Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – Do You Need Them All?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & SnapChat - Do You Need All of ThemSocial media for business is no longer optional. You can be sure that most of your customers are active on social media. There are, however, many sites from which to choose. Let’s look at some of the most popular social media platforms for business so you can make a better decision about whether or not you need to use all of them.

Facebook

At 13-years old with around two billion active users, every business really needs a presence here. While certain sites are more specialized, Facebook is extremely broad and used by almost everyone today. Facebook also provides many options for marketing and engagement. Organic content, as with your Facebook page and daily posts is free. Paid advertising with Facebook ads provides many targeting options, making it relevant to every type of business.

Twitter

Twitter, though not as large as Facebook, is large and popular in its own right with more than 300 million users. Twiter is one of the best sites for communicating timely news. Indeed, many people share breaking news with their tweets. It does have a couple of limitations, though. The shortness of messages and the speed at which the feed moves means that it’s hard to ensure people are actually seeing your tweets. On the other hand, Twitter recently expanded the maximum number of characters from 140 to 280 characters, though it remains to be seen if this is permanent or just a test. Twitter also provides advertising options as with sponsored tweets. You can leverage Twitter by seeking relevant people to follow, joining groups and chats and posting live videos.

Instagram

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is a fast-growing visual platform with close to 700 million users. Instagram is a mobile-based service with a young user base. Instagram is especially useful if your business has products or services that can be depicted in an appealing way with images. This includes physical products as well as anything in the hospitality industries such as travel and restaurants. With appealing features such as photo filters and editing options, Instagram encourages users to express their creativity. If your business uses Instagram, it’s helpful to engage with followers and encourage them to submit their own photos. Instagram advertising works under the Facebook platform, so it’s easy to integrate a marketing strategy that combines both sites.

Snapchat

Like Instagram, Snapchat is a platform that’s made specifically for mobile. Snapchat is especially popular with teens and millennials. The distinctive feature of Snapchat is that content is only visible for up to 24 hours. Creating Snapchat Stories is useful if you want to create excitement with a promotion or live event. You can also leverage the Geofilters feature, which lets you associate your content with a specific location. The Snapchat app has gradually expanded to include chat, messaging, image storage, events and media content. Snapchat is a powerful social media platform for presenting timely content that can be showcased with images and video.

Do You Need Them All?

Do you need to be on all of these social media platforms for business? The answer really depends on your business and the demographics of your customers. Facebook and Twitter are sufficiently large and broad that you could use them for any type of business. Instagram and Snapchat, meanwhile are more limited in that they’re geared to mobile and are image-based. One issue we’ve found with many business owners who engage in social media marketing is they are not consistent with using these free marketing platforms; meaning they start an account and post a few times and then don’t post again for a while. Consistency is key.

If you’re not certain about how to best use social media for business, the best approach is to test your results on different platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat can all be very useful for marketing. The key is to find the sites that perform best for you and devise your own unique strategy for engaging with your followers.

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What To Do If Your Business Gets a Bad Online Review

How to Address a Bad Online Business Review | Riviera FinanceOnline reviews are extremely important for businesses today. Not that long ago, reviews were mainly a concern to certain businesses such as restaurants and hotels. Now, however, customers leave reviews for all types of businesses, whether you have a storefront or provide a service. While good reviews help you attract more customers, a negative online review reflects poorly on your business. If you do see a negative review, don’t panic. Here are some steps to take if you get a bad business review.

Answer Negative Reviews

If you see a bad review of your business, don’t just ignore it. On the other hand, don’t respond in an angry and defensive tone. Consider the issue and answer in a reasonable manner. Apologize for any inconvenience and offer to remedy the problem to the best of your ability. In some cases, this will satisfy the reviewer and he or she will take the review down or amend it. At the very least, it shows your other customers that you care and that you’re doing your best to satisfy everyone.

Accumulate More Positive Reviews

No matter how hard you try to please your customers, some people will write negative reviews. You can’t control this. However, you can solicit more reviews from satisfied customers. Do this by asking for reviews in as many ways as possible. Place links or buttons to review sites on your website. Post signs if you have a storefront business. You can even write a suggestion such as “please leave us a review on Yelp/Google/Angie’s List” on your business cards, flyers and other promotional material. As positive reviews add up, the negative ones carry less weight.

Be Consistent and Document Everything

It’s easier to please the vast majority of your customers if you have consistent quality control measures in place. For example, train customer service representatives, whether they deal with customers in person, online or by phone, to be courteous and helpful. Provide employees with a checklist that guides them for dealing with all types of scenarios. It’s also good to document all transactions and interactions with customers. This way, if a customer makes a false claim, you have proof that you aren’t to blame.

