Which social media platforms should my business use?

Not sure where to start with social media platforms? read on…

This is one of the questions we receive frequently from clients. There is a proliferation of platforms available today. Every business has unique needs, target markets, and resources available – and for some businesses social media may not be a strategic priority at all!

Before you plunge headlong into any social media it’s essential to have a marketing strategy in place to establish your goals. Social media should be an integrated marketing activity.

There’s a lot to consider, but as a guide here’s a few things you should think about before you begin setting up any new social media accounts:    

What are you trying to achieve?

Your social media goals should align with your business goals. Are you starting a new business, aiming to increase sales? Or launch a new product, increase your brand awareness, or target a new market?

For example:

If you’re launching a new product to a new market segment, then the social media goals need to reflect this. The platform and content needs to align with the audience’s needs. Which platform will best reach this market?

Where are your target audiences / potential customers?

Check your website analytics to assess where your existing traffic is coming from. What is your conversion rate currently from referrals from social media platforms?

Research data online to see which platforms your target audiences use and their social media habits. By identifying who your customers are you can target more customers like them using the most appropriate platform.

For example recent data from Statista showed:

Two thirds of Instagram’s global users are aged under 34; 31.5 per cent are aged 25 to 34, with just 2.1 per cent aged 65 and over. So if your product is designed for senior customers, and depending on the other factors mentioned here, then Instagram is probably not going to deliver the results or return on investment you’re aiming for, compared to Facebook for instance.

You should also look at current research that shows the best performing sites for your industry. Check out this 2022 Social Media Industry Benchmarking Report by Rival IQ to see how your industry achieves the most engagement, top performing hashtags and more.

How well are your existing social pages performing?

Use your platform’s Insights and Analytics tools to review what content has worked well for you. You can also invest in software that compares insights from your different platforms to make this task easier. Metrics such as impressions, reach, engagement and response data will show which platforms have performed most effectively for your business and identify the type of content your audiences like and engage with.

We often see businesses trying to do all major social platforms, when strategically it would make better sense to only use a couple of platforms. Quality and consistency is a better approach than quantity.

What are your competitors doing?

Analyse your competitors’ social media activities. Which platforms are they using? Where have they gained the greatest following? What kind of content are they posting, how often and when do they post and is the content successfully engaging their audiences? Use this data to identify the types of content or platform/s you need – and how much of it – to set your own goals for social media activities.

Imagery

We see many small businesses get excited about doing social media, but don’t stop to consider what content they will post, and where will they get their images from. Quality imagery is absolutely essential for social media – photos, graphics and also video.

Before starting any social media platform, ensure you have plenty of imagery available to use, and have a content plan in place. If you don’t have your own images yet, we strongly advise you get a professional photographer to create an image library for you. Wherever possible, do not use image library stock photos; and definitely don’t just copy images from the internet. Check the copyright status of any image before you use it.

How much time or budget do you have to spend on social media activities?

An effective social media strategy requires a dedicated investment of time and money. Running too many platforms without the resources to operate them properly is unlikely to produce the results you want. Set aside regular time to post, manage your pages, respond to comments and enquiries, analyse and measure performance and protect your reputation. If you don’t have time or resources to do it yourself, get an external social media manager to do it for you – Planet Marketing can provide this service.

Do you have the skills and time for the ongoing need to create original and engaging content – regularly and consistently? Different types of content perform differently across platforms. If you don’t have the skills or time to create videos, graphics and write posts then it’s much more efficient to engage specialists to help. A Content Plan is essential to plan ahead and get the balance right. Take a look at Mail’s Chimp’s Top 12 types of social media content to create to get an idea.     

Note: even with great content, it’s becoming less easy to grow your social media audiences organically so you should also include social media advertising in your budget. This needs to be factored into your decisions too. Having a marketing plan and strategies in place are very important to ensure you are spending your budget most wisely.

Evaluate your options

Once you’ve answered all these questions then you’ll be well placed to strategically evaluate which platforms best meet your needs. Here’s a handy social media guide from Buffer to give you an idea of how the different platforms currently stack up.

