Lead Generation in the Face of the Death of Sales Calls

Lead Generation in the Face of the Death of Sales Calls | Asterisk Creative | Southeast Branding and Marketing AgencyA recent study showed that nearly 90% of consumers no longer answer their phones. This is particularly true if they don’t recognize the number calling. Arguably, the increase in telemarketing and spam robocalls led us here. So if the unsolicited sales call is dead, how is lead generation supposed to happen for a business?

Many attribute success to inbound marketing. This is generating leads by marketing in a way that leads consumers to reach out to you. In order to be successful, businesses need to expand their prospecting, marketing, and communications strategies to reach their audiences through the channels the audiences prefer. More and more, this is moving toward digital marketing, especially through various social media outlets. Businesses lead potential customers to contact them through Facebook ads, boosted posts, and sponsored Instagram posts, for example. By leading clients to reach out – whether through phone call, direct message, or email – the sales close rate dramatically improves.

Let the team at Asterisk Creative help. We’re skilled in merging the many aspects of social media, email marketing, website design, branding, and public relations to reach our clients’ lead generation goals. Contact us today!

Facebook Announces Ranking Factors for Post Comments

Facebook Announces Ranking Factors for Post Comments | Asterisk Creative | Social Media AgencyJust when you think you’re getting the hang of Facebook and its algorithm, things change. This time, the update comes in the form of ranking factors for post comments.

Facebook will no longer show all comments on a post, nor will comments shown be in chronological order. Instead, the algorithm will work to show you comments that are relevant to you. In a statement from Facebook, they said: “In addition to ranking posts in people’s News Feed, we rank comments on public posts from Pages and people with a lot of followers, since these posts tend to have many comments. In order to show people relevant and quality comments, we incorporate a number of signals…”

These signals include:

  • The integrity of the comment.
  • How others interact with the comment.
  • How the entity that put up the original post interacts with the comment.

In other words, Facebook is looking at who is commenting, if others are liking/reacting/replying to the comments, and if the poster is reacting/replying/hiding/deleting the comments on posts. All of these factors, plus others (like whether the commenter is amongst your friends), determines whether a comment will show to you or not.

At Asterisk Creative, we know that all of the algorithm changes can be confusing and overwhelming for business owners. It can seem like a full-time job keeping up with it all! That’s why we have a social media team whose job it is to stay on top of these changes and to take this off your plate. Ready for help? Give us a shout today!

Social Media for SEO

Social Media for SEO | Asterisk Creative | Social Media | SEOSocial media outlets have changed the way people interact with each other and with businesses. In addition, they’ve also changed the way search engine optimization works, to an extent. Here’s how the search engines use social media for SEO.

For starters, it’s worth noting that all of the search engines do not treat social media outlets the same when it comes to SEO and organic rankings. Bing, for example, takes a company’s presence on each social media outlet directly into account when figuring organic rankings. The larger the presence, the more likely a company’s page is to receive a high organic ranking for that outlet.

On the other hand, Google has stated outright that social media doesn’t directly play into ranking considerations. However, studies of Google searches have shown a seeming correlation between larger presences on social media and higher organic rankings in search results.

In the end, it all comes down to links. While Google doesn’t count followers, its algorithm does take into account the links leading to a business’ website. Additionally, Google takes into account how often those links are clicked. For Google, this includes links posted on social media sites.

Basically, as more folks share your links, it positively affects your organic rankings, no matter the search engine. So build your social media strategy around writing website content that people find interesting and useful and, as a result, want to share. When people consider your link relevant and share it, the search engine algorithms take notice. In turn, they bump your website up the organic rankings.

If you need assistance with building your social media strategy, SEO strategy, content marketing, or in making them all work together, give Asterisk Creative a call! Our team is well-versed in results-driven strategies to help your business grow!

Top Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Top Benefits of Social Media Marketing | Asterisk Creative | Social Media Agency for the Southeast

Many business owners understand that social media marketing is a necessity in today’s landscape. However, they don’t necessarily understand what all it can bring them when done right. Here are the top benefits of social media marketing from Asterisk Creative.

  • Expanded brand recognition.
    Having a presence on multiple social media outlets increases the chances for potential customers to encounter your business. When your branding and your message is consistent, it makes your business recognizable across these outlets as well. There’s an old marketing adage. It says a consumer needs to interact with your message three to seven times before they take action. The more recognizable your brand is across social media outlets, in addition to traditional marketing outlets, the faster they reach that threshold. This, in turn, cuts down on the lead time to a sale.
  • Growth in brand loyalty.
    As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, social media has become a customer service outlet, just like phone calls and emails. The more you engage with your audience on social media, the more likely they are to be loyal to your business and your products.
  • Insights into Your Audience.
    Every social media outlet has its own version of analytics. This information tells you not only how your posts are performing. It also gives you data on your audience that you won’t find anywhere else! You can use this to know not only what to post and when to post on social media but also match it to the demographics and psychographics of other outlets to target your advertising, public relations, and more.
  • Increased website traffic.
    It should come as no surprise that using your social media outlets to publish links to your website drives more traffic to your site. But there should be a method to the madness. When you publish a new blog post, that can be fodder for social media posts. When you launch a new product, a link to that product on your website can easily drive sales. A targeted social media marketing strategy in this respect can help your bottom line, as well as your search engine optimization efforts.

