Delving into the digital universe implies competing in the sprawling world of search engines and social media. Some of these tips may be highly useful for SME’s starting the adventure.
Forty years ago, having an SME entailed keeping finances up-to-date, growing public relations with clients, managing payroll and the needs of staff…and with regard to technology, being adaptable to a revolutionary apparatus, like the fax machine. Today, small businesses have to respond to the same challenges as always, but technology has also become the center of business. E-commerce, email marketing, social media, SEO… it’s an entirely new world that is also evolving quickly, which holds the key for gaining the attention, which can be quite scattered, of the target audience.
In order to get people’s attention, social media and SEO are essential. Beyond basic knowledge, these 10 recommendations will serve you to not get lost in a field that is now essential for nearly all businesses.
1. Use professional tools to measure and make decisions
SME’s have all types of digital marketing and social media tools at their disposal, many of which are free and very useful. The most well-known of them is Google Analytics, which allows discovering important information in great detail, such as where the user is, what keywords brought them to the website, how they browse the site…
Another tool that is free and very easy to use is Google Trends, also from Alphabet. It is essential for determining which keywords are the most commonly typed by search engine users, and therefore, it is helpful to use for appearing among the top search engine results. In addition, it allows comparing between several terms, discriminating by periods of time and countries. It is very useful information both for the SEO position, and for social media.
2. Don’t get too obsessed with keywords
Getting the exact keywords is nearly an obsession for everyone dedicated to SEO. The concept of “keyword density” has emerged from that search for the holy grail, which is defined as the number of times that the keyword should appear in the text to be rewarded by search engines with a good position.
In this video, Matt Cutts, a software engineer, who after more than fifteen years at Google, was signed by the Trump administration to work on their digital policy, debunks that concept.
Essentially, as Cutts explains, it is about applying common sense. A keyword needs to be inserted, and it’s acceptable to do so more than once, but forcing your writing by mentioning it over and over is a detriment, and also sounds ridiculous. There is no written rule about keyword density, and you don’t need to be obsessed with the concept.
3. Use a simple, easy-to-remember URL. Your users and Google will thank you
URL’s are locators that help find information online and link it. These addresses that appear on the navigation bar are often largely forgotten for SME’s linked in the digital age.
URL’s should be as short and simple as possible, avoiding generic names like page1.html. The objective is to make it easier to memorize links, without incomprehensible terms that can be lost along the way when it comes time to link them. A URL with key words within a well-structured website not only helps the user, but is also rewarded by Google with better positioning.
4. Be careful with the load speed
People who surf the web are very impatient: waiting four or five seconds for a webpage to load is an unusual luxury. Studies have shown that consumers are only willing to wait two seconds, and Google lists the ideal number at half a second. For that reason, all SME’s must need to be very aware of the loading speed of their website.
Obviously, the objective is to not bother a potential client, but it’s also a matter of SEO. Google does not directly penalize websites with a slow loading speed, but it does in another way.
It works like this: slow loading speed damages what is called the bounce rate, that is, the percentage of web surfers that enter a site via Google and return without interfacing with the results page. A high bounce rate is poison for Google, which penalizes companies with that problem.
One of the best tools with a good, free version to measure load speed is GTMetrix.
5. Create content without an expiration date
If your SME has a blog or content on your webpage in which you discuss new features of your company or your sector, keep in mind that not everything is current. What is known as evergreen content (which deals with more general topics and does not lose validity within months or even years) can be equally as valuable, such as the latest analysis of a fashionable product.
They also have an advantage over being current: they can be periodically shared on social media without interest in them dropping. One single investment in content, with several benefits distributed over time.
6. If you are thinking about SEO, look at your cell phone
Two of every three Spanish web surfers browse with their cell phone, which is a global trend, and Google is well aware of it. In searches, it rewards websites whose navigation is adapted to the cell phone, the so-called responsive design. Moreover, search results are different if done from a PC rather than a cell phone, as explained in detail in this post.
The conclusion is clear: it is absolutely essential for an SME to take care of the appearance and functioning of their website on cell phones. Not only the user experience depends on it, but also to a large extent the position on Google, which already processes more searches from mobile devices than from PC’s.
7. Don’t lose focus with social media
Social media is an excellent means for capturing the consumer’s attention, but especially in cases in which resources are fairly limited, it is best not to lose focus. First, it’s not necessary (and can even be absurd) to be on all social media platforms, given that they’re geared toward very different audiences. For example, if you don’t sell anything that would interest a young audience, probably the only thing you would do on Snapchat is waste time.
Another recurring error of SME’s on social media is forgetting why they’re there: yes, social media is a display front, but also a door through which a consumer accesses your webpage because they’re interested in a product. Once they’ve found the website, you need to encourage them to buy. Although social media allows showing the company how engaged and ingenious it is, it should all be more or less geared toward the sale.
8. Facebook adores videos: why not use them to show what you sell?
Conquering Facebook is almost as important as conquering Google, and to do so, the growing trend is to issue direct videos through Facebook Life, a practice that Mark Zuckerberg’s company favors through an algorithm.
But it’s not just a digital reward. As Patricia Carreras recently explained in the Promarketing Day sessions, videos of SME’s can be an excellent tool to humanize the brand and the company, showing what’s behind it. This expert recommends showing live demonstrations about your product, question and answer sessions if you sell services, tutorials, unboxings, lotteries… Of course, videos are also reusable on other social platforms, such as YouTube.
9. Image also sells on Twitter
Although far from the weight of Facebook (320 million users versus more than 1.2 billion), Twitter can also be an interesting communication tool for SME’s. Its efficiency increases if you tweet images with your messages. As stated in this article, tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.
10. Once you achieve your objective, don’t let your guard down by forgetting to send a welcome e-mail
Many of these efforts in SEO and social media are aimed at getting the e-mail address of people who visit your website as the first step for turning them into a client. However, people tend to forget to send a welcome e-mail to the members of their database.
Obviously, the first thing is to greet them and introduce yourself, which you must do immediately. Can you imagine someone walking into a store to request information, and having to wait until someone greets them?
In addition, experts recommend being concise and clear: cogently explain what you offer and how, explaining how to get in touch with the company, and if applicable, warmly inviting them to do so through social media. Without a doubt, that e-mail should have the same approach as you would with someone in the physical world. You must thank them for their attention, not waste their time, and be cordial.