In this day and age, when competition is tough, businesses have to do everything to stand out and enjoy an edge over their competitors. And, you will be surprised how something like SEO has so many facets to it. Local SEO for small business has taken a new meaning ever since Google updated its local algorithm in 2015. The Pigeon update actually brought about a shift – one from completely local to organic factors.

A survey conducted a few months after Google changed its algorithm shows the importance of local SEO for small business. In fact, the results of that survey are valid even today.

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Here’s a sad scenario.

A prospective client is referred to you by a friend, family member or client.

Before they contact you, this person does what everyone else does — they visit your website to learn more about who you are and what you do.

But then, silence. They don’t call for an appointment. They don’t email you. Nothing.

Apparently, your warm lead just turned cold. What happened?

Easy … your website scared them away.

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When it comes to marketing every firm has a budget. Essentially, for any business owner the bottom line is the same; spend less money but receive equally impactful results.

When it comes to developing a marketing budget that brings strong results, business owners should expect to spend a good percentage of their revenue as a primary source of investment for their campaigns. In fact, based on statistics, it is estimated that for a business seeking to grow at a steady and healthy rate of 20% that business would have to roughly spend 8%-14% of its total annual revenue. Knowing this can be a huge benefit in regards to estimating how much to plan for a yearly marketing budget for an established or start up firm.

The following article will focus on how to constitute and develop a marketing budget that pays dividends to a company’s marketing goals.

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If you have been a part of, or are an owner of a business that utilizes online marketing, chances are you have heard of tools such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Rightfully so, for many local business, online marketing may seem like a very daunting experience because of the scale in which digital marketing can attract. The reality is however, maybe you just want to cater to the people in your local community, or the people passing through. If you don’t sell something that can be shipped or mass-produced, there may not seem like much of a need to deal with SEO, right? Wrong.

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When it comes to getting your page verified on Facebook, it’s actually a lot easier than you may think! Throughout this blog, we will do our best to break down the process in simple steps that can be replicated and followed. The contents of this post will allow you to realize that the steps will vary between verifying a personal Facebook page as opposed to a business page. In addition to this, it is essential to understand the reasoning behind verifying a page and this post will also address this aspect of verification.

What is the Difference between the Blue and Grey badge?

Although both badges mean that you are verified in some way the different colors do have a purpose. A blue badge on the page or profile essentially means that, Facebook has confirmed that this public figure, media company or brand is genuine.  A grey badge on the page ultimately means that Facebook has confirmed that the page belongs to a genuine organization or business house. Badges can also be simply categorized as follows,

Blue badges: For Celebrities and public figures.

Grey badges: For local businesses and corporations.

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Ah, Restaurants and bars. The best places to go for a night out with your friends, a loved one, or to drown out a bad day with some delicious food. Either way, food has become so embedded within social media culture that the amount of #food #drink related hashtags has reached a resounding 200 million posts in 2018 alone. With that, considering that 88% of people are influenced by online reviews in regards to the food business, speaks volumes as to why any restaurant owner should have a well set up social media platform, especially in the digital age we live in today.

The purpose of this post is to inform you in regards to the following,

-Why any Restaurant owner needs to be on social media
-How to set up your online Presence
-How to create posts
-Overall effectiveness

Without further adieu, let us begin.

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Ah, good ol’ Instagram… Over the years this social media platform has increased its reach to nearly 800 million active users today. In fact, with Facebook’s acquisition of the social media app, growth and global outreach has continuously been on the rise. With new users registering nearly every day. Based on this information alone, numerous social media marketers believe that Instagram presents itself as a massive opportunity. For small businesses looking to create brand identity and raise awareness this may be for you. Instagram services such as “Instagram stories” have already proven to be a major hit. In fact, this service attracts nearly 250 million active users on a day to day basis. That is a surplus of 90 million additional users in comparison to Snapchat who at one point in time specialized in providing “Snapchat stories.”

Considering the time frame in which Instagram stories was able to make such an impact in the social media world proves to individuals interested in providing content marketing that, the possibilities for Instagram stories is unprecedented. Despite the potential Instagram stories has, many content marketers fail to use Instagram as a means to create shared value with consumers.

At Sooner Marketing Solutions we are here to disprove that notion once and for all. Therefore without further adieu, it’s time to analyze why you, yes you, need to incorporate Instagram stories in your business and truly understand, how do Instagram stories work?!

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social media marketingWith the recently announced Facebook News Feed Algorithm update, there’s been a lot of short-sighted advice being handed out in response.

With the increased suppression of organic reach for brands, people have suggested everything, from focusing on Facebook Groups only, to abandoning Facebook altogether. In my opinion, we all just need to take a deep breath and think objectively about what we’re hoping to get from social media marketing.