When done right, social media marketing can bring you more customers, more traffic, and more conversions. If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of social media marketing but feel a bit lost, contact Asterisk Creative today!

The Basics of the Instagram Algorithm

The Basics of the Instagram Algorithm | Asterisk Creative | Social Media AgencyWith all of the social media outlets around, it seems like it could be a full-time job just keeping up with the best practices and algorithm changes for ONE outlet, much less all of them. So we’ve put together a few notes on the Instagram algorithm for you here.

The first thing to note is that Instagram just went through a massive overhaul to remove fake accounts and all of their likes and comments. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. Our money is on the fact that it won’t be the last. When this happens, many accounts see their follower numbers drop, sometimes dramatically. It all depends on how many followers the account had that were deemed fake. While it may take your breath away to see the drop in followers, don’t worry. This is actually a good thing. Fake accounts don’t typically engage with your posts, so losing them benefits your account in the long run.

Another reason losing fake followers isn’t a bad thing is that the algorithm starts with showing your post to roughly 10% of your followers. As the post gets engagement, the algorithm shows it to more people. If fake followers are counted in that original 10%, you’re really missing out.

Additionally, the algorithm factors in not just engagement, but how quickly that engagement is received after the post goes up and how long users view your post. For this, it’s important that you’re using a business account and taking advantage of the analytics and data this provides. With a few simple clicks or taps – depending on whether you’re on your computer or phone – you can see which posts garnered the most engagement, what time(s) your audience is online and more likely to engage with your content, which types of posts your audience responded to most, and more. As you keep an eye on these insights, patterns will start to emerge. You’ll be able to create more engagement-garnering content. This will make Instagram an increasingly more viable outlet for your business.

One more thing to note about the algorithm: It can deem your account unresponsive. If that happens, you’ll be lucky if your posts get shown even to that 10% of your followers! The way to avoid this is to respond or reply to all comments and direct messages ASAP. (The rumor mill says that your account can be punished as soon as an hour after the comment goes up on your post or the DM is sent. This is unsubstantiated, though.)

We know all this sounds daunting. It’s a lot of any business owner to keep up with…and this is just one outlet! We have a team that knows social media inside and out. And they’re ready to tackle your account. Give Asterisk Creative a call today!

The Dos and Don’ts of Cross Posting

The Dos and Don’ts of Cross Posting | Asterisk CreativeFor years, social media practitioners have touted the benefits of repurposing content. This is the practice of using one piece of content to reach audiences on multiple outlets. However, the methodology of cross posting varies. For many unfamiliar with social media strategy, the definition of cross posting is simply posting the same message on every outlet they use. This isn’t a good idea, though. So here are a few dos and don’ts of cross posting.

Do use the same content ideas.
A great photo of your team or your products should be shared. The same goes for your blog posts and links to media coverage for your business.

Don’t use the exact same content.
Each social media outlet has its own character limit for posts, optimal image sizes, ways to tag/mention others, etc. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter allow clickable links in posts; Instagram doesn’t. Make sure you’re following each outlet’s “rules” to make the most of your posts.

Do make sure you’re talking to the audience appropriately.
It’s unlikely that the folks that like your Facebook page are the same people that follow you on Twitter. Your Facebook page is likely a bit more casual than your LinkedIn company page. Know your audience on each outlet, and phrase your posts just as you’d talk to them in person. In addition, you should know from each outlet’s analytics when is the best time for you to post on there in order to reach your audience. Use that data.

Don’t post content to an outlet that doesn’t belong there.
The best example of this is looking at how people use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a business-related social media outlet. A fun, behind-the-scenes photo of your team’s outing to a local brewery may go over well on Facebook or Instagram. It’s not necessarily the right fit for LinkedIn.

At Asterisk Creative, our social media team stays on top of cross posting best practices, and we put that information to use for our clients daily. If you’re looking for help with your social media strategy, give Asterisk Creative a call today!

Digital Wellbeing for Business Owners

Digital Wellbeing for Business Owners | Asterisk CreativeOn the Google blog, they recently released a post called “Find a better balance with our tips for Digital Wellbeing”. The premise of the article is that, even as technology is making things easier for people, it’s also adding stuff to their plates; Google has put together a course on how to handle the extra stress and take care of ourselves in the midst of all this.

Day after day, we hear these same things from our clients and potential clients. Technology is making the life of a business owner easier in many respects. Social media and company websites allow affordable solutions to getting a business’ message out there. But by the same token, they’re adding items to the to do lists. Remembering to post on each outlet. Keeping up with algorithm changes to keep the website ranked. The new to dos go on and on. So here are a few of our tips for digital wellbeing for business owners.

  • Hire help.
    Yes, this seems like the natural one for us to suggest first. But it’s also the easiest for you. No one person can keep up with SEO algorithms and best practices for the three major search engines, the algorithms and best practices for the ever-growing number of social media outlets, best practices in website design, maintaining relationships with the proper media folks to implement great public relations strategies, etc. That’s why at Asterisk Creative, we’ve built teams of experienced practitioners to tackle all of these items. One person isn’t in charge of all of them. But we work together to put all of our skills to use for you in the best way possible while staying within your budget.
  • Focus, Focus, Focus.
    Whether you’re hiring help or taking on your company’s digital life on your own, our advice is the same: narrow your focus to just the items you NEED. No company needs to be on every social media outlet that exists. They’re all just not a good fit. Not every company needs an 800-page website. Focus your site’s pages to just the information you need the search engines to find (while working with what their algorithms are looking for, naturally).
  • Take a break.
    Put the smartphone down. Walk away from the computer. Even if it’s just for a 10-minute walk at a time, a few times a day, get away. Your brain will thank you. Your eyes will thank you. And your wellbeing will thank you.

When you’re ready for Asterisk Creative to help with your digital wellbeing, give us a shout! We’re here and ready to give you a hand.

 

Info Released on How Facebook Search Works

FacebookIn a recent video, information on how exactly Facebook search works was released.

Facebook issued a statement with the roughly two-minute video. It said, in part: “When you search for content on Facebook, the results you see are ranked based on your activity and the activity of the Facebook community. How much each affects the search results you see changes depending on what you search for, which helps make sure the content you see is relevant and useful.”

The Facebook activities that may influence your search results include:

  • items your friends share with you.
  • the Facebook pages you follow, the Facebook groups you have joined.
  • Facebook events you’ve liked or followed, things you’ve interacted with in your news feed through reactions and comments.
  • information you’ve included on your profile.
  • places where you’ve been tagged.
  • previous searches you’ve completed.

Also influencing Facebook search results are general Facebook community activity. Part of this includes how popular whatever you’re searching for is and how recently the items were posted. One thing that will not influence what you see in Facebook search results is what you search for elsewhere on the internet.

This new information gives us a lot of insight into what steps to take to help our clients show in Facebook search results, too. If you need help on that end, give us a shout today!

Instagram Cracking Down on Fake Followers

Instagram for Business | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's Premier Social Media AgencyEarlier, Instagram announced that it would be cracking down on fake comments, likes and followers, an attempt to clean up a way users have been gaming their algorithm.

As many know, Instagram’s algorithm uses a combination of the number of followers an account has plus the engagement that account gets via likes and comments on their posts to determine who actually sees the posts. As a result, an entire industry grew around building apps to “work the system”. A user would purchase a service from a third party that would provide followers, likes, and comments on that user’s posts. Thus, this user would appear to the algorithm to be “successful” and more actual followers would be shown the posts.

But Instagram says it has implemented moderation tools that will help target which accounts use these services. Those fake followers, comments, and likes will be automatically removed. Those accounts identified as using these third-party services to boost their popularity will be notified within Instagram that the purchased likes, comments, and followers have been removed. Those users will also be prompted to change their password as a security measure in case the service compromised their account security.

At Asterisk Creative, we’ve never been a fan of the practice of purchasing followers on any outlet. If you want to build your following the right way, give us a shout!

Using Facebook Messenger for Business

Facebook Messenger for Business | Asterisk Creative | Southeast's Premier Social Media Marketing AgencyIn our last post, we touched on how adding a live chat feature to your website could add to your company’s trustworthiness. Honestly, we know that that’s not possible for many business owners for a variety of reasons. But if you have a business Facebook page, you have a chat feature of sorts at your disposal.

Facebook Messenger offers customers and potential customers the ability to reach you directly and chat with you in real time, even though it’s not housed on your website. Folks look for this feature at an increasing rate, as it turns out. Studies show, in fact, that the Facebook Messenger app is used almost as much as native text apps on mobile phones.

Additionally, if you consistently respond quickly, a badge goes on your business page that indicates to users that you’re responsive. This is another piece that plays into that trustworthiness factor. (In this case, “quickly” is defined as roughly within an hour or so.)

What’s more, Facebook also offers a chatbot feature for Messenger. Chatbots send an automated response that businesses can use to communicate when there isn’t a dedicated person to do so. There are two types of chatbots for Facebook right now. One is a subscription bot that offers users information (like weather, traffic, etc) when they subscribe to get those messages. The other offers customized messaging such as receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages that pull responses from a repository based on terms in the message from the user.

Chatbots can help get users engaged with your company. And we all know that’s a great thing! However, there are some downsides.

  1. They’re not free. You either have to build your own or purchase/subscribe to one through a service that offers them.
  2. They do not offer personalized messages to your subscribers/those that message you. It’s pretty much canned content all around.
  3. Messages are sorted into one of several inboxes when they come in. If they go to your spam inbox, there’s a good chance both you and your chatbot will miss responding.

As you can see, there are pros and cons with Facebook Messenger bots, as there are with most things. If you’d like to “chat” about whether a bot could help your business or how you could be using Facebook Messenger for business in general, give Asterisk Creative a call today!