Learn From Bad Reviews

In some cases, a customer who writes a bad business review has valid points. If this occurs, don’t overlook this opportunity to make some essential upgrades to your business. You may need to make improvements in a product or service or the way your staff interacts with customers. In this case, use the bad review as inspiration to do better in the future.

Look at the Positive Side of Negative Reviews

Nobody wants a bad business review. However, they are a fact of life. Rather than hating and dreading them, try to see the indirect benefits they bring. They encourage you to improve your business practices to get better reviews in the future. They prevent you from taking your customers for granted. Do everything you can to collect lots of positive reviews. However, when you do see a negative online review, see it as a learning experience.

If your business is growing and you’re looking for some capital to help you manage your growth consider invoice factoring with Riviera Finance.

What Is Organic vs Paid Marketing

Organic vs Paid Marketing Strategies | Riviera FinanceIf you’re involved in online marketing in any capacity, you’re surely familiar with the whole organic marketing vs paid advertising debate. Many people read about such terminology without really understanding their meanings. If you want to promote your business online, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) as well as the difference between paid and organic and paid marketing. Let’s look at some of the definitions and distinctions that you should know about.

SEO and Organic Marketing

When you engage in search engine optimization (SEO), your goal is to get Google and other search engines to rank your website for certain search terms or keywords. For example, suppose you’re a maintenance company in New York City (NYC) who specializes in window washing. You’d probably want to rank for search terms such as “window washing NYC” and “New York City window washer” and many others as well. The same principle holds if you’re marketing an online product such as an auto body shop in San Jose or a service such as auto or freight transportation.

Just like organic food refers to food that’s natural, organic search means that people can find your website “naturally,” without advertising. Organic search results are the listings in Google that are ranked according to Google’s algorithms, based on many factors such as the quality of your content, how easy your site is to navigate, mobile-friendliness and many other elements. There are certain benefits to ranking your site organically. For one thing, search engine users may trust organic listings more than ads. However, it’s important to realize that the line separating organic and paid marketing has gotten blurrier in recent years.

Paid Marketing

Even if you have no background in online marketing, you’re surely familiar with the idea of paid advertising. The most popular forms of online advertising are run by large platforms such as Google and Facebook. As with organic search engine optimization, the focus is on keywords. In this case, however, you’re bidding for them rather than trying to rank for them organically.

As noted, the distinction between paid and organic is not quite as sharp as it used to be. This is deliberate as Google and other companies are making ads that look more like organic listings. If you do any type of search on Google, whether it’s for running shoes, pizza places or nail salons, you’ll notice that paid listings are at the top of the page. If you don’t focus on the word “ad,” which appears in a little box next to the ad, you might think it’s an organic listing. Facebook, Twitter and many other sites similarly insert paid, sometimes called sponsored listings right next to organic listings.

Which is Better: Paid or Organic?

The whole question of whether it’s better to focus on paid or organic in your marketing campaigns is really not very useful nowadays. It’s usually best to do a combination of the two. Google, Facebook and other search engines and advertising platforms have made it very difficult to survive solely on organic SEO. Because ads are now so prominently featured everywhere, you have to work harder and harder to get top listings organically. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your organic marketing efforts. The two actually complement one another. You can, for example, use Facebook ads to promote your organic content such as your Facebook page.

You should always base your marketing efforts, both paid and organic, on solid analytics. Always test the results of all your campaigns. Organic search works better for some businesses than others. For example, if you’re in a niche without much competition, you may be able to rank your site organically more easily than a business that’s is in an extremely competitive market. Observe what works best for you with both organic and paid methods and develop your own unique marketing strategy.

Top 7 Tips to Get Positive Online Reviews

How to Get Positive Online ReviewsTop 7 Tips to Get Positive Online Reviews

Getting positive online reviews is now one of the most crucial factors for growing your business and establishing trust with your customers. Let’s look at the top 7 ways to get more positive reviews for your business.

Track Reviews

It’s essential to know when people post reviews for your business. Monitor any sites where you’re listed, such as Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, Yahoo, etc. Set up Google Alerts for your business name as well. This gives you a chance to address any negative reviews and, hopefully, resolve problems with customers.

Provide Complete and Accurate Information

Make sure your listings for Google My Business and other reviews sites are thorough and include essential information such as your address, phone number and hours of business. Also, be sure to provide a good description of your business to help customers find you in the search engines.

Use Quality Images

Professional looking photos are one of the best ways to highlight your listings on review sites. Images make your business stand out and get noticed. Photos of yourself, employees, your place of business and surroundings give people searching a clearer picture of what you have to offer.

Respond to All Customer Reviews

It’s a good policy to respond to all online reviews, both positive and negative. When someone praises you, always take the time to thank them. This isn’t only polite, it actually encourages others to leave positive reviews. You should also respond to negative reviews. Apologize for any mistakes you made and offer to remedy the situation. In some cases, this is enough to get people to remove or change the review.

Ask Your Customers For Reviews

Let your customers know that reviews are important to you. You might send out follow-up emails asking them to leave a review. There is now software that automatically asks customers to leave feedback. For satisfied customers, you can then follow up with a request for a review. Make it easy for them by having a button to click on that links to the review site. For physical businesses, your sales people or receptionist can also verbally suggest to customers on the way out to leave a review.

Only Use Ethical and Accepted Methods to Get Reviews

Avoid practices that violate the TOS of review sites and could get your business de-listed. While it’s fine to request reviews, never specify that people should leave a positive review. Don’t try to incentivize reviews, such as by offering a prize or discount. Another practice that crosses the line is asking for reviews right at your place of business. This violates the rules of certain review sites, including Google.

Don’t Get Into Public Debates With Customers

Getting angry or defensive online seldom works out well for businesses. Try to resolve problems, such as by offering a refund or exchange. If this isn’t possible, it’s best to just stop communicating. Getting into a nasty public conflict usually makes matters worse. You can’t please everyone and a few bad customer reviews aren’t going to hurt you as long as you cultivate mostly positive ones.

If your business is growing and you’re looking for some capital to help you manage your growth, contact Riviera Finance.

Small Business Marketing Growth Strategies

Small Business Marketing Growth StrategiesIf you own a small business, you must always look for ways to grow and stay competitive. This is now truer than ever, with new technologies constantly disrupting the business world. There are a number of practices that can help drive marketing growth in today’s fast-paced and competitive environment.

Email Marketing is Still Relevant

Although email marketing is one of the oldest types of online marketing, it’s still very relevant. No matter what other platforms and technologies appear, people are still using email. Email, in fact, is complementary to other trends such as mobile-centricity and social media. For example, your social media pages can be used to grow your email list. Many of your subscribers will read your emails on their mobile devices. Focus on building your list and giving your subscribers helpful content.

Upgrade Your Social Media Presence

Social media is another trend that just keeps growing. The only things that change are which social media sites are most popular. Be sure to target the sites that your particular audience uses most. This depends on the age, interests and other demographics of your customers. As with blogging and email, it’s important to provide engaging content. Visually interesting content such as photos and videos are especially effective on social media.

Harness the Power of Data

Another term that’s often repeated in the business world is “big data.” Relying on hard data to make your business decisions is another practice that gives you a real edge. When you track your results and make changes based on analytics, you can consistently improve your results. This involves testing of as many variables as possible, including website design, social media practices, email templates, landing pages and any other marketing tools you employ.

Engage Your Audience With Video

Videos are more popular than ever. There are now more types of videos used in business, such as 360-degree video and live streaming videos. People find videos more engaging than other types of content as it lets them absorb information using multiple senses. You can include video content on your website, in your social media posts and even in your emails. No matter what type of small business you have, you can find ways to connect with your customers using video.

Leverage the Power of Blogging

A blog gives you the chance to establish your authority and provides the search engines with lots of content. This is a valuable tool to help you get more website traffic and increase your credibility. When blogging, make sure you publish content that’s relevant to your audience and that directly addresses their concerns and problems. Another principle of blogging is that you have to be consistent about it. If you blog at least once per week, preferably more, you’ll soon have a large body of content on many topics.

Understand that Mobile is the Dominant Force in Marketing Today

The expansion of mobile devices is the most significant long-term trend that has a huge impact on businesses. A few years ago, people started talking about making websites mobile-friendly. Now, you need to take this a step further and aim to be mobile-centric. That’s because mobile is quickly overtaking computers when it comes to internet browsing and online commerce. If you want to get more leads and sales, you have to make sure that your website and lead generation process is easy for mobile customers to manage. Because people are accessing the internet via mobile, this is really the single most important factor for accelerating marketing growth in the years to come.

In addition to the small business growth strategies discussed above, it’s also crucial for small businesses to maintain a healthy cash flow. One convenient way to ensure you get paid promptly is to start using invoice factoring with Riviera Finance. This service makes a big difference when it comes to your cash flow and accounts receivable management.