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Following our Digital Marketing Essentials Workshop, Think Creative hosted some of the attendees for a hands on workshop where we took a deep dive into some of the core areas of digital marketing. Continuing to help businesses find ways to succeed in a competitive digital marketing landscape is a priority for us and so we were happy to take the time and open our doors for this event.

Social Media

At our first workshop, we covered how to make engaging social media posts and some of the things businesses should avoid overall when it comes to their social media posts and presence. The subject is a huge one, though, and with the social media platforms constantly evolving it’s easy for business owners to fall behind and miss updates. The image sizes required, for example, can change. The platforms can add new capabilities like hashtags in bios that can be a huge benefit for your social profile but you might otherwise miss.

For that reason, the first thing we did was look over everyone’s social media profiles. We focused on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter since these are the sites most business owners are using. Here are some of the key things we looked for:

Correctly Sized Images

It’s very important that you size your images for the platform. Images that are too small can look blurry or grainy because they get stretched to fill the space or they might get cropped if they don’t fill the space. Images that are too big will be compressed and also lose quality giving a blurry appearance.

Having said that here are the correct sizes for those platforms:

Twitter
Header: 1500 x 500
However, keep in mind that the profile image covers part of the header on the left side. Another important update in the past year is that the profile image has been changed to a circle shape. If you haven’t updated your profile image since this happened, you might find that it crops part of your image or that a different picture might be more suitable.

Facebook
Cover Image: 820 x 312 (safe space: 560 x 270)
Profile Image: 180 x 180

 

Instagram
Profile Image: 180 x 180

Optimized Bios

The next thing to check are your bios. This is a very important piece of real estate on your social media profile! When people discover you via social media, this is your one opportunity to share with them who you are and make an impact. Include the most important keywords related to your business but don’t be afraid to also be creative. People see so much on social media everyday and standing out in a creative and fresh way will take you far. You can also use hashtags to be found in search. Make sure you’re linking to your website in each profile. Instagram will also allow you to link to another account in the bio, so you may wish to link to your business from your personal account.

Facebook has both a short bio and a longer story. The short bio is limited to just 255 characters so you want to just pack the key details into this one. But the longer story is a great opportunity to really expand on the history of your business as the word count seems unlimited. As we frequently discuss, humanizing and personalizing your business is a huge part of why you are on social media! Find a great picture of your team to headline this section because if you don’t, Facebook will randomly choose one for you.

Twitter’s bio is much shorter and will give you a great chance to develop the skill of being succinct since you must describe your business in just 160 characters. Instagram’s bio is even shorter at 150 characters!

Key Points to Check

Once you’ve verified that your social media accounts look sharp and ready for action, there are a few key other things to check.

How often are you posting? Having beautiful profiles won’t matter if you aren’t updating regularly. Just how often you should be updating really depends on the platform but at the absolute bare minimum post an update to each once a week. It’s ideal to post more, though, everyday if you can.

Are you engaging? Are people mentioning you on social media and you aren’t responding? Take some time to make sure that you are keeping on top of any mentions and responding to your customers. At the workshop we discovered that some business owners had missed the chance to retweet some great feedback! You don’t want that to happen to you, so make it a habit to regularly check for engagement from customers and then take the appropriate action.

Do you use hashtags? People use social media to find information they are interested in and hashtags make things searchable. While it’s never advisable to abuse them, don’t be shy about attaching relevant hashtags to your posts. The more you use them, the more comfortable you will get with them and understand how they work.

Are you posting more than promotional items? Of course you want to promote your business on social media. It’s the whole reason you signed up for it after all! But it’s important that you don’t just make promotional posts. Your posts should be a healthy mix of humanizing your business, engaging in topics related to your industry, and yes, promotion.

Reputation Management

Another key aspect of your online presence is your reputation. There are two major online reputation sites that are key to check out.

Google My Business

The first thing you want to do is make sure you have claimed your Google My Business page. There’s a slim chance that you will run into some complications with this if you have gone through this process before. Patience is key, but you should be able to figure something out. Once you’re sure you’ve claimed it, you will also need to fill it out completely with all the relevant and important information. Look and see if there is anything you can add to make it better. You might also try to make a Google Post if you haven’t done this before.