If you need assistance with your social marketing strategies, platform management and content planning and creation then we can help! Contact us for a chat to see how we can get your socials on track.

Planet Marketing provides practical and sustainable marketing advice – helping you determine what marketing suits your business best.

naturally better marketing…

2022 Outback Queensland Travellers Guide

Launch of the Outback Queensland Travellers Guide!

We’ve completed it! Planet Marketing is very proud to have recently completed the Outback Queensland Traveller’s Guide project for the Outback Queensland Tourism Association. The project included writing and collating the content, and project management.

The result is stunning, with 118 pages of incredible adventures, driving routes, map, and essential travel tips from places to camp and glamp to where to join the locals for iconic and quirky events.

The talented team at Interactivink created the guide’s stunning graphic design, and managed the advertising sales and printing.

The new guide is out now…

The 2022 travel season and new Traveller’s Guide were launched at the 2022 Outback Muster event in February. Check out the online version on the Outback Queensland website and be inspired for your next holiday!

Outback Queensland is a vast and incredible travel destination teeming with amazing places to visit and experiences to try in one of the world’s most unique landscapes.

Looking to update your brochures and marketing materials or destination travel guides? Panet Marketing specialises in travel writing and copywriting. Contact us for a chat to discuss your needs.

Planet Marketing provides practical and sustainable marketing advice – helping you determine what marketing suits your business best.

naturally better marketing…

Complete Wiring

complete wiring

Based in Brisbane, Complete Wiring is an Australian supplier and manufacturer of high quality custom designed cables, cable assemblies, cable harnesses & wiring systems. Working across a diverse range of industries, the company is growing steadily, and business is thriving.

Planet Marketing created and executed the rebrand for Complete Wiring, and developed a strategic marketing plan and approach for the business.

Projects: Planet Marketing managed the rebrand of Complete Wiring’s new logo, brand style, marketing collateral including a company/branding photoshoot, new Capability Statement, Quad Chart, letterhead, general brochure, business cards, and pull-up banners.

A comprehensive Strategic Marketing and Content Plan was developed for 2021 onwards including a full website and SEO audit with recommendations, ongoing content creation (newsletters, blogs, social media as required), and website maintenance.

Visit Complete Wiring’s website.

Page photo credit:  © Complete Wiring | Colin Bushell Photography

Check out our Portfolio to see other client projects. If you would like to receive a quote for a marketing project, please Contact Us.

Small Business Tips – 7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Do you want to avoid the common marketing mistakes small businesses make? Small business owners are very busy people – we know this, as we’re a small business too.

However, being busy is not an excuse for neglecting your marketing, which is a common error we see in small business. Marketing is often at the bottom of the “to do” list, and sometimes never happens at all. This is not where marketing should be.

Marketing needs to be as important, if not more so, as the other key areas of your business – alongside good governance, finances, and operations.

Putting it simply, it doesn’t matter how well your business operates, or how great your product or service is, if people don’t know you exist they won’t buy. You need to be seen.

Prioritise your Marketing

This is why marketing is so important and needs to be prioritised. This is why social media has had such a huge positive impact on small businesses – you can now ‘be seen’ by audiences all around the world.

For a small business, marketing doesn’t need to be overly complicated or expensive, but it does need to have a strategy, an action plan, and a budget.

The key issue for many of our clients is that they don’t know where to start with their marketing. Even if you only have a small marketing budget, make sure you plan your marketing. For a small business, a planned approach is very important to avoid wasting the precious time and limited marketing budget you have.

7 Marketing Mistakes you need to Avoid

Here is our list of top marketing mistakes to avoid in a small business, starting with the biggest mistake, having no marketing plan.

No Marketing Plan

Having a strategic marketing plan ensures you keep marketing activities on track and on budget; it helps avoid spending time and money of ad hoc items; and importantly sets out target markets, activities, and timing. Even if you just have a really simple plan, it is much better than none. Re-visit your plan regularly, and make sure you can measure the success of all marketing activities undertaken to avoid repeating ineffective marketing decisions.

Underperforming Website

A website is not optional – it is mandatory. It doesn’t need to be big and expensive, but you do need to have one, and it needs to look professional. Don’t just depend on your social media. Remember, you don’t “own” your social media pages, but you do own your website. Make sure your website is functioning – if you’re not sure, get a full website audit. The three biggest small business website mistakes are: (1) hard-to-find contact details; (2) no personality or personal ‘About Us’ details; and (3) lack of clarity about services offered. For further website tips read my blog Top 10 Website Tips for Small Businesses.

Trying to be Everything to Everyone

With a limited budget and limited resources, work out your priorities and do a few key things well, rather than trying to do everything with a scatter-gun approach which means nothing gets done well. ie. choose two social media channels and do them consistently, rather than doing four channels and doing them sporadically. Make sure you have a defined target market/s – trying to appeal to everyone doesn’t work. Your marketing needs to be tailored to suit your target market/s. This mistake is avoided by having a strategic marketing plan.

Lack of Brand Consistency

Some business owners are creative types, and some are not. If you’re not, make sure you get help with establishing a consistent brand. An inconsistent brand means mixed messages, and mixed messages mean that people will be confused about your business. This includes the type of images used, colours, words, and even fonts and layouts. A consistent brand looks professional, and people know what to expect. Think of big brands like Nike, Coke, McDonalds, BMW etc… they all have a very consistent brand. Small businesses need to do the same, but on a small scale.

No Personality

For small businesses it is especially important to create a connection with your customers, and the best way to achieve this is to let them know who you are. Let your personality shine through in everything you do; provide information about yourself on your website and on social media. Many small businesses have websites with a bland “off the shelf” sterile look. They have no personality, no information about who they are or their purpose, and no images showing the owners or their staff. First step – get rid of stock library images! Show and tell people who you are and why you want to help them.

Not Looking after Customers

Only focusing on new business and neglecting repeat business is a big mistake that small business owners regularly make. Make sure you look after your existing customers and undertake marketing especially for them. Marketing to an existing customer is a lot cheaper than finding new customers; and more importantly, unsatisfied customers will tell all their friends and family. No small business can afford bad word-of-mouth advertising.

Lack of Response or Follow-up

It astounds us how often we contact small businesses and receive no response at all, or an extremely slow one. There is no excuse for this, especially these days with auto-responders and all the tech tools available. The sooner you respond to a lead or enquiry the better, this includes both online and phone message enquiries. A quick response shows you are professional, provides a good first impression, and shows that you are attentive to your clients needs. It is generally expected that leads are followed up on the same day; at the very most 24 hours. Potential clients do not wait these days – they will go elsewhere; and there is the added potential reputation damage as well if you don’t respond adequately.

We hope these tips have helped you determine how you can improve your marketing; and what marketing mistakes you may need to fix in your business.

If you have any questions, comments, or additional suggestions to add to this list, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Check out our Blog for other marketing tips; or Contact us.

Planet Marketing provides practical marketing advice – helping you determine what marketing suits your business best.

naturally better marketing…

Top 10 Website Tips for Small Businesses

Our Planet Marketing small business website tips
Website worries? Our Top 10 Tips…

Looking for website tips for a small business? These days a website is not optional for a business – it is mandatory.

Also long gone are the days of dodgy looking websites and poor image quality. Your website needs to look professional, be user-friendly and quick to load, be informative, be found easily, and be accessible on a mobile device – and be Google friendly.

Your website is your shop-front. It’s often the first point of contact that someone has with your business, so it’s very important to create a good first impression. Ensure your website is presenting the best possible image of your business at all times.

We regularly see small businesses trying to save money on a website by doing it themselves or getting a friend to help. Most of the time this ends up being a bad decision – costing the business owner lost time and money, and often having to start from scratch again with a new website. Your website is a key investment in your business – and your key marketing tool, so make sure you do it right.