Why does it exist? Why is your brand participating in the first place?

Now, this may not be a popular opinion with the social media purists, but social media marketing is MARKETING just like any other channel. The model is essentially to gather an audience, segmented by data, then sell things to that audience via advertising.

That’s the way the process works. Misunderstanding this dynamic will doom your social media efforts when it comes to business results.

So before I review the five main reasons that I see which lead to social media marketing disappointment, I want to make something very clear. Growing a social community and getting them to engage with your brand is very important. However, to act like doing so is the sole reason Facebook, Twitter or Instagram exist is simply ignoring reality. You need to have a multi-pronged effort that works to capture people’s attention, while also advertising to them in a value-based way. THAT is the power of social media.

Here are some of the key reasons why your social media marketing efforts aren’t working out the way you’d hoped.

1. You’re Overestimating “Community”

Community building is important in social media marketing, however, most marketers grossly misunderstand the type of community they are building.

When most social media marketers think of a social ‘community’, they imagine thousands of people gathered around their brand, patiently waiting for a piece of content to come out which will immediately improve all their lives. In reality, you’re supposed to be showcasing the value of what your brand brings to the table in an educational, informative and value-driven way, in the hope that your community will choose YOUR BRAND when a need arises.

We have to stop pretending that people really want to be friends with brands. If you’re a social media marketer and disagree, quickly try to recall the first and last names of the actual people in your community. You probably can’t.

Once we all get a realistic understanding about what TYPE of community we’re trying to build, and WHY we’re building it, the results of our social media marketing efforts will improve.

2. You Aren’t Advertising

I’m still baffled at the amount of “marketers” who are averse to social media advertising – it’s literally the most cost-effective way to reach a targeted group of consumers.

The free ride is over, and really, it has been over for a long time. While not every business has a large budget to invest in advertising, a little can go a long way with social media.

We strongly urge brands to pinch off some budget and test social advertising. If you don’t, be ready for a lot of disappointment when it comes to your social media marketing results.

3. You Get Distracted by Flashy Tactics

If you value tactics over strategy, you’re doomed to fail. No amount of “hacks” or “tricks” are going to scale for your business in social media.

You need to start with the goal of your efforts and work backward, fleshing out a strategy that’ll help you achieve your business goals in a cost-effective way.

Realize that everything you do takes time and that you must asses the amount of time you’ll sink into an activity versus what it’ll give you. You know, the old ROI conversation.

Be cautious of flashy tactics, they usually become obsolete quickly.

4. You Don’t Understand Data

One of the biggest potential weaknesses in any social media marketing strategy is failing to understand the data. If you can’t measure, analyze and react to the data created by your social activities, you’re essentially flying blind.

While you’re at it, you also need to invest time in understanding attribution models. The theoretical consumer process of ‘see post’, ‘click link’ and ‘buy product’ almost never happens. Consumers tend to bounce around before they purchase, and by not understanding the data behind how your audience shops, you may misinterpret the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Get familiar with Facebook Insights, Facebook Analytics (from the Pixel) and Google Analytics so you fully understand exactly what your efforts are producing.

Success with social media marketing isn’t only about Likes, engagements, and shares – in fact, these stats alone are largely irrelevant to your broader business goals.

5. You Act Like a Big Brand – You’re Not

If you’re modeling your social media marketing strategy after Coca-Cola or Nike, you’re probably way off the mark. Top companies like these have built brand equity over decades, and unless you’re prepared to go to market with immense budgets, trying to borrow ideas from them likely won’t work.

Small to mid-market businesses have to work extra hard (and smart) to cut through the noise on social media. Never ever assume that people simply know you and that they’ll automatically understand what you’re trying to accomplish. Be realistic, be humble and go to market with a scrappy and smart plan to build your brand every day.

You cant skip years of brand building and hope that assumed brand equity is going to bode well for your business. Spend the time and money building awareness, and prospecting new clients. With time, your brand will grow.

Once you stop making the above mistakes, you’ll surely see slow and steady improvement for your social media efforts. It’s time to actually use social media for marketing.

Business ProfileCongrats! You just got some new followers to like your companies Business Profile on Instagram… Nice! The only problem is you don’t just want new followers; you want to make sales! Your customer sees your product and oh man… there’s no action button for him or her to buy it! For individuals who don’t set up their social media correctly, forgetting to put an action button on your post may be the difference between having a viewer or potential sale.

The purpose of this post is to inform you on how to add Instagram action buttons to your business profile. By doing this, you open many opportunities and make it easier for your customers to purchase your product, book consultation, or request a quotation from your business.

By adding a call to action, you provide your customers and viewers a potential opportunity to interact with you and allow them to take the first step to know more about you and your business.

Therefore, without further adieu, let us run through the steps to help you set up your Instagram action buttons.

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