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to respond to reviews! Go ahead and respond to anything within the past couple of months. Going forward, you’ll want to make sure you respond to everything within 24 hours.

Yelp

You’ll be going through much the same process with Yelp. Sometimes, business owners have a rough history with Yelp that keeps them from realizing that it can be a great tool. Yelp isn’t going away no matter how hard you wish! So it’s best to turn it to your advantage. Make sure you’ve claimed your business on Yelp. Fill out all of the profile information, upload pictures, ensure that it is as complete and accurate as possible.

Before you will be able to respond to reviews, Yelp does require that you upload a picture to your profile page of yourself. Once you have done this, go ahead and respond to the most recent reviews. Keep in mind that you want to respond to both positive and negative reviews.

Website

It’s probably impossible to overstate how important a great website is! It can also be a huge investment to undertake so sometimes just knowing what you want for your future site can be incredibly helpful.

Key Points for Your Website:

You want to have a custom build site. While there are many webpage builder platforms available, they will limit your capabilities in many aspects. In order get the most SEO benefit and to be able to tweak the page as you desire, you should stay away from sites like Weebly or Wix or make plans to move away from them in the future.

Easy to Navigate

You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of your visitors so if they come to your site and are looking for something specific and can’t find it, they will bounce. That won’t be helpful for you from a business standpoint or a SEO standpoint, so make sure your site is clean and easy to navigate.

Use Video

Video can serve multiple purposes. It quickly and easily showcases your business to visitors. Additionally, it can keep them on site longer if it is engaging and they want to watch it. Most modern websites employ video of some kind, so it will also help you look modern.

Have Significant Content

If you don’t have any content on your site, it’s going to be a struggle to get it to rank. Keeping a blog is perhaps the best way to easily build content. Keeping it updated regularly is also going to be a benefit for your site.

SEO

Of course, none of this matters if you aren’t optimizing your site for search engines. A gorgeous website does nothing for you if it can’t be found by search engines. We covered a few key areas of SEO to keep in mind.

Titles

Simply put, a SEO title is a piece of HTML code that informs search engines what the name of your page is. This is the first signal a search bot will receive about what your page is about so it’s important that you do a good job with this. Titles are used as a ranking signal so you can’t neglect this most important factor.

Having great titles is important for search engine results. It appears within the results so when users see it they know what your page is about.

Google will display about 50-60 characters in a title tag so try to aim for that range in order to have Google show everything you want.

Additionally, you want to use the pipe character to separate the subject and website name. For example, Digital Marketing is Awesome | Everything is Awesome.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when you link to your website on another site, for example Facebook, they will pull the information from your page and display it. So you definitely want to make sure that what you most want displayed is in your title.

Meta Descriptions

When your page comes up in search, about a 155 word snippet will show up that describes the site’s content.This comes from a short paragraph of text in the HTML code. Like the title, this description will also show up when people share your content across social sites so it’s to your advantage to make the most of it. Make sure that your text is easy to read, includes keywords, and is not duplicated on other pages on your site. Additionally, keep in mind that you want it to be shorter than 155 words so that the entire thing will be displayed.

Keyword Research

Search engines know what people are looking for so it’s to your advantage to put the research in and make sure you are targeting the right words. Good keyword research will enable you to attract the right kind of customers. To do basic keyword research, start by making sure that the keywords you are thinking about are relevant to your site’s content. While you may draw traffic for irrelevant terms, those people are unlikely to stick around and give you any return for your effort. Trust that there are people out there looking for your product or service already and target them!

Search for terms you’re interested in targeting and get the lay of the land. What’s the competition like? Will you be able to make a play for those terms successfully? Are there a lot of advertisements in the results? You can also use tools on the web to help you with this process like Google Keyword Planner.

A lot goes in to having a great presence on the web, but the most important thing is to get started. Take the necessary steps and start moving towards improving your digital presence and marketing. At Think Creative, we’re here to help! Let us know if you have any questions.