Also an important point, you own your website (unlike your social media pages which you don’t actually own at all) – so your website is where you should be directing people to. Don’t just depend on your social media pages, which is the equivalent of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Before you start developing a website, we suggest the following 6 steps:

  1. Do your homework – research other websites, especially your key competitors, and make a list of what you need and like
  2. Create a ‘website brief’ which includes all the specifications you require
  3. Talk to a marketing consultant or get marketing advice before signing an agreement to commence building a website (don’t just talk with a website developer – many are not ‘marketing’ experts, they are website development experts – two different things) – especially if it’s the first time you’re building a website
  4. Ensure you obtain several quotes from website developers who are experienced and have client sample websites they can show you
  5. Make sure the quote includes all the tools you need; and specifies what’s included or not eg. is data content input included? images? is hosting included? is onging SEO or maintenance available?
  6. Make sure you have your content and images ready – to make the process as streamlined as possible. Write all the texts in advance, considering what text and image will go on each page. If need be, outsource a copywriter to assist you, and make sure SEO is considered during this process eg. keywords are important.

If you already have a website, below are our top 10 tips to ensure your website is performing as well as possible for you – especially if you are a small business.

Top 10 Website Tips

  1. Is your website mobile friendly & mobile responsive? If not, upgrade or get a new one fast! If you’re not sure, ask for advice.
  2. Does it have easy-to-find contact details – on the home page? Not having a clearly visible phone number is one of the fastest turnoffs for potential customers – transparency is vital for small businesses.
  3. Do you tell people who you are and your purpose? This includes showing your personality, an ‘About Us’ page, photos of your team.
  4. Can you capture data (email addresses)? This includes an opt-in or signup function; or a sales funnel.
  5. Do you have a clear “call-to-action” on your home page? What do you want visitors to your site to do; what step should they take next?
  6. Do you regularly add new and authentic SEO and keyword-friendly content?
  7. Is your website quick to load and easy to navigate? Quick means less than 3 seconds ideally
  8. Are your social media links visible & working? Ideally on your home page (header & footer)
  9. Are your images relevant and reflect your brand, professional quality & do you have the license to use them?
  10. Can you measure the performance of your website? Do you know where visitors to your site are coming from?

How do you know your website is performing properly or not? Make sure you ask people for feedback on a regular basis. Your website might make sense to you, but more importantly, it needs to make sense and work for your customers. Also ensure you have a website measurement tool installed to analyse your website’s performance; Google Analytics is the most common one.

Of course, there are other items to include and manage to ensure your website is performing optimally, but the above list provides the key points to get you started.

If you’re not sure if your website is performing well, or if you are thinking of building a new website, please contact us to discuss. We can assist and provide quotes for a website audit, to upgrade an existing website, or for a new website.

If you have any questions, comments, or additional suggestions to add to this list, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Check out our Blog for other marketing tips; or Contact us.

Planet Marketing provides practical and sustainable marketing advice – helping you determine what marketing suits your business best.

naturally better marketing…

Do-it-yourself Marketing activities for Small Businesses

book-a-free-marketing-advice-session

Small Business Marketing Activities to implement during COVID-19 crisis

I’ve had this discussion with a lot of small businesses over the last few weeks: what should we do about our marketing at the moment?

The nearest comparable situation in recent times would be the GFC. Data and anecdotal feedback from the GFC event showed that those businesses that continued with some marketing and advertising (albeit altered marketing activities) bounced back quicker and better – than those that stopped marketing and advertising and then restarted after the event was over.

So… if we are to continue with our marketing, and keep ourselves and our staff proactively engaged in marketing and business activities during the coming weeks and possibly months, what activities can we afford to implement if our budget and income are minimal?

These suggestions below are particularly suitable for micro and small businesses – as most of the activities you can do yourself (or be done by your staff), with minimal or no extra cost involved.

You can also catch up with me for a FREE online chat to discuss your marketing direction – please just Book a Time Here! (45 min online video chat) or book a 30-min Phone Call here.

Here are my “Top 10 Marketing & Business Activities” to continue with:

Update your Marketing Plan

This should be the starting point of all marketing – regardless of the situation. Even at a time like now with COVID-19, having a marketing plan is still crucial. So, if you have a marketing plan, go through it and revise it for the next approximate 4-6 months; with the aim to keep it flexible and fluid so it can be easily downscaled or upscaled as things proceed over the next month or so. Where suitable, cancel big expense items (ie. paid advertising, print, and events obviously), and focus on continuing lower cost activities like organic social media, enewsletters, and blogs.

Make changes to your plan: revise your target markets; are there different target markets you could be focusing on now? Look at your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) – what’s changed? Is there an opportunity that you can create by changing your product offering slightly and targeting a new audience? Clearly online activities (eg. webinars, video meetings, online shopping) are ideal opportunities available for those businesses that can provide services online or via home delivery.

If you don’t have a marketing plan, use this enforced slow time to develop your plan – and get ready for when things pick up again. Regardless of your situation, all businesses should have a marketing plan – even if just a basic one. If you need help creating your marketing plan – please feel free to Contact me with any questions; or please Book a Time Here!

Tidy Up Business Processes

Take this time to tidy up your internal business processes: clear out old files, do archiving, sort out your images folders, and ensure all your backups are in place.

Consider your ‘sales funnel’ process (in particular any automated emails) – is it still relevant at the moment? Can it be improved?

What can you do to improve your customer experience at the moment, or in the future?

Now’s a great time to install new software to help streamline your business. Do your research, and invest your time in online training tutorials (which is what I’m doing with Zoho One – my new toy at the moment). There will be some very good deals out there too!

Memberships

Revise all your memberships and subscriptions. Do you need them all? Are you making the most out of them? If not, save some money and unsubscribe or cancel them.

Write some useful articles or host a free webinar that can be shared with your member groups – a great way of showing your expertise and to build trust in your business.

Some business memberships are offering “free deals” at the moment – including the CCIQ here in Queensland. CCIQ’s Business Essentials annual membership is currently free for 1 year; offer expires 31 March 2020.

Business Governance

Now more than ever, make sure all your business registrations, renewals (including web hosting, domains etc), insurances, and risk analysis procedures are all up-to-date.

I have one excel file that includes all my key business details and renewal dates, so I always have everything easily at my fingertips.

Content Creation

Step 1: Change your existing content to suit the current mood. I have seen some automated ads still running on social media that are clearly unsuitable (and slightly distasteful) at the moment; which means your business appears out-of-touch and lacking empathy – and potentially damaging to your brand. Make sure you’re not making this mistake.

Note: ensure you are keeping your customers and potential customers informed about any changes you are making due to health or business restrictions; and how you are keeping staff and customers safe.

Step 2: Revise or create your content marketing plan; setting out key activities and pre-scheduling content where possible. A good content marketing plan should cover all content – including offline content too if relevant (ie. brochures, posters, business profiles, sales kits, packaging etc.)

Step 3: Create your new content. Now’s a great time to catch up on content writing. Prepare and write blogs, articles (for print & online), newsletters, social media posts, and create graphics or images to accompany your content. Create a content stockpile that will see you through the next 12 months – which means when things get busy again, you’ll be ahead of the game.

If you’re a small business creating your own graphics, take the time to explore Canva – a very easy-to-use program (which I love using), with a free version available. If you don’t have graphic design skills in-house Canva is a lifesaver.

Database Cleanup

Sort out your databases. Add missing details to key files. Make sure you have your contacts in the right categories. Upload any new contacts into your email software eg. Mailchimp or Active Campaign. Delete or archive old contacts. Do you regularly export your database files? This should be done regularly to ensure you have backups. Your databases are a key asset for a small business, so look after them.

Update your Website

Do an audit of your website. Is it all up-to-date? Obviously depending on your business model, there may be some exceptions to the following, but here are my top tips to check:

  • Refresh your images
  • Update old content ie. old dates, events or incorrect details
  • Add new text copy or pages to keep the site fresh and keep the Google bots happy!
  • Check your SEO – what could be improved? This includes both in the backend of your website, and your text content – is it SEO friendly?
  • Are your links all working? Ensure your internal links are maximised; and check external ones are still correct.
  • Forms – are they all working correctly? Are they secure to avoid spam bots and hacking?
  • Any new tools you can add? For example: an online appointment booking tool, or a live chat function.
  • Downloads – do they need updating?
  • Is your website platform version up-to-date?
  • Are your backups occurring on a regular basis? If you’re not sure, check with your web hosting company.
  • Is your website mobile friendly and responsive? If you have an old website, now’s a good time to get it upgraded to ensure you maximise your online presence.
  • Is your website hosted on https (secure) and has a SSL certificate – this is especially important if you are taking payments online
  • Is your website quick to load? Tip: needs to be under 3 seconds.
  • Contact details – make sure all your contact details are clearly visible (ideally on all pages; and/or in the header and footer) – this includes having your telephone number on your home page. No visible phone number is a mistake I see a lot.
  • Are your social media pages / links clearly visible on your website? Ideally on your home page.
  • Do you have social sharing tools switched on for sharing your web pages and blogs easily?
  • Check all your plugins – plugins can slow down your website, so make sure you remove any unnecessary ones; or get your website developer to check if better alternatives may be available

Audit other Marketing Tools

While you have some time, what else can be updated? Here are some ideas:

  • Google My Business – is your listing current? Add images and check all info is correct
  • Social Pages – are all your key business details correct? Is your ‘About’ content still correct? Check all links.
  • LinkedIn – this is still an underutilised tool by small businesses, maybe now is the time to get started? And update your personal LinkedIn profile too.
  • Dropbox or other online file storage systems – do a tidy up of folders (if not automated)
  • Memberships and online listings – are your contact details correct? Does your image / business profile need updating?

New Partnerships

Many small businesses I speak with mention they want to develop business partnerships, but they never have time to do it. Now’s the time. Think about what businesses would be potential partners, what could you offer the partnership, what activities could you do jointly? This is a great way to build new relationships at a time when we all need some extra support. Also an ideal way to tap into new potential audiences; to share skills; and to save money as well, by sharing the marketing costs.

Tip: make sure your potential partner has the same business values as you do, and the same target audiences. If they don’t, it generally won’t work.

Online Networking

If you haven’t yet used Zoom, Skype, What’sApp, or any other online video service, make sure you learn very quickly. It’s a gamechanger if you wish to continue building relationships with your customers, to provide your services, or to catch up with colleagues for meetings. Many tools have a free version. So make sure you take advantage of these tools to build your networks. I’ve seen a few people already offering “free online coffee chats” – I did one the other day. It’s a great way to expand your business network, make new friends, and stay ‘connected’ during this period of enforced isolation.

In conclusion…

I hope this list gives you a few ideas to get your marketing activities on track in the short term. I’ll update this article as new ideas or suggestions come up.

Feel free to ask me any questions about the above; and if you have any other suggestions I should add to this list, please let me know.

And if you’d like to catch up with me for a free online “coffee chat” or to discuss your marketing – please just Book a Time Here! (45 min online video chat) or book a 30-min Phone Call here.

Take care during this difficult time, #weareallinthistogether

I look forward to better times again soon – keep safe everyone,

Mel

Winjana RV | Logo

winjana rv | logo development

Melanie (Planet Marketing) has been providing marketing services to Winjana RV since 2000. The first project undertaken was their brand development, including logo development, vehicle decals, and brand style, when the company first commenced business.

The logo was developed to represent the colours of the Australian landscape: the red Outback earth and rugged escarpments, and the green rainforests and mountain ranges. All Winjana RV vans are named after Australian National Parks – in recognition of our country’s amazing landscapes, and the business owner’s love of the Outback and camping adventures.

Visit Winjana RV’s website for more details.

Check out our Portfolio to see other client projects. If you would like to receive a quote for our Logo Development services, please Contact Us.

Sandstone Wonders

Sandstone Wonders travel writing
sandstone wonders

The Sandstone Wonders region is the destination marketing campaign and regional website for the Banana Shire Council, located in central Queensland.

Planet Marketing provided travel writing services for a series of 8 destination stories (blog articles) about the Sandstone Wonders region for their website.

The Sandstone Wonders stories written and featured:

Visit the Sandstone Wonders website.

Find out more about our Travel Writing services here. And please Contact Us with any questions or to request a quote for copy writing or editing services.