Monthly Archives: May 2014

Seven steps to social media success

social media successAs a small business owner, you probably don’t have too much time – or resources – to sink into your marketing efforts. Which is why you should be thinking about how to get the most bang out of social media, with the minimal time output.

Yes social media does take time, but if it is done properly, the time outlay will offer an impressive return on investment.

The following seven steps will help you maximise your social media marketing, while minimising the effort you need to put into it.

Do your research: Before even starting on social media, you need to define your audience/s and makes sure you know the message you want to give them. Take some time to figure out your iea client’s age, gender, interests, profession and more. Then work out what their problem is that your product or service solves. Figure out what keeps them awake at night, what their pain points are and what they may see as barriers to purchasing your product. Finally, work out which social networks this client is more likely to hang out on.

Co-ordinate your efforts: All your social media marketing, blogging, content marketing and so on needs to be coordinated with one goal in mind – to drive people through your sales funnel. Make sure you add social media icons to you website and email newsletter, and also newsletter sign-ups and website URL to your social media profiles. Incorporate social sharing buttons on your site so you visitors can tell their networks what they have read and liked. Shareaholic is a good place to start.

Start small: Social media takes time and energy, but you can control this. Block 15-30 minutes in your diary each day. This should be enough to update your Facebook status, schedule 4-5 tweets, post comments in a couple of Linked In Groups and join the conversation on a Google + community. But remember, only spend time on the networks your ideal client is on. There are scheduling tools you can use – try out hootsuite or sproutsocial.

Join the conversation: Listen to what others are saying, share valuable content. You can use a tool such as Mention to see what others on the web are saying about your brand; and feedly allows you to aggregate content from different sources and organise it for you.
Plan: Use a daily/weekly/monthly plan to ensure that your content not only stays on topic, but that you regularly do other activities, such as comment on other people’s blogs, comment on others’ Facebook Pages, pin 3-4 images on Pinterest and so on.

Advertise: While some people shy away from advertising on social media networks, they can be a great way to get noticed by your ideal client. Facebook, twitter and Linked In, to name just three, closely monitors the activity of users so has a good idea of their likes and dislikes.  This means truly targeted advertising.

Ongoing evaluation: There is not point doing social media – or any – marketing without constantly evaluating and tweaking. You can install Google analytics on your site, and most social media networks also have tools to allow you to track and measure the performance of your content. All of which means you get the chance to fix anything that is not working, and concentrate on things that are working.

 

If you need assistance on setting up or managing your social media profiles, please contact Direct Sites Online on 02 9557 7621 or email info@directsitesonline.com.au

Maintaining your WordPress Website

wordpress maintenanceWordPress websites are the choice of most Australian (and international) small businesses – mainly because their interface means they can be updated regularly, and fairly easily when you know how.

Unfortunately, a lot of business people assume that if they have a WordPress website, the hard work is done, and they can sit back and reap the benefits.

Wrong. Even though Google (and clients) love WordPress, a stagnant website will not attract clients (or search engines)

For those of you who moved to WordPress in order to save money on ongoing maintenance, we have good and bad news.

The bad news is there will be some ongoing costs.

But the good news is the WordPress CMS (content management system) means the updates can be done in house (if you have the resources and time)

What needs to be done?

WordPress updates: Your theme and plugins will occasionally need updating to more recent versions. Sometimes these updates iron out a bug, sometimes they are done to improve functionality. You should update them every 3-6 months.

In most cases, updates will be as simple as clicking a button on the back-end of your website, but they can cause problems. What you are doing when you click “update” is changing the coding of your site. So, the simple option is not always the best. In the worst case scenario, an update can break your website.

So if you are worried about updating your site yourself, or don’t have the skills to fix something should it go wrong, you are best to call in the professionals at Direct Sites Online.

Backups: You should backup your WordPress Website quarterly, at the very least. If you are updating regularly, you might need to backup more often than this.

If you need reminding, you can use a plugin such as  BackWPUp to automatically schedule regular backups.

After all, you don’t want to lose your work through forgetfulness!

Broken links: Website visitors hate it when they click on a link and get an error. Luckily, the Broken Link Checker will display broken links on your website administration dashboard. You can even set it to email you if it finds any broken links.

Declutter: Like with any filing system, your WordPress website can become cluttered. Do get rid of spam comments, old themes, unused plugins and obsolete pages and images. It will not only save space on you hosting account, but will help your website load more quickly and perform better.

Updated content: Are your prices current? do you blog regularly? have you uploaded your latest products? All this will improve user experience and help your search engine optimisation. Noone – human or Google, likes a website with old content.

If you are vigilant in maintaining your website, the site will perform better, security loopholes will tighten and your customers will keep coming back for new content.

If you need assistance in maintaining your WordPress website, contact Direct Sites Online on 02 9557 7623 or info@directsitesonline.com.au