Using Twitter As A Marketing Tool

What is one of the major advantages of using social media as a marketing tool? It’s free! Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are popular and useful, yet many small businesses are hesitant to take advantage of this tool. It can be intimidating to join “Twittersphere,” especially for an individual who is not well-versed in social media vernacular. However, it is worth stepping outside the comfort zone in order to leverage this platform as a part of a successful marketing campaign.

Using social media is not an overnight solution for sluggish growth. It may take weeks and months to connect with a customer base through Twitter. It has been said that in order to gain value from anything, one must first input value. The same can be said for using Twitter for marketing. It is important that a Twitter account portray an accurate, albeit brief, picture of what a company offers. It takes time and commitment to build a following on Twitter, and any followers will respond better to consistency. Regularly using Twitter can be a simple, yet effective, manner by which a company can begin to gain an advantage through social media.

In order to successfully navigate social media, the content should be original. Potential customers may not connect with content that is too generic, boring or simply repeats old information. This should include any graphics or videos that are shared. Every business should actively create new content or present ideas with a fresh perspective. Twitter is a great way to find and share content from other related sources. By re-tweeting and sharing the information of others, it attracts greater attention and eventually, can lead to a greater circulation of original content.

When creating new content, it is important to attract positive attention. Twitter is a great way to briefly connect with a client by doing any of the following:

  • Share a video
  • Link to relevant or useful information
  • Use humor to connect on a personal level
  • Ask for customer feedback or opinions
  • Provide the opportunity for customers to win something
  • Ask a question or take a poll

It is important to remember that a business should not use a Twitter account to discuss politics, post opinions about divisive current events or tweet anything that could be construed as offensive or insensitive. Using Twitter can be a balancing act of sorts. Any business should be sure that what is posted only moves a business forward instead of creating controversy or turning customers to a competitor.

A marketing campaign will have a greater chance of success if the business can learn to navigate and implement Twitter in the right way. It can be intimidating to delve into the world of social media, but it is well worth the effort.




The Basics Of Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is maximizing a site’s potential by increasing its ranking in search engine results. For example, a doctor can take specific steps to ensure that his practice is at or near the top of the list when someone enters “doctor, Anytown, USA.” Search engine optimization (SEO) increases traffic to a site, thereby increasing the number of potential clients and viewers.

In the highly competitive world of online business, any website is in competition with dozens, even hundreds or thousands, of sites that offer similar products or services. When someone uses Google or another search engine, it is a distinct advantage to be one of the first sites that are shown in the results. Fortunately, basic search engine optimization is an attainable goal and once reached, can increase profitability and site traffic.

How can a business owner or individual build a website in a way that will connect customers in a more direct and simple manner? Here are some of the things that can affect where a search engine places a site:

  • Site content: What is actually written in your site will affect how it places in search engine results. Proper use of key words in the content, including blogs, can help SEO.
  • Linking: Proper use of links within a website can positively affect SEO. It is also beneficial when another source links to a business site. Purchased links do not benefit SEO.
  • Navigability: Search engines look kindly on professional, easy-to-navigate sites. If your site has poor customer reviews, is difficult to use or looks like it may be unsafe for online transactions, it will rank lower than other sites advertising similar products.

There is an intricate balance between improving SEO and maintaining the integrity of a business’ message. Search engine optimization is something that we do at Virtue Marketing. We can analyze an existing site and determine how to increase web traffic, while still clearly communicating a product. We are also experienced in building websites “from the ground up,” ensuring that a business has the right balance of key words usage and links, while still personally connecting with readers. SEO is vital to the online success of a business. If you have more questions about SEO or how we can specifically help your business, contact us for a site consultation today.

Copy Editing: Who, What And Why

Are you just beginning to build your business? You know how important it is to build a website and have a strong online presence, but how can you be certain that you are presenting a quality product? Anyone can type a brochure, buy a domain name or draft a business proposal. As more customers first connect with vendors online, either through Facebook, website or a blog, it is essential that every business consider copy editing as one of the necessary components to its online presence.

Copy editing is simply editing or proofing every written word on anything that will be read or seen by potential customers. For hundreds of years, writers have been passing along manuscripts and drafts to an editor. It is the most efficient way to ensure that there are no mistakes with either the grammar or spelling. There is immeasurable value in having a third party review, edit and read any material that will be made public.

What does this mean for you? Business owners, website builders, entrepreneurs, etc. should note the following when considering hiring copy editing services for a business:

  • Who: Copy editing should be done by a professional, not just a family member who has a minor in English. A copy editor should know grammar and be up-to-date on any changes to common grammar issues (such as the use of the Oxford comma). Additionally, a copy editor should be able to convey the purpose of your business in a thoughtful, relatable and professional manner. While a professional copy editor will not change the content of your website, he or she should have the experience to know what will be effective in online mediums.
  • What: Your copy editor should be proofing grammar, sentence structure and spelling. If there are any major issues with a document or website, a copy editor has the experience needed to determine the optimal way to correct these problems.
  • Why: One misspelled word or poorly constructed sentence on a website can be enough to “turn off” a customer from your business. Not only should the permanent content of your website be perfect, every tweet, Facebook update and blog post should be, as well. This is a tall order for any business owner, especially in addition to the daily pressures of operating a business — hence, the need for a neutral third party to manage this aspect of your business operation.

