assistant, Social Media Manager