We are proud to offer copy editing services to our clients. We understand how important it is to have a strong online presence, and we can ensure that you always present the best possible product to your existing and potential customers and clients. In addition to copy editing, we also offer high-quality copy-writing services for businesses of all kinds. Let us help you build, edit or manage your website and online material–we can help you set your business apart from the competition.


Make The End Of The Year Count

As we approach the end of the year, it is tempting to think ahead to 2015. A new year promises a fresh start, and, let’s face it, that may be exactly what your business needs. As ready as you may be to close out 2014, it is important to remember that the few remaining weeks of this calendar year can potentially lay the foundation for a more productive and profitable new year.

There are some important ideas to keep in mind, in order to get the most out of the waning year. Instead of mentally “checking out” during the holiday season, use it to propel yourself and employees onto better things ahead. Consider some of these important points as you think about the time remaining before the new year:

    • It is tempting to “lay off the gas” during the holidays. The end of the year is not typically a time of growth for most businesses. Instead of coasting until New Years, use this slower time for training. Preparing yourself and your staff for what lies ahead can give you a running start into 2015.
    • If you are not handling any new clients, why not prepare for the ones you plan to have in the next weeks and months? A well-prepared and detailed road map for 2015 will clearly communicate your goals for the coming year with your employees. Think carefully: what do you want for your business in the new year? Write it down, and plan every step.
    • Take an inventory of 2014. Do you consider this year to be one of growth? What can you change to make progress in the coming year? Be honest about your shortcomings and needed improvements for yourself. It is equally beneficial to evaluate employees, process, business plan and products. Of course, it is also important to take a physical inventory of your office or business–are there any tangible things that you need in order to be more successful next year?
    • A “slow time” is the perfect opportunity to re-vamp your budget. It is fiscally responsible for business owners of all types to make a practice of regularly checking, evaluating, balancing and improving the budget. Even if your business’s fiscal year does not end on December 31st, it is always a beneficial practice to keep a close watch on the financial aspects of your operations.

As it is important to work hard from the start through the end of the year, it is equally important to use the holiday season to rest and rebuild energy for the work ahead. With careful time-management practices, it is possible to both rejuvenate and prepare for a better year.

A successful business owner, individual, parent or student is one who uses his or her time wisely, whether it is working or resting. Make the most out of every second left in this year–those well-used minutes can make a big difference for you in 2015, both personally and professionally.


The Benefits Of A Positive Attitude

A positive outlook can make a difficult situation more navigable. This “rule” is applicable for almost everyone, including business owners seeking to improve customer relations. In an age in which a negative experience can be posted on social media within seconds, it is vital that businesses learn how to manage interactions in a positive way.

It is impossible for a business to please 100 percent of its customers 100 percent of the time. Even in a situation in which a customer is not pleased with an outcome, a positive interaction with customer service can lead to a continued relationship with a company. An overall positive attitude shared by both employees and management can have a long-term impact on the growth of a business. Some of the ways to encourage a positive environment in your business include:

Make a good first impression: A cheerful greeting can have a major impact. When a customer walks into your store, calls your office or interacts with an employee, the customer should always be greeted professionally and politely. The first impression will set the tone for the individual’s entire relationship with your company and can encourage a repeat visit.

Remain professional: Depending on the type of business, you and your employees may be dealing with sensitive client information. Occasionally, a customer may willingly offer personal details about his or her life. In these cases, it can be hard to maintain decorum in the customer relationship, but it is vital that you do so. The ability to professionally and positively navigate through awkward situations is a requirement for a successful business.

Maintain the relationship: How will your clients or customers know that they are important unless you show them? Demonstrate that they are valuable by meeting their needs, going the extra mile or offering special services to repeat customers. Deliberate, continued contact sends a positive message about your business.

Treat employees well: This goes without saying, but employees who are treated well will, in turn, treat clients and customers well. A positive work environment will have a “trickle down” effect on the customers who patronize your business. Talk to your employees and find out how you can help them become more positive. Not only will this make them feel valued, but you may learn things about your business that you never knew.

Consider all types of feedback: Neither the best, nor the worst, feedback should be the measuring stick of how your business is doing. It is important to consider all types of feedback, both good and bad, when determining how to turn around poor or average customer experiences. Again, a positive attitude can sometimes turn a customer who had a negative experience initially into a satisfied repeat customer. In fact, it may be appropriate to ask your customers, “How can I make this a positive experience for you?”

Having a positive attitude is simple, yet it is a step that is often overlooked in favor of more complicated marketing schemes and business plans. Consider how a smile and a helpful attitude can open up positive communication with your clients, which can increase your